Wednesday, 31 October 2012

How do you Voodoo by Janice Horton

When I was sent How Do you Voodoo to review I was very nervous about reading this and had it not been written by Janice I probably would have overlooked it but I have really enjoyed the authors previous books so I decided to give it a try.

Loveless fashion model Nola Nichols thinks being beautiful is a curse; that is until she is cursed and her looks begin to fade just a week before the most important photo shoot of her career.Nola rejects all rational explanation on what might be causing her lost looks and decides she has to find a way to get uncursed. 

This imaginative quest takes her from the Caribbean to Glasgow’s own City of the Dead. Along the way, she finds herself taking part in a rather unconventional funeral, involved in a voodoo ritual, reveals one or two unrests in her own past and falls madly in love with a doctor. Erm, that would be a witch doctor, right…?

I do not usually read books about curses and dark magic but I trusted Janice and it seemed appropriate to read at this time of year with all these mini witches and pumpkins knocking on my door expecting me to share my sweets!

At just a mere 20,000 Words this was a perfect little read for me which came along at the right time as I had just finished a long in-depth emotional read and could do with something short and light hearted and that is exactly what I got with How Do you Voodoo. Our main character Nola is a very self-centred character so not one that we warm to but she plays the perfect roll.

For a short story it didn’t feel rushed and yet we are thrown straight into the storyline without having to wait for a big build up to the storyline.There is a romance storyline weaved into this book which was a big plus for me who is ever the romantic, and you never quite know if the two characters who are from completely different backgrounds would finally get it together.

If you are looking for something light hearted that can make you laugh and is fitting with tonight spooky feel then this is worth clicking for your kindle especially at the great price.


Monday, 29 October 2012

Meet me Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements

I seem to be hooked on the up and coming Christmas reads, is that bad when it is only October? Meet me Under the Mistletoe is Abby Clements debut book and the cover is beautiful with it’s shimmering sparkle that instantly catches your eye I was hoping the storyline would win me over as much as the cover had!

Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel's lives have taken very different paths since they picked up their A-level results together. Laurie is living in London and dedicated to her career, keeping track of her friends on Facebook.

Rachel is seemingly living the family idyll in a cottage in Yorkshire - except she worries her marriage is starting to show cracks. When Rachel's mother in law falls ill and needs treatment in London, and Laurie decides she needs to get away for a break, a house swap falls into place. Soon Rachel is braving the mean streets of London while trying to keep her family together, while Laurie tries to figure out how to work an Aga and befriend the locals - and forget the man who seems intent on breaking her heart.

Will their relationships survive this test? And will they make it home in time for Christmas?

Each chapter in this book alternates between our two main characters Laurie and Rachel which allows us to get to know each of the characters in turn. I loved both of the characters but I found I could relate more to Laurie’s character, being  a business woman myself it is hard to get the work and personal life balance right, which is what Laurie is finding impossible but then having said that I was a little worried when I first met her character as she seemed to be blinded to this fact and so came across as a very cold and hard character but as the book progresses her character mellows and becomes more loveable. Rachel is a very warm and nurturing character from the start of this book and she is a joy to read, I just seem to be missing the maternal bone in my body which is why I preferred Laurie!

I was surprised that there wasn't more interaction between the two friends although both of their storylines are cleverly weaved together so it doesn't fell like two completely different stories. The storyline was enjoyable and easy to follow and I loved the shocking realisation towards the end of the book which I didn’t see coming.

There was a nice little touch of festivity to this book so makes it a perfect read for this time of year but because it is not overloaded with festivity it will be suitable to read all year around.

This was a great d├ębut by Abby Clements, I will be looking forward to more books by this author in the future.

Book Cover

Festive Feel

Book review over all

Kindle                   Paperback

Friday, 26 October 2012

Married by Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

Scarlett Bailey is back again this Christmas with her second release and after she swiped first place last year with The Night Before Christmas I was really looking forward to this book.

The countdown to her winter wedding has begun... 
Anna Carter wants the perfect Christmas Eve wedding. It's been on her 'to-do' list since she was a little girl stuck living in a children's home and dreaming of a far happier family life than she'd ever experienced. Now she's found the perfect Georgian country manor as a venue, to which she will be taken in a reindeer-drawn sleigh. She's got a show-stopping designer ivory-beaded wedding dress. And she's even found her groom. Three years ahead of schedule, funny, sexy, handsome journalist, Tom, had swept her off her feet. 

Only, now, two weeks before the wedding, Tom drops a bombshell that threatens to ruin everything.But nothing is going to stop Anna's plans - not even the pesky inconvenience of discovering her perfect husband-to-be already has a wife...

What I love most about Scarlett Bailey is she manages to create such loveable and full bodied characters who stay with you even when you finish reading the book. Anna is a loveable character who you warm to from the start of the book after reading about her upbringing and although she feels like a delicate character at the beginning of the book as the story progresses and she goes on her journey we begin to see another side of her, a fun side where she begins to let her hair down and begins to find her true self. I also loved Liv, your heart goes out to her when you discover her well kept secret, it is a shame that we don’t get to see more of her character especially alongside her best friend Anna just to see the friends interacting and having fun together.

The storyline is very easy to fall into and is very exciting, never quite knowing if Anna’s dream wedding will take place. I love the setting Scarlett creates in New York it is some where I have never been but she writes with such excitement and energy the place feels so alive I am now eager to visit although not looking for a missing ex wife I hope!

The only thing this book was lacking for me is the festivity, I was hoping for a more Christmassy feel to it but I am a bit over enthusiastic when it comes to Christmas, and I think we were spoilt with last years The Night Before Christmas which was overflowing with festivity.

Another great read by Scarlett Bailey which would make a great little stocking filler!

Book Cover

Festive Feel

Book Review over all

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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan

 My favourite book of 2011 was easily Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan. The storyline left you all warm and fuzzy inside and the characters seemed to play on your mind for weeks after finishing the book so imagine my delight when sorting out our Christmas book when I am told Jenny Colgan is releasing a Christmas book and not just any Christmas book but back with our characters who we know and love!

Issy Randall, proud owner of The Cupcake Cafe, is in love and couldn't be happier. Her new business is thriving and she is surrounded by close friends, even if her cupcake colleagues Pearl and Caroline don't seem quite as upbeat about the upcoming season of snow and merriment. But when her boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to face up to the prospect of a long-distance romance. And when the Christmas rush at the cafe - with its increased demand for her delectable creations - begins to take its toll, Issy has to decide what she holds most dear. This December, Issy will have to rely on all her reserves of courage, good nature and cinnamon, to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, one way or another . . .

This is the first sequel Jenny Colgan has released and what a hit this is going to be. Meeting back with all of our favourite characters it doesn't take long to fall into step with their lives a year on. Even if you didn't get to read the authors previous book you will still be able to read this as a standalone book as at the beginning of the book the author gives us a brief summary of the first book so don’t hesitate and pick this one up ( and the first one whilst you are at it ;-)

This book is oozing with festivity with decorations, present buying and wrapping and that lovely Christmas dinner for all to enjoy this will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit. The storyline focuses more on the characters lives and relationships now rather than the cafe but don’t threat we are still treated to many mouth watering recipes throughout the book! I loved that the book was a mystery right the way through never quite knowing how things will pan out.

I was hoping for a different ending for Pearl but that is just me being a hopeless romantic. I do wonder if this is the last we will see of these characters I personally feel as though there are still a few things not tied up so I am hoping that we may have a book 3 looming!

The cover of this book is beautiful and festive with its wintery blue colour theme which seems to be very popular this year and has an added touch of Christmas objects around the border but yet the book still has the signature Jenny Colgan look to it.

Looking for something warm and cosy to wrap up and read this Christmas then Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe is the book for you.

 Book Cover

Festive Feel

Review overall 

Hardback                  Kindle

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Ghost of You and Me by Joanna Lambert

I loved the first two books in the Behind Blue Eyes trilogy and although I read these books a long time ago I still remember each of the fantastic characters and I couldn’t wait to be back in Abbotsbridge with them to see what lies in store for Ella.

1972 With baby Lucy's arrival, Ella believes her troubled marriage to Andy Macayne may now stand a chance. However, when he learns that Nina Taylor - his ex-girlfriend and the original cause of their problems - is about to marry one of the richest men in Abbotsbridge, his continuing obsession with her sets in motion a chain of events which will go much farther than merely disrupting her wedding.

1973 June: Matt Benedict, now living and working in New York, arrives to open Zeffirellis his father's latest club and tour the UK with his new star Marcie Maguire. On the opening night Matt and Ella meet unexpectedly - a raw and painful encounter which reopens old wounds. However, later that evening Ella accidentally runs into an old friend from the past and finally learns the truth about the summer of '71. Anxious to see Matt and clear up a whole lot of misunderstanding, Ella's efforts to contact him are successfully frustrated by Marcie - a woman jealously guarding a man she wants for herself. As Marcie and Matt leave for Scotland to start the UK tour, Ella puts thoughts of him on hold as she confronts the power of the Macaynes and a battle she cannot afford to lose.

September: With the tour finally over, Matt returns home to unexpected news and despite an ultimatum from Marcie that they return to New York immediately, knows he has to stay and find Ella. 

For Mel everything has gone wrong; her plans are in ruins and she has been abandoned by those she thought she could depend on. Mad with rage and blaming her daughter for all her problems, she is about to take horrific revenge- unless Matt can reach Ella first.

There is never a dull moment in Joanna Lambert's books and this book is no exception. We are propelled straight into the storyline from the first chapter but there is something about this book that I love which I don’t often come across and that is that I am eager to turn the page to see what is going to happen next but then there is another part of me that didn't want to rush through it as you really don’t want it to come to an end.

There are so many characters in this book more than I would usually be comfortable with but over time after reading the previous two books each of the characters become easily distinguishable, some I love, some I loathe. There is no way of predicting what is going to happen next and this is what holds my interest all the way through this book.

What I like about Joanna’s writing is that when she has done all she can with a character the character then leaves the story rather than droning on and trying to slot them in somewhere making the reader tired on the character. I can’t compare the Behind Blue Eyes Trilogy to any other books I have read, they are like comfort food, not easy reads, you need your full attention because there is a lot going on in each chapter, the feel I have when reading this book reminds me of my younger days sitting on a cosy Sunday afternoon watching Heartbeat !

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for something a little different to the usual chart books. This book will have you hooked from the first page but you cannot read this as a standalone book, so treat yourself to the first two books in the series. This book is a great price on Kindle at the moment so be quick.

Paperback         Kindle

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Sunday, 21 October 2012

With Love At Christmas by Carole Matthews

I loved Wrapped up in You by Carole Matthews last Christmas so I had extremely high hopes for With Love at Christmas this year ( No pressure Carole)!

Juliet Joyce adores Christmas. She loves the presents, the tree, the turkey, the tinsel, everything. Already the festive spirit is upon her, which is just as well as this Christmas things are starting to get out of hand.

Her son Tom is out of work and bringing home a slew of unsuitable partners; pregnant daughter Chloe and her little boy have moved back in; Juliet's father, Frank, is getting over a heartbreak of his own and Rita, her eccentric mother, is behaving more erratically each day. And has the chaos got too much for Juliet's husband Rick? 

With the big day fast approaching, Juliet hopes that she can stop everything spiralling out of control, because the only thing she wants is her family all around her and her home to be filled WITH LOVE AT CHRISTMAS.

We are reintroduced to the characters we know and love from a previous book of Carole Matthews, That Loving Feeling which only made this book have even more of a warm cosy feel to it because of the familiarity to the characters. What I love about this group of characters and their story lines are that they are so down to earth that it often feels as though you are reading about the story of the people next door because it all feels so realistic.

I love all of the characters but I have to say on more than one occasion I wanted to throttle them mainly Chloe who quite clearly is used to having everything handed to her on a plate and finds it all too easy to expect her mum to babysit at a drop of a hat because her little boy is obviously a pain when it comes to her social life but then I equally want to throttle Juliet just as much for giving in to her daughter so easy which does Chloe no favours but having said that I still love both of the characters!

This is a perfect Christmas read and it gives you a real festive feeling. The family are building up to the big day and we get to be with them on a traditional Christmas day opening presents and sitting down to a Christmas dinner. There are many little story lines going on through this book involving each of the many characters and yet Carole manages to tie them all up and bring them together so they all come together to make a perfect read.

I think this book brings out every emotion from excitement to family troubles, heartache to romance. Oh and how can I forget the humour! There was more than one occasion where I found myself laughing out loud my favourite involving Juliet and the Kitchen table! Once again I find myself taking my hat off to Carole Matthews she really is the Queen of chick lit and doesn’t ever seem to falter so thank you yet again for a fantastic read.

Looking for a traditional and festive story with all the trimmings then With Love at Christmas is the book for you.

Book Cover

Festive Feel

Overall Book Review Rating

Paperback              Kindle

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Do me no Harm by Julie Corbin

Do Me No Harm is the first book I have read by Julie Corbin so I wasn't sure what to expect.


When her teenage son Robbie's drink is spiked, Olivia Somers is devastated. She has spent her adult life trying to protect people and keep them safe - not only as a mother, but also in her chosen profession as a doctor. So she tries to put it down to a horrible accident, in spite of the evidence suggesting malicious intent, and simply hopes no-one tries to endanger those she loves again.

But someone from the past is after revenge. 
Someone closer to her family than she could possibly realise. 
Someone who will stop at nothing until they get the vengeance they crave.
And, as she and her family come under increasing threat, the oath that Olivia took when she first became a doctor - to do no harm to others - will be tested to its very limits.

I sat and devoured this book in one sitting it was so thrilling and gripping that it just didn't feel safe to put down!

Each of the characters had a great depth to them which is great considering the amount of characters that were involved in this storyline. Olivia is a great character in this book she brought all kinds of emotions from vulnerability to tough and focused woman when trying to discover the truth and we see the lengths she would go to to protect her children and I genuinely felt for Olivia when we found out the secret she was hiding from her past.

I don’t often read mystery/thrillers as I find with so many twists and turns, I often lost track with what’s going on and who are on the good side and who are on the bad side but with this book it wasn't the case, there were twists and turns but everything flowed smoothly so you don’t lose track and it becomes quite clear who is on the dark side!

Some parts were a little predictable but there was such a big storyline that it really didn't affect the likeability of this book. I loved the romance that is slowly blossoming under the dark storyline it helps to lighten this tense read.

A compelling and gripping read that needs to come with muscle relaxants!

Paperback              Kindle

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Twelve Days to Christmas by Michelle Gorman

Having recently finished Misfortune Cookie which I enjoyed I was so excited when I was asked to read the next book in the series The Twelve Days to Christmas. I am a huge fan of Christmas so I was looking forward to meeting our characters again but with a festive feel.

"What if his proposal had an expiration date?"

Hannah’s in a bit of a pickle. In twelve days she flies from Hong Kong to the US with Sam, where he’s finally going to meet her parents… and ask to marry her. Since overcoming a rather rocky patch in their relationship (which was totally his fault), he really is a new man, and they’re completely in love. The problem is, she feels panicky every time she contemplates matrimony. Which is perfectly normal, isn't it? She has no idea but she’s got to find out before he pops the question... because she’s not 100% sure she’s going to say yes which will make for a very uncomfortable family holiday.
He’s got to ask her before they go.
So Operation Proposal begins.
As time ticks down to their flight, Hannah realizes that her own secrets are threatening their future. Before she can be happy with Sam, she’s got a lot to learn about herself in the twelve days to Christmas.

I flew through this book which is easily done at a mere 83 Kindle pages. I found it easy to fall into step with the characters as I feel as though they are friends having got to know them so well in the previous book. I was hoping for a more festive feel to the book but I always hope for all the trimmings when any books either have Christmas in the title or a festive scene on the front page so that is just me getting over enthusiastic!

It was great to follow up on Hannah’s story to see what happens next and I feel it was a great way to read this in a short story. Once again we see Hannah’s roller-coaster romance taking familiar steps and leaves the reader wondering will they, won’t they?

I couldn't predict how this book was going to end so I was quite surprised by the ending. I do feel like you need to have read the previous book to understand and enjoy this book although the author does refer to past events to jolt your memory a little but having the familiarity to the characters helps to fall into the storyline and with it only being a short book you don't have time to get to know the characters. This is well worth buying on kindle if you have read Misfortune Cookie just to be able to catch up with the characters one last time.

Kindle                     Paperback

Thursday, 11 October 2012

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

I have always found Cecelia Ahern books get a very wide range of reviews personally I have loved them all so far because I think each of her books bring you something completely different you are never quite sure what to expect, so I was looking forward to One Hundred Names and yet again I could not have predicted anything that would happen in this book!

Journalist Kitty Logan’s career has been destroyed by scandal, and she now faces losing the woman who guided her and taught her everything she knew. At her mentor’s bedside, Kitty asks her – what is the one story she always wanted to write? The answer lies in a file buried in Constance’s office: a list of one hundred names.

There is no synopsis, no explanation, nothing else to explain what the story is or who these people are. The list is simply a mystery. But before Kitty can talk to her friend, it is too late. With everything to prove, Kitty is assigned the most important task of her life – to write the story her mentor never had the opportunity to. Kitty has to not only track down and meet the people on the list, but find out what connects them. And, in the process of hearing ordinary people’s stories, she uncovers Constance’s – and starts to understand her own… 

I don’t think I have read a book that I have so many thoughts about the book all of which chop and change throughout the book making this a book I am confused by!

When I first started reading this book the storyline started to interest me and sounded exactly like my kind of thing my problem was I found it rather difficult to warm to the main character Kitty. Kitty has made a terrible mistake that has practically ruined a man’s life and I know we all make mistakes and sometimes we learn to forgive and forget I couldn't see this happening with Kitty as to me she seemed very self-centred worrying about how she is going to live with what her actions have cause for herself rather than for this poor guy, having to come home to various messages and “gifts” been thrown or written on her door. So I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to read on because of her character but as the book progressed her character turned full circle and I actually really warmed to her and saw a more vulnerable side to her and I began to warm to her. It was at this point where everything felt as though it was coming together.

The book also covers the story of a select few names off of the list of One Hundred Names and it was great to meet a group of different and yet down to earth characters. The only reason I am knocking one star off for this book is that I constantly felt as though the storyline was building up to something but in fact it became a little slow and my attention did start to waver in the middle part of this book but luckily it did pick back up again towards the end.

I love the cover of this book it looks very delicate and a little festive which is ideal for this time of year and I think it is one of Cecelia's best covers.

This is well worth picking up although not one of my favourite books by this author it is still one I am glad I read as it does deliver many messages that everyone has a story to tell, and that we all make mistakes but we still have a life to lead just try and turn a negative into a positive.

Hardback                 Kindle

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

I was sent On The Island by a fellow bookworm ( Thank you Amanda!) have to say it is not one that would catch my attention in the book store but my ignorance would have made me miss out on a great read so I am over the moon that this was sent to me.

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a summer job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's holiday home in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation: a tropical island beats the library any day. 

T.J. has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having had cancer wasn't bad enough, he now has to spend his first summer in remission with his family instead of his friends. 

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Marooned on an uninhabited island, Anna and T.J. work together to obtain water, food, fire and shelter but, as the days turn to weeks then months and finally years, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man...

This book was amazing. It is not often that I come across a book that you just cannot find a safe place to stop but this is exactly what I found when I picked up On the Island needless to say I read into the night until I had finished all in one sitting. I was on edge the whole way through this book the suspense that is created is really what makes this book a real page turner I loved not knowing from one page to the next what was to lay ahead wondering will they both live?
Will they both get off the Island?
Will there be a romance blossoming?

Although the premise of the book may not be original I can easily say I have not read another book quite like this. The descriptive writing easily wraps you into the storyline and each of the characters are a joy to read and both bring their own little something to the storyline. I did wonder quite how long my attention would keep with the storyline as part of me couldn't help thinking how much can really happen with just two characters on a deserted Island but I didn't find any dull moments or any repetition.

The book does cover a very delicate subject with the main characters, as Anna is 30 years old and is a teacher and T.J who is her student and only in his teens begins to develop feelings towards Anna which could pose a problem if the feelings are reversed in the real world. Because the chapters alternate between each of the characters we really get to know the characters deeply by hearing their thoughts and feelings so you get to see both sides of the story.

This has to be one of my top 5 books of the year so far it has that impact on you afterwards where it just leaves you flat as no matter what book you pick up you are still thinking of the characters from this book. I cannot recommend this book highly enough it is a must for all of your to be read piles.
Paperback               Kindle

Monday, 8 October 2012

Voices of Angels by Hannah M. Davis

I have just finished Voices of Angels by Hannah .M. Davis which is a young adult book with a slight magical feel to it, not my usual genre choice but I love to have a change every now and again.

When Lizzie Fisher sees a black mark above her teachers head, she has no idea how much it will change her life. Seven days later the teacher is dead and Lizzie must come to terms with a frightening new ability: she sees when people are about to die.

Sent to Andalucia to live with a grandmother she has never met, Lizzie falls in love with gifted musician, Rafa. All seems well until one day the black mark appears above her grandmother's head. Horrified, Lizzie finds herself in a race against time to find out what the gift really means. 

Will Rafa help her? And can she save her grandmother's life before it's too late?

This was a quick read at only 257 pages which meant that something was happening on every page this made for a gripping read. At times there was a dark feel to the book as would be expected with a storyline surrounding death and mysterious dark marks but we also see a brighter side to the authors writing when she is setting the scene in Spain I felt it brought a lighter tone to the book and the authors descriptive writing shone through at these points.

Although the storyline is pure fiction the characters and some of their actions are very realistic. The way the class react to Lizzie’s “gift” is a typical reaction from teenagers when someone is a little different. I felt as though the author was trying to get a message across to the reader to find your true self and love and believe in yourself otherwise you can’t expect others to love and believe in you. I think this is a great message to give to the younger readers.

I was expecting this book to be a chilling read but I thought it was a more inspiring read and definitely one I would recommend to the younger generation to pick up. One of my clients brought their daughter along to an appointment the other day she is 14 and I recommended it to her, she downloaded it on her kindle (I read the paperback) she finished it in 2 hours was the text I received from her mum so I think that speaks for itself!

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