Sunday 25 October 2015

Blog Tour: Extract from A Christmas Cracker by Trisha Ashley

I am very very lucky to have an extract from Trisha Ashley's latest Christmas novel for you today! I revealed the cover to you a couple of weeks ago and now I have this for you, here's the blurb...

This Christmas is about to go off with a bang!

Things can’t possibly get worse for Tabby. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, she suddenly finds herself without a job. Then to make matters worse, Tabby’s boyfriend dumps her and gives her cat away to a shelter.

But rescue comes in the form of kindly Mercy. A master of saving waifs and strays, Mercy wants Tabby to breathe new flair into her ailing cracker business. Together, they’ll save Marwood’s Magical Christmas Crackers.

But someone has other ideas. Mercy’s nephew Randal thinks Tabby’s a fraudster. Stubborn, difficult and very attractive, her future depends upon winning him round. But it’s that time of the year when miracles really can happen. Standing under the mistletoe, Tabby’s Christmas is set to be one that she will never forget . . .

So without further ado, here's the extract for you! 

‘When did you realise he hadn’t stopped the fraud?’ asked Kate, jerking me out of my reverie.
‘Only recently. He’d made sure I’d seen him carrying crates of what looked like the real thing into the storeroom, but one day when I was in a smart wine merchant’s shop with Jeremy they had a bottle of it – and it looked nothing at all like the ones I’d been packing. Last night I told Harry I knew.’
I shivered slightly because I’d seen a side to jovial, easy-going Harry that I hadn’t even suspected existed.
‘He threatened me and said if I went to the police he’d tell them it had all been my idea – and since I was the one who worked the extra shifts packing the special orders, I was implicated anyway.’
‘It certainly wouldn’t look good,’ Kate agreed helpfully.
‘But it’s his company and I’m just a warehouse packer, doing a bit of overtime. I told him they wouldn’t believe him but he said they would when he explained that we’d been having an affair and I’d reported the fraud out of spite because he’d ended it.’
‘Gosh, it’s like some low-life soap series! But it serves you right for not having gone to the police as soon as you found out,’ she said righteously. ‘That’s what I would have done.’
‘Hindsight is a wonderful thing,’ I said. ‘In the end I told him I wouldn’t shop him, but gave him a month’s notice and said I wasn’t doing any more overtime. He said he didn’t care, so long as I kept my mouth shut.’
‘Which you haven’t, because you’ve told me,’ she pointed out.
‘Only because I was so upset that I was desperate to talk it through with someone and, if you remember, you promised to keep what I was going to say secret.’
‘I hadn’t realised it would be something criminal, though,’ she objected.
‘But you will keep it secret, won’t you?’ I asked.
‘I suppose so, but more because it would hurt Jeremy immensely if all this came out,’ Kate agreed. ‘I know you haven’t told him anything, or he’d have confided in me and Luke.’

Thank you so much to Trisha for sharing this extract with us today! Now I'm off to read my copy of Christmas Cracker

Friday 23 October 2015

Review: After You by Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark has lots of questions.
Like how it is she's ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.
Or why the flat she's owned for a year still doesn't feel like home.
Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.
And will she ever get over the love of her life.
What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.
Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for - or just more questions?
Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.
Open it and she risks everything.
But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she's going to keep it, she has to invite them in . . .

Review: Like most people I know, I was seriously excited about the release of this book. I had an advanced copy but for one reason or another I wasn't able to read it before the release date and so I ended up pre-ordering the audio book so that I could read it as I read the first book, to me this seemed apt. I was hooked into this book right from the word go, it was great to catch up with Louisa again and see how she was faring since we left her (sobbing our hearts out) at the end of Me Before You. I do wish had re-read/listened to Me Before You before picking this one up, not because I necessarily think you need to do that but it would have been wonderful to immerse myself in that world once more!

I was surprised that there wasn't much of 'Will' in this book. Yes he is mentioned but the story really doesn't contain any flashbacks, just a few memories through Lou or his family. I was quite glad of this in a way because it meant that it was definitely Louisa's story and nobody else's. There were some new characters introduced as well but I was glad to see that Louisa's family and Will's family still had a big part to play, as I really enjoyed them as secondary characters in the previous novel.

It's pretty hard to talk much about the storyline without giving away too much of the plot, needless to say there were plenty of twists and turns along the way which meant for some fast paced reading and there was certainly that tragic element that there was to Me Before You, which had me crying on my commute home (thank goodness it wasn't my commute to work) and one particularly major surprise pretty early on in the book, you'll need to get yourself a copy to find out just what that surprise is!

As I mentioned above, you really don't need to have read the first book to know what is going on in this book, or enjoy it immensely, it stands on its own. If you have read Me Before You though, you will love this book as a follow up to the last. I don't think it is quite as good, just because it doesn't have the same level of tension as the other one, but it was still a really good follow up. There are some beautiful lines in the book, just as in the first one and it was a real pleasure to read!

To order your copy now, click here!

Thursday 22 October 2015

Review: Shopaholic to The Rescue by Sophie Kinsella

Becky’s biggest ever challenge takes her to Las Vegas and beyond in a fast-paced, fun-filled, road-trip adventure. Becky’s gone too far in the past - but now she's putting things right. She’s determined to track down her missing dad, help her best friend Suze, bond with her worst enemy Alicia Bitch Long-legs (maybe...) and work out how to play blackjack.

As she discovers quite how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with a brilliant plan. Becky is going to rescue everyone. But can she rescue herself?

Review: so this book made me laugh just as much as any other shopaholic novel, gave the same feels as the other shopaholic novels but had a bit of a sense of an ending for me. Having been a little disappointed in Becky's last outing, I felt it was an abrupt ending, it was nice to finally have some closure on some of the things from Shopaholic to The Stars. This book pretty much picks up where that one left off and so it might be an idea to refresh yourself as to what happened in that Becky adventure before beginning this on. That also means that this book definitely wouldn't work as a standalone. I think the pair would work as a duet however and they're both pretty quick reads (I read this one in exactly 5 hours cover to cover!)

It was so nice to have the old Becky back, they way she sees the world and her family and friends is so innocent and this sees Becky on a little bit of a wild goose chase so fans of Shopaholic will know the kind of conclusions Becky is likely to have jumped to! It's great because of all Becky's 'clan' is with her in this novel, Suze and Tarkie, her mum and dad, Janice, Minnie, Danny, even Elinor, Luke's mum and of course Luke. I love Luke so much, he is such a calming influence on Becky and so unflappable. I don't think I loved him quite as much in the last novel and so it was great to see him clamping the waters and remaining ever faithful in this one! 

The storyline itself doesn't have a great deal of depth to it and only takes place over a couple of days and so if you're expecting something more like the first few Shopahoiic novels then I'm afraid you will be disappointed but this novel really does mark a turning point in Becky's life. She does seems to realise that she's growing up and so are her friends and her husband, and that her parents need to be their own people as well and so I do think this book signals either an ending or a transition into a new Brandon/Bloomwood era. Even Minnie seems to have grown up a little (as children have an annoying habit of doing). I enjoyed this novel, as I said above it was a very quick read for me and there wre some classic Becky moments which I loved, I was glad I wasn't reading in public because I had a sort of ongoing 'oh Becky!' Kind of dialogue for the duration of reading. Fans will definitely be pleased with this offering from Kinsella but I wouldn't recommend this as a starting point into the world of Becky Bloomwood the Shopaholic! 

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Review: What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

From the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves comes an emotional, empowering story of what happens when love isn't enough to conquer all.

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They've been together forever. They never fight. They're deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they're sure they'll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.

The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won't understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni's life. As distance and Toni's shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

Review: I was really excited about this book, having loved Robin Talley's previous story. To be honest, she had a lot to live up to following the previous novel becaus that just wowed me so much! This story tackle similar issues but opened up another whole new world to me, how does this writer do that? This is another book that is not for the faint hearted and definitely not for a younger reader, but a book which I feel is As important as it is moving and demands to be read! 

I really liked meeting the characters of Gretchen and Toni and going on their journey with them. I have to admit that I got so sucked into this book, not only did I not put it down and read it cover to cover in one sitting, but it also felt the angst that they felt, I felt oppressed by societies labels in to he way that they did and I also felt as confused as they did by their (and my own place in that) I'm not sure reading it in one big chunk comes highly recommended but I really wanted to immerse myself in the story and felt I got to know these characters a lot more because of that. I have to say, I really didn't like some of the supporting characters in this book. I loved how supportive they were of their friends at times but I never really thought about the peer pressure that can exist not only to fit in and be 'normal' but also the peer pressure that one can face to not fit in and and yet to be something that is easily recognisable within society. 

There were moments in this book where I was a little confused by the terminology, just because I had heard all the words and phrases and yet didn't really know what they meant when it comes to gender identity and transitioning. I found that this meant the book took a little longer than any other 400 page novel. However I appreciate when a book teaches me new things and I learn from that and so I don't mind the extra time that it took me. I really love that this book is set when two people go off to college/university and it really made me want to start that journey all over again and discover the delights of reinventing yourself in a new city with new friends. There are also parts of the book where one of the characters doesn't use any pronouns which I think. Must have been a real skill to write and I really admire the author for this! 

Overall I really enjoyed this book and am really glad that I read it. The only thing stopping it from being a five star read for me, and therefore living up to the novel that Talley wrote before this one was all of the terminology. Sometimes it felt like there was a lot of pressure to out labels on things when the book was all about not conforming to labels and there were a lot of new labels to get my head around. I definitely recommend going into this book with an open mind, ready to have it expanded even farther and I commend this author on writing about a very real topic facing young people as they begin their adult lives today! 

Monday 19 October 2015

Deweys 24 hour Readathon Wrap Up!


So the readathon is finished for another year. I really needed this readathon. As you know I am very behind with the books I'm reading this year so far, but also I needed an excuse to have 24 hours away from work and do something for me so this readathon treated me well! 

I did sleep because I haven't been very well over the past few days and so I did sleep more than I would normally sleep during a readathon, from about 1am to about 8am so an hour more than normal but it took me a little while to get back into it again when I woke up. 

I did get a takeout pizza to snack on during the evening and the first part of the readathon, from 1pm to 5pm (ish) was in the car for me so I did that first bit with an audiobook where I would normally pepper my audiobook listening in between reads when preparing food etc.

I listened to 5.5 hours of The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson which, when I checked in the book, translated to 142 pages (chapter 9 to chapter 20)

Then I got stuck into my next read which was What We Left Behind by Robin Talley. I always knew I was going to read this one during the readathon. It took me a little longer than I thought it would unfortunately but I read it before going to sleep, a total of 416 pages so my page count was now 556 pages! 

Then I had a nap, woke up around 8 and started my next read, Shopaholic to The Rescue by Sophie Kinsella (I said that if this book came in time I was going to read it during the readathon-YEY!) this took me the final 5 hours to read, literally 5 on the dot and was 320 pages brining my grand total to 876 pages! 

Now, whilst this total isn't as high as previous readathons, I did get to the books I wanted to get to (although it would've been lovely to finish the Bill. Bryson as well) and I've been struggling to keep my eyes open long enough to read so much lately that I am really pleased with the page total and also that I managed to read 2 whole books. It was great to have an excuse to have 24 hours free from work, despite paying for it on Sunday afternoon/evening, and I really enjoyed myself. I'd love to hear how you did or if you took part and look out for my reviews of the books that I finished on the blog this week as they both come out on Thursday! 

Friday 16 October 2015

Winner of Cathy Kelly Giveaway!

Ok, thank you to all the entrants for the giveaway and sorry for not posting this yesterday as I should have done. I had entries on the blog and entries on twitter and, as usual, I shall be using my random name generator to pick out the winner!

So I gave it a spin...

And the winner was...


Give me a twitter DM or an email and let me know your address and I'll get it out to you in the post ASAP!

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entetred!

Monday 12 October 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Sign-up!


Its that time of year again,. time to setting down on the sofa with a big pot of coffee, a snuggly blanket and some nicely scented candles and read for 24 hours! I will, once again, be taking part on the Dewey's 24 hour readathon. This time, like in April, I won't be alone in the house so I'm sure it will prove interesting having someone else around, a distraction or someone to keep me awake-who knows!

'But you're so tired all of the time right now!' I( hear you cry. Well I will be preparing with some extra sleep beforehand and some sleep afterwards as well and I do intend to catch a few hours overnight as I have done in the past, I find this is the only way it will work for me. I think in April i slept for 6 hours but still managed some impressive reading stats. 

As you all know I've been really struggling to find time to read recently and so this is as much a necessity as anything else! But what you really want to know is what boooks I'll be reading right?

Well for the first part of the readathon, I'll be in the car so I will most probably be listening to The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson (some non-fiction to start the readathon with-yey!)

Then I will definitely be reading What we Left Behind by Robin Talley. I've been itching to get to this one and so this would seem like the perfect solution!

Then I received a massive stack of books from the lovely people at the Romantic Novelists Association and so I should probably get round to reading a couple of these, here are my choices...

I think that if I manage to get through a couple of these as well, I'll be doing well because, as already mentioned, I'm super tired and we'll be getting into the last week of term too so I don't want to set my expectations too high!

I am, however, hoping to receive my copy of Shopaholic to the Rescue soon and so that may have to be on my TBR pile soon.

You might notice that I've only picked actu8al physical books, apart from the auduiobook which always features in my reading and that's because I've got a nice little holiday TBR lined up on my Kindle for my half term reading (don't worry I'm going to post about that nearer the time!)

So are you planning to take part in the readathon? What do you think of my TBR? Happy reading!

Sunday 11 October 2015

Cover Reveal! Meet Me in Manhattan by Claudia Carroll

Another exciting cover reveal for you today and this is the UK cover of a book I read in the summer because it was released in Ireland and on audiobook but now it is winging it's way in all it's beautiful glory to our shelves here in the UK. now this bo is amazing,in don't even know if my review did it justice, I enjoyed it so so much and if you're looking for a little slice of Manhattan, this is definitely one for you! Here's a little bit about it...

In a New York minute, everything can change …

You don’t mess with aspiring journalist Holly Johnson! The man she fell for is not all that he seems – because sometimes dating online doesn’t quite go to plan. She’s decided to fly to the Big Apple to surprise him and to get some answers. And if her plan works she’ll also get the scoop of her career …

But as she steps out of her yellow taxi and the first snowflakes start to fall, it’s Holly who has the surprise of her life.

What should be a dream come true is looking a little like a nightmare. But Holly is determined to get her New York happy ending!

And if that wasn't temptation enough, are you ready for the cover? You won't be able to stop yourself pre-ordering when you've seen it....

Just how Mazing is that? I can't recommend this book enough if you're looking for something to read as the nights get darker and everything gets taken over with Christmas madness this year, and this would look simply stunning on your bookshelves too! 

Saturday 10 October 2015

Letterbox Love #13

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 got a whole heap of fabulous books to show you today, I'm a very lucky blogger who has been sent some fabulous books over the last week-all this in a week! how fortunate am I? I also purchase some more audible credits this week too as I am listening to lots of audiobooks as I sit in traffic on the m4 each day! 

Firstly I was sent the latest Joss Stirling novel by the lovely people at OUP. I can't wait to read this as I've ploughed my way through her previous books and loved them! 

I also got sent a beautiful proof copy of Our Song by Dani Atkins which sounds rather epic and is out in January! 

As you'll have seen from my post of Thursday, I attended the launch of Cathy Kelly's new novel Between sisters which was released on Thursday in all it's autumnal glory. The lovely folks at Orion gave me this goody bag containing not only that book but Fanny Blakes new novel House of Dreams and The Christmas we Met by Kate Lord Brown. Down forget to check back to that post and enter my giveaway to win a signed copy of Between Sisters! 

While I was at that event Zarina, fellow blogger, gave me a copy of a Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jenmifer E Smith. I have all her other novels so now I have a complete set. Thanks so much to Zarina for this one! 

On Friday I received this fabulous Duet of novels which sounds intriguing. Bad Romeo is already out and Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven is out next month! I'm not heard of these before but they're going on my TBR! 

I was also sent 5 novels to read by The Romantic Novelists Association and I am very excited about some of these. I have already read Always a Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk and The Love Shack by Jane Costello and I already own Afternoon Tea at The Sunflower Cafe by Milly Johnson but I really really wanted to. Read I Take You by Eliza Kennedy, it sounds really funny and I'm definitively going to make it my next read and How I Wonder What You Are by Jane Lovering sounds very intriguing so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into this one! 

Finally, I got some audiobook credits because I fancied listening to some books that I have sitting on my shelf right now I'm audiobook form because I would get round to read them quicker. Firstly I just had to have The Road to Little Dribbling because, as you know, I am a massive Billy Bryson fan and so I had this one on pre-order for this release this week. I also have After You by Jojo Moyes on my Kindle but I really wanted to get into it ASAP and I'm currently reading something else on my kindle so I decided to get it on audiobook and am well into it already. Funnily enough I also read Me Before you, my First Jojo Moyes experience, on audiobook so it only seems right. 

Finally, audible were having a buy one get one free sale and I really wanted to read The. Honeymoon Hotel by Heater Browne and so I got that and got The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson, which has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for a while  now, for free! 

What a lot of absolutely gorgeous books I have to get through! It's a good job I have a readathon and a long flight to the states coming up in the next month isn't it? I'm going to be busy! 

Friday 9 October 2015

Cover reveal! Mistletoe & Mayhem by Rebecca Ferguson

I am so lucky that today I am revealing the cover of Mistletoe & Maybem by Catherine Ferguson. But before I reveal its beauty to you, here's a bit about the book...

A warm and cosy festive tale you won’t be able to put down.

Lola Plumpton can’t believe her luck.

Christmas is coming and her gorgeous boyfriend, Nathan, has offered up his swanky apartment to host the Plumpton family’s festive celebrations. It looks set to be a Christmas to remember. And it is – but for all the wrong reasons.

As the 25th December draws closer, Lola unexpectedly finds herself missing some key components:

1. A job (but who needs one of those anyway, when you’ve got the ultimate family Christmas to prepare for?)
2. Money (no job equals no money, it turns out.)
3. A boyfriend (yup, Nathan the hunk has said adios to Lola – and in the *most* embarrassing way possible…)
4. Somewhere to host her fabulous family Christmas(because of course, no Nathan means no des res apartment.)

Lola’s at a loss about what to do. But one way or another, she’s going to make this the best Christmas her family’s ever had…

And here it is....

Gorgeous! I think you'll agree & I can't wait to get reading!

Thursday 8 October 2015

Cathy Kelly Launch Party plus Giveaway

Keep reading for a chance to win a signed copy of Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly!

Another day-another fabulous event that I have the privilege to attend! Last night was the launch of the absolutely stunning Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly. I was invited up to the rooftop of Orion and we celebrated in style with these stunning views...

And wine and nibbles too of course!

The whole room was filled with gorgeous books, I think you'll agree Orion has some fabulous authors!

Cathy was interviewed by fellow Orion author Fanny Blake, whose new book House of Dreams is out on the 5th November-so exciting! Cathy talked about her writing process and how she gets the inspiration for the names in her book. At one point she did say that after writing 17 novels, she was starting to run out of names and so fellow book blogger Zarina suggested that she should use her name-you can look out for that soon then! Cathy also talked about how, when she writes, her characters tend to take over and let her story meander along it's own course-that is when she's not being distracted by Pinterest and Buzz Feed of course!

We were treated to these wonderful goody bags by the lovely folks at Orion...

The goody bags contained a copy of Cathy's new book (which i had signed), a copy of Fanny's new book (with I did not manage to get signed-sad!) a copy of The Christmas We Met by Kate Lord Brown, a copy of Woman and Home-I'll look forward to reading that in the bath- and a lovely One Book Lane keyring-we were spoiled!!

It was great to meet Cathy-thanks to Sharon for taking this picture of us-she was so lovely and genuinely a delight to chat to! She was also lovely enough to sign my book!

I happened to have another copy of the book which I also got signed and if you would like to win it for yourself just leave me a comment below or send me a tweet telling me your favourite thing about autumn (you'll notice the lovely autumn leave on the cover of Between Sisters) and I'll announce the winner next week. I'm going to open up this competition to everyone because I want all the lovely readers to have the chance to experience the beauty of this book! Good Luck!

Thanks so much to Orion, Cathy and Fanny for such a lovely evening!

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Book Launch: Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

On Friday I was lucky enough to attend the launch of Holly Martin's fabulous new novel Christmas at Lilac Cottage. This is the first novel in the White Cliff Bay series, with the next novel in the series, Snowflakes at Silver Cove following hot on its heels releasing at the end of October. There was a definite wintery theme to the evening with snowflakes and even mulled wine! It was just great to see a big display of paperbacks ready to be signed by lovely Holly herself!

There were even fabulous cupcakes which kept coming round to tempt us all (and to soak up the mulled win too of course)...

And to make it even more exciting, these had mini book covers on depending on what flavour they were-how fabulous do these look!

It was a great night with lots of lovely bloggers and of course some fabulous authors. Here's me chatting to the amazing Kat Black who I was thrilled to finally meet.

The whole evening was very enjoyable and it was so exciting to be able to see the book in all its glory and celebrate with Holly Martin who literally gives the best hugs, I highly recommend hugging her if you haven't already! I can't wait to read the book and get myself into the festive spirit and finally congratulations to this lovely author!

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Things I Want to Quit 6.10.15

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 seems like a little bit of a negative post today so I may not get to 10. There are things that I want to quit doing but I'm not goin g to dwell on them and I'm not going to beat myself up if I can't do them either!

1. Buying books I don't have time to read. This is still buying books so supporting the amazing authors so I should really change this to have more time to read all the books that I buy but that's just no realistic is it?

2. Having to say to no to what I know are wonderful books offered to me for review. I've had to turn down more and more recently because I've just had so little reading time and I hate it but its better than wasting the books and I have just enough time to talk about them on Twitter instead!

3. Never being able to get round to books I miss the publication day for. Like many people, I rush out to get books on publication day or I'm lucky enough to get them early, but if I don't read them close enough to publication day then the next publication day comes along and I get all excited about those books and don't have time ot read the older books. I'd quite like to take a resolution to read what I want when I want!

4. Continuing to read books I'm 'just not that into'. This is wasting my time and I really don't enjoy writing bad reviews either, not matter how constructive they are!

5. Having blog envy. My blog is mine and I shouldn't be jealous of other people's blogs, they belong to them and mine is special and unique to me. I know I'm neglecting it a little at the moment but it knows I still love it!

Bookish things I DON'T want to quit!

6. Saying yes. This whole blog started up because I said yes and I have had some of the most amazing times because I said yes to bookish events and yes when people asked me if I wanted to join them, seriously some of the best nights and met the best people.

7. Trying new things. It is easy to stick to the authors you know. You feel a sense of loyalty to them and you know you'll love everything they write but I have made some excellent discoveries by trying out new authors or even new genres so I'm definitely not quitting this one!

8. Shouting about books from the rooftops! My colleagues, my family and even the children I teach must be fed up of me pushing books on them and shouting about books by now but there is no way I am not going to shout about my love of books in real life, on twitter and anywhere else I possibly can!

9. Giving time to reading. Yes I have lots of deadlines to meet at work, yes I am completing a masters, yes my other half and I both work long hours but I make time for reading. Whether that means listening to an audiobook on my commute or reading a book whilst waiting for my dinner to arrive in a restaurant, there are moments and they are worth giving over to the love of a good book.

10. This blog. I have mentioned a couple of times now that I feel the blog is slipping a little because things are so full on work-wise at the moment, however I love this blog and there is no way I am going to give it up. yes sometimes I have to stay up a little later or get up a little earlier to post something. Sometimes I need to blog whilst being driven somewhere in the car but I love this blog, I love reading and I love talking about books so this is definitely something I am NOT going to quit!

Monday 5 October 2015

Guest Review: Here Come The Boys/Ladies Who Launch by Milly Johnson

Angie Silveroak and her husband are taking a much-needed holiday on the cruise ship Mermaidia, so the last person she hopes to bump into on the first night is her one-time best friend Selina and the man Selina stole from her and married twenty years ago.

And what she needs even less is to be marooned in Malaga with Selina when both of them manage to miss boarding the ship in port. 

It will take three days for them to travel across Europe to catch up with the ship again in Croatia. And in the company of each other twenty-four/seven, a lot of old baggage is going to be unloaded. 

Angie Silverton and Selina Molloy have not always been friends. Best pals at school, they fell out over a man, and it was only when they both missed a ship in Here Come the Boys that they found friendship again.

Now they are reunited again and life since their adventure on the Mermadia has been anything but boring. Did Selina stick with her horrible husband Zander? What happened to Angie and Gill when they stepped off the ship? And what does the future hold for the friends?

Join Selina and Angie as they take afternoon tea at The Sunflower Cafe to find out.

Review: Having thoroughly enjoyed Here Come the Girls, which I actually listened to as an audio book while on a P&O cruise, I was really looking forward to reading this novella.  It was well worth the wait. Although a short story, it is not lacking in content.  There is drama, romance, adventure and, of course, humour aplenty.

Once again, the action takes place on the cruise ship Mermaidia, this time sailing from Southampton to the Adriatic. The main players are Angie and Gil on their first cruise, and Angie's one-time best friend, Selina, who has come on the holiday with her husband, Zander. I don't want to give away the plot, but suffice it to say that the girls have a bit of an adventure and not all of the action takes place on the ship. There are plenty of other interesting and entertaining characters on board, some of whom are instantly recognisable to anyone who has been on a cruise. Milly has also included a couple of individuals from Here Come the Girls.

Milly has followed this story up with a short story called Ladies Who Launch, in which we see Angie and Selina a year and a half after the cruise visiting the Sunflower Cafe (from Milly's latest novel Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe) for one of their famous afternoon teas. It is lovely to find out during their conversation what actually happened at the end of the cruise. So often, I am left wondering what happened next at the end of a book. In this case I know - thanks Milly Johnson.  In this story, as well as introducing us to the Sunflower Cafe, we also meet some of the characters from the next book.

Both Here Come the Boys and Ladies Who Launch are wonderful reads. As with Milly's other novels, they are entertaining with some lovely Yorkshire humour.  Be warned though, if you've never cruised before, and even if you have, you may well find yourself off to the travel agents for a few brochures. 

Friday 2 October 2015

Review: Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell

Pandy "PJ" Wallis is a renowned writer whose novels about a young woman making her way in Manhattan have spawned a series of blockbuster films. After the success of the Monica books and movies, Pandy wants to attempt something different: a historical novel based on her ancestor Lady Wallis. But Pandy's publishers and audience only want her to keep cranking out more Monica-as does her greedy husband, Jonny, who's gone deeply in debt to finance his new restaurant in Las Vegas.

When her marriage crumbles and the boathouse of her family home in Connecticut goes up in flames, Pandy suddenly realizes she has an opportunity to reinvent herself. But to do so, she will have to reconcile with her ex-best friend and former partner in crime, SondraBeth Schnowzer, who plays Monica on the big screen-and who may have her own reasons to derail Pandy's startling change of plan.

Review: having loved everything Candace Bushnell has written before I was really looking forward to this novel. The reader is dropped right into the action, a little disconcerting at first but definitely necessary after everything this book has to throw at you, you don't have time to stand around getting your bearings. PJ Wallace seems to have it all in New York so be prepared for fabulous scenes with New York socialites, clubs and shopping, very Liptstick Jungle, very Sex and the City, only it seems that Pandy isn't quite ready for all of this and so throughout the book we hear her kind of inner turmoil at all of this and get the sense that she would rather be rucked up somewhere much more relaxing on her own with her thoughts and her writing. 

Drama seems to find Pandy though and so there are moments in the novel where you literally will struggle to believes what is happening to this character. The storyline is definitely as fast paced as it is dramatic. This sometimes meant that I struggled to follow which character was which and then there the illusion character of Monica. Monica is a creation written by our main protagonist but she is also part of Pandy herself and is also played by Pandy's former best freind which gets really really confusing. The symbolism behind the real Monica and the fictions Monica is quite interesting and would be intriguing to track upon a reread of this novel I am sure. 

Obviously I loved the fact that a lot of this book is set in New York and it is really quite fun to have a book that is about a writer under pressure to write another book in a very successful series when she really really doesn't want to. The writing style is quite pacing and a little brief in parts leaving the reader to make up their own mind about what exactly is going in between two characters. The characters felt very realistic and so were easy to relate to and there is one big secret which  sure will keep many readers guessing towards the end. This book offered me a certain amount of escapism from the real world but definitely required my full attention when reading to keep track of who was who and what was what. 

Thursday 1 October 2015

Review: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

With the Wife Project complete, Don settles into a new job and married life in New York. But it's not long before certain events are taken out of his control and it's time to embark on a new project . . .

As Don tries to get to grips with the requirements of starting a family, his unusual research style gets him into trouble. To make matters worse, Don has invited his closest friend to stay with them, but Gene is not exactly the best model for marital happiness. As Don's life with Rosie continues to be unpredictable, he needs to remember that emotional support is just as important as practical expertise.

Review: Having loved The Rosie Project so much I was so so excited to begin this book. I dove into it straight away and then, I'm afraid I got a little bored... So, having reached the halfway pint I walked away from the novel. I left it for nearly a year and then read it in just about one go. I can't say that I enjoyed it lots more on the second attempt but I remembered why I love Professor Don Tilman so much! There were some fabulous funny moments in the novel, just like in the first book staring everyone's favourite Geek, some real laugh out loud blunders that don gets himself into so definitely be prepared to laugh! There are also some very real moments of how new parents having to cope with a rollercoater of emotions when they decided to make that jump towards parenthood and I think these were the moments I struggled with the most because I would be laughing and then I would be worried about what was going to happen in a very serious situation. 

Don is a lot more empathetic in this novel than in the previous book, his time living with Rosie obviously having taught him a lot. Rosie is just the same and I really like her in this book. Don's friends are very involved in this novel and I did have a little trouble keeping track of who was who, I'm not going to lie! Their involvement leads to a lot of hilarity though because Don is trying to do the right thing based on why they have told him and so he ends up in some compromising, unwise and sometimes illegal positions-funny though! 

I did feel at points in this book that Don's autistic nature was really misunderstood and this was very interesting because I think it is a great thing to raise awareness of the fact that autism is so generalised by people in society and yet can affect each person in a very very different way. I think it's great that a Don can bring about this awareness but I also really just wanted to know what he was going to do about Rosie and the baby. Overall I did struggle a bit with this novel but this will in no way deter me from picking up what Graeme Simsion has to offer in the future! 

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