Saturday, 29 March 2014

Ivy Lane: Spring: Part One by Cathy Bramley

The Blurb:

Friendship blossoms at Ivy Lane...

Tilly Parker needs a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude if she is ever to leave the past behind and move on with her life. As she settles in to a new town seeking peace and solitude, taking on her own plot at Ivy Lane allotments seems like the perfect solution. But the vibrant, friendly Ivy Lane community has other ideas and endeavour to entice Tilly into seedling swaps and Easter egg hunts. Can Tilly let new friends into her life, or will she stay a wallflower for good?

Ivy Lane is a serialized novel told in four parts - taking you from spring to summer, autumn to winter - which tell a charming, light-hearted and moving story you won't want to put down.


My review:

We meet Tilly Parker as she moves in to the area. We know she has moved after losing James, but we don't know what has happened to him. Tilly cuts a sad lonely figure, and as a reader I almost instantly wanted to join her and make life happier for her.

Tilly applies for, and gets an allotment space at the local Ivy Lane allotments. There she meets amongst others, Charlie and Gemma. At the outset Tilly wants to be left alone, but you can see as time passes, Tilly enjoys being part of the community and becomes more of an integral part as we go. 

Tilly has a few disasters which made me warm to her even more, and throughout I definitely had an urge to rescue her and make it all better. I was struck by the hole that James has left in Tilly's life, but wasn't sure if it was a breakup or a bereavement. I am still pondering it even now. Charlie would be great for her!

I really enjoyed the style of writing, and found it easy to like the characters and develop soft spots for them.  We get a glimpse of them all, their warmth, and their eccentric ways. 

I have wanted an allotment for a while (even though I never garden). They feel like places of tranquility and escape. This story has made me want one even more now.

I can't wait to see what happens next....roll on summer!

Thanks to RandomHouse UK, Transworld, for a copy of the story in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Time of Our Lives by Jane Costello

Three best friends. One five-star hotel. Will it be the holiday of a lifetime . . .?
Imogen and her friends Meredith and Nicola have had their fill of budget holidays, cattle-class flights and 6 a.m. offensives for a space by the pool.
So when Meredith wins a VIP holiday at Barcelona's hippest new hotel, they plan to sip champagne with the jet set, party with the glitterati and switch off in unapologetic luxury.
But when the worst crisis of her working life erupts back home, Imogen has to juggle her BlackBerry with a Manhattan, while soothing a hysterical boss and hunting down an AWOL assistant.
Between a robbery, a run-in with hotel security staff and an encounter on a nudist beach that they'd all rather forget, the friends stumble from one disaster to the next. At least Imogen has a distraction in the form of the gorgeous guy who's always in the right place at the very worst time. Until, that is, his motives start to arouse a few suspicions . . . 

My View

If you think you're having a tough time....wait until you meet Imogen!

The Time of Our Lives is another brilliant book by Jane Costello. From the opening chapter when you meet Imogen, Meredith and Nicola, 3 best friends coming back from a trip to Zante talking about bowel issues you know you are about to become the fly on the wall 4th friend.

The book grabs you from the start and has you howling with laughter throughout. It centres around the girls going on a VIP holiday to Barcelona, and you soon discover that it isn't going to be the plain sailing, relaxing holiday they were expecting. The story centres on Imogen, but her friends are more than extras, they are pivotal to telling her story. Whilst very very funny there are a number of really touching beautiful moments where you discover more about Imogen and her life. You may even be reaching for tissues at times.

I don't want to spoil the book by telling you what happens but I guarantee you will have bundles of fun. This is a perfect read for the beach or actually anywhere!

Jane Costello knows exactly how to write a great feel good book that leaves you with a beaming smile, and I can't wait for her next one.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

White Lies by Emily Harper

The Blurb:

Imagine standing in line at Harvey Nichols waiting to buy the most gorgeous silk Gucci dress. The only minor problem? You can’t afford it, it's a size smaller than you are, and you have absolutely no place to wear it.
Meet Natalie Flemming: a twenty-something woman working in London for a fabulous shoe-designing firm, but the only thing they let her touch is the company’s tax forms. She has decided to give fate a vacation and takes the task of finding the man of her dreams (or Johnny Depp if he would just return her calls...) into her own hands.
She craves adventure, spontaneity, passion- or will just settle for a decent date

My Review:

White Lies is a great, easy to get engrossed in read. The story centres around Natalie. She works as an accountant in a shoe designing company. Natalie is single and looking for love. Before each chapter Natalie writes a letter to the man of her dreams telling us what she is looking for. 

 Enter Oliver, the love interest of the book. As in most chick lit the course of love never runs smoothly.....Oliver is a consultant sent in along with his partner Angelica to sort out the company who are floundering. You can see the spark between them right from the off. As the book progresses the flirting starts, but is there any future for them? Oliver is only around temporarily and his business partner Angelica seems to want more than just a business partnership. Will she get her happy ending? Read the book to find out :-)

I found this book really easy to get into. There is a good, strong storyline and well developed characters. I felt I could identify with some of Natalie's personality and traits which made me laugh quite a lot. The book is lighthearted and has some funny scenes but there is enough depth to the characters for you to boo and hiss at the mean ones, and cheer for the goodies. 

I would recommend this book for a holiday read, for when travelling, or even a cosy weekend on the sofa with some chocolate for company.

Thank you to the author Emily Harper who kindly sent me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Three Of Us by Cathy Woodman

The blurb:

Tessa and Jack live at the animal sanctuary in Talyton St George. They had been friends for years, but it wasn't until Jack interrupted Tessa's wedding that she discovered his feelings for her were stronger than she ever knew.
Now, a year on, they could not be happier. And when Tessa discovers she's pregnant, it's as if all their dreams have come true.
But a scan shows that there are complications, and suddenly Tessa realises that Jack has always had doubts about having a baby. Supported throughout by Zara, the village midwife, Tessa and Jack have some tough decisions to make. 
However, as the baby's birth draws closer, Tessa and Jack grow further apart. Will he feel differently when the baby is born? Or will having her wonderful child mean losing the man of her dreams?

My review

The Three Of Us is a short story. It centres around Jack and Tessa who are married and expecting their first child. The pregnancy develops some serious complications which divide Tessa and Jack in a big way. You also meet Tessa's parents and Zara the midwife. As part of a small village community it is, as you would expect, hard to keep anything secret and you meet some of the typical characters you would meet n a real village, such as the local gossip. You get a sense of community and closeness through the writing. 

I haven't read anything by Cathy Woodman before, and know that the characters have also feathered in earlier work so was unsure whether I would be able to follow and engage with the book. However this hasn't been a problem and the story works well as a stand alone. 

When complications with the pregnancy arise there are some very moving scenes which really tapped into my emotions. I felt angry, sad and frustrated with Jack and could sense myself wanting to take care of Tessa, whilst also feeling sorry for Jack, even though I hadn't read any previous books. There are a few twists and turns they keep you wondering if it will all turn out well...and I don't want to give anything away!

I don't usually like short stories but this was really good, and a nice quick read.

Thanks to Random House, Cornerstone for the e-book in return for an honest review. 

Thirteen by Tom Hoyle

The Blurb:

Born at midnight in London, on the stroke of the new millennium, Adam is the target of a cult that believes boys born on this date must die before the end of their thirteenth year. Twelve boys have been killed so far. Coron, the crazy cult leader, will stop at nothing to bring in his new kingdom. And now he is planning a bombing spectacular across London to celebrate the sacrifice of his final victim: Adam.
My review:

Since reading The Hunger Games I have become more open to reading and enjoying books aimed at young adults. I did really enjoy Thirteen, particularly the first third of the book. We meet Adam who is born on the turn of the new millennium.  A cult, led by Coron set out to find and sacrifice Adam before his fourteenth birthday. The first third of the book is very dark and I found some of the scenes quite graphically violent. It is quite a serious and dark read at bedtime and I would definitely say to parent ps to think about the age group that this is appropriate for.

The middle of the book didn't grip me as much, but that is probably indictable of the fact it is written for young adults. We do get to see more of Adam's friendship with Megan, and there are some surprises when we discover some if the unlikely cult members.  The level of violence dropped and it became more about the chase and build up to Adam's fourteenth birthday. However the book recovered for me towards the end and I found myself gripped and not able to put it down until I knew what happened.

The author has a sequel planned and I will be looking out for it. 

This book was kindly supplied by Pan Macmillan in return for an honest review.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Little Lies by Heather Gudenkauf

The blurb:
When the body of a woman is discovered in a local park—with her bewildered four-year-old son sitting beside her—veteran social worker Ellen Moore is called in to assist in the police investigation. Positioned beneath a statue of Leto, the goddess of motherhood, the crime is weighted with meaning and, Ellen discovers, remarkably similar to one from a decade past.
Ellen's professional duty is to protect the child, but she's not equipped to contend with a killer. As she races to connect the dots, she knows her time is running out. And the stakes are high: if she fails, another mother is sure to make the ultimate sacrifice.
My Review:
This short story is a prequel to Heather's new book Little Mercies which is due for publication on 4th July. In the book we meet Ellen Moore who is a Social Worker. Ellen is called in by police to help look after a four year old boy after his mother is discovered murdered in a local park.

The story centres around the investigation into who committed the murder, which bears many similarities to another murder ten years earlier, that Ellen was also involved in.

If you have read any of Heather's other books you will know that her writing style is always gripping and storylines are intense. She doesn't shirk away from hard hitting topics and I have a feeling thag Little Mercies will be another hard hitting addictive read. This story doesn't disappoint, the characters are well written so they become familiar quickly, they are very likeable and this short story is a great introduction to Ellen, her family and Joe from the Police department. I felt like I could get straight into the investigation and as always, tried to play detective myself.

Heathers books always pack a punch and if this is anything to go by Little Mercies is going to be an absolute cracker.

Thank you for Harlequin for sending me this book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Chocolate Book Tag......

Happy sunny Saturday

Thanks to the lovely Catriona ( who has included me in a great idea called the chocolate book tag. I know some people are doing vlog's but as I'm too shy I have written my replies below (pictures of books will follow next week I hope). Like naming top ten lists this is really hard!

Dark chocolate: a book that covers a dark topic.

Fragile by Nikki Graham. I got this as a freebie on my kindle and didn't expect to get even half way through. How wrong I was! This was a riveting and heartbreaking recollection of Nikki Graham's almost life long battle with anorexia. Very moving and a real insight into the mind of someone struggling. Eating disorders and mental health, whilst more recognised are still a taboo and hard to talk about subject.

White chocolate: your favourite lighthearted / humorous read.

The Secret Dreamworld of A Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. I was late to the party in starting the shopaholic series, but once I found them I have lapped them up. Real escapism and feel good factor. Lots of laughs, particularly when you can see traits of yourself and your friends in Rebecca.

Milk chocolate: a book that has a lot of hype that you're dying to read.

The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. I have to confess that I have only read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, but by golly, that was some book! I have had so many people and publications rave about all her work, and excellent reviews about her new book so really looking forward to getting stuck in. I almost feel like I am saving it for best!

Chocolate with a caramel centre: a book that makes you feel all gooey in the middle while you are reading it

Same author but different books that I can't choose between. Lindsey Kelk has the ability to write books that have great lead female characters as well as a small army of supporting characters that a reader like me adores. I fell in love with Angela in the I Heart series and always settle down in eager anticipation feeling all gooey reading them. However, a new heroine in the form of Tess appeared in About A Girl last summer. I loved it and definitely have the gooey feeling already waiting for the next instalment coming this summer.

Wafer free kit kat: name a book that has surprised you lately

I have deliberated over this one because I don't want to become monotonous and rave about the same books all the time. However, the truth is that The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman did surprise me. Not so much from the storyline, but it got me to question and re evaluate my own views and opinions, some of which changed which was a surprise given how stubborn and headstrong I can be.

Snickers: a book that you are going nuts about

Simple, for me it is Beyond Grace's Rainbow by Carmel Harrington. This is my book of the year. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I laughed, I cried and I think I scared my poor boyfriend with my reactions throughout.

Hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows: a book that you would turn to for a comfort read.

Take A Look At Me Now by Miranda Dickinson. That was an easy peaty choice for me. I read it recently and it is just a great feel good book, full of adventure, love and friendship. All the best things in life. I could wrap it up in my arms and cuddle it under a warm duvet to feel good.

Box of chocolates: what series have you read that you feel has a wide variety and something for everyone.

Oh dear, I'm not sure I really have one of these. I guess the closest for me would be The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Whilst I know it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea I absolutely loved them, and have spoke to people both younger and older, male and female, who have an eclectic reading taste and no one has had anything other than great things about them.

So, that's my choices. It's now my turn to tag some other bloggers. If they haven't already done it I would like to tag:

Kevin: iheart-chick

Friday, 14 March 2014

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

The Blurb:

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek.”
Harriet Manners knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. She knows that bats always turn left when exiting a cave and that peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
But she doesn’t know why nobody at school seems to like her.
So when Harriet is spotted by a top model agent, she grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her best friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of impossibly handsome model Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.
Veering from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, Harriet begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did.
As her old life starts to fall apart, will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

My review:

This is listed as a young adult book so wasn't sure about reading it at first. But I saw so many adults raving it about it, and reslising that the Hunger Games tirlogy which I loved were also YA I gave it a go. 

The story revolves around Harriet who is a 15 year old school girl and, as you would e pest from the title is regarded as a geek. We also meet Harriet's best friend Nat, and her school nemesis Alexa. Harriet lives with her Dad and Step Mum Annabel. 

The story revolves around Nat's deseire to be a model, but Harriet getting spotted by an agency and all the escapades that ensue.

I did struggle with the book at the start, but a few chapters in, once you get to know the characters I really warmed to the book and flew through it, I found the characters likeable Harriet a really sweet character. It made me laugh in places and I actually finished it looking forward to my book am being over and purchasing the next instalment.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

My favourite crime / thriller / horror authors

Having just finished the great thriller Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson, and following on from last weeks list of women's fiction authors I have composed a list of my favourite authors in the crime / thriller / horror field.

1) James Patterson. I love his style of crime writing, as well as the collaborations other authors. The Alex Cross series is brilliant. I have read them all and am constantly looking out for the next. The last one was such a cliff hanger ending I couldn't bear it. I keep checking his website but he is leaving us in suspense with no mention of the next instalment, The Michael Bennett series is fantastic as are the books in the Private series. The first of the NYPD series also showed promise. The short chapters make the books easy to dip in and out of, although inoevitably I quite easily read the whole book in just a couple of sittings. The style of writing flows and he builds up a relationship with the characters so easily you anticipate the next book to catch up with their lives. The baddies are also excellently written.

2) Karin Slaughter. I love this lady. Her Grant County series are my particular favourites. I love them. They are crime novels which involve Jeffrey and Lena as police officers investigating murders and crimes, with Sara as the local doctor. If you haven't read them yet it is well worth it, and do start at the first book, Blindsighted. Sara, Jeffrey and Lena are formidable and likeable characters. As the series develops I develop stronger ties to each of them. Karin also writes stand alone novels which are fantastic. Infact I spied just this morning that her next book is due out in June / July....can't wait!

3) Beverly Barton. I stumbled across Beverly's books whilst at my local library and thought I would give her a whirl. In the same style as Karin Slaughter, Beverly writes amazing crime stories, both  part of a series and stand alone novels. The Griffin Powell series is particular good. Lots of suspense and you get to feel like you are part of the investigating team.

4) Shaun Hutson. This man to me is a horror genius (even if he is a Liverpool fan!). I have always loved horror both in book and film form and came across Shaun's books years ago. I have found them hard to hunt down in libraries over the years but now, with the renewed interest in horror his books seem to be reappearing. Gruesome and gross sum up at least a couple of books. I love the style of writing. His books often comprise of many short chapters which allow you to flick between crime scenes and other characters. Stories flow well because of this and dont leave you overly traumatised. If you are of a nervous disposition I wouldn't read these before bed!

5) Chris Mooney. I discovered these books whilst browsing the crime and thriller section in Brixton library. Again, like many of the books I like the books form part of a series in which CSI Darby McCormick leads various investigations into murders that have taken place. The characters are very likeable and the style of writing is fast and detailed which really helped me get into the books. The latest book was released in 2012. The Killing House will introduce us to a new series featuring a former profiler named Malcolm Fletcher. I haven't read this yet but fully intend to now I have stumbled across it!

6) Sean Black. Another author I stumbled across thanks to Brixton Library. Again another series,this time featuring bodyguard Ryan Lock. These books are somewhat edgier than the other authors I have listed. They delve more into gang lands, prisons and the rougher end of the world. I loved them and tore through them. Like all good leading men he also has a great sidekick.

7) Chevy Stevens. The book Still Missing by Chevy is by far the most traumatic book I think I have read. Absolutely brilliantly written it tells the story of a woman, who is abducted and abused by her kidnapper. It had me gripped from the start and didn't let go for a minute. I usually hand my books straight to my Mum or daughter to read but this was the first one I couldn't do that with straight away, so horrific some of it was. Her other 2 books are great too, but nothing like the first.

8) Dennis Lehane. I went to see Shutter Island at the cinema and came out totally confused about the ending, so decided to read the book. Have to admit I am still not totally clear, but I digress. Dennis writes great books, some of which including Shutter Island and Mystic River have been made into films, good meaty detective stories which also introduce you to the personal lives of the detectives make for great reading.

9) Stephen King. I have been a fan of Stephen King films for more years than I care to remember but I have only recently read one of his books. The book was Misery and it was even better than the film. Certainly gory in parts but very well written I really enjoyed it and will be reading more of his books from now on.

10) Jack Kerley. Yep, another random find, but a good one. I'm a bit OCD when it comes to making sure I read books in order. The first couple of these books I could only find in hard back so looked totally old school carrying them round. This series centres around Carson Ryder who is a detective and is set in the UK. The most interesting character is his brother Jeremy. You will see why if you read them. Gritty books with some gruesome murders, very well written. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

Wow...what can I say....

Before I Go To Sleep is a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat right until the end. My heart is still racing even after finishing it.

The book tells the story of Christine. We are told that Christine was involved in an accident which causes her to lose her memory each night when she goes to sleep. We also meet Ben, her devoted husband who lovingly cares for her every day despite her waking up not remembering anything.

However, things aren't always as they seem. As the story develops a dark side emerges. Events occur that make Christine, and the reader, question everything. Something doesn't quite add up, but you won't be able to piece it together right until the very end. We meet her Doctor who starts to piece her story together...or does he?!

I loved his book. It is wonderfully written through Christine's eyes, so you are pretty much always at the same stage as she is. I felt like a detective trying to piece things together, and realise now that I never would have.

The whole storyline totally grips you, and at night I had to stop reading a bit before going to sleep to clear my mind as it totally got under my skin, the sign of a very talented writer.

I have read that this is currently being filmed and will be released in cinemas later this year staring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, I am waiting with baited breath to see how it converts to big screen as it has huge potential.

No more book purchases until Easter

Happy Monday!

A fellow tweeter and blogger @fabulousbookfiend came up with a great idea over the weekend, to give up buying books (paper or ebook form) for lent. Yes, I know lent started last week, but it's never too late. I love the idea and have decided to join her in a self imposed ban.

It is going to be tough as I am addicted to Amazon and anyone that knows me will know that I am often found browsing (and far too often purchasing). But I need to save money and I have just had a reslity check that I have over 1300 books already on my kindle along with well over 100 paper books to get through.

If I read just one book a week (although I often read alot more than that) that is still over 26 years of reading material in my possession. This ban is definitely needed!!!!!

I have recently started reviewing books and will still receive these and continue to review. I may also continue to peruse the free titles on Amazon, I am not sure I can go totally cold turkey! I just need to cut back on some unnecessary spending.

Lets see how long I can last for! If anyone else would like to join in let us know.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

World Book Day

Happy World Book Day everyone! Hope all you bookworms are busy devouring a great read. I was just whiling away a few minutes on Twitter when I saw a tweet from the amazing Rowan Coleman that has me thinking........

She asked "tell me your favourite Women's Fiction / Chick Lit books of all time".

My first thought is that it's impossible to name just one. There are far too many. I then set myself a challenge to name my top 10 (I am now realising that is almost as impossible). I have however, after much internal debatecome up with my top ten (in no particular order). My rationale was that these are all books that I have immediately felt the need to pass on and share with others, and the characters have stayed with me long after the book ended.

1) Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes. This is the first grown up chick lit style book I remember reading and just falling head over heels in love with. Full of great characters, emotion and love. I remember finishing it and passing it straight on to Mum who loved it equally as much. I still have my copy.

2) The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I was late to the party with this one, only reading it in Autumn last year. A very serious subject but told with such passion. The characters are so well written and I felt intensely attached to them by the end. There are also some great more light hearted moments which you will snigger away at. I didn't want this book to end, and is perhaps the only book I have seen adapted in to a film that is almost as good.

3) I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk. Ever since Friends and Sex In The City I have loved New York and it was one of the places in the world I most dreamt of visiting, my dream came true and I went there in November 2007 and I fell in love with it. When I Heart New York came out I just had to buy it, not knowing how much I was going to love Angela and of course Alex. I have read the whole series since and can never wait until the next one is published.

4) Beyond Grace's Rainbow by Carmel Harrington. Oh my days, what can I say about this book? I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it. In the first chapter you meet Grace, the main character, who is being told that she has cancer. I know, that just sounds so depressing, and yes, there is a very serious side of the book, but there are also great moments of humour and love. You get to meet Grace, all her friends, her daughter and her ex love, Jack. By the end of it I felt like I could be another of their friends and even writing this would love to check in with them to see how they are. A word of warning, have tissues!

5) The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman. What can I say? This book tells the story of a mother and wife who has died years too early. We get to see what life is like for those she has left behind after her death. The book takes us through each of the 7 stages of grief and you will not fail to feel each of those steps along with them all. A truly magical debut novel that has made me reflect on how I want to live my life, what I want to make sure those I love know, and how I feel about then moving on with life if I wasn't around. It has challenged me on my views.

6) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I laughed, I cried, I felt anger, I felt sadness and most of all I felt totally absorbed by this book. I cant really say too much about this book or I worry I will give it all away and I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it. It is the one book I couldn't remove from my shelf for a long time, I just didn't want it to be over. I have also shared copies of this book with everyone. Beautifully written and deeply affecting.

7) By My Side by Alice Peterson. What isn't to love about Alice Peterson and her work. She hasn't written a book I haven't loved. By My Side is my favourite and once I picked it up I couldn't put it down, devouring it in no time at all. The main character is Cass who has lost her sight and is struggling. Then she meets Ticket, her guide dog who helps her live again. Like many of the books on my list you will laugh and cry in equal measure. This is a touching book and just brilliantly written.

8) The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman. What a beautifully written book. It tells the story of Claire who is only in her early forties, with a young family, but has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers. Most of the book is set from the perspective of Claire and her eldest daughter. You cant help but be moved by the book and the characters in it. It also makes you realise how much we take for granted in life, simple things like knowing where we live, who our nearest and dearest are, and who we are. Rowan Coleman has a lovely way of writing that draws you in to care for them without feeling like you are a voyeur in such a sad situation.

9) The Chocolate Lovers Club by Carole Matthews. This was the first book with the second called the Chocolate Lovers Diet. I havent read them in a couple of years and keep thinking that I should go back and re-read them. It is the story of 4 friends brought together by their love of chocolate. There are many funny escapades that the ladies get up to that will have you laughing your way through, as well as some more emotional times too. Not only have I loved these books but so have my Mum and Daughter. I recenty saw that Carole is currently penning the third installment which is due out at the end of the year...I cant wait!

10) This Charming Man by Marian Keyes. I know, this is the second of Marian's books on the list, and I ummed and ahhed but I couldnt leave it out. It was a book that literally left my jaw dropping at many times throughout. If you have ever seen a paper copy you will know that it is a big thick book which often puts me off, so I was a bit daunted about the prospect of reading it. But it was a bank holiday weekend and I couldnt put it down, my eyes hurt by the end but I was compelled to keep reading. It is the story of 4 women and a man and I cant really tell you too much without risking ruining it, but you will be astounded. I quickly passed it on to my Mum who also lapped it up.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Writers event at Brixton library on Wed 5th March

Hey guys

If anyone who loves books is in the Brixton area this coming Wednesday evening you may want to book to go to Brixton Library's international women's day event taking place at 7pm. They are joined by the amazing Rowan Coleman, Lisa Jewell, Ali Harris and Rebeca Chance, all of whom are amazingly talented.

If you make it - enjoy!!


The Guestbook by Holly Martin

Welcome to Willow Cottage – throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze and make yourself completely at home. Oh, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook!

As landlady of Willow Cottage, the young widow Annie Butterworth is always on hand with tea, sympathy or strong Norfolk cider - whatever her colourful array of guests require. A flick through the messages in the leather-bound cottage guestbook gives a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of everyone who passes through her doors.

This includes Annie herself - especially now celebrity crime writer Oliver Black, is back in town. He might grace the covers of gossip magazines with a different glamorous supermodel draped on his arm every week, but to Annie, he’s always just been Olly, the man who Annie shared her first kiss with.

Through the pages of the Guestbook Annie and Olly, along with all the guests that arrive at the seaside retreat, struggle with love, loss, mystery, joy, happiness, guilt…and the odd spot of naked rambling!

My view:

I have just finished reading The Guestbook and I loved it. What a unique style of writing, each chapter written as an entry into Willow Cottages Guestbook. 

The book tells the story of Annie, who owns Willow Cottage and Olly, her brother in law. Also you hear about Sophia who is friends with as well as works with Annie. Whilst Annie is the main character you also get to know a number of guests who visit Willow Cottage. 

Holly's style of story telling is brilliant. It is warm and welcoming and helps you easily gain affection for all the characters. It is also very funny and had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. When you read about the graveyard scene you will know what I mean. 

I found it so enticing I finished the whole book within 24 hours and now miss the characters. I feel almost like I have been on a voyueristic mini break. I would love to go and stay at Willow Cottage right now!

A great feel book fun read with some really touching moments in it too. Don't miss out.