Sunday, 30 December 2012

From Notting Hill to New York …. Actually by Ali McNamara

I have been sitting on the fence when it has come to Ali McNamara’s books. I remember reading From Notting Hill With Love….. Actually and I wasn’t over keen I found there was too many film references which to me felt like they took over the book but thinking back I think it could be because I am not a film buff a lot of the references were to films I had not read so in a way I didn’t understand the book. Then came Breakfast at Darcy’s which I loved and was one of my favourite books of 2011 so I was a little nervous about From Notting Hill to New York …. Actually.

Scarlett O'Brien, utterly addicted to romantic films, has found her leading man. She's convinced Sean is Mr Right, but the day-to-day reality of a relationship isn't quite like the movies. With Sean constantly away on business, Scarlett and her new best friend Oscar decide to head to New York for the holiday of a lifetime. From one famous landmark to the next, Scarlett and Oscar make many new friends during their adventure - including sailors in town for Fleet Week, a famous film star, and Jamie & Max, a TV reporter and cameraman. Scarlett finds herself strangely drawn to Jamie, they appear to have much in common: a love of films and Jamie's search for a parent he never knew. But Scarlett has to ask herself why she is reacting like this to another man when she's so in love with Sean . . .

I am not on the fence anymore! I am well and truly in Ali McNamara’s garden! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn’t have a very open mind when I started the book so it had a lot of work to do to change my mind. What really had me hooked in this book was that there was no way of predicting the big twist that lay ahead in this book. It wasn’t until around page 323 that I started to get a little feeling I knew what was about to happen! This gave the book an exciting feel to it.

The descriptive writing that is used around the hot spots of New York is fantastic it is quite clear that the author had taken out great first hand research and her experience is shown in the way she describes the places in the city, I actually feel as though I have seen a good part of New York!

To go along with this fantastic storyline is a great cast of characters all who help to make this an easy 5 star read. Scarlett is a fun, energetic character whose life feels like a constant rollercoaster! Her friend Oscar brings a great deal of laughs to the book he is going to be a character you don’t forget in a hurry!

My favourite part of the book is the treasure hunt I found myself trying to play along with the clues!

I am so glad my partner brought this for me for Christmas it just goes to show that your opinion can change drastically from book to book. I would definitely recommend this book and I am looking forward to the next book by this author as I am sure there must be a follow on from this book. I will make sure I am front of the queue!

Kindle                       Paperback

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Pollyanna Plan by Talli Roland

I have just finished reading Talli Roland’s latest release The Pollyanna Plan. I couldn’t wait to get started with this one as I have enjoyed all of Talli’s previous books and this book has my favourite cover, it is one that would catch my attention from the shelves.

Thirty-something Emma Beckett has always looked down on 'the glass is half full' optimists, believing it's better to be realistic than delusional. But when she loses her high-powered job and fiancé in the same week, even Emma has difficulty keeping calm and carrying on. With her world spinning out of control and bolstered by a challenge from her best friend, Emma makes a radical decision. From here on in, she'll behave like Pollyanna: attempting to always see the upside, no matter how dire the situation. Can adopting a positive attitude give Emma the courage to build a new life, or is finding the good in everything a very bad idea?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and devoured this book in one sitting. Talli Roland manages to bring us a light and entertaining read but she also brings us a more delicate storyline involving Will. Having this more serious side showed a different side to the authors writing skills and has only made me love her work even more.

Both Emma and Will are both well-developed characters who are both in need of a little bit of positive mental attitude and as the book moves along you are hopeful that they will help each other pull themselves together and start living and enjoying life again.

It is unusual for me to prefer the male lead over the female because I usually find that authors tend to write same sex characters better, I assume because they can relate to them more but with this book Will was definitely my favourite character.

The Pollyanna Plan is by far my favourite book by this author. I will continue to look forward to her future releases.

I would also like to take this time to say a big congratulations to Talli on the birth of her baby xXx


Friday, 28 December 2012

Once Upon a Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Sarah Morgan is an author I have only come across recently. After reading and enjoying Summer Kisses, when I heard she had also written a Christmas book I had to give it a go!

The structure of the book is the same as Summer Kisses where there are two stories in one book. Both are different storylines and feature different main characters, although previous supporting characters in the first story do re-appear in the second story.

Part one has to be my favourite. It has a festive feel to it unlike part 2 and the two main characters Bryony and Jack are both realistic and loveable characters. Bryony’s daughter has asked Father Christmas for a Daddy for Christmas and she is convinced that he will fulfil her Christmas wish as she has been extra specially good! But how does Bryony feel about letting another man into her life?

Although it is only a short story (which I am not usually a fan of) I was still engrossed in the storyline. Some of the storyline was rather predictable but it was a romantic, easy read and yet it wasn’t gushy which is what I typically expect from a Mills and Boon book.

What I preferred about Once Upon a Christmas compared to Summer Kisses is each story was wrapped up perfectly rather than coming to an abrupt and unexpected ending.

Part 2 of Once Upon a Christmas loses the festive feel but steps up the romance pace. Helen is nursing a broken heart but she is bot coping well as Oliver can see from the first time he lays eyes on her. Oliver is a handsome gentleman who goes out of his way to help Helen.

I did enjoy part 2 but not as much as part 1. You could see the ending mapped out from the first chapter. I wold love to see this author create a little suspense in her novels it is the only thing I feel she is missing from her writing.

The author’s stories remind me of Cathy Woodman’s books they give you enjoyable cosy village reads that are perfect for Winter reading. At the time of this review this book is currently only 99p on kindle so click the link below to grab it at this great price.

Paperback                 Kindle

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Kindle Treats

Well the big day has come and gone and I am sure many of you may have got a kindle for Christmas. I have had three friends round to help set their new Kindles up and all three asked the same books so what books can we download at fab prices so I thought it was time to do another Kindle treat for you all. Some of these books I have read and loved a whilst they are at this price they are a steal! Some of them I have yet to read but have downloaded the books today to my to be read pile so take a look and see if there is something for you.


        99p                                £1.49                     99p                          99p

      99p                                  99p                       99p                        £1.99

     £1.99                            £1.49                       £1.99                     99p

      20p                              99p                               20p                            99p

   99p                              99p                           99p                             20p

I hope you find something here, I have downloaded The Greatest Love Story of All Time to start next.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Escape by Barbara Delinsky

I have had Escape by Barbara Delinsky on my to be read pile for a little while now. I have on a couple of occasions picked it up and read a few pages but I don’t think I was reading it at the right time so having picked it up this week I have whizzed through it in no time I am so glad I waited until now to read it.

Emily is a very down to earth understandable character. She has reached a point in her life where she feels her life needs to change direction, every avenue in her life be it her career or her relationship which seems to be taking a back seat, all seem to be dragging her down and she feels that she needs to get away from everything and so she walks away from her life to give her space to think about what she really wants to do with her life. Will she make the right choices and will her husband James still stand by her side after her unexpected disappearance?

I am sure we have all at some point in our life felt like taking a break from our current day to day life I have felt like this recently and I think this is why I fell into the storyline so quickly this time around because I could relate to the main character although I don’t think I would have the guts to just walk away from everything.

The author does create a little mystery in the book by only giving small details away at a time regarding Emily’s past and this keeps your interest in the book as well as wanting to know what Emily decides to do with her life.

There are a great cast of supporting characters a few of who have their own story that they bring to the book. There were many references to Coyotes in this book and although it seemed as though it brought a calming feel to Emily I didn't quite get what this had to do with the storyline but hey I am picking at loose ends here.

I would recommend this book especially at this time of year when we start to think of new years resolutions to make changes in our life this book will get the clogs going!

Paperback               Kindle

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Best Christmas Book 2012

This has got to be my best year yet for Christmas books!
So often when it comes to November and the festive covers hit the shelves it is hard to control my excitement and then inside is usually a lovely story but with no mention of Christmas.

This Year festivity has been flowing through all these wonderful books but now I have a problem...... How to pick the winning book !

It was so hard this year so much so this post was meant to be up 2 weeks ago but I couldn't decide between my final two.

I enjoyed all of the Christmas books this year but there were two that really stood out to me and they are 

With Love at Christmas by Carole Matthews
 A Winter Flame by Molly Johnson 

Both of these books are fantastically festive. Carole' s had a very warm cosycosy traditional Christmas feel to it and it was great to meet with the family again. Milly's had a very magical and exciting feel to it which brought the child out in me ! 

I have finally decided that the winning Christmas Book 2012 is ....

With Love at Christmas by Carole Matthews

Congratulations to Carole and if you haven't got your copy yet go and treat yourself or be sure to add it to your lilist to Santa ! I did say that I would be giving away a copy of the winning book but as it is Christmas I am going to be giving away a Christmas Book bundle to help get you in the festive mood! 

Because of the weight of the package this will be a UK giveaway only this time.

To be in with a chance of winning this book bundle enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to all the authors and Publishers who sent me a copy of their books to review.

All That Mullarkey by Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft is an author I have heard such great things about. Having been keeping an eye on some of her book reviews recently I decided to take the plunge and purchased All That Mullarkey for my new Kindle Fire I couldn't wait to try a book by this author to see if she was going to become one of my must have authors!

Revenge and love: it’s a thin line … The writing’s on the wall for Cleo and Gav. The bedroom wall, to be precise. And it says ‘This marriage is over.’

Wounded and furious, Cleo embarks on a night out with the girls, which turns into a glorious one night stand with… Justin, centrefold material and irrepressibly irresponsible. He loves a little wildness in a woman – and he’s in the right place at the right time to enjoy Cleo’s. But it’s Cleo who has to pick up the pieces – of a marriage based on a lie and the lasting repercussions of that night. Torn between laid-back Justin and control freak Gav, she’s a free spirit that life is trying to tie down. But the rewards are worth it!

Wow what a tense and unexpected start to a book! I took an instant dislike over the controlling Gav from the moment his marker pen touched that wall! I was urging Cleo to go and enjoy herself thinking she would sit there and wallow over this nasty message she had been left, but surprising she did go out and ummm, enjoyed herself a little more than I was thinking!

I loved Cleo's character although I couldn't relate to her (thankfully!) she does do things that I wouldn't do and things I couldn't understand like not running for the morning after pill HELLO!! That aside I still had to keep turning the pages to see what hole this woman was going to dig herself into next.

I loved Justin he was our hunk of the story I thought on first meeting he was going to be a Jack the Lad but he was my favourite character in the end. I did find the horrible story surrounding him a little predictable although there was a mysterious who did it scenario I did feel it was quite obvious but that could just be my Cluedo skills coming out!

I loved the authors writing style and the way she set the book in to two parts the first part had that tense Oh My God what is going to happen next feel to it where as the second part felt a little cosier as we see Cleo's life changing direction and her love for her child blossom.

I will be browsing through Sue Moorcrofts other books after reading this book it had me hooked.

Kindle                      Paperback

Monday, 10 December 2012

Christmas Gift ideas

I have been doing a little pretend shopping for you all. I have found a few gifts that are great for every book lover this Christmas. If your partner is one of these who thinks it is a good idea to get you something for the kitchen or a tool box then send him this way to get a couple of hints!

These would make great stocking fillers!

Keyrings                   Story Cubes          Kindle/book light     Morph Book Mark

Keeping your books tidy with these...

Book Ends...

These are unlikely to be on the High Street!

Book Cuff links      Personalise book mark  Bath Book Caddy

Christmas 2012 Must have books

If you really love someone and want to spoil them then one of these may put a smile on their faces!

Kindle 6"                Kindle Paperwhite   Kindle Fire HD

I hope these have given you a little idea of what to buy the bookworm in your life!
Keep your eyes peeled for a Christmas give away this week!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Green Ticket by Samantha March

I was both excited and nervous to read The Green Ticket by Samantha March , when I don’t have my nose in a book I am running my beauty salon and so my two main passions in life were coming together I was hoping that I was going to love this book.

College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty – manager to a successful salon and spa. Thrilled to finally have a real adult job, Alex enthusiastically jumps into the world of schedules, conference calls, and getting a massage when interviewing prospective employees. What she doesn’t expect are the very grown-up issues that comes with a demanding boss. Kevin Dohlman quickly becomes Alex’s worse nightmare – covering up his affairs, dealing with his enormous ego, and trying to protect her female staff from him becomes a full-time job in its own right. Alex has also befriended Kevin’s wife and co-owner, Dani, and is trying to keep Kevin’s secrets hidden from her. The situation only worsens when Kevin starts paying Alex off to make sure she keeps her insider knowledge to herself.

While struggling to keep her wits and stay happy with her new grown-up job, Alex is juggling college courses, a new love interest, and keeping up with her close group of girlfriends. When her roommate and best friend Lila gets offered an opportunity to move to Los Angeles and sign with an agent, Alex realizes her life truly is changing, and everyone around her – including herself –– is growing up.  Knowing she is faced with some hard decisions ahead, Alex struggles with keeping her job at Blissful. But does she really want to throw away what she dreamed of as a career – or will the secret-keeping for Kevin become too much to handle?

Alex is a genuinely warm character who takes on a huge responsibility for a twenty year old by running a spa salon.  Throughout the book she has some difficult situations to deal with and I think she seemed very mature the way she dealt with the situations I had to keep reminding myself she was only twenty!

The salon relationships between the colleagues felt very realistic and it felt as though the author had spent some time behind the scenes at a spa to see the way things work, this comes across well in the book. The description of the spa and treatments were very interesting and informative and really set the perfect scene. There are some wonderful friendships in this book and when the girls get together it brought a fun feel to the book. I did find parts of the book a little predictable but I loved reading Alex’s journey in her new career. I had warning alarms going of in my head from our first meeting with Kevin I was just waiting for things to kick off.

I was expecting there to be some stereotypical references in this book as there always are when it comes to our trade but the author showed the professional side of Beauty rather than the fake looking therapist painting pink polish. So in the end the book was a joy to read and I found myself relaxing into the storyline.

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend this book I look forward to reading more books by this author.  

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Secret Supper Club by Dana Bate

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Secret Supper Club by Dana Bate other than I was sure it was going to make my taste buds dance and my tummy rumble!

Starter If twenty-six-year-old Hannah Sugarman had her way, she'd be whipping up carrot cakes and running her culinary empire. Instead, she spends her hours cooking up papers on the financial crisis. It doesn't help that no one in her life takes her passion seriously - not even her boyfriend. 

Main When her relationship implodes, Hannah decides to jump-start her life by hosting a secret supper club out of her landlord's flat. Her underground operation presents some problems. Running an unlicensed restaurant out of someone's home is not, technically speaking, legal.

Dessert As the success of Hannah's supper club grows, so do the number of secrets she is forced to keep. Can Hannah keep her pop-up restaurant underground? When mysterious guests turn up for dinner, can she handle the heat? Or will she have to step out of the kitchen? A charming romantic comedy, The Secret Supper Club is a story about finding yourself, fulfilling your dreams, and falling in love along the way.

I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this book. The author creates a fun and loving character in Hannah, she did remind me a little of myself in the way that even though she is getting older and she has moved out from home she still feels she needs to please her parents and rise to their expectations but I think this just showed her lack of confidence as if she truly believed in the career path she wanted to take then she would have stood up to them but it is all parts like this which made her character feel more full bodied.

There are plenty of food lists, discussions and shopping trips in this book which means you have food constantly on the brain and if that isn’t enough for the food lovers out there then wait until you discover the recipes that are in the book too!

I found the book a little predictable but this didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the book. I loved Blake’s character he felt like a trustworthy gentleman where as Jacob came with a loud warning alert signal for me and so I had my guard up about him from the word go. My only little negative point to this book is although the ending was tied up nicely with no lose strings I did feel the last few chapters of the book felt a little rushed but overall this was an enjoyable tantalising read and I will be looking out for more books from this author in the future.

This book isn't officially out until the 6th December but I have seen it hiding in WHSmiths so keep your eyes peeled!!

Paperback               Kindle

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd

I have had Thursdays in the Park sitting on my kindle for a little while now and when It started getting called “granny-lit” I had to move this to the front of my To Be Read list to see what on earth this book could be about to be called a granny-lit I was just hoping that at 27 years of age I would be OK reading this!

What do you do if you've been married to a man for half your life and out of nowhere he leaves your bed – permanently? When this happens to Jeanie, she's furious and hurt, and determined to confront George, her husband of thirty years. Is he in love with someone else? What did she do wrong? He won't tell her. 

The brightest day of her week is Thursday, the day Jeanie takes her granddaughter to the park. There, one day, she meets Ray and his grandson. Ray is kind, easy to talk to, and gorgeous – everything George isn't. She starts to live for Thursdays. But does she have the courage, in the teeth of opposition from all sides, to turn her life upside down for another shot at love?

I think the whole term “granny-lit” is going to be met with the same angry faces as “chick-lit” but please don’t let this term put you off because I actually really enjoyed this book. It made a change to have a main character who is approaching 60 as our typical heroines tend to be 25-35 years of age so this made for a nice change reading about the older generation. Jeanie is a very realistic character who leads a very normal life and she is in a marriage that has had its ups and downs and unfortunately like a lot of marriages Jeanie can feel her marriage slipping away. I love how realistic the whole of this book felt nothing seemed far-fetched it almost felt as though Jeanie was a friend sitting there telling you her story.

The majority of the book did flow well but towards the end it did feel as though it was being drawn out a bit and going around in circles but it wasn’t long before the storyline got on track again and then tied us up with a perfect ending. I also found the baby talk from Ellie was a little grating but I often find this when authors try to write a young character into a story.

The book covers a wide range of issues such as abuse, secrecy and affairs but one thing that it is not heavy on ( just in case you believe all you read in the media) is sex. Yes there are a couple of sex scenes but they are not graphic or distasteful, they are fitting in with the storyline and do not make you feel uncomfortable.

This is definitely worth reading especially at the current Kindle price of only 20p !

Kindle                      Paperback