Friday, 21 November 2014

The Woman who Stole my Life by Marian Keyes

'Name: Stella Sweeney.
Height: average.
Recent life events: dramatic.'

One day, sitting in traffic, married Dublin mum Stella Sweeney attempts a good deed. The resulting car crash changes her life. For she meets a man who wants her telephone number (for the insurance, it turns out). That's okay. She doesn't really like him much anyway (his Range Rover totally banjaxed her car).

But in this meeting is born the seed of something which will take Stella thousands of miles from her old life, turning an ordinary woman into a superstar, and, along the way, wrenching her whole family apart. Is this all because of one ill-advised act of goodwill? Was meeting Mr Range Rover destiny or karma? Should she be grateful or hopping mad?
For the first time real, honest-to-goodness happiness is just within her reach.
But is Stella Sweeney, Dublin housewife, ready to grasp it?

It has been a long time since I have read a book by Marian Keyes and in fact The Woman who Stole my Life is the first one I have ever reviewed. After seeing Marian Keyes on Lorraine talking about her new book I couldn't wait to read a new book by her and this one sounded intriguing.

The storyline follows three stages on Stella Sweeney's life present time, her time in hospital and her time in New York. For me my favourite was her time in hospital because I found this part so compelling, it had been very well researched and beautifully and cleverly written. Stella has Guillain-Barre disease which I knew nothing about but the author brings the reader knowledge about the condition and when she writes from Stella's point of view when she is stuck immobile in bed unable to communicate it really fascinated me how she had managed to get into the mind of someone who was caged in their own body. 

I did enjoy both the present and New York parts too but for me it was her time in hospital and her interaction with Mannix that really gripped me in this book. The book is a whopper at 531 pages and I do think in truth it was a little too drawn out especially the New York part.

There are some wonderful characters in this book some I loved like Stella and Mannix and some I loathed! In particular Stella's son Jeffery oh this boy needs some discipline he is so rude I couldn't bare him each time he appeared in this book.

I loved that the whole way through the book I had no idea what was coming next it is not a predictable read which is always a big bonus for me. I found the storyline really engaging and at times I found it slightly emotional, intriguing and also at times comical. Once you get over the hefty size of the book and the structure of the book with its to and thro style you will thoroughly enjoy this read. It was great to read another book by this author and I feel like her writing style has taken a new path and I loved it.

Kindle                     Hardback

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey

A self-confessed Christmas queen, Sue Montaigne prides herself on organising the annual nativity pageant in her small Cornish village of Poldore.
But this year, what with having to deal with the repairs on Castle House after it was wrecked by a terrible storm, training a new – and frankly flighty – Virgin Mary and managing a Joseph who is allergic to sheep, she is distinctly lacking a little bit of ‘me time’. And then there are the auditions for the new Santa.
But nothing prepares her for the beautiful man who turns up, a twinkle in his eye and a promise to make her Christmas dreams come true…

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t have a festive story released by the Queen of Christmas novels Scarlett Bailey. Although this time it is a novella ( which I am not usually a fan of) I couldn’t not have my Scarlett Bailey fix and I really wanted to catch up with the village folk of Poldore!

Sue Montaigne is usually the one to keep everyone in line in Poldore, she is obsessively organised and she is always ready to do whatever she can for everyone who lives in Poldore even open up Castle House to everyone when they really needed shelter. But Sue isn’t living a perfect life everything is crumbling around her but will someone be there for Sue in her hour of need?

I didn’t want to give too much away with what happens in this book because with it being a novella it would ruin it. I thoroughly enjoyed this novella I usually feel like I have only had a little taster when I read novella’s and so am left disappointed but with Secret Santa it really felt like a packed read, I think it is helped by the fact we already know and love Poldore and its characters. Sue has obviously appeared in Scarlett Baileys previous book so we know of her but I can never say I really warmed to her she seemed like a bossy annoying woman to me but I actually really felt for her in this novella and I was really hoping that her Christmas wishes would come true.

This novella is full of Christmas spirit so you will definitely get your festive fix with this one, we all love an appearance from Santa!

Yet again Scarlett Bailey has delivered another festive delightful read and I do feel like Sue’s story was best told as a novella so I have to hand it to Scarlett Bailey she has got it spot on again! This is easily my favourite novella of the year.

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Perfect Christmas by Kate Forster

Hollywood movie star Maggie and friend and manager Zoe need an escape from their complicated star-studded lives in LA.
With its history and Christmas charm, London feels like the perfect getaway. But can they truly leave their realities behind? In their luxurious quarters, the girls meet Holly who is ideal at showing Maggie and Zoe the sumptuous sights and sounds of London in their most glittering light.
But behind her bright fa├žade, Holly is hiding a secret: suffering from unrequited love, she’s looking for a Christmas miracle. 
Desperate to see an unattainable love story for Holly come together, will our LA starlets succeed in providing a Hollywood ending before the dawn of Christmas Day?

Kate Forster is a wonderful author and she has now sprinkled some festive spirit for us in her new novella The Perfect Christmas.

Maggie is a famous actress but although her career is flying high things are not good in her home life and as she faces Christmas alone now she turns to her best friend Zoe for a Christmas trip to remember.

This is a light hearted, festive read that will get you in the spirit on your commute to work over this festive season. Maggie and Zoe have a lovely friendship and know how to have fun, they fully embraced the Christmas London style and they also brought a nice helping of romance to the story too. I really enjoyed this fast paced read and it really makes you think about what you can do to help someone else’s dreams come true this time of year.

A beautifully written modern novella by a very talented author that will spread the Christmas spirit.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Maybe this Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Brenna’s not dreaming of a white Christmas… As a professional skier she’s already had too many to count! Brenna’s more concerned about finally spending the season with the man she’s loved as long as she can remember – her best friend Tyler. Single dad Tyler is determined to make sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. He can’t afford to be distracted by Brenna moving into his family’s snow-capped ski resort. Especially as that mistletoe magic has him looking at Brenna in a whole new light.
Until a surprise kiss means the relationship Brenna’s always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. 
Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true? 

I have loved each of the O'Neil books by Sarah Morgan and so as I was making my way through my Christmas reads I saw Maybe this Christmas twinkling away at me! It is such a beautiful festive sparkly cover and I couldn't wait to start this one to see what is going on at Snow Crystal now.

Brenna is still trying to keep her feelings for Tyler under wraps but when her girlfriends find out about her true feelings they decide it is time to intervene!

As the plan falls into place Tyler starts to question his true feelings but with daughter Jess now living with and facing her own troubles can Tyler really think about a relationship or does he just need the support of his best friend by his side?

Snow Crystal is the perfect setting for a festive read, Sarah Morgan has set such an idyllic scene for us with the chilly snowy backdrop, family and friends all together and a splash of romance too. I loved getting to know both Brenna and Tyler more they are both wonderful exciting characters and after their brief appearances in the previous books I was looking forward to getting to know these characters and their story more.

Although this is the third book in the series I do believe this can be read as a stand alone but I don't think you would want to miss out on the other two books because each of the O'Neil brothers just ooze sex appeal so you wouldn't want to feel left out!

The storyline is slightly predictable but its not always about the ending its about the fabulous journey to the end that matters and Sarah Morgan creates a fabulous storyline to keep us all hooked.

This was a book that I loved from start to finish and one that I think will be a great treat for the bookworms in your family this year.

Paperback                Kindle

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Oyster Catcher by Jo Thomas

Dooleybridge, County Galway. Population: 482 (or thereabouts). The last place Fiona Clutterbuck expects to end up, alone, on her wedding night. 

But after the words 'I do' have barely left her mouth, that's exactly where she is - with only her sequined shoes and a crashed camper van for company. One thing is certain: Fi can't go back. So when the opportunity arises to work for Sean Thornton, the local oyster farmer, she jumps at the chance. Now Fi must navigate suspicious locals, jealous rivals and a wild, unpredictable boss if she's to find a new life, and love, on the Irish coast. And nothing - not even a chronic fear of water - is going to hold her back.

Join Fi on her romantic, unpredictable adventure as she learns the rules of the ocean - and picks up a few pearls of Irish wisdom along the way...

 I have just finished reading The Oyster Catcher, I literally didn't put it down and ended up devouring it in one evening! The author Jo Thomas has such a beautiful and skilled writing style and she manages to draw you into the storyline with such ease. Never before have I read a book or even had any kind of knowledge when it comes to Oyster Farming so I was surprised at how. Ugh my interest was piqued in this book, I found myself getting quite tense and mad with the arrival of Pirates!

Our main character Fi quite clearly has a dramatic reason for arriving in Dooleybridge and I loved how the author slowly fed us snippets and clues as to what had really happened to her. Fate seems to occur when she is in desperate need of a job and lodgings she meets Sean who is also in desperate need for someone to help on his Oyster Farm. Sean was a lovely if somewhat spiky character but I soon felt he had a hard shell ( see what I did there!) with a soft centre. There were some wonderful characters in this book and also some wonderfully bad characters, I found the characters were all so engaging. 

There really is so much to commend in this book, from an interesting and unique storyline, a well written romance, a lot of down to earth humour, the odd touch of secrets and scandal, well written characters and a big dose of community spirit, what more could you ask for?

I was so excited and immersed in this storyline that now I am finished I feel a little flat! This is such a wonderful read one of my favourites of the year, I do love it when I find a new talented author and I am so shocked to find that this is a debut as for me this book was flawless, I can not wait for another book by this author.

Kindle                    Paperback

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

'This is your last chance to change your mind, Rose. After today we can't go back. Ever.' Seventy-three years have passed since sisters Rose and Connie found an abandoned baby in the only other house on their little island, Scribbly Gum. With both parents vanished without a trace, Rose and Connie made the decision to take the baby in as their own. And since then the 'Munro Baby Mystery' has brought them fame and fortune. But now, with Connie dead and outsider Sophie Honeywell inheriting her home, Rose begins to wonder if they made the right decision all those years ago. With the anniversary looming, and people still trying to solve the mystery, how much longer can they cover up the lie that has sustained their little community for four generations? And what other secrets are about to be revealed?

I have enjoyed all of Liane Moriarty's books so far and when I read the synopsis of The Last Anniversary I was really intrigued. The story line centers around the Munro Baby Mystery, sisters Rose and Connie discovered an abandoned baby on the island of Scribbly Gum, the parents of the baby seemed to have disappeared into thin air and years later there are tours on to the island with people coming to see the Munro house. Connie has now died and has left a surprise in her will that will bring someone back to the Island.

There is such a large group of characters in this book and yet they all came to life in this book and no-one was forgotten and after the first few chapters when I became familiar with who was daughter/son to whom I the didn't get confused with who was who through the rest of the book. It is one of those rare books where I loved each and every one of the characters too. I love how each of the characters own story lines are all weaved so beautifully into the main story line especially Grace whose emotions really flowed through the pages and I actually found it quiet heartbreaking to see the mindset of someone going through her situation.

I was so enthralled by this story line, the mystery really had me gripped and I actually had no idea as to what the outcome was going to be so I was gripped the whole way through. If that wasn't enough the final twist just made this book complete for me! 

This is my favourite book by this author and is one I would definitely recommend you to read.

Kindle                     Paperback

It's Not Me It's You by Mhairi McFarlane

Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong. When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault. When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault. And when he wanted her back like nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame… From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back.

Mhairi McFarlane is back with a bang with her new book It’s Not Me It’s You. This book had me in stitches especially early on in the book, I haven’t read a book in a long time that has made me laugh out loud and the humour in the book is very believable and realistic situations and events which is why it is funny because you can relate to it.

Delia was a fabulous main character she seems to dig herself into a whole and often make situations so much worse. She was a very likeable character who is very strong and I like that she didn’t just sit and cry and mope or be easily forgiving she was determined to make a change.

I had an idea how I thought the book would end but I even found my own opinion wavering towards the end as the author managed to throw a few spanners in the works to make me doubt myself!

A great read by this author

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