Monday, 30 November 2015

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

The GrownupThe Grownup by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A young woman is making a living, faking it as a cut-price psychic working at Spiritual Palms (with some illegal soft-core sex work on the side). She makes a decent wage - mostly by telling people what they want to hear. But then she meets Susan Burke. Susan moved to the city one year ago with her husband and 15-year old stepson Miles. They live in a Victorian house called Carterhook Manor, built in 1893. Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home, and taking possession of the stepson. She has even found trickles of blood on the wall. The young woman doesn't believe in exorcism or the supernatural, but she does see an opportunity to make a lot of money. However when she enters the house for the first time, and meets Miles, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her, waiting, biding its time....

This is a short story by Gillian Flynn, as soon as I heard she was releasing this I knew I had to get a copy. I was surprised to discover it is a short story though at around 64 pages. This allowed me to read it in one sitting.

This story has left me thinking what the hell? It seemed to be all over so quickly and I needed time to digest what I had read. This story begins with a female narrator, we don't know who she is or what her name is, however after a few pages we discover who she is, a fake psychic by day and previous lady of the night. She is beginning to get to grips with her knew role when she meets Susan. Susan comes to her for help, she believes her Victorian house that she lives in is haunted and wants her to come and try to put it right. The woman agrees to help her even though she doesn't believe in all the strange things going on in the house. On entering she feels something is not right in the house and vows to Susan to help her.

The story although so short packs a lot in, I felt it was part horror part thriller and would have been perfect if I had read this in October. The lead character I didn't like that much and my feelings about Susan also changed throughout the story. My only negative is that I didn't feel like the characters were as developed as they could have been and at parts in the story it felt a little rushed. I think this would have been the good beginning of a full length novel.

Friday, 27 November 2015

An East End Christmas by Elizabeth Waite

An East End ChristmasAn East End Christmas by Elizabeth Waite
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Carla Scofield has looked after her family since she was a teenager but it's never been a bother because there isn't anything she wouldn't do for those closest to her. Warm, friendly, and with the ability to make everyone around her laugh, she carries her burden proudly.

As the years roll past, Carla sees life around her change dramatically. Wartime brings new challenges and a new job for Carla in a sewing factory, and she shines. It also brings with it love and Carla has a chance at real happiness - but not everyone is rooting for her. With Christmas ahead of her, and her sights set firmly on love and the future, will she be too distracted to sense the danger before it's too late?

This book was unsolicited and not a book that I knew I would enjoy reading so I passed to it my mum who loves historical fiction.

Disappointed is how I felt after reading this novel. I enjoy novels of all genres so was not put off by the historical element attached to this one, however it just didn't live up to expectations. It felt as if the author was writing a synopsis of a book, almost like diary entries and the characters were flat and empty.

The story hinges around WWII and in particular Carla the main East End character. I come from London a Cockney myself and I was therefore intrigued to read this novel, hoping and expecting to feel the warmth and humour that East Enders showed during the war years - I didn't get that feeling.

The story basically is that Carla finds work in a factory not far from where she lives and when they relocate to Southampton she along with other workers are offered the opportunity of moving with the factory which means she has to relocate her home and leave her family. She basically grows up during this period, meets and falls in love with a fellow worker, has some mishaps along the way (won't put any spoilers in although really there are few) and eventually makes good in Southampton. War breaks out and we get some descriptive passages about lack of food and rationing, bombing in London but not much else. The characters were so skimpy that I really didn't have much reason to care what happened to them during the Blitz. The story was like a snapshot in a historical overview of the East End - she missed a great opportunity to showcase the warmth and humour of the people through this traumatic period in time.

As I said, I didn't connect emotionally with Carla, I felt she had no real substance or depth and I couldn't really warm to her. None of the characters really stood out for me, grand dad was looking promising but the writer kills him off too quickly before he has made enough of an impression.

The story was very predictable with no unexpected twists and nothing to set it apart from numerous other novels of this genre - a passable love story. Everything appeared to be rushed we wizz from 1943 to surrender in 1945 of the Germans with no mention of what Carla and her friends are up to. When one co worker Paul Townsend goes missing from work we don't know how long he's been missing for 'quite a while' according to the writer. It seems silly that someone seemingly so important to Carla could be gone without her asking questions before she does!

As I say, predictable, disappointing, just not fleshed out enough in my opinion to be memorable. I found it difficult to keep going with this one to the end - it was just too boring for me and therefore I can only give this 1 star.

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

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

I Heart Creative Colouring by Various

I Heart Creative ColouringI Heart Creative Colouring by Various
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I Heart Creative Colouring is a brand new addition to the pretty pocket colouring series. Bursting with beautiful pattern, detailed designs, amazing animals and much more, this book makes the perfect gift for colouring enthusiasts. With a lovely silver foil cover and a perfectly portable size for on-the-go colouring, everyone will enjoy colouring in I Heart Creative Colouring.

When I was offered the chance to review this colouring book I jumped at the chance. At the moment there are so many colouring books out there that you don't actually know which one to go for or what makes one better than another.

This colouring book is very small, it is square and a bit smaller than A5 size. This makes it perfect to slide in a handbag and keep while you are on the go. It also is very thick with what seems like good quality paper in. I have only used colouring pencils on the pages so I cannot comment on whether pens go through, but the effect you can get with blending pencils are brilliant. One of the reasons I decided to use pencils as well as blending them is the fact that the illustrations are on both sides of the paper and if pens do bleed through then will spoil the other design.

This was my first colouring book from Buster colouring books and I would certainly buy others, the illustrations are wonderful and it is so handy in it's size. This is a colouring book that will keep you entertained for hours. If you are looking for an introduction into adult colouring books this is one I would recommend, there is just the right amount of detail in pages to keep you entertained but not so much it freaks you out!

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

Monday, 23 November 2015

West End Girls by Jenny Colgan

West End GirlsWest End Girls by Jenny Colgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The streets of London are paved with gold ... allegedly.

They may be twin sisters, but Lizzie and Penny Berry are complete opposites - Penny is blonde, thin and outrageous; Lizzie quiet, thoughtful and definitely not thin. The one trait they do share is a desire to DO something with their lives, and as far as they are concerned, the place to get noticed is London.

Out of the blue they discover they have a grandmother living in Chelsea - and when she has to go into hospital, they find themselves flat-sitting on the King's Road. But, as they discover, it's not as easy to become It Girls as they'd imagined, and west end boys aren't at all like Hugh Grant ...

I was looking for an audio book to keep me entertained on the way to work in the mornings and evenings. This I thought was perfect as full running time is around 3 hours. I thought that this would last me about a week, which it did.

Morwenna Banks, the narrator really brings the story to life, she gets into character very well and managed to keep think up throughout the novel.

Penny and Lizzie are twins and have lived in a council house for most of their lives. Suddenly their luck changes and they move to a large flat in Chelsea, which belongs to their grandmother. They have not seen her for years and she now lives in an old peoples home.

Although Penny and Lizzie are twins, they are very different. Lizzie is happy to have the quieter life, getting a job in a sandwich shop and working for George. From the moment I met George I knew he was going to be a great character and I loved reading about his and Lizzie's story.

Penny in contrast seems loud, pretends to be someone she's not and is always wanting to party. Penny soon finds out living in Chelsea and trying to be famous is not all that it is cracked up to be.

I did enjoy listening to this book, however it was not very taxing. I could and did guess the ending but this didn't bother me as I was only looking to be entertained. As others have said, this is not the best Colgan book and her latest ones are certainly much better. However if you are looking for light relief then this is for you. Just don't expect to get a deep and meaningful story line as you won't.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Love You Better by Natalie Martin

Love You BetterLove You Better by Natalie Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After a soul-destroying breakup with her ex, Smith, Effie Abbott has met the man of her dreams. She’s had the whirlwind romance and the fairy-tale wedding to the charming and suave Oliver Barton-Cole, and life seems firmly back on track.

Things were never simple between Smith and Effie, so when he forces his way back into her life, Effie knows he’s a complication she doesn’t want or need. After all, she has Oliver, a man who loves her better than Smith ever did.

But when cracks in her marriage begin to emerge and Oliver shows flashes of a darker side, Effie has to question just how well she really knows her husband, and whether Smith is back to derail her seemingly perfect marriage or save her from it.

After recently breaking up from a relationship with Smith, Effie Abbot meets the man of her dreams, he's everything Smith isn't and after a whirlwind romance she walks down the aisle a month later to marry Oliver Barton-Cole a successful and wealthy barrister.

It's not too long into her married life that the cracks begin to show and Effie starts to realise Oliver may not be as perfect as she first thought. To complicate matters Smith has turned up again in her life and she's not entirely sure how she feels about him.

As life with Oliver and his mood swings and temper intensify so does Effie's feelings for Smith and when she becomes a victim of domestic abuse things start to spiral out of control.

It was enjoyable in parts but glaringly predictable right from the outset really so there were no real surprises and I felt it could have been shorter. Nothing really to set this apart from other chick-lit/domestic abuse novels and not really memorable enough once read to warrant more than 3 stars - sorry it didn't do it for me.

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

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Gilded Life Of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst

The Gilded Life Of Matilda DuplaineThe Gilded Life Of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Family secrets. Forbidden love. And the true price of wealth.

Thomas is a small-town boy and when Lily invites him to a dinner party, he gains access to the exclusive upper echelons of Hollywood society. As he enters a world of private jets and sprawling mansions, his life and career take off beyond his wildest dreams.

Then he meets Matilda Duplaine.

Beautiful and mysterious, Matilda has spent her entire life within the walls of her powerful father’s Bel-Air estate and Thomas is immediately entranced by her. But what starts as an enchanted romance soon threatens to destroy their lives and the lives of everyone around them.

I enjoyed this book more than I first thought I would. Initially it was a bit difficult to get into but once it got going it was an easy read. Although set in the modern day it had all the feel of the glitzy romantic Hollywood era. I loved the main character Thomas Cleary who goes to LA to restart his flagging career as a reporter on the New York Times. He is sent on a story to get some quotes and information for an obituary of famous film producer and meets his daughter Lily who owns an antiques shop. Lily immediately seems to connect with Thomas and she takes him under her wing. Through Lily Thomas experiences the wonderful world of Hollywood and meets some of it's legends when she invites him to a dinner to interview some of her fathers' friends. Being invited into this 'inner circle' of legends he is closer than any other reporter has been able to get and his career starts to take off.

Lily invites him to other social gatherings and he is invited to a special party one evening that he never manages to get to. He goes to the address he believes the party is being held in the Bel-Air home of David Duplaine a famous producer and meets Matilda his 19 year old daughter who he instantly falls in love with. Matilda he learns is very different to other girls and he discovers that she has never left the Bel-Air estate. They meet often in secret always at the estate but the inevitable happens and when David Duplaine discovers the meetings Thomas is banned from the estate and told never to return. In desperation Thomas persuades Matilda to run away with him and after confessing everything to Lily she helps them to go to Hawaii for a month in a house that her father owned.

Matilda is like a child experiencing everything for the first time, initially she clings to Thomas who has freed her from captivity but then she begins to want to fly the nest and does not want or need Thomas anymore. He has almost taken on the role of a parent to her child and like a child she needs to grow and experience things for herself. Thomas is hurt that she does not want to include him in her new friendships and while he spends a lot of his time alone in Lilys' fathers house he starts to piece together who Matilda is and eventually he discovers why she has been hidden away. He writes it all down, mainly to help him with the puzzle never intending to publish or tell anyone what he has found out. When they return to LA they are not the same people they were when they left a month before and their love affair has burnt out.

It is a lovely written book, very nice to have it narrated from the mans' perspective. It has all the nostalgic glamour of the Hollywood movie stars, the intrigue and pace of a good mystery and good descriptive passages that help transport you from the shores of Hawaii to the affluence of Bel-Air. I loved Lily and couldn't help but feel that she manipulated Thomas with the intention of freeing Matilda from her 'prison'because in many ways she had spent her life in a 'prison' herself and she didn't want Matilda to have suffered as she had.

It didn't have the 'happy ever after' ending that one might expect it to have had but it didn't disappoint either - I would give this a well deserved 4 stars for an enjoyable debut novel.

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

Monday, 16 November 2015

Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper - Debbie Johnson Giveaway

Today I have been lucky enough to be able to host a giveaway for a chance to win one of 3 copies of Debbie Johnson's novel - Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper. This is perfect for this time of year, so what are you waiting for? Just enter using the Rafflecopter below.

The next FABULOUS book from Debbie Johnson, author of best-selling Christmas number one, ‘Cold Feet at Christmas’

For single mum Maggie, Christmas has always been a family occasion – her daughter Ellen filling the house with her bubbly warmth and mistletoe, her dad Paddy having one too many festive tipples, and the traditional family Christmas tree looking like a drunken elf vomited a rainbow all over it. But this year, with both Ellen and Paddy away for the holidays, Maggie’s facing a truly blue Christmas – alone with nothing but a bottle of Baileys and an M&S turkey dinner. Until walking the snowy streets of Oxford, Marco Cavelli quite literally crashes into her life – and, complete with broken leg, becomes her unexpected houseguest. All dreamy brown eyes and 6’5” of gorgeousness, the man is hotter and more delicious than a freshly baked mince pie.

Though Maggie always thought it’s a truth universally acknowledged that you never kiss a man in a Christmas jumper…?

Debbie Johnson lives and works in Liverpool, where she divides her time between writing, caring for a small tribe of children and animals, and not doing the housework. She writes romance, fantasy and crime - which is as confusing as it sounds! Her first humorous contemporary romance, Cold Feet At Christmas, a seasonal tale of snow-bound fun, was released by HarperImpulse last year, and became an Amazon top ten best-seller. You can also find her supernatural crime thriller, Fear No Evil, featuring Liverpool PI Jayne McCartney, on Amazon, published by Maze/Avon Books. Debbie also writes urban fantasy, set in modern day Liverpool. Dark Vision and the follow-up Dark Touch are published by Del Rey UK. Debbie blogs at She lives with her family in Merseyside and is available to write features.

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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Weekly Wrap Up 15.11.15

It has been quite quiet this week. I haven't had any book post and I haven't been able to read that much as I have had 2 parents evenings that have left me really tired.

Books I have read this week:

You can find all the reviews for the books I have read coming up in the next couple of weeks so look out for that. 

I would love to know what you have been reading this week so please let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Aftermath (Star Wars: Aftermath, #1)Aftermath by Chuck Wendig
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The second Death Star has been destroyed, the Emperor killed, and Darth Vader struck down. Devastating blows against the Empire, and major victories for the Rebel Alliance. But the battle for freedom is far from over.

As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance―now a fledgling New Republic―presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but he’s taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.

Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, former rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world―war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’s urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn’t know is just how close the enemy is―or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.

Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit―to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on Norra and her newfound allies―her technical-genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector―who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire’s oppressive reign once and for all.

Star Wars Aftermath – I had a bad feeling about this.

Having read a wide range of extended universe novels, from Anderson to Zahn, I was excited to have the opportunity to read the first, post-Jedi canon effort from Wendig. Expectations were high; surely, this would be an opportunity to reminisce and give us a sneak preview of what the future holds?
Alas, no.
As though translated from Rodian, the narrative trips and tumbles clumsily through the plot in the present tense and leaps from character to character faster than the Millennium Falcon did the Kessel Run. Recently, I saw the whole Star Wars saga written in the style of a Facebook status and, yes, it is not to that extreme but a dinosaur such as myself does prefer a story in the past tense, especially a story set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

A consequence of this meant that I found it impossible to relate to any of the new protagonists. Frustratingly, however, they certainly do have potential: Sinjir has the possibility to excite; and Jas (at least to begin with) sparks intrigue; Admiral Sloane probably comes out of this tale most favourably but I still feel like I don’t know her true character – a shame after 379 pages of trying. The less said about “Mr Bones” the better…seriously, was this drawn out of a hat of Kindergarten ideas or is the author merely hinting at a Star Trek cross-over?

Looking back at previous books I found difficult to follow (The Bounty Hunter Wars, for example), I could at least relate to the major characters from the films. In Aftermath, however, I found even these stalwarts loathsome: Akbar is grouchy; Mon Mothma preachy; Wedge is nondescript. Why waste such opportunities to grab the Bantha by the horns and excite the reader?

And it’s not just the characters.

Little subplots raise their heads above the Tatooine dunes but scuttle off to avoid any imperial excitement - I wanted more from the potential rebellion on Coruscant; the seedy deals on our favourite desert planet; and the throwbacks to Vader and the Sith. But like Sy Snootles, Wendig just teases us and leads us up the garden path like a Jawa trader.
When reading a Star Wars book I crave information and back story; the detail is vital. I feel like I haven’t even found the tip of the Hoth iceberg with much of the plot.
But this isn’t the only hope. There is another.

When I first watched Episode I, I felt let down and disappointed. Looking back at it now, I do have an appreciation that it had the difficult job of setting up the whole new trilogy – it may even be my favourite of the second three. I so desperately wanted Aftermath to answer all of my questions that perhaps I built it up too much in my own mind prior to reading it. Maybe, in a few years, I’ll look back at this book and give it another go and it will all make sense but, for now, I feel somewhat flat and cynical about the future of canon Star Wars literature.

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

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke

The Lost and the FoundThe Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister. Faith's childhood was dominated by Laurel's disappearance - from her parents' broken marriage and the constant media attention to dealing with so-called friends who only ever wanted to talk about her sister.

Thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the garden of the Logans' old house, disorientated and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Laurel is home at last, safe and sound. Faith always dreamed of getting her sister back, without ever truly believing it would happen. But a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated and paranoid, and before long she begins to wonder if everything that's lost can be found again...

This is the second Cat Clarke book I have read and it was very different to the first. I really enjoyed the way this story flowed, the writing is very smooth and the book although over 400 pages, was quick to read. I also think that Cat Clarke's books are quite vivid and I find it very easy to be able to picture the characters and the setting.

The Lost and Found is about a girl Laurel, who went missing thirteen years ago. One day she just arrives back near her old family home. Faith is her sister, it is her story that we read and we live Laurel's story through hers. I really enjoyed reading it from Faiths perspective, it was not the obvious choice but it worked well and you could really see the impact this would have on the sister, who has been the only child for the past thirteen years.

The characters are wonderful in this story, they felt very real and believable. Even less prominent characters were developed well and bought a lot to the story. I liked the way the press was conceived and that you could really sympathise with the family. It was as if the press fed on the story and wouldn't let them have any privacy throughout the ordeal.

I was gripped throughout the story, however towards the third part of the book I twigged what was going on. What I really enjoyed though was that I was not proved wrong with my thinking but there was an added twist to the end. I thought it was cleverly constructed and worked very well, this is a shocking story that develops over time but one that will stay with you for some time.

I think there were a few points that were not as developed as they could have been and left me with a few questions, the main question was Thomas, things about him were never fully explained and I would have liked to have known more. (I don't want to say too much in case you haven't read it yet.) I also was a little disappointed with Faith's final response, however I understand exactly why she did this. I would definitely say though this book is a slow burner that builds up and explodes, this is a great thriller and if you don't read YA, you should.

After reading two Cat Clarke novels I am extremely impressed and will be looking into getting the others she has written. I would go as far as saying this has been my favourite YA book this year.

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

This story was real, deep and emotional.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern

The Marble CollectorThe Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A forgotten childhood. A discovered life.

What if you only had one day to find out who you really were?

When Sabrina Boggs stumbles upon a mysterious collection of her father’s possessions, she discovers a truth where she never knew there was a lie. The familiar man she grew up with is suddenly a stranger to her.

An unexpected break in her monotonous daily routine leaves her just one day to unlock the secrets of the man she thought she knew. A day that unearths memories, stories and people she never knew existed. A day that changes her and those around her forever.

The Marble Collector is a thought-provoking novel about how the most ordinary decisions we make can have the most extraordinary consequences for how we live our lives. And how sometimes it’s only by shining on a light on someone else, that you can truly understand yourself.

I have been a fan of Ahern's writing ever since I discovered 'P.S I love you', so whenever I see a new novel by her I make sure I pick up a copy.

This book I felt was very different from her other books, it is told by two people, Fergus and Sabrina. To begin with you don't really know the connection between the two characters but it doesn't take too long to work it out. Right from the beginning I got the feeling that Fergus was from the past, this was confirmed the further I got into the novel, however this shifts in the novel as there are times that Fergus is in the present and we follow his life today. Sabrina is Fergus's daughter, which we find out early on in the book. Unfortunately Fergus recently had a stroke and is now living in a home. Sabrina makes sure she regularly visits him, one day she receives a call from the home about a package that has been delivered for her father. Sabrina is amazed to discover these are marbles, and on closer inspection some are missing.

This story is about discovery, not only of the marbles but of who the family are and the secrets they keep. Throughout the novel some secrets are revealed to the reader and we can build up a picture of the characters and their stories. I enjoyed reading both character's stories and although I could not find a connection to them, thought it was well written and covers a unique story line. There are many characters that the reader comes into contact in this book and I feel they have all been written well. Some of the characters I would have liked to know a little more about, however we begin to learn more about these characters through the point of view of Fergus and Sabrina.

This story brings up questions about how well do we really know someone, even our family. We only know what they want to tell us. To discover secrets it then can have a devastating effect on those who love us, who may feel like their life has been a lie. This really come out of Ahern's book for me and I thought the emotions Sabrina felt were realistic.

I have read many of Ahern's books and unfortunately this is not one of my favourites, however I think if you enjoy a historical element in stories, you will like this. To me it just didn't have the magical charm I have grown to love with Ahern's novels.

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

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Weekly Wrap Up 8.11.15

Wow what a busy week! It feels like I haven't even had a half term now! So I have been back and checked how many books I have been reading since I have been back at school this year, as sometimes I think its easy to lose count and think you haven't read anything when you work full time. So here it is below.

September: 6 Books including 3 children's and 1 audio book. 
October: 6 books, including 2 colouring books and 2 children's books. 
November so far: 1 audio book

When I see the stats above I don't actually feel too bad about it and considering it is now the 8th November and I have nearly finished a book I think its quite good. 

Books I have read this week:
West End Girls - Jenny Colgan audio book
Currently reading The Marble Collector - Cecelia Ahern

You can find all the reviews for the books I have read coming up in the next couple of weeks so look out for that.

I would love to know what you have been reading this week so please let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Heaven is real but so is hell - Giveaway

I am extremely lucky to be able to offer you a fantastic giveaway for not one but 3 copies of Heaven is Real but so is hell. This book looks like it is going to be amazing, so please check out the rafflecopter below, this is unfortunately for U.K addresses only. 

Mystic Turns Conversations
with God into a Bestseller

an eyewitness account of what is to come

by Vassula Rydén

Published by Alexian on 19th November 2015
£16.99 Hardback

“This is not a book which is likely to leave those who make it through to the final page feeling indifferent. Read if you dare.” – Peter Bannister, musician and theologian

“The future of the Church is True Life in God. And to say it better, the future of humanity.” - Cardinal Telesphore Toppo

The Spiritual Journey In November 1985, Vassula Rydén, the wife of a Swedish diplomat with little knowledge of the Bible, was visited by her Guardian Angel, Daniel. This experience changed Vassula’s life forever. For the last 30 years she has been conducting written dialogues with Daniel, God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary and has recorded these ‘conversations’ in authenticated, hand-written journals. Vassula’s spiritual journey has revealed profoundly important messages for humanity and so she took up her appointed mission to share these conversations with the world and began to travel the globe.  Audiences have flocked in their thousands to hear her tale.

Despite many disputes with sceptical Christians, prejudiced against her unscholarly background, Vassula has many supporters from both within and outside organised religions from across the world. She has been invited to converse with the Pope and the Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Church, as well as numerous other religious leaders of all faiths. Every two years, Vassula organises an ecumenical pilgrimage which brings together clergy and laity from many denominations.

The Book This bestselling book, which sold over 50,000 copies in the USA, outlines Vassula’s personal journey toward religious enlightenment and discusses recurring questions about God and unjustifiable world disasters. Heaven is Real But So Is Hell ultimately upholds a message of hope. It is a book for those who have strayed from religion as well as those who are seeking truth in an increasingly complex world.

The Author Vassula Rydén was born in Egypt to Greek parents but grew up in Switzerland.  The True Life in God Foundationwww.tligfoundation.orgwhich is committed to spreading the messages around the world is based in Switzerland and has council members from the UK, Singapore, Philippines, USA, Ireland and Spain. She has two sons by her first marriage and currently lives in Rhodes with her second husband. Vassula is currently organising her tenth pilgrimage (10th-17th October 2015) – this time to Italy. She continues to speak to God.

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Friday, 6 November 2015

Colour Me Mindful: Seasons by Anastasia Catris

Colour Me Mindful: SeasonsColour Me Mindful: Seasons by Anastasia Catris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not just for kids anymore, colouring delivers a deeply satisfying experience that is almost meditative and colouring books are growing in popularity as anti-stress aids for adults.

Complete with intricately detailed and beautiful line-art, this book depicts breathtaking scenery from all seasons.

Your mind will focus as you fill the pages with colour, becoming calm and reducing stress. This is mindful, simple therapy for adults that can be carried out every day.

With stunning illustrations to colour in and admire, this book provides a creative outlet and a deeply soothing mindful experience for those in need of a little artistic stress-busting.

I have been lucky enough to be sent some of this colouring books to review and I have to say that is one is one of my favourites. The only negative I have about these books are the size of them, they have some beautiful illustrations in them and they would have been wonderful on A4, these are brilliant for travelling or carrying in your bag for spare time you may have though, something you wouldn't be able to do if they were a lot larger.

The illustrations are beautiful in this seasons book. Some are very detailed and others are less, this is brilliant if you colour at night like I do, sometimes you cannot be focusing on small amounts of detail when you are tired and this book gives you the choice of the level of detail you select.

I love the way the illustrations are presented in this book too, as you go through the book you go with the seasons.

This book gives you hours of colouring and fun. I have used colouring pencils to allow me to blend the colours and create a more unique picture so I cannot comment on the quality of the paper when pens are used.

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

Spring? April showers

All seasons

Summer holidays? Flip flops and cocktails 

All seasons 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic to the RescueShopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To Las Vegas . . . and beyond!

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is on a major rescue mission! Hollywood was full of surprises, and now she's on a road trip to Las Vegas to help her friends and family.

She's determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has mysteriously disappeared, help her best friend Suze and even bond with long-time enemy Alicia Bitch Long-legs (maybe...).

As Becky discovers just how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with her biggest, boldest, most brilliant plan yet! So can she save the day just when they need her most?

Becky is setting out to make things right in this laugh-out-loud, feel-good conclusion to her American adventure that began with SHOPAHOLIC TO THE STARS.

We have waited a long time to find out what was going to happen at the end of Shopaholic with the Stars. I am a huge Kinsella fan and have been from the moment I discovered her books but being left on a cliff hanger was very disappointing and it felt like I was growing out of the Shopaholic Series. We have had to wait for a year to find out how Shopaholic to the Stars was going to finish and finally we have got the ending. If you are new to the series I do not recommend starting with this one. It flows straight from Shopaholic to the Stars and you would need to have read that one at least to understand what is going on.

This I thought was very different to the other shopaholic books in the series. They mostly focus around Becky and Luke, however I felt this was more centred around Suze and Tarkie. This was again a little disappointing for me and I was hoping to get back the Becky and the stories from the earlier books in the series. I think if like me that is what you are expecting you will be disappointed. Saying that it does not mean I didn't enjoy this one as I did but it was just completely different to what I thought it maybe like.

Although I think this book is very different to the others, there is still witty lines and humour within it. The story line isn't a great one to be honest and has little depth to it, but personally I don't read shopaholic books for the story line, so this didn't bother me. This definitely feels like this is the book that Becky has grown up in and perhaps this is the end of the series? This is a relatively easy read, which you would be able to finish in a couple of days.

I am extremely glad I had the opportunity to read and review this before publication date and if like me you are a huge Kinsella fan you will enjoy this one and want to add it to your collection. I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 2 November 2015

A Night In With Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday

A Night In With Audrey Hepburn (Libby Lomax, #1)A Night In With Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unlucky in love, failed actress Libby Lomax has retreated into the world of classic movies, where the immortal lives of the screen goddesses offer so much more in the way of romance than her own life.
After a terrible day on the set of a cult TV sci-fi series where she has proved herself to be the antithesis of feminine poise and embarrassed herself in front of heartthrob actor Dillon O’Hara, she plonks herself down in front of her trillionth viewing of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Relaxing on her battered old couch, salvaged from the props department by her best friend Olly, Libby is gob smacked to find actual Screen Icon, Audrey Hepburn, sitting beside her. Dressed in her little black dress, wearing her trademark sunglasses, Audrey proffers advice to the hapless Libby between ladylike puffs on her vintage cigarette holder.
And so, Audrey becomes Libby’s confidante and friend – but has Libby got what it takes to turn her life from a Turkey to a Blockbuster? With a little bit of Audrey Hepburn magic, she might just pull it off…

A Night in With Audrey Hepburn is the first in a series of three books following the life and loves of Libby Lomax as she blossoms from Z-lister to A-lister and all of the stages in between with a little bit of help from some very special friends.

Quite an unusual story line; it was frivolous and silly in parts but I think you'd not expect a serious heavy novel from the title.

I loved Libby Lomax the central character and narrator, she was not a moaner or whinger, very human and identifiable, a bit scatty but immensely likeable as was Son of Bogdan her landlords handyman son.

The story basically revolves around an antique sofa that Libby finds herself in possession of after a mix up over actual furniture she has selected from the props department to furnish her new flat is delivered. The flat actually appeared larger when she viewed it and she quickly discovers that Bogdan the landlord has decided to partition off part of the original room and make this into two flats and not tell her. Consequently the overlarge Chesterfield that her best friend Olly has hiked up three flights of stairs is a very tight squeeze in her new flat. Worse still is the fact that the Chesterfield has seen better days, is old and smelly and the most revolting peachy colour Libby has ever seen. Tired and disillusioned after a disastrous day where it culminates in her her getting the sack after she sets fire to her hair accidentally on set in front of most of the cast, she opens a bottle of wine puts on her favourite DVD Breakfast at Tiffany's and sits in her empty flat save for the Chesterfield and packing boxes and has a Bridget Jones moment of feeling sorry for herself. Quite without warning she finds herself with company of a ghostly kind when Audrey Hepburn actually appears in her flat offering her advice and the scene is set for a very funny read.

Very enjoyable at at times a totally bonkers read, I thoroughly enjoyed this totally entertaining book and would love to read her sequel ' A night in with Marilyn Monroe' . This debut novel reminded me of the early Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic books and I feel sure that this could easily be up there in terms of popularity. There's plenty of mileage in this concept and I hope, as with the Shopaholic books, that Libby might develop in a series of books and go one to be a favorite character like Becky Bloomwood has become.

Certainly there is enough material to develop the lovesick Olly and the great secondary characters like the hilarious Son of Bogdan - I can't wait for her next one. There really were 'laugh out loud' moments that I only ever remember having with the Shopaholic books and I raced through it easily.

I have to give this a 5 star rating because this is such a promising debut novel - more Libby Lomax please Lucy I am now a fan.

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

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Secret Book Santa December 2015

So recently I have thought how much fun Secret Santa's are and that it would be wonderful if I could organise a secret book Santa with other bloggers who love books. So here is the idea. If you want to participate please leave a comment, this will allow me to get an idea of how many people want to participate. 

Once I know who wants to join in, I will email you and ask you to give about 5 lines of info about you, which will indicate the type of books you like and or the theme you like. Such as chick lit. Perhaps also info on an author you love or one you would like to try. I will send someone your info for them to buy you a gift, shhh it will be secret so you cannot tell them you are buying for them! 

Then by a certain date (One I will let you know of) you will need to have bought a bookish item/s depending on how generous you are feeling. I would state it would have to be around £10 in value. This would allow you to be able to get a book and maybe a book mark or something, however you can just send a book without any extras. I will leave that up to you!

Then sit back, relax and wait for your little parcel of happiness to arrive, all I ask is that you post a picture on social media to show everyone what you received, that way your 'Santa' will know their gift arrived safely. 

If you are more than happy to send abroad would you also be able to let me know? That way we can make it international as I have had a few people ask. 

I have tried to add a link below for you to add your details to that in case you don't want to comment - I can't actually see if it is there so I am hoping it is!

Weekly wrap up - 1.11.15

I honestly cannot believe we are now in November, this year has zoomed by, I cannot wait until December though, I am off on my summer holiday as I never had one in the summer so this is something that can't come soon enough as far as I am concerned! 

It has been half term this week and what a week it has been, I began really poorly with a dreadful cold. It's always the way when I stop work the colds tend to come out! I have been catching up with friends this been but also made sure I have had some time to relax and read. I also went and grabbed myself a new colouring book - not that I have finished the others! I bought Secret Garden, this is a book that I have been wanting for age and I keep seeing it but never got round to actually getting it. This was the week I decided to, I also bought some new gel pens and I thought I would give these ago to colour in with. 

Books I have read this week:
The Lost and Found - Cat Clarke

Currently reading The Marble Collector - Cecelia Ahern

You can find all the reviews for the books I have read coming up in the next couple of weeks so look out for that. 

I would love to know what you have been reading this week so please let me know in the comments below.