Friday, 30 January 2015

Weekend Reads

I'm flying this weekend and so I'm hoping to get a nice chunk of reading done whilst waiting at the airport and whilst actually flying.

I am currently reading Age, Sex,  Location by Melissa Pimentel and hopefully I'll get this finished tonight on the plane. I'm really enjoying it so far, its nice to read something that's a bit of a change of pace and if you've ever embarked on trying to find a date-I highly recommend it!

After that, I'm very excited to move on to The Two Of Us by Andy Jones. This is another debut and I've been trying to get round to reading this for ages now. Illness etc has prevented me but I'm definitely going to get onto it this weekend! I hope not to read too much in public because I think its probably going to make me cry!

As always, I'm also listening to an audiobook-zero pressure reading! I'm currently listening to The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty and I have a couple of hours left in this one. 

The Husband's Secret

I can't decide whether to move on to fiction or non-fiction next... I've got Tina Fey's autobiography, The Hunger Games, Apple tree Yard or The No Kids Club to choose from-what do you think?

Apple Tree Yard        Bossypants          

I hope you have a great reading weekend too!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Review: Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…


Review: Now this isn't normally my genre but there was so much hype surrounding this book that I couldn't not read it and I'm really glad that I did because this book certainly made an impression on me! The suspense and the action in this book is a slow build but boy when it really kicks in, I was shouting at the characters, shouting at the plot, having to tell other people around it just to release some of the built up suspense!

The book is written in the first person but it jumps around as to which person is talking. Rachel, the girl on the train tends to do the majority of the narrative and so you really feel like you get to know her, get under her skin and by the end of the book you are living the storyline through her, you can't help but get involved. The other characters who provide narrative also add to the storyline and their chapters are written perfectly so you alliance doesn't necessarily switch from Rachel over to them but you can sympathise with them and you are desperate for one of them to give you some more information as to what is going on in the storyline!

This book deals with some pretty big issues, murder, man slaughter, alcoholism, depression, unemployment, infidelity, but none of these are the main part of the book, the book isn't about any one of these things but they are all contributing factors and that is what makes the book so well written, because it weaves all these things together so wonderfully and keeps you guessing right up until the last moment!

For the last 30% of this book you will find yourself racing through it. The book is told thorough various days/dates and two of the characters are written at slightly different times, however, towards the end one character's times catches up with the other and this left me breathless. I was literally shouting warnings to the characters. In terms of gore factor, although this is a thriller and so we know there is going to be some sort of incident but there really wasn't too much blood and violence in this. This was definitely a psychological thriller with characters sitting together having a cup of tea and chatting building up tension that way rather than outright fight scenes!

Overall I really enjoyed this book and would love to see something else from this author in the future. The tension was amazing and the story as a whole was really clever. It will keep you guessing right up until the end and the ending will leave you satisfied but still thinking. I guarantee you will be paranoid for a couple of days after reading this but all for good cause! This book would appeal to those of you who are not thriller fans but also die hard fans of a bit of suspense. This was a really meaty read with everything you could want in a good book.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Review: I was Here by Gayle Forman

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend's shocking suicide. 

As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

A phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it with it sensitivity, genuity and honesty.

Review: this book was a lot darker than I expected and is definitely for older teens and not those at the younger end of the YA market. I like Gay Forman's writing and her storytelling because she doesn't throw the whole story at you all at once, she gently guides you through each scene and adds in other characters slowly, making sure that you are fully aware of twist and turns before moving onto something else and I think that this is why i enjoy her novels so much. It also means that tensions builds up because you really get to know the people on the page and that is why they can be very emotional-this book being no exception. 

This book deals with some major issues. Issues about identity, issue surrounding suicide, friendship, sex and life choices. Again though, these issues aren't thrown in your face, you don't have to deal with them all at once, they are introduced throughout the course of the book end dealt with very sensitively,. The whole issue surrounding supported suicide groups online and neo-nazi forums is a major thing to take on, but Gayle Forman deals with it in a very clever way, she doesn't dance around the issue, she really explores the impact that these groups can have. There were a few uncomfortable moments in the book for me, but they just reflected what main character Cody is dealing with. 

I liked Cody as a character but some of the choices she made did annoy me a little. I did find myself having to remind myself that she is only 18 and therefore doesn't know it all and has to make mistakes in order to grow. She has her best friends interests at heart and really does grow as a person as the novel progresses which i really liked. The other characters in this novel all contribute to the storyline ans it is as much of a mystery as it is a contemporary novel which I found interesting and liked more than I would have expected. Overall I enjoyed the book but I think you need to approach the storyline informed of what issues it is going to throw at you. Now I just need to re-read the rest of my Gayle Forman collection!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: books I'd Love To Read if I Had a Book Club 27/1/15

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 is a good one because I've thought lots about starting a book club. I read some fabulous novels with the children at school so its kind of the same thing but to talk about books with adults in real life would be fun. I think a lot of the books on the list would be books that I've read before and I know would form a good basis for a discussion in the book group so let's get to it...

1. Wonder by RJ Palacio. We've got tons of these in school now because of the issues raised and it makes for great discussion between children and adults alike!

2. Dearest Rose by Rowan Coleman, this is an excellent book to discuss and the portrayal of any kind of domestic abuse is one of the best I've seen. 

3. The Accident by Cally Taylor. I think reading this book in installments would be a really fun way to explore it and get people talking about it!

4. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. This book would pose lots of questions about honesty and trust in relationships and in the real world too!

5. This Child of Mine by Sinead Moriarty. One of my favorites from 2013 and definitely something which would crate a lot of discussion a nd really make you think!

6. The Greatest Love Story of All time. I'd love this one just to discuss the humour and the role of the male friend and because, as you know, I love to lust over Dave. (I totally need to read this again don't I?)

7. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley. An amazing book about the first children to integrate into a white school in America. I think this would create an amazing discussion!

8. The House We Grew Up in by Lisa Jewell. Or Possibly The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell, either of these books would raise discussion about family and relationships and where to draw certain lines, also the impact modern society has on these institutions. 

9. A Hundred piece of Me by Lucy Dillon. This book really made me think and made me want to share it with other people!

10. By My Side by Alice Peterson. I loved this book and everything it stood for so it would be amazing to discuss it with other too!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Cover reveal Tied Up With Love by Amelia Thorne

I'm very lucky to have another fabulous cover reveal for you today, here is the gorgeous cover for the new novel from Amelia Thorne, Tied Up with Love...

I love a cover with a skyline on the front so I'm very much looking forward to reading this one. I'm part of the blog tour and so you can expect a review from me in a coupe of weeks-YEY! Just have a read of that blurb...

We’re from KMW. Do exactly as you’re told and you won’t get hurt...'
Being grabbed off the street, blind folded, tied up and thrown into a van was not what Izzy expected to happen when she stepped out the door that morning. But when an accidental kidnapping at the hands of the sexy Ethan Chase and his 'Kidnap My Wife' sexual fantasy business leads to just that, Izzy seizes the chance to turn her misfortune into a brilliant new job opportunity…
Since then, life has been one big tangle of new client meetings, fake kidnapping pick-ups, and handling the temperamental, but drop dead gorgeous 'bad boy' Mr Chase. But, as liberating as being tied up in Ethan's life is, Izzy knows the time is fast approaching when she must make some decisions and take charge of her future. The only question is: will Ethan allow himself to be a part of it?

How exciting! The book is available for download on Valentines day, And if you fancy preordering this little beauty-Here is the buy link
Happy reading!

Friday, 23 January 2015

Preview Screening of Still Alice

Last night I was lucky enough to be in I red to an advanced screening of Still Alice a film based on the novel by Lusa Genova. I haven't read the book and so I was very excited to receive a copy from the lovely people at Simon & Schuster upon my arrival.

The film was being shown in The Soho Hotel & the screening room was fabulous, all big comfy armchairs & tables for your wine!

The film has really made me want to read the book because it was very powerful and fairly emotional, I heard a lot of tissue rustling around me, so I think this will come across even more so in the book! 

I will hopefully get round to reading the book soon so then I can do a comparison between both storylines and see if I picture Julianne Moor & Alec Baldwin as the characters!

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster for the invite!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: top ten books featuring teachers and schools 20/1/15

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!

Because I'm a teacher I'm always interested to read about other teachers and schools. When I was younger I liked to read about boarding schools as well so this list is a mixture of everything. Some of them feature teachers as part of the storyline and some just happen to have main characters who are also teachers...

1. Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream

2. The Chalet School Series

3. Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

4. Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

6. Matilda by Roald Dahl

7. The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

8. Rosie Hopkins Sweetshop of Dreams

9. Losing it by Cora Carmack

10. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

So there you have it. This list isn't in order it's just 10 books featuring teachers or set in schools. Of course there are many many others and I'm sure you noticed I didn't include Harry Potter here but that's because I haven't read all of the books (shameful I know!)

Monday, 19 January 2015

Cover reveal: Playing With Fire by Kat Black

I'm very excited to bring you a gorgeous cover reveal today. This fab cover is for the new novel by Kat Black, sequel to Melting Ms Frost. The blurb and links are below the cover but here it is in all it's glorious sexiness and I for one can't wait to read it!

Playing With Fire - the sequel to Melting Ms Frost.
The steamy story of Annabel Frost and Aidan Flynn continues … Can you handle the heat?
Before Aidan Flynn had swept into her life with the destructive force of a wildfire, Annabel Frost had thought she'd had all she needed from her life: a successful career, financial independence, emotional restraint. Things that were safe, secure, steady. Everything her childhood hadn't been.
Aidan represented none of that. Reckless and risky he'd been the red hot flame that started melting the icy layers of her long-frozen heart. Having run from him once, Annabel should have learned to leave trouble well enough alone.
But now Aidan is back, and he's turning up the heat. And regardless of the danger of finding herself badly burned, Annabel can't seem to resist the temptation to play with this particular fire.
Release date: ebook 26th February 2015
Buy links:
Also available from iTunes, Kobo, Google Books and all good ebook retailers

Friday, 16 January 2015

Review: Us by David Nicholls

Douglas understands his wife's need to rediscover herself now that their son is leaving home. He just thought they'd be doing their rediscovering together. So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he decides to make their last family holiday the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son and make Connie fall in love with him again. The hotels are booked, the tickets purchased, the itinerary planned and printed. What could possibly go wrong..? 

Review: I'd been dying to read this book for ages and so I don't know why I put it off for so long, it went onto my bedside table after reading the first few pages on the way home from Waterstones, so in the end I popped the hardback on my shelf and started listening to the audiobook, I'm glad that I did. This is a fairly stressful novel but wholly realistic and written well enough that you get to feel every feel that Douglas feels (hence the stress of it all). There is the stress of a marriage in danger, the stress of a stroppy teenage son and the stress of trying to arrange a trip around Europe for a family of 3 who all have different interests, and that's just the start!

I wouldn't say I found any of the characters in this book particularly likable. I knew that I would find Connie annoying if she existed in real life, and their son too. He has on particularly redeeming moment towards the end of the book where i gained a little more respect for him, Douglas I found myself rooting for, but I wouldn't say I particularly liked him, i felt that some of his choices were pretty pout there and not the direction I had gone in myself, but by the end of the novel I found myself sympathising with him a lot more. He gets the ending I wanted and so i really liked that aspect of the books.

Of course, because this book features a European tour, we have some great descriptions of Italy and Spain, but also of the never ending journey to get there, of delicious sounding food, but also of the cramped hotel rooms and ill-advised outings that this family ends up taking. This means as well though, that there are some really funny moments in the book, one in particular when Douglas finds himself in the red light district of Amsterdam. This was also a turning point in the novel and definitely a high-point for me!

Overall I enjoyed the novel. i didn't enjoy It as much as this author's other novels but it was still  good read and something that i will be recommending to people based on the humour and the realistic nature of the characters. i think this book would appeal to a wide range of audiences because of the fact that it features a family and not just one character on their own, a grand tour and some more poignant moments too. I was highly satisfied with the ending, and although this isn't a particularly fast read, the steady pace of this novel reflects the journey that Douglas Peterson goes on throughout it's pages.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Review: The Curvy Girls Club by Michelle Gorman

Pixie, Ellie, Katie and Jane have been best friends since meeting at Slimming Zone. Tired of being judged on the number of calories they consume, they decide to form a different kind of club. The fun evenings they spend together, not worrying about their size, make them happier than they’ve been for years!

But the club doesn’t stop real life from getting in the way and together the girls have to address some much bigger issues than just their weight…

Will Pixie ever be brave enough to leave her abusive husband Trevor? Can Jane ever regain her confidence and go back to work as a TV presenter? Will Katie always carry a torch for the office lothario? And what if Ellie lets her all-consuming jealousy destroy her relationship with ‘The One’?

Review: I really enjoyed this novel, I didn't read the blurb before going in because I know i enjoy books by this author and the Curvy Girl Club suggested that it is definitely a book for me. The premise behind it was all about accepting who we are and being happy with life as well as being inclusive to all of society, not just those who look like ourselves. A strong message and one which sometimes people shy away from and so I feel that it was very brave of Michelle Gorrman to tackle this subject, taking on the topic of being overweight and ,meeting it head on, using words like fat and chubby as well as overweight and curvy. These words are often considered taboo but i appreciate an author who is honest with me and it made the characters on the page feel more alive because they were referring to all their flaws and how they viewed themselves. 

As well as this big subject that this book tackles, it has a strong theme of friendship running throughout the novel. The girls in this book are all very realistic characters and I warmed to them. The narrator Katie is struggling to fit in at work and in society in general and find hope with her Friends. Jane has been struggling to loose the baby weight and has tried every faddy diet under the sun, something which is extremely relatable to a lot of people out there. Pixie is a real firecracker but she can't seem to practise what she preaches at home. I have to admit, I didn't find myself attached to Jane or Pixie as much as the other girls. Ellie was my favourite character, she is down to earth, sensible and accepting of who she is more than any of the others I think. She has a successful job and provides the voice of reason in many situations. 

Of course this is a romantic comedy kind of novel and so there are a couple of love interests for many of the girls and this is painted in a very realistic light as well, something which i appreciated too. You will definitely find yourself rooting for certain people over others. I loved the male character Rob, he was a little on the judgmental side but this just tied in well with the storyline and overall I think I could really get along with him.. 

There were some really funny bits in this book as well as some more poignant moments, overall it was just a really enjoyable read though with a bit of something for everyone. It pacey and therefore a fairly quick read, it challenges you to just the right level without being too much and had a very satisfying ending but relatistic at the same time. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely return to some of the other Michelle Gorman novels that are currently sitting on my Kindle!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Review: The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

In The Supreme Macaroni Company, Adriana Trigiani transports readers from the cobblestone streets of Greenwich Village to lush New Orleans to Italy and back again while exploring the tricky dynamics between Old World craftsmanship and New World ambition, all amid a passionate love affair that fuels one woman's determination to have it all.
For over a hundred years, the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village has relied on the leather produced by Vechiarelli & Son in Tuscany. This ancient business partnership provides the twist of fate for Valentine Roncalli, the schoolteacher turned shoemaker, to fall in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner with a complex past . . . and a secret.
But after the wedding celebrations are over, Valentine wakes up to the hard reality of juggling the demands of a new business and the needs of her new family. Confronted with painful choices, Valentine remembers the wise words that inspired her in the early days of her beloved Angelini Shoe Company: "A person who can build a pair of shoes can do just about anything." Now the proud, passionate Valentine is going to fight for everything she wants and savor all she deserves—the bitter and the sweet of life itself.
Romantic and poignant, told with humor and warmth, and bursting with a cast of endearing characters, The Supreme Macaroni Company is a sumptuous feast of delights: an unforgettable narrative about family, work, romance, and the unexpected turns of life and fate.

Review: I'm a massive fan of this author's writing and so I don't know why it took me so long to get round to reading the third in Trigiani's Valentine series. I love Valentine as a character and she is as feisty as ever in this latest instalment. Valentine is an independent woman who knows what she wants. She is loyal to the family business and will do everything in her power to make that succeed, values which i have loved to read about. However, things are really called into question in this novel and so her character is challenged and she really has tro come into her own to cope with events as they take place throughout the book. 

The other characters in the series are wonderful as well and i hear all their Italian American, and just plain Italian, accents in my head as i read because this author makes the characters come to life so successfulkly! Valentine's mother is a fore to be reckoned with and she turns into the one supporting her daughter in this novel which was a real delight to see and something which has very much been the other way around in previous novels,. I love the relationship between Valentine and her father and for me, it totally trumps the relationship that Valentine has with her husband, Gianlucca. Gianlucca is definitely a book boyfreind for me, i love the sound of the older gentleman who will do everything he can to care for Valentine and thwart everyutng that life throws at them. For me he is perhaps a little too old fashioned in his values but he has the most gorgeous Italian house so who am I to argue?

The setting, yes. This book again is split between Italy and the US. The American part of the book predominantly features New York which is one of my favourite settings for a novel. I love the descripiopn of Greenwich Village and the hustle and bustle of the city. The Hudson river is almost like another character in the book-wonderful! The descriptions of Italy rival those of New York strongly though and so i defy anyone not to envy Valentine's life as the book goes on!

The descriptions of the food and the shoes in these books are just as good as the descriptions of the settings so a warning-this book will make you hungry! This book takes place over a couple of Christmases as well so double the trouble when it comes to the food description! Overall this was a wonderful book and a real comfort read. My only issue that I have is one of the events towards the end of the book.. For me it was a good twist in the tail but I really didn't see it coming and I didn't want it to happenbut that's really the only part i disliked. I don't want to give anything away though. This book is heartwarming, funny and full of delicious description-a great read!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 releases I meant to read but didn't get round to13/1/15

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!

Oh this list could go on and on for me this week. I just want to read everything and yet I only read 132 books last year, that definitely wasn't enough to read all the books that were released so this is a very easy top ten for me this week! 

1. Ice Creams at Carringtons by Alexandra Brown

2. Us by David Nicolls 

3. Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon by Linda Newbury

4. The Story Of You by Katy Regan

5 What a Girl Wants by Lindsey Kelk (I know I can't believe I haven't read this either!)

6. Special Delivery by Clare Dowling (I am actually part way through this one and it's lovely!)

7. The Bookshop on The Corner by Rebecca Raisin

8. The Diamond Ring by primula Bond (another one I'm partway through!)

9. The Surpreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

10. The Acdidental life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon

I could literally go on and on and on about these books and add more and more to the list but I must stope there as I hit 10!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Bout of Books 12.0 Wrap up

My goal for this bout of books was to read one book and I finished my first book during day 5 so it went really well for me this week. I read The Surpreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani for a total of 384 pages. 

I also listened to about half of the audiobook of Us by David Nicolls which equates to around 200 pages (I have the hardback as well as the audiobook) 

Finally, I began, but didn't quite complete the curvy girls club by Michelle Gorman. I would've liked to have finished this one but I ran out of time in the end so hopefully I will finish this today at some point. I read about 75% of this so about 280 pages. 

My total pages read therefore is approximately 860 pages which I think is pretty impressive considering what a busy week it's been for me and the fact that I've been sleeping so much because I've been sick. This is a great kick start to the year for me that otherwise would've begun rather slowly so I consider this bout of books to be a rousing success!