Monday, 29 June 2015

How to Be Bad - E.Lockhart

How to Be BadHow to Be Bad by E. Lockhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When you've had enough of being good, sometimes you've got to try a little bad... Jesse, Vicks and Mel couldn't be more different. Jesse, a righteous Southern gal who's as thoughtful as she is uptight, is keeping a secret that she knows will change her life forever. Vicks is a wild-child: seemingly cool, calm and collected on the outside, but inside she's furious at herself for being so anxious about her neglectful boyfriend. And Mel is the new girl in town. She's already been dismissed as just another rich kid, but all she wants is to get over some of her fears and find some true friends. But for all their differences, the girls discover they've got one thing in common - they're desperate to escape. Desperate to get the heck out of Niceville and discover their true 'badass' selves! Even if it's just for the weekend... One 'borrowed' car later, it's time to hit the road and head for Miami. Hearts will be broken, friendships will be tested, and a ridiculously hot stranger could change the course of everything.

I read We Were Liars last year and I thought it was a really clever book and whizzed through it, this I was drawn to just because E.Lockhart, I was hoping for another cleverly written book with a bit of a shock perhaps.

This is a book about three girls who go on a road trip to Miami for the weekend. Each have their own reasons for wanting to go, some of which we don't find out until quite far into the book. Vicky is a fun, always up for a laugh type of girl, who is missing her boyfriend. He is currently studying at Miami university, although he has only been away for two weeks, he hasn't called Vicky and she is beginning to wonder why. Jesse is Vicky's best friend and a christian, this is where I begin to have an issue with this book. Jesse was constantly trying to bring her views and values into everything Vicky said, she was portrayed as being uptight most of the time and I just couldn't warm to her. I also really disliked the way she seemed to have a problem with Mel. Mel is the final girl on the road trip, the new girl, who moved from Canada. Mel has very few friends and is portrayed as a little insecure rich girl, she seemed to use her money to buy friendships. All the girls are waitresses at the Waffle store, this is how they all know each other. Unfortunately I don't think the characters were that well developed, I felt that even at the end of the book I still didn't know an awful lot about them.

The book is told through the perspective of all three girls along their road trip, and it spans a period of three days.

I did enjoy reading the road trip, however I think that some of the situations the girls find themselves in are a little unbelievable, the alligator close call towards the end I think was a little silly. My favourite parts were going to the keg party, meeting Marco and their trip to Disney.

This was a super quick book to read, I read it in just two sittings. This is a light, summer, contemporary read that is going to be perfect for the beach or during the holidays. I did feel a little disappointed at the end, I didn't realise that it was the end to be honest and I was left wanting a little bit more as I thought it didn't feel finished. Saying this I did like the ending, it was sweet. I am still left with quite a few questions though about a couple of the girls and it would have been nice for these to have been answered, unless this is going to be the first in a series? I haven't heard anything about that though. But then again I don't think this was meant to be a deep book, it was just a light easy going read.

Even though I did have a few issues with the book, overall I enjoyed it and believe it set out to do what it was intended for.

The three different authors I am assuming have written a character each, I personally do not know who wrote which character, however I have only read one book by E. Lockhart and nothing by the other authors. You can find out if you want to know once you have finished reading.

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

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Weekly wrap up - 28.6.15

This week I have been sent:
In their Shoes - various authors
A daughter's secret - Eleanor Moran
The Good Girls - Sara Shaepard
First one Missing - Tammy Cohen

This week I have bought: 

Books I have read this week:
Hot to be Bad - E. Lockhart 

The books I have read all have reviews and they will be on the blog soon so look out for that!

Thanks for stopping by at The Book Corner, I loved  hearing what you have got this week so please leave a comment to let me know

Friday, 26 June 2015

Walk on By - Stacey Solomon

Walk on ByWalk on By by Stacey Solomon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ever since Charlotte Taylor was a little girl she’s wanted fame and fortune. She sings with the voice of an angel and is soon plucked out of obscurity and launched into the limelight as the overnight sensation “Lola”.

Charlotte attends wild celebrity parties and moves in circles with the rich and famous, but the people living the life of celebrity aren’t all she imagined them to be and neither is her life. Struggling to find the real Charlotte again she battles against the crazy life she’s thrust into, desperately trying to swim to the surface.

Blake Hudson is a self-made man. Successful in his own right, he’s busy making his own mark on the world. Self-assured, strong and determined, he’s not looking for a permanent relationship. But when he meets the sweet and charming Charlotte, he’s captivated. But the world of celebrity and business collide and commitments, half-truths and unintentional deception don’t make for smooth sailing.

Hilarious consequences ensue through this romantic comedy, but can Lola and Blake overcome the challenges that life and fame throw their way to find their own happy-ever-after, or will Lola just have to Walk on By?

When I was offered the chance to read and review this book, I thought why not, Stacey Solomon always seemed a bubbly personality so I guessed her book would be humorous. I wasn't wrong, fitting nicely in the romcom genre this is perfect for fans of chick lit. It is a speedy books and will just leave you feeling satisfied.

We follow the life of Charlotte/Lola who is fed up of fame after being trusted into the limelight, all she wants to do is go back to being Charlotte. Charlotte wants to find her prince charming and it almost feels like two separate lives are being recorded in the diary/thoughts in her head that we get from reading the book.

I really liked the way the book was similar to Stacey's live, but not being too over the top, it makes you feel she wants to stay true to herself, which is Charlotte coming out. I liked reading about Charlotte and Blake when she went to New York, this was humorous as neither of them were revealing their true identities to one another.

This is the first book in a series and after reading this one and being so impressed with the story line and the characters, I would want to read the second. Charlotte was likable and I loved the way majority of the book had been written in diary form. If you enjoy this style of books then this one is for you.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves a bit of chick lit and wants something easy going round by the pool this summer.

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

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Flower Arrangement - Ella Griffin Blog Tour

Today it is my stop on the blog tour and I have been extremely lucky to be able to get a guest post from Ella, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I also have a giveaway at the end of the post, so much sure you enter that!

Every flower tells a story …

From the window of her shop, Blossom and Grow, Lara watches those who’ve bought her flowers head off to face all manner of life-changing occasions.

Bridal posies, anniversary bouquets, surprise deliveries from secret admirers, new-baby bunches – Lara arranges them all. And then there are the sadder occasions – the memorial wreaths, the ‘I’m sorry’ flowers.

No stranger to heartbreak herself, Lara knows that flowers can say more than words ever can. Beneath the twinkly fairylights, surrounded by buckets filled with cooking water and heaving with flowers, customers spill their secrets, the things they want to say, the things they wish they’d said. Lara can always find a way to bring their message to life.

Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Maeve Binchy, Ella brings her warmth, wit and wisdom to the comings and goings of a little Irish flower shop.

Were any of your characters based on people you already know?
My characters aren’t really based on anybody in the real world. Though by the time I’ve finished writing a book, they feel as real to me as most of the people I know.
I usually start creating a character with a photograph. Once I have a face, a personality seems to be drawn to it. If I get stuck, I’ll open a blank document and ask one of my characters to tell me a secret. It's amazing what comes out!
Who was your favourite to write about? 
Lara, the florist who is at the heart of The Flower Arrangement.  I saw her so clearly that I didn’t need to consult the photograph in her file.  Tall with narrow shoulders and a dancer’s body.  Long dark hair shot through with the first strands of silver.  Hands red and raw from stripping thorns from roses. Deep set brown eyes brimming with kindness and a touch of sadness too.
I couldn’t wait to get her down in paper
I always knew that she would be a florist but I didn’t want this to simply be career choice. I needed it to come from her heart. So I worked out her back-story.
When she was twelve, her mother died and flowers played a really important part in helping her to survive the grief.  In her early thirties, she lost the baby she was carrying at six months. She was so broken that she couldn’t go back to her job as a graphic designer. And that was when decided to open a flower shop.
She knew that flowers healed her when she was a child who had lost her mother. And she hoped that they would heal her now, when she was a mother who had lost her child.
I loved flowers but I didn’t know the first thing about the reality of being a florist, so I had to do a lot of research.
I lost whole days making Pinterest boards of the bouquets that Lara would arrange.  I haunted all of my favourite Dublin flower shops. The florists I met told me so many sad and beautiful stories. Joyful new arrivals, spontaneous proposals, romantic weddings, tragic funerals. The best ones became part of The Flower Arrangement.
The thing that helped me to understand and write Lara's character best was working behind the counter  - actually being a florist. Immersing myself in her world.  Imagining what she would say to each customer I met, which flowers she would choose for them. 
I found out something then I hadn’t known when I first saw Lara in my mind. That she was more than just a florist. That her past pain had made her into a healer who knew intuitively what each customer was feeling. Who could read their emotions and translate them into flowers.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Accident Season - Moira Fowley - Doyle

The Accident SeasonThe Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

When I received a tarot card in the post months before this book arrived for review, I had no idea what it was about. Even when the book arrived, I still have no idea how it linked to the book, until I began reading it.

This is a debut YA novel, and to be honest it is like nothing I have ever read, I have found it hard reviewing this because of this.

Cara and her siblings every October have to be extra careful as it is the accident season. Over the years things seem to happen during this month, sometime small falls and bruises, broken bones and sometimes accidents have ended in death...Cara doesn't always see the dangers or believes that every October she should be cooped up by her mothers wishes. This year she decides to throw a Halloween party in a spooky old mansion down by the river.

The beginning of the book we begin to discover Elsie has been appearing in all Cara's family photos, she is a girl at school, who looks after the secrets box, in the library. Cara wants to get to the bottom of why she is in all their photos, why she has suddenly gone missing from school and why all of a sudden no one seems to know who she is.

There were times throughout the book that I had no idea what was going on, there seemed that there were parts that weren't going anywhere, but they still made me want to continue reading. Although I didn't read this is in sitting, it was the type of book that you could have. This was full of mystery and it wasn't until right near the end I twigged what was going on.

My favourite part of the book was the masked ball, I loved the description of the masks, the party and the house. The description was really rich and vivid. As the story moved on I kept wondering where and who Elsie was, this finally came to an end and things became a little clearer. To be honest I struggled with the mix between fantasy and reality, however I am not a fantasy reader. This book will appeal to many readers, fantasy, mystery and romance is all covered in this and written extremely well.

This book has been compared to We Were Liars by E Lockhart, towards the end I could see the similarities, however it was only towards the end. This is certainly one to watch this year and I think it is going to be extremely successful.

I did enjoy this book and I feel if you are like me and are not sure about fantasy this is the book for you, it incorporates so many other genres that this is a good book to introduce you to this genre. This book has left me thinking about it for days, it was eerie, mysterious and magical at times, I am looking forward to seeing what is in store for Doyle's future books.

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

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Last Honeytrap - Louise Lee Blog Tour

It is my turn on the blog tour of The Last Honeytrap, I have been lucky enough to be given an extract from the book. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. 

The Human Zoo 

The tongue in my ear belongs to the Dutch Minister for Security and Justice. We are huddled in a dimly lit corner of the 101, an exclusive members’ club in London’s Mayfair. A popular haunt for the rich and famous, the bar has a discreet, almost diaphanous waiter service. Dark oak panels, cubbyholes, anonymous jazz – it’s the perfect place in which to disappear. Minister de Groot was hoping for such a night – quiet, uninterrupted, with just an indiscreetly plopped bodyguard for company. The bullet-stopper is three tables behind us. I spotted him as soon as I walked in; talking to his wrist, feigning nonchalance. Gustav is his name, and although I can’t see him at the moment, I can feel his eyes. They bore into my back like a wolf watching a cocky caribou, because quite uninvited, I sashayed directly to the bar and sat beside his boss. He has no need to fret. Minister de Groot is the biggest fish I’ve ever had to sear; cocky I’m not. Indeed, the minister took a while to bite, given his distinguished job, one in which he helps run the entire world. Yes, he humoured me, agreed to buy me a drink, but his chest remained pointed ahead, both hands defending a tumbler of Glendronach. I put the minister’s mind at rest. Played silently with my wedding ring. I have as much to lose as you, the gold band whispered up at him. His eyes flicked north to my chest . . .  With the right posture and bra, I have an impeccable décolletage. A physically unappealing teenager, I deserved a little aesthetic luck. It arrived five years ago, when, without warning, my face and body fell into place. I was twentyseven. For a year I watched myself blossom. To cement the good work, I studied the Alexander Technique and bought a biofit uplift bra. Voluptuous yet chaste, that’s what a guy said at the time. He worked at the post office, at the counter next to mine. You’re the type of bird men want to deflower; until you open your mouth, he said. I’ve never been so happy – attractive at last. Alternative life choices cascaded like ticker tape. Next Minister de Groot studied my face . . . I would like to think it conveys intelligence. Not too much – my IQ would frighten them off – just a soupçon. Enough to reassure them: women like me don’t end up in an underwearclad kiss and tell. They’re right, I don’t. That’s not my style. I doubt very much that the minister wondered about my current job, which is a shame. It could have saved him a whole world of shit. Plus from a personal point of view it’s ever so nice when the target shows an interest in you. They rarely do. And that disappoints me, because I always show an interest in them. Tonight, for example. I asked about his accent, the purpose of his visit, his tie – Aspinal of London; he’d smoothed it flat, all proud like a tourist. This, an extraordinarily bright man who makes decisions on behalf of a nation, gooey at the groin because I complimented his neckwear – ugly neckwear with no practical purpose other than to point directions to his beef bayonet. Yet as he stroked the paisley sliver of silk, he repositioned his knees to face me, a manoeuvre that speaks volumes – he was inviting his groin to join in the conversation.  Tonight was a goer. Kinesics fact: human communication consists of ninetythree per cent body language and paralinguistic cues. That leaves just seven per cent for actual words, which are very easily manipulated; whereas body language is subliminal and extremely hard to fake, unless you’re a Royal Marine or a psychopath. The silent language, they call it, and I’m fluent. I’d never visited Holland, I told the minister, not properly. The culture nevertheless fascinated me . . . This gave him the floor – a luxury wives tend not to bestow – and throughout his soliloquy I giggled, asked pertinent questions and placed flirtatious fingers on his arm, each time counting to three in my head. Touch test fact: if a date returns your touch within ten minutes, there is sexual chemistry. On a successful first date, there will be three sets of touching, three seconds apiece. Tonight there were eight. By 9.53 p.m. the minister had slow-danced me away from the bar and into a booth. Here he ordered champagne, homed in on my neck and wheedled a route to my ear. That’s where we’re at now. And although I’m satisfied with my success so far, I’ve had quite enough of my ear being licked. Women like me, however, have a game to play. We titter inanely. We stroke the pride of unprincipled men. We remind ourselves constantly that this job is a worthy way to make a pound. Or in tonight’s case, thousands of the little buggers. The minister had assumed we’d be making our way to the Mayfair Hotel. The Schiaparelli Suite, to be precise – that’s where he generally takes his conquests. It’s a shame really. According to the literature, the suite is named after the designer who first unleashed fuchsia on a glamour-starved  world. Antique Chinese art, pink pony-skin bed dressing, I’m sorely tempted to pop along just to have a peek. Trouble is, I have a very strict rule. Never go back to theirs on a first date. There’s a further rule too. Don’t shit on your own doorstep. Here my brother helps me out. Lets me shit on his. Though I’m mindful not to put him in danger. Michael and I are professional partners, yes; but first and foremost I’m his big sister – it’s my duty to look after him. My brother’s only rule: never touch his stuff. He has a touch of the OCD. Yet the look I’m going for is sinuous and alluring; it’s imperative I finger ornaments and stroke the frames of black and white photos. One of the frames contains a photograph of our mother. Bambi, everyone called her. Because the world left her simultaneously startled and astonished? No. I caress her frame a little longer than the others. Because she was Italian and that was her name. Women like me usually hide evidence of their identity. Especially photos of their mums. But mine’s in no danger. It’s been twenty-five years since we saw her last – if I can’t find her, nobody can. ‘Minister de Groot,’ I swivel Bambi so she’s facing the wall, ‘a sensible offer, please.’ The minister is animated. His original assumptions about me were wrong. ‘A woman of the night,’ he is saying. ‘I had no idea.’ I am not. ‘I’d have got down to business sooner . . .’ looking through his wallet, pulling out one card after another, plumping finally for an Amex, which he proceeds to glide up and down my arm as if icing my bicep.  How many working girls back in Holland have credit-card machines? I wonder. ‘Five hundred,’ he says. ‘Excuse me?’ ‘For the night. Five hundred pounds.’ I scoff. Were I to sleep with a man for money – which incidentally hasn’t happened and never will – it would be for a good deal more than five hundred quid. ‘Six hundred, then?’ That doesn’t warrant a response. I know the minister’s paid five times that in the past. He tells people he was Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, in a previous incarnation – throwing money at sexually charged serfs plays to his megalomaniacal streak. Though I’m informed that he errs towards the high-class hooker, it being safer. In a fortnight they make the same as your average tabloid exposé, so selling a story makes no business sense. Sometimes, too, prostitutes are rather nice to talk to. Unlike his wife they simply listen and nod and groan as if he’s the most desirable man they’ve ever had to fellate. Yes, a good old-fashioned, no-strings business arrangement suits the minister right down to the ground. Look at him now, I smile despite myself. He thinks he’s at a charity auction. ‘Seven hundred!’ Pushing my chest against him, I half-whisper, ‘You get what you pay for, Minister de Groot.’ I’m rather pleased with how that comes out. Counterfeit sexiness can sometimes fall flat on its face, the naff words left hanging in the air like a ring of Stilton. In this instance, however, my timing and tone are consummate. Even the minister does a half-clap. ‘You drive a hard bargain. I like it. I like you, Isabella.’  My name is not Isabella. I use it because it conjures images of ball-tingling eroticism and Latin fire. I stole it from a girl I went to school with. Isabella Purdy-Valentine. Her parents had really given that thought – the boys got erections just hearing it read out at registration. Minister de Groot has an erection – it follows me around the room like a dowsing rod. ‘Nine hundred? Come on, Isabella, that’s an awful lot of money.’ I wholeheartedly agree. It remains, however, some way off Robert Redford’s very decent proposal of one million dollars. My eyes twinkle as I smooth imaginary creases from my hips. ‘A lot of woman, Pieter, requires an awful lot of money.’ Momentarily I forget to slink as I move back to the shelving unit and reposition a hefty book: Family: Nature’s Masterpiece by Dr Dan Halliday. Were the minister to peruse this hardback, he’d see that on the front cover it says: The nuclear family – a definitive guide to happiness. That’s quite a promise. He won’t pick this book up, however. Men never pick up self-help manuals once their brains have slithered south. My first husband, now he did a lot of thinking with his genitals. Eureka moments, if you like, and they struck in the most unexpected of places, my best friend being one of them. I actually caught them at it, yet still they maintained an indignant astonishment, as if I’d accused them of something implausible, like ram-raiding or starting forest fires. He admitted his infidelity finally, though put the blame squarely in my court – I had become complacent, he told everybody; let the sexual fervour dwindle. Oh, I fought my corner. I’m just a bit shy. But guys kept their distance for a while after that, the least attractive trait in a woman being sexual sloth. Tonight my smile promises filth. ‘Isabella, Isabella. You’re bleeding me dry.’ I certainly am not. ‘Fifteen hundred?’ ‘Better.’ Secretly I look up his nose. The man’s face is fleshy and wrinkled as a Shar Pei puppy, yet he has not one strand of nasal hair – for all his faults, I like that in a man, bald sinuses. Husband Number Two was extremely hirsute. In the nude he looked like he was wearing a gorilla suit without the head. I married him on the rebound. He felt such a safe bet. Friendship surely had to be the most sensible basis for an enduring marriage? Turns out that obsessive animal passion that refuses to dissipate is the more effective ingredient. Three years of marriage and still it remained awkward in the bedroom – we went at different tempos: slow rumba and disco beat. My second husband held me a little responsible. Men don’t want to marry their sister or best friend, he told the marriage counsellor. And he was right. They’d rather opt for eternity with a domesticated whore. Bent over, checking the contents of my handbag, my face is flush with my knees. This position is called a Standing Forward Bend, or Uttanasana for the purists. My life coach taught it to me. It is supposed to evoke mental calmness, stress reduction and body awareness. Today it provides Minister de Groot with an opportunity to leer at my arse. I give him a better view; lean against the windowsill, look out on to Greek Street below, its pavement a twinkling strip of eateries, its hum as magnetic as an electric fly trap. Leaving life above ground level to dissipate clandestinely into the night – which is why so many of the top flats in this street  are walk-ins, the walk-in being a provider of legal prostitution. There’s one just across the road, nesting above the seductive rouge of a Lebanese restaurant. I look back down at the street – holding gently on to the sill because I suffer a smidge of vertigo – and peruse bald patches, ponytails, the roof of a black Bentley Continental Flying Spur, the minister’s bullet-saver leaning against the driver’s door. Unblinking, he stares back up at me. His look is one of repugnance. Total fact: it should be one of marvel, because I know an awful lot about him . . . His full name is Gustav Aart Nijstad, and he is one of perhaps twelve people in Holland who cannot speak English better than the English. Maybe his non-bilingualism is a deliberate show of patriotism – he is an extraordinarily dedicated employee of the Netherlands government, and particularly of Minister de Groot. His job is to accompany and guard his protectee to the death (his own), which he’d do in a heartbeat if only someone would just launch an attack. When not waiting for assassins, however, Gustav can find himself sitting outside hotel rooms and walk-ins. Naturally he is bound by a contract that ensures the minister’s frolics remain top secret. The contract is, however, unnecessary. He’d triple-jump into hot oil rather than compromise Pieter de Groot. In fact if Gustav had any friends, they’d take the piss, say he had a crush on his blubbery boss; and he’d shoot them in the head because Gustav’s so far in the closet, he’s emigrated to Narnia. I am well apprised. Then again, my contact is excellent. Look at him – I give the bullet-saver a finger wave. His chin strains up at me, at his beloved boss somewhere in the room behind me; he reminds me of a lovelorn meerkat. Spinning back around, I sit on the sill, my back against  cold glass, and issue the minister with a thin, honest smile – because Pieter de Groot is living on the edge. Unlike Gustav, I have not signed a contract. Well, I did once, when I started at the post office, but that was ten years ago and unless Minister de Groot was mentioned in the small print, I’m pretty sure I can say what I like to whomever I like. Silly man. Minister de Groot moves at me, grabs my waist, manoeuvres me towards the hall as if I’m a delightfully petulant child. ‘Fifteen hundred it is then,’ he says, no-nonsense. ‘Let’s take this to the bedroom.’ There is one bedroom in the apartment – my brother’s room, a no-go area, always. As a matter of damage limitation I pull the minister on to the sofa. The weight of his stomach drives every drop of air from the scatter cushions beneath me, scatter cushions I should always place in a tidy stack against the wall – extremely important rule. Now the minister rediscovers my ear. ‘Two thousand.’ I push him out of my neck. ‘But you can’t stay the night,’ ‘Done.’ His smile is triumphant. ‘I’d have given you five.’ I maintain my cool. Not one penny will change hands this evening, yet I feel duped, totally duped – the minister now considers me a bargain. ‘So, Minister. Have you done this kind of thing before? You know . . .’ I spell it out, ‘paid women to sleep with you?’ He is thoroughly amused. Rearranges himself. My internal organs sigh with relief. ‘And why, Isabella, do you ask?’ ‘Because I’ve met many men like you, Pieter. Rich men. Powerful men. Extremely famous men. And it never fails to fascinate me – the indiscretions of such commanding individuals as yourself.’  I slap his bottom hard and summon a look that says: Tell me how despicable you are, because, by God, I fucking love it. That look has taken some work. His shrug is indulgent, unrepentant. ‘I’m a very bad man. I have an uncontrollable penchant for working girls. And you, Isabella, are one in a rather long line.’ ‘You disgust me.’ My smile is genuine. ‘Tell me more.’ His confession is elaborate and depraved. Now and then he dry-humps my thigh, but mainly he concentrates on telling me filthy secrets. I can see he’s enjoying this bit the best. And as his admission gathers momentum, it dawns on me. How remarkable that it took me two failed marriages to work out a simple universal truth – that strange is erotic. Once aware of this truth, other truths became apparent. Like, the institution of marriage is flawed, as is monogamy, as is truth and respect and honour, because at some point a less attractive person, dim-witted, maybe unkind, will turn your partner’s head. In the black of night he’ll be pretending your shoulder blades, the small of your back, your buttocks are hers. And it will be for one reason only. She is not you. Anything that is not you will be sexier. Because strange is so bloody erotic, it makes a mockery of love, leaving marriage as the cruellest joke ever. The minister’s confession over, I watch him fumble with his belt – he is ready to seal the deal. Hurry up, I beg of my brother, because he’s cutting it fine. And when, at last, I see him come into the room, I scream; not too loudly – the neighbours might knock – just loud enough for Minister de Groot to stop unbuckling and look up from the sofa. ‘Fuck,’ he shrieks, because a man of baby-giraffe proportions looks down on us. My brother’s name is Michael, after St Michael the Archangel. Six feet two, twenty-eight years old, lateral muscles like folded-up wings. Erudite-looking, singularly benevolent, a total mix between Noël Coward and Lennie Small (the mentally impaired lovable murderer in Of Mice and Men) – only my brother is strawberry blond, with a beautiful West Country lilt, its undulating song as familiar as the Purbeck Hills, if you’re from Dorset. He’s also a very mediocre actor, so even I’m surprised at the menace with which he says, ‘You are squashing my fucking cushions.’ Bewildered, the minister flies to his feet, half holds out a hand. Formalities don’t interest Michael. He’s in character – the aggrieved husband. Revolted, he glares at the stranger in his living room whilst pointing a rigid finger in my direction. ‘She’s a married woman,’ he spits. Technically this is true. Though I haven’t seen Husband Number Two in years, he’s no doubt looking for me. Eager to untie the knot and retie it with some domesticated whore he picked up in Poole. Well, he can look for me all he likes. I intend on doing her a favour. ‘You’re married?’ The minister looks at me, sickened, like he didn’t notice the ring; and I in turn shrug at the unfaithful father of four, because mine is a very long story. Not that he’s interested. They never are. He simply holds his hands aloft as if Michael is pointing a gun and gestures desperately at the door with his chin. Let me live, the minister’s eyes beg. But Michael has first to sob at me, ‘How could you do this?’ My heart sinks for him. He’s never landed an acting gig. Years of drama school and Michael still struggles with angst. The minister doesn’t notice – he’s too intent on squeezing  a route past him and out of the front door, back to his trusted Gustav. There is no backward glance from Pieter de Groot. No request for my telephone number. No plan ever to meet in the future. Categorically I will never see the Dutch Minister for Security and Justice ever again. In the silence of the living room, my brother and I look at one another and sigh. He picks up a scatter cushion as though it’s a dead dog. Quickly I fetch my purse. ‘Buy yourself some more.’ It’s time to spend a little time chivvying him along, because although Michael’s been bursting in on me for a year now, he remains his own harshest critic. Sitting on the sofa, I tap the space beside me. ‘Brilliant timing, partner,’ I nod. He brushes fresh air from the coffee table. ‘I was total litter. A chimp could do better.’ ‘A chimp couldn’t bring the performance element, though, could it? How could you do this? You’ve been practising, right?’ He straightens his smoking jacket. ‘I’m trying to use my own emotions and memories.’ He squints, tries to recall what it said in the textbook. ‘I’m developing my internal sensory abilities.’ ‘Sounds hard.’ ‘It is hard.’ ‘It’s paying off, though.’ ‘Yes, it is,’ he says without modesty. ‘It’s important to consider the character’s motives; to identify with them. That’s what Christian Bale does, and Dustin Hoffman.’ ‘And the smoking jacket?’ I neaten up its velvet lapels, like a mum. ‘I’m using the Method,’ he explains. Then his eyes become wide. ‘Do you fancy sushi?’ I punch his thigh. ‘Totally.’ The ephemeral nature of his thoughts. Michael can feel a moment so passionately, only to discard it one second later in favour of a new, more intriguing one. He’s always been like that. The teachers at school were disconcerted by him – Sister Angela, whose nerves he frazzled regularly, once told him that his educational needs were special. He had been extremely sorry about the fact; had shaken the nun’s hand. Thirty-nine on the autistic spectrum sounded woefully low – he’d try harder next time. Mum called him special too, because the fleeting heartfelt moments were the very best of all, she told him earnestly. Certainly they’re the most truthful – they’ve had no time to tarnish. Asperger’s, my elbow, she said. Michael was just extraordinarily unique. I smooth the hair from his forehead. ‘Sushi it is. But first I’ve got to do my stuff. You hoover. Then we’ll eat and close this case.’ We’re too old to high-five really, but we perform one with gusto. Midnight. The vacuum cleaner roars into action and I move to the bookshelf, carefully pulling free the self-help book, Family: Nature’s Masterpiece. Its author, Dr Dan, was the relationship expert on a morning programme. The picture on the front cover shows a congenial and wise man – bald as a bowling ball, a moustache like a yard broom – who has changed the lives of a million Britons. I open the hardback. There are no pages inside. The book’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Dr Dan was later outed as an unethical businessman who abused his wife. I didn’t feel so bad then about cutting up his life’s work, replacing the sanctimonious pages with a wireless unit the size of a deck of cards. The camera’s a great bit of kit – sixty-two-degree view, three-eighty TV line quality, powerful built-in microphone, the lens peeping through an imperceptibly small hole in the book’s spine. There are also pinhole cameras in my handbag and the smoke detector above the sofa. In the wrong hands, the DVD of tonight’s proceedings could destroy the minister professionally. Political ruin, however, is not my client’s intention. I’m not hungry, but I eat – Michael loves watching me gorge on makizushi whilst congratulating him on his culinary skills. Afterwards I download the DVD of tonight’s proceedings, though not before turning the photograph on the shelf back around. I look into my mother’s eyes – they’re wide as coat buttons – and I wonder if the world remains a riddle to her. Assuming, of course, that Bambi Love still inhabits it. Two a.m. My client waits for us in the lobby of the Knightsbridge Hotel in Chelsea. Michael and I sit at the lights on the King’s Road; me in the passenger seat, Michael at the wheel tapping imprecisely to the radio – it’s free jazz, the genre of music that accompanied late-night US shows back in the seventies. The ones about talk-show radio DJs who worked on the suicide shift; and the cop shows; and the shows about serial killers with telescopes who lived opposite women who perpetually undressed for bed. Their soundtracks were always a funky fusion of lonely and sinister jazz. Like the music out of Dirty Harry – Lalo Schifrin was the composer who wrote that score. I look out of the car window. Soundtrack fact: one day, Lalo Schifrin will write the music to my life too – something experimental and timeless, fifteen  or so tracks, the dominant theme a driving percussion and restless electric bass. Assuming, of course, he’s not dead by then. To stop Lalo Schifrin from being dead by then, I do a secret sign of the cross – scratch my temple, fiddle with a button on my jacket, pick dust from the left shoulder, straighten the right sleeve. I have to perform it secretly because I don’t do God. Plus Michael would join in because he does do God, religion being a far comfier option than scientific truth. I am saying Amen with my eyes when I spot the Jiffy bag in the footwell – inside is tonight’s ensemble of video footage and still shots. It’ll be a simple handover. Nonetheless, I dread this bit. I imagine the client’s face – the nausea as she flicks through her husband’s holiday snaps – and my stomach slumps. Noticing I’ve gone quiet, Michael gives me a dead leg. ‘It’s your birthday next week,’ he tells me, all mature. I rub my thigh and stare at a teenage couple frantically kissing against a street light. ‘Bet they’re French.’ I point. ‘Flo, you have to celebrate. We could go to a club or a bar.’ ‘Sounds like a busman’s holiday.’ ‘Good,’ he says, satisfied. ‘I’ll invite Sébastien.’ ‘Yay,’ I mumble. ‘I’ll spend my birthday playing gooseberry at PDA Central.’ But public displays of affection are Michael’s speciality. He’s too faithful to the moment, way too unconcerned with diplomatic social etiquette – just like the French teenagers, who are currently kissing like it’s a life-or-death situation. ‘Do you think he’s trying to get gum out of her gullet?’ Michael becomes concerned. ‘Shout out of the window, Flo. Tell him to use his fingers.’  ‘I am actually doing a sympathy heave.’ ‘Me too,’ says Michael, even though he’s not. Flopping exhausted back into my seat, I explain birthday facts. ‘A quiet night in on my own is just the job – when you get to twenty-nine, it’s rude to keep counting.’ ‘You’ll be thirty-three.’ ‘It is infinitely more rude for you to keep counting. Let me just be on my own. I’ll watch a film or something – Sleepless in Seattle, Gone with the Wind.’ I mouth at the French lovers, ‘Something romantic.’ ‘PS I Love you.’ He makes this suggestion because he once bought me this book. I’ve not read it, though he doesn’t know that. As far as he’s concerned, I thought it a corker of a read. The light turns green. I continue to spy on the French lovers in the wing mirror until their pumping heads shrink from view. The reflection doesn’t stay empty for long. A black Triumph Scrambler trails ten metres behind. I squint into the side mirror, then turn around. Through the rear window I see only black leathers and a loud pelmet of white-blond hair; his tresses sprout from the helmet’s sides and back like a wacky hi-vis accessory. Scientific blondness fact: gentlemen might prefer them, but blonds have nothing whatsoever to be proud of. They suffer a deficiency of eumelanin, the dark pigment in hair. And on the Fischer-Saller scale of blondness, the motorcyclist behind would be ranked a paltry B. That’s virtually albino. I, on the other hand, am full of eumelanin. Like Pocahontas. That’s what a homeless drunk called me when I first arrived in London, three years ago now. A rucksack on my back, a rolled-up private investigations diploma in its  side pocket – an online course for which I achieved a hundred per cent. I was a wide-eyed newbie to the Big Smoke. The tramp was sitting on the steps at Paddington train station. Oi, Pocahontas! He shouted it with considerable venom. White spit coagulated like spunk in the corners of his mouth. Yet I smiled and waved back as if I were indeed she, because Pocahontas was very beautiful in the cartoon. In real life, not so much. I looked her up on Wikipedia. The Triumph Scrambler behind us growls, speeds up, overtakes slowly. I watch it, watch the motorcyclist pass Michael’s window. Instinctively I pick up the Jiffy bag, put it inside my jacket, under my armpit. There’s no need. The flaxen-haired rider doesn’t glance in at us, at me, at it – he seems aware only of the road ahead. 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Weekly Wrap Up 21.6.15

This has been yet another stressful week, I have felt I haven't been able to get enough reading done for a long time. I am counting down to the holidays now and my reports are finally done so fingers crossed I will have more time to read. 

This week I have been sent:
The Olive Branch - Jo Thomas
The Quality of Silence - Rosamund Lupton
The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop - Abby Clements
The Lost and the Found - Cat Clarke
The Santangelos - Jackie Collins
A better Man - Leah McLaren
Another Heartbeat in the House - Kate Beaufoy

This week I have bought: 

Books I have read this week:
The Accident Season - Moira Fowley - Doyle

The books I have read all have reviews and they will be on the blog soon so look out for that!

Thanks for stopping by at The Book Corner, I loved  hearing what you have got this week so please leave a comment to let me know

Friday, 19 June 2015

Benefit Posiebalm Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm

Benefit Posiebalm Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm

What they say:

Benefit's spanking new tinted balms are the perfect (pucker) partner to their beloved tint sisters. Benebalm conditions and hydrates lips thanks to mango butter, jojoba and sodium hyaluronate, while leaving behind a sheer pink hue. Pair over the top of Posietint for soft, pretty colour that endures it all. It's tinted love! 3g.

Glide and build onto bare lips or over your favourite tint.

What I think:

I think this is actually a really great product, my lips feel incredibly soft when using this and I can actually feel the butter coming through the product. This does come in different shades and I choose the pinkish one, which does go really well with my skin tone. I do have one negative about this product and that is it didn't seem to last very long on my lips after half and hour to an hour I found I needed to reapply. This was a disappointment, however I have got a small handbag sized one as well so I keep this handy in my bag. 

This costs £14.50, which is a lot for a lip balm, however I was hoping it was going to last a long time, I guess I will have to wait and see on that one, only hoping it does as I would be tempted to purchase this again if it is. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Before You Die - Samantha Hayes

Before You DieBefore You Die by Samantha Hayes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The gripping new psychological suspense novel from the author of Until You’re Mine.

Oh God, please don’t let me die.

It has taken nearly two years for the Warwickshire village of Radcote to put a spate of teenage suicides behind it.

Then a young man is killed in a freak motorbike accident, and a suicide note is found among his belongings. A second homeless boy takes his own life, this time on the railway tracks.

Is history about to repeat itself?

DI Lorraine Fisher has just arrived for a relaxing summer break with her sister. Soon she finds herself caught up in the resulting police enquiry. And when her nephew disappears she knows she must act quickly.

Are the recent deaths suicide – or murder?

And is the nightmare beginning again?

I loved Until You're Mine by this author and so I was eager to read Before you Die, I had great expectations of another gripping white knuckle ride. D.I. Lorraine Fisher featured in Until You're Mine so I felt I already knew her quite well. This time we join her and her daughter Stella as she visits her sister Jo and her nephew Freddie in her home town of Radcote for a holiday.

I suppose that Until You're Mine was such a great novel that I was a bit disappointed by this one, it just didn't have the element of suspense for me and unlike the previous novel I guessed the murderer fairly early on. The characters were believable but not as charismatic and I didn't really connect with them as I did in Samantha Hayes previous novel. The story seemed a little bit too contrived and far fetched in this novel; what's the chances of a DCI going home to visit her family and being caught up in a spate of suicides that link her family and cause her to get involved in solving the case?

It's not so much a psychological thriller more of a crime fiction novel which I suppose was why it was disappointing as it lacked pace and suspense. I suppose for me there was nothing unexpected which, after her first novel, left me feeling a bit flat.

It was well written but just didn't hold me until the end - I hope her next novel will capture some of the suspense and drama of her first but unfortunately it was so good that anything that followed had to be spectacular which sadly Before You Die just wasn't.

I can only give this 3.5 stars as it is nothing exceptional as a crime novel and to be honest there are better crime novels than this one. I laboured through the book not raced like the last one; I kept waiting for the killer punch and there wasn't any. I hope the third book in this series will recapture some of the suspense and gripping excitement of the first novel - this one just didn't do it for me - disappointing.

I have rounded this up for Goodreads and Amazon.

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

Monday, 15 June 2015

Flashsticks first impressions

When I found out about Flashsticks and I was offered the chance to review them I jumped at the chance. I was really lucky as a child and went to a language school, so was exposed to many different types of languages. Unfortunately I never found a way to learn the languages and remember them. I have done about 7 years of French and only remember the odd word. Spanish was another language I studied for 4 years and this is a similar story. I loved the unique way of being able to learn in a different way and thought I would have nothing to loose, so couldn't wait for my beginner Spanish pack to arrive. 

Flashsticks are available in French, Italian, Spanish, German, Italian and British Sign Language at the moment. I am really hoping that more languages come available in time as this sounds like a great way to learn and maybe helpful for more trickier languages such as Russian and Chinese. 

I decided to go for Spanish as I remember from my schooling this was a language that I really enjoyed and it was just a shame I couldn't pick it up. I also think that Spanish would be very useful for me as I want to travel to South America and Central America, I think this language would come in handy for this.  

When they arrived they looked like this. It was all clear and the instructions were easy to follow. There is a free app you can download to enhance your learning. You can scan the post it and then a woman will tell you how to pronounce it. This is really useful for me as my pronunciation is dreadful. 

I have downloaded the app and I have now started going round the house sticking post it notes around. Blue notes are masculine words, Pink are feminine and green are verbs. I am really excited about starting my journey on learning Spanish. I am just hoping that the post it notes keep their sticky and don't fall down. 

If you would like to join me on my Spanish learning journey make sure you check back for updates.  

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Weekly Wrap Up 14.6.15

I have had the most stressful week ever this week and I am so pleased it has finally ended! I am seriously looking forward to the holidays not, only 5 and a half weeks to go! Unfortunately I haven't been able to read too much this week, but I have been to the theatre, I saw And then there were none, if you would be interested in a review of this, please let me know as I would be happy to do one. 

This week I have been sent:
Redemption Road - Lisa Ballantyne
The Other ME - Saskia Sarginson
Air - Lisa Glass
Pretty Patterns Creative Colouring for Grown Ups
The Replacement - Patrick Redmond

This week I have bought: 

Books I have read this week:

The books I have read all have reviews and they will be on the blog soon so look out for that!

Thanks for stopping by at The Book Corner, I loved  hearing what you have got this week so please leave a comment to let me know

Friday, 12 June 2015

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers - Louise Candlish

The Sudden Departure of the FrasersThe Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My name is Amber Fraser. I've just moved in at Number 40, Lime Park Road. You'll come to think of me as a loving wife, a thoughtful neighbour and a trusted friend.

This is a lie.

When Christy and Joe Davenport are handed the keys to Number 40 on picture-perfect Lime Park Road, Christy knows it should be a dream come true. How strange though that the house was on the market for such a low price. That the previous owners, the Frasers, had renovated the entire property yet moved out within a year. That none of the neighbours will talk to Christy.

As her curiosity begins to give way to obsession, Christy finds herself drawn deeper into the mystery of the house's previous occupants - and the dark and shocking secret that tore the street apart . . .

This started off really promising, a mystery with lots of intrigue. The characterisation was good, each character believable and mostly very likable and then for the first part of the book I was really anxious to read on to find out what the 'secret' was. However it didn't take long before I was becoming bored as nothing much was happening and I was tempted to 'skim read' to get to the action.

The story is based around Joe and Christy Davenport who can hardly believe their luck when they buy their ideal home for a fraction of it's worth on a sought after street in London. Moving into the 'Fraser's' house however is not what they were expecting, they encounter a very hostile reception and Christy is determined to find out why the sellers moved so quickly and what secrets are keeping her neighbours from being neighbourly.

I liked the stories being run as parallels from chapter to chapter through the book of the two main characters Christy and Amber and this helped to build the plot up nicely. However with 500 pages to wade through without getting any closer to 'the secret' until at least 2/3rds into the novel I found it was a bit too long and protracted for me. When the 'secret' started to unfold I had already worked it out anyway and just kept hoping there was a curve ball at the end - there wasn't.

To be honest because I had guessed the ending it was a bit of a let down as it was very predictable. You have to invest so much reading time to get to 'the action' when really there is no 'action' to get to at the end. Although well written and good overall pacing I just felt that it fell flat at the end leaving me feeling disappointed. Such a shame but because of this I can only really give it 3 stars.

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

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Always the Bridesmaid - Lindsey Kelk

Always the BridesmaidAlways the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The hilarious new novel from Lindsey Kelk, author of the bestselling I Heart series

Everyone loves a bridesmaid - except Maddie, who’s perpetually asked to be one.
Everyone loves a wedding - except Maddie’s best friend, who’s getting divorced.
And everyone loves the way Maddie’s so happy behind the scenes - except Maddie herself.
One best friend is in wedding countdown while the other heads for marriage meltdown. And as Maddie juggles her best chance at promotion in years with bridezilla texts and late-night counselling sessions, she starts to wonder – is it time to stop being the bridesmaid?

I have been a huge fan of the I heart series and since then will read anything and everything that Lindsey Kelk writes. I was really excited when I got the chance to read Always the Bridesmaid and couldn't wait to start.

To be honest this book took me some time to read - this is not something that happens when I read her books, but for some reason I found this pretty tricky to get into. This could have been my own fault, I was unfortunate to not have the time initially to really get into this book and I think maybe that was where the problem lied for me.

This is a fun book, it centres around Maddie, who has been working as an assistant at an events and planning company. She has been there pretty much all her working adult life, she decides that she wants a promotion, but her boss is a nightmare and things for promotion seem bleak. Maddie's two best friends are very different, Lauren has just announced her engagement to a bloke she has only been going out with for just over a year, Sarah drops a bombshell about her marriage and Maddie has been single for two years. She has to endure her parents keep going on about her ex boyfriend and the fact he has just had a baby with his new wife. Maddie as an events planner is keen to help Lauren plan her big day, even though stress levels are rising and she also needs to have the responsibility of being a bridesmaid.

Maddie gets encouraged to go for a promotion at work by the HR department, this would be great for Maddie to finally get out of the role she is currently in, however her friend Sarah also is keen to apply. Maddie, begins to prove herself at the company she is at by taking on a christening, soon she realises perhaps she has taken on more than she can cope with but cannot back down now.

The story is a bit chaotic is places, with Maddie juggling her job, friendships and a new relationship on the horizon, in places I actually felt worn out reading about it. I felt that maybe Kelk could have focused more on one or two of the aspects, as I feel although I enjoyed the story - especially the second half, there was a lot going on.

I think that this is a fun read and although from the blurb and the cover it didn't stand out to me I am glad I took the time to read it. There are funny lines in the novel, not as many as I would have hoped but it still made it an enjoyable read. I loved the format of the book, written as a journal and I enjoyed the last few pages where the text was laid out in different formats. I think it was also a good stand alone, however I don't think it is up to the standard of the I heart series or What a girl wants. I hear Lindsey is bringing out another book from the What a girl wants series, which I cannot wait to get my hands on!

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

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Wickham Hall - Cover Reveal

I am really excited to be involved with Cathy's new cover reveal! This is it!

Wickham Hall Cover reveal June 9 2015

I’m so excited about the launch of my new series Wickham Hall this month; it introduces a brand new set of characters and a beautiful new setting in a stately home just outside Stratford-upon–Avon. It’s a story of love and friendship, family secrets and heartache and ultimately learning to love life and live for the moment! I’ve packed the story full of my favourite things such as the English countryside, exquisite gardens (including topiary – I adore topiary!), weddings, summer festivals, lots of tea and cake, bonfires and Christmas parties!

The series will be published digitally in four parts this year and then in a complete novel both digitally and in paperback in 2016:

Wickham Hall Part One – Hidden Treasures 25 June

Wickham Hall Part Two – Summer Secrets 23 July

Wickham Hall Part Three – Sparks Fly 24 September

Wickham hall Part Four – White Christmas 26 November

Here’s the blurb!

Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up. Not only does she get to organise for a living and work in stunning surroundings, but it will also put a bit of distance between Holly and her problems at home.

 Holly loves the busy world of Wickham Hall - from family weddings to summer festivals, firework displays and Christmas grottos. But life isn't as easily organised as an event at Wickham Hall (and even those have their complications...). Can Holly learn to let go and live in the moment?

 After all, that's when the magic happens...

Cathy Bramley Bio

Cathy is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby farm and Conditional Love. She lives in a small Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two teenage daughters and Pearl, the Cockerpoo.

Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has always been an avid reader, hiding her book under the duvet and reading by torchlight. Luckily her husband has now bought her a Kindle with a light, so that’s the end of all that palaver.

Cathy loves to hear from her readers. You can get in touch via her Facebook page or on Twitter.

Amazon Link (either one - they are the same):