Monday, 29 December 2014

2014 Year Wrap Up.


Yes it is that time of the year again to look back at all the fantastic books that have been released and a time where I take a step back to look and see how my joy of reading and a personal blog to keep track of the books I have read has now been a branch to reach out to others and share books we enjoy. I never expected when I started this blog to have any followers it was purely for my own reasons ( mainly to stop buying the same book over again!) as to why I set the blog up but I now have to pinch myself as I feel so lucky to have made some great bookish friends some of who I was lucky enough to actually meet ( yes my little bookworms are real people!) and my biggest high light of the year has been to overcome my nerves slightly and actually manage to get the chance to meet some amazing authors. So before I start the wrap up I want to say the BIGGEST  thank you to all of my followers as without your support my blog would not be what it is today you are all AMAZEBALLS!


Top 5 Books 

In at number 1 is the amazing The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman. I have read 120 books this year and this was one of the first books I read and yet I can still remember it as though I read it yesterday. This is a book that will stay with me for a long time as it was such a poignant, beautifully written book that had me in tears. I have not stopped recommending this book throughout the year and it is one of the few books that has actually made it to my bookshelf. If you missed my review ( I'm not sure how as I shouted it from the roof tops!) then click HERE










In at number 2 is The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown, this was by far my favourite Christmas book this year and also my favourite book by Alexandra Brown. This was such a comforting feel good read set in a quirky little village with such a warm lovable group of characters, a book full of community spirit. I really hope we see a follow up to this book in 2015. Take a look at my review by clicking HERE

In at number 3 is The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop, this was a breathtaking read that was so well researched and a captivating read which sparked my interest in the Ghost Town again after all these years. The descriptive writing style really had me hooked on this book and for those whom I have recommended this book to they have all remarked on what a gripping read it is. Check out my review by clicking HERE.
In at number 4 is The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson, is it wrong that this is one of my big memories from my honeymoon this year! This is my favourite Milly Johnson book so far. I longed to be sitting in the Teashop with these wonderful characters and the tantalising bookish gifts. This book was fun, uplifting but also an emotional journey too. Check out my review by clicking HERE.

In at number 5 if The Separation by Dinah Jefferies, I have never felt a characters desperation so much as I did in this book a mothers desperation to find her children and a child's desperation for her mother, this one is a tense read that shows a woman's journey to find her children and will pull at your heartstrings. This is a remarkable debut and I long to see what else this author has in store for us. Check out my review by clicking HERE.


This was so hard to whittle down to only 5 this year as there were some other amazing debuts especially from Jo Thomas with Oyster Catcher and Tina Seskis with One Step Too Far which had the biggest twist of the year! There was also some amazing books that pulled at my heartstrings such as One Step Closer To You by the amazing Alice Peterson and also A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon. Of course we all need a book to make us laugh to and this for me was A Proper Family Holiday by Chrissie Manby.


Out and About

I finally plucked up the courage this year to attend my first author publication event. It seemed fitting that the author who first interacted with me about my reviews and gave me the confidence to push forward with my reviews was the first author event that I attended so you can imagine my pure excitement at the chance of meeting the talented and much respected Rowan Coleman for her publication of The Memory Book.




I had such a wonderful evening and this is the second highlight of my year ( I suppose it is only right to put my Wedding Day first!) This will be a time that I will always remember with a big smile on my face and a day that I will cherish my first meeting of an author and one of my favourites at that so thank you to Rowan and her publishers at Ebury for making my dream come true! You can read more about my time at The Memory Book Publication Event by clicking HERE.

I also attended Penguins Woman's Fiction Event earlier this month again I was a bag of nerves but this was yet another brilliant evening and it was a joy to meet so many talented authors some whose books I have enjoyed over the last few years and some whose debut's where released this year. We came away with a bag full of books which I am slowly working my way through so thank you to the lovely book fairies at Penguin for my invite and for the books! I managed to chat to the lovely Lucy Robinson again after I had briefly met her at Rowan's book launch and I couldn't believe she remembered little old me!




 To see more of my evening at Penguin check out my post by clicking Here

It has been a great year being able to meet so many wonderful authors and their publishers and although they still test my nerves in a big way they are definitely worth it. Not only have I had the opportunity to meet amazing authors but I finally got the chance to meet more book lovers like myself who held my hand at both events! So a big thank you to 


I hope we are lucky enough to meet at events in 2015 and I look forward to meeting more bloggers next year we need a big blogger meet!


What will 2015 bring?

I have already been looking at some of the books we have coming to us in 2015 so it looks set to be another great year for us readers. I am getting ready to set my Goodreads reading challenge and I think this year I will up my usual goal of 100 to 120 I think this is going to be a challenge as I have no holiday planned for this year so I will rely on reading around work at the salon, what will your reading goal be for 2015?

This year will also see my 4 year blogversary so I am going to start getting some book goodies and book posts ready for this milestone for you all to take part in.

I will also be offering more giveaways this year and now that I have found out that Book Depository ships worldwide I will be offering more international giveaways for all my lovely followers overseas to take part in.

This year I managed to reach 3000 Twitter Followers ( still not sure how I managed this, I ramble about books and chocolate too much!) I am now at over 3600 followers so it would be great if I made it to 4000 in my 4th year blogging so hopefully this will be another bumper giveaway to plan for too fingers crossed.

So this is it my final post of 2014! 
Once again I would like to thank all you wonderful followers
I hope my reviews have helped you to find some fabulous reads this year. Thank you to all of you who have recommended my blog to friends and who take the time to comment on the blog or re-tweet my reviews 
Thank You , Thank You, Thank You!
Also a massive thank you to all the authors and Publishers who have sent me books to review for this year as much as I love reading my bank balance doesn't like me reading so you have helped in a big way!

I would like to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.

xXx REA xXx

Saturday, 27 December 2014

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis


An apparently happy marriage. A beautiful son. A lovely home. Yet one morning Emily Coleman wakes up and walks right out of her life. 
What makes her do it? How will she survive? And, no matter how hard she tries, can she ever really say goodbye to her past? Emily has a secret. 
No-one has ever guessed it. 
Will you?


I had the privilege of meeting author Tina Seskis earlier this month and after listening to her talking about her book, the storyline really intrigued me and her passion for her book was what actually made me want to read it as she sounded so excited when she was talking to me about it.

Emily walks away from her life, leaving behind her husband and little Charlie and begins to start life again with a new home, new job, even a new name. She sparks up a friendship with one of her housemates Angel. Her life takes a completely different path from her life before but how long will she be able to keep her secret from her new friend and will this be a lifelong change or will she be found?

The cover to this book really gives nothing away it is a very plain cover that conceals an amazing storyline. Tina Seskis has such a skilled writing style she creates such an enthralling storyline that will slowly draw you in until you are hooked and just as you are immersed in the storyline there is a completely unpredictable twist! The whole book was totally unpredictable and the twist has to be the biggest unexpected twist I have read in a book this year. I love a book that can chock me and this one blew me away.

This is a stunning debut and although I am not usually big on thrillers this book really suited me and kept me gripped the whole way through. I loved the romance, suspense and mystery that were present in the book, there really is something to suit everyone’s taste in this book.

I cannot tell you the last time I read a book where I had absolutely no idea what lie ahead, you are on the edge of your seat with suspense and tension as you know something major has happened. The author does cover a couple of sensitive topics but again this shows the beautiful writing style as they were written full of detail but also very carefully.


I absolutely loved this book and as much as it was a real page turner I did find that I savoured each page. This is one of those books that creep along at an enjoyable 4 star read and then dramatically ups to a 5* read. I can not wait for the release of this authors new book to be released, this is an author to watch out for I am sure she will bring us more thrilling and captivating reads.


Paperback                  Kindle

Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Mysterious Miss Mayhew by Hazel Osmond


Tom doesn't need any more women in his life. He already has a five-year-old daughter, an estranged wife who keeps blocking his efforts to get divorced and a mother who might be having an affair with the vicar. 
So when Fran Mayhew turns up - years younger and with all the tact of a dinosaur with its backside on fire - she's just another tricky person to deal with. ...
And what's she doing in his remote part of Northumberland crawling around in graveyards anyway? But soon Tom discovers that there's more to the mysterious Miss Mayhew than meets the eye - and that it's not just his heart he's in danger of losing.


I have read all of Hazel Osmond’s previous books and I have loved each and every one of them because they are beautifully written and full of emotion. The Mysterious Miss Mayhew shows a different side to the authors writing and she shows that she can write comical novels as well as emotional ones too.

Fran is new in town and it isn’t long before she meets Tom who is raising his daughter alone. Tom and Fran seem to be bumping into each other more often but Fran is keeping her private life hidden and the reason as to why she is in town but before long attraction begins to grow between the couple but what mystery is Fran hiding?

Our mains character are Tom and Fran, the book alternates between the two characters with the majority of the book told from Tom’s point of view which is rare to see but worked extremely well in this book. We got to know Fran by her daily diary entries where she lists 10 thoughts on the day and I was surprised how just with these 10 points how well we actually got to know her character. I also have to mention Tom’s daughter because she was a little ray of sunshine she was involved in a lot of the humorous parts to this book and her relationship with her dad was so believable and natural.


The storyline was more light hearted than the authors previous reads and at times I did find myself chuckling away so I did enjoy this side to her writing. It took me quite a long time to start getting an idea as to what Fran’s secret was so it was rather unpredictable for a good part of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I did find that I was engaged with the storyline and the characters all the way through. I enjoyed seeing a different side to the author’s usual writing style it just shows what a talented author she is, but I still favour her deeper more emotional books but I will still be recommending this book.


Kindle                     Paperback

Saturday, 20 December 2014

I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson

Have you ever given up on love?

When her boyfriend lets her down for the last time, Brooklyn bookshop owner Bea James makes a decision – no more. No more men, no more heartbreak, and no more pain.

Psychiatrist Jake Steinmann is making a new start too, leaving his broken marriage behind in San Francisco. From now on there'll just be one love in his life: New York. At a party where they seem to be the only two singletons, Bea and Jake meet, and decide there’s just one thing for it. They will make a pact: no more relationships. 

But the city has other plans . . .


I have a few authors who I make sure I pre-order each of their books as soon as they are available on amazon and Miranda Dickinson is one of those authors for me, I have read and enjoyed every single book by her and I follow her on twitter to keep up with what she has planned for her next release, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out that I’ll Take New York was a sequel ( kind of ) to A Fairytale of New York which is my favourite book by Miranda Dickinson.

We have two main characters in this book Bea and Jake who are such wonderful characters. Bea is going to be a favourite with a lot of us readers, she is soft natured loveable and she not only loves books but she also owns a bookshop with her best friend Russ. At the beginning of the book we see Bea waiting with her family for the arrival of her long term boyfriend Otis to arrive for a special occasion and they all have a pretty good idea as to what this occasion will be but there is one problem, Otis doesn’t arrive. After constantly being let down by Otis Bea decides that she needs to move on with her life in her own way and it is when she meets Jake at a party where they are the only single people there that they both swore off relationships and spark a new friendship.

Jake is sure to be a hit with the ladies he is a handsome, successful male lead who has had his heart broken and is having to start all over again. Miranda knows how to create the perfect male lead for us to drool over! It was so good to be reintroduced to some much loved previous characters, Rosie and Ed and to see what is going on in their life since we left them.

The thing I love most about Miranda’s writing style is her descriptions, she makes things come alive in her books especially the settings and this was the case with this book as she describes the sights around New York and the mouth-wateringly good food as well as the pure emotions that each of the characters have it gives life to this fictional book.

The storyline was a little predictable but in this case the joy wasn’t in the ending itself it was the journey she took us on to get there that made this a heart warming read.


This is yet another fabulous read by this author that I have already found myself recommending to friends.


Kindle                    Paperback

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Separation by Dinah Jefferies


What happens when a mother and her daughters are separated; who do they become when they believe it might be forever?
1953, the eve of the Cartwright's departure from Malaya. Eleven-year-old Emma can't understand why they're leaving without their mother; why her taciturn father is refusing to answer questions.
Lydia arrives home to an empty house - there's no sign of her husband Alec or her daughters. Panic stricken, she embarks on a dangerous journey to find them through the hot and civil-war-torn Malayan jungle - one that only the power of a mother's love can help her to survive.

I have just finished reading The Separation by Dinah Jefferies which is an unbelievably stunning debut that took me on a journey I was not expecting. The storyline is set back in 1955 in Malaya around a family who have been separated. Mum Lydia Cartwright returns home to find their house empty, her husband and two daughters Emma and Fleur gone without a trace. She embarks on a heart breaking journey to try and find her family as she is given information that they have made their way to the north but her journey is a very traumatic and dangerous one but nothing can come between a mum and her love for her children.

This is a breath taking read and quite hard to believe that this is a debut because it was flawless. Such a captivating read that made it impossible to put down as there was always something gripping going on as the storyline was consistently fast paced and eventful all the way through.

The storyline alternates between Lydia and Emma, I think I warmed more to Emma because her part was told by first person narrative so we feel first hand her heart rending thoughts and feelings about being wrenched away from her mother. The part of Lydia was told in third person narrative so although we don’t hear first hand how she feels, it still was easy to see how desperate she was to find her children after such a cruel act of betrayal from her husband, we long for her to find the right path back to her daughters.

Although we know where the family are it doesn’t make this a predictable read because I still couldn’t see how or if Lydia would find them and also there were so many little twists and turns which I never could have predicted coming, I was so tense at times during this book!


The book shows the author’s passion and knowledge for the Emergency in Malaya which I confess I had no knowledge about so it was a real learning curve too that had me intrigued. This was an amazing read that I thoroughly enjoyed and will be recommending this one for a long time yet. I am so excited now to read the authors next release The Tea Planter’s Wife. 


Kindle                     Paperback

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A Christmas Feast and Other Stories by Katie Fforde

I have always been a massive fan of Katie Fforde, her books were one of the first books I read as an adult and I have never found an author who writes similar books to her she just has her own little signature style of writing that just seems to wrap you up in a hug which is just want you need at this time of year so I didn’t hesitate in clicking for my copy of A Christmas Feast and Other Stories even if I am not a huge fan of short stories, I had faith Katie Fforde that she would keep me entertained with her little collection.

There are 12 different short stories in this e-book all featuring very different storylines and a wonderful mix of characters. The book is bursting with romance and new friendships as well as lots of mouth-watering food and festivity! 

There really will be a story for everyone in this collection, some are shorter than others but each are an enjoyable little treat. I did have to laugh at myself though because my favourite in this collection is From Scotland with Love but I thought myself very clever as I knew what was going to happen next and no not because it was totally predictable but because I had already read this novella last year and completely forgot the title but it was a great chance to read again!

The whole collection is very cheery and uplifting which is the kind of books I enjoy this time of year, yes some of them are farfetched and predictable but that really doesn’t ruin these stories as it is this time of year when the magic happens!

My favourite part of this e-book though is the sneak peek at the end of the authors coming novel A Vintage Wedding the three ladies Lindy, Beth and Rachel all look like they are forming a beautiful friendship and have a challenge ahead, I cannot wait for the release of this book.


This was a great collection of stories which kept me entertained on my lunch breaks over the last couple of days!


Kindle

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney


For the last thirty years, Angela Gillespie's annual Christmas letter has been full of her family's triumphs. But this year Angela surprises everyone, including herself - she tells the truth. Angela's husband is in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Her grown-up daughters are more out of control than ever. And her youngest child spends all of his time talking to an imaginary friend. With fantasy thoughts of a life before marriage and motherhood becoming more than just an innocent daydream, Angela's real life is slowly slipping out of focus. But, as the repercussions of her ruthlessly honest letter begin to pile up, a shocking event takes Angela from her family, and she realises she should have been more careful of what she wished for. . .


I seem to be like a magpie at this time of year and any books that are shiny I am drawn to and Hello From the Gillespies is no exception with its gentle sprinkling of glitter on its simplistic cover, Monica McInerney is a new author to me but after reading this book I have looked on amazon to see she has wrote a number of books so after reading this one I cannot wait to get stuck into another one.

Each year Angela Gillespie writes a Christmas letter to a hundred friends and family members updating them on their achievements over the year but this year things haven’t been too good for the family in Angela’s eyes and as she has gradually let it all build up and get on top of her she soon finds herself baring the brutal truth in her annual letter to get it off of her chest having no intention on sending it. As an event makes Angela move away from her letter something happens and the letter is finding itself in everyone’s inbox, this letter could have a bad effect on more than Angela’s life.

This was a heart-warming and funny read which was a joy to read but it also touched on a number of more delicate matters such as depression which made it a deeper and more meaningful book. The author has quite clearly undertook a great deal of research for this book not only on the setting in the outback but also in the medical side to which I don’t want to say too much about as I don’t want to give anything away!

The Gillespie family were all loveable and such realistic characters who are all facing the usual struggles from relationships to financial problems and careers but there main problem is like most families they do not communicate, so much heartache could have been avoided if they had just spoke to one and other!

I loved how this book was totally unpredictable this storyline was, it was an original storyline that had me hooked from the first chapter. There was a large amount of characters in this book and it does take a little while to fit them altogether but before long you feel like part of the mob! I loved Angela as our lead character but I have to say little Ig was by far my favourite, he was such a quirky and loving character.


I loved this book and will definitely be recommending this one and I have found yet another talented author to add to my favourites list.



Kindle                    Paperback

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Christmas with Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher


Christmas has come to Rosefont Hill and it's destined to be a particularly special festive season for Sophie May.

When a smitten stranger emails Sophie to ask her if he can propose to the woman he loves in her little teashop, the romantic in her finds it impossible to refuse. Even though Christmas is her busiest time of year she has her own sweetheart, Hollywood actor Billy Buskin, to lend a helping hand. How could she say no to making someone's dream come true?

As Sophie and Billy work together to plan the perfect fairytale proposal for this couple, excitement in Rosefont Hill is mounting. Who is this mysterious man?
And who is the lucky lady he's about to get down on one knee for?


I have just met up with my old friends Billy and Sophie in Christmas with Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher! I was so moved by Billy and Me and I loved Billy and Sophie so I was longing for another book with these characters and this little treat doesn’t disappoint.

Sophie receives an anonymous email who wants to pop the big question to his partner but needs her help as it would be prefect to make his proposal in her much loved Teashop. As her and Billy begin to make the Teashop perfect and festive for the event her mind is trying to figure out who this surprise could be for.

This authors writing style has me hooked from the first page, she has a way of making the characters feel so familiar, it is like sitting down reading about friends. I do feel that you need to have read Billy and Me to appreciate this novella as it does make references about events  and also mentions the much loved Molly all which refers to the previous book but that’s not a bad thing because you wouldn’t want to miss out on a reason to read Billy and Me.


This is a prefect little Christmas treat for yourself, full of romance, an idyllic festive setting, a great little twist and a great cast of character too. As much as I loved this novella I am secretly hoping that there will be another full length novel and in my eyes the ending of this novella leaves a perfect starting point for another book so I am keeping my fingers crossed.




Kindle

Friday, 5 December 2014

Penguin Event.

Last Night I was lucky enough to be invited to Penguin Women's Fiction Evening, I have been looking forward to this event for a long time, I was going to meet up with the lovely Amanda but unfortunately she was poorly on the day and couldn't make it, I hope you feel better soon my little bookworm!

I was very nervous attending this event alone, I am sure you all know by now how nervous and anxious I get but I was so excited and luckily this over took the nerves and I am so pleased I did because it was such a wonderful evening with great company.




Lucy Robinson

Sinead Moriarty
I was star struck yet again as soon as I walked in with so many fabulous authors it was like Christmas not knowing what present to open first but instead which author to approach first!
I was firstly introduced to Dinah Jefferies who was a lovely lady with gorgeous sparkly red nails for the event she took the time to talk to myself and another reviewer answering our questions and talking to us about her up and coming release The Tea Planter's Wife which sounds like a great read.

We were then approached by the very bubbly Tina Seskis, I have yet to read her book One Step Too Far but this will be going to the top of my pile now as her new book When We Were Friends is due out in April and after seeing this authors enthusiasm for her book I can not wait to read it!

I was then introduced to the absolutely stunning Sinead Moriarty who was enjoying her night away in London and talking to us about her book The Secrets Sisters Keep which I was lucky enough to pick up a copy and I have to say the synopsis sounds intriguing.

I then managed to grab the lovely Lucy Robinson, I love this woman as much as her books and yes I do go all fangirl and start throwing question after question but mainly I needed to be reasured that after her telling off video from penguin ( is it wrong I am still chuckling away at this?)  I was hoping that this didnt mean that her new book The Day we Disappeared wasn't going to be too tame now as this is what sets Lucy Robinson aside from other authors it is her unique style and I was pleased to hear that she will not be disappointing us!
We got a proof copy of her new book and I have to say I felt like a thief walking home with a precious jewel!

Finally I met Kate Riordan author of The Girl in the Photograph who was such a sweet and friendly woman, she took the time to tell me about her book and I was surprised by the subject matter as I wasn't expecting that based on the cover I had seen but having seen the new cover it is definitely more appealing and fitting with the storyline, I can see that the new cover will be more eyecatching on the shelf. This sounds different from my usual reads so because my reading mojo has been hanging on an edge recently I am going to make this my next read keep your eyes peeled for the review.

There were so many other authors but there just wasn't enough time to get around to each of them which was a shame but I hope if I am ever luck enough to be invited to another Penguin event I may be able to catch up with them at another time.


Laura

Karen

As well as meeting all the wonderful authors it was also a great chance to meet other reviewers who I have spoken to over the years and it was lovely to put faces to names. I met the lovely Laura and Zarina who looked as excited as I felt!
I also met Bronagh who was such a sweetie and showed much more restraint than me!
My little angel of the night was Karen like myself Karen didn't know anyone else and I just want to say a BIG thank you to Karen for holding my hand so I couldn't chicken out! 
It was a pleasure to meet you all ladies.



My Christmas has well and truly come early!
Thank you so much to the team at Penguin for all of these
fabulous books I can not wait to get started already.
You hosted an amazing evening which will be a night to remember, 
it is most definitely a big highlight of my year.
You were all so welcoming and I am honoured to have been invited
and to finally get a chance to meet you all.
So a great BIG THANK YOU to you all for a night to remember.




Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie’s spare time is spent with other people’s families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year’s resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.

As Carrie starts her last job, she’s sure she’ll be going out on a high – the house is amazing, the kids are adorable, and she’s in charge of decorating the tree! The only problem could be her boss… single-dad, Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he’s always working. Doesn’t he realise he’s missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?

As Adam’s family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There’s still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn’t it?
Let the festivities begin!


I loved Love Me for Me by Jenny Hale so when I see the cover release of her new book A Christmas to Remember I couldn't wait to read another book by this author and knowing it was a Christmas read just appealed to me even more.

Carrie has been working as a nanny for a long time now and she loves her job, she is very good at it too but she feels as though it is time to start making a life and family of her own so she decided that this new job has to be her last as a full time live in nanny. When she arrives at the new job and meets the Fletcher family it soon becomes clear that her last job is going to be an emotional challenging one.

As much as I enjoyed Love Me For Me I have to say that A Christmas to Remember is in a completely different league. I found myself wrapped up in this storyline right from the first meeting of the Fletcher twins and I just couldn't stop reading so I finished this in one sitting. This is one of those few books where you can't help but love each and every one of the characters and even though the handsome Adam had his flaws you still can't help but love him. Carrie was such a fun, caring and down to earth character and she brought a ray of light to the children's lives as she let them be children again.

This book was predictable but it is one of those books where it's not about the ending it is about the journey and this journey was a joy to read. I loved the festive fell to it, it is nice to have a book with a Christmas cover and title that is full of festivity and excited children which really gave it an exciting and traditional feel. The storyline was actually quite realistic and it is heartbreaking to think that there are situations like this out in the real world I just hope they get someone like Carrie to teach them to love!

This was a wonderful read and I loved each and every chapter, I would definitely recommend this book and I can not wait to read another book by this author.


Kindle                     Paperback

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Christmas for One by Amanda Prowse



As a child, Meg always dreamed of the perfect Christmas... This year, she can make it come true for her own little boy. There will be turkey and all the trimmings, a glittering tree, and a stocking hung up by a roaring fire. Who cares if there's no devoted husband in the picture? She and Lucas will be just fine on their own. But then a chance meeting with a stranger in New York unravels everything she's planned. Will Meg finally get everything she wished for? Or will she be alone this Christmas after all?

I have never come across the author Amanda Prowse before but when I saw the cover for her new book Christmas for One it really caught my eye and the title hit a nerve for me because you never expect anyone to have a Christmas for one so I really wanted to read this book.

The storyline is predominantly about single mum Meg and her son Lucas. Meg never had traditional and happy memorable Christmases when she was growing up so she is determined to give her son a better life and happy memories especially not having a dad around. But when Meg has to fly abroad before Christmas for work a chance meeting with a stranger in New York changes  Meg's life.

I was so eager to read this book that I didn't realise that this is a follow on but I still found my way along with the storyline easy enough as a standalone book although now having got to know our main character Meg  and her adorable boy Lucas I would love to go back and read the previous book so I can get to know their background more. This was one of those books for me that I have found really hard to review because I did really enjoy the storyline and the characters, the author also has such an easy flowing writing style so it is a nice read but I don't think this one will be one that I will remember much about in a few weeks time because it really was such a light and easy read. I don't feel like this is a bad thing though as sometimes it is quite nice to read something light and not challenging so if you are in the mood for a book like that then this won't disappoint.

This is a modern day romance that will have you full of hope for poor Meg as she has had such a difficult life you just want to see a happy ending for her. Lucas was a great little character I would have loved to have see a bit more of him in the book. I did find it a bit hard to grasp that a woman whose childhood of Christmases were not good and often abandoned by her family would then find herself able to not spend Christmas Day with her own little boy but I think this is where the modern day love story part comes in love does crazy things to us!

A light easy read with a sprinkling of festivity and nice dash of romance.




Kindle                     Paperback

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.


Kindle

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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