Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon

'Don't wait for the storm to pass; learn to dance in the rain…' Laura has been married to the man of her dreams for seven months. But a week before the wedding, Matthew made a terrible mistake. Escaping the humiliation that is now her marriage, Laura is whisked off to Florida's Key West by her best friend Marty. A carefree holiday full of cocktails and fun, surrounded by gorgeous, tanned men, is exactly what the doctor ordered. Distraction comes in the form of sexy Cuban scuba diver Leo. Laura's instant attraction to him knocks her flying, and she falls hard. As the end of the holiday approaches, Laura doesn't want to go home. Is it time to face the music? Or is there more to Key West than a holiday romance?

I have always been a huge fan of Paige Toon, she is definitely one of my top ten authors and having read all of her books I can honestly say not a single one of them disappoint. When I was out shopping on Tuesday I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a copy of The Longest Holiday sitting staring at me days before publication so I quickly snapped up my copy feeling like a criminal! ( I did pay!)

The synopsis sounded intriguing and exciting so I couldn’t wait to start reading. Laura is our protagonist and what a fabulous character she is. She is easy to warm to and she seemed so lifelike she is my favourite female character from Paige Toons books.  After a revelation about Laura’s husband Matthew comes to light she needs to get away to clear her head and have time to think about whether or not she can forgive her husband and save her marriage. Laura jets away to Florida’s Key West with her friend Marty and her friend Bridget.

It’s not long before her thoughts are distracted by the gorgeously hot Leo. But are her feelings for Leo just confusing matters more, I mean the holiday has to come to an end at some point surely?

The storyline was so captivating and fresh, I was hooked from the first chapter and so it soon became clear that this was going to be a book that you can’t put down.  I loved how unpredictable the book was there was no way of predicting what was going to happen next. The author also puts a pretty shocking twist towards the end which I never saw coming. The whole of the book was fantastically written the descriptive writing made you feel as though you were there holidaying with Laura and towards the end of the book the writing is very beautifully written and touching.
Leo is a perfect male role, when we first meet him he feels a little mysterious but as we get to know more about his character and his background you can’t help but get a little hot under the collar when he is around!

This is an amazing read and I would even go as far as to say I think it is my favourite Paige Toon book. I was a little shocked by the ending I was still engrossed in the storyline and then suddenly it was the Epilogue! But we are not left on a cliff hanger the author ties things up nicely, although I would be more than happy if Paige Toon decides to bring these characters back in a sequel. The only problem now is I feel rather deflated now I have finished I think the characters and storyline will be in my mind for a while yet! Easily one of the best books I have read in a long time, a perfect holiday read, this is why this gets my very rare Gem rating. My first Gem rating this year.

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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Country Loving by Cathy Woodman

From city accountant to lady farmer. Successful accountant Stevie receives two surprises in one week: a proposal of marriage from her boyfriend Nick and a phone call begging her to return to the family farm in Talyton St George to help out after her father has a stroke. But what she thought would be a long weekend in the country turns into much longer as she struggles to bring order to her father's rundown farm.

Finally, she decides to give up her job - and her fiance - and take on the farm permanently. Returning to Talyton St George reminds Stevie of how much she loves the country, and she enjoys the challenge of looking after the cows, especially as this brings her into close contact with local vet Leo. Until a life-changing complication throws all her plans into disarray, and destroys her growing romance with Leo...

I have read all of Cathy Woodmans Talyton St George books and I have loved each and every one of them. I can never understand how this author’s books are never shouted about because I cannot find fault with her books.
Country Loving brings us another new character to the village of Talyton St George this time in the form of City accountant Stevie. She has returned to her dad’s farm after an SOS call from Cecil who helps on the farm. The family farm is falling through her dad’s fingers and he isn’t helping the matter. Stevie has to make a choice if to stay and get the farm back into order or if to return to her life in the city.

We see all of our favourite characters from the previous books make an appearance in this book especially busy body Fifi and the lovely Jennie from the authors last book The Sweetest Thing so we already feel as though we are on familiar territory and this gives the book a cosy and familiar feel. Stevie is a fabulous character and take us by surprise when we first meet her she is very groomed and living the life in the city with a posh car, career and a nice bit of cash coming in so the last thing I expected was for her to consider mucking in at the farm! Stevie is very down to earth and makes mistake like any of us would but she also has a big heart and this is what I love about her.

For those of you who have read all of the previous books you will know that Vets are a big part of these series of books and whilst our main character is not a vet this time we still have a big presence of vets in this book. The author always manages to set the scene perfectly, her descriptive writing really makes you visualise the setting as though you are there. I also like the little map at the start of the book so you can see the layout of the village this is a lovely touch.

This book is a perfect Sunday read with its country feel. I think this definitely has to be up there with my favourites by this author it was nice to have another book in the village but with a main character that played a different role. I loved this book from start to finish and would read it again. If you are looking for an easy and effortless read that will put a smile on your face and give you a warm fuzzy (or should I say furry)feeling this is the one for you.

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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Between Today and Yesterday by Joanna Lambert

The village of Meridan Cross is in mourning. Laura Kendrick, owner of Little Court Manor, is dead. The family she leaves behind find themselves not only trying to come to terms with their loss but also deal with their own individual problems. Nick Kendrick is a bitter, resentful head teacher whose career ambitions have not been fulfilled and whose mental state is on a serious downward spiral. Jenny, his patient and understanding wife has become a target for his frustrations. His daughter Charlotte, a bright and clever pupil at his school, has also become a victim of his unpleasant mind games. Ella, Nick's sister, beautiful and successful, has a much-envied marriage to ex-rock star turned record producer Matt Benedict.

Matt is currently in Spain with partner Baz Young recording an album with Rosetti, their star act. Newspaper reports coming out of Marbella concerning Matt and one of his former protégés are giving Ella serious cause for concern. Baz Young and the band's front man Christian Rosetti are unhappy. They should be in New York but Matt switched the venue to Spain without any explanation. Could it be the fact that Marcie Maguire, a woman whose career Matt launched nearly twenty years ago is performing here? And if that is the reason, why? When Ella and Jenny find themselves flying out to Spain to help an old acquaintance, they join Matt, Baz and the band in their luxury villa in the hills above Marbella. Reunited with Matt, Ella now hopes she will be able to scotch the rumours and show the world her relationship with her husband is rock solid. But when Jenny receives an urgent call to return home to sort out Nick's deteriorating mental state, Ella finds herself alone and facing a woman who appears to be not only very firmly back in Matt's life but also hell bent on destroying their marriage.

I have thoroughly enjoyed Joanna Lamberts previous books, they were like pure comfort food. I loved that Between Today and Yesterday still has a lot of the original characters so it felt familiar but also this time around we have a new generation with Ella and Jenny’s daughters Charlotte and Lucy which has given this book a slightly more modern and fresh feel to it compared to the previous books.

I do feel that you need to have read the previous books before you read this one because there are such a vast amount of characters in Joanna Lambert’s books that it is quite easy to forget who is who but after reading all of the books I feel the characters are well developed and because we know their background they become easy to distinguish between.A with the previous books there isn’t one main storyline, there are many storylines that have all been woven together beautifully.

One of my favourite characters has always been Matt and I found at times during this book I was questioning what it was that I liked about him as some of his actions were very shocking.  Ella is a loving character and she has had a very hard time growing up as we have seen and although she has now matured it seems as though her luck in life hasn’t changed.

It was great to revisit all the characters of Meridan Cross again although I did miss the more traditional feel that was present in the old books as I always felt it was this that set this authors books aside from other books out there at the moment. Having said this I still couldn’t put this book down as the author manages creates many twists and turns and there is always some kind of drama present in each and every chapter. This is another fantastic read by Joanna Lambert. This is a great price on Kindle.

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Monday, 22 April 2013

The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke

Two sisters, one life-changing journey… There are some currents in the relationship between sisters that run so dark and so deep, it’s better for the people swimming on the surface never to know what’s beneath . . . Katie’s carefully structured world is shattered by the news that her headstrong younger sister, Mia, has been found dead in Bali – and the police claim it was suicide. With only the entries of Mia’s travel journal as her guide, Katie retraces the last few months of her sister’s life, and – page by page, country by country – begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her death. What she discovers changes everything. But will her search for the truth push their sisterly bond – and Katie – to breaking point? The Sea Sisters is a compelling story of the enduring connection between sisters.

The synopsis to The Sea Sisters did an excellent job at sparking my interest, before I even started to read this book I was intrigued by this storyline. The story follows two sisters, Katie and Mia who have a very troubled relationship. After the loss of their mum Katie has taken the role of protector but this is not something Mia is thankful for she feels inadequate compared to her sister. Much to Katie’s surprise Mia returns from work one day and declares out of the blue she is going travelling with best friend Finn. It is during Mia’s travels that Katie is woken to a rap on the door only to find the police at her door with some very unwelcome news Mia has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Bali. Katie is heartbroken but she has many questions she needs answering and there is only one way to find the answers and so she embarks on her journey.

The story is written in alternate narrative which allows us to follow both of the girls journey and to get to know each of the characters separately. I really enjoyed both of the girls journeys but with me being a younger sister I felt like I sympathised more with Mia. Some of the things Mia tells us especially the relationship between her sister and her mum I could relate to.

We follow Katie as she retraces her sisters steps through Mia’s journal so we see her begin to unravel some truths, many of which are a shock to Katie as well as us the reader. It was great to hear  from Mia as her emotions are portrayed through her actions and it soon becomes clear that she is a flawed character and feels that she is living in her sisters shadow, she doesn’t feel as if she belongs. The relationship between the two sisters have very realistic characteristics such as jealousy, competition and the love/hate relationship.

The authors writing was very descriptive and managed to set the scene perfectly, I assume the author is very well traveled as this shows in her writing. The suspense that she creates was perfect it managed to keep my interest meaning I devoured the book in no time at all. I was so hooked I found it an inconvenience when my clients were turning up early, did they not know I had an important mystery to solve! I found the book to be unpredictable which is something I love in a book. The book has an air of mystery to it and is also a very touching and unpredictable read.

This is definitely one to read if you are looking for a compelling mystery. The Sea Sisters is due for release on the 9th of May and is definitely one not to be missed.

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Friday, 19 April 2013

Security by Mandy Baggot

I have read all of Mandy Baggot’s books and I have enjoyed watching her writing skills grow with each new book she releases. I loved the sound of this book after reading the synopsis and knowing that the author has a passion for singing and performing I was sure this book was going to be a great read as she is putting a personal interest into her book.

Autumn is readying herself for the biggest night of her career but the last thing she expected was for her life to be in danger. Nathan Regan is assigned to protect Autumn, a difficult job when she is less than co-operative but her life soon starts to take a downward spiral and she begins to put her trust in Nathan to help protect her.

Can Nathan lay his past demons aside and concentrate on the job in hand?

This is by far my favourite book by Mandy she is top of her game in this book. She has created some fabulous characters not just our main characters but the supporting cast too. Tawanda is actually my favourite character she brings a little light to full on action pact storyline.

Autumn was a worrying character for me when the book began and we first met her as I thought Diva alert but luckily although she is a strong character she has her little wobbles where you see she is actually a very vulnerable and lost character and it is when we get to see these glimpses of her character that your love for her grows.  Where the authors writing has always been strong has been in creating her male lead characters and this book is no exception in fact I would say this is my favourite male eye candy so far! Although he isn’t portrayed so much as a hunk it is his protective nature that makes you quiver!

This storyline seems to have taken Mandys writing down a different path we still have the romance in full flow but the action side of her writing is something that I really enjoyed in this book it was very unexpected and I loved it.

The whole Kidnap trail didn’t feel drawn out the pace of the drama was perfect, enough to keep you intrigued and on edge. There were also some great little twists in this book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book I couldn’t put it down ( until my kindle died!) 

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Mandy is also running a competition, anyone who posts a review for her book on Amazon before the end of May can enter the rafflecopter giveaway to win £25/$40 Amazon gift certificate.

Click here for rafflecopter link

Mandy has also given us an E-copy of Security to giveaway. This is an International giveaway. Good Luck !

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Monday, 15 April 2013

The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel

The North Star Bakery has been in Hope's family for generations, the secret recipes passed down from mother to daughter. But at thirty-six and recently divorced, with rebellious daughter Annie and elderly grandmother Rose to care for, Hope is less than enthusiastic about carrying on the family legacy.

When the bakery runs into financial trouble and Rose takes a turn for the worse, Hope's delicate balancing act is in danger of crumbling entirely. Then Rose reveals a shocking truth about her past and everything Hope thought she knew about her family and the bakery is turned upside down. 

At her grandmother's request, Hope travels to Paris, armed only with a mysterious list of names. What she uncovers there could be the key to saving the bakery and the fulfilment of a star-crossed romance, seventy years in the making.

After reading the synopsis of The Sweetness of Forgetting I couldn't wait to get started, I do hold a soft spot for books set around cake/bakery shops as they always leave me with a warm and cosy feeling, ok and the urge to stuff my face with cakes!

The Sweetness of Forgetting follows the story of three generations, Grandma Rose or as she is known in this book Mamie who has Alzheimers and also has hidden secrets about her past which is about to throw her granddaughter Hope’s life into a mad chase with the help of Hope’s daughter Annie. All three of the characters are very strong willed and there is a clear family trait here. Hope runs the family business The North Star Bakery but the bakery is close to slipping through her fingers so the list of names her Mamie has just given her to find in Paris couldn’t have come at a worse time but with a defiant young daughter she soon prepares to go on search of the names but will she make get the answers she is looking for in time for Mamie?

We are taken on a historical journey to try and find out about Mamie’s past and every so often we also get a little snippet from Mamie who is in a coma but her thoughts are projected through and she tells us her story filling in a few missing gaps from Hope’s findings which was a nice touch and allowed us to get to know Mamie a little more personally. I enjoyed finding out about the baking background it tied the shop in with the storyline.

We are taken on an emotional rollercoaster in this book there are some uplifting moments and there were also some very emotional and touching parts too. This book wasn’t what I was expecting at all judging from the synopsis and the beautiful front cover of the book I was expecting it to be quite a light, cosy and romantic read and although there sure were some beautiful romantic parts to this book with a romance different from the norm it was quite an in-depth read with a more serious and informative side to it. Although it was not what I was expecting I still loved this book and found myself slowly making my way through the storyline.

There is also a lovely touch at the beginning of a few of the chapters, a mouth-watering recipe for you to make at home. I really enjoyed this book it was full of hidden secrets and took both us and Hope on an emotional journey.

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Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

Every love story has a dangerous twist.
Tamia Challey is horrified when her husband, Scott, is accused of something terrible - but when she discovers who his accuser is, everything goes into freefall. Backed into a corner and unsure what to think, Tamia is forced to choose who she instinctively believes. But this choice has dire consequences for all concerned, especially when matters take a tragic turn. 

Then a stranger arrives in town to sprinkle rose petals in the sea in memory of her lost loved one. This stranger carries with her shocking truths that will change the lives of everyone she meets, and will once again force Tamia to make some devastating choices...

I haven't read a book by Dorothy Koomson in a long time and after hearing so many great things about The Rose Petal Beach I couldn't wait to make a start on this book.

Tami is happily married to Scott with two beautiful girls, life seems to be flowing along nicely until one night there is a knock on the door, the police had arrived to arrest Scott. Tami is in total shock and has no idea why Scott has been arrested but this shock is nothing like the shock she dins herself in when she finds out what he is arrested for and who it is that has accused him of the crime.

This was a compelling read full of twists and turns some predictable and some that took me completely by surprise  This is not an easy read you need to have your full attention when reading this book as you don't want to miss something that could be a clue to the mystery.

This book brings us a love story but with a dangerous and serious side to it, which was not what I was expecting after reading previous books by this author and after seeing the stunning delicate cover to the book!

The story is told by mainly three characters Tami, young Fleur and one of Tami's friends Beatrix. It was a  perfect style of writing because it allowed you to see the scenario through different eyes.

The storyline had a habit of starting to slow down the pace then all of a sudden another piece of the puzzle is thrown in unexpectedly so in the end I felt on edge the whole way through the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story it had you on an emotional roller coaster and I loved the fact the author managed to pull the wool over my eyes as I didn't manage to guess who the murderer was as we were taken down some false trails!

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a compelling read that will have you guessing from start to middle to end.

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Friday, 12 April 2013

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

One letter will turn newly-married Grace Munroe’s life upside down:

 ‘Our firm is handling the estate of the deceased Mrs Eva D’Orsey and it is our duty to inform you that you are named as the chief beneficiary in her will. We request your presence at our offices at your earliest convenience, so that we may go through the details of your inheritance.’

There is only one problem. Grace has never heard of Eva D’Orsey. So begins a journey which leads Grace through the streets of Paris and into the seductive world of perfumers and their muses. An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank will lead her to unravel the heartbreaking story of her mysterious benefactor, an extraordinary woman who bewitched high society in 1920s New York and Paris.

The Perfume Collector follows the story of Grace on her journey to find information about Eva D'Orsey who has named Grace as chief beneficiary in her will, problem is Grace has never heard of the woman and she feels uneasy about taking what has been left to her without trying to find out who this woman is what what connection they share.

I was intrigued by the story line and I enjoyed taking the journey with Grace as she slowly began to unravel Eva's past. The story alternates between Grace;s story to Eva's story back in the 1920's so we really get to know each of the characters well and I enjoyed reading from both women's perspective they were both as equally good. I found myself picking this book up any time I could snatch an odd moment at work just because I needed to see what part of the mystery was uncovered next.

The detailed writing surrounding the perfume making and also the descriptive writing when talking describing the scents clearly showed that the author had done her research and her writing style just felt so effortless. The author also managed to bring a topic that has never been of any interest to me but has managed to open up my mind to the skills and hard work behind the perfume business and it was nice to have a topic that has never come up in a book in such detail that I have read before.

The author has created a delicate and elegant storyline about a woman on her journey of self discovery. I loved this book from start to finish so much so I will be picking up a copy of her previous book Elegance after this book has won me over!

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Friday, 5 April 2013

The Edge of Never by J A Redmerski

Twenty-year-old Camryn has always felt different from everyone else around her – not content to be tied down by life's conventions, she’s always known that she wants a life less ordinary. But when tragedy forces her to abandon her plans, she vows never to let her walls down again – and never to fall in love.

But one night in the hottest club in town, her world is turned upside down. Desperate to escape, Camryn packs up the bare necessities and boards the next Greyhound bus leaving town, to find the true self she knows is out there. What she finds instead is a young man who is more like her than she knows. Andrew Parrish needs to find himself too, and harbours his own dark secrets…

Zig-zagging across the country together, Camryn finds herself doing things she never imagined, as Andrew shows her what it’s like to live by your own rules and what it feels like to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. Before she knows it, he’s become the centre of her world. But as the electric love and lust between them intensifies, a dark shadow is looming. Will Andrew’s secret push them together – or tear them apart?

I could not put The Edge of Never down. This is one of the best books I have read this year and I am sure this book will be one that is talked about as much as Twilight/Fifty Shades was!

The story is told alternately from both of our main characters perspective so we really get to connect with both the characters, it’s not long before the characters came alive and began to feel so real. Camryn is only 20 years old but she has experienced things most people her age should never have to deal with. She reaches a point where she just has to get away and find herself rather than living the way friends and family believe she should be living, the last thing she was looking for on her adventure was Andrew!

Andrew is a gorgeous masculine character who to me felt very mysterious. It was quite clear he had something to hide but his mysteriousness only made me more drawn to his character. I had many idea’s flowing through my mind as to what lies behind this character but not one was even close.

The story started at a slow pace and seemed pleasant enough but I couldn’t see why this book was getting a constant stream of 5* reviews, that was until 50% through then everything changed, the pace picked up and I couldn’t put the book down as there didn’t seem like a safe place!

I don’t remember having read a book that will bring out so many different emotions. One minute your heartbroken with a lump in your throat, next your smiling or blushing at certain events and at least once in this book you are just in complete and utter shock.

I really do hope there are no reviewers out there who will give any details of the shocking twist because to me this is the best part of the book and mainly because you are so unprepared for it.

There are a few detailed steamy chapters in this book but there is a jolly good storyline involved so it isn’t all sex,sex,sex.

This is a heart-breaking, compelling, modern, saucy read that has something for everyone so definitely one to try. 

Quick only 99p on Kindle at the moment!

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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Happy Families by Janey Fraser

Bobbie's children never listen to a word she says. Even worse, her mother has a new boyfriend: the notorious child expert Dr Know, who dishes out hard-line advice to the nation. Could parenting classes control her kids - and save her marriage?

Andy's wife is due to run a Perfect Parents course at the local school. But when she scarpers, he's left to look after their two teenage daughters - and face his own childhood demons.

Vanessa has found love, second-time round. But one night, six-year-old Sunshine is deposited on her doorstep with a message from Vanessa's estranged daughter, 'Please look after her'. This time she's determined to get it right.

Can Bobbie, Andy and Vanessa really learn the secret of raising a happy family?

I have never read a book by Janey Fraser, I was a little worried about starting this one as I haven’t read the authors previous books but when I contacted the author she assured me that although characters from the previous books do pop up in this book it Is in fact a stand-alone book so with my mind at ease I couldn’t wait to get started.

The book is told from three characters points of views Bobbie, Andy and Vanessa. Bobbie has two children Jack and Daisy who to put it mildly are quite a hand full! Bobbie is struggling to keep the children under control and when her sister in law Pamela informs her she will be doing a perfect Parent class and that she should come along for some tips!

Andy reaches a point in his life where he wants to spend time with his family but when he makes the ultimate decision his wife then declares that she has to go away and so he is left not only looking after his daughters and the house but he finds himself having to take his wife’s Perfect Parent class that she was due to start.

Vanessa is making the most of her life the second time around she has a successful business that she is passionate about, she has found new love with Brian but the last thing she was expecting was her granddaughter who she  has never met, to be dropped off and left in her care. It’s not long before she joins the Perfect Parent group to try and get some help.

The three characters are all linked Andy is Bobbie’s husband’s brother in-law, and Vanessa soon becomes a friend of Bobbies when they meet at the Perfect Parent club.

I am not a maternal person and I usually find books that have little people characters in usually get quite a knock from me because of the annoying baby talk, I was waiting for this to be the case with this book but in actual fact the kids had me in hysterics! From the first chapter when Jack decides he wants an Easter Egg and then decides to hide out of reach of his mum just popping a leg out here and there to tempt his mum to drag him out! I was won over right from this moment as I could see this scene being played out in my head and this really made me laugh out loud. As the book moves on there are many times when the children bring some humour to this book that also has you cringing at the same time to.

There were a large mix of characters in this book but I didn’t lose my way, each of the characters were developed so well it was easy to remember who was who. There wasn’t a dull moment in this book it there was some kind of mischief going on on every page, be that with the children of the adults! The storyline was unpredictable you never quite knew what you were going to face in the next chapter but this just made you keep turning the pages and before you know it you come to the end L

I would be hard pushed to pick a favourite character from this bunch as they were all such fabulous characters but Jack will be a character who I will remember for a long time yet, he is so mischievous and I couldn’t help but laugh at his behaviour (yes I know I wont be laughing if I have a child who behaves like this!) I also loved the friendship between Bobbie and Vanessa this friendship felt very real. With it being a new relationship the ladies are still building trust in their friendship and getting to know each other and the author does put the friendship through some situations that do test their friendships and the reactions to these events are very realistic.

This is a very enjoyable, entertaining and humorous read, it is quite hard to believe this is a hefty 528 pages long because I finished this in a day. I cannot wait for more books by this author I may have to pick up her previous books to when my TBR pile shrinks in size! This gets a top 5* from me, go grab yourself a copy J

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