Wednesday, 28 February 2018

February Reading Wrap Up 2018

So it's time for another wrap up. I would normally wait until after the last day of the month just in case i read something on the last day but I am super-busy today so i KNOW i probably won't do any reading at all! I didn't do as well as I wanted to this month. I ended up watching way more olympics than I expected to which took up my evenings, that's a choice I made and then I expected to read more on my flights BUT I had a really bad month for travel sickness so I struggled to read or just exist on all the flights I took-oh well!

As usual I will break this down into the kind of books I read and leave links to any reviews I've already posted.

Physical Books




Ebooks















Audiobooks














Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Could Re-Read Forever 27/2/18


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This is a hard one. Just because a book doesn't make it onto this list, doesn't mean that I didn't love it. It just means it doesn't fall into the category of books I feel would be awesome to read again.












And this one gets a special mention because this is the specific edition I want to re-read again and again (with a group of kids!)



Monday, 26 February 2018

Review: The Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly

Three women celebrate their birthdays . . . 30. 40. 50. But their milestone birthdays mark the start of a year that will change everything . . .
Ginger isn't spending her 30th the way she would have planned. Tonight might be the first night of the rest of her life - or a total disaster.
Sam is finally pregnant after years of trying. When her waters break on the morning of her 40th birthday, she panics: forget labour, how is she going to be a mother?
Callie is celebrating her 50th at a big party in her Dublin home. Then a knock at the door mid-party turns her perfect life upside down . . .
Full of warmth and wisdom, this is a story about finding happiness on your own terms from international bestseller Cathy Kelly.



Review: This is such an original premise for a book. Three women all having milestone birthdays and not all of them quite living up to expectations. For me the strength of this book lies right here, things not living up to expectations. Cathy Kelly really sheds a lights on what being a woman at these milestone ages is actually like compared to what society deems it should be.

This book tackles some difficult issues as well and does so very well. It covers what happens when marriages end unexpectedly, the difficulty in having a baby and really delves deep into body image. I could relate to all of these characters even though I most identify with Ginger, and not just because I'm in my 30s too!

These characters are all unique but have a connection. We don't see them reveal that connection until much later on in the book. As I have mentioned above, I felt the most empathy with Ginger, she is a great character to read about and I would love to hear more from her in the future! Sam is also very easy to get along with and I can definitely see aspects of her in my girlfriends. I feel like Callie has the most thrown at her in this novel, she has a very difficult ride, even if on the surface it doesn't seem that way. 

Obviously this book has multiple narratives and I did struggle a little to identify where we were in each of the characters storylines when we picked back up with them again because each of their sections was quite long. Once I got back into each of their worlds though, I enjoyed going on this journey with them. I think this switching did slow down the pace of the book a little for me, even though I am normally a fan of a multiple narrative. Cathy Kelly's charm and wit shine through though and I say this is a plot which is unique and I'd love to see more of! 

To order your copy now, just click here!

Friday, 23 February 2018

Review: The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom

‘I’ve googled it, how to die,’ Jenny says to Maureen. ‘It was full of climbing this mountain, swimming that sea, becoming a marathon runner and raising millions for charity.’

‘Sounds like bloody hard work. You can make it more fun than that surely?’

Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair… 

Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago. 

And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.

Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990’s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime? 






Review: Another wonderful read from Tracy Bloom. This book has laughs and a great plot but most of all, this is what they mean when they say a book gives you all the feels! This book made me feel everything and yet those feelings are tied up with Jenny and her family and that is why I love a Tracy Bloom novel! 

Jenny is a great main character, she is recognisable as one of us or as one of our friends and so you invest in her and just want the best for her no matter what. She can be an incredibly frustrating character to ride with but that is what makes you keep turning the pages in this novel. Jenny is also an incredibly inspirational character, she definitely made me want to channel my inner spice girl.

As much as the characters in this novel are very recognisable. The storyline is also something which we hear about every single day, it could be happening to our friend, our neighbour or ourselves. But Tracy Bloom weaves the plot in such a clever way, you're entertained and emotionally driven throughout.

The supporting characters in this novel range from the hilarious to the one you love to hate, always a winning formula. And although this book does deal with incredibly sensitive issues I still loved every moment of it and read it in practically one sitting. If you've never read a Tracy Bloom novel, this is a great place to start and if you have, I think you'll definitely agree with me that this is her best book yet! 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Review:The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.

Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.

But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman is the heart-warming and hilarious new novel from the queen of feel-good fiction – a novel of family, secrets, love and redemption … and broken hearts mended and made all the stronger for it. 




Review: So many twists and turns in this book! This one constantly had me on the back foot, not knowing what was going to happen next, especially when it came to what or who was going to be revealed. Plot wise there are so many sub plots going on, it can get a touch confusing at times but seeing them each tied up was definitely satisfying.

In terms of characters, there is a wonderful cast in this novel. All the usual characters you would expect in a small village, but each of them had their own little secret or little quirk that you really won't be expecting. There are some seriously good villains who you will love to hate and who live up to their reputations! And then of course there is main character Marnie.

Marnie has had a tough life and Milly Johnson throws a whole lot more at her in this book. I actually uttered the phrase 'oh what now?' For poor Marnie. She's interesting to read about because she is just an ordinary woman who's living a rather extra ordinary life.

Cheesecake is another character in this book as you might be able to tell if you follow this author on any social media. There are some really great baking scenes in this book and flavours of cheesecake mentioned so this novel does come with a warning not to read on an empty stomach.

The thing I really loved about this book was Milly Johnson's way with words. Her northern humour really does jump right off the page and she has some classic phrases in there! She doesn't mince words and so there is some colourful language throughout the novel by I absolutely loved it and felt so at home in her world!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Review: The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton

The first rule of Sunday Lunch Club is … don't make any afternoon plans.
 
Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, they laugh, they bicker, they eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it's said in the wrong way. 
 
Sitting between her ex-husband and her new lover, Anna is coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of forty. Also at the table are her ageing grandmother, her promiscuous sister, her flamboyantly gay brother and a memory too terrible to contemplate.
 
Until, that is, a letter arrives from the person Anna scarred all those years ago. Can Anna reconcile her painful past with her uncertain future?




Review: Even just the synopsis of this book made me laugh and made me very very intrigued as to what was going to down inside the pages of this novel, so you can imagine that that reaction was increased a hundred fold once I began reading. I was drawn into this book and this family right from the word go and I didn't want the adventure to end-ever!

Anna is a fabulous main character to steer this ship and she really is the main sail of her family too. We get to know so much about her family as the book progresses, I feel like I am part of their family too. They seem to welcome everyone into the fold, not always with open arms, and so you as a reader are definitely welcomed in as well. We all have a little bit of Anna in us, she is so fiercely independent, partly through choice and partly through necessity, but that doesn't always mean that she is safe from hurt and safe from generally bad things happening to her. The way she grows and changes over the course of this book was pretty spectacular and was heart warming to the very end. 

Each Sunday lunch club is an event in itself where secrets are unearthed, revelations are made and bonds are broken and mended. Each of these lunches could be a soap opera in their own right. At the heart of these gatherings though, is that family value that runs all the way through this book. No matter who is there, where they are, what is eaten, someone always leaves feeling a little better about themselves and problems are dealt with as a group, despite what each member of the family might reveal to the others over the course of the lunch. 

There were some really funny moments in this book, Anna's 'situation' provides some humour amongst her family and it is impossible not to laugh at other people's reactions when they experience their first Sunday lunch as a friend or a lover as one of the family members in attendance. There are also some lovely moments of family rallying round each other as the book goes on, this was really great to see because four bother's and sisters and a hell of a lot of secrets doesn't always mean that will be the case. And there were of course moments that had me in tears because it would't be a Juliet Ashton Novel without emotions that are poles apart. I cried with sadness and joy though and because I really did feel like part of the family. 

This was a truly wonderful read. I barely felt able to put it down and I ended up finishing it during my own Sunday lunch time, not something I planned to do. The story is gripping, the characters endearing and I am sure that you, too, won't want it to end!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US















Monday, 19 February 2018

Guest Review: Spring on the Little Cornish Isles: The Flower Farm by Phillipa Ashley

Jess has lived at the idyllic flower farm on the Isles of Scilly her whole life, but when her boyfriend Adam leaves without explanation, Jess discovers that even her little slice of Cornish heaven can be lonely.
For the first time in Will’s life, he’s met someone he can’t stop thinking about. But nothing is simple when the woman of your dreams is working for you.
Gaby is running away from painful memories, and where could be more perfect than a remote island off the Cornish coast? But to put the past behind her, she must keep moving … however much she might want to stay.

Nothing is simple, even on paradise. Will love bloom for the residents of the little Cornish Isles?



Review: This is Book 2 in the Little Cornish Isles series from Phillips Ashley. The first book in the series introduced us to the Little Cornish Isles at Christmas time, and to the Driftwood Inn, a hotel on one of the islands in particular. I very much enjoyed that story and was looking forward to this one as well. The islands, people and businesses mentioned in these stories are in the main fictional, but very much based on the real Isles of Scilly, a place obviously dear to Phillipa's heart.


As the title of this book suggests, the story centres on a flower farm on one of the neighbouring islands (St Saviour's) to the setting for the Driftwood Inn. The flower farm is run by twins Jess and Will Godrevy, who were forced to take over when their father left their mother to live with another woman. They have built up a successful business, but have had to give up other dreams to do so. At the beginning of the story, we meet Gaby Carter, who is the newest addition to the group of seasonal workers harvesting and packing flowers for shipment to the mainland and onward to wherever required. As well as these more central characters, many of the people who were included in Book 1 of the series crop up again, including Maisie and Patrick from the Driftwood Inn, Jess's postman boyfriend, Adam, and Hugo, who runs a high-class resort on the neighbouring island of Petroc. Another new character is suave Italian businessman, Luca, who has come to advise Hugo on operations at the Petroc resort.

This is a wonderful tale describing the hard work required to produce the beautiful blooms we all love to see in the spring and the dedication of the people involved in this industry. The author must have put in such a lot of research to enable the detailed descriptions of the processes involved. Through her skilful writing you can really feel the struggle that the Godrevy twins experience choosing between duty to their farm and the direction their heart would like to lead them. In addition to this, through her wonderful descriptions, Phillips Ashley has once again made me eager to visit this area of the country where everything revolves around the state of the tide and ferry timetables.

I think that this story would make good holiday reading, but is equally suitable for lending a bit of escapism at any other time. It was one of those books that grabbed me right from the start and wouldn't let go, so eager was I to learn what was going to happen to the characters and relationships building within its pages.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US


Friday, 16 February 2018

UK Book Blogger Awards

Exciting news!

The London Book Fair launches inaugural
UK Book Blog Awards


The hunt to find the most influential
book bloggers, bookstagrammers and booktubers is on

The London Book Fair (LBF) is delighted to announce the launch of the first ever UK Book Blog Awards @ LBF - a new initiative designed to celebrate social media influencers and their important contribution to the book industry.  

A new feature for LBF 2018, this will be the first time this community has been officially recognised and rewarded by the British publishing industry.

Bloggers, social media influencers, members of the publishing industry, and the general public are invited to nominate the best book blogs, bookstagrammers and booktubers across three categories:
·         Book Blogger of the Year
·         Bookstagrammer of the Year
·         BookTuber of the Year

Once the shortlist has been revealed, a panel of judges will select one winner in each category, who will be honoured at a special awards ceremony at The London Book Fair. In addition, the Fair will introduce new seminars and networking events aimed at bringing the social media influencer community closer to the publishing world.

Jacks Thomas, Director at The London Book Fair commented: “Book bloggers are an increasingly important part of the book world. Their passion for authors, genres and books is integral in reaching new audiences. We’re really excited to be launching the inaugural UK Book Blog Awards @ LBF and recognising the crucial role social influencers play in the promotion of books.”

The awards are open to any blogger, YouTuber or Instagrammer that features books published in the UK and/or UK authors. To put forward a nomination, or to nominate your own blog/Instagram account/YouTube channel visit: www.londonbookfair.co.uk/UKBookBlogAwards 

February Book Haul!

I'm going to share my february book haul a little differently with you, just to mix things up a bit. Rather than share each book on here, I made a video showing you the books so it's a little more interactive!


Here are all the links for the books I talk about:

The Sunday Lunch Club
UK: http://amzn.to/2nUEajz
US: http://amzn.to/2EbPyhK

The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One
UK: http://amzn.to/2ESsCW2
US: http://amzn.to/2Evw1fM

Darcy Burdock Angrosaurus Rex
UK: http://amzn.to/2EqaJjJ
US: http://amzn.to/2Eq8XPx

The Christmasaurus
UK: http://amzn.to/2EPK8Kn
US: http://amzn.to/2shSlV4

Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls
UK: http://amzn.to/2C5vg7S
US: http://amzn.to/2C65AYQ

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2
UK: http://amzn.to/2nUGU08
US: http://amzn.to/2sf9rTA

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
UK: http://amzn.to/2C5vtIc
US: http://amzn.to/2C6wVda

On Writing by Stephen King
UK: http://amzn.to/2FVVvzK
US: http://amzn.to/2EfvuLi

Tell Me Three Things
UK: http://amzn.to/2FWTQdy 
US: http://amzn.to/2EuUz8I 

Want a free audiobook? I am an audible affiliate! http://amzn.to/2rAh3Lr



Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Guest Review: The Great Cornish Getaway by Fern Britton

As the sun sits high in the sky over Cornwall, and the sea breeze brings a welcome relief to the residents of the seaside village of Trevay, a stranger arrives in need of a safe haven.
The fact that the stranger is a Hollywood heartthrob makes villagers Penny and Dorrie even more keen to help. They both know what it’s like to feel that you need a break from life, and they bring the village together to keep their stranger’s secret. It’s not long before he’s helping some of the villagers find the answers to their own problems. In return, they find a place for him in their hearts.
Pendruggan: A Cornish village with secrets at its heart


Review: I do love a Quick Reads book; they are such a good idea for encouraging new readers or perhaps for  those with not a lot of time for reading to enjoy stories from established authors. When I saw that the latest batch of Quick Reads included this one from Fern Britton, I looked forward to reading it, as I have not actually read any of her work so far. I was not sure what to expect, but was quickly immersed in the story. 

The setting is the little Cornish seaside village of Trevay and the story harks back to one of Fern's earlier novels, A Seaside Affair. The person doing the getting away is a well known Hollywood actor in need of a break from the demands of a hectic life. The actor in question has been to the village before, his actions on that occasion gaining him many friends there. The villagers now rally round to protect his privacy and let him experience a more 'ordinary' lifestyle for a while. 

I found this a most enjoyable, if not entirely believable, short story with some really likeable characters. It would be nice to think that people could really be as helpful and welcoming as the villagers in Trevay. It sounds an idyllic setting for anyone who enjoys a quiet holiday by the sea. I would recommend the book itself for anyone looking for an entertaining and easy read. 

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: YA Romance 13/2/18


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I decided to do a quick top 10 YA romance because I have read some really fabulous romance in t young adult books recently. As always, this list is in no particular order. 


























Monday, 12 February 2018

Review: Our Little Secret by Claudia Carroll

A sparkling story about what happens when you let someone into your life… but they turn out to want more than you’d bargained for!
Sarah Dee has the perfect life. A high-flying job in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and a house to die for. So how does she find herself looking in through the kitchen window while another woman enjoys it all?
When Sarah takes pity on a struggling young graduate who can’t get a job, she thinks she’s doing the right thing. She’s being kind, generous and helpful to others, as she always is. But as Sarah allows the younger woman into her home, her law firm and even her family, is there more to this pretty youngster than meets the eye? And could this be a good deed that goes further than expected?

 

Review: This book was an absolute delight. I have always loved the witty way in which Claudia Carroll writes. She creates these funny women who are easy to love and puts them into settings we can recognise, but throws so much at them. We get to see how they handle everything that is thrown at them and then some. 

I expected this book to be a typical saga about women whose lives are interconnected and various things that happen to them, but this book was so much darker than I was expecting it to be (serves me right for not reading the synopsis!) Let me tell you though, Claudia Carroll can definitely do darker. She weaves some serious webs of deceit and intrigue in this novel and it was a joy to watch the characters try and unravel them. 

Sarah is a great character to read about. She is the kind of person we all want to be. She is good at what she does, she has an amicable relationship with her ex-husband and her daughter loves her. She is also the kind of person who will go out of her way to help people, even if that means putting herself out. Obviously we get to see her suffer the consequences of that in this novel. Daughter Darcy is also a really interesting character to read about. She is at that stage where not everybody takes things she says seriously and she is stuck in a kind of middle ground because of that. She is a very impressionable character and it was a joy to watch her develop in this novel!

And then of course we have Lauren, the girl with more sides to her than we can possibly imagine. I loved reading about the many facets of this character and she really does add so much intrigue to this story and ties the whole thing together. 

Every moment of this novel was believable and it was refreshing to have something a little darker that still has a family at heart and the humour that we have come to expect from this author. 

I listened to the audiobook of this novel and it was very well narrated, I highly recommend that format!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Gust Review: King Power: Leicester City's Remarkable Season by 'Richard III'

Another in my series of guest reviews of sport or history books. This one combines the two!
I had a hunch we’d be champions!
The most unlikely story in the history of sport, told by our greatest football writer
On 25th March 2015, when King Richard III, recently rescued from a municipal car park, was reburied in Leicester Cathedral, his beloved football team had just lost 4-3 to Tottenham Hotspur and were bottom of the Premier League, relegation certainties. With King Richard finally at rest, everything changed for Leicester City.
Here, in his own words, King Richard III tells this, the most remarkable sporting story of all time – how 5,000-1 Premier League outsiders became champions: the goals, the games, the dressing-room banter. He gives us the Jamie Vardy story, from prosthetic-limb factory employee to the most celebrated striker this side of the River Soar; Mahrez, the great Muslim dynamo from Algeria, once stuck in the French seventh tier; the dark days of the sex video and the late December wobble; Lords Drinkwater, Albrighton and the great Tinkerman from Italy, all of them heroes of Shakespearean proportions.
This isn’t a fairy-tale, this really happened. From the unsanctioned hand of a much-loved Royal, the greatest football book ever written.



Review: In 2012, an archeological dig at the site of what was believed to be the former Greyfriars Church in Leicester discovered an almost complete skeleton. Subsequent archeological and pathological examination of the skeleton, revealing a marked curvature of the spine and severe trauma injuries to the skull, and limited DNA testing looking at maternally-inherited DNA was carried out. The results of these combined examinations provided very strong support for the proposition that the remains were those of Richard Plantagenet, erstwhile Duke of Gloucester and King Richard III of England. Richard had assumed the role of King of England following the death of his brother Edward IV in 1483 and the subsequent declaration of Edward's son Edward V as illegitimate. Richard reigned for two years until Henry Tudor's rebellion in 1485 which culminated in the Battle of Bosworth near Leicester, in which Richard was killed. Henry Tudor subsequently ascended the throne as Henry VII, the first of the Tudor monarchs of England. Richard was the last Plantagenet king of England and the last king to die in battle. After the battle, his body was taken to Leicester and was said to have been buried in the choir of Greyfriars Church.

Following the discovery in 2012 and the completion of the various examinations, the remains of Richard III were re-interred on 26th March 2015 in Leicester Cathedral. Just prior to the re-internment, Leicester City Football Club were beaten 4-3 by Tottenham Hotspur and were bottom of the English Premier League, favourites to be relegated at the end of that season. What followed in the final nine games of the season was a remarkable turnaround of form that allowed Leicester City to escape relegation. The following season of 2015-2016 was even more remarkable as Leicester City, under a new manager, stormed to the top of the league and were crowned champions, having been quoted as 5,000 to 1 outsiders to lift the title at the outset of the season. Superstition plays an important role in most sports, and many people have attributed Leicester City's run of form during that year to Richard III's re-internment, less than a mile from their ground at the King Power Stadium. This book, purportedly from the pen (or should that be quill?) of Richard III, although given that he has been dead for over 500 years, is likely to be the work of a "ghost" writer, is an account of that year, from the relegation battle at the end of one season to being crowned champions at the end of the next.

The book is an exciting account of the football matches during that amazing year, describing the personalities involved, the back room politics of the football club and a few of the low points, together with many high points. There are also historical insights into the 15th century world of Richard III. For example, the author has few good words to say about William Shakespeare, who he believes gave him a very bad reputation in his play Richard III. However, there are some areas where the author's memory appears very hazy, as when he states he has no idea of the fate of Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, the so called "Princes in the Tower", who disappeared, never to be seen again, in the summer of 1483 following Richard's accession to the throne.

As one may imagine, this book is full of tongue in cheek humour and is written in very Shakespearian style (although whether that is William Shakespeare or Craig Shakespeare, who was Leicester City's assistant manager at the time, I shall not reveal). As a fusion of sport and history, I enjoyed this book very much and found myself laughing out loud (or LOL as Richard puts it on one occasion) many times on reading it.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US