Archive | October 2015

Shopaholic to the Rescue – Sophie Kinsella.

Back of the book : 

To las Vegas … and beyond.

Becky Brandon (nee Bloomword) is on a major rescue mission ! Hollywood was full of surprises, and now she’s on a road trip to Las Vegas to help her friends and family.

She’s determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has mysteriously disappeared, help her best friend Suze and even bond with Alica Bitch long-legs (maybe …)

As Becky discovers just how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with her biggest, boldest, most brilliant plan yet. Can she save the day when they need her the most ?

What I think : 

This book picks up where the last one stopped almost to the minute. Becky, Suze and the rest of the gang are all aboard a Massive RV taking them to Las Vegas and beyond, hot in pursuit of Becky’s dad and Suze’s husband Tarkie and not forgetting the awful Bryce. Just what are they up too and what does Becky’s dad Graham have to put right ? while all the time Becky is worried that her friendship with Suze will never be the same again, especially as Alica Bitch long-legs is there all the time, never leaving her alone for a second. Also add to the mix that Becky has problems of her own, she’s not been feeling herself for quite a while.  Will she be able to save the day and herself before it’s too late ?

Becky is back !

I have to say that the ‘Shopaholic’ Books have always been a personal favourite of mine and I always really look forward to the next book coming out. I was a little disappointed last time when the book was left on a cliff hanger so I was really glad to see that this next book picked up exactly when the other one left off. All the fabulous characters are there. However this time Sophie has written Becky’s character slightly more grown up, but don’t get me wrong Becky is still Becky in her own lapsidazical way just a bit more thoughtful. This book as usual had me laughing out loud in the middle of the staff room with it’s wonderfully funny bits.

I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to ruin it for everyone, however I will say this, Sophie has written another absolutely excellent book that I absolutely loved.

I give this latest ‘Shopaholic’ a very well earned 10/10.

Published by Bantam Press on 22/10/15

A huge, thank you to Sally Wray at Transworld (penguin random house uk) for the review copy of the book.

The Christmas Cafe – Amanda Prowse – Blog Tour.

Christmas Cafe blog tour banner

Welcome lovely book people … 

Today is my day on the wonderful ‘Christmas Cafe’ Blog Tour.

Please enjoy this extract ….

The Christmas Café by Amanda Prowse

With her eyes closed, Bea let the warm, morning breeze flutter over her face. She was in one of her favourite places, sitting on her folded sweatshirt at the base of a plane tree in Prince Alfred Park. It was the best place to visit in the sunshine; if she looked to the right, she saw nothing but the manicured green spaces that led to the vast, popular pool and in the other direction sat the majestic cityscape, where the Sydney Tower rose high, reminding her of a spaceship that had landed on a maypole. From her home, it was a brisk walk along Elizabeth Street that brought her here. Bea used the time to clear her head and escape the kitchen before service began. Now, as she sat in peace, letting her hand caress the grass, the sound of children’s laughter drifted on the breeze from the outdoor pool. It was one of the loveliest sounds she knew. Opening her eyes, she smiled, remembering when Wyatt was small and what it felt like to be woken by the slightest touch to her cheek. He would creep into her bedroom and place his tiny hand on her cheek. ‘Wake up, Mummy!’ he would breathe in her face. Time had proved there was no sweeter way to be roused from sleep. She watched a young mum run after her escapee toddler, catching her before scooping her up into her arms and showering her in kisses beneath her sun hat. The little girl squealed and wrapped her arms around her mum’s neck. Bea felt her stomach bunch with longing at the memory of Wyatt at a similar age. Life had been hard, but in some ways it had been the very best time, when he was little and was content to do nothing more than sit in her company, playing cards or being read to.

She tried to remember when he had stopped wanting to touch her. As a child he had happily plonked himself in her lap and kissed her face. Even as a teen there were hugs on arrival and departure, and an arm had occasionally been cast over her shoulders as they walked side by side along Manly’s promenade. She had loved those impromptu displays. It was as if he was proud of her, his young mum. Maybe it had stopped when he met Sarah, or when he’d had a daughter, as if he only had enough capacity to love two women properly. She couldn’t recall exactly and it didn’t really matter, the result was the same.

Bea glanced at her watch – it was time to be getting back, the lunch crowd would be arriving soon enough and she would be needed. As she trod the incline of Reservoir Street, feeling the pull on the back of her calves, she noticed that the vintage clothes shop opposite the café had strung Chinese lanterns in its window and placed a ‘Happy Christmas’ sign across the door. The sight of the decorations, as ever, put a smile on her face. Following their lead, she decided that later in the day she would dig out her own box of fairy lights from the basement, along with the one junk-shop find that only graced the café at Christmas time. This was a zinc-and-glass-framed photo of a white-capped Victorian maid lighting the thin candles on a rather sparse tree.

The girl’s expression was wistful, and to Bea it was as if she was wondering why it was that she had to do all the work, but couldn’t enjoy the tree or the cluster of gifts placed around its base.

Bea bustled into the kitchen, where Kim was bent over the counter-top, concentrating on weighing out couscous for the roasted veg and pomegranate salad. Bea started washing a large bunch of peppery watercress under the cold tap, feeling the soft leaves beneath her fingers as she delicately brushed them, thinking of the flakes of chilli-smoked roasted salmon that would sit on top of them in today’s sandwich special. She would whip up a spicy lemon-and-paprika aioli to accompany it, perfect for dunking chunky twice-cooked chips. The visualisation and mental preparation of the food she would serve bought her immense happiness.

Kim broke the silence. ‘Hey, boss, did you know you got a letter today? A proper handwritten letter, from Scotland? I’m dying to know what’s inside.’ Kim waved the cream envelope in her direction and propped it on the counter-top. ‘It arrived while you were out – I would have steamed it open and resealed it, if I thought I’d had the time.’ She winked.

‘From Scotland?’ Bea asked quietly as she switched off the tap and swallowed, slowly drying the greens in her hand. Her fingers trembled.

Bea dried her hands on a dishcloth, then wiped them down her pinny for good measure, before reaching for the envelope. She let her eyes rove over the spidery text and stroked the stamp with her thumb, hesitating before flipping it over and studying the back, which was blank. She wiggled her finger under the flap and eased it to the left and right, trying not to damage the envelope. She held her breath and twisted her body, so both the sheet and her face were averted.

Her fingers drummed on the Edinburgh postmark as her head filled with a lilting Scottish burr. It was the voice that had lulled her to sleep with stories of lochs shimmering in the sun and winding paths up mountainsides abundant with flowers. ‘The white heather is the rarest; they say it grows only on soil where no blood has been shed. It’s lucky…’ She remembered every word he had spoken, as if it was yesterday.

The Christmas Café by Amanda Prowse is published on 22nd October (£7.99, Head of Zeus) Amanda Prowse will be appearing at the Southampton’s Festival of Words on Tuesday 27th October, for more information visit http://www.sotospeakfestival.org/Amanda-Prowse-2/.

The book is available to buy from Amazon here http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Christmas-Caf%C3%A9-Greater-Love/dp/1784970379/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Out of the Darkness – Katy Hogan.

 Back of the Book :

‘A person is like a candle’, he said. 

‘The wick is the body, the flame is the soul, bringing light in the world’.

Following the sudden death of her beloved mother, Jessica Gibson’s world falls apart. But after meeting a man who seems heaven-sent, she starts to feel she has something to live for again. And so begins an emotional journey. Which leads to Jessica to believe the unbelievable, thanks to a series of intriguing messages from beyond the grave.

Out of the darkness is a tale of friendship and redemption. Of love and loss and life… after death.

What I think : 

Jessica is a nurse, She recently lost her Mum, Linda quite suddenly. She’s not coping at all. She just can’t to move on. She doesn’t want to be happy any more or even function properly without her Mum. One day after work, she meets an old school friend, who drags her to a party. There she meets Finn. Finn seems really nice and they have a night together.

Alex comes from America, She recently moved from London to Brighton for a fresh start. She’s having a bit of a bad relationship with her on-off boyfriend Sam. She moves into a really nice house in a nice neighbourhood. However, strange things start to happen in the house, like cold spots in the kitchen odd noises at night and smelling cigarette smoke when she doesn’t smoke. She’s also started having really odd dreams about being on a boat.

Jess has started going to a bereavement group to try and get over the death of her Mum and that meeting just so happens to be next door to Alex and the pair meet. Slowly over time the two women become friends. Hannah is also a member of the group, she and Jess seem to click and Hannah becomes the third person in their little friendship group. Somehow against all the odds, the three women are woven together and it seems to be ‘Heaven sent’

This is a really excellent read. I absolutely could not put this book down. I have always been a little dubious about ‘supernatural’ books so when I was sent this book by the author herself, I wasn’t quite sure. However after hearing really good things about it I decided to give it a go and boy am I glad I did. I can not praise this book highly enough. Its a really sweet and lovely tale of love and loss and how you can, with a little help move on.

I really loved the way that the three women are linked together by a common denominator. It has you on a real roller-coaster ride of emotion, and so tender in places that I will admit that I shed quite a few tears. I do think that this book will stay with me for quite a while afterwards. I really can’t believe that this is Katy’s first book as its so beautifully written. I really can’t wait for the next one. I will certainly be telling all my friends to go get a copy !

I give this wonderful book a well earned 10/10.

A really big Thank you to the author for sending me a review copy of the book to read and review.

Published by Illumine on 06/07/15

The Ice Twins – S.K.Tremayne.

Back of the book :

I AM KIRSTIE.  I AM LYDIA.

I LIVED.            I DIED.

OR DID I ?

After one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcroft move to a remote Scottish Island, hoping to mend their shattered lives. But when their surviving child, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity – that she, in fact, is Lydia – their world comes crashing back down.

They know one of their daughters died.

But can they be sure which one ?

What I think :

Sarah and Angus had identical twin girls, Lydia and Kirstie. when Lydia dies in a tragic accident, eighteen months before only seven year old Kirstie is left. Both Angus and Sarah take it very badly, Sarah has a breakdown and Angus turns to drink and loses his job as an architect. So when Angus’s Grandmother’s inheritance of a remote, rundown cottage in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland comes up they decide to leave London behind for a ‘fresh Start’.

Before they move to Scotland, Sarah is putting Kirstie to bed one night when Kirstie calmly says to her Mother ‘why do you keep calling me Kirstie, Mummy ? Kirstie is dead. It was Kirstie that died. I’m Lydia’

What really happened on that awful night of the accident that Lydia/Kirstie died ? which child really died, did her parents make an horrible mistake … ?

I must admit I put off reading this book because it’s had mixed reviews, but after a blogger friend of mine had said she’d read it I thought I’d give it a go. If I’m honest I’m not sure if I liked it or not, it takes a while to get into and it is quite confusing in places. I’m not really sure if a parent wouldn’t really know which child is which, dead or alive, identical or not, I mean come on if a parent doesn’t know their children who will ?

The remaining child is quite a little madam and quite strange, All she seems to do is throw tantrums at every opportunity and then the next minute slope of to her bedroom to ‘read’. And why wait for over a year for her to say that she’s not who they think she is ? Sarah and Angus’ relationship seems to be falling apart at the seams, so I couldn’t really understand why they felt the need to move a damaged 7 year old child hundreds of miles away from family and friends just to get a fresh start.

This book has many twists and turns and like I said earlier, it is quite confusing in places. Its told from both Sarah and Angus’ perspectives, I did like the little photos at the start of some of the chapters though, it gave you a proper insight of what it was really like on that lonely island. It’s quite spooky in places and it did make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up at one point.

When you find out what is really going on with Kirstie/Lydia it is, I think, quite predictable. I did guess quite early on what happened. I also think the ‘Twist’ at the end is quite tame after all of the build up, I also think that the author could have given it a slightly different ending more fitting for this slightly ‘supernatural’ novel .

I give this book 7/10.

Published on 03/09/15 by Harper Collins.

I purchased my copy from Tesco £3:75.

Lonely Girl – Josephine Cox – Blog Tour.

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Book Extract : 

Prologue

Crouching low beneath the bedroom window, young Rosie peered through the murky darkness of a cold November evening.

Anxiously training her gaze along the pathway that ran by the big barn, she wondered if her mother might show at any moment. Rosie would not mind if her mother stayed away for ever, but she knew her father would be sad because he loved her, even though they were always arguing.

So, for his sake, Rosie hoped her mother might somehow manage to find her way home from the village pub where she worked as a barmaid. Often her shift would slip into her social life. She liked a drink and a laugh. She also liked the admiration of men, who were drawn to her dark looks and enticing smile.

Whenever her mother was late coming home, Rosie had good cause to fear the worst. Keeping her vigil at the window, she wondered what kind of mood her mother would be in if she did come home. Would she be in one of her dark rages? Would she be feeling spiteful and ready to fight with Rosie’s father? Or would she be laughing and playful, or impossible to talk with and so drunk she could hardly stand?

Rosie could never decide which was worse, because whichever way it was, it always ended badly.

Neither Rosie nor her father ever knew what to expect when Molly Tanner returned from a night out. She never spoke about exactly where she had been, or who she had been with, and if John Tanner dared to pursue the truth, a fierce row would inevitably ensue, and Rosie would run upstairs in fear, to hide under her bedclothes.

Looking back, Rosie realised that nothing much had changed over the years except that they all had grown older and a little wiser. Her mother was forever complaining that she was ‘coming up to her dreaded fifties’. She was still proud of her sultry looks, and rumour had it that she was still cheating on her loving and hard-working husband. Her dislike for her only child had reached the point where she could hardly bear to be near her.

Molly Tanner had never possessed the strong maternal instinct that bonds a mother with her child. She had neither the instinct nor the wish to be a mother, and made that clear to all who would listen. Consequently, she played precious little part in Rosie’s life.

After a while, young Rosie had stopped caring. Her daddy had been, and still was, her whole life. If she was ever worried or hurting, it was her father’s help she sought; she had learned long ago that there was no point in seeking comfort or advice from her disinterested mother. The little girl had grown and flourished without her help.

This fabulous new book from the bestselling Josephine cox will be published on 08 October 2015.

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After You – Jo Jo Moyes.

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Back of the book : 

Don’t think of me too often …

Just live well.

Just live.

Love, Will

Lou Clarke has lots of questions …

Like how is it that she’s ended up working in a airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.

Or why the flat that she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home.

Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen month ago.

And will she ever get over the love of her life.

What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.

Then one night it does ….

But does the stranger on her doorstop hold the answers Lou is searching for – or just more questions ?

Close the door and life continues : simple, ordered, safe.

Open it and she risk’s everything.

But Lou once made a promise to live.

And if she’s going to keep it, she has to let them in …

What I think :

Lou is just trying to survive after Will’s suicide, Its been a long eighteen months. She’s taken a job in the bar at the airport close to where she now lives in London. She’s brought a flat with the money that Will left her. But she really doesn’t really feel at home there, she’s not even unpacked any of her clothes. She’s living miles away from her family, because she thinks that they can’t accept that she helped Will to die. She just can’t seem to move on.

One night after a very long shift at work, she goes up onto the roof garden, she’s had a bit too much to drink and she goes a bit too close to the edge ….  When she wakes up in hospital her parents are there, she goes to stay with them for a while to recover. When she gets back to her flat in London, she’s alone one night, there’s a knock at the door, this visitor it seems is about to change her life forever …

A lot of people, myself included have been looking forward to for what seems like ages (well, about two years actually) for this book being published, well, believe me its been well worth the wait. The first book ‘Me before you’ is a book that has stuck in my mind for a long time after I read it, and this book is exactly the same. Its one of those books that you pick up, and right from the first page to the last, it just flows, its so hard to put down, I found myself racing home from work to read it. It really pulls at the heartstrings and really doesn’t let you go.

I really loved this book, it has everything, love, a lot of grief, moving on with your life and of course, family. The fabulous characters really come to life and jump off the page.

I give this really excellent read 9/10.

I purchased my copy from Tesco £10.00

Published by Penguin, Michael Joseph on 24/09/15.