Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella

The Undomestic GoddessThe Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Samantha is a high-powered lawyer in London. She works all hours, has no home life, and cares only about getting a partnership.She thrives on the pressure and adrenalin. Until one day... she makes a mistake. A mistake so huge, it'll wreck her career.

She walks right out of the office, gets on the first train she sees, and finds herself in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she is mistaken for the interviewee housekeeper and finds herself being offered the job. They have no idea they've hired a Cambridge-educated lawyer with an IQ of 158 - Samantha has no idea how to work the oven.

Disaster ensues. It's chaos as Samantha battles with the washing machine...the ironing board...and attempts to cook a cordon bleu dinner.But gradually, she falls in love with her new life in a wholly unexpected way.

Will her employers ever discover the truth? Will Samantha's old life ever catch up with her? And if it does...will she want it back?'

This was the first Sophie Kinsella book I read. I was bought it as a gift for my birthday; I was reluctant to read a Sophie Kinsella book - I am not sure why but it soon turned out that I was hooked!

The main character Samantha works in the city as a lawyer, something she has worked hard for but the pressures of it mean that she is feeling a little overwhelmed. She has no time for herself and is beginning to always feel stressed.

She ends up catching a train after she has made a BIG mistake a work, she has no idea where she is going or when she is going to get off but she can not face up to the mistake.

When she does get off the train she goes to a house, she ends up being mistaken for a housekeeper as they are conducting interviews that day. Samantha goes along with the interview and ends up getting the job. The job is live in so she has nothing to worry about, in respects of finding somewhere to live. 

All the time she is there she is keeping her secret while she is trying to work out what to do; she ends up having to quickly learn to cook, clean and complete other household chores that she has never done before and not too sure how to do.

As time goes on Samantha falls in love, which is something she has no intention of doing, what will happen now? How will she go back to her regular life? Will she tell her new found love about her secret?

I loved every minute of it, I felt I could relate to the story of having a very busy life almost feeling you are working robotic-ally and when you are given an escape maybe take it?

It had me in stitches and remains my favourite Sophie Kinsella book, even though I have read it many times it still takes pride of place on the book shelf.

I would urge anyone with a busy working life to read it, Sophie Kinsella writes brilliantly and is excellent at bringing humor to her books.

I love Sophie Kinsella books and in my opinion she cannot write them quick enough.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

In Lucia's Neighborhood - Pat Shewchuk

In Lucia's NeighborhoodIn Lucia's Neighborhood by Pat Shewchuk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Inspired by urban visionary Jane Jacobs, seven-year-old Lucia takes the reader through a day in her neighborhood and celebrates the people and places that make it feel like home. A great starting point for discussions on cities, this book will encourage readers to stop and smell the urban roses.'

I was sent this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed In Lucia's Neighborhood as I thought the story is good for young children and children during their first year at school, it identify different people in the community. We see the post man and Lucia knows when she see's certain people she knows what comes next such as time to go to bed.

I also feel story is excellent to talk about different cultures and this is covered very well in the story. Children are also able to make similarities and differences between their own neighbourhood's and Lucia's.

I thought the illustrations were very good and some are from different view points which really adds interest to the book. The only thing I would say is that we never know where the story is set Lucia refers to it being like Portugal, however we never actually know where she is, this I feel is a disappointment, and is why the book rating for me is only 4* and not 5.

In the name of love - Katie Price

In the Name of LoveIn the Name of Love by Katie Price
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'On a sun drenched beach in Barbados, feisty sports presenter Charlie meets the irresistibly gorgeous Felipe Castillo. Instantly attracted to each other, they have a passionate affair, until he walks out with no explanation. It is only then that she discovers that Felipe is related to the Spanish royal family, is a brilliant rider and the lynchpin of the Spanish Eventing team.

Back in London, Charlie puts her heartbreak behind her by going out on the town. Until Felipe returns and turns her life upside down again. Soon they are the golden couple of sport, followed by the press wherever they go.

But not everyone is happy to see the two together: his disapproving mother for one, and the anonymous person that is waging a hate campaign against Charlie at work. And as the pressure on the couple mounts, a dark shadow from Charlie's past comes back to haunt her.

Will Charlie be able to overcome her past in the name of love?'

I have read all of Katie Price’s novels and thoroughly enjoyed them, however I have to say that I think this has been the worst I have read. It started very promising and I was enjoying the story line. 

Charlie one of the main characters goes away with Zoe, her best friend on holiday to the Caribbean. The story became very rushed, I could not believe the quickness of Charlie’s new found love relationship. No more than 6 hours after they had landed Charlie was already on a date with a guy she met out there.

Felipe and Charlie’s relationship became a rollercoaster of a holiday romance, however they were both carrying a secret. This was later blown out of proportion and they went their separate ways.

Once Charlie was at home, we follow Charlie through her day to day life at work as a Sports T.V presenter and it was nice to be introduced to her work colleagues Darcy in particular. One day Charlie is told to attend a red carpet dinner event and it's here that Charlie was reintroduced to Felipe. This I feel was also a high point in the book. After the two of them had been reintroduced I felt the story was beginning to drift; the story became predictable and boring. 

I had been aware the story probably would be predictable and I was ok with that, however the further into the story I came I was becoming bored and actually frustrated and annoyed by some of the characters. Charlie in particular became annoying, you just wanted to shake her!

I began to develop sympathy and enjoyed reading about Darcy, even though I guess it was Charlie and Felipe I was meant to care about and to be honest I couldn’t care less about what happened to Charlie in the end. I began skim reading as I wanted to get to the end of this book. This I feel was not one of Katie Price’s best novels, I did finish it as I was sent to review it from the publishers and I am only grateful that this was not the first of hers I have read.

Another disappointing feature of the book is that I found the spelling and grammar particularly bad in the story. I feel more should have been done when it was proof read. There were many plural errors which should have not made it into the book. I also feel that the story could have been shorter, it felt like she was dragging everything out to make it into a longer novel but then cramming things into the end to make it a happy ending.

I feel that it is a good book for the beach, you can put it down and when you pick it up again you still know what is going on. The cover is stunning in the way it draws you in and you want it to add to your beach collection. I am hoping that Katie Price write's more about Angel and Crystal from previous novels as these books are in a different league compared to this. 

I would like to thank the publishers for sending it to me. 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Blackbeard's Last Fight - Angus Konstam

Blackbeard's Last Fight - Pirate Hunting in North Carolina 1718 by Angus Konstam
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'In April 1713 the War of the Spanish Succession came to an end. During the conflict hundreds of privateers - licenced pirates - preyed on enemy shipping throughout the Caribbean. These privateers now found themselves out of a job, and many turned to piracy. One of theme was Edward Teach - more popularly known as Blackbeard. He joined the pirates in New Providence (now Nassau) in the Bahamas, and by early 1717 he had become a pirate captain. From then on he caused havoc off the North American seaboard, in the West Indies and off Honduras, before appearing off Charleston, South Carolina in May 1718. He blockaded this major port for a week, an act that made Blackbeard the most notorious pirate of his day.'

I was sent this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Blackbeard's Last Fight - Pirate Hunting in North Carolina 1718 is another very good researched, detailed book.

This book is all based on Blackbeard's last fight, so if you want to know about him in other areas, this is not the book for you as it will only cover this fight.

The book has been expertly put together and is perfect to add to your library of pirate history.

The illustrations, maps and photography make this a very good read. I would only state I would have liked to see more maps within it.

At the end of the book again there is opportunity for further reading.

Overall this is a very interesting book and would be excellent for educational use. This will be sitting on my bookshelf as a reference in the near future.

Thank you again Osprey for sending me this.

Pirate: The Golden Age - Angus Konstam

Pirate: The Golden AgePirate: The Golden Age by Angus Konstam
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'This book describes the life of a pirate in the early 18th century, the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’. It charts the way these men (and a few women) were recruited, how they operated, what they looked like and what prospects their lives held. In the process the book strips away many of the myths associated with piracy to reveal the harsh realities of those who lived beyond the normal bounds of society. Written by pirate expert Angus Konstam, the book draws on decades of research into the subject, and pulls together information from a myriad of sources including official reports, contemporary newspaper reports, trial proceedings and court testimony last words on the scaffold, letters and diaries as well as archaeological evidence and relevant objects and artefacts from museum collections on both sides of the Atlantic. A must have for fans of the classic pirate stories or warfare in the early 18th century.'

This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was excited to receive this Pirate book as pirates are something that interest me, they have also become very popular over the years due to various films based on them.

Pirate: The Golden Age is a very well researched book, the illustrations and art work is excellent.

This is a reference book and it covers the history of pirates from 1713 to 1725, this is something that I have learnt since reading the book. I did not know that the main pirates were only around for this short period of time.

This is a taster book which covers the main pirates and it gives you the opportunity for further reading at the end of it. This is a good book to find out a lot more about pirates, from expeditions to their clothing.

I enjoyed this reference book hugely, the only point I would make is that it would have been nice to have included more maps of voyages.

I also feel that this is a good educational text, those who are studying this area in detail would benefit from reading this book.

I would like to thank Osprey for sending it to me.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

True Vines - Diana Strinati Baur

True VinesTrue Vines by Diana Strinati Baur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'After the sudden death of her Italian winemaker husband, Meryl Michelli flees to her small hometown in Pennsylvania, looking to slam the door on heartache and trudge forward. But it's never that simple, especially when old family ties have been strained by years of geographic and emotional distance. A chance encounter with a childhood friend brings back a betrayal she could never put to rest, and readjusting to life in the States in upper mid-life wears her thin in ways she never could have imagined. But it's only when she completely falls apart that Meryl comes to understand that the key to the future lies in understanding the meaning of the past. 

True Vines traverses the lush, manicured rows of northern Italy's majestic wine country and the winding path of Pennsylvania's Delaware River as Meryl seeks to reconcile her past and her present. Saying goodbye to one existence allows Meryl to swing the door open to another as she weaves a new, uniquely beautiful tapestry that transports her to exactly the place in this short, sacred life she is meant to be.'

I was sent this in exchange for an honest review.

I found this story quite easy to get into, I connected with the characters straight away and was ready to accompany Meryl on her journey. This is a story told across two countries, America and Italy and if you have ever been to Italy it will light up memories and if you haven'y you will want to visit.

I enjoy books set in different countries and travelling and I found myself wanting to arrive in a foreign country and travel along with Meryl and Francesco.

There are many topics covered in the book, love, family, lies...The story is about Meryl's life coming together, the past and present, I wasn't sure how this was going to work but it was important the author covered this across the two countries, towards the end this all came together.

Some books you can drift in an out of and it doesn't matter if you put it down and don't pick it up again for weeks as you will know what is going on. This is not one of those books, as there is so much going on in it, you have to concentrate completely when you are reading it as if you are not you will get lost. This happened to me on a couple of occasions and I had to reread sections to remember what had happened and so I felt I could move on confidently. For this reason and it is probably down to my lifestyle I feel I could not give myself up to the book and enjoy it in the way it should be read. I was too distracted with things and this slashed my enjoyment of it as I had to keep reading back.

I have also found it hard writing a review for this as I feel that I was distracted throughout it.

Finally I did love the settings of the book and the characters - this I should have read when I was on holiday and could give the book the time it deserved.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Silent Wife - A.S.A Harrison

The Silent WifeThe Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'HE is a committed cheater. SHE lives and breathes denial. HE exists in dual worlds. SHE likes to settle scores. A chilling psychological thriller for fans of GONE GIRL.

Todd and Jodi have been together for more than twenty years. They are both aware their world is in crisis, though neither is willing to admit it. Todd is living a dual existence, while Jodi is living in denial. But she also likes to settle scores. When it becomes clear their affluent Chicago lifestyle could disintegrate at any moment, Jodi knows everything is at stake. It's only now she will discover just how much she's truly capable of... '

I was sent this book direct from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book has been likened to Gone Girl, this is one book that I do have on my book shelf ready to read so I couldn’t comment on similarities of it.

I found this difficult to give a star rating due to my uncertainty of the book and how it has made me feel, due to this I think I would have given the book 3 and a half stars if possible.

I found this a strange book, its set out as him and her and I was unsure if I liked this set up and I found myself wondering if anything was actually happening in the book, saying this I had this urge to keep reading it, even though I was unsure about my feelings with it.

Todd is him and we are taken through a journey with him, he has been with Jodi for 20 years, they seem to have the perfect life. Todd however had a deep dark secret, he has been seeing his best friends daughter, who is young enough to be his daughter, but Todd gets the thrill of being with a younger woman who is completely different to Jodi.

Jodi is her, she finds out about Todd’s affair but almost blocks it out, becomes silent about it and wonders if he is ever going to tell her. You really feel for Jodi as time goes on and begin to develop hatred for Todd as events unfold.

I felt parts of the book were long winded and didn’t need to be, pace for majority of the time was good, however I felt it fell a bit flat. There were times you wanted Jodi to just wake up, you get the impression she is a strong woman and as a psychologist gives out a lot of advice, but she seems to not be able to follow her own advise.

Jodi seeks a friendship in Alison, however Alison doesn’t seem like a true friend, it’s as if it was ok as she was the only one of her so called friends that has been there for her, not all aspects of their friendship hold up, and Jodi asks no questions which I find bizarre, I do not want to say anymore on that point in case you haven’t read it and intend to.

This story I would say is disturbing as there is no violence you read or gore in the book, just mind games and tricks. It also questions how well you know the person you live with and devout your life too, do you really know someone? Jodi didn’t really know Todd and he thought he knew Natasha but when things got more serious he began to see cracks that weren’t there with Jodi. The story is a little about is the grass always greener on Todd’s side.

One thing I did enjoy about this story is that you couldn’t predict what was going to happen even the further you got in the book it was still a surprise.

Even right at the end of the story I am unsure how the book has left me and how I feel about it. I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this copy.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Royal baby news!


I entered a competition on Twitter a few weeks ago for the chance to win a copy of the new 'The Royal Baby' by Tony Bradman and Tony Ross. I was lucky enough to win the signed copy! 

Today it turned up in the post! I was so excited as it has arrived the day that the royal baby could actually be born! Which has got me tweeting about it! So I am wondering... a boy? girl? What do you think? Please comment below :D

I hope the baby does arrive today and I think it will be a girl. 

I would like to say a big thank you once again to Oxford University Press for holding the competition. Once it has been read, the review will be up! Thanks again!


Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Best Basketball Player Ever - Heather Payer - Smith

The Best Basketball Player EverThe Best Basketball Player Ever by Heather Payer-Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Tommy is the best basketball player when playing his video games. He wins every time! However, when his mother tells him to go outside and play he finds that playing with the real basketball doesn't come so easy for him. He can't dribble, pass or even shoot! To make matters worse the neighborhood kids laugh at his attempts. He decides to give up and only play video games, until his mother challenges him to keep practicing. Before long, he finds himself improving and on his way to becoming the best basketball player ever!'

This book was sent to me from the author in exchange for an honest review. I took the book into the classroom to get opinions from the children on the book. They are 6.

The font is a nice size in the book and this allows children to read it aloud to themselves, we shared as a class.

The story is about Tommy, he loves to play basketball on his computer game and always wins. One day his mum challenges him to play basketball for real. The children enjoyed the story, they did say they didn't like it when children from the neighbour hood poked fun at him when he was not very good.

The children got the message from the story about how important it is to play outside and get exercise and also they need to practice in order to become better.

I feel that when mum explains how to play basketball this is done in significant detail and the children I was reading too became distracted during this point, this could be down to their age and that they do not want to know in detail about how to play they just wanted him to play.

If I had read this book to a different age group this could have come across differently I don't know. I did ask the children how it could have been made better and all of them said playing a game and winning. From the illustration on the front of the book, I feel this is what they were expecting.

The illustrations in the book could have been a little better I feel as they didn't encourage me or the children to view them for a long time.

Overall I feel that the author has produced a successful book in encouraging sport within children. In today's society computer games and technology are very accessible and I feel many children forget how to 'play'.

After reading this book to the children, they all told me over the summer they will want to go outside and play. *Fingers crossed they do!*

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Book delivery!


I have been out into town this morning and when I returned home I found 'The silent wife' waiting for me. Now don't get me wrong I am going to be enjoying this read but I have no idea who sent it! 

I was not expecting it at all! It's a mystery, I have checked all my emails in and out going but I can't find any evidence of requesting/winning this book. 

While I was out I did actually treat myself to some new reads, which I am very excited about! 

Oh well, thanks to whoever sent me the book, once it has been read I will post the review. I also had been book shopping so know my TBR pile is growing! 

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend - the sun has now just come out and I am going to enjoy The Silent Wife in the sun! 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Shhh! Don't Wake the Royal Baby - Martha Mumford

Shhh! Don't Wake the Royal BabyShhh! Don't Wake the Royal Baby by Martha Mumford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'It’s chaos at the Royal Palace – the Royal Baby just won’t go to sleep. Waaaaah! Waaaaah! Waaaaah!

The Royal Family has tried everything to pacify their little bundle of joy but, just when the little one seems to be settling, something breaks the peace - from yip-yapping corgis to marching guards! Will the palace EVER be quiet enough to lull the baby off to sleep?

A laugh-out-loud celebration of the new addition to the Royal Family, guaranteed to raise a few giggles.'

I received this as part of a giveaway from Tesco, I didn't know what books I would receive, but I am so glad this was included in the pack.

I took it straight into the classroom to read to the children, this was so exciting as the children know we are still waiting for the baby to arrive!

This story is all about trying to get the baby to sleep and people around making too much noise. This is a nice story that includes many of the Royal Family. The children loved the illustrations and laughed out loud at parts of the book.

The children loved to join in with the story when they had recognised the pattern in text. They also loved it when the baby started crying and again and joined in.

I feel this is very topical at the moment and was an enjoyable, humorous read. I would recommend this book.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Deceiving Derek - Cindy Procter - King

Deceiving Derek (Love and Other Calamaties, #1)Deceiving Derek by Cindy Procter-King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Lingerie designer Lacey DeMarco livens up her life by finagling an unsuspecting police detective into attending a funky bridal shower. She needs one last item to complete a scavenger hunt list, and handsome cop Derek McAllister is it. But a little trickery is at work. Both Lacey and Derek are both being hoodwinked…in the name of love.'

I received this copy in exchange for an honest review.

I choose this short story as I wanted something to read in between my novels as a quick read.

My first impression of the book from looking at the cover was that it was going to be an erotic short story, I was pleasantly surprised as I began reading it.

The story began with Lacey running into a police station looking for Derek the detective to help her solve a robbery. This robbery happened at her 'studio' and she manages to persuades him to accompany her back to her 'studio' to view the crime scene. When he gets there, however he is in for a bit of a shock.

I enjoyed short story and I got to know Lacey well, I did felt that I didn't know Derek as well as I could have done, his character came across to me as a bit quiet but also as a thoughtful man.

This was the first time I had read a Cindy Procter-King short story/ novel and from reading this I would be encouraged to read more of Cindy Procter-King books in the future.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Wednesday Daughters - Meg Waite Clayton

The Wednesday DaughtersThe Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

'In the tradition of Kristin Hannah and Karen Joy Folwer, Meg Waite Clayton, bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters, returns with an enthralling new novel of mothers, daughters, and the secrets and dreams passed down through generations.

It is early evening when Hope Tantry arrives at the small cottage in England’s pastoral Lake District where her mother, Ally, spent the last years of her life. Ally—one of a close-knit group of women who called themselves the Wednesday Sisters—had used the cottage as a writer’s retreat while she worked on her unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter, yet Hope knows little about her mother’s time there. Traveling with Hope are friends Anna Page and Julie, first introduced as little girls in The Wednesday Sisters, now grown women grappling with issues of a different era. They’ve come to help Hope sort through her mother’s personal effects, yet what they find is a tangled family history—one steeped in Lake District lore.

Hope finds a stack of Ally’s old notebooks tucked away in a hidden drawer, all written in a mysterious code. As she, Julie, and Anna Page try to decipher Ally’s writings—the reason for their encryption, their possible connection to the Potter manuscript—they are forced to confront their own personal struggles: Hope’s doubts about her marriage, Julie’s grief over losing her twin sister, Anna Page’s fear of commitment in relationships. And as the real reason for Ally’s stay in England comes to light, Hope, Julie, and Anna Page reach a new understanding about the enduring bonds of family, the unwavering strength of love, and the inescapable pull of the past.'

I received this copy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I found that there are many characters in this story and I found it very hard to follow, when I began reading this book I discovered there was Wednesday Sister's and I am wondering if I had read this before I may not have found this so confusing.

I did enjoy reading quotes from Beatrix Potter's books and diaries, however I feel the link with her diaries and diary/ note book entries from Ally and points of view made this confusing. I felt too much was going on.

I did not enjoy this book and didn't finish it.

The French House - Nick Alexander

The French HouseThe French House by Nick Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'CC is trapped by a job she no longer loves in an unfriendly city. So when her new boyfriend decides it's time to sell up and move to the South of France, she decides in seconds to change her life. After all, who wouldn't pick an azure sea, aperitifs and sunshine over a dreary commute and a rainy climate?

She hadn't expected a tumbledown farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. Or a motley assortment of surly builders, eccentric farmers and a resentful, terrifying neighbour - who happens to be her boyfriend's aunt.

Suddenly, CC's dream of a place in the sun is looking more like a nightmare. Does she have the courage to stick it out, and make a home of her French house?'

I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Many people have read and reviewed this book after Nick Alexander's book The Case of the Missing Boyfriend which until recently I didn't know existed. I will however be reading this now on the strength of The French House.

This I found was a very easy read from the first to the first to the last page. It was a quick read o, I found that I had finished it on only a couple of days. I didn't want to put it down. The story line is well executed although I feel it was a shame that Nick Alexander didn't give more explanation as to why Distira behaved by the way she did. Hence the 4* and not 5. I think the reader would have wanted to see some retribution for her actions.

Having said that the novel on the whole was a very enjoyable read, lots of humor and the characters were believable and endearing, making the reader really care about what happened to them. The book had good flow and pace to it. Curiously it felt as if it had been written by a woman, Nick Alexander has a good idea of the psyche of women and it felt truthful and relevant.

I would definitely read other novels by Nick Alexander and recommend others to read his books. 

SOS! I love you - Katina Jones

SOS! I love you – Katina Jones
5* out of 5*

I was sent this direct from the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
This story is about Abi, she is getting married and wants to go on a hen party before the wedding. She decides she wants to go to Ibiza with the girls on a week long holiday and feels she can tie this in nicely with perhaps the last girly holiday she will be having. Rob her fiancĂ© isn’t too thrilled with her going to Ibiza, however she goes. Along with her closest friends and Rhiannon, Rhiannon is Robs business partners wife, Abi doesn’t know her that well, however she ends up inviting herself. 

I was worried as when I was sent the copy I was only given 5 days to read it and write the review and sometimes if a book is a bit slow or not engaging me I find this hard to read so quick. I should not have been worried with this book, I couldn’t put it down. I read it in 2 days and was sad when it came to an end. 

The story is gripping from the start and shows good features of a chick lit novel, it is an easy read and captures you though out. It begins almost half way through the book with Rob, Abi’s fiancĂ© turning up at Abi’s hotel in Ibiza, shouting at her, calling the wedding off. The story then goes back in time to tell you what has happened up until this point and then continues on. I felt this was done very well, it wasn’t confusing, and it made you want to read to find out what had happened. Like I said before gripping from the start. 

I felt I could relate to Abi and her friends, and the characters were well developed. I was unsure about why Abi’s mum was included, she seemed to have a minor part to play in the story. This however was made clear the further into the story I came. The story captured me, I felt I knew Abi and her friends, I felt I was with her in Ibiza and part of the Hen chicks. I learnt to hate Rhiannon and hoped she would get her comeuppance. 

The only negative thing I have to say about this novel is around the 200 page mark I felt Katina Jones insulted her characters, especially Abi. I get the impression that Abi and her friends are in their 20’s and she comes out with the comment: ‘she wants us to go and have a fight with them. On the beach for some reason. Who’s Churchill by the way?’ I thought this comment was silly as I am in my mid 20’s and I knew this statement and who Churchill was, I don’t think I would be alone in that either. This turned me off the characters slightly, which is a shame as I love the book. If it was meant to be a humorous comment I also feel this didn’t come across well as throughout the book there were no other comments like this. 

However it quickly picked up again and there were no further comments like this, I was able to fall in love with the characters again and was taken on more of a mystery for the further part of the book. I thought this was clever on Jones’ part, she had written a chick lit book with a crime reference and it worked very well. Again I was hooked as I wanted to find out if we would ever get a happy ending. 

There were many characters that come and go in the book, however all of these have a relevant reason to be there and effect the storyline accordingly. I really enjoyed this book and would urge others to read it. It was a quick read for me, I only wish it was longer! 

Thank you very much Imprint and Katina for sending me the book and I can’t wait to read your next one. You will love this is you like Lindsey Kelk books. 

SOS! I love you is going to be out this summer.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Brunch with Lindsey Kelk!

So I waited for what felt like weeks since being told I had an invite for brunch with Lindsey. The day has finally arrived and it was great! 

We arrived at Kiehls in London and were greeted with a glass of Buck's Fizz. Lindsey arrived and began to speak to us about her new book: About a Girl

Lindsey was very friendly and chatted about amusing things such as: How do you manage to pull off the socks and sandals look? 

Lindsey was caught out by the hot weather and explained she had to go and buy some summer clothes since she has been here. The socks and sandals were meant for a different outfit, however she wore them anyway! 

Lindsey spoke to us about her I heart series books and confirmed she has finished I heart Christmas now and the first draft has been sent. We expect to be able to read this from November 2013, personally I am very excited about this as so far the I heart series is my favourite out of Lindsey's books. Unfortunately she didn't give much away, only that it's planning to be a 'perfect' christmas that involves the whole family but people make things difficult and it doesn't go to plan. (Sounds like regular christmas' to me!- going to be a good addition to the I heart series I feel!) 

Lindsey also spoke about her inspiration for her new book- About a girl. She feels that women in our generation have been told to go out there, get a career and everything else will slot into place. However we are living in a different economical society now and people are losing jobs and this is having an impact on a life you have been told to go out and get. 

Lindsey also spoke about her time in Hawaii while writing part of the book, she has said it is one of the most beautiful places she has ever been. - currently up there on places to visit for me! 

Lindsey also spoke about bad dates, travelling to see friends and where the better men are.... The US or UK. 

I had a great morning with Lindsey and she topped it off by signing my book for me! Thanks again Lindsey

About a girl is available to buy now. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

The Day my Mom came to Kindergarten - Maureen Fergus

The Day My Mom Came to KindergartenThe Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten by Maureen Fergus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'A kindergartener invites her mom to class and discovers there are some things kids are better at than parents.'

I received this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

This story is about mum coming to kindergarten for the day with her child. Mom gets everything wrong while she is there and is constantly picked up by her daughter.

This is a brilliant book for new school starters and to help them realise they may not get everything right straight away but it will not take too long to understand the rules. This is a perfect book that highlights to children that sometimes they do know more than their parents, and that they can teach them.

It also identifies that you learn from your mistakes.

When reading this to my class they loved it! They found it so funny, this is a firm favourite in the classroom.

Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? - Julie Middleton

Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? by Julie Middleton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Kids love to imagine what dinosaurs might have been like when they were alive. But when a trip to the museum turns into a real-life prehistoric encounter, Dave and his dad dont need to use their imagination. As they walk through the rooms of the exhibit, Dave keeps trying to get his dads attention. The dinosaurs around him spring to life, but Dad remains oblivious to the unfolding scene and keeps insisting theyre dead. Dave knows better, though, and when they find themselves pursued by a hungry Tyrannosaurus, Dad finally realizes it too!'

This story I got sent from the publishers for an honest review.

I took this book to school to read it to my class, I was unsure of the reaction I was going to get from them.

This book is about Dave and his dad. His dad takes him to the dinosaur museum, on his way round he see's the dinosaurs move and tells dad. Dad always replies the same 'it's just your imagination'. This is until dad gets a shock at the end of the story!

The children loved this book. They began to join in with dad as he says 'it's just your imagination', they could not wait to see what the new dinosaur would be on the next page. They found the story very funny, down to the illustrations and even after the story had been read and I flicked back over pages they began laughing again!

From an educational point of view the story is good for introducing dinosaurs and also language associated with them. 'Herbivore' was a word introduced and engaged conversation with discussing this. The also gave a starting point to talk about 'Carnivores' and 'Omnivores'. We also spoke about museums and how we knew the dinosaurs were dead.

I would recommend this book for nursery and primary school children.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Sunshine with a chance of snow - Carole Matthews

Sunshine, With a Chance of SnowSunshine, With a Chance of Snow by Carole Matthews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Beth and Michael have worked hard all their married life to give their children everything they want. It hasn't been easy but it's been worth it. Now, as Beth enjoys quality time with her family on their beach holiday, she knows she has a lot to be thankful for. But it's not until she's faced with her biggest challenge yet that Beth really begins to understand how lucky she is.'

I really enjoy short stories, as I have a very busy life and it means I can enjoy a whole story at once.

This short story was the first story I have read by Carole Matthews and I thought it was written brilliantly. I was actually shocked about what happened in the story. - When they are a short story I normally take a chance and just get them without reading the blub, I am glad I did this with this book as I feel I don't think it would have been my type of book. Wow I would have really missed out!

This story begins with a family on their holiday, something they have wanted for years, a honeymoon, a foreign holiday for the kids and everyone thinks that life could not be more perfect. The family are then struck by a terrible tragedy, missing Christmas, something that is a big blow for the family as this is their favourite time of year. This was something very close to my heart, I love Christmas, I got married at Christmas and the thought without it would be horrendous!

This short story is about what is important in life, actually after reading the story am I that bothered about Christmas now? Well a little but who isn't! This is a short story that will stay with you for a long time.

Thank you so much Carole Matthews for a fabulous short read. Only wish it was longer!

Can't wait to read another book by Carole Matthews

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Lullaby of Polish Girls - Dagmara Dominczyk

The Lullaby of Polish GirlsThe Lullaby of Polish Girls by Dagmara Dominczyk
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'Anna lives in Brooklyn. But she didn't always. She grew up in Kielce, Poland, where the summers were long and the politics communist. When her parents were indicted for their alliance with anti-government forces, Anna had to flee her homeland, leaving her closest friends behind.
Now an adult, she lives in the US and has lost touch with the girls she once knew, the ones she missed so much as a teenager that she'd sneak back into Kielce hidden in the back of a car just to share another summer.
When she learns that one of them has suffered a terrible tragedy, she hurries home to Kielce. But when she arrives, she'll find more than she'd ever imagined. It's finally time to face everything that happened during those childhood summers long ago.'

I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The story is about three girls who lived in Poland, not all of them stay, however they return to their town every summer. They end up losing contact, but years later, fate brings them together again and they need to face all those summers before.

At the beginning of the book the author gives the pronunciations of Polish names to help you read names throughout the book. This I had a problem with as although it was very good to have the pronunciations, I actually couldn’t remember them. This meant I was either flicking back and forth to read how to pronounce them or as time went on I ended up just glancing at them and not even attempting to read them. Some words I had no idea what they meant in Polish and even reading the sentence I couldn’t put it into context, this left me feeling lost in places. Something else I found confusing different people in the story seemed to call Anna in different names, I do not know if these were the Polish equivalents of Anna or nicknames, either way I just wish the author had stuck with one name regardless.

The author has choose to set part of the book in a town called Kielce, Poland, this I had no connection with, before reading the book I had never actually heard of it. I felt it would have been better for the author to have chosen a well known city in Poland, so there could be a chance foreigners have visited it and be able to relate to it when reading.
Through the book it jumps between past and present which is done quite smoothly. The story is quite short and has three main characters in it, all of these have their own stories going on, they do over lap in the past and in the present. This is ok, however I thought it maybe better if it had been a little longer.

I also feel that all the distasteful language was not necessary in the story and this put me off a little. The author could have expressed characters without the need for this and I feel this should have been the case.

I was interested in the story as I felt it completely different, was it an easy read? For me personally no and this was down to the extent of the Polish in it and I felt I was always trying to work things out I felt I could not get into the book and it was a struggle to finish.

The Travel Book - Lonely Planet

The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the WorldThe Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World by Lonely Planet Publications
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘The world is a breathtakingly big place, and in this big book we have undertaken the big task of detailing as much of it as we can - every single country, many of the larger dependencies and other, smaller destinations. With the traveler's experience at its heart, this book shows a slice of life in every corner of the globe, and all points in between, engaging the reader's senses in an adventure which conjures up the sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feel of our amazing world.’ 

I absolutely love this book and cannot rate it high enough! I am an avid traveller and am always excited to get my hands on a new travel book. This is far by my favourite of any travel books I have read, what makes it even better is how the book has been presented. It has beautiful photographs of over 200 countries in the world. If you didn’t want to visit anywhere before you got your hands on this, you certainly will once you have read it!

I like this book as it runs through countries alphabetically and not by grouping them together, I find that this makes it smoother to read and if you do choose to read this as a fiction book then you get a surprise on the turning of every page.

This book allows you to get a ‘taster’ for the country on the page identifying facts and stats as well as having photographs that draw you in. I have come across countries in this book that I had never even thought about visiting, but I found it so inspiring they have become a part of my ‘countries to visit’ list. The book also has sections on the countries for you to get a more in depth opinion on it. Called ‘under the skin’ this allows you to read about what you may hear there, watch, drink, eat and ‘in a word’. There is also a section on when to visit the country – always useful when you a planning a visit!

I always keep this book out on the coffee table when I have guests and so far I have not come across any who have been able to resist a peek at it. Once they have done, they fall in love with the book and rave to me about it afterwards.

As lonely planet go, I am not a big fan of their individual country guides/books, however I absolutely love their big books which capture the moment in the photograph and make you wish you were there.

I would urge everyone to purchase this book as once you have you would not regret it, mine is currently sitting on my coffee table stuffed with post it notes on pages I wish to now visit.

Summer Affairs - Louise Candlish


Louise Candlish – Summer Affairs
 My rating – 5*

The Alibi
When Kim oversteps the mark and 'borrows' a dress belonging to her employer, she has no idea she is also providing an alibi... 

The Assignation 
Agnes signs up for a course that teaches losers in love how to recover their mojo, but no one expects to find success they? 

Doing the Wrong Thing 
A woman escapes her husband and children to fly to Marrakech for a weekend with 'the girls'. Why, then, is she checking in alone? 

I download this to my kindle as I wanted a quick read, this is certainly that! I think all 3 stories are around 37 pages in total! Tagged onto the end of these are opening chapters of Louise Candlish’s new book.

My favourite of the short stories is actually the last one, Doing the Wrong Thing. This just as suggested is about a women who goes off on a weekend with her friends, not all is as it seems. I love stories which take place on planes or travelling and this is just that. I just wish it had been a little longer as I read in about 10 minutes!

This is a very quick read, however it gives an insight into Louise Candlish’s writing (this was the first of hers I have read before) and it was free, cannot complain about that!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

All that Glitters - Aita Ighodaro

All That Glitters. AITA IghodaroAll That Glitters. AITA Ighodaro by Aita Ighodaro
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was sent this book direct from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

‘Isabel doesn't want to marry a tycoon. She wants to be one. Isabel Suarez-Octavio is ravishing, intelligent and ambitious. But unlike some of her friends, she's not planning to use her looks to seduce a billionaire and become someone's trophy wife. She's just arrived at Oxford University, and she is determined to make her mark on the world. The city of dreaming spires is everything she hoped for. The parties are riotous, the societies thrilling, and the people are the power brokers of tomorrow. Before long, Isabel is prowling the corridors of Westminster by day, partying in Miami by night: a rising star pursuing good times and a glittering career. Until a yacht trip along Italy's glamorous Amalfi Coast goes horribly wrong. Suddenly, Isabel is in the frame for murder, standing utterly alone against some of the world's most powerful men. After years of thinking only of the future, she must finally confront the secrets of her past - and face her biggest challenge yet.’

Isabel arrives in England from Bolivia at 14, a drug mule who escapes to rebuild her life. She grows up to become attractive and smart and wants to become a tycoon, but why should she marry one when she could become one herself?

During her time at Oxford University she has many offers and chances to become a ‘trophy wife’. As opportunities come along she begins to go up in the world.

All that Glitters certainly wasn't gold for me. This started off very promising, it was exciting and pacey for the first chapter then it fell as if the writer got lost.

The second chapter until around 200 pages in, lacked pace and seemed it could have been conveyed to the reader in far less pages. By the time it picked up again it felt rushed which was a shame as far from page 200 or so it was a much better read.

The writer could have made this part of the novel longer and therefore overall the book would have achieved its desired intention – ie. Exciting, and ‘a difficult to put down book.’ It was hard to stay with the story, easy to have put it down and not bothered to read to the end.

This was the first book I have read by Aita Ighodaro and unfortunately this book would not encourage me to read others by her. Due to the lack of pace and lack of interest in parts I have given it 2*.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Willow Finds a Way - Lana Button

Willow Finds a WayWillow Finds a Way by Lana Button
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Willow is thrilled the whole class -- including her! -- is invited to classmate Kristabelle's fantastic birthday party, until the bossy birthday girl starts crossing guests off the list when they dare cross her. There are many books on bullying, but Willow's story offers a unique look at how to handle the situation as a bystander.

I enjoyed this picture book, it covers bullying in a very child friendly way.

Willow is worried about being the only one that wouldn't be invited to the birthday party and because of this she goes along with what Kristabelle wants, as do the other children in the class. This bullying of the whole class continues into another day and is only when one boy stands up to her do things change.

I feel that the bullying wasn't addressed by the teacher, however working in a primary school, I know children don not always mention things and I feel that this picture book is a very good representation of how a child may feel. As a teacher/parent, the issue of Willow not saying anything to an adult could be addressed as a message for after the story has been read.

I think that this story is a good example of bullying not of a physical nature as many smaller children may not be able to identify this as bullying. Children will be able to relate to this story and I feel will generate discussion within the classroom.

The illustrations in the story are a little simple - stick figures, however these would appeal to the children who would be accessing the book.

I would definitely read this story to my class and would recommend it to other teachers, I only wish I had a hard copy sent to me instead of an ebook so I could have shared with my class. 

This was sent to me by the publisher, thank you very much. 

Monday, 1 July 2013

True Love - Jude Deveraux

 True LoveTrue Love by Jude Deveraux
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Just as Alix Madsen is finishing up architectural school, Adelaide Kingsley dies and wills her, for one year, the use of a charming nineteenth-century Nantucket house. The elderly woman’s relationship to the Madsen family is a mystery to the spirited Alix—fresh from a romantic breakup—but for reasons of her own Alix accepts the quirky bequest, in part because it gives her time to plan her best friend’s storybook wedding.

But unseen forces move behind the scenes, creaking Kingsley House’s ancient floorboards. It seems that Adelaide Kingsley had a rather specific task for Alix: to solve the strange disappearance of one of the Kingsley women, Valentina, more than two hundred years ago. If that wasn’t troubling enough, Alix must deal with the arrogant (and extremely good-looking) architect Jared Montgomery, who is living in the property’s guesthouse.

Unbeknown to Alix, Jared has been charged with looking after her while she lives on the island—an easy task for him, considering the undeniable chemistry between the two. But Jared harbors secrets of his own, which, if revealed, may drive a wedge between the pair.

With a glorious Nantucket wedding on the horizon, sparks fly, and the ghosts of the past begin to reveal themselves—some of them literally. Finding their lives inextricably entwined with the turbulent fortunes of their ancestors, Alix and Jared discover that only by righting the wrongs of the past can they hope to be together.

This was the first Jude Deveraux book I had read. The book kept my interest but didn't stand out to me. I found it very difficult to get into and kept trying as I knew I needed to review it, however if I didn't need to then I think I may have given up, I felt that very little happened in the first 150 pages or so.

The story takes place on Nantucket Island. Alix is spending time in an old house on the island after a busy year at college and finally graduating. She is taking a well deserved year off. Alix's is minding the house as a favour for her mother and a request made from Aunt 'Addy' to try to find out what happened to Valentina, a relative who had disappeared.

The story is about Alix and about her life now on Nantucket Island, there is a deeper story entwined throughout the story and this is of the ghost that lives in the house.

There are many characters in the book and their story lines, this to me I found confusing. I prefer stories not to have too many characters in them as I feel I can really get to know them, this I found hard in this story due to the amount of characters.

The setting is beautiful in the story and I ended up dreaming I was there and wishing I really could be on holiday.

This story did not leave a lasting impression with me and I will not be reading the other two in the trilogy. As this was the first novel I have read by Jude Deveraux I felt disappointed, I had heard rave reviews about previous books, and this is why I requested to read this. Unfortunately I have been left not wanting to read anymore. I dare say that there will be many Jude Deveraux fans who will love this, I am not one of them.

This is the first in a trilogy of Nantucket Island.

I received this in exchange for a review from the publisher.