Monday 31 October 2016

October Wrap-Up

The thought just occurred to me that I posted an October and a September wrap-up on YouTube but I haven't posted one on here for a while, so here are the books that I read in the month of October. I will also update this on the 'Books read in 2016' Page.

Physical Books
We Were On A Break by Lindsey Kelk

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Falling by Julie Cohen

All She Ever Wished for by Claudia Carroll

The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katy Lovell

Its a Wonderful Life by Julia Williams

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

So a total of 7 books. Most of these were read on plan journeys to and from New York because apparently I was far to busy to read during the 3 weeks I was in New York-madness!

Friday 28 October 2016

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life.
Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible . . .
A love story about opening your heart by Rainbow Rowell, the New York Times bestselling author ofEleanor & Park.
Fangirl now comes with special bonus material; the first chapter from Rainbow's irresistible novel Carry On.

Review: I know I am late to the party with this one but i had actually bought two copies of this already so it's not all bad! I ended up getting the audiobook of this one so it would finally force me to read it after having bought the paperback and a collectors edition and having some of the children that i teach read it and tell me how good it is, some of them came to me to borrow it for a re-read and then bought it themselves so I had testament that I should be reading it, and so should you!

So I love the idea of twins going off to university but not sharing a room and trying to make their own way in the world. I also love the idea of someone taking a writing class and someone being a secret fan-fiction writer. Basically the premise behind this book was extremely attractive to me and I want dispaointed. This book also featured the feelings you get when you first go off to university. Not wanting to hang out in the communal eating areas, not knowing who to sit with and what happens when someone tells you there's something wrong with what you've always been good with. This books also deals with the issues of mental health and alcoholism and so it really has It all in one package! 

The characters in this book include the twins I have already mentioned wren (awesome name!) and cath. They are great characters, very relatable and very likeable. They don't come off as too similar on the page so it would be interesting to see whether they were very similar if they were real and I met them... We also have a couple of love interests in the book, one works in a library and one works at Starbucks, I have no idea how I would choose between these two, seemingly perfect, guys, how awesome are both those jobs! We also have Caths and Wrens respective roommates and their parents. I thought it was interesting that the parents exist as their own separate entities in this novel, not just as the girls' parents. It was an interesting choice but definitely one I approve of. 

The structure of this book is a chapter about Cath and her time at university preceded and proceeded by a chapter of either an extract from Simon Snow or an extract of Simon Snow Fanfiction. I have to admit that I wasn't a massive fan of these extracts and didn't feel that they linked the storyline very well. I might have preferred if they were linked to the same issues that Cath was dealing with. They sometimes did but it would have felt a little more cohesive if this were always the case. The great thing for me was knowing that Carry On, Cath's fan fiction about Simon is out as a whole book so I could get to read it afterwards (I'm reading it now!) and so I did switch off a little during the non-cath based chapters. 

I also really connected with the setting. This book is set in Nebraska and I just literally went to Nebraska for the first time a week before I started this book. I could picture the landscape and the characteristics and Cath and Wren and co resonated with me more deeply because I knew where they were coming from and what it was like there. I love when a book has a real setting that I can actually visit! 

Overall I'm glad I finally got round to reading this book, I don't regret leaving it so long though because I don't feel I was affected by the initial hype that came when this books was first released. I like that fact that I can read the spin off Carry On and I know that my opinions in this review are not affected by any hype other than the popularity this book has had with my pupils. I listened to this book on audiobook but i do love my special edition hardback so I'll let you choose for yourself what format you want to read this book in, just know that you should be adding it to your TBR regardless if you haven't already! 

To grab yourself a copy, just click here!

Thursday 27 October 2016

Nanowrimo 2016


Yes that time of year is upon us again, it's Nanowrimo time!

I've posted about doing Nanowrimo before. I've done it and won in the previous 2 years. I have no idea how I managed it last year whilst also writing an essay for my masters and having a very stressful job but I loved what I was writing and it totally spurred me on! (I just logged on the the Nanowrimo website and apparently I skipped last year it was the year before that I last wrote-how did I miss a year?!)

Basically Nanowrimo challenges writers to write a first draft of 50K words in 30 days. What's great about it is that it is just pure writing and there are loads of incentives to spur you on and lots of things to get involved in online and IRL! I love that fact that there are twitter sprints and I get to update my word count online and there are even online forums for ideas for if you ever get stuck.

The great thing about the word sprints on twitter is that there is always one going on, you just need to follow the Nanowrimo word sprints account and you'll be challenged to see how much to can write in 10 mins, 15 mins, sometimes an hour and there's always a prompt of some kind too so if you are having a really hard writing day you can take the prompt of 'have your character find something scary' or 'introduce a tropical creature into your plot' and then you'll have some words for that particular word sprint (they might not be great words) but you'll have written something!

Another great thing about Nanowrimo is that you don't actually have to write many words in a day to meet the daily goal and then therefore meet your 50k goal at the end of November, its a little over 1600 words a day and you'll be there, easy peasy! I love the 50k words because its just a case of sitting down and writing, you don't have to be perfect but getting those 50 k words out there feels so satisfying.

Now, if last year wasn't challenge enough for me, this year is going to be even trickier because I don't actually have 30 days to get this all done. I am getting married in Las Vegas on 26th November. Both our parents are flying into Denver on 21st November and then we have wedding stuff from then until they leave on 29th November. So I really only have 20 days to write this first draft, 21 if you count the 30th November, but who am I kidding? That is going to be spent recovering from a wedding in Las Vegas not frantically adding to my plotline!

So I'm really looking forward to having a little longer to write in terms of hours in the day this year because I haven't got any teaching commitments right now,  but I'm a little nervous because I'm also going to be planning a big Thanksgiving and a wedding too. But I'm excited to see what community events happen in Denver during Nanowrimo because this will be a change of scene for me.

I also know exactly what I'm going to write about and no I'm not going to tell you!

If you're doing Nanowrimo too then let me know and maybe we can do some super-fun word races on twitter!

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Guest Review: The Unpredictable Consequences of Love

When Josh Strachan, newly returned to his home in north Cornwall from sunny California, first meets Sophie Wells, he's immediately smitten. Sophie's pretty, she's funny, she has lots of friends and she clearly loves her job as a photographer, despite the sometimes tricky clients. There's just one problem: Sophie has very firmly turned her back on love. It's nothing personal, she tells Josh, but she just doesn't do dates. And no one - even Sophie's scatty best friend Tula - will tell him why. Josh is sure Sophie likes him, though, and he's just got to find out what's put her off romance. And then put things right...

Review: Although she has written a large number of books, this was the first Jill Mansell story that I have read. I actually listened to it as an audiobook and found it a very entertaining companion on a long car journey. The storyline drew me in right from the start and kept my interest all the way through. 

The story has a really powerful cast of varied characters, all of them strong and interesting, with well-described back stories. Among the central characters, are: Sophie, a young professional photographer who has settled in the area; her friend, Tula, who moves from the city to join her; Josh, who has returned to the town to run a local hotel with his grandmother; and the apparently lazy and work-shy local boy, Riley, who lives with his writer aunt.

There are all sorts of storylines going on within the book. Sophie is struggling to overcome a tragedy in her past and trying hard to move on. Josh in particular, is puzzled by her attitude and is keen to help her. Tula's attitudes to men are also coloured by past experiences. Even the more minor characters are involved in dramatic situations. It's not plain sailing for anyone.

The action takes place in a small Cornish seaside town, lots of it in the hotel run by Josh and his grandmother. The hotel has a really picturesque setting overlooking the beach, with a path down to the sand. It sounds really idyllic. You can almost picture the beach, with its mixture of families playing in the sand and surfers taking advantage of the waves.

I thought that this story was really skilfully written. It has great depth to it and plenty going on to keep the reader's interest. It would make a great addition to anyone's pile of holiday reading. Having now read my first Jill Mansell book, I shall be looking out for her next one with anticipation. 

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Scary Books! 25/10/16

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

I've not read very many scary books but I do like a psychological thriller very now and then and they scare me witless sometimes so I'm going to do my best-apologies in advance if I don't make it to 10! 

1. The Accident by CL Taylor

2. The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

3. The Lie by CL Taylor

4. Witchfall by Victoria Lamb

5. Cross My Heart by Carmen Reid (more tense that full on terror)

6. The Missing by CL Taylor

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

8. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

9. The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

10. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Monday 24 October 2016

Review: That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson

‘Where are you coming from with that accent of yours?’ he asks.
‘Nowhere,’ I reply. ‘I’m from nowhere.’
‘Everyone’s from somewhere,’ he says. 
Not me,’ I reply silently. 

Clemency Smittson was adopted as a baby and the only connection she has to her birth mother is a cardboard box hand-decorated with butterflies. Now an adult, Clem decides to make a drastic life change and move to Brighton, where she was born. Clem has no idea that while there she'll meet someone who knows all about her butterfly box and what happened to her birth parents. 

As the tangled truths about her adoption and childhood start to unravel, a series of shocking events cause Clem to reassess whether the price of having contact with her birth family could be too high to pay...

Review: this was an interesting one for me, I actually started this book quite a while ago but I couldn't get into it so I downloaded the audio book and started it again. I'm glad I stuck with it because the issues that this books deals with are nothing like I have faced in my own life and are so wide-ranging and vast that I feel I learnt things from this novel. It was quite tough-going at points but I am glad that I stuck with it! This books covers the topics of divorce, infidelity, assisted suicide, adoption, racism, sexism and also what to do when you've found the perfect coffee shop but can't go there anymore-that last one I could empathise with!

The manin character of this novel was adopted as a baby and knows nothing of her birth mother. A chance encounter changes that for her and we get to see how it all unravels. I really struggled to relate to Clemency and so I found her very hard to like or bond with. I think this did affect my enjoyment of the books, but the book is so much more than just a bout her.the others characters in the novel we're similarly dispositioned and so I didn't develop an affinity with any of them in particular. The owner of the aforementioned coffee shop was the person I liked the most and I struggled to get along with the others to be honest. 

As I said though this book is about so much more than them. I found it really interesting to hear how Clem was affected by her adoption and by everything else that followed. Her relationship with her mother and her birth mother are really interesting and as that unravelled, that was the real story for me. She is also a small business owner and so the struggles with that and also with living and setting up in a new city were much easier for me to get along with. I thought that Dorothy Koomson dealt with these issues incredibly well and I would be really interested in reading more books by this author in the future!

To get this book now and see for yourself, just click here.

Friday 21 October 2016

Review: Emmy a And Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Review: a book about a boy who was kidnapped doesn't sound very readable or light-hearted but keep reading and I'll tell you why this is actually an enjoyable read. Firstly, I had this books recommended to me and had no idea what it was about but I love the name Oliver and I'd heard good things so I got it on a whim from the library. Can we also take a moment to appreciate the cover. How simple and lovely is it? I love the fact that these fingerprints form a heart and I totally didn't notice that when I first picked this up-so simple, so effective! 

So Emmy and Oliver, two interesting characters, we meet them just as Oliver is kidnapped and then we pick up with Emmy some years later. I totally didn't realise until Emmy said it had happened and was totally stopped in my tracks, the effectiveness of not reading the blurb first! I really liked Emmy as a character because she is strong willed, and independent. There is so much that she keeps from her parents in this book and, whilst that is something you shouldn't do, I do respect her for wanting to have her own life and her own goals and dreams! Oliver is equally independent and so the two mesh well together. He will naturally have a hard time adjusting to life back in the 'real world' or his 'former life' but he is so laid back he seems to take it all in his stride, I love that about his personality. Caro and Drew from the rest of their friendship group, although the parental characters form an important part of this story as well. 

This most definitely the beginning of a coming of age for all of theses character and it is interesting to see the young people grow and develop and see how their parents respond to that. There are a whole host of issues dealt with in this book but I would say the key message here is one of identity. This isnt a novel which is entirely issues based. It is very much character driven and I like that the issues aren't shoved in your face, you don't feel that it is all about them. I also learned quite a bit from this books, I won't tell you what about because of spoilers but be prepare for that too. Of course there is a love story aspect to this and also a hidden message of loyalty. I loved the way the story played out, I loved the ending, it was an easy read and an enjoyable one. This isn't a life changing novel but it is one that will enrich the life you are living today. 

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Guest Review: Christmas Under A Starlit Sky by Holly Martin

(This is Book 2 in the A Town Called Christmas series)
Step inside a beautiful winter wonderland where love, laughter and cosy nights by the fire will make this Christmas one to remember. 

Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season? 

It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself. 

But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith? 

Get swept away by this deliciously sweet and heartwarming tale, and spend an unforgettable Christmas on Juniper Island. 

Review: This book, the second Christmas-themed story from Holly Martin for 2016, follows on from Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky. I absolutely loved the first book, and was itching to read this one as well. Again, it was a lovely, easy to read story that had me engaged from the word go and was finished in quick time, leaving me wishing that there was another book to follow. 

Like the first book in the series, this story is set at the Stardust Lake Hotel, a new holiday resort located on a northerly Scottish Island. All of the action takes place in just a few days from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day. The main characters in this story are hotel manager Neve Whitaker, sister of the resort's owner, Gabe, and her American actor boyfriend, Oakley Rey. The rest of the Whitaker family are also there, all celebrating the festive season together. The whole resort is full of guests enjoying their Christmas holidays in this fabulous-sounding place, where every last detail seems to have been covered. There is snow and lots of Christmas decorations everywhere, all so well described that you could almost smell the mince pies and mulled wine spices. Of course, the Northern Lights (or Merry Dancers as they are know locally) make an appearance as well, adding to the magic of the setting.

The story is absolutely full of romance, not just between the main characters, but others as well. There is plenty of drama as well, though. There was a great deal of tension between some of the characters at times, making me want to knock their heads together, but also some lovely scenes of reconciliation. I can honestly say that I loved all of the people in the story, with the exception of the press who were sticking their noses in where not wanted. The setting for the hotel again had me envying anyone able spend their Christmas holiday there - it sounds truly magical.

I would heartily recommend lovers of Christmas stories to add this book, and its predecessor, to their reading list. Once again, Holly Martin has come up with a winner!

You can download this right now and experience all the feels for yourself!

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters I'd Name a Pet/Child/Car after 18/10/16

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!

Ooo this is a good one, I always struggle when naming pets, it's such an important thing. Who knows what I'll be like when I'm actually naming a child. Again this is probably going to be very much influenced by recent reads...

1. Wren (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell)

2. Q (Paper Towns by John Green)

3. Alaska/Juno, well it's a derivative of... (looking For Alaska by John Green)

4. Romily (It Started With A Kiss by Miranda Dickinson)

5. Bilbo, would be an awesome pet name (The Hobbit by J R R Tolkein)

6. Bea (Bridesmaids series by Erin Lawless or I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson)

7. Atticus Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee) great pet name! 

8. Scarlet (Gone with The Wind by Margaret Mitchell)

9. Darcy (Pride and Predjudice by Jane Austen)

10. Aslan (The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis)

The list could go on, I've also always loved Oliver as a name but as I'm about to Marry one, I think that rules out a child/pet/car named Oliver! 

I'm just going to end with a non-book character but an author, I've always loved the name Rowan so naming a child/something else after Rowan Coleman would be cool too! 

Happy reading! 

Blog Tour: Extract from All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Caroll

One wet winter night, two women meet on a bridge. One is Tess Taylor, a personal trainer on the way to meet her boyfriend for date night. The other is Kate King, a celebrity married to a handsome billionaire who just happens to make her cry. In the cold dark evening, there is nothing to link them together but the bridge they shiver on. Little do they know they’ll both hold the key to each other’s future marriage…

All She Ever Wished For tells the story of what happens when your dream is about to come true. And what happens when that dream turns into a bit of a nightmare…
I have such a treat for you today. All She Ever Wished for came out just under 2 weeks ago on October 6th and if you've not already rushed to buy this one then you definitely will be by the time you read this extract! I'm so excited to be able to shared this on the blog with you today. Just click here if you're ready to download the books once you've read the sample to whet your appetite!
The present
‘I look like the Irish flag,’ says Gracie, my baby sister
and bridesmaid, shoehorning herself into the slinky little bottle green shift dress that she picked out for the big day months ago.
‘Don’t be ridiculous, you’re gorgeous!’ I say brightly, sticking my head around the fitting room door, so I can get a good look at her parading up and down in front of the mirrors outside.
‘And it’s too tight. Either I’ve put on weight or else it just doesn’t bloody well fit properly.’
‘You’re as thin as a pin and it looks like a perfect fit to me.’
‘Is it too late to get something else instead?’ she whines, staring in the giant mirror ahead of her and fidgeting with the sleeves of the dress, almost as though they’re itching her.
‘You know right well it is,’ I tell her firmly, going back into my fitting room. ‘Besides, can I remind you that you’re the one who insisted on wearing that dress in the first place? So in fairness, it’s a little bit late to back out now.’
‘I know, but what in the name of arse was I thinking?’ Gracie insists. ‘A bottle green dress against my head of carroty-red hair and freckly skin? By the time you throw in the white posy, I’ll look like something off a St Paddy’s Day float. You should have held me back, you should have ripped the bloody thing off my back when there was still time.’
‘You’re absolutely stunning, Gracie, love,’ my mother coos over from a plush white armchair at a dressing table in front of a mirror, where she’s sipping Prosecco – at half three in the afternoon by the way – while trying on fascinators and having an absolute ball for herself. ‘A good spray tan will sort you out and wait till you see. You won’t know yourself.’
‘I promise you this much, Mum,’ says Gracie, ‘if I ever get married, I’ll run away to the registry office just to spare you all this malarkey.’
‘Don’t be so ridiculous,’ says Mum, balancing her glass precariously on the edge of the dressing table. ‘And admit that deep down you really love dressing up. Besides, gay women have white weddings all the time these days, you know. Look at Ellen DeGeneres and your woman, what’s her name, the tall blonde one that used to be on telly.’
‘Not this gay woman, thanks all the same,’ says Gracie.
The three of us are in The Bridal Room as it happens, which is this really exclusive shop outside Kildare town, about an hour from Dublin. It’s boudoir luxurious in here, with plush velvet seating, deep pile cream carpets and, as you’d expect in a bridal showroom this posh, glasses of Prosecco on tap. It’s my last fitting before the big day, hence my dragging Gracie and Mum all this way for the ride. And so far, in spite of all the behind the scenes trepidation about this wedding from my side of the family, it’s been fairly stress-free for all of us. So far, at least.
In fact I’d go so far as to say that this really is the joyous, happy, fun day out that I’d hoped for, and as an added bonus, I’m not having to listen to yet more long drawn-out lectures from my nearest and dearest about why Bernard and I will never work out and how I’m about to make the biggest mistake of my life, etc., etc.
I’ve been putting up with that for months now and I can’t tell you how lovely it is to have a single day free of it. But then to a man, everyone around me has expressed doubts about Bernard, and the closer the big day gets, the more ominous those doubts seem to grow.
At this late stage, I’m basically sick to the gills of having to endure comments along the lines of, ‘he’s way too old for you!’ ‘You’ve absolutely nothing in common!’ ‘He’s so bloody boring!’ ‘You’re just doing this on the rebound!’ And somehow the most stinging of all from my dad, ‘ah pet, are you sure you’re doing this for the right reason? You know what they say, marry in haste, repent at leisure. And I’m not just saying that because I’m having to shell out a fortune for the bleedin’ thing either’.
To date, though, it’s Gracie who’s been the cheerleader-in-chief of all the doom-mongers; try as she might, she and Bernard just can’t seem to connect on any level whatsoever. ‘I feel like I’m about to lose my only sister,’ she told me after a few drinks too many when we first got engaged. She was a bit pissed and I think she might have forgotten that she ever said it in the first place, but I certainly didn’t.
It hurt then and it hurts even now to remember.

Monday 17 October 2016

Review: I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk

The first time I read this book I didn't have this blog! This is one of my favourite books & so it seemed silly that I don't have a review of it on the blog ( it features in top Ten Tuesdays often enough) so here you go...

I Heart series book 1. Get ready to meet Angela Clark as she flees the world’s worst wedding for a new life…
It's official. Angela Clarke is in love – with the most
fabulous city in the world.
Fleeing her cheating boyfriend and clutching little more than a crumpled bridesmaid dress, a pair of Louboutins and her passport, Angela jumps on a plane, destination - NYC.
Holed up in a cute hotel room, Angela gets a New York makeover from her NBFJenny and a whirlwind tour of the city that never sleeps. Before she knows it, Angela is dating two sexy guys. And, best of all, she gets to write about it in her new blog (Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out). But it's one thing telling readers about your romantic dilemmas, it's another figuring them out for yourself …
Angela has fallen head over heels for the big apple, but does she heart New York more than home?

Review: there is literally nothing not to like about this book but I talk about it all the time so you must know that. The wonderful thing about this debut novel is how it makes me feel. Angela makes me feel empowered, like I can do anything, Jenny makes me feel positive and also think about projecting positivity onto other people, and New York? Well New York just makes me miss it and feel wonderful and excited all at the same time.

I have now read this novel twice, once in 2009 when I was having a pretty rubbish time and once right now when I'm having a pretty excellent time and both times this novel did not fail to make me feel all the feels. This novel is about when Angela takes the massive risk of moving to another continent (as I have just done) and sets off to find herself in new York city. Of couse she doesn't know she is finding herself and that is what is so fab about this book. I love Angela as a character because she is so real and like so many of the people reading this book. You can imaginge finidng that your joint bank account is still being paid into by your cheating ex and then using that money to buy amazing clothes and accesories can't you, well Angela is amazing because all those things we are thinking about doing, Angela does-she is Kick ass!

As much as I love Angela though, I love Jenny Lopez more, Jenny Lopez is amazing and we all wish that she was our best friend. I hope the next time I check into a New York hotel I find Jenny Lopez on the other side of that desk. She ahs all the right answers and she tells it like it is, she is not going to let you onto the streets of new york in a fashion mistake and she will lend you the clothes off her own back if she needs to, she really is the star of the show for me!

New York is the other favourite character in this book, the descriptions of this city are out of this world. The heat, the business, the scenery, the people, all absolutely perfect! And even the Bubba Gumps sign in Times Square gets a mention. I cannot wait to get back into New York and go and see all of the places mentioned in this book and i defy any reader reading this novel to not have the same feelings! Lindsey Kelk does a fab job of describing something so well you can picture it and you also want to go there, I love her for that!

So yes, this is one of my favourite novels and so this is a terrible gushy review but I'm clear on my opinion of this book, it is a fun read with great characters. The setting, the storyline and the characters are all well-written., It will make you wish that Jenny Lopez is your best friend and it will make you wish that New York is your home town too. If you've not read any of the I Heart series yet, this is the one you MUST MUST read, do it now!


To read one of my favourite books of all time, get yours here

Friday 14 October 2016

Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

In LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

According to Jenny: "Some people might think that being 'furiously happy' is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he's never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos."

"Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you'd never guess because we've learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, 'We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.' Except go back and cross out the word 'hiding.'"

Jenny's first book, LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. FURIOUSLY HAPPY is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it's about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn't need a bit more of that?

Review: you've probably heard me talking about this book on social media, or talking about wanting this book on this blog, or heard me laughing at this book in the gym! This book did no disappoint. I didn't read Jenny Lawson's first book, but this fabulous cover caught my eye in Target, then I heard people talking about the premise of this book on Twitter and I knew that I had to have it. Sometimes books like this that pop up again and again in front of you can be a disappointment when they actually arrive but I loved this books so much, it did not let me down! 

The structure of this book is a collection of essays and a bit like a good comedy show, they link together and gel together well to form this fabulous book, these essays deal with all sorts of thing that life can throw at us concerning personal life, professional life, family life, mental health, food, transport, travel, work everything under the sun. This book will also provide you with amazing facts about creatures you knew little about before, about taxidermy and about all sorts of health (physical and mental) issues. It really could be a go-to guide it is that interesting. The authors style is somewhat erratic and chatty but that is just how I like a non-fiction book and so this was absolutely perfect for me. If you like your books ordered and very much 'by the book' (excuse the pun) then perhaps you will not like this style of writing, but for me, this was absolutely perfect. 

This books does deal with all sorts of mental, and other, health issues and so there is a serious side to it but Jenny Lawson is so open and honest about everything, at no point does it feel heavy or preachy or scary. She is open about her anxiety, she is open about how her depression makes her act, she is open about the struggles she faces but the stuff that she does anyway. There are moments in the book where she perfectly sums up society's attitude to depression and how frustrating it is and she challenges all of that right here in this book. It seems crazy to say that I was laughing along at a book that deals with mental health issues but I seriously was. I could identify with so much of it and Jenny Lawson's anecdotes are just the funniest and because she narrated the audiobook, which I listened to,  the way she tells each story and structures each chapter is just so on point. 

Even if you have no interest in the subject of mental health, even if you have never even heard of some of the things discussed in this book you need to get this in your collection now. The structure means that you can dip in and out of it and when you need a pick-me-up (which we all do) jump to to the chapter that is right for you. You won't regret it! 

Thursday 13 October 2016

My YouTube Confession

So I've been talking about this for a long time but I have finally started making YouTube vidoes!

I know I've been keeping this from you-kind of. They're up there and YouTube so I haven't really but I havent annouced that I've been making videos here on the blog.

So I've done a couple of book-related topic talks, a couple of reviews and a couple of books hauls. I've also done the classic montly wrap-up and TBR.

So if you want to find me on YouTube, I'm exactly the same as I am on here-Fabulous Book Fiend .

I'm starting off small but I've been talking about doing this for so long and so I'm just filming myself talking about books and putting it up there. There's no pressure to subscribe and no pressure to watch but I'm exapnding my bookish horizons and taking some bookish risks!


Wednesday 12 October 2016

Guest Review: Christmas At The Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

Becca Fletcher hates Christmas so much, she’s considering getting ‘Bah Humbug!’ tattooed on her forehead. She has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch; Reasons that make this the very worst time of year for her.
Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura, and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, the smell of pine trees, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture.
But little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Cafe is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill on a windswept bay, it’s a place full of friendship; a place where broken hearts can heal, and a place where new love can blossom. It’s a place where Becca’s Christmas miracle really could happen – if only she can let it…
Inviting readers new and old to pull up a cosy armchair, Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe is the novella-length follow-up to the 2016 best-seller Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe.

Review: This book follows on from the brilliant Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe, which I read earlier in the year and absolutely loved. I was looking forward to reading this one and meeting up with all the lovely characters in the first book again. Even if I hadn't read the other book, I would have been drawn to this one not only by its theme, being a lover of all things Christmas, but by its cover - that's definitely one to stop you in your tracks. 

The earlier book in the series dealt mainly with Laura and her family when they first encounter The Comfort Food Cafe. This story, on the other hand, revolves around Laura's sister, Becca, who comes to spend Christmas and the preceding few weeks with her sister in the pretty little Dorset seaside town which is the setting for the cafe. Becca has always been the difficult sister growing up, and particularly hates Christmas for a reason that becomes apparent as the story unfolds. However, she is willing to try to join in the festivities this year to please her sister, who she loves very much. She is soon drawn into the community surrounding the cafe as she meets all the charming people who Laura has got to know through working at the cafe and living in the town. It was great to find all the zany characters from the earlier book, including the cafe's slightly eccentric owner, Cherie, her pink-haired helper, Willow, Edie, the elderly lady who is living partly in the past, the dishy local vet and Laura's boyfriend, Matt, and the hunky Surfer Sam.

I enjoyed this book just as much as I had its predecessor. It is a truly heart-warming tale, perfect for a Christmas story, and I loved all of the characters without exception.  At first, I thought it wasn't as amusing as the first story, but Debbie's humour came through as the book progressed. Having said that, the story doesn't lack depth and deals with some serious issues as we discover more about Becca's past. Although this is a sequel to an earlier book, it stands alone nicely, although if you haven't read the first one, you will almost certainly want to once you finish this.