Friday, 23 August 2013

Wonders of the World: 100 Incredible and Inspiring Places on Earth - Mark Truman

Wonders Of The World: 100 Incredible And Inspiring Places On Earth by Mark Truman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

‘Wonders of the World offers those with a nomadic disposition the opportunity to travel the globe without ever leaving the comfort of home. Settle back as the earth’s natural, architectural, and engineering treasures are spread out before you as a visual feast.

You will explore destinations both old and new, from awe-inspiring structures of ancient civilizations, such as the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, to modern – day wonders that exemplify the ingenuity of state-of-the-art building and engineering skills, like Japan’s Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge. Natures creative genius also shines with wonders like the Grand Canyon in the USA, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. 

Wonders of the World include all the major natural and fabricated wonders you could ever hope to visit on the whistle stop trip of a lifetime.’

Opening this hard back is like opening the world, a brief atlas is on the inside cover and has small circled numbers which show where in the world those particular wonders are. I like this as you know which area in a country a particular wonder is.

The contents page is set out in the name of the wonders of the world, there is no heading to illustrate where in the world these wonders are. This is something I fell the book would have benefited from, as unless you are familiar with these you would struggle to place some of the wonders. As you begin to turn the pages, you do see that the wonders are in particular continents and they are grouped together.

I am not sure what made these particular areas of interest wonders, some are very famous and as you would expect. Others however leave you feeling why were they included, as there are perhaps wonders which are a more obvious choice.

Each page includes a high quality colour image, along with information on the location and then more in depth information on the actual wonder. At the bottom of each page there is a mini fact about this wonder. I thought that, that was a nice feature of the book.

This book is for someone who has read all of the famous wonders and is looking for something a little different. There are wonders I had never heard of before, which was a nice discovery. This book though has not been one of the best that I have read, but does make a nice addition to the travel bookshelf.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Holiday time!

Just a quick note:

I have waited all summer for my holiday woohoooo finally it has arrived. This does mean that I will be a bit quite for the next two weeks (not sure where I will have access to wifi. )

I do have a couple of posts that are scheduled and *fingers crossed* they will work (it's the first time I have tried it!) 

I have packed many books to be getting on with while I am away - as well as my kindle, which is currently on charge. 

Books that I will be reading (hopefully) while I am away are:

L;Amour Actually - Melanie Jones - I am currently reading this at the moment and have a very special surprise for you all when I get back, about this book. 

Time Between Us - Tamara Ireland Stone

Once Upon a Dream Briar Rose - Jana Oliver

The Hidden Cottage - Erica James 

On my Kindle I have: 

Do you Remember? - Mandy Baggot

A Jersey Kiss - Georgina Troy

And of course I have a million others on my kindle but these two are the ones I will hopefully finish. (I am thinking plane journey's?)

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Wedding Night - Sophie Kinsella

Wedding NightWedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose during lunch at one of London’s fanciest restaurants. But when his big question involves a trip abroad, not a trip down the aisle, she’s completely crushed. So when Ben, an old flame, calls her out of the blue and reminds Lottie of their pact to get married if they were both still single at thirty, she jumps at the chance. No formal dates—just a quick march to the altar and a honeymoon on Ikonos, the sun-drenched Greek island where they first met years ago.

Their family and friends are horrified. Fliss, Lottie’s older sister, knows that Lottie can be impulsive—but surely this is her worst decision yet. And Ben’s colleague Lorcan fears that this hasty marriage will ruin his friend’s career. To keep Lottie and Ben from making a terrible mistake, Fliss concocts an elaborate scheme to sabotage their wedding night. As she and Lorcan jet off to Ikonos in pursuit, Lottie and Ben are in for a honeymoon to remember, for better . . . or worse.'

I have read all of Sophie Kinsella's books and I am a huge fan. I was so excited when I knew she had bought out this new book - Wedding Night, I thought it had been long awaited and was so excited when I was sent it from the publisher to review.

Sophie Kinsella has a unique way of writing, she is the queen of chick lit and can link hunour with serious issues, this book was slightly different; it had laugh out loud moments but some of the storylines within it I felt were a bit false.

This story is written in the perspective of two sisters, Fliss and Lottie. This way of writing was new for Sophie Kinsella as each chapter was from the perspective of one of the sisters. To begin with in chapter 1 where you meet Lottie,it was funny and I thought the writing style was excellent. I was laughing out loud, this then I felt let down by Fliss in the following chapter. As time went on I began to enjoy the way it was written but this I feel is not one of Sophie Kinsella's best books in the writing style.

Lottie is at a turning point in her life, she is 33 and has been with her long term partner Richard for a few years, so when they go out for a romantic meal Lottie assumes that this is the time, he is going to propose to her. Things do not exactly go to plan and they end up going their separate ways.

Fliss is Lottie's older sister, she has been married, got a child and now is currently going through a divorce. She is feeling bitter about this and is constantly trying to get her lawyer to realise how bad of a husband and father her partner was. Fliss is very close to Lottie and knows that now everything isn't plain sailing with her, she is vulnerable and could go off the rails (this is something she always seems to do after a break up.)

When Lottie calls Fliss to tell her, her good news about bumping into an old flame and them getting marries. Fliss feels it's her duty to protect her, and she will go to any means to do this, including following her across the world to try and put a stop to their 'wedding night'.

All characters in the story are well written, you really feel for them, Fliss that she is deranged and insane, the men are written well, you begin to sympathise with Richard and actually hate Ben for being selfish and rude.

Although the story was well written I feel there was something missing, Sophie Kinsella has a spark when writing and this was not present. I really hope it returns as she writes wonderful books. The story has been left open ended so perhaps we could see more from Richard, Lottie, Fliss and Ben? Over all I did enjoy the story, just not as much as her others.

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

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

About a Girl - Lindsey Kelk

About a GirlAbout a Girl by Lindsey Kelk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Tess Brookes has always been a Girl with a Plan. But when the Plan goes belly up, she’s forced to reconsider.

After accidently answering her flatmate Vanessa’s phone, she decides that since being Tess isn’t going so well, she might try being Vanessa. With nothing left to lose, she accepts Vanessa’s photography assignment to Hawaii – she used to be an amateur snapper, how hard can it be? Right?

But Tess is soon in big trouble. And the gorgeous journalist on the shoot with her, who is making it very clear he’d like to get into her pants, is an egotistical monster. Far from home and in someone else’s shoes, Tess must decide whether to fight on through, or ‘fess up and run…'

I first discovered Lindsey Kelk as I was walking through the busy airport waiting to board my plane, many, many years ago. This is when I discovered my love for Angela and the I heart series. When I heard Lindsey was bringing out a new book – About A Girl, I knew it was one I needed to read. With that I grabbed myself a copy, and was lucky enough to win an invite with Lindsey for brunch in London, here I found out more about Tess, in About a Girl, a lot more about Nick and the setting in Hawaii. (Now this is my top place to visit after reading the book!) You can read about my brunch with Lindsey here:

Brunch with Lindsey

Tess is successful, she has never done the marriage and kids bit, but her career is going from strength to strength and she has just been told she has been given a promotion. Life couldn’t be better, (unless we talk about the fact she has been in love for the last years with her best mate!) That is until she gets called into the boss’s office to be told they are letting her go. – How can they be letting her go when she hasn’t even started her new job? Tess cannot believe it, everything she has ever worked for just gone?

Her other best friend Amy is round hers as soon as she finds out what has happened to Tess, luckily Tess’s flatmate (Vanessa) isn’t in, she is off on a shoot somewhere – she is a fashion photographer. Amy and Vanessa do not get go, and never have. Things seem to go from bad to worse for Tess over the next few days, so when an opportunity turns up that sounds much better than her life at the moment what has she got to lose?

This is a brilliantly written, witty read. Lindsey Kelk writes so well, her ability to put so much humour in her books while still keeping the story line good is a talent in itself. She comes out with some brilliant one liners that actually have you laughing out loud! This is a fantastic summer read, I was only sad that it was over so quickly. This is defiantly one for your bookshelf as it is a book you would want to read again and again. I was so pleased when I heard there will be a sequel to About a Girl, the characters are great, the story line it great. It’s just a shame we have to wait so long to read it!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Top 10 Summer/Travel themed books

I have decided that as I am going away in 8 days on holiday, I would create a list of summer themed/travel books. So I have decided that these are books that I have read or are on my TBR and that include some type of travel, or in a holiday destination. 

I feel that my  holiday cannot come soon enough - I have been waiting ALL summer and our summer vanished long ago. (I am currently sitting typing this in jeans!)

These books are not in any order, just ones that come to mind - If i have left any out or you that thought of better (perhaps I haven't read them, please comment - I need a holiday read :D)

1. Shopaholic Abroad - Sophie Kinsella

2. I heart New York - Lindsey Kelk

3. About a Girl - Lindsey Kelk

4. Save the Date - Allie Spencer 

5. Sleeping Arrangements - Madeleine Wickham

6. L'Amour Actually - Melanie Jones 

7. SOS! I love you - Katina Jones 

8. One Perfect Summer - Paige Toon

9. Postcard Killers - James Patterson 

10. Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop - Abby Clements

Monday, 12 August 2013

Save the Date - Allie Spencer

Save the DateSave the Date by Allie Spencer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Family weddings can be hell.

...and, marooned in Italy for her cousin's nuptials, Ailsa can be forgiven for thinking that this one is worse than most. With the bride and groom at loggerheads and the guests in uproar, it is a million miles away from the rest and relaxation she'd been hoping for.

And then suddenly, in the middle of the mayhem, she comes face-to-face with Nick, the man she walked out on just a few months earlier.

How can Ailsa help get the wedding back on track when she and Nick can't stop arguing? But if they do, she might remember why she fell in love with him in the first place - and then there really would be trouble.'

This is the first book I have read by Allie Spencer, and I have to say I found it a comical, light hearted, holiday read.

Ailsa has had an invite for a family wedding in Italy, the problem is she is reluctant to go and hasn’t RSVPed yet. It has been sitting in her kitchen for months and the date is nearing. One night after she has been out with her friend and has returned home, she receives an email. She is not sure who it is from, however she gets more and more insisting on her being somewhere. It all becomes clear that it is her cousin Jess, and she wants Allie to attend her wedding in Italy, to put family issues behind them.

Ailsa has problems of her own and feels that actually it may do her good to get away and accepts the invite and whisks herself off to Italy. Allie is nursing a broken heart with her husband Nick, they weren’t married too long but it was a whirlwind romance that got them to the place they are at today.

The book is written through the eyes of Ailsa, she is a likable and humorous character, it is very easy to get sucked into this book and you feel you are one of Ailsa’s friends with her in Italy, willing things to go her way.

While in Italy all is not plain sailing, there are many family wedding dramas between Jess, her parents and the wedding planner. Ailsa also has her fair share of problems with her ex, Nick and a new canine friend… Arthur.

There was so much going on in this story that kept it well paced and was not confusing. I enjoyed this a lot, I read it exceptionally quickly and was sad when it ended. Allie Spencer has the right balance between romance and humour. I loved that Arthur had his own personality and ended up getting into mischief and even though Ailsa is ‘not a dog person’ ends up forming a relationship with the pup and ends up taking responsibility for him.

The cover is stunning and I must say this was what had me hooked before I even read the blurb. It just screams SUMMER READ to you across the book shop! It makes you want to be away on holiday and you begin to dream about the setting.

One thing I would say is the blurb didn’t encourage me to read this book, I felt that the humour in the novel doesn’t come across through it and I think that’s something that’s important. To be able to write humour with romance I think is a skill in itself and I feel that this shouldn’t have gone unnoticed on the blurb.

The story has a good plot with strong characters, it is rammed with action, drama, romance and heartbreak. This is a perfect summer read for the beach. And if you are not away while reading it, by the end you will wish you were, with it set in a stunning location you will wish you were sipping cocktails and drinking champagne along with the other wedding guests.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Green Hills of Home - Emma Bennet

The Green Hills of HomeThe Green Hills of Home by Emma Bennet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Gwen Jones, a young Welsh writer, is desperate to save the family farmhouse from being sold from under her critically ill mother and herself. When she lands a lucrative three-book deal with an eminent publisher, she thinks her problems are all over. However, Gwen's need to be near her sick mother means she’s unable to travel to London to work with her devilishly desirable editor, John Thatcher, and he must come and stay with her in Wales. Handsome and eminently capable, cosmopolitan John is used to getting his own way and has plans for the future which certainly don’t include being distracted by pretty Welsh girls; nevertheless when he journeys into the country to work with Gwen it’s not long before he finds himself falling in love with her, as well as the house she’s so anxious to save. But is John capable of loving anyone as much as his job? And when he has to decide between his goals and Gwen, which will he choose? 'The Green Hills of Home' - a sweet heart warming tale of duty, devotion and love.'

I would like to thank the author for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

Gwen is a young author from Wales, and has arrived in London for a meeting with a top publishers in the hope of them offering her a contract. Gwen is staying with her cousin while in London and after hearing the publishers is going to offer Gwen not just one book contract but three, the girls go out to celebrate.

Unknown to Gwen, she meets her editor while out that night and when she lays eyes on him again at the publishers the next morning, she is a little bemused to why he doesn’t mention their encounter. Gwen hurries back to Wales to visit her mother in hospital as she is recovering from a stroke, her mother is over the moon to hear Gwen’s brilliant news.

All is not well at Gwen’s house and she is hiding a secret from her mum; she is afraid she is going to lose the house as she cannot afford it and no one will give her a mortgage.

John, Gwen’s editor gets in touch and asks her to return to London. Gwen has been upfront with the publishers about her situation with her mother and explains she cannot come back. John then makes the journey to Wales to help her sort her manuscript. But will everything be sorted?

This is a story of gentle romance and kindness, it makes you want to have your own John. I whizzed through this book in a matter of hours, Gwen is such a likable character that you want everything to turn out alright for her. All the characters in this book are likable and you generally want everything to work out. It is slightly predictable, but hey! This is a modern day fairy tale and I wouldn’t expect it any other way.

One thing that is never clear in the story is what is the book that Gwen has written? I would have loved to have known.

Once again I would like to thank Emma for sending me this novel to read and look forward to her next.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Sir Princess Petra - Diane Mae Robinson

Sir Princess Petra (The Pen Pieyu Adventures)Sir Princess Petra by Diane Mae Robinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘I have thought hard and for many passing moons. Jewels, frocks of lace, and princess games have become boring. The thing I want the most…’ Petra hesitated and bit on her lip. ‘I want to be a royal knight.’ 
Princess Petra’s unusual birthday request sends the court into a frenzy, but when she agrees to undertake a knight’s quest they can’t stop her. Armed with a cake knife and outfitted in the best royal pots and pans, Petra sets off to face a dragon and win her real armor before encountering a bog witch, and an army of the kingdom’s worst enemies.

Will Petra’s kindness and acceptance prove to be more valuable than weapons and armor?'

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

This is quite a short story with chapters, and is perfect for young independent readers. This will appeal to a range of children young to older.

This is a story about Princess Petra and it is her birthday, her father, the King has told her she can have anything she likes. Princess Petra tells the King she wants to become a Royal Knight. After some resistance (as girls aren't Knights!) the King tells the Princess that in order to become a Knight she has to choose a challenge to complete.

The Princess decided that she will hush the howling dragon as she doesn't fancy any other the other challenges and takes a bag of onions with her. This is a story of journey and forming unlikely friendships with others. The Princess sees the dragon and witch as genuine people and not as others look upon them. She helps them and forms friendships with them.

This also is a story of achievement and belief in yourself. Just because Petra is a girl this does not stop her from doing what is seen as a boy’s job. This is a powerful message to children and encourages them to follow what they believe in.

The illustrations are nice, however I feel it would have been nice for these to be in colour for children who’s imagination is not as vivid as others.

There are many words in the story that stimulate discussion for younger readers, which helps them to develop their vocabulary.

I would like to thank the author for sending me this and look forward to reading her next.

The next time you see me - Holly Goddard Jones

The Next Time You See MeThe Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Thirteen-year-old Emily Houchens doesn’t have many friends. She finds more comfort playing make-believe in the woods near her house in Roma, Kentucky, than with her classmates, who find her strange and awkward. When she happens upon a dead body hidden in the woods one day, she decides not to tell anyone about her discovery—a choice that begins to haunt her.

Susanna Mitchell has always been a good girl, the dutiful daughter and wife. While her older sister Ronnie trolled bars for men and often drove home at sunrise, Susanna kept a neat house, a respectable job, a young daughter. But when Ronnie goes missing, and Susanna realizes that she’s the only person in Roma who truly cares about her sister’s fate, she starts to question her quiet life and its value.

The Next Time You See Me is the story of how one woman’s disappearance exposes the ambitions, prejudices, and anxieties of a small southern town and its residents, who are all connected, sometimes in unexpected ways. Emily; Susannah; Tony, a failed baseball star-turned-detective, aspiring to be the county’s first black sheriff; and Wyatt, a fifty-five-year-old factory worker tormented by a past he can’t change and by a love he doesn’t think he deserves. Their stories converge in a violent climax that reveals not just the mystery of what happened to Ronnie but all of their secret selves.'

I was sent this in exchange for an honest review. 

What a pleasure to read this debut novel. I was completely captivated from the first chapter to the last.

Great pace and suspense throughout the book, seamless intertwining of all the characters and their place in the novel kept me intrigued and wanting to read on.

The setting is in Roma, Kentucky a small town inhabited by a variety of people who Holly Goddard Jones manages to represent well in the novel. The people conjure up a mixed small town community of people who live pretty ordinary lives where nothing much out of the ordinary happens with its usual misfits and odd balls. The main character is called Susanna who is a teacher at the local school and we are introduced to some of the pupils and learn about their lives and parents some of whom hold important positions in the community. She contrasts the lives of the more privileged pupils with those less fortunate such as Emily who is singled out by the more fortunate students and bullied by them. Susanna’s husband Dale is a band director, Ronnie her sister, Tony a detective who she had a crush on before she married, Emily the socially awkward 13 year old pupil in her class, Christopher the popular older student son of the town lawyer and controlling mother and Wyatt a lonely, unhappy factory worker.

The plot is around Emily finding a body in the woods; she does not tell anyone about it but revisits the body over a period of days. Emily is a deeply troubled teenager; she has a brother who is mentally challenged and who takes up a lot of her parents’ time and energy. Emily has a crush on Christopher but because she is perceived as different, weird, she is picked on by her peers. Christopher is enigmatic and self-assured a leader, trend setter, smart, the kind of boy others are drawn to and admired. He is not unkind really but realises that he can’t allow himself to appear ‘soft’ and so initiates a lot of the bullying that Emily finds herself on the receiving end of.

Susanna has her own troubles of a stale marriage where she is not so much unhappy as appearing to wonder about missed opportunities’. She has a sister who she loves but acknowledges the fact that she has issues around addiction of one kind or another, mostly drink, who seems to have drifted through her life not knowing where she was going. Dale, Susanna’s husband does not like Ronnie and makes no secret about it. Ronnie has a reputation in the small town, she is often picking up men and often drunk but Susanna loves her and defends her.

Ronnie goes missing and this opens up the plot linking this to the body that Emily has found. Through the story the other characters are developed and all have their place in the novel. Susanna discovers how unhappy she is in her marriage when she meets Tony again who is looking into her sisters’ disappearance and she sleeps with him. We feel the cruelty of her life, Wyatt’s life in the factory and how he is ridiculed by his workmates and the pranks they play on him and how he meets Ronnie by chance one night that changes all their lives forever.

This is a cleverly written novel; it has suspense, drama and realism. Given that I have never visited Roma, Kentucky and am not American did not matter, such good writing skills meant that I could still identify with the place and the people. The writing was so good that I could actually picture what they looked like in my mind almost as if this novel was a film I had been watching. Through Holly Goddard Jones’ eyes I knew these people, understood their small minded prejudices’, felt for them – it was amazing how easily Holly Goddard Jones manages to give such a comprehensive view of the residents lives while keeping the momentum of the novel going right up to the end. Very skillful writing I would give this a 5 star and look forward to her next novel with interest.

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

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A Tap on the Window - Linwood Barclay

A Tap on the Window
by Linwood Barclay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'It’s been two months since private investigator Cal Weaver’s teenage son Scott died in a tragic accident. Ever since, he and his wife have drifted apart, fracturing a once normal life. Cal is mired in grief, a grief he can’t move past. And maybe his grief has clouded his judgment. Because driving home one night, he makes his first big mistake.

A girl drenched in rain taps on his car window and asks for a ride as he sits at a stoplight. Even though he knows a fortysomething man picking up a teenage hitchhiker is a fool, he lets her in. She’s the same age as Scott, and maybe she can help Cal find the dealer who sold his son the drugs that killed him. After a brief stop at a roadside diner, Cal senses that something’s not right with the girl or the situation. But it’s too late. He’s already involved.

Now Cal is drawn into a nightmare of pain and suspicion. Something is horribly wrong in the small town of Griffon in upstate New York. There are too many secrets there, too many lies and cover-ups. And Cal has decided to expose those secrets one by one.

That’s his second big mistake'

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

This was the first Linwood Barclay novel I have read, it interested me as it was a thriller and I enjoy these types of books.

The story had me hooked from the start, and as it turned out, I found it very hard to put down at all. Although to novel is long and nearly 500 pages I found I whizzed through the book and wanted more!

So on one rainy night Cal Weaver a private investigator is driving home. He stops at some traffic lights, when he hears a tapping on his window. Cal has made up his mind, it not be a smart move to give a teenage girl a lift in the middle of the night. But when she asks if he is Scott’s dad, he feels he needs to help her and she may know something about his son. Cal’s son, Scott recently died, suspected suicide from taking drugs, Cal wants to find out who sold them to him.

As Cal gives the girl (Claire) a lift, she begins talking to him asks to stop at a fast food place to use the washroom. When she gets there she is a long time in the bathroom, so Cal decides to go and check on her, he doesn’t find her, when he returns to his car he notices the girl sitting in the passenger seat waiting for her ride. Cal suspects something is not right and it turns out the girl now next to him, is not the same girl as he picked up, she doesn’t have wet hair, wet clothes and the cut on her hand is now gone. He decides to confront the girl on this and she asks him to pull over as she wants to get out of the car.

This is a mystery that is puzzling Cal and he finds out the next day from the police that Claire has gone missing, Cal was the last person to have seen her, Cal feels responsible for giving her a lift and takes it upon himself to find her and opens an investigation, he is not working with the police, and they turn on him during the process.

Linwood Barclay has produced an excellent thriller full of suspense. This is a dark novel, where no one is trusted and it seems everyone is hiding something. There are many red herrings dropped throughout the novel, which keeps it fresh and entertaining. As I said previously at 500 pages this is a long novel, however when your reading it you don’t notice this and I still read it in two sittings. This was my first Linwood Barclay book but will certainly not be my last, due to the suspense of the book I have already purchased another of his books and hope I am going to get the same thrill as this.

This is going to be on the best sellers list soon, it has to be! Try it for yourself!

A Tap on the Window – Linwood Barclay is out in October, be sure to grab yourself a copy!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A Thank You Giveaway!

I cannot believe that my blog has been going for just over 2 months! Because of this I want to say thank you to all my Twitter followers for getting me off the ground and all their help along the way to get my blog to where it is today.

 I have learnt a lot over the last two months and I hope to continue to educate myself when it comes to Twitter and my blog. 

I feel I have made some friends in the 'book world' and I am grateful for their support. 

OK, less of the emotional stuff, I thought what a good way to celebrate my 2 months online by a giveaway. As Twitter has played such an important part of my blog I thought I would giveaway a copy of The Twitter Diaries. 

'The Twitter Diaries tells the story of pen pals for the 21st century. Two parallel lives separated by an ocean but united over a social network.

Tuesday (@Tuesday Fields), a sports reporter and Stella (@StellaCavill), a men's shoe designer, are Brit 30-somethings who are introduced in NYC on NYE by a mutual friend, a notorious transatlantic TV presenter. They strike up an instant bond. 

Over the next 365 days, @TuesdayFields and @StellaCavill put the world to rights, one tweet at a time. From Melbourne to Monaco to Magaluf, the girls flirt and fall out with sportsmen, movie stars... and TV presenters. And then there's their mothers...

December 31st of the same year and @TuesdayFields and @StellaCavill meet again, for the first time since the last time. A lot can happen in a year. It turns out just 140 characters can change everything.'

What are you waiting for? And good Luck!

I am afraid due to postage this is for U.K only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pearl Lowe's Vintage Craft - Pearl Lowe

Pearl Lowe's Vintage Craft: 50 Craft Projects and Home Styling AdvicePearl Lowe's Vintage Craft: 50 Craft Projects and Home Styling Advice by Pearl Lowe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Vintage designer Pearl Lowe shows you how to create the authentic vintage look in your own home with her expert advice and simple craft projects.

This practical guide, complete with inspiring photography includes …

• 50 step-by-step craft projects
• Sewing, painting, upcycling and crafting secrets
• A how-to guide to sourcing your own vintage treasures
• And Pearl’s little black book of shops and suppliers

An absolute must-have for lovers of vintage and all things handmade.

Craft projects include …
Dyed lace window panels
Vintage bunting
Midsummer and winter wreaths
Gypsy-style apron
Two-toned fringed lampshade
Personalised rubber stamp
Sumptuous padded headboard
Upcycled chest of draws
Antique ghost mirror

Handmade vintage-style tiles'

This is a beautifully presented book, which gives inspiration into upholstering and creating a ‘new look’ in the home.

The book is broken down into sections:

Heavenly Kitchen & Picture Perfect Dining
Dream Living Space
Bedroom Delights
Bathroom & Small and Special Spaces
Opulent Office

I particularly like this layout of the book as it is quick and easy to find which area you are looking for.

In each section there is a wide range of ideas for craft in that area. This is very clear and easy to understand and includes stunning photographs. Each idea comes with good instructions and what you will need section to help you get under way.

At the back of the book there is ‘Pearl’s Little Black Book of shops and suppliers’ which includes a selection of places to buy vintage furniture etc. Behind this section of the book there is a pattern section, and I really love this, it even gives you a colour code. These are linked with page numbers so you know which part of the book it relates to.

This book gives you great ideas to freshen up existing furniture, this is a craft book not a ‘make from scratch’ book so if you are looking at finding out how to make furniture this is the wrong book for you. If you are looking to bring some life to existing pieces and perhaps make things for craft fairs this is for you.

Good in Bed - Jennifer Weiner

Good in BedGood in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Cannie Shapiro never wanted to be famous. The smart, sharp, plus-sized reporter was perfectly happy writing about other people's lives for her local newspaper. And for the past twenty-eight years, things have been tripping along nicely for Cannie. Sure, her mother has come charging out of the closet, and her father has long since dropped out of her world. But she loves her job, her friends, her dog and her life. She loves her apartment and her commodious, quilt-lined bed. She has made a tenuous peace with her body and she even felt okay about ending her relationship with her boyfriend Bruce. But now this...'

Candice (Canny) Shapiro is the main character and the book is written through her eyes. She is approaching 30 and is a journalist on the local newspaper. We learn that Canny is on a break from her boyfriend of 3 years Bruce Gruberman who is also a writer in an affair that appears to be going rather stale. Canny is humiliated by Bruce when an article appears in a magazine about her stating how challenging it is to love a larger woman, she and those who know her realise it is about her. Canny has issues with her weight and the belief that no one really loved her and the book takes the reader on a journey of her self awakening and acceptance of who she is.

It started off so well, I really thought it was going to be fast paced and funny instead it turned out to be a lot more serious for me. Most of us have had had weight issues and many people can identify with that but it was just not the light read I had expected. Because of this it seemed to be heavy going in parts and somewhat difficult to pick it up and carry on to the end.

Jennifer Weiner has a great sense of humour which comes through well in this novel allowing Canny to make light of the hurt and betrayal she feels by Bruce. I did feel that the character was a little self-indulgent and she wallowed a bit in self pity but despite this it was a good read although predictable. It had plenty of laugh out loud moments and also some sad and poignant moments.

The first half of the book did dwell a lot on self pity but it livened up towards the second half thankfully making it overall an enjoyable book. I particularly liked her humour which made me want to continue to the end, without it I probably wouldn’t have wanted to finish the book.

When I did finished I had to think how it made me feel; I was glad it all worked out for her in the end and that she learnt to love herself but it didn’t have the ‘feel good’ factor, it didn’t make me feel I would rush out and buy another of her novels, it kind of left me a bit flat, it was OK, written well with good humour but a great chick lit? I think it was a bit too heavy for that.
Because it was well written and there were some really very funny moments I would rate this book as a 4 star, it didn’t quite have the light and carefree feel that it seemed to promise at the start which was disappointing.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Millie and the American University by Annabel Scott

Millie and the American University by Annabel Scott 
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

'Millie’s always dreamt of being American, thanks to an obsession with US Television shows. As the only English girl on campus, she realises that she could live her very own American dream: joining a sorority and bagging an all American boyfriend. Only when Millie finds a friend in Kristen, she alienates Casey and Jen, the sorority girls who’d taken her under their wing. Millie discovers that Casey is not a woman to be crossed, and she soon finds herself living an American nightmare with her scholarship under threat, and the all American boyfriend ending things before they really start.

The prequel to Millie and the American Wedding, find out where it all began, and join Millie, Kristen and Rob at an American University.'

This story is about a girl (Millie) who goes to an American University as an exchange student. She joins half way through so is not a freshman and finds it hard to make friends, as everyone already has their groups and sororities.  Two girls are told to look after her, Casey and Jen. To begin with Millie thinks these girls are genuine and want to be her friend, however as time goes on she realises this is not necessary the case. 

Millie finds it flattering at first when guys say ‘can you say that again? I love that accent.’ But after a while this gets wearing and girls seem to dislike Millie as they see her as a threat. Casey and Jen also just use her as a puppet, to get into parties and meet people. 

Millie went along with this, (let’s face it she didn’t know anyone else!) but when she invited a guy along to one of these parties that also didn’t know anyone; Casey and Jen had a problem with this as it was a ‘closed party’. Millie was forced to let him down and say he couldn’t come. Luckily Millie attends many parties and next time meets a new friend Kirsten, Casey and Jen have history with her and Millie is basically forced to choose between them. 

During Millie’s time out in America she writes email back to her friends who didn’t attend the exchange. I enjoyed reading Millie’s emails and I think it would have been good if we had more input from Millie’s friends from the U.K, it would have been good to hear what they thought of it all. 

Millie struggles with juggling her new mountain of work (that she never had in the U.K) and a life full of partying every night. She also discovers as being the only English girl, she stands out and must be careful not to get a reputation. 

I did enjoy this story, however I felt it was a bit repetitive, Millie seems to just go to parties every night. It maybe a different type of party such as a beer pong, hotel or a crawl, but it is a party. As the book progresses Millie does begin to get braver and experience other parts of American Culture, she visits an American Football game.  

The other thing I found hard to believe is that Millie meets the same guy Rob about three times before she remembers who he actually is. Even if she couldn’t remember his name, surely she would recognise him and ask him something?? These are the only negatives I have about this book; Millie’s American Wedding is the sequel to this and I will be reading that at some point, if you have already read Millie’s American Wedding, this is perfect to find out how it all began. 

This is a fast paced book and it will have you laughing out loud, cringing and wanting more when it is over. This book will be over far too quick but its brilliant on a rainy day (like today) to cheer you up. :D

I would like to thank Annabel Scott for sending me this to review. 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Case of the Missing Boyfriend - Nick Alexander

Case of the Missing BoyfriendCase of the Missing Boyfriend by Nick Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'Thirty-nine year old CC is living the urban dream: a high-powered job in advertising, a beautiful flat, and a wild bunch of gay friends to spend the weekends with. And yet she feels like the Titanic - slowly, inexorably, and against all expectation, sinking.

The truth is, CC would rather be digging turnips on a remote farm than convincing the masses to buy a life-changing pair of double-zippered jeans - rather be snuggling at home with the Missing Boyfriend than playing star fag-hag in London's latest coke-spots. But sightings of men without weird fetishes or secret wives are rarer than an original metaphor, and CC fears that pursuing the Good Life alone will just leave her feeling even more isolated.

Could her best friend's pop-psychology be right? Are the horrors of CC's past preventing her from moving on? And if CC finally does confront her demons, will she find the Missing Boyfriend? Or is it already too late?'

I had ready Nick Alexander’s The French House before I read this book not realising that this novel was the prequel to The French House. I have to say that the two books felt completely different in that both characters CC and Victor seemed like different people in The French House. To be honest until I had finished The Case of the Missing Boyfriend I really didn’t twig they were linked stories.

I enjoy the way Nick Alexander writes and was comfortable with the characters that did seemed like old friends (familiar because I had read the French House). I was intrigued and wanted to find out about the characters but I didn’t make the connection with the previous novel The French House other than the fact that CC felt familiar.

The main character CC is easily likeable, funny and an identifiable Bridget Jones type of character, typically single, optimistic and cynical in equal measure galloping towards 40 with a ticking biological clock she fills her days with a stressful job in advertising in the hope that she will be able to justify choosing a career over a family which she so desperately wants. But there the similarity to Bridget Jones ends, this felt like a more serious novel with underlying issues. CC fills her nights and weekends in the company mainly of her circle of gay friends who she tends to meet a lot of through her work and whom she trusts and feels safe with and occasionally ventures out to the obligatory dinner parties with her straight married friends where she feels like a spare part at a wedding. Her best friends are SJ (Sarah-Jane who we really don’t learn a lot about), Mark who is gay and lives in the flat above hers and also works in the advertising agency, and Darren who is also gay and works in the same agency (these two characters we seem to get a lot of background information on). Invitations to events with her gay friends are by far more entertaining and fun we learn and therefore she does not seem to socialise with straight characters which begs the question of how she would think she could meet the man of her dreams when she is always going to gay events – it is a bit unbelievable.

The author takes us on a journey through CC’s attempts to find the missing boyfriend in her life after having a couple of disastrous relationships; she manages to go speed dating which is a disaster except for a guy she likes the look of and nick names him as Brown Eyes (Norman) and exchanges telephone numbers with who when they do eventually manage to go on a date together turns out to be a married man who is looking for the ‘right person’ before he dumps his wife. We meet Charles the guy she chats to on a plane coming back from New York who asks her to join him in Nice for a few days and turns out to have a rather unfortunate sexual balloon fetish and Victor SJ’s gynaecologist who CC eventually consults to find out how big a window she has in terms of getting pregnant. This is all mixed in with CC’s gay friends’ lives, her mothers’ affair with a Moroccan tour guide and CC’s hopes and dreams of having a family and finding her missing boyfriend. Straight men in this novel are not portrayed well.

Her friends are lovely colourful characters who really have a strong bond with CC and this comes across to the reader however I felt that CC was a bit selfish, she never really seemed to listen to her friends problems. The loneliness she feels being single with no one to share her life with is evident and she appears to understand why her friend killed himself but I felt that since she knew all about being lonely she really should have seen what was happening to her ‘friend’ before it was too late.

Because she is so wrapped up in herself the author wants us to believe she does not realise she has found her missing boyfriend but to be honest neither did I. The romantic lead was invisible for most of the book and when he did appear Nick Alexander seemed to put him in almost as an afterthought. I have to say that it took the author so long to introduce the missing boyfriend I almost forgot that this was the point of the novel. Although I liked the way the author managed to address issues like AIDS, depression and suicide which is often difficult to do without compromising the lightness of the novel I did feel that this was what the novel was really about and the missing boyfriend aspect was really just a by-product.

This is reasonable holiday read, although not what I was expecting and it did take some time to get into. Although it was supposed to be about CC’s journey to find her missing boyfriend it appeared to lose its’ way and when the author did eventually get around to this point it ended rather quickly which seemed to be a bit of a letdown.

Overall I would give this a 3 star rating – it seemed to be more about the gay scene, drugs, depression and lost chances rather than the light hearted funny Bridget Jones type novel that I was expecting, despite this it was not a bad read but it was disappointing.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Can you keep a secret? - Sophie Kinsella

Can You Keep a Secret?Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Emma is sitting on a turbulent plane. She's always been a v. nervous flyer. She really thinks that this could be her last moment. So, naturally enough, she starts telling the man sitting next to her - quite a dishy American, but she's too frightened to notice -all her innermost secrets. How she scans the backs of intellectual books and pretends she's read them. How she does her hair up like Princess Leia in her bedroom. How she's not sure if she has a G-spot, and whether her boyfriend could find it anyway. How she feels like a fraud at work - everyone uses the word 'operational' all the time but she hasn't a clue what it means. How the coffee at work is horrible. How she once threw a troublesome client file in the bin. If ever there was a bare soul, it's hers.

She survives the flight, of course, and the next morning the famous founding boss of the whole mega corporation she works for is coming for a look at the UK branch. As he walks around, Emma looks up and realises...

It's the man from the plane.

What will he do with her secrets? He knows them all - but she doesn't know a single one of his. Or... does she?'

This was the second Sophie Kinsella book I had read, and I was hoping it would live up to my expectations after I had read The Undomestic Goddess and I was so pleased that it did.

I particularly enjoy Sophie Kinsella books as they are entertaining, lighthearted and normally hilarious. This book makes you cringe at moments when you read it and laugh out loud at others; which I think is a real talent for any author to be able to do.

This story is about Emma, she works for a company and boards a flight, she is a nervous flyer and spills all her secrets to the guy sitting next to her as she is not sure she will survive the flight. Little does she know that he turns out to be the new CEO of the company she works for.

Emma doesn't know a lot about her job, she tries hard, bbut she does have some anxiety issues, Emma is fun loving and a really likable character. You want everything to work out in the end for her and you really care about her.

This is a perfect read for any time of the year and reminds you no one is perfect and everyone has issues we have to deal with. Sophie Kinsella tackles this in a humorous way which works. I think most people will be able to relate to this book and I would recommend it to EVERYONE it is a brilliant read.