Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Lynda Renham Blitz

Lynda Renham Blitz

Alice Lane has everything; a wonderful fiancé, a responsible job and a lovely flat in Chelsea, but after she has a bra fitting her life goes tits up. Homeless, and with just a sparkling engagement ring as a memory of her previous life Alice accepts a live-in farm manager s job and discovers that things actually can get worse. Come with Alice as she makes her hilarious career change and struggles to cope with her moody employer, Edward. But can Alice turn her back on romance and resist the dashing Dominic or will the past come back to surprise her?

Annabel Lewis (Bels) has two days to get to her wedding in Rome but her journey is beset with one disaster after another as fate takes its turn. Will the stranger she meets on the way get her to her wedding on time or will he change her life forever? Come with Bels on her humorous romantic journey to see if she marries Mr Right or if destiny takes her in different direction.

About the Author

Lynda Renham writes romantic comedy novels and has a growing fan base. She has been likened in style to Sophie Kinsella but writes with a down-to earth humour. Lynda’s novels are popular, refreshingly witty, fast paced, and with a strong romantic theme. Lynda lives in Oxford, UK. She has appeared on BBC radio discussion programs and when not writing Lynda can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook.

"Lynda Renham is right up there with chick-lit royalty! I'm not talking princess either, for me, the Queen of Chick-lit". – Booketta Book Blog’

Author Links

Author page Facebook
Amazon link books

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Just for Christmas - Scarlett Bailey

Just For ChristmasJust For Christmas by Scarlett Bailey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Her best friend's wedding...

When Alex Munro learns that the love of her life is getting married to another girl, all she wants is to be alone - and as far away from Edinburgh as possible.

Moving to a Cornish cottage, which comes complete with the world's scruffiest dog, Alex finds that her new neighbours are determined to involve her in their madcap Christmas festivities.

Then she meets her sexy neighbour Ruan - and somehow Alex doesn't want to be alone this Christmas after all. But having lost one fianc�, Ruan has no intention of letting anyone get close to him again...'

I have never read a Scarlett Bailey novel before and I am not quite sure how I have missed them! First of all I would like to say what a fabulous cover this is and it comes complete with glitter even on the spine of the book!

This story is about Alex, she lives in Scotland but is left heartbroken by her best friend who announces he is getting married and has fallen out with her dad. Mum left years ago and she doesn't have any other family, so she decides to apply for a job in Poldore, Cornwall.

Now this to me has a very personal connection, Poldore, which I quickly found out was a fictional place, however many features of the description of the place triggered my memory. My grandparents lived down in Cornwall and owned a B&B for years, I gradually discovered that Poldore was actually based on the village that my grandparents lived in. I could not believe it, and tweeted Scarlett who confirmed my suspicion! This to me then made me love the story even more as I could picture where Alex was and it bought back happy memories for me.

Anyway back to the story, Alex applied for a harbor master position in Poldore and got the job, which come along with a cottage in the village and a dog that came with the cottage ha ha! This was something Alex was not keen on, however over time in the story she came to love the dog - Bouy. This is a brilliant tale of an outsider being accepted into a village community and feeling like part of the family that the village is.

Alex moved down to Poldore in the running up to Christmas, so the book features Christmas aspects and the warmness of the villagers really get you into the Christmas spirit.

I found the book to not be a straight forward romance chick lit book, which I enjoyed as it has you guessing aspects of it and leaves a little to the imagination. This book has everything, it takes you through emotions which will have you laughing to crying. I found this an easy Christmas read which was very enjoyable. I would recommend every one to add it to their Christmas book wish list. I would like to thank the publisher for sending it to me.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Jane Lark's 12 Days of Christmas Tour

12 Days Banner Final
Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Tour with Jane Lark.
After signing with publisher Harper Impulse, Jane, author of the smash-hit Marlow Intrigues series, has decided to end 2013 with a bang! She’s gathered together some of the industry’s best authors to create one enormous Christmas giveaway.
The huge prize is made up of more than 30 books, a combination of signed paperbacks and eBooks, and two gorgeous book bags. It’s the perfect early Christmas present for any bookworm and all you’ve got to do to win is feast your eyes on the details below and enter via the Rafflecopter . . .
To kick off the prizes, Jane is giving away copies of her much loved The Illicit Love of a Courtesan and its highly anticipated follow-up The Passionate Love of a Rake
NEWBookCoverQuote_IllicitLove NEWBookCover_PassionateLove
Jane's books have been a huge hit with fans, leading to an ever-increasing fan base and comments such as:
"Jane Lark has an amazing talent to draw the reader in from the first page onwards."
- CosmoChickLitan
And to celebrate her upcoming December release of NA novel I Found You, you could also win a unique rucksack.
The book is already causing excitement among readers and looks set to be the must-read NA of 2014.
IMG_1140[1] NEWBookCover_IFoundYou
But that's not all folks! As if Jane's books weren't enough, check out the other amazing books included in the prize pot, you're sure to find one or two of your fav authors getting involved . . .
12 Days of Christmas TP
  12 Days of Christmas TP2  
Entry to Jane Lark's 12 Days of Christmas giveaway extravaganza is easy, just follow the authors on Facebook or Twitter, plus maybe give the comp a shout-out tweet (or two) all via the Rafflecopter below and you're golden. But don't forget to keep your fingers crossed too!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway
Please take a moment to read through the giveaway terms and conditions:
This is an international giveaway.
Signed paperbacks are to be sent from the authors themselves. Jane Lark, BestChickLit and/or any authors involved accept no responsibility for delivery failures. The winner must be open to accepting eBooks in any format i.e. Kindle copies and via iTunes voucher, from different sources. In the event of .mobi copies, the winner must have an Amazon Kindle account and be prepared to add selected addresses as approved emails on their Personal Document settings.
Some of the books involved in the giveaway contain adult and sexual content and this should be taken into consideration before reading. Jane Lark, BestChickLit, Harper Impulse and any of the participating authors are free to amend any of the giveaway details at any time.
Good luck!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Christmas Cracker Tag

I have been tagged by @shoefiend1984 to answer her Christmas Crackers. Thank you so much for tagging me! I am looking forward to answering the questions you have set!

1. Pick a book with a winter's cover

Scarlett's book has to be a winner for me. It is beautiful, it has sparkly glitter added to the front and even the spine of the book. It just screams out to me winter and Christmas. Who wouldn't want snow at Christmas and on a winter cover?

2. Pick a book you're likely to buy as a present. 

I personally think everyone should read this amazing book, once in their life! Make sure you do it before you watch the film too!

3. Pick a festive themed book.

This has to be the best themed book I have read this year! It is perfect, everything about Christmas is in this book! It is like opening a box of chocolates, it makes you feel all gooey inside. The perfect Christmas read!

4. Pick a book you can curl up with by the fireplace. 

This book when I read it made me feel really cosy and warm. I felt like I could relate to the book as I had just moved into a new home too. This gave me warm and fuzzy feeling inside and I imagined myself curling up in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate while reading this book. 

5. Pick a book you want to read over the festive season.

I cannot believe that this is still a book that I have not read! This is going straight to the top of my to read list!!!

6. Pick a book that is so good it gives you chills 

This was an amazing thriller, this was my first experience of Linwood Barclay and it will certainly not be the last! This really had my pulse racing and I could not put it down! This is one to read!!!!

7. Pick a book that is going on your Christmas wish list. 

I cannot believe I do a. not have a copy of this and b. not got round to reading it! This is straight at the top of my Christmas list this year, I have heard so many good things about it I just can't wait!!

Ok, it's tagging time! I tag:

Laura @Midnightstar3 

Ceri   @welshy72

Emma  @EmmaLouAuthor

Janet   @JanetEmson

Friday, 6 December 2013

eBooks of the year - Sainsbury's - chance to win hundreds of eBooks!

eBooks by Sainsbury’s launches search for the nation’s favourite eBook of 2013

voters will get the chance to win the complete long list of over 150 eBooks

3 December 2013 - eBooks by Sainsbury’s has launched a nationwide search for the favourite eBook of 2013. The winning title will be chosen by the public from a long list of more than 150 titles published today on the eBooks by Sainsbury’s website.

Selected to represent the breadth, diversity and quality of British book publishing, the eBooks by Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year 2013 long list includes everything from popular crime and romance to the latest books by leading lights of the literary world, all available to download at competitive prices. Whether their favourite read of the past year was Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize winning The Luminaries or the runaway word-of-mouth hit that was Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, readers will find something to suit every taste in eBooks by Sainsbury’s selection, and earn extra Nectar points on every eBook they download.

Public voting is open now on To get involved all readers have to do is visit the eBooks of the Year web page, and create an account in just a few clicks. They then choose their favourite title from the list and vote by pressing the ‘recommend’ button on each book’s web page. The public poll will remain open throughout December with the winner announced at the end of the year.

One lucky voter for the eBooks by Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year award will also receive an extra special Christmas present, as all participants will be entered into a prize draw to win a copy of every single title on the eBooks of the Year long list. A whole year’s worth of reading for even the most dedicated bookworm, it will give the winner more than 150 books to enjoy on their smartphone, tablet or e-reader.

Highlights from the long list include some of the year’s biggest hits in literary fiction, from Kate Atkinson to Maggie O’Farrell and Jim Crace, whilst Dawn French, Kate Mosse and Dorothy Koomson are the top names from the popular fiction genre. No list would be complete without the titles that have dominated the headlines over the past twelve months, including J.K. Rowling’s critically acclaimed foray into crime fiction as Robert Galbraith The Cuckoo’s Calling and the long awaited third instalment of everyone’s favourite singleton’s diaries Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy.

Tim Lennox, Managing Director at eBooks by Sainsbury’s commented: “Our long list represents what has been a hugely successful and surprising year in books. For example, casting our minds back to the beginning of 2013, who would have thought J K Rowling would try her hand so successfully at crime fiction, or that a 28 year old would triumph at The Booker Prize with an 832 page long novel about gold prospecting in New Zealand? We think our list fully represents the diverse and discerning reading tastes of the British public, and can’t wait to discover which of these wonderful books takes the title of eBooks by Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year.”

Highlights from eBooks by Sainsbury’s eBooks of the Year long list include:

Literary fiction:

-          Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore (Simon & Schuster UK)

-          Harvest by Jim Crace (Pan Macmillan)

-          Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell (Headline)

-          The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier (HarperCollins Publishers)

-          Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Random House)

-          The Luminaries by Eleanor Gatton (Granta Publications)

Popular fiction:

-          One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins Publishers)

-          Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer (Pan Macmillan)

-          Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns by Lauren Weisberger (HarperCollins Publishers)

-          Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding (Random House)

Science Fiction and Fantasy:

-          Shift by Hugh Howey (Random House)

-          The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks (Little, Brown Book Group)                          

Historical fiction:

-          1356 by Bernard Cornwell (HarperCollins Publishers)

-          Emperor: the Blood of Gods by Conn Iggulden (HarperCollins Publishers)

-          Arena by Simon Scarrow (Headline)


-          Will You Love Me by Cathy Glass (HarperCollins Publishers)         

-          Autobiography by Morrissey (Penguin Books Ltd)

Crime & thrillers:

-          Inferno by Dan Brown (Random House)

-          The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (HarperCollins Publishers)

-          Dead Man's Time by Peter James (Pan Macmillan)

-          The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison (Headline)

-          The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (Little, Brown Book Group)

-          Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Orion)

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Evil Beneath - A.J. Waines

The Evil BeneathThe Evil Beneath by A.J. Waines
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'There's a body in the water - and she's wearing your clothes...

Impulsive and intrepid psychotherapist, Juliet Grey, can’t resist responding to an anonymous text message telling her to go to Hammersmith Bridge at dawn. 

But it isn’t simply the dead body in the water that disturbs her, it’s the way something uniquely personal to Juliet has been left on the corpse. 

Another obscure message - another London bridge - and Juliet finds herself caught up with a serial killer, who leaves personal mementos instead of collecting trophies. Teaming up with local detective, DCI Brad Madison, Juliet strives to find out why she has been targeted and how it’s connected to the accident that killed her brother, nineteen years ago. 

Can Juliet use her knowledge of the human psyche to get inside the mind of the killer, before another body is found under a bridge? And how long before Juliet herself becomes the next target?'

When Alison contacted me and offered me her book to review, I thought it sounded like something I would enjoy.

This book is written in the first person by the main character Juliet, she is a psychotherapist and works at an abortion clinic as well as a freelancer. She has been living in London a while when women are suddenly discovered murdered and for some reason they have a link with her. Meanwhile Juliet is struggling with her own life, something in her past with her brother is not right, and Juliet won't stop until she finds out the truth.

I thought the story was very good and everything came together well towards the end. I felt that at parts during the book it seemed there was a bit of repetition, with thoughts and going over things that had previously happened. I understand why the author has done this as to help create tension in the book. I found it a very easy book to get into and once I began reading it I quickly found myself immersed in the book.

I found it a good thriller and did not suspect the killer at all, I thought that this was kept hidden from the reader until the perfect time. My mind did play tricks on me, when I was trying to guess who the killer was, but not once did I make the connection. I think this is an excellent debut novel by Alison and after her great first novel, I would certainly be keen to read future novels by her.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves crime and thriller books. I would like to thank the author for sending me this copy to review.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Secret Letters - Leah Scheier

Secret LettersSecret Letters by Leah Scheier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery of her cousin's ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her dreams dashed, Dora is left to rely on her wits-and the assistance of an attractive yet enigmatic young detective-to save her cousin's reputation and help rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way. 

Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this gripping novel heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice in young adult literature.'

Beautifully written and seeming to capture the Victorian atmosphere and intrigue from the very first page this novel had me hooked immediately.

The story is essentially about a young girl, Dora, who travels to London with her cousin Adelaide to try and find out who is threatening Adelaide’s reputation and recover some secret letters. However Dora has her own secret that she is the illegitimate daughter of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and she is determined to finally meet him at last. Unfortunately things don’t exactly go to plan for Dora as at the time she is travelling to London Sherlock Holmes has been killed by his nemesis Moriarty and she never does get to meet him.

Dora has already shown traits of her father’s extraordinary detective qualities and has a nose for solving mysteries, she is of course saddened that she will never meet her father and keeps the secret of their relationship from everyone but she can’t hide her passion and her skill for mysteries. Adelaide is distraught that they not find who has her letters and is worried that the blackmailer may reveal them to her husband. Dora meets a young apprentice named Peter Cartwright who works for another detective in London and Adelaide requests his help in finding her blackmailer. Dora finds herself pulled into the case which also connects to the case of a missing Lords’ daughter.

The author captured the essence of Dora whose deductive skills are very worthy of a daughter of the famous Sherlock Holmes; her dogged determination and unshakeable resilience make this such a good read, she is confident but also willing to listen and learn from others including the very enigmatic Peter. The chemistry and energy between the characters adds to the possible love interest between them and hints at hopefully a few sequels to come.

Cleverly written but perhaps lacking a little in historical scene setting, I was not immediately transported to Victorian London through ambience but nevertheless the book was credible and enjoyable.

I hope that Leah Scheier writes a sequel or two on this every interesting and likeable character, I would like to see how the relationship develops between her and Peter and of course love to see the situations that she manages to find herself in during the course of solving yet more mysteries. It might be interesting if she and Peter were to set up their own detective agency or perhaps if they were to work with Dr Watson to avenge her fathers’ death.

Overall I would rate this book 4 stars; just lacking a little more historical references and scene setting for me but very enjoyable.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this copy.

Monday, 2 December 2013

In a New York Minute - Eleanor Moran Guest Review

I would like to welcome Emma Louise to my blog for a guest review:


Amy is on a film set in New York, trying very hard to wrap the advertisement she's filming in time to catch the last flight home for Christmas. But the actors are squabbling, the star of the piece, a cat, won't play ball and, truthfully, Amy's heart isn't in it anyway – she'd escaped to the Big Apple to try to forget her broken heart. But as snow begins to fall on Christmas Eve, someone on set with Amy makes her realise fairytales really do happen in New York.


I've heard quite a lot about this Christmas short story so when I noticed that it was free to download on Kindle, I instantly grabbed myself a couple.

I have a tendency not to look at blurbs any more because I find that some of them give away the narrative before you've even purchased the book. After finishing reading In A New York Minute, I wished I had read the blurb because I found the story to be a little bit disjointed and I had no idea whether they were shooting an advert or a set of photographs. 

I found that the main character Amy didn't ooze with personality and she didn't really get a chance because the narrative felt rushed. One minute she was in the studio, the next in a shop, then back to the studio, then in a flashback and then in an airport. I felt like I'd been thrown left, right and centre. 

I did enjoy the flashbacks to her previous relationship - that would make a fantastic novel. 

You can find the author on Twitter: @eleanorkmoran 

I'm also on there: @EmmaLouAuthor

Friday, 29 November 2013

Can't You Sleep Little Bear? - Martin Waddell

Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Little Bear can't sleep. There is dark all around him in the Bear Cave. Not even Big Bear's biggest lantern can light up the darkness of the night outside. But then Big Bear finds the perfect way to reassure Little Bear and help him fall fast asleep...'

I bought this book to use as a topic for my class, to learn about light and dark and narrative.

The children loved this story and so did I, it is about a little bear who cannot go to sleep because he is afraid of the dark. The story is about big bear trying to solve this problem until eventually he falls asleep.

The book is beautifully illustrated and the language is good in the story. I also used this book to introduce the children to questions and how we know what they are and when someone is asking a question. From an educational point of view this book offers a lot.

The book also made the children laugh and they identified the repetition which they enjoyed joining in with. The children were glued to the book as it was being read and were interested in finding out what was going to happen to help little bear fall asleep.

Some children identified with the story as they found the dark scary. This also helped them to see that there is nothing to be frightened of, and reassured them.

I love this book as it is brilliant for combining literacy with the science topic light and dark.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Correspondence by John Julius Norwich

 The Twelve Days of Christmas: Correspondence. John Julius Norwich by John Julius Norwich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'A delightful spoof of the old favourite carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ which records the daily thank-you letters from one increasingly bemused young lady to her unseen admirer: from initial gracious gratitude for the delightful partridge in the sweet little pear tree through to dismay and distress and a final threatening solicitor’s letter as a bacchanalia of pipers, scantily clad dancers and the full percussion section of the Liverpool Philharmonic create mayhem outside her door. The witty full colour drawings by Quentin Blake are a perfect accompaniment to the irrepressible humour of this sparkling little book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.'

When I received this copy to review I couldn't wait to share it with my class. They all know the song the 12 days of Christmas and felt they could join in with parts of the book.

They loved the illustrations by the wonderful Quentin Blake, they are familiar with his drawings from reading other stories with his illustrations in.

This is a very funny version of the song and we follow Emily and what she receives from her admirer,in letter versions. The children found it very funny to imagine actually getting the gifts from the song. They were giggling throughout the story and I also found it funny.

I think this is a great little book in the run up to Christmas as a stocking filler or as a gift to yourself. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to have a little chuckle and this should be a firm book on everyone's bookshelf to share around this time of year!

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this copy.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Illustrated Christmas Cracker - John Julius Norwich

 The Illustrated Christmas Cracker by John Julius Norwich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'For over forty years, John Julius Norwich has been sending out his Christmas Crackers - a personal collection of quirky quotes and literary odds and ends - to his friends instead of a Christmas card. In The Illustrated Christmas Cracker Quentin Blake has made his own selection of favourite pieces and has illustrated them in his own trademark style. From curious dictionary definitions ('Carphology. Delirious fumbling with the bedclothes,' Concise Oxford Dictionary) and tortuous palindromes ('Live dirt up a side-track carted is a putrid evil') to eighteenth-century accounts of drunken pigs and Benjamin Franklin's account of inventing bifocals, this cracker is stuffed with surprising, offbeat, often hilarious gems. Enlivened by Quentin Blake's witty illustrations, this book is the perfect stocking-filler for the discerning customer.'

When I was sent this book from the publisher I was excited about sharing it with my class of children, this however I found was not possible. The text is way too advanced for them and they didn't understand it, also some of the text was not suitable for them.

This is a book that have been compiled of John Norwich's 'Christmas Crackers' he sends to his family and friends at Christmas time, instead of a Christmas card. The book is made up of poetry and prose that he has found amusing.

The illustrations in the book are wonderful, to be honest I expected nothing less from Quentin Blake! They are humorous and fit well with the text.

Some of the quotes I found very funny and others not so, I do feel though that my expectations of the book did not follow with what I actually got. I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to share it with my class as it quickly became apparent this was an adults book.

This is a nice 'coffee table' book as it can be flicked through and you can get a snip of enjoyment from it.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this copy.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Christmas at Rosie Hopkin's Sweetshop - Jenny Colgan

Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ SweetshopChristmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes large tempting piles of Turkish Delight crinkling selection boxes and happy sticky children. She's going to be spending it with her boyfriend Stephen and her family flying in from Australia. She can't wait. 

But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community all of Rosie's plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what's best for the sweetshop also what's best for Rosie? 

Treat yourself and your sweet-toothed friends to Jenny Colgan's heart-warming new novel. The irresistibly delicious recipes are guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit and will warm up your Christmas celebrations.'

This was the first book I have read by Jenny Colgan, but had heard great things about her and really was keen to read her festive book.

I love the cover of the book, it is so Christmasy and really puts you in the festive mood. I also love the recipes at the back of the book, this is a nice edition to a holiday read.

To be honest I found it difficult to get into the book, I felt really down about this as I was looking forward to it so much. I have come up with one reason why I found it so hard and this is because I have not read Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop. It does state that this is a stand alone book as well as a sequel, however I think it helps if you have read the story before as you will get background info on the characters, this is something that I felt was lacking in this book. But if you have read the first one, you wouldn't want background info again.

Once into the story I began to get some connection with the characters and really enjoyed the story. This is a story about Lucy, she owns a sweet shop in the village of Lipton, Derbyshire. She is living happily with her boyfriend Stephen who is a primary school teacher at the village school. One day a tragedy hits the village, which could potentially cause the sweet shop to close. The story sees Rosie trying to save the village, one she is not originally from, however she now feels part of. You find yourself crossing everything you have that Rosie and the villagers will be able to save their village.

Meanwhile Rosie's family spring on her that they will be over from Australia to see her this Christmas. Rosie is thrilled, however not so thrilled at the prospect of telling Stephen, he has a lot on at the moment and their relationship is not the best that it has been. All the while when her family are in Lipton, Rosie is considering a move to Australia back with her family, this seems like the best option and could be great for her.

I found Jenny Colgan's writing well rounded, there were times in the book where I was laughing and other times I actually felt quite sad. I feel this is a strength that Jenny has and is very skilled at creating many emotions in her book.

I would recommend anyone who wants to read this book to read Sweet shop of Dreams first as I think you may have a better connection with the characters from early on. This is something I wish I had done.

Since reading this book, I have bought other books by Jenny Colgan. I did enjoy this book and think that it is a nice Christmas read, the ending is just perfect. 

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this copy to review.

Monday, 18 November 2013

A Cinderella Christmas - Holly Kingston


(Publishing 19th November 2013: Novelicious Books)

Lucy Tilley dreams of a career in show business. But this isn’t quite what she had in mind …
This year’s Cinderella pantomime is the hottest production in town. What’s more, Lucy is starring alongside Ryan Aspall: famous TV actor, sex symbol and potential love of her entire life. One teeny problem – Lucy is tripping the light fantastic as … the back end of the comedy cow. Surely nothing kills a flirty moment quite like wearing a massive set of udders? At least she has the support of glamorous (if potentially flammable) Charmaine; a reality star diva of a Cinderella, who Lucy is completely fascinated by. But behind the fame and beauty, Charmaine is not all she seems. With more drama off the stage than on it, and everyone wanting to be star of the show, will Lucy find the confidence to make it out of the cow suit and into the spotlight this Christmas?

My 5* Review:

This is a fab debut novella from Holly, and it really is fab! I was sent the copy late on Friday night, but only realised I had it on Saturday morning. I sat in bed and began to read. It came apparent very quickly that this would be a book that I would not be putting down. And within a few hours I had finished it. It is just such a brilliant Christmas novella, it had me laughing out loud and routing for characters. I feel so honored I was among the select few to read this before publication day. 

This story is based on Lucy, she is an aspiring actress, however she has never had a lead role, this is down to her lack of confidence. She is in Cinderella this year with some really famous people. Charmaine plays Cinderella and is currently the celebrity in vogue. When Lucy begins spending time with her she feels she has died and gone to heaven. She ends up being her unofficial PA and Lucy feels this is a real honor to be asked. Lucy has a crush on the lead male role, Ryan. Lucy is hoping that the more time they spend together he also will realise that he loves her. There is a slight problem though, that is Lucy is the back end of a cow...

This is a brilliant Christmas novella, Lucy is likable and I felt I could connect to her straight away. The story is funny and the pace is good. I began to develop hate for Charmaine and wanted her to get her comeuppance. Holly has written this novella very well, there is so much happening in it, it's hard to believe that it is so short. It feels like a novel to read and it also is not rushed at the end, this is something I feel that does happen in novellas. Holly ties things up nicely and the story is very smooth. I was only disappointed to come to the end. 

I am glad I have had the opportunity to read something by Holly and she is going to be an author to watch. Her writing is brilliant and she connects to her audience well. This novella has really got me in the mood for Christmas, and I now desperately want to go and see a pantomime this year. 

This is one to read to get you into the Christmas mood, I recommend everyone to read it!

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this review copy.


Holly started her life as a child. When she grew substantially taller and learnt how to read, she decided that she’d jolly well like to write books. Whilst at college, Holly had a slight change in her career focus and decided to become a marine biologist. On discovering that she sucked at science and that her future job was unlikely to involve monitoring anything larger than sea plankton, Holly went back to the drawing board and got a Bsc in Psychology instead. She studied with Script writing North and wrote her first film, along with a number of shorts and a sitcom pilot. After several years of writing, rewriting, and hiding stuff for posterity on her hard drive, she sent her first novel to The Marsh Agency where she is now represented by Hannah Ferguson. She is currently working on her second full length novel and wondering how to lose the weight she’s put on whilst writing her last book. Her first book, A Cinderella Christmas, is out this November.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Fortunately, the Milk - Neil Gaiman

Fortunately, the Milk . . .Fortunately, the Milk . . . by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back.

Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.'

I won this as part of the Goodreads, first reads.

I entered this giveaway as I am always on the look out to expose my class of children to new books and authors.

The book itself is a chapter type book and we shared it together as a class over a period of days at the end of the day. The children first commented on the fact that the pictures were black and white, this was something they were not expecting as most books they are exposed to have colour images. Once explained that they could pretend and make up the colours in their head they seemed happy.

The story is about dad, getting the children ready for school but they run out of milk for their breakfast. Dad offers to go to the shop to get them some. The story is about dad's journey to get milk and all the encounters he has.

This story was read to a class of 5 year olds and I must say some of the language they found hard to understand, and for this reason I would read it to older children in the future.

The children did enjoy the adventure he went on and could recall parts of the story, aliens, dinosaurs, vampires etc. They didn't get the story until right at the end.

Their favourite part was in the middle, where there is a wonderful surprise that kept their interest.

I would like to thank Goodreads for sending me this copy and although I thought the book was a little old for the audience, they enjoyed it.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Conditional Love - Cathy Bramley

Conditional LoveConditional Love by Cathy Bramley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Meet Sophie Stone, a thirty-something serial procrastinator. Tesco knickers, Take That and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets. Sophie’s life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much. 
But when her boyfriend dumps her on Valentine’s Day and a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, even Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is a catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen. 
Not a fan of surprises, Sophie would rather not; why not let sleeping dads lie? Besides, her mother would kill her. 
With interference from an evil boss, bickering flat mates, warring parents and a sexy ex-boyfriend, Sophie has plenty to contend with without an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth. 

But it soon becomes clear that she will have to face the past and learn some uncomfortable home truths before she can finally build a future on her own terms.'

When I got the opportunity to read Cathy Bramley's debut novel I couldn't wait, it sounded just like something I would like to read.

So much happens in the story and it is nicely written, warm believable characters with any easy pace to the novel. The main character Sophie Stone is funny and easy to identify with, she is moving along with her relatively unremarkable life living with her two flat mates who are sisters when an unexpected letter from a solicitor has the potential to change her life forever.

Through events that happen we meet Nick the architect and I liked how his character brings an element of mystery to the storyline. It had some laugh out aloud moments especially Sophie 's boardroom debut.

All in all a good light read, somewhat predictable in its ending but overall an enjoyable summer by the beach read. I would give this a rating of four stars, worth reading and would be good to have a sequel as I feel the lack of the epilogue would have helped to tell me what happens next.

I would like to thank Cathy for sending me a copy of her great book to read, I am only sorry it took me so long to get round to read it!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Twin Beds: Christmas at Heartbreak Hotel - Deborah Moggach

Twin Beds: Christmas at Heartbreak HotelTwin Beds: Christmas at Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Christmas should be a joyous occasion filled with peace and love, but the looming prospect of the festive season fills Russell 'Buffy' Buffery with dread. Retired actor, thrice divorced, hapless father - Buffy is well versed in the complicated family Christmas, shuffling between exes and children.

Except this year will be different. He has inherited a B&B in rural Wales, and can finally escape the nearest and dearest, and play 'Myne Host' to a group of paper-hatted strangers, on escape-routes from their own clans. But when the strangers check in with their emotional baggage, and the Cab Sav begins to flow, Buffy soon realises that Christmas is never without its little complications.

Join the gang at Heartbreak Hotel as they run riot, and celebrate Christmas the Buffy way.'

I downloaded this short story as I had just finished Heartbreak Hotel and thought I would give this a go. I must say that I am so glad I downloaded it, it is very short but I actually found it better than Heartbreak Hotel.

The story is obviously very quick and did feel a little rushed, I feel it could have been a tad longer to allow the reader to immerse themselves in the story.

This story I actually found funny, this was something Heartbreak Hotel promised but I felt let down by it and I didn't find it funny at all, where as this in a few pages did have me laughing.

This story follows characters who check into the hotel over Christmas, for all sorts of reasons, their families spend it with others, they are single etc. I felt that at the end of the story I was left wanting more and a question was unanswered which in this case I liked.

This is great for a quick read (and I mean quick) running up to the holiday season.

I would recommend this.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Caribbean Cruising - Thomas Cook Publishing

Traveller Guides Caribbean Cruising, 5th: Popular, compact guides for discovering the very best of country, regional and city destinationsTraveller Guides Caribbean Cruising, 5th: Popular, compact guides for discovering the very best of country, regional and city destinations by Thomas Cook Publishing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'The traveller guides are informative and concise, and are aimed at mainstream travelers wanting to discover something a little different on their trip.  These indispensable guides offer the perfect blend of culture, history, practical information, mapping, photography and listings.

TIME-TRAVEL with a trek into the primordial forest of Dominica's Morne Trois Pitons National Park, skirting volcanoes and fumaroles, and brave a dip at the foor of the spectatcular Middleham Falls.

STRUT to the rhythms of steel bands and soca at Trinidad's carnival, amidst a sea of glittering dancers, devils, bird-men and butterfly-women.

FEAST on a traditional St Lucian breakfast of saltfish and bakes, served up with fluffy dumplings and a steaming cup of chocolate tea, the nutmeg-laced local cocoa.

DIVE beneath the waves for an extravaganza of darting electric-blue kissing fish and black-and-yellow seargeant majors, a spectacle to rival the carnivals above the surface.'

I bought this book before we cruised. I bought it online and was unable to see the destinations it covers, to be honest most are covered. However we found that during one of our cruises there was little information on certain destinations. Saying this we thought it was a good introduction to the Caribbean and if you have not visited the region before this is a nice guide to have.

We liked the layout of the book, it begins with brief history of the Caribbean, the culture and festivals etc. Then it splits into the destination guide. These are very brief, however the Caribbean is a place made up of many, many islands and for them all to be covered in this guide it would need to be huge.

All countries covered in the guide include background information, your arrival from the port, a map, and any local interests. Towards the back of the guide there is a helpful section on When to go, this gives you information on hurricanes and the general weather. There is also essential information which we found very useful at the back.

Finally there is a directory at the back which includes places to eat and the prices of these, these too are useful, however we rarely ate off the ship as we would spend a whole day exploring and just have a big breakfast before we got off.

If you want a guide which gives you in depth info on the country then this is not the guide book for you, however if you want a snap shot with many countries in to help you learn a little of the country you are visiting this is great. It is compact and can fit in your bag with you.

I am a fan of Thomas Cook Traveller books as I feel they give you a good general overall picture of a place, it is broken down into small sections and is easy to follow.