Friday, 24 January 2014

How to Love - Katie Cotugno

How to LoveHow to Love by Katie Cotugno
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'This is a love story. But it's not what you think. This is not a first kiss, or a first date. This is not love at first sight. This is a boy and a girl falling in messy, unpredictable, thrilling love. This is the complicated route to happiness that follows.

This is real. This is life. This is how to love.


Reena has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. But he's never noticed her, until one day... he does. They fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town, leaving a devastated - and pregnant - Reena behind.


Three years later and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter Hannah. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again.

After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer again?'

When I was offered a copy of How to Love by the publishers I jumped at the chance. I love to experience new authors and YA titles.

How to Love is from two perspectives Before and After. The story revolves round Sawyer and Reena, (Before) they have know each other for a long time and fall in love. They have an uneasy relationship until one day when Sawyer leaves, leaving Reena 16, pregnant and alone.

(After) Two years later Sawyer arrives back in town, Reena has a two year old daughter Hannah, a job and is currently seeing Aaron who is brilliant with Hannah. Sawyer however turns up as if nothing has happened.

It took me a few chapters to get into the book, to understand the flow of writing and the order in which it is written. Once I got into it I really enjoyed the way it was written. I thought that by going, before and after it allowed the reader to connect better with the characters and learn about them from their past.

I feel that Katie Cotugno took a chance writing a novel about teen pregnancy, it is something that isn't covered too often and as a debut novel could have been a risk, but I think she covered it well, it was 'real' and many people will be able to relate to the story.

When reading the story I did have a preference, I enjoyed 'Before' more than After, this I think is because I liked reading about how Sawyer and Reena got together and her feelings as a 16 year old girl, and what other 'real life' issues she has to go through.

Once I got into the story I wanted to continue reading it and found it hard to put down. As a debut novel from Katie Cotugno I think it is brilliant and I would defiantly read more from this author.

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

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Rowena's Key - AJ Nuest Guest Review by Janet Emson

Rowena’s Key – AJ Nuest, Harper Impulse
3.5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

“The key would unlock his future and the safety of his kingdom, but he never imagined the sorceress would unlock his heart…
Antiques restorer, Rowena Lindstrom, finds herself the owner of an ancestral armoire containing a hidden key and a magic mirror leading to another realm!

But the handsome warrior prince waiting on the other side is truly the final straw. This must be an elaborate joke, right? As she struggles to discover the truth, Rowena learns Prince Caedmon Austiere needs the key to save his kingdom. In the end, she cannot deny him anything. Including her heart.”

Rowena Lindstrom, hasn’t been that successful with relationships. She has thrown herself into the family business, restoring antiques, inherited from her father. After searching for a long time she has tracked down a piece of furniture, an armoire, that once belonged to an ancestor. However it is not in the best condition. Whilst examining it she discovers a key, and soon after the armoire reveals a mirror with a strange man appearing it on it. On seeing her, Caedmon believes she is a sorceress, the holder of the key that can save his kingdom. 

Rowena at first obviously thinks this is a practical joke sprung on her by her friend Ollie. However he soon begins to believe Caedmon is real, and starts to fall for him in the process.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book as it is not my normal kind of read. 

However, the more I read, the more I enjoyed it. It is like a grown up version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe what with a magical piece of furniture and a mystical realm!  

There’s really not much more I can add without giving the story away but this was a fun quick read, being the first book in a series of novellas and I look forward to reading the other two books currently out Candra’s Freedom and Caedmon’s Curse. 

My rating is based reading only the first of the series and may change once I have read the other novellas. 

I would like to thank Janet for her wonderful review and for wanting to publish it on The Book Corner.

You can catch Janet on twitter - @janetemson

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A Christmas Wish - Carole Matthews

A Christmas WishA Christmas Wish by Carole Matthews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'Last year, Hannah's Christmas was full of love, happiness and romance. Things couldn't be more different this Christmas. Broken-hearted and lonely, Hannah wishes she could be happy and in love again but she is struggling to find even a glimmer of her old festive spirit. Luckily for her, there's some Christmas magic in the air . . . 

A Christmas Wish is a heart-warming ebook exclusive short story that will make you a firm believer in the power of Christmas. So take twenty minutes for yourself and indulge yourself in this romantic and festive tale.'

I love reading short stories, especially in the run up to Christmas. This story however for me I felt was lacking something.

The story is about Hannah, she goes to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and she remembers the previous year when she went with her ex Mitchell. Mitchell was the love of Hannah's life and nothing came close to him, however this year they are not together, after Hannah found out what he was like the hard way.

Going to Winter Wonderland brings it all back for Hannah, this is until she meets a jolly guy in a red suit. Maybe Hannah's Christmas wish will come true?

Overall the story is a nice one, but that to me was just it, it was nice. It never gave me the spark which I expected. However this is a quick read and not intending to be too taxing. This passes a break with a coffee, but I was left a little flat by the story.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

From Scotland with Love - Katie Fforde

From Scotland With Love (Short Story)From Scotland With Love by Katie Fforde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'When Daisy travels to Scotland to confront notorious author Rory McAllan, little does she know that within hours she'll be snowed in with him. But surely she's not going to have to spend her precious New Year's Eve with him too?

Put the champagne on ice, get the fireworks ready and step into the wonderfully warm, witty and romantic world of Katie Fforde.'

I love short stories and when I saw this was available to request on Netgalley I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately I have only just got round to reading it, although after Christmas I was not disappointed with the story.

This is the first story I have read by Katie Fforde and I must say this is certainly not going to be the last. I found that the story flowed well and I really enjoyed her style of writing. Although only being a short story, I found everything fit in well, it didn't seem rushed and so much was packed in. Everything from the setting and characters are built up throughout the story so you really make a connection with them. This I feel is hard to do in a short story, but Katie Fforde achieved this well.

When I began to read the story, I imagined 'The Holiday' where Cameron Diaz turns up at a quaint cottage in the middle of the countryside and does not seem to fit in. This was the impression I got from Daisy, she is a city girl, who I imagine would struggle to cope in the country, especially in Scotland! She has gone to see Rory, an author, who did not sign enough book plates for her, she is the PR girl in charge of his book.

Rory is a bit of a recluse, he lives on his own in Scotland with his dog and likes his own company. When Daisy turns up on his doorstep he is unsure a, why she is there and b, what she is going to do when the storm sets in.

The story crams so much in, but it is done in a way where things aren't rushed. I is a lovely heartwarming story that is an unexpected read. You learn an awful lot from the characters in the story and begin to understand why they are the way they are.

My only negative is the length of the story, I enjoyed it so much I didn't want it to end. This would have been a great full length novel featuring Daisy and Rory. This is perfect if you want a quick read that is going to stay with you for some time. I would recommend everyone to read this festive novella and only wish it was longer.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending it to me in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Don't push the button - Bill Cotter

Don't Push the Button!Don't Push the Button! by Bill Cotter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'There's only one rule in Larry's book: don't push the button.

(Seriously, don't even think about it!)

Even if it does look kind of nice, you must never push the button. Who knows what would happen?

Okay, quick. No one is looking... push the button.

Uh, oh.'

This is a fun and interactive children's book.

This is about curiosity and what child does not want to push a button, especially when they have been told not to? Larry the monster gets too curious and encourages the reader to push the button when no one is looking. But from pressing the button, Larry gets a shock and perhaps is a warning to all the kids who want the push the button in future....

This is a perfect story to share with children as adults enjoy it too, its full of fun, it's bright and colourful and interactive to engage the reader.

I would recommend this book for any young curious child who happens to like monsters.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending it to me in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Can't take my eyes off you - Clare Dowling

Can't Take My Eyes Off YouCan't Take My Eyes Off You by Clare Dowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'Clara's been away for too long. So, after ten great years in London, and with boyfriend Matthew in tow, she arrives home in small-town Castlemoy. The family welcomes her with open arms: her diet-shy mother, her closet-living sister and her actor brother who scratches a living doing voiceover ads for chicken. Not everyone is delighted to see her, though. Jason, her long-ago ex, seems to have old scores to settle. Soon Clara finds herself being watched, followed and manipulated from afar. How can she make him stop? And as Clara's dreams of happily-ever-after begin to shatter, will she be able to wrestle her life back?'

This is the first book I have read by Clare Dowling, she is one of those authors I just never got round to reading. So when I was sent a copy of her new book from the publishers to review I was really looking forward to it.

From never reading any other of Clare's books, I am unsure of her style and the pace her books take. I found it a bit tricky to get into as not a lot of was happening.

This is a story about Clara, who moves back to her home town in Ireland with her boyfriend. Clara's ex still lives there and she catches his interest straight away. Jason, the ex seems to begin to be supportive and pleased that Clara has moved back and tries to help her new business take off, but all is not as it seems.

I thought that the book covers a lot about Clara's family and background stories and not enough on Jason and his developing obsession with Clara. This I felt should have been the main focus of the story.

Personally I think that Clare Dowling has taken on more than enough in this book, she has tried to cover large issues based with obsession, health issues and stalking as well as others and I feel that these should perhaps been addressed as separate issues in different books.

I would say this is not your average chick lit book and if you are looking for something a bit more meaty then this could be for you. I would have given the book 3 and a half stars if I could have as I feel that the main story line (obsession with an ex) wasn't covered as well as it could have been. I also felt that perhaps there were too many issues going on in the book for you to draw a clear connection with the characters and actually feel for them.

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

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas - National Geographic

100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do by National Geographic Society
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Following up on the enormous success of the "Journeys of a Lifetime" series of travel gift books, National Geographic bring you "100 Countries, 5000 Ideas", a large-format, lavishly illustrated, softcover travel planner. This essential travel companion to one hundred of the world's most fascinating countries is packed with more than 250 big, colorful images, 110 original, detailed maps, and evocative text to inspire your next great trip. Divided into two sections, this book helps you choose destination that suits your interests, how to get there, and what to do. The first part presents a series of charts that helps you pick the best places to visit according to your needs and desires, including the best seasons to go to each country - whether you're interested in a three-week vacation or a long weekend or something in between - as well as a chapter including which destinations are best for children, adventure seekers, history lovers, and the like. In addition to vacation ideas, you'll be given specific airfare costs, approximate cost of a trip, health precautions, and other important tips. The book's second section surveys the one hundred countries - from Argentina to Zimbabwe, and everything in between - describing each one's unique highlights and ideas on what to do while visiting, as well as offering a wealth of practical information to help plan a memorable trip. A special sidebar outlines the pros and cons of each destination. "100 Countries, 5000 Ideas" is an irresistible blend of practical travel information and inspiring ideas - adorned with stunning imagery - to help fuel your wanderlust, and make your dream trip possible.'

This book was bought for me while I was spending some time away in hospital. I am so glad this was given to me, as it kept me entertained for hours.

The book is broken down into different countries in alphabetical order. On each page there is a map of the county, some facts and pros and cons. There is also info on the weather for the best time to visit for different activities.

I cannot actually do this book justice when writing a review as it is so fantastic you have to see for yourself. It has unusual destinations in here, which prompt inspiration and makes you think about these as new places to visit.

I particularly enjoyed reading about the travel guide, such as any medical you need, how long it takes to get there, time difference etc. This is also available on every page for each county. Some countries with greater interest have more than one page dedicated to them, such as China.

The photography in the book is excellent and captures unusual parts of the countries at times, this something from National Geographic you would come to expect.

This is a brilliant 'starting point' book, if you are looking for in depth amounts on each country then this may not be for you. However if you want a snapshot and an idea to give you inspiration, this book certainly will give you that. It makes an excellent addition to any travel library.

I would recommend this book to others, especially those keen on travelling and are perhaps thinking about making a journey that is less touristy. I will definitely be looking into others in the series of the National Geographic as I enjoyed this book so much. I personally shouldn't be allowed near these travel books, as it encourages me to think about my next trip... lets pay for the trip currently booked for first eh?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

I heart Christmas - Lindsey Kelk

I Heart ChristmasI Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Angela’s planning her very own fairytale of New York…

• Enormous Christmas tree
• Eggnog
• Eccentric British traditions
• Gorgeous man

But Santa’s throwing her a few curveballs – new job (as if it’s not mental enough already), new baby-craze from her best friend Jenny, and Alex determined they should grow up and settle down. Once friends start turning up uninvited on her doorstep (and leading her astray), can Angela really have a merry little Christmas? So much for happy holidays – something’s got to give…'

When I heard that Lindsey Kelk was bringing out 'I heart Christmas' I couldn't wait! I have read all of her other books in the 'I heart' series and loved all of them. Christmas being my favourite time of year mixed with a bit of Angela I thought would be a match made in heaven. I was however a little disappointed, I think I expected a little more Christmas in the book, and I kept looking for it, but didn't find I found it.

I did find the book a little hard to get into which was a shame as I was expecting to love it right from the beginning, as I have with all the other 'I heart' books.

Angela is all loved up in New York with Alex, her best friend Jenny has decided that she wants to have a baby, Angela is not as supportive as perhaps she could be, but then Jenny can be a little erratic and as she is currently not in a stable relationship, Angela doesn't think it's a good idea. In other parts of her life, Angela is going up in the world at the magazine company she works in. She has been given a brilliant opportunity to be in charge for a few months, which could really see her take off. However Angela has reservations about her ability to run the firm. Alex is talking about moving house and Angela gets a surprise visit from her best friend from England Louisa with her toddler in tow, Grace.

To me this book I found was stressful, I didn't think it was very Christmassy and although Angela was beginning her preparations for Christmas I don't think this came across as strong as it could have done in the book. There was one drama after another and I think the Christmas theme got lost.

Overall I did enjoy the book, however I didn't think it lived up to Lindsey's high standard as her other books have. I felt that it was starting to loose it's spark, which I hope this is just a blip as I enjoy her books so much. I felt a lot of issues were bought up in the book and that almost too much was happening at one time.

I would recommend you to read the other 'I heart' books before reading this as it will give you a better understanding of the characters and background knowledge of the story lines. I am glad that I had the opportunity to read this book, however I am hoping the new 'I heart' book is back to the usual standard.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

So Sorry!

This is a very brief note but to keep all my followers/ publishers in the loop, currently in hospital with no kindle, and only a couple of books. I do have reviews to write, but these will take me so long to do on my phone.

I only expected to come in and out and as it currently stands I have been in hospital now for 10 days and no further forward. So to all publishers/authors who are waiting for me to review, I have not forgotten but I can't actually get to them at the moment. I'm in hospital 150 miles from home too so I can not get supplies bought in to me.

I do apologise again and hopefully the next post will be a review!

Thanks for understanding