Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Unpredictable Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell

When Josh Strachan, newly returned to his home in north Cornwall from sunny California, first meets Sophie Wells, he's immediately smitten. Sophie's pretty, she's funny, she has lots of friends and she clearly loves her job as a photographer, despite the sometimes tricky clients. There's just one problem: Sophie has very firmly turned her back on love. It's nothing personal, she tells Josh, but she just doesn't do dates. And no one - even Sophie's scatty best friend Tula - will tell him why. Josh is sure Sophie likes him, though, and he's just got to find out what's put her off romance. And then put things right...

After thoroughly enjoying Don’t Want to Miss a Thing last year I was looking forward to reading another book by Jill Mansell.
The Unpredictable Consequences of Love follows a large cast of characters but each of their stories all weave around each other effortlessly. As you can imagine from the title the book is full of troubled romance.

Because the book had such a big cast of lead characters it did take some time getting to know each of them but because each of them were so well developed I didn’t have any trouble remembering who was who.

Sophie has absolutely no interest in men much to Josh’s disappointment, something has clearly happened in her past to put her off men for life and Josh is determined to get to the root of the problem.
The gorgeous babe magnet Reily has a big crush on Sophie’s friend Tula but she keeps knocking him back which has never happened to the surfer dude before.

Reily’s aunt is a successful author and she has eyes for Josh’s grandfather but it looks like he still holds a torch for his ex-wife Dot.

So much love is flowing in this little seaside town and each of the characters were all loveable and entertaining. I picked this book up at every spare moment I got as I was hooked and couldn’t put it down, eager to see what was going to happen next and if any of these romances were going to blossom.

My favourite thing about this book is that there is one almighty twist that I really didn’t see coming. I am not going to say any more about this or who it involves otherwise you will be watching out for it and not seeing it coming was what made this such a shock as there were no clues that made this obvious!

This was a perfect read with no flaws and had me hooked from start to finish, one of my favourite reads in a long time.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Mums on Strike by Laura Kemp

It was just a squashed grape on the kitchen floor.

Hardly a reason to get upset, right?

But six years of motherhood has left Lisa Stratton feeling like a skivvy.

Every morning before she's opened her eyes, she starts her mental inventory of jobs to do. And just like yesterday, the day before and every day since she became a mum, she's woken up knackered. So when her husband deliberately steps over the grape because it's 'her responsibility' to run the house, it tips her over the edge. He wasn't always like this - they used to share everything. Then the kids came along and he saw it as an excuse to sit back. But this time things are going to change.
Lisa has made a decision. She's going on strike.

So far this year I seem to be reading authors who are new to me, I have read Nicholas Sparks, Louise Mensch, Koren Zailckas and now I have just finished a book by Laura Kemp. I loved the synopsis for Mums on Strike, it sounded like a fun and entertaining read that many women would relate to.

A crushed grape is what finally tips Lisa over the edge. She is fed up of being the only one to do the housework the dinner, taking care of the children as well as holding down a job and yet it seems to be a given that this is her job! Well she has had enough and is now going on strike and so now husband Adam is about to get a shock to the system.

All Lisa wants is for Adam to change his ways and help out with the day to day chores but he is reluctant to agree but soon things begin to get a little out of hand when other women hear what Lisa is doing. Will Lisa get Adam to agree to do half the chores?

There are going to be so many tired and stressful mums who are going to love this book and really relate to Lisa. I don’t have children but even I could relate to her as it is more to do with those pesky lazy husbands who we seem to love but hate! Running alongside Lisa’s story of woes is her best friend Cal and her troubles and also the lovely Mandy and the terrible time she is having with her Italian husband. Adam who is Lisa’s husband was a great character, like a lot of men he took his wife for granted but fair play to him he redeems himself in this book.

The storyline is an easy, light read that has some witty humour ( especially Lisa’s DIY!) but also touches upon some more serious issues.  It took me no time at all to read this as it was an easy writing style and the book flowed well. When you think about it the main storyline is rather basic but yet the author manages to create a great read out of it. It is definitely one of those books that because you relate to it so much you can’t help but stand there whilst you are doing the washing up thinking ummm maybe I should strike too!

I enjoyed this book and wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book by this author. Although I don’t think this will be a book that will stay on my mind, it was a perfect entertaining read that I literally did not put down.

Kindle                  Paperback

Friday, 24 January 2014

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Alice is twenty-nine. She adores sleep, chocolate, and her ramshackle new house. She's newly engaged to the wonderful Nick and is pregnant with her first baby. There's just one problem. All of that was ten years ago . . . Alice has slipped in a step-aerobics class, hit her head and lost a decade. 

Now she's a grown-up, bossy mother of three in the middle of a nasty divorce and her beloved sister Elisabeth isn't speaking to her. This is her life but not as she knows it. Clearly Alice has made some terrible mistakes. Just how much can happen in a decade?

Can she ever get back to the woman she used to be?

One of the memorable books that I read last year was The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, which I adored and was so popular it was one of Richard and Judy’s Autumn Book Club Pick for 2013. Penguin are now re-releasing What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty which was originally released back in 2010 but the new re-issue release date is 16th January and I have just finished reading my copy and it was fantastic.

After having a fall in her step aerobics class, Alice hit her head and now seems have lost ten years of her life. She believes she is still only twenty nine and that she is pregnant. She soon finds out that not only has a number of things changed in her life but that she has completely changed too but not necessarily for the better. As the people around her try and help her to get her memory back, will her old memories return and will she approve of the woman she has become.

This book was not what I was expecting at all. I thought the book was going to be a little chilling but it is far from that it is a great entertaining light read that I could not put down. The story is told from Alice’s point of view which works well as we discover things as she does so we can connect with the situation more. In addition to Alice’s point of view there are also blog entries from Frannie and homework entries from her sister Elizabeth. I really enjoyed reading Elizabeth’s entries as I loved her character just as much if not slightly more than Alice, and reading her entries gives us a little peak on certain previous parts of Alice’s life and how they effected Elizabeth.

I loved how unpredictable the part about Gina was, it was quite obvious that something significant had happened to do with Gina that had a massive impact on Alice’s life but I couldn’t predict what it was so the author was very clever keeping us guessing. There were no low points in this book my interest was held the whole way through.

I really didn’t like the sound of the new Alice and I was eager to see what could have happened in her life to make her such a hard, cold and bitter woman. The children and Nick are all wonderful characters that help to make this book an even more enjoyable read.

I love this book just as much as The Husband’s Secret they are just very different books but both show the author’s brilliant writing style. I would definitely recommend this book.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

Ninety-one year old Ira Levinson is in trouble. Struggling to stay conscious after a car crash, with his mind fading, an image of his beloved, and long-dead, wife Ruth appears. Urging him to hang on, she lovingly recounts the joys and sorrows of their life together - how they met, the dark days of WWII, and its unrelenting effect on their families. A few miles away, college student Sophia Danko's life is about to change. Recovering from a break-up, she meets the young, rugged Luke and is thrown into a world far removed from her privileged school life. Sophia sees a new and tantalising future for herself, but Luke has a secret which threatens to break it all apart. Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples, separated by years and experience, whose lives are about to converge in the most unexpected - and shocking - of ways.

I have been longing to try a book by Nicholas Sparks for some time now as there has been so much talk about his books and so I was eager to get my taster of his work. So for my first Nicholas Sparks book I have The Longest Ride which tells two stories that gradually come as one. Ninety-One year old Ira finds himself trapped in his car after a crash and as he battles to stay alive he visions his wife Ruth and this helps to keep him fighting.

Sophia has had a hard time recovering from her break up with ex Brian, it seems like where ever she goes he is always around, but life is about to go down a different path as she meets Luke , a bull rider but will the secret Luke hides from Sophia mean that what they have together could be in jeopardy?

The storyline is told by our three main characters points of views. I found the switch between each character was perfectly timed just as I was beginning to get comfortable with a character the storyline would then switch to a different character which kept my interest sparked. I warmed quite easily and quickly to all three of our characters and I felt as though they all brought their own little something to the storyline. I did find that during the middle of the book the story was pleasant enough but it was a little flat, I was still interested in what was going to happen but I think my expectations were high for this book because of the hype about the author.  To me the last third of this book is what really made this book because it was a lot more eventful and there were a lot of emotions towards the end and the pace seemed to pick up at the end.

What I loved about this book was I really couldn’t see how the two stories were going to meet, and this is what kept me intrigued. I also loved how the author manages to portray the strong love Ira has for his wife Ruth, it was very moving to read and it was clear that Ruth was his whole meaning to life. I loved that both Ira and Luke were both very gentlemanly characters and very loving and caring it isn’t often that we get two great men in a novel! Sophia was a great character too and I enjoyed watching her and Luke’s relationship blossom.

I am glad that I got to try a Nicholas Sparks book, it wasn’t what I was expecting at all but I still enjoyed it and I would read another of his books.

Kindle                Hardback

Monday, 20 January 2014

Beauty by Louise Mensch

There isn't a woman on earth who doesn't have her beauty secrets. But for Dina Kane, beauty is more than just business. It's power. And it is the secret. She's dragged herself up from poverty to Park Avenue. She's rolled with the punches. And she's learned how to win. Now someone is out to destroy her, and all she's built. They've underestimated Dina Kane. She's staying at the top - and she's happy to wait for the perfect moment to exact her revenge...

I am ashamed to say I have never read a book by Louise Bagshawe before! The author has now released her first book under her married name Louise Mensch entitled Beauty.

Dina Kane hasn’t had the best of upbringings. Her dad died when she was only young and her mum quite obviously could not bare the sight of Dina and clearly favoured her brother, sending him to private school whilst Dina had to attend a public school. As soon as Dina turned 18 it was time to move out and she was very clever but with no money for college she was going to have to work from the bottom up to support herself.

From waitressing to working in a coffee shop she began to climb the ladder and soon found herself working in the beauty industry but she didn’t get this far without blood sweat and making a lot of enemies on the way but Dina is not one to let things go and she seeks revenge!

WOW! I couldn’t put this book down, it wasn’t what I was expecting at all! I was captivated from start to finish. Dina Kane was a fabulous main character and made a change from the typical female leads that are usually soft natured and loveable and sometimes naive.  Dina Kane is an ambitious, strong character who no matter how tough life gets whatever is thrown at her she just gets back up and dusts herself of and comes back with vengeance! It seems with every hit she takes she just finds a way out and comes back so much stronger and this is what I loved about her. I did feel sorry for her even if she didn’t feel sorry for herself, although she is career focused she seemed very lonely.

The book is totally unpredictable which is something I adore in a book never quite knowing what is around the corner, this is what makes a book impossible to put down!  The author clearly knows her stuff when it comes to beauty products as this features quite heavily in this book .

I have to say I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up based on the cover and the synopsis but I would have really missed out on a great read. I enjoyed my first book by this author it had so much to offer, scandal, ambition, romance, a glamorous and ambitious main character and a handsome millionaire. I can’t wait to try another book by this author.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Take Me Home by Daniela Sacerdoti

Inary Monteith’s life is at a crossroads. After a stolen night with her close friend Alex, she's just broken his heart by telling him it was all a terrible mistake. Then she has to rush home from London to the Scottish Highlands when her little sister's illness suddenly worsens – and in returning she must confront the painful memories she has been trying so hard to escape.

Back home, things become more complicated than she could ever have imagined. There's her sister's illness, her hostile brother, a smug ex she never wants to see again and her conflicted feelings about Alex in London and a handsome American she meets in Glen Avich. On top of that, she mysteriously loses her voice but regains a strange gift from her childhood – a sixth sense that runs in her family. And when a voice from the past keeps repeating, 'Take me home', she discovers a mystery that she knows she must unlock to set herself free.

I loved Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti so when I was asked if I wanted to review her new release Take Me Home I jumped at the chance before I even knew what the synopsis was! Luckily for me after reading the synopsis I was even more excited as I have always had an interest in the gift of sixth sense and not long having lost my nan the grief is still lingering its head so this book just seemed the perfect read for me.
Inary moved away from Scottish Highlands to live in London to make a new start, she just begins to let her barriers down and begins to let Alex in but the barriers soon shut back up and with a call from back home regarding her sisters health she is soon running away again.

Back in Glen Avich, Inary is grief stricken after the loss of her sister and if that isn’t traumatic enough her Gift of sixth sense returns and a frightening young  girls voice of her past is back she needs to find out the mystery surrounding the little girl to finally free herself.

This was such a beautifully written book. The authors writing style just flows effortlessly and so you soon become swept up in the storyline. At moments during this book I found I felt the hairs on the back of my neck and yet it wasn’t a creepy read. One thing that Daniela does really well is to write with pure emotion and I felt this on each and every page, she managed to write about the grief without it being a morbid read and without making me feel low I actually found it quite a heart-warming read.

The storyline does fill you with hope, the hope that someday we will meet with our loved ones who have passed. I loved the little romance that was weaved in-between the storyline it helped to lighten the storyline. I also loved how until about ¾ of the way through I couldn’t predict anything which I love in a book and although I soon worked out a connection I couldn’t wait to watch it unfold.

This is a compelling and emotional read that you won’t want to miss especially for fans of Watch Over Me. I look forward to more by this author.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas

Meet the Hurst Family. 

Meet Violet Hurst -16 years old, beautiful and brilliant. So why is she being accused of being a danger to herself and others?

Meet her brother Will Hurst – the smartest and sweetest twelve-year old boy around. But does he really need all that medication he is being told to take?

Meet oldest sister Rose – the one who got away. She disappeared one night in her final year of school, never to be heard from again.

I read a hell of a lot of chick lit which I love but every so often I love to have a fresh change and after reading so many Christmas themed chick lit I decided to change genre entirely and opted for a psychological thriller which really is out of my usual comfort zone.
Mother, Mother tells the story of the Hurst family. A very dysfunctional family to say the least, eldest daughter Rose has been missing since her last year of school, middle daughter Violet is admitted to a psychiatric hospital and little Will is home schooled because he has Asperger’s and epilepsy. The story all revolves around one nights events in which Will gets badly injured, Violet is accused but she cannot remember what events took place on that night but their mother Josephine will not have Violet near precious Will again as she says that Violet attacked him and so is a danger to the family.
As Violet tries desperately to remember what happened that night she doesn’t know who to believe or who to trust.

This book really freaked me out! This really isn’t one to read before bedtime. This book gave me the same kind of chilling feeling as Before You Go To Sleep which I read last year but times that by 3 or 4! This is one that seriously plays with your mind, rather than physical abuse (although there is a small amount of physical abuse too) it is all about mental torture.

The chapters alternate between Will and Violets points of views so we get to see a balanced view of the situation and we get to know the character well this way. I had my guard up about Josephine from the first mention of her and she really made my skin crawl.

The suspense that is created through this book is fantastic and it made this a really compelling read I literally picked this book up at every opportunity just to find out what was happening next. There were a couple of parts in the book that I found predictable but there were equally a couple of unexpected twists and turns that I didn’t see coming.

This would have been a five star read as I was hooked but I did find the ending didn’t seem to flow like the rest of the book, it seemed to come to a flat end, this could be because the rest of the book was so great that it had me on edge that I had high expectations for the ending but none the less it is still a great four star read that I will be recommending and also a book that will be on my mind for some time, this will not be an easy one to forget!

A chilling and compelling read.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Best Thing I Never Had by Erin Lawless


I had read so many fantastic reviews on The Best Thing I Never Had by Erin Lawless so I couldn’t wait to get started with this one. For those of you who follow my reviews you will know I am always honest with my reviews so I have to start this review by saying that I actually gave up on this book the first time around, I managed to read to 18% before putting it down. The problem I found was that there were so many main characters introduced all at the same time that they all seemed to be blending in to one, I couldn’t separate each of the character and because all of my attention was consumed in trying to work out who was who I then couldn’t focus on any kind of storyline.

After speaking to other reviewers there were a number of them that had found the same thing but had pushed through and said what a great storyline it is once you got to grips with the characters so I decided to give it another try and I am glad I did pick this up for a second time.

I found that by 22-23% I had managed to work out who was who and by now the storyline had started to roll. The storyline follows the lives of seven friends who have all come together in their uni years enjoying the party scene as well as having to keep up with their studies. The story mainly revolves around the Harriet, Leigh and Adam love triangle, which I am sure many people can relate to. Both women have feelings for Adam but Adam only had eyes for Harriet and the girls friendship takes a massive hit which has a knock on effect on the groups friendships but is Adam and Harriet’s love for one worth the hurt of losing close friends.

Putting the start of the book aside I soon found that I was hooked and was flying through the pages eager to see what was going to happen next. There were characters I loved such as Adam and of course Harriet who was easily my favourite character, she was caring, loving and friendly and would be someone who I could see myself being friends with. There were also Leigh and Sukie who I loathed they are to me classic mean girls but they played a perfect part in this storyline.

There were fun and entertaining parts in the book as well as the friendships and romance which gave a real mix of content. I loved that I was never quite sure if Harriet and Adam were going to end up together or not and this is what kept me intrigues as I just had to find out if they would get their Happy Ever After. The authors writing flowed beautifully in the second half of the book and if it wasn’t for the challenging start of this book then it would have been a full 5 star review but I look forward to reading another book by this author.