Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Guest review: Celebrations in Burracombe by Lillian Harry

The latest book in the Burracombe series, Celebrations in Burracombedraws together many threads of life in the little Devonshire village where triumph and tragedy have always rubbed shoulders. It's the late 1950s and change is in the air. For the Napier family, up at the big house, the old ways are shifting. Hilary must discover if reaching out for a chance of happiness must mean breaking away from the life expected of her, while Patsy, their young housekeeper's help, is facing motherhood without her own family around her. Down the hill from the Napiers, villagers young and old are setting out on adventures—Stella and Felix begin married life, change comes to the village school and the Tozer family continue to find surprises in their midst. Warm, poignant and heartfelt, Celebrations in Burracombe serves up another delicious slice of country life.

This is the 9th book in the series about the little Devonshire village of Burracombe. As with all the others in the series, it is full of drama and excitement as we follow the lives of the families in the village. All of the usual characters are there, with a couple of additions. I have read all of the books in the series and look forward to each new one being published and to find out what develops for my favourite people.

I don't want to give away anything about the happenings in this book, but just to say that I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it to anyone. The writing is very strong as always, and I feel that I could walk around Burracombe and recognise the houses of the various inhabitants who feature in the series. It would be possible to read this book without having read the others in the series, as there is enough detail to fill in the past where necessary. However, I can imagine that having read this, you might well be tempted to go and catch up with what went on before.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Top Ten Tueday: Top Ten authors if You Like Marian Keyes 29/9/15

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!

Now if you're like me, you'll love Marian Keyes. I've always been a massive fan of hers and I've been lucky enough to meet her as well. She mixes funny writing with real life issues and does so in a completely blatantly honest way. Her books cover some dark stuff and also just all the stuff we have to deal with in life. I love her Irish sense if humour and so I've tried to have a think about other authors you should read if you enjoy a Marian Keyes novel... 

1. Lucy Robinson-hilarious but real! 

2. Miranda Dickinson-dealing with real life in an optimistic way! 

3. Rowan Coleman-covering things most of us don't dare write about but doing it brilliantly! 

4. Julie Cohen-snap! 

5. Mhairi Macfarlane-being funny but also kick-ass! 

6. Tracy Bloom-just telling it like it is, warts and all!

7. Claudia Carroll-more fabulous Irish humour! 

8. Lindsey Kelk-just brutally honest but so so funny! 

9. Jojo Moyes-puts a great spin on real life drama in such a beautiful way! 

10. liane Moraiarty-real life drama with a funny tal to tell

I hope you take these recommendations and read all of them because they're all definitely on the same page as Marian Keyes and no, it's not just a list of my favourite authors, there are so many more than this! 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Review: The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved myLife by Andy Miller

A working father whose life no longer feels like his own discovers the transforming powers of great (and downright terrible) literature in this laugh-out-loud memoir.

Andy Miller had a job he quite liked, a family he loved, and no time at all for reading. Or so he kept telling himself. But, no matter how busy or tired he was, something kept niggling at him. Books. Books he'd always wanted to read. Books he'd said he'd read that he actually hadn't. Books that whispered the promise of escape from the daily grind. And so, with the turn of a page, Andy began a year of reading that was to transform his life completely.

This book is Andy's inspirational and very funny account of his expedition through literature: classic, cult, and everything in between. Beginning with a copy of Bulgakov's Master and Margarita that he happens to find one day in a bookstore, he embarks on a literary odyssey. From Middlemarch to Anna Karenina to A Confederacy of Dunces, this is a heartfelt, humorous, and honest examination of what it means to be a reader, and a witty and insightful journey of discovery and soul-searching that celebrates the abiding miracle of the book and the power of reading.

Reveiw: if you're looking for a bit of non-fiction for a change, I highly recommend this book! A book about reading-what could be more perfect that this book for me? Reading this book on audiobook of course and having it read to me by the author-YEY! I so enjoyed listening to this book and actually listened to it in the car with my boyfriend on our way up to Scotland and a significant part of the way round Scotland too-it was such a fun listen we found ourselves waiting in the car to the end of a section before we got out. 

We have all at some point, at least loosely, done what Andy did and created a list of books we think we 'should' read of really really want to read ( my Goodreads to read shelf is at a ridiculously high number right now!) and so to be able to read about somebody else doing this and actually succeeding at it, was great. I also loved the fact that he read some of the books with someone else, whether it be his wife or his book group, I thought that was great! The wonderful thing about this book as well, was that it gave me some inspiration to read some of the books on his list. There are literally only a could on the list of fifty that I have read and whilst that did make me feel a little guilty that I had read so few, it also pointed me I the right direction of books I might enjoye because of Andy's story behind each book and also his brief summary of his thoughts during reading and after reading each novel! 

The format of this book is great because it has a structure to it but it also rambles and has tons of footnotes, footnotes which you might skip if you were reading he hardback or paperback version of this book but because I was listening to the audiobook, we were treated to every funny little anecdote that Andy had to offer us! I really enjoyed this novel. It is a little unconventional in parts. Part memoir, part literary guide, it was hard to definie but fun to read and I really recommend this if your are looking for a little break from fiction! 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

I Want To Read

Ok this is going to be a cross between a bit of a ramble and an actual discussion post. You may have noticed over the past couple of weeks there have been a few guest posts on my blog and not a whole lot from me. I am also struggling to keep up with twitter and just reading/reviewing in general.

Since the new school year began I really haven't had much time for anything apart from work and sleep. I'm going to school, working, coming home, carrying on with some more work, eating then going to be (if I have time to eat). So this is kind of a 'please be kind to me I feel like I'm drowning' post but also a 'sorry if I owe you a review, I still really want to read your book' kind of post.

The great thing about audiobooks is that I can listen to them on my commute and sometimes if the work I have to do is just cutting out or filing something or sticking into books then I can listen to audiobooks as well so I am getting through plenty of those and am trying to keep up with new releases that way, but then it is having the time to actually sit down and write the reviews. I've been known to put a post together in my school carp park on my phone whilst waiting for school to be unlocked but that's just beginning to get a bit ridiculous now.

So bear with me... more reviews coming soon and I will try my best to shout about all the awesome books out there when I get a spare moment to breathe!

I'm currently reading...

Image result for five go glamping

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Guest review: High Tide by Veronica Henry

High Tide is out 24th September 

Meet the inhabitants of Pennfleet, a small town nestling on a Cornish estuary with a view to die for. As the boats bob in the harbour and summer draws to an end, it’s time for new beginnings. There’s Kate, who has come to clear out her parents’ house and put it on the market, Sam, whose gamble to open a cafe-cum-deli is proving a success, and Nathan, who runs picnic cruises up and down the river. As summer slips into autumn, all of their lives change while the leaves turn from green to gold.

What a tremendous story from one of my favourite authors, Veronica Henry. She takes us back to the lovely Cornish coastal town of Pennfleet, the setting of one of her previous novels, The Long Weekend. There are lots of new characters alongside some that we recognise from the earlier tale. The descriptions of the little town make it sound a charming place to go for a quiet holiday.

The main characters in this story are: Kate, a party-planner returning from New York to her childhood home in less than happy circumstances; Sam, an incomer who is trying to make a success of his new deli business; Vanessa, a newly-bereaved widow unsure of her future; and Nathan, a young man born and bred in the village and wondering which direction he should take. There are, of course, also a host of supporting characters, with their own interesting stories. Through her powerful story telling, Veronica leads us through their trials and tribulations, including some happy and some sad moments.

I found this book quite literally hard to put down. It engages you from page one, and it's not one of those stories where you can predict the outcome from very early on. It would definitely make a good holiday read or even a great book to curl up with on a winter's evening. I am a big fan of Veronica Henry, but I think that this book is one of her best.

I hope that Veronica will be taking us back to Pennfleet. It would be great to be re-acquainted with some of these interesting characters and find out what the future held for them. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR 22/9/15

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 the books i want to read in fall... right now I'd just like to have time to read an actual book, and then some more time so I can sit down and blog about it. Nevertheless, there are a lot of books I really want to read coming out over the next couple of months so here they are...

1. A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson

2. High Tide by Veronica Henry


3. What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

4. The Things we Do For Love by Alice Peterson


5. After You by Jojo Moyes

6. Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales

7. Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

8. Five Go Glamping by Liz Tipping (I'm reading this right now!)

9. Asking for It by Louise O'Neill

10. The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

I am so excited to read all of these books. Hopefully I'll have a weekend soon where I can sit down with my shelves and my kindle and dig right in. What are you hoping to read this autumn? Are you as excited about some of these as I am?

Monday, 21 September 2015

Guest Review: The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements

Anna and her husband Matteo are ready to embark a delicious Italian adventure. After a year and a half running their ice cream shop on Brighton beach and raising their baby Isabella, Matteo is starting to miss Italy. A shared passion for ices means it's easy to settle on a new business idea - they'll open a shop in the town's cobbled square, a short walk from the sparkling blue sea. For a while, life is sweet; but then Matteo's overbearing family get involved... 

Anna's younger sister Imogen feels like things are finally coming together - she's living with boyfriend Finn in a beach house in Brighton, and her photography is taking off. Then her career stalls, and the lure of Capri - and a man from her past - prove difficult to resist. 

Join Anna and Imogen and share a summer on the Amalfi Coast that you'll never forget.

This book is the sequel to the wonderful Vivien's Ice Cream Shop. I read it hard on the heels of the first book, but it would stand alone nicely if you hadn't read the first tale.  All the same lovely people are there, along with beautiful settings and mouthwatering flavours of ice cream and sorbet of course.

I really liked all of the characters in the story, although a couple took a while to grow on me. The central players are, as in the first book, two sisters (Anna and Imogen), very different but both strong and likeable in their own ways. In this book, we follow them through the ups and downs in their love lives and careers. Anna and her partner, Matteo, have developed the ice cream shop left to the sisters by their grandmother into a thriving business. Imogen is much more passionate about her photography business, but is struggling to decide which direction her life should take. Her partner, Finn, is still by her side.

The action in this story again takes place in both England and Italy. The descriptions of the Italian setting had me packing my bag to take a trip there. I could just see the sun shimmering on the Mediterranean, so evocative is Abby's writing.  I could almost taste those delicious ice cream flavours that were dreamt up in the shops in both countries.  I'm also dying to try the gin cocktail with lime sorbet that Anna's partner was drinking.

I would recommend this book to people of any age. As I said at the beginning, you wouldn't have to read the first story to appreciate this one, but if you haven't read it, why not give it a go? Do be prepared, though, to be overwhelmed by the need to dash out and buy: a) ice cream; and b) tickets for a trip to the Amalfi Coast.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Cover reveal: a Christmas Cracker by Trisha Ashley

The queen of Christmas Trisha Ashley is back this festive season summer with her eagerly anticipated new novel, A Christmas Cracker. And I am lucky enough to be part of the big cover reveal today!
But first here's some into about the book... Releasing just in time of the yuletide season on 22 October in hardback by Avon, A Christmas Cracker is a heart-warming, funny and simply gorgeous Christmas read.
This Christmas is about to go off with a bang!
Things can’t possibly get worse for Tabby. Framed for her boss’s dodgy dealings, she’s landed an eight month prison sentence. Then Tabby’s boyfriend dumps her and gives her cat away to a shelter.
But rescue comes in the form of Mercy. A master of saving waifs and strays and impressed with Tabby’s creativity, Mercy wants her to breathe new flair into her ailing cracker business. Together with a staff of quirky ex-cons, they’ll save Marwood’s Magical Christmas Crackers.
But someone’s not happy. Mercy’s nephew Randal wants to turn the mill into a shopping outlet and he thinks Tabby’s a fraudster. Stubborn, difficult and very attractive, suddenly Tabby’s future depends upon winning the brooding nephew round. Standing under the mistletoe, Tabby’s Christmas is set to be one that she will never forget . . .

So you want to see the cover? Here you go...

I love a trish Ashley Christmas novel & I'm sure this one is going to be just as great as all the others! 

Event Post: Launch of Somewhere Only We Know by Erin Lawless

Last Friday I was lucky enough to be invited to the paperback launch of Somewhere only we know by Erin Lawless. The event was held at Clapham books which is an absolutely beautiful independent bookshop just near to Clapham common tube station and the common itself! There was wine, there were great authors and lots of lovely bookish people-the perfect Friday night. 

After lots of time to chat and catch up about what we were all reading, Erin talked to us for a bit about her three books and read an extract (chapter 14) of Somewhere Only We Know. It is set around Clapham/Balham/Tooting and sot it was the perfect place to have the launch. It is based on the time that Erin lived there and her friend who was facing deportation back to Russia. I thought it was really interesting to hear the true story behind the book and it made me want to read it even more (which I did as soon as I got home!) Erin had us all laughing and told us that she was working on something quite different at the moment but she couldn't tell us anything about it!!!

All in all it was a lovely way to spend a Friday night, Erin is such a lovely bubbly author and Somewhere Only We Know is my Friday reads because I am nearly nearly finished it!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Film Vs Book: Paper Towns and Me, Earl and the Dying Girl

I wanted to do this post because these two films based upon two great young adult books came out this summer. I owned both of these books but the films coming out gave me the impetus to read the books. I absolutely flew through both of them and enjoyed them both very much (as you'll have seen from my review of both!). I wanted to post about the films and the books because I enjoyed both elements of the way the story is told. This post does contain some spoilers so if you have no idea what either of these books is about, I suggest you pick them both up now, read them and then check back at this post. 

Image result for paper towns movie

Paper towns. I loved the book because it was a bit of a mystery and was very fast paced. The movie has this same fast-paced element to it but the mystery element seems hyped up a little more, it is more, 'this is scary looking for Margo' than 'I wonder why Margo has us doing all of this stuff?'. One of the things I was most looking forward to seeing in the film, aside from the bit with the peeing in the car, was when Q and Margo break into Seaworld. There are two things missing from Margo's list in the film though and that was one of them (the book has 11 items, the film 9 items). I was a bit disappointed by this, as was my cinema companion and fellow John Green fan. I did love seeing the road trip brought to life in the film though and Margo looked exactly as she appeared in my head-yey!

Image result for me earl and the dying girl movie poster

Me Earl and the Dying Girl. I loved the film of this book as well but I have to say, the film didn't make me laugh as much as the book-surprising! There were certainly some laugh-out-loud moments in the film as there was in the book but I think possibly the images i conjured up in my head were just a little sillier and way out there. I really liked the way the scripted scenes that were in the book were done in the film. The books is part prose and part script and to get this effect over in the film, part of it is live action and some bits are animated with clay models or just general stop motions animation. The thing I also really liked about the film  was that you got to see snippets of the films that Earl and Greg made-they were fabulous. I like the fact that the books is mainly written in the second person and the film also achieves that by talking directly to us, the audience.

So as you can see, I liked both books and both films, not a very controversial post really, however I wanted to make clear that there are definitely difference between both films and their respective books. If you read and watched both of these this summer, I'm sure you'll agree with me that a great time was to be had by all!