Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Were Hard For Me to Read 30/9/14

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!

This is a difficult one. I've done books dealing with thought topics quite recently so I think I'll do books that were hard to read because I just struggled to get into them. They're likely to be more recent books and I finished each and every one of them. Just because they were hard to get into doesn't mean they weren't good. Here goes...

1. The Rosie effect by Graeme Simison

2. The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

3. If You Were Me by SheilaO'Flanagan 


4. The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

5. The Diamond Ring by Primula Bond

6. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

7. Every Woman For Herself by Trisha Ashley

8. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

9. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

10. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

As I say. None of these books are bad in any way, they just took me a while to get into/get through and this shouldn't influence your choosing these books or indeed enjoying them! 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Review: Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) has stars in her eyes. She and her daughter, Minnie, have joined husband Luke in LA—city of herbal smoothies and multimillion-dollar yoga retreats and the lure of celebrity. Luke is there to help manage the career of famous actress Sage Seymour—and Becky is convinced she is destined to be Sage’s personal stylist, and go from there to every A-list celebrity in Hollywood! Red carpet here she comes!
But things become complicated when Becky joins the team of Sage’s archrival without telling Luke. Will her ambition to make it in Hollywood cost too much?

Review: It was great to be back in the world of Becky Brandon again, remembering how much she has made me laugh over the years it just felt so uplifting to be back with such a familiar character. You dive right into the storyline with Becky, as you always do and starting off right in the middle of everything is always a sure-fire way of getting me hooked into a book right away. The storyline is like that the whole way through. Events aren't always necessarily built up, they just come along and happen. If you aren't familiar with the world of Becky and the way things go in that world then this could be a little disconcerting, but if you know Becky like fans of the Sophie Kinsella will, then you're used to this structure and will be swept along with the story the way I was.

Becky is just so lovable as a character, she is ditzy and always takes things one step too far, i imagine she would have been a nightmare to teach, but we love her for it because she always means well and she tries to do everything right for those around her, for Suze and for Luke and now for her daughter Minnie too! Becky's dad features in this one which I found to be a bit of a surprise and we never actually find out what exact role he plays in the book, which was a little frustrating.

The story began to slow down a little towards the end for me, I found the last hundred pages dragged a little bit as if they had been written at a separate time to the beginning of the book which seemed to race along as a great reading pace. I don't know if it was perhaps the overly glamorous part of the storyline and so that's why it was a little more difficult for me to relate to or if it was supposed to slow down a little at this point in the story but i struggled a little bit to reach the finishing line.

The ending of this novel was rather abrupt. I fell I am left with far more questions than answers and I'm not quite sure why it was left in this way. It has left it open for another Shopaholic novel and one which will have to be a direct sequel to this novel. No other novels in this series have been left on such a cliffhanger and I'm not sure I'm very happy. Its a shame that the book left me feeling this way because i loved the first 75% of it and i love the series and Becky as a character, but the ending just left me actually shouting at the book and closing it with a certain vigour which i don't normally allow myself to use towards books. Overall I enjoyed the book and I enjoyed reading about Becky's latest escapades but I don't leave the story feeling satisfied or fulfilled. I love Sohpie Kinsella and I love Becky Brandon but I need some answers from this book and I need them soon!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Review: You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that's the problem.

Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it...

Review: this book does that wonderful thing of basically being set over one day but also being set over several years due to the flashbacks, but whilst some books can be confusing when there are a lot of flashbacks to cope with, this book is structured so well that the flashbacks don't cause any confusing at all. You know what age the characters are at the start of each chapter and you know which character has the narrative because you are told at the beginning and each new section is punctuated by the grooms speech at Maddy's wedding. I thought this was really clever!

The storyline itself isn't anything particularly new or exciting, but if you're looking for that predictable love triangle kind of novel then you will definitely like this book. the predictability doesn't just come at the end it is the entire way through which is what stopped me from giving this book five stars really because I loved everything else about it. There are some shocking moments and some real aww moments, what you would expect from a coming of age type novel. I thought the friendship between the three of them came across really nicely and couple picture the three of them having a laugh together!

I liked the characters on the whole, despite their flaws, but they were extremely well-written because they did actually have flaws. I though Ben was rather dramatic and Maddy a little ditzy and Robert came off as selfish at times but this means that they actually seemed human. Well done to Giovanna Fletcher for writing characters who have flaws and therefore making them leap off the page as if they were actually real life individuals!

This book ends with an epilogue which is one of my favourite things and it is a fair way into the future as well. I was worried for a moment that there was going to be a death, with it being so far ahead but it was ok and it just wrapped things up nicely for me. Overall I enjoyed reading this novel and would recommend it to fans of women's fiction, If you're not normally a fan of the genre though, I'd say that this book isn't for you as it has all the classic traits of this genre, perfect if you love that, not so much if you don't. I did laugh and I did cry and I could recognise moments from my own life so I am grateful to this author for writing something so real. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Review: One Step Closer To You by Alice Peterson

After Polly ends her relationship with the father of her young son, Louis, she is determined to move on. All she wants is to focus on her job, her friends and to be a good mum. No more looking over her shoulder. No more complications...
Then Polly meets Ben.
Ben is guardian of his niece, Emily. They become close, with Polly teaching Ben how to plait Emily's hair, and Ben playing football with Louis. Their friendship is unexpected. Polly’s never been happier.
But when Louis's dad reappears in their life, all Polly’s mistakes come back to haunt her and her resolve weakens when he swears he has changed.
Will she give herself a second chance to love?

Review: I really enjoyed this book. Once i got going with it, I absolutely raced through to the finish, staying up late to complete it. It was a bit of a slow start for me but i think that this is possibly because this book jumps around in time and once you get to used to the shift every chapter, you really settle into it. Initially, I wasn't sure who was who or where in time I was. The chapters are each headed up with what year you are in though and I think that overall, it was an excellent way to structure the book, because eventually you are brought up to date and the two storylines become one. 

I liked Polly as a character, she made some bad choices in her life but then we all do so that shows she is only human. Thank you to the lovely Alice Peterson for writing something who isn't perfect and has the same human qualities as us all. I think that she is a really strong character as well as soon as she is able to see the light and take her life into her own hands. The supporting characters in the book are also great. Her brother Hugo is lovely and funny, her son Louis also provides for some very funny moments and the older members of her family all add to the juiciness of the storyline! Matthew, as a character, made me really uncomfortable, but then that is all part of the plot of the book and so that is a good thing, I didn't necessarily like reading about him though-but again his character was so human that he could've been real!

Ben and Emily are just lovely, you'll really find yourself rooting for them as you read the book. He is just so clueless and she is just tooooo cute. Some of the things she says just broke my heart and Ben broke my heart as well in one particular bit, but she is awesome for dancing in the mud with!

The storyline deals with addiction and abuse but in a very sensitive way and it really is not what the book is all about, there is friendship and love and strength and cooking in the book as well. I think initially i preferred the flashbacks to the present day storyline but when they both come together I think I liked them equally, both contributing to Polly's life story, her decisions and her future. I really really enjoyed this book. Alice Peterson has a real way with storytelling and every one of her books has had me racing to the end, desperate to know what as going to happen and I am sure you will find the same thing when you pick up this lovely lovely novel!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Review: A Song For Issy Bradley by Carys Bray

The Bradleys see the world as a place where miracles are possible, and where nothing is more important than family. This is their story.

It is the story of Ian Bradley—husband, father, math teacher, and Mormon bishop—and his unshakeable belief that everything will turn out all right if he can only endure to the end, like the pioneers did. It is the story of his wife, Claire, her lonely wait for a sign from God, and her desperate need for life to pause while she comes to terms with tragedy.

And it is the story of their children: sixteen-year-old Zippy, experiencing the throes of first love; cynical fourteen-year-old Al, who would rather play soccer than read the Book of Mormon; and seven-year-old Jacob, whose faith is bigger than a mustard seed—probably bigger than a toffee candy, he thinks—and which he’s planning to use to mend his broken family with a miracle.

Intensely moving, unexpectedly funny, and deeply observed, A Song for Issy Bradley explores the outer reaches of doubt and faith, and of a family trying to figure out how to carry on when the innermost workings of their world have broken apart.

Review: I love the blurb for this book, it gives absolutely nothing away! It's going to be a lot harder to give nothing away in my review but I'll give it a go... Firstly, I love any book that teachers me something and this book taught me so much. I knew very little about the Mormon Faith before reading this book, despite doing religious studies as part of my degree) and now I feel I know so much more about the beliefs, the dynamic and the feelings of the Mormon community and so I already love this book for giving that to me. 

The characters are another things I loved bout this book. I don't love any of the characters more than the others, I don't really think I necessarily liked them, but then are so well written and so genuinely portrayed on the page, they feel like real life people who could actually be living next door to me. The structure of the book is that each of them gets a chapter every now and then and you really feel your sympathy switching to whichever character it is you're reading about as the novel progresses. This is an amazing feat of writing and one which I very much admire. This sometimes made me feel a little uncomfortable but I therefore applaud the book for challenging my securities as I read! 

The structure and characters are fantastic but the storyline is also good. It only takes place over a couple of months, I would've liked for it to have spanned a bit of a longer time period but I think that the short amount of time covered means that you do feel that intense relationship with the characters and everything they are going through. The things that actually happen in the book had me laughing and crying, thinking and as I said at the beginning, learning things too, I found it a fairly exhilarating read and yet conforting and emotionally draining in points too-this is clearly something special for tat reason alone! 

I have to say I really found the ending of this book difficult to cope with. The ending becomes just a little bit cryptic and very very dark and I'm still not sure now exactly how it all ended. One side of me interprets the ending one way and the other part of me interprets the complete opposite, I kind of hate that and love that in equal measure. I know I've not talked in great detail abut anything that went on in this book but that's because I really don't want to spoil it for you whe you come to read it. This is anything but a light read but something I really did enjoy, don't let the religious aspect out you off, it really isn't shoved down your throat at any point in this novel, it is very much character driven and very much something to be enjoyed and savoured. 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Autumn TBR pile 23/9/14

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!

An exciting one this week, there are waaaaay more than 10 books I'd like to include so this list is by no means definitive! Some of the books are so shiny new that they don't have pictures yet too...

1. The Woman Who Stole My life by Marian Keyes

2. I'll take New York by Miranda Dickinson

3. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simison

4. Shopaholic to The Stars by Sophie Kinsella

5. One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson

6. The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan

7. From Notting Hill With Four Weddings Actually by Ali Macnamara 

8. Secret Santa by Scarlet Bailey

9. I Will Marry George Cloony by Christmas by Tracy Bloom

10. Darcy Burdock Book 4 by Laura Dockrill (don't have a release date for this one!)

I think you'll agree that all the covers we have seen are beautifully gorgeous and I'm sure most of these are on your TBR piles too. If they aren't then they need to be because they all sound amazing! 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Review-One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond

If journalist Anna had to write up the story of her own life, it wouldn’t make for a great headline: Dull Journo Has Dull Boyfriend! The only mystery in Anna’s life is that she’s never known who her dad is but with her mum refusing to tell her more she’s at a dead end. When she accidentally comes across a clue that her father is Italian, it opens up a burning curiosity in Anna. Soon she’s cooking Italian food, signing up for an Italian class and even considering dusting off her passport to go and find her dad in person… 
Sophie is serving gelato to tourists in Italy when she gets the call that her father has had a serious heart attack. In a rush, she grabs her well-worn backpack and heads back to the one place she’s been avoiding for so long – home. Living with her mum again while her dad recuperates, and taking a job teaching Italian to make ends meet, Sophie has to face up to the secrets she’s kept buried in the past. 

Catherine has no idea what the future holds. Her children have left for university, her husband has left her for another woman and her bank account is left empty after dedicating her life to raising her family. She needs a job and an identity all of a sudden. At an Italian evening class she makes a start in finding new friends Anna and Sophie. And she’s going to need good friends when she discovers her husband’s lies run even deeper than his infidelity… As Anna embarks on the trip to Italy that could answer all of her questions, will the truth live up to her dreams?

Review: ooo this was a lovely lovely book. I connected with the characters and the storyline right from the word go. I loved the setting, I loved the structure and I loved the way everything was resolved at the end. Because this book centres around three different women, initially the book is structured so we visit one woman at a time and see her storyline (Anna's was my favourite storyline intially because I loved the connection that she had with Italy) but of course these women's lives become intertwined and so we get to visit them altogether after a point as well as sometimes apart when they are off gallivanting on their own. Although it as a little predictable that they would all end up joking together, I really needed that predictability and so I loved it, and I really enjoyed the way the story was structured, it made it very clear whose storyline was being addressed. The storyline I liked the least intially was Spphie's but I grew to enjoy seeing her continue to build upon her relationship with her parents as the book went on. 

The characters in this novel were really believable and easy to like, the whole book had a real Milly Johnson feel about it and although I'm not normally one to compare authors, she is one of my favourites and so I think that's one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much! Sophie has been living the dream, travelling the world and the reality when she comes back hom hits her hard. Think this is something we can all identify with, even if it's just from having been on holiday, but those people who have travelled or have worked abroad will be able to connect with the lovely Sophie too. Anna's story is lovely, she seems to get the break at work which is fab, there's definitely romance in the air for her too and then there's her mysterious connection with Italy. She handles all the is thrown at her extremely well and I really liked her and her storyline because of this. Someone else who has a lot thrown at her is Catherine. I don't think initially she handled all that she had to cope with as well as Anna but it was really interesting to see her grow and blossom as the book went on and I think, in the end, I was rooting for her the most! 

There are a host of fabulous supporting characters as well, my favourite of these was Pete with his interesting array of spreadsheets. I loved the way this author wrote him and gave him his comeuppance in the end!  The book ties everything altogether nicely in the last few chapters and then in the wonderful epilogue and so some might find the predictability of this a little too much and too full on, but this was just the kind of book I wanted to read and so I loved the fact that everything was tied off neatly, I wouldn't have gone to a book like this if that wasn't what I fancied but predictability is on the high side, so if that's not what you're in the mood for then save this book for another time. 

For a book with Italy in the title, very little of it is actually set in Italy, but a lot of it is set in the north with I loved. I like being able to identify landmarks and towns (as well as shopping centres) when I'm reading a novel sometimes and so the setting for me was absolutely perfect! This book gave me a real warmth of feeling and was just the right amount of coziness for a summer novel. If you are a fan of Lucy Diamon then you won't be disappointed by this latest offering and if you're looking for a real solid, fun, feel-good women's fiction read then this novel is for you-it may even improve your Italian! Now I am gong to go and add a couple more Lucy Diamond books to my collection! 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Letterbox Love #16

Welcome to Letterbox Love, this is a UK meme, hosted by the lovely Lynsey at Narratively Speaking and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This post is a means by which to highlight the books we get in the post and beyond, and especially to bring attention to those books which may be sat on our shelves for a little while yet that we love all the same.

I've received some fab books in the post this week, or via email & I want to share them all with you now!

The love people at Avon sent me a much-anticipated proof of Miranda Dickinson's Ill Take New York. I'm excited about this book for so many reasons. It's a sort of sequel toFairytale Of New York which I LOVE and also, I'm in it-how cool is that?!

I'm going to organise a read along of Fairytale in the run up to the release of this novel on 4th December so keep your eyes peeled for that-I don't know if ill be able to wait though!


I also received The King's Sister by Anne O'Brien from the lovely people at Mira/Harlequin. It's so shiny & so huge, it's going to be a real monster to try & get through!

From the lovely Joel at Quercus I received an audio copy of The Honeymoon Hotel by Hester Browne, I'm really looking forward to this, it's going to be my next listen! 

Finally, I bought myself a copy of Where she Went by Gayle Forman. It took a while to come but finally arrived this week. I've been wanting to read this since I read If I Stay and I managed to get the matching cover which I just lovely! 

How lush is that? I think you'll agree that my book haul this week is pretty special. Keep an eye out for news of the Fairytale Of New York Readalong details in the run up to Ill Take New York publication day in December. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

Review: The Beginner's Guide To The Birds And The Bees by Sophie Hart

What happens in the bedroom doesn’t have to stay in the bedroom
A refreshingly open and uplifting romantic comedy about friendship, love and sex. Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone in order to give a relationship a good dose of TLC…

Sex therapist Annie Hall helps couples put the fizz back into their relationships. It’s a shame her own love life is non-existent. When Jamie who works next door catches her eye, she can’t ignore the spark of chemistry.

Most men would jump at the chance to skive off work for an afternoon quickie with their gorgeous wife, but Nick knows Julia is after only one thing – a baby. Sex shouldn’t be a chore. Can Annie help Julia see that?

Newly engaged Zoe and Simon can’t keep their hands off each other. They’ve decided to take a vow of celibacy until their wedding night. Will Annie help them stick to it?

Roy and Linda have been married for over thirty years but she’s more interested in the family business than getting intimate with him. Can Annie convince Linda to rediscover her passion for Roy after all this time?

While Annie begins to work her magic with the three couples, she soon discovers that she’ll need to take some of her own advice if she’s going to let a new man into her life.

Review: this book will have you hooked for the first page and keep your attention right until the very last page! I love an original storyline and this book definitely had that. This author just writes things which are incredibly compelling to read because of the storyline but also because of her writing style, its like she knows how you want to read a novel and makes it easier for you! Each chapter of this book begins with a quote about sex from a famous name and then leads into the stories of its various characters. The structure means that it is fast paced and that naughtiness and sex appeal runs through ti without it being overly explicit or erotic. Yes, its a book about sex and a sex therapist, but there is actually very little sex that explicitly goes on in the story!

The characters in this novel are just so cute you want to wrap them up and take them home, you root for each and every one of them, especially sex therapist Annie. You want her to sort her own love life out and have a fulfilling relationship and at the same time you admire her for the work that she does with others and the ideas that she has to help the clients that she sees! The other couples in the book are equally as likeable. Zoe and Simon are just so young and carefree, Simon has some fairly surprising moment in the book but you love him all the same. Ray and Linda are just desperate to get their spark back and although Linda comes off as a bit of a cold fish initially, she soon warms to Annie and the other characters as well! and Julia and Nick have a similar balance in that Julia is reluctant to begin with but soon comes round to Nick's way of thinking, and that's just the beginning of the book, this storyline swoops and twists its way to the grand finale. 

The structure of the novel also means that you get to spend time with each set of couples individually as well as en mass and it means that you really get to know them all and feel as if you actually know them in real life. Even Annie's family get to play a part! Fear not, there really is no explicit sex on this novel though, there are some incredibly steamy moments because, let's face it, Annie is a sex therapist, but these are tasteful and hopeful and brilliant! I loved the ending of this novel, the whole thing was just everything I wanted it to be, the pace, the structure, the characters and then this lovely author threw in an epilogue-I love an epilogue, and although it wrapped everything up nicely-I still miss the characters, I want to know how they're getting on and what they're doing! This is just an lovely warm hug of a novel that is perfect for reading at this time of year and will definitely put a smile on your face!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Review: Isla and The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Review: this is definitely my favourite book out of the lovely companion novels that Stephanie Perkins has written. I was hooked into this book right from the word go-as soon as I recognised some of my favourite background (and foreground) characters from the other novels in this series. This was quick paced and straight into the romance! The romance level of this book is definitely that little bit higher than in the other book and there are a couple of steamy scenes as well. Of course the the true love never did run a smooth course and so there is high drama on the romance front in this one (get your tissues at the ready!)

I loved Isla, she was just so sweet and lovely. I am sure she would be just as sweet looking in real life. She is a little innocent and Naive and so josh compliments her well in this novel-taking her out and showing her the world. It's funny how mulch more confident and independent she gets over the course of the novel and how much she mellows josh as well-he is definitely ready for college by the time we reach the end of the book! The other characters in this novel are fun too. I love the fact that Isla's friend Kurt is autistic as there definitely aren't enough representations of autisms in fiction today. This author had obviously done her research well as Kurt was at school with all the other kids getting on with his own life, not letting his autism hold him back! Isla's sisters are fun characters to meet and of course we get a little info about Anna and St Clair, Lola and Cricket as well-their part is the storyline did have me squealing with joy somewhat-prepare yourselves for that bit guys! 

I love the fat that these novels aren't sequels but are companion novels, it means that you can read them as standalones, although there will be a couple of spoilers for Anna and the French Kiss if you read this one first-you have been warned! This author weaves the lives of these characters so beautifully and gives them just the right amount of freedom to live their own lives whilst still making the parental and school control realistic and believable. This novel was an incredibly quick read that I managed to fit in around work, having read the other two in a day each I'm hardly surprised, and is definitely the fight thing if you are looking for a sweet and slushy fix. I would recommend reading the other 2 novels first and reading them all at once was also excellent fun! Definitely something to take the bloom out of the autumn/back to school season! 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Goody Bag Giveaway Winner!

I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to post this, things have been manic since school went back. I know it's not an excuse but that's all I can give you for now, thank goodness I had the blog scheduled well ahead of time! 

So the giveaway winners. Five of you entered and as usual j wrote down all the names...

Popped them into a bowl... (New bowls-did you notice?)

And picked out two names...

And these are the names I picked...

I decided to go for twitter names this time, thank you to all of you that entered, I promised to do a much more punctual giveaway next time! 

I hope the winners enjoy their prizes, send me a message with address details and your prize will be winging its way to you ASAP! 

Happy reading! 

Review: Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion...she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit--more sparkly, more fun, more wild--the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket--a gifted inventor--steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Review: I read this book straight after finishing Anna and the French kiss and I would really recommend doing it this way because you totally stay in the lovely bubble that is Stephanie Perkins's writing. This book was possibly even better than Anna and the French kiss because I just loved the characters of Lola and Cricket even more so than Anna and St Clair. However, I didn't think that the storyline of this novel was quite as compelling as the first on these companion books. 

The reason I loved Lola so much was because she was such a free spirit and so independent. I loved her fashion sense, her confidence and her sense of hope in the world. She didn't whine, she had gay dads and a mom who'd gone off the rails and she as coping just fine, getting on without a fuss. When she saw something she wanted, she went for it, even if that mean schlepping across town in a yellow raincoat when there was no rain! 

Cricket was as much of a gentlemen as I could've hoped for, a bit like Lola, he saw what he wanted and he went for it and I loved that about him too. He seemed to be really close to his family and also wanted to do whatever he could to help Lola-such a cute little character! The character of Max on the other hand really was the bad boy and somebody many readers, myself included, will love to hate! Lola's dads are awesome, if a little over protective and of course there is the hitch girl character which every YA novel needs in the mix. 

The setting of this novel is fabulous and totally made me want to go to San Francisco. The streets and houses are really well written and described and I am literally desperate to go and experience that for myself now. This is another novel where not an awful lot happens and has the classic boy meets girl formula but it's wonderful in its inoffensiveness! It will leave you with the same warm and fuzzy feeling that Anna and the French Kiss leaves you with and you will definitely want to be creating shakier outfits and booking yourself on the next flight to San Francisco! 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I've only read one book from but NEED to readmore 16/9/14

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!

Love this list this week! Most of these authors actually have another book (or books) out but I've also included a couple who have only actually released one book but I still need to read More of them! 

1. Tracy Bloom. I've only read No one Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday but I have her second novel and I need to read her Christmas novel when it comes out this year! 

2. John Green. Yes I own all his books and no I've not read anything apart from The Fault in Our Stars-problem?

3. Liane Moriarty. I have 2 novels from this lovely author sitting patiently on my shelf after I LOVED what Alice Forgot. 

4. Danny Wallace. I so enjoyed Who Is Tom Ditto but I haven't read anything else by this author. 

5. Graeme Simison. I can't wait for the Rosie Effect, having loved The Rosie Project! 

6. Hannah Beckerman. I so enjoyed reading The Dead Wife's Handbook so I can't wait to read whatever she is writing now and I neeeeed to get stuck into her sunlounger stories! 

7. Kathryn Player. I am lucky enough to have a fab copy of her new novella Shop Gossip sitting on my Kindle and I need to find the time to experience the please sure of that soon having Loved Moody Not Broody. 

8. Lucy Dillon. A Hundred Pieces of Me was spectacular so I think I should definitely read more by this author! 

9. Adele Parks. How can I have only read The State We're In? I have at least 2 other novels by this author on my shelves-why am I not reading them???

10. Jennifer E Smith. I have all her novels. I've read one. I need to sort it out! 

So as you can see, I've got a lot of reading to do! 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Review: how has it taken me so long to read this book? Unfortunately I think these books have dropped down my list because they are classed as purely reading for pleasure and joy and not for review-that's a shame isn't it? nevertheless, here's  what I thought of Anna and The French-just so damn cute! Everyone has told me how sweet and lovely this book is and I really wasn't let down. When I was younger I really enjoyed books set in schools, everything I read was a book set in a school and so when I found out that this one was set it a school-I was over the moon. This book is like Glee meets every cute teen rom com you've read meets something written by. John Green-it's such an easy read and pleasure in every page. 

In terms of the plot, it's not the most complex of things, girls moves to Paris, meets a boy, boy is taken and the fun ensues from there. The only thing that stopped this book being a five star read for me was that more things didn't happen. I felt a bit like sometimes, we could have gone into more depth on a couple of scenes or found out a bit more about St Clair and his parents but then it wouldn't have been such a quick read so it really didn't effect me enjoying the book one bit. 

Anna seems to have her head screwed on properly, something which I find isn't always the case with YA heroines, so I was pleasd about that. I thought her lack of French skills was fairly improbable but I don't hold that against her and can't wait to read more about her in Lola and the Boy Next Door. St Clair is a bit of a bad boy, leading Anna on somewhat when he already has a girlfriend but he is a real gentlemen at heart and is definitely Anna's knight in shinning armour so he's all good in my books. I really liked the other characters in this novel too and think that they were key to the plot and played their parts well! 

Overall this is just a lovely book and definitely something to sit down and devour all in one go as I did. It's not taxing or challenging in anyway just sweet and romantic, the equivalent of your favourite rom com or Disney movie. It will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside and the descriptions of Paris will definitely make you want to go back there and visit for yourself. The brilliant thing is that these characters are revisited in Lola and The Boy Next Door and so I can now go and catch up with them and see how they are all getting on! 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Summer reading wrap up

So September is here, that means back to school and that mean the end of the summer holidays as we know it. This for me also means the end of my uninterrupted reading time. The start of term is always pretty busy for me so I don't get a whole lot of reading done. The end of the term is similarly short on reading time because I'm so tired my free time is mainly spent sleeping. Summer is the peak of my reading year and it means I can get ahead with blog posts and reviews as well as read those things that have been sitting on my bookshelf for ages and I've ignored  in favour of review books-I love the holidays for some proper reading choices! 

Last year I managed to read 22 books and getting ahead with blog posts meant that I wasn't stressing over this sort of thing when the term began. I did the same thing this year and actually managed to top last years total and read 23 and a half books. I was exactly halfway through a book when we went back to school! I'm going to show you what I read over the summer. Some of the books I read as a physical book, some as an ebook and some as an audiobook. Some I've reviewed already and some are coming up soon. I had a blast reading all of these and I loved going back to school and passing on the recommendations to colleagues and also my pupils! 


Physical books


I included the half a book that I finished incase you're wondering why 24 are listed when I only said I read 23. I've finished four books since the summer and have reached my original Goodreads challenge goal of 100 books for the year so I've upped this number to 125 now to try and challenge myself more. With work and new roles and studying, I'm not sure how I'll get on with this, but I'll keep you posted. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I'd read this summer. As you can see it was pretty varied and I actually really loved a large number of these books. If I haven't reviewed them already, you can expect reviews shortly-there's probably even one going to pop up tomorrow for you!