Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Review! On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare ...

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well - until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street, where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he's determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won't be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her . . . down to the very soul.

Review: I read this novel as part of a New Adult Readathon and also because it was being discussed in a twitter book club hosted by Sophie Hart but I actually really enjoyed it although i wouldn't have picked it up independently. I loved the opening of this book, I thought it was really fast laced and I loved the concept of someone losing every thing and then moving to Edinburgh and finding a fabulous new housemate. The fact that this novel is set in Edinburgh is a real bonus for me, I love being able to picture where characters are when they are travelling around in a novel, and this was really nice for me to experience. The style of the flay is also typical of a tenement building just like those found in Edinburgh and Glasgow city centres.

Joss made a really good main character, although she did annoy me at points. She seems to mostly know her own mind although occasionally she will come out with things or make moves that I really didn't understand, or see where they were coming from. She seems to fly off the handle quite easily, something which seems to be indicative of young females in novels these days. She doesn't let herself be take advantage of though and I really liked that. She also comes to really appreciate family values and I was really pleased about this.

I really loved the character of Ellie-Joss's flatmate, she is bubbly and provides a very good platform for joss to push her boundaries. Ellie goes through a lot in the novel too and I would love to see a spin off featuring her, and telling her story, during or even post, on Dublin Street. Now Braden, opinions on Braden seem to differ somewhat. As the love interest in this novel, I wouldn't be able to describe him. I found him very one dimensional,with a very selfish personality and I really think that perhaps Joss ended up falling for him more out of convenience than any other reason. I'm really not a Braden fan, although this didn't take away from my enjoyment of the novel as a whole...

I would definitely recommend this novel to others, it was an enjoyable read, had good pace and a good plot line. The characters and the setting are very believable and I even found myself crying at points. The sex scenes in the novel really aren't too explicit meaning that those of a more delicate nature will still enjoy this for the quality writing that it is...

You can get yourself a copy of this novel by clicking here!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

New Adult Redathon Round Up

Normally I do a Top Ten Tuesday in this slot every week but I really wasn't inspired by this weeks topic and so I decided I would do my new adult Readathon end post instead!

Well unfortunately illness and work stopped me from reading as much as I had hoped to this week. I didn't read all three books that I originally intended on reading, but I did complete two New Adult Books during the week (as well as a cheeky chick-lit novella snuck in there).

I completed on Dublin Street by Samantha Young, which I will also be discussing during the twitter book club tonight, at 7:30pm on twitter, hosted by Sophie Hart, so I was pleased I managed to finish that one. I hope to post my  review tomorrow, and you can see what I thought of it! The really great thing is that if it hasn't been for the readathon, I'm not sure when I would've actually got round to reading the book, so that was really great!

The other book that I managed to complete during the week was Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines. Now this one has been on my kindle for aaaaaaaaages (since Kerrie at Read and Repeat recommended it to me) and I needed the push of the readathon to actually get it it. It really didn't take me long to read at all in the end and I enjoyed it. Again I'll get the review posted as soon as I can, so you can see my full thoughts on the book as a whole.

I thought all of the mini challenges and activities going on during the readathon week were really good, so thanks to those bloggers who organised those. I actually eneded up winning an ebook of The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski and also an ebook of Slammed by Coleen Hoover, which was very excited, thanks very much to Krista at Krista's Dust jacket for those! 

This was my first readathon, and whilst it didn't have the best of timing for me, I would definitely take part in another one because it pushed me to read a certain kind of book, and it was interesting to see what other people were reading and how they were getting on in their goals. Thank you to Faye for getting me involved!  

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Random House Summer Blogger Brunch

This Saturday I was lucky enough to be invited to a Bloggers' Brunch at Random House for upcoming titles being published by their children's department. This is the second event of this kind that I've attended and this one was just as much fun!

The first thing that happened as we were greeted with tea/coffee/cake was that we were invited to be in a book trailer for Lauren Kate's new novel Teardrop. We were asked to write down on a big sheet of card the last time we cried and use the hash tag teardrop in the corner of the board. We then had our pictures taken individually as well as altogether. People wrote various different things on their cards so there was plenty of variety. This is now going to be edited together and set to some moody music and used the book trailer for Lauren's fabulous new novel Teardrop which is released on 24th October.

We received a fabulously shiny proof copy of this novel in our goody bags, here's what it's all about:

Never, ever cry. . . . Eureka Boudreaux's mother drilled that rule into her daughter years ago. But now her mother is gone, and everywhere Eureka goes he is there: Ander, the tall, pale blond boy who seems to know things he shouldn't, who tells Eureka she is in grave danger, who comes closer to making her cry than anyone has before.

But Ander doesn't know Eureka's darkest secret: ever since her mother drowned in a freak accident, Eureka wishes she were dead, too. She has little left that she cares about, just her oldest friend, Brooks, and a strange inheritance—a locket, a letter, a mysterious stone, and an ancient book no one understands. The book contains a haunting tale about a girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea. Eureka is about to discover that the ancient tale is more than a story, that Ander might be telling the truth . . . and that her life has far darker undercurrents than she ever imagined. From Lauren Kate comes an epic saga of heart-stopping romance, devastating secrets, and dark magic . . . a world where everything you love can be washed away.

We also received a copy of Carmen Reid's new novel Cross My Heart-a gripping story of espionage and war-time resistance out on 1st August.

Brussels, 1940. Fifteen-year-old Nicole watches as the Nazis invade Belgium. Determined not to stand by as her country is brought to its knees, Nicole vows to fight back and joins the Belgian Resistance. Under her new alias - Coco - Nicole embarks on a dangerous new life as a spy, where the only question is not if you'll be caught, but when...

I'm really looking forward to reading this one because I love her adult novels, he voice is just fabulous and very easy to read. Another novel that we received in our wonderful goody bags, however, was the new novel by Beth Reekles. Now this left me breathless with excitement because I loved the kissing booth. My review of that fabulous debut novel but such a young writer still has the most hits out of any other posts and the blog and I share that excitement with those readers. I will be starting this one as soon as I possibly can, even though it isn't published until 29th August... Here's what it's all about:

They say that the higher you climb, the harder you fall - and Madison Clarke will do anything to keep her new life from crumbling to pieces. Moving from a small town in Maine to Florida, Madison grasps the opportunity to reinvent herself, to forget about those days of being a lonely, loser outcast, and jumps at the chance when the popular kids decide to take her under their wing. A hot boyfriend, parties, friends... If only there wasn't the slight problem by the name of Dwight, a cute, funny and totally nerdy guy in Madison's physics class who she can't help but enjoy spending time with. Running from her past and stumbling through the present, who knows what lies ahead in this new life in Florida?

Beth was supposed to join us for the brunch but she was unwell so her publicist told us all about this new novel and the sensation that she really is!

We were also told about other upcoming novels. These included Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma published on 5th September-a thrilling emotional novel about a promising racing driver who's life changes one fateful weekend. Stay Where You Are and Then Leave from the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas John Boyne published on 26th September and set during the First World War. The Ransom of Dond by Siobhan Dowd-a wonderfully haunting story about Darra who as the 13th child to be born to her mother is destined to be sacrificed to Dond, the dark god of the underworld-published on 7th November. Time After Time by Tamar Ireland Stone published on 24th October and finally The Future King, The Walking World by Tom Huddleston published on 3rd October.

I am very excited to read all of the books we received at the brunch and would like to thank random house for putting in this fabulous event yet again in order to introduce us to all the wonderful books coming out this summer and autumn!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Mini Review: The Arcade Episode 8 by Kitty Charles

Orlando Neale is living a double life. Outwardly, he works in his father’s bookshop, plays too many computer games and doesn’t dare speak to the woman he loves. But when no one is looking, he writes wildly romantic novels under the pen name of Orla O’Neill. Nobody knows about his female alter ego…but is that about to change?

Orlando’s father, Philip Neale, has spent far too many years alone with his books. He’s ready to move on and try to find love with a special lady from Angell’s Arcade. But before he can find his own happily-every-after, he’s got a deal with a secret of his own…

In Angell’s Arcade, the course of true love never did run smooth. But with the help of the talented Arcade women (and a plot device borrowed from Shakespeare), all’s well that ends well. Or is it?

Wow! Best episode yet! I was told that this was going to be a great episode, but as you know I am a huge fan of the march episode, well this one has truly surpassed itself! The only problem is... How do I review it without giving away any of the secrets?

Firstly, I love the fact that this months episode is set in a bookshop, I mean fabulous or what? I've been waiting for ages to get to know Phillip from the bookshop and the fact that this is more about his son, than about him (initially) just makes it even better! The irony of this months episode though is just the best thing about it, the fact that it is about someone writing books as someone else, when this whole series is written by not just one author, but 6 authors posing as one-amazing! I love the fact that we get to see how Orlando feels living this double life and how it affects his relationship with others...

Orlando's books written under his pen name featured a high-heeled shoe on each cover, a bit like another fabulous author whose books feature a high-heeled shoe on each cover and who also has a novel coming out this month... There is also a reference to the whole JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith situation which could only have been done in something which is a current as this. Another fabulous thing about this instalment is that all the other characters feature in some way throughout the episode. I really like when we get to catch up with the story lines from past episodes. We particularly get some resolution into the whole Danny and Rachael situation as well as the Libby/Erin affair and of course the sexual tension between Phillip and Eden.

If you haven't read any of the past episodes, get them downloaded now! This months is by far the best however, anything you might expect to happen does happen and it is ten times as dramatic as you might possibly expect. Because so much happens it seems to be longer than normal which is also fabulous, it will be sure to cheer you up and keep you gasping right up until the very last moment! The snake peek of September's issue is also gasp-worthy so keep an eye out for that! 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Readathon update

So I thought, last week of term, perfect time to start a readathon! It'll be great to get through the NA books that are on my TBR pile and ill have more time because school finishes on Wednesday... Boy was I wrong?!

So far in this readathon I have managed to read half a book-that's right, a mere 50% of only one book! I am hugely enjoying On Dublin Street by Samantha Young and I so WANT to be able to sit down and get into it but so far this week, my average reading times have been 7am and midnight and that's about it! Meaning that either I have to start work it I fall asleep-limited reading time...

Sometimes it can feel like you have to crawl through mud just to be able to get to your book because of work or other commitments and this is one of those times for me!

Hopefully I should get back on track soonish, breaking up an all, will keep you updated!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Words/Topics that will make you NOT pick up abook...

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I'm glad we have to opposite of this one. Needless to say, these words & topics are not definitive, I will consider books that involve these themes, but in general these words/topics are not on my radar...

1. Crime, just not a fan of this genre at all. I've tried with various crime type books, a novella I can just about manage, but not a whole novel.

2. Vampires. I'm a lazy reader, I need to read about read people and therefore vampires just don't do it for me!

3. Murder. Inquire prepared to deal with death in a novel but murderbis just a bit too far, it kind of comes under the heading of crime or mystery too, and therefore just not my cup of tea...

4. Mythical creatures. Again being a lazy reader, I don't like to have to conjure up images of brand new creatures in my head, I would prefer to know that I am dealing with a guine pig or a hamster, rather than a unicorn or a hobbit! 

5. Mystery. Following on from crime. I couldn't even deal with The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes, that is how much this genre will make me out a book down, the merest mention of it and I'm gone! 

6. Ghosts. I have read a few chick-lit novels which feature ghosts and these have been slightly harder to read for me. The Brightest Star in the sky by Marian Keyes and a novella by Sheila O'Flanagan I managed to deal with, but in general I need real people and real things to read about...

7. Sci-fi. See vampires.

8. Dystopia, again being a lazy reader I don't want to have to conjure up images of other worlds and other times in my mind when I am reading!

9. Domestic abuse. I find this subject really difficult to read about. I have had to stop otherwise fabulous novels by some of my favourite authors because this subnet makes me unable to carry on reading...

10. Names of ex boyfriends. I can't do it, I don't like reading about people with the same names as people I have fallen out with. I know that might make me seem a bit narrow-minded but there you go, just don't like it!

So there you go, probably not many of these will appear on other people's lists, but I'd love to hear what DID make it onto yours, leave me a comment!

The Geek Girl Phenomenon

Earlier this year I read the FABULOUS Geek Girl by Holly Smale. I was so impressed with this novel and the way it had no swearing in it so it could be read in schools, I immediately took it into my school for the kids to read. This is what my copy looks like now...

The first pupil I lent it to write me a fabulous review straight away which I also posted on here.

It then was passed around to about another 10 girls and really hit a note with another pupil. She loved it so much that she completely drew the cover and put her review inside.

Here's what her review said:

"Geek Girl is a fantastic story by Holly Smale. It is a story about a geeky 15 year old girl who has found it a little hard getting through two odd days in Moscow. Along the way she realised what she went there for which was to be somebody new and different-it's good to be different and be a GEEK! When she got back, she discovered that friends and family are more important. Little did she know a kiss from Nick (lion boy) was awaiting her!

From one geek to another, I loved this book!

Rated 5/5

I may be 11 but I am like Harriet-DNA=Deaxyriteese Nuclic Acid"

I'm going to order more copies of this for our school library and I think I need to get a new copy for myself whilst I'm at it!

Friday, 19 July 2013

New Adult Readathon

So I have discovered a liking for the New Adult genre. I didn't really know that this was a separate genre until I got completely hooked on Cora Carmack's novels Losing It and Faking it (as you can see from the amount of Cora Carmack posts that are on my blog right now). So when Faye over at A Daydreamer's Ramblings announced a New Adult Readathon starting next week, and lasting the whole week, I knew I had to take part somehow.


There are quite a few New Adult books on my TBR pile right now, and so it will be very easy to take up some of these as part of the Readathon. The books I am hoping to read include...

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Fallen Too Far by Abby Glines

Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

If you want to find out more about the New Adult Readathon then head over to Faye's vlog.

Pop back here for reviews of these books and more, and you can follow my Readathon progress on twitter too! (@shoefiend1984)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Review! The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Meet the Bird Family

All four children have an idyllic childhood: 
a picture-book cottage in a country village, a warm, cosy kitchen filled with 
love and laughter, sun-drenched afternoons in a rambling garden.

But one 
Easter weekend a tragedy strikes the Bird family that is so devastating that, 
almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear them apart.

The years pass and 
the children become adults and begin to develop their own quite separate lives. 
Soon it's almost as though they've never been a family at all.

But not quite.

Because something has happened that will call them home, 
back to the house they grew up in - and to what really happened that Easter 
weekend all those years ago.

Review: wow! What a novel! Just when I thought there couldn't be any more family drama crammed into this storyline-bam! Another fantastic secret revelation or betrayal! I wasn't sure I was going to be all that into this book. I love this author and Ralph's Party is one of my favourite novels, but I wasn't sure how I would cope with another novel featuring a tragic secret-boy was a wrong with my first impressions! This book really does have it all, death, suicide, adultery, family feuds, arrests, questionable relationships, you name it, it went on in this book. And yet there is something heartwarming about the fact that at the very centre of this novel, there is a family, trying to find out who they fit in with one another, and coming together, in some way, every Easter Sunday...

All of the characters in this novel were incredibly well written, making them all strong characters, not all like able, but all a key feature in their own right. The matriarch of the bird family-Lorelei-begins each novel just before the present day with an email to an Internet lover, this proves to be a platform for many of the bird family secrets to be released. We also have dad Colin who has his own dramas going on from tales told when the children were little, right up until present day. The children in the family, Meg, Beth (yes meg and Beth, very little women, love it!) and twins Rhys and Rory. All the children and parents have various partners that play important roles in the story too, but these characters all have their own issues and their own insecurities which contribute to this wonderful twisting tale.

The story is not written in chronological order, each section begins with an email between Lorelei and her Internet lover Jim, and then jumps about from time to time. The passage immediately following the email is always set in the present day (April 2011) and then we are taken back to various Easter Sundays from the last, sometimes in the UK, sometimes in other parts of the world. Now I am not always a fan or novels that jump about between times, but I find that it is something Lisa Jewell does incredibly well, and in this case, it was entirely necessary so that the complexity of this tale could be fully realised.

I really like that fact that each of the characters has their own drama to deal with, and none of them just sit at the side, an innocent bystander. The children become independent, as do their parents, and I found it really interesting the ways in which each of them chose to live their lives. I could go on and on about each of the dramas, but I don't want to give anything away, just be assured, that if you think it MIGHT  happen, it probably will, and to the extreme.

If you have never read anything by this author before, this is the one to start with. It will definitely keep you entertained this summer and you don't need to know anything about her previous work to enjoy this fabulous summer drama. Be warned that there might be some tears, but on the whole you will Find yourself unable to refrain from turning the pages, as I did, long into the night! 

To get your copy of The House We Grew Up In click here

To follow this fabulous author in twitter just follow

I will be attending a Lisa Jewell/Jenny Colgan event this time next week, so if you have any comments or questions leave them below and I will try to include them in my write up of this, what is sure to be fabulous, evening! 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Review! About A Girl by Lindsey Kelk

I’d lost my job. I’d lost the love of my life. My mum wasn’t talking to me. My best friend was epically pissed off. And my flatmate probably had a hit out on me by now. I never meant for things to get so out of hand…

Tess Brookes has always been a Girl with a Plan. But when her carefully constructed Plan goes belly up, she’s forced to reconsider.

After accidentally answering her flatmate Vanessa’s phone, she decides that since being Tess isn’t going so well, why shouldn’t she try out being Vanessa? With nothing left to lose, she accepts Vanessa’s photography assignment to Hawaii – she used to be an amateur snapper, how hard can it be? Right?

But Tess is soon in big trouble – she isn’t a photographer, she isn’t Vanessa, and the gorgeous journalist on the shoot with her, who is making it very clear he’d like to get into her pants, is an egotistical monster.

Far from home and in someone else’s shoes, Tess must decide whether to fight on through, or ‘fess up and run…

Well you saw what happened when I went to get my copy of this signed, and met its lovely author, now here's what happened when I actually read the book...

Review: I was very excited about the release of this new novel from Lindsey Kelk, i am a massive fan of her writing and so I was looking forward to another stand alone novel from her, having loved The Single Girl's to do List. We are thrown straight into the action, with our main character losing her job, her boyfriend and not receiving the support she might have expected from her family. I love a book that throws you right into the action to begin with and so I was hooked right from the word go.

The character of Tess was fabulous. She was pretty spontaneous and yet often lived to regret her decision afterwards, but ultimately, she did what many of us would love to do-she was selfish! She decided that she had had enough of her bad luck whilst trying to please everybody else, and took matters into her own hands, jetting off to sunny Hawaii, taking advantage of her horrible flat ate and ditching her friends in the process. This made me really warm to her and I found her very pleasant to spend a novel with!

Lindsey Kelk always writes a rather fabulous beat friend too, and this novel is no exception to the rule. Tess has two best friends, one of whom she happens to be in love with, or so she thinks, and the other of whom is a fun, fearless female. At one point in the novel best friend Amy takes no horrible flat ate Vanessa, wearing a snoopy t-shirt and hot pink knee-high socks! I love her for this! Tess also gains another BFF when she arrives in Hawaii, in the form of Paige, a creative from the magazine she is loosing as Vanessa for. She soon takes on the role of Amy in Tess's Hawaiian life, and leads mot some interesting storylines for the both of them!

I can't go any further without mentioning the fabulous setting! Whilst this book begins in the UK, it quickly moves over to a tropical Hawaii island where Tess indulges in fabulous cocktails, long walks on they beach and boat rides around the island. To say I was jealous was an understatement! But to say I was jealous, shows just how well the setting is laid out to me as a reader, I felt like I was there on the beach with Tess. It was perfect reading for this spell of hot weather.

This is definitely another hit for Ms Kelk! It has fabulous characters, a great storyline and a delicious setting, it is the perfect read for summer and definitely something people will enjoy, whether they are a fan of this author already or not. The BEST part of the book for me though, was the ending. This novel actually ends on a cliffhanger...Tess has some big decisions to make and Lindsey had admitted herself, sap that even she doesn't know what decision is going to win! We will just have to wait until next summer for the next book to find out! 

If you haven't read Lindsey Kelk before, this is great place to start. You can click here to buy the book.

You can also follow Lindsey on twitter 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors who Deserve More Recognition

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I love the theme this week, such a great idea! There are some amazing authors out there who write some great novels but don't get the kind of mainstream recognition that they deserve. So here goes my top ten of them...

1. Nicola May. This is a fabulous author (see my previous interview with her) my favourite of get novels is definitely The School Gates-if you haven't read this you need to now!

2. Linda Green. This author has written some really great novels. Her latest novel The Mummyfesto was thoraghlu entertaining and thought provoking in equal measure!

3. Kirsty Greenwood. Her debut novel Yours Truly was awesomely funny and is just about to come out in paperback-let's give it some love!

4. Emma Garcia. I loved Never Google Heartbreak (you can tell from my review) and yet I meet so many people who haven't read it! Definitely one to watch!

5. Sophie Hart. Her debut novel The Naughty Girls Book Club was BRILLIANT-this lady needs some more recognition for such a fab debut!

6. Dana Bate. The Secret Supper Club has to be one of the best books I've read this year, she definitely needs some more recognition as a fabulous author.

7. Holly Smale. Everyone has heard of Geek Girl but no one seems to realise what a fab message it is sending out to young girls (and boys) plus it has no swearing in it which makes it amazing for use in schools!
8. Lucy Robinson. I think this author is truly underrated and yet she has the ability to create truly shaggable male characters and make you guffaw with laughter at the same time! Buy her books now!
9. Alice Peterson. I love love loved Monday To Friday Man-such a fab novel and her new novel By My Side features a disable heroine-this author is brave and funny all rolled together. Definitely a hidden gem!
10. Kitty Charles. I know that this isn't one author, but a group of authors, but really The Arcade is a monthly MUST READ! So many people haven't discovered this monthly serial but it's a soap opera on every page! You should definitely give this one some more recognition!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Lindsey Kelk About A Girl Signing

On Saturday I travelled on a hot and sticky tube over to Westfield Stratford-why? To go and get my copy of the fabulous new Novel About A Girl signed by the wonderful author herself-Lindsey Kelk!

This was the second time I had met Lindsey in this particular shopping centre (she signed my copy of I Heart London here last year) and she was just as lovely on this occasion!

We had a lovely chat, she complimented my hair and she also signed my friends copy of I Heart New York. Everyone seemed to be having a nice chat with this great author but the line was still moving nice and swiftly.

My review if this fabulous summer read will be posted on Wednesday (I hope) so pop back then to find out what I thought if the novel!

Thanks to Lindsey for signing my novel and being so lovely, and thanks to the team that put on this wonderful author event!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Mini review: The Arcade Episode 7-July

You are cordially invited to the Wedding of the Year...

Leandro di Resta is starting to regret agreeing to design celebrity WAG Sheridan Kinsey's wedding dress. She changes her mind more often than most people blink, doesn't show up for fittings and is by far the most vulgar and brassy person he's ever met. But with an eight page spread in a glossy magazine dangling in front of him, Leandro knows he has to keep her happy.

Tabloid journalists are sniffing around, desperate to get their hands on the wedding plans. Can Leandro get everything to the church on time? Or is he about to hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons?

Of course, it being wedding season, this months arcade HAD to cover the arches resident bridal shop! Could it be any other way? This months episode had a very different feel to it. There wasn't as much movement around the arcade, only the one visit to the arcade restaurant and not as many characters playing starring roles, although most of them did manage to get a visit in somewhere along the line-naturally! Despite it having a slightly different feel to it, this was still a great episode, it felt good to be in the hallowed halls of the arcade ones again, catching up with Faith, Danny, Marilyn and the rest of the gang! 

As always there is high drama in this months offering, with celebrity gossip a plenty. There are some classic celebrity demands from our WAG bride, and there is heartache when it is discovered just WHO has been leaking those wedding dress pictures to the press! I would have loved to have seen a little more interaction with the other characters in this episode, but we are treated to the resolve of the Danny romance from last months instalment (no spoilers here) although I have an inkling that the way it is left in July isn't the way it is always going to remain...

If you HAVEN'T discovered the monthly joy that is The Arcade yet-you simply must! It is so much fun every month it literally is like a Christmas special of a soap on every single page. The characters are well-written and well-developed, the plots spectacular and the whole theme of it, actually packs some decent family values and genuinely heartwarming friendship lessons! This months is no expedition to that-although the march episode is still very much the best for me. I suggest you download this gem of a month saga now, and get as hooked on this fabulous idea as I am!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Review! The French For Love by Fiona Valpy

Gina has lost her perfect job, her boyfriend and her favourite aunt all within the space of a few months.

So when she inherits her aunt’s ramshackle French house, Gina decides to pack her bags for the Bordeaux countryside – swapping the miserable English weather for blue skies, sunshine, great wine and a fresh start. 

What she hasn’t factored in is a hole in the roof, the most embarrassing language faux pas, and discovering family secrets that she was never supposed to know.

Suddenly feeling a long way from home, Gina will have to rely on new found friends, her own hard work – and Cédric – her charming, mysterious and très handsome new stonemason. 

But whilst desire needs no translation, love is a different matter. Can Gina overcome the language barrier to make her French dream come true?

Review: this is the perfect summer read! It was just the right amount of warmth and exotic location for this British summer. I loved the idea of the story, someone escaping to France and it was just as enjoyable as I expected! We are introduced to Gina and her hopeless situation straight away, and I loved her as a character. She is a strong person who knows that she has to get away in order to sort her life out. I like the fact that she has lost her job and so she is trying to further her education as well-an admirable quality! 

At the start of the book, the plot does tend to jump from time zone to time zone, moving back to moments before Gina had lost her job and before she had come out to France. Initially I found this to be a little confusing, but after a while the book got into its flow and told Gina's story in a more chronological way. The ending of the book was a slight down point for me, however, I felt like the events that happen at the end of the story, where everything is being resolved, could have been stretched over a longer time, it all felt a bit rushed. In other words, I think that this book could have been another 50 pages or so long. Although this part of the book did feel a little hurried, it didn't affect my enjoyment overall...

Of course the real star of this book is the setting! I love books with well-described settings and this is no expception to that. The French landscape is described in detail, as is the house/villa that Gina has inherited from her aunt. As there is building work going on in the house and as Gina travels around the region visiting people and tasting wines, we are treated to even more fabulous description-lucky us! 

I would definitely recommend this book as a summer read to anyone. The heat of the sun here would combat any british summer blues, or indeed compliment an unexpected heat wave. This is definitely one to pack in your suitcase. A little bit of romance, a nice glass of wine and a wonderful summer setting. A good summer read! 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Adventures With Words: My Monday Night Saviour!

Last autumn I made a discovery that would change my Monday nights, a night normally tiring and miserable it being the beginning of the week and all, forever. That discovery was the fantastic podcast-Adventures with Words. I first discovered them because we were both at a bloggers event at Simon and Schuster publishers back in October and I happened upon their podcast covering the event when I was doing my own write-up of the night.

Rob and Kate cover so many aspects of the written word in all it's forms on their podcast that it truly is a different listen every week. They are a great outlet for information about future releases. They repo vide an excellent commentary on what they are currently reading and cover all of the long and short lists for any f the major fiction prizes. I really enjoy some of their discussion topics about short stories and about film adaptations, and have been known to talk out loud to their podcast whilst listening to something I really agree/disagree with, (sometimes in the bath!)

They did an outside recording covering an event in their hometown for World Book Night which was a bumper podcast but which I found really enjoyable, and now they are gearing up for their next big 'adventure' a live event-The Great British Book Off. Hosted by Rob, an invited panel of big names and familiar faces from Colchester’s arts, culture and political scenes will be advocating their favourite British book, explaining why they think it’s a Great British classic, and reading their favourite. The winning panellist will be awarded the inauragural Great British Book-Off certificate. It sounds super exciting, and although I can't go unfortunately, I will leave details at the bottom of the page for anyone who might be interested. I emailed Kate and Rob because I wanted to find out some more details about how this fabulous podcast started, they also sent me a lovely picture of themselves to you could see the faces behind the voices, here's what they had to say... 

Firstly, I'd really like to know how you started the podcast, why you chose a podcast over just a written blog, or indeed, a vlog?

Rob started Adventures With Words as a cooperative blog with a couple of friends but it had all gone a bit quiet before we restarted it.  However, he had always wanted to try a podcast, as he's been a big fan of things like DiggNation, where people started a podcast based on a news-sharing website, then even a live broadcast.  I had a radio show on the student radio station, Purple FM, while I was at university, so I knew a little bit about mice, desks, faders and so on, so we thought we'd give it a try.  Fifty five episodes later, here we are!  I'm not sure whether we'd want to do a blog, as these tend to be a bit shorter and I think we both feel we can do the discussion justice in writing or audio.

How are you feeling leading up to the live event?

We're both excited but obviously a bit nervous too.  Earlier in the year, we recorded The Big Bookbang, Colchester's World Book Night event and exchange, but this is the first time we've actually organised and hosted the event ourselves.  Rob will be hosting solo, because I'm away with work, so he's got a bit more responsibility on the day, but I've been doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes emailing and organising.  It looks like it's all coming together nicely now, so fingers crossed.

What are you hoping the live event will achieve and would you like to do more in the future?

Rob and I both really enjoy festivals and going to events like this, so we'd like to put something on that others will enjoy, plus it's great being involved with our local creative community.  We'd obviously love to get some more readers for the blog and listeners for the podcast, but we'd also like to make more face-to-face contact with people who already listen.  Eventually, we'd love to take the event to larger local, maybe even national, festivals.
What kinds of books do you both Like to read and review?

We've just updated our review policy, and just recorded a podcast about comfort reading and reading outside our comfort zones, so we've both been thinking a lot about this recently.  Rob really enjoys thrillers and espionage, as well as World War adventures.  I really like detective and police procedurals, but my first loves are science fiction and fantasy as well as young adult fiction.  That said, we both do enjoy literary fiction as well.  We're reading HHhH by Laurent Binet for our Book of the Month.

What's next for Adventures With Words?

Rob and I are off to Latitude Festival, where we're hoping to take in plenty of the discussions in the Literary Arena but also plenty of music, drama and comedy too.  We're planning to report back from the festival, keep podcasting and blogging, and who knows, maybe we'll be on the bill of a festival next summer…  We're looking at using YouTube more - we've got a channel so we'd like to start sharing clips and videos - and we may even launch our own Adventures With Words app.

You can visit adventures with words on their web page where you will find links to each weeks podcast as well as additional articles and blog posts, just click here.

You can subscribe to the podcast through I tunes, OR you can listen to them on British Public Radio.

If you are interested in going to the Great British Book Off, it's completely free and is on this Saturday (13th July) 12pm-1:30pm at the Lightbulb festival, 15 Queen Street, Colchester, Essex.

You can follow adventures with words on Twitter , or Rob , or Kate . And you can also like their page on Facebook to keep informed of everything that's going on with them.

Thanks to Rob and Kate for answering my questions and also for keeping me entertained on a Monday night!  

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I love this weeks top ten as there are so many great movie adaptations, as well as quite a few which definitely didn't do the book justice! I hope I'll cover a nice mixed bag here...

1. One Day, any followers of the blog will know that I am a massive One Day Fan, and indeed a David Nicolls fan! I was very very excited about the movie, no one else I knew fancied going to see it with me even though it had fabulous stars and as based in this awesome book. I was sooooooo disappointed in the movie. It completely did NOT do the book justice and in the end, I was glad that no one had come with me, they would have wasted their money! 

2. I think the adaptations of Bridget Jones were just as funny as the book. The great thing is that they can stand on their own and significantly brilliant chick flicks, and the book can remain one of my favourite books of all time. Definitely a good adaptation!

3. pride and Prejudice. Now this has two sides. I have a very well-worn copy of the TV adaptation of this fabulous novel with Colin Firth, I loved that...however, the Kiera Knightly film version released more recently I thought was terrible, this adaptation has two sides...

4. This book was originally published as 'Twenty Times a Lady' I read it and loved it, and it was only when I read the synopsis of the film, that I realised it was the same story. I loved the book. I loved the film. Great stuff! 

5. Another movie adaptation I loved! Just like Bridget Jones, this film stands of it's own as a good chick flick, Meryl Streep made a fabulous Miranda Priestly! 

6. The film adaptation of Little Women with Winowna Rider is one of my go-to comfort films that I love to watch when it sad, or I'll (despite the Beth situation) and so I think this is a fabulous adaptations! 

7. This is another one where the TV adaptation is much better than the film adaptation...The TV show is a firms favourite of mine, and one that I watch again and again, but both of the films were decidedly lacking. I would LOVE to see more of Candace Bushnells novels made into films and can't wait to see the TV version of the Carrie Diaries here in the Uk! 

8. I loved this book as my followers will know. I really liked the film starring Isla Fisher, I don't think the film did the book justice though. I think fans of the books were somewhat disappointed by this adapatation, but as a film in its own rights, it was a good, fun chick flick...

9. I thought this was a brilliant adaptation, I would go as far as to say that the movie version if In Her Shoes was even more enjoyable than the novel, for me, and that's saying a lot! 

10. finally another of my major comfort films, at Christmas, or when I'm ill, I love The Railways Children. This is another one where I think that I love the film even more than the book. The book, for a child, is just a bit wordy, a bit like Five Children and It. But the film version of the railways children opens this story up to a much wider range of viewers who will then become readers of the book when they are able to cope with this complex sentences, and wordy descriptions.

There are so many more film adaptations I could include in this list, but I must stop at 10, am hoping there will be a free week soon where I can cover further novels made into films. Leave me a link to your list, and if you've got any comments, I'd love to hear from you below!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Review! The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell

On a sultry summer’s day in 1980, five friends stumble upon an abandoned lakeside cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. For Kat and her friends, it offers an escape; a chance to drop out for a while, with lazy summer days by the lake and intimate winter evenings around the fire. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise and when an unexpected visitor appears at their door, nothing will be the same again.

Three decades later, Lila arrives at the same remote cottage. With her marriage in crisis, she finds solace in renovating the tumbledown house. Little by little she wonders about the previous inhabitants. How did they manage in such isolation? Why did they leave in such a hurry, with their belongings still strewn about? Most disturbing of all, why can t she shake the feeling that someone might be watching her?

The Shadow Year is a story of secrets, tragedy, lies and betrayal. It’s a tale that explores the light and dark of human relationships and the potential the past has to not only touch our present, but also to alter our future.

Review: I was sent this book for review because it had been recommended to me, as an amazing book. To begin with I wasn’t so sure, because I found it really hard to get into. I love a dual narrative, and the fact that this book follows not only, lonely Lila, but also a group of five young people, obviously residing in the same cottage, but 3 decades apart, means that it has a really strong dual narrative. However, something about the beginning of the book really didn’t stick with me. When got about 70 pages in, things really started to get going and I was hooked!

I really enjoyed Lila’s side of the story. She had been dealing with a great deal of grief in her life, obviously slipping into a deep depression, and the cottage, which was left to her by an anonymous stranger, provided a lifeline, somewhere for her to channel her grief and energy and also get her life into line in peace and quiet.

The group of friends, I found less likeable, but their storyline was highly dramatic, and this I really enjoyed. They are a group of friends, in the middle of nowhere trying to do their own thing, you know things are going to go awry right from the word go. I struggled to like any of the characters. I thought Simon was too controlling, Kat could have been a much stronger woman, and she could have stepped up for what she believed in and challenged Simon when he tried to take things over. It is her struggle with this, however, that provides the lynchpin for the story, and so it’s a good thing that I found this frustrating in her as a character.

From the turning point of the book, the drama comes in spades, readers should be aware of this… There are arguments and revelations, cheating partners, illicit sex, hidden notes, guns, and family feuds. This is all FABULOUS! I really enjoyed the story unravelling in front of me and loose ends coming together, I found myself desperate to get hold of the book and read some more. And then the ending! WOW! It was so dramatic and shocking, right down to the last few words of the epilogue! Be warned readers, things are not as they many seem!

I think that although this book has a slightly slower start, and is a big read, you should preserved because what you will get at the end of it is a beautifully written tale, with a gorgeous setting, some really different and interesting characters, and the kind of fulfilment that can only come with a ‘five course meal’ kind of novel like this one. This is the perfect read to see you through the summer holidays, or indeed lead you into the autumn habit of curling up all cosy with a fabulous novel, such as this!