Friday, 25 April 2014

The Best ThingThat Never Happened To Me by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice

The blurb:

Everyone remembers their first love.

Holly certainly remembers Alex. But she decided ten years ago that love wasn't about mix tapes and seizing the moment - though she's not exactly sure it's about secret dates with your boss, either.

But what if the feelings never really went away?

Alex wants to make every moment of his new job count. It's a fresh start in a big city, and he's almost certain that moving to London has nothing to do with Holly. Almost.

How do you know if it was meant to be. or never meant to happen at all?

A brilliantly funny, feel-good story of first love, second chances and everything inbetween, perfect for fans of romantic comedies like Love Actually, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones.

My review:

Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld for providing a review copy in return for an honest review.

The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me is the fantastic story of Holly and Alex. They grew up together and we quickly establish that during these years they both harboured secret crushes on each other. The book is written both in the present, and the past, and alternates between Holly and Alex's viewpoints. The book is cleverly written by 2 authors, 1 male and 1 female. I am guessing that they took on one role each, and am intrigued to know more about how they wrote it so cleverly, and whether my assumption that they wrote in their own gender is correct.

It would be fair to say that I fell a little bit (ok, a lot) in love with Holly and Alex very quickly. If I could have waved a magic wand and teleported them back to earlier years to get them together I would have done in a heartbeat! It certainly took me back to my younger years of secret and unrequited love. This raised many smiles and happy memories.

As we alternate between 1999 and 2010 I felt able to build up a real picture of what had happened to them over the years and felt quite sad that, due to cross wires they had never admitted their true feelings for eachother.

We get to meet Richard, who is Holly's love interest, and boss. I wanted to boo and hiss him whenever he appeared, a bit like a panto baddie. We also meet Melissa, who works in the same company as Holly, who is also not very nice. The other main supporting character we meet is Kev, Alex's best mate. He is the real surprise of the book for me.

I found the style of writing both witty, moving and very heartwarming. I would never have guessed that the book was written by 2 authors which shows just how good they are. I stayed up late into the night to finish the book as it just became more and more compelling as it developed. I really want to tell you more about the storyline but it would be wrong to ruin it all for you.

I would highly recommend getting this book. It is engrossing escapism at its best. Loved it. The only downside was because I read it on Kindle I didn't get to admire the beautiful cover of the book, which is absolutely lovely.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The High Street Brides Guide by Samantha Birch

The Blurb:

Brides-to-be, this one’s for you!
You can say your vows in a catwalk gown so beautiful it reduces your mum to tears (and not because she paid for it).
You can style a reception so stunning your guests won’t believe you didn’t hire an A-list planner.
And you can sprinkle the day with personal touches that make everyone feel like you gave them special attention before they even got there. Without spending a house deposit on it. Honest.
Samantha Birch has written for GLAMOUR, Brides, You & Your Wedding and Cosmopolitan Bride. She knows a thing or two about planning a wedding on a budget, how much you can expect to pay for everything and where to go to get it for less. And she's put it all down here.

My Review:

Thank you to HarperCollins for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
The High Street Bride's Guide is packed with fantastic tips on how to get the wedding of your dreams without bankrupting yourself, or making it seem as though you have cut corners or settled for second best.
My friend is getting married later this year and after reading the book I have been able to share some words of wisdom, and also have some helpful ideas up my sleeve for each step which I hope will help stop her becoming a total Bridezilla.
A well written book that will become a bible for all brides to be. I have a feeling Samantha Birch could become the saviour talked about for a long time to come.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Reading Habits Tag

Reading Habits Tag

I love being included in these tags so a massive thank you to Shaun for including me. Shaun (@bookaddictshaun)is a book addict who has a fantastic blog. Do check it out:

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Yes, I love reading in bed. It is my place of escapism (as well as being where I spend 99% of my time these days due to illness). A book really helps relax me, cheer me up, and escape from the real world. It also helps me at night to fall asleep.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Bookmarks! Not that I have many. I do love them though and would love a whole collection of them. I tend to end up using train tickets with paper books, or the receipt for the purchase. However, most of my reading is from Kindle these days so no bookmark required. My pet hate is people who fold the edge of a page. It is a crime!!

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or a certain number of pages?

Oh most definitely after a chapter, particularly with a paper book. I just can't bear to leave midway through a chapter. I love James Patterson and Shaun Hutson because they both write very short chapters which are just perfect. I find it slightly easier with the kindle but it kills me to leave it hanging.

Do you eat or drink whilst reading?

I would love to say no, but the truth is that yes, I do. But then anyone that has seen me or knows me can tell that I have a serious food addiction!

Do you watch tv or listen to music while reading?

Yep, afraid so. I am rubbish at being in silence so always have background noise (I even sleep with LBC on all night). I like to think of myself as a good multi tasker, but when I am reading all out pretty much becomes white noise, particularly with a gripping book.

One book at a time or several at once?

Up until recently I was always a one book only girl, who couldn't bear to read more than one book at a time. It felt like cheating on them in a weird sort of way. However, recently I have a couple on the go, usually one chick lit and one crime, so I can vary according to my mood (and keep up with reviews). I think I would struggle to read more than one book of the same genre at the same time as I would get confused.

Reading at home or everywhere?

Everywhere. I never go anywhere without a book, or my kindle in tow. I couldn't bear the thought of having some spare time and not having the ability to read - just realising how sad that might sound, and what an addiction I must have! I have discovered kindle on my iPhone, which is far better than I expected so I always have book options available to me wherever I may roam.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Absolutely 100% in my head. I cannot bear people reading out loud. I even hate it when people read silently but mouth the words...arghhhhh it's grating on me just thinking about it. Why would people need to do either????

Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?

I used to be guilty of this but have cured myself. I used to have a terrible habit of reading the last couple of pages, and usually ruining the book for myself. I have outgrown this though. I have realised that I do tend to speed read so rather than skip pages I read them all but often find I miss a few words. I can tell when I am truly in love with a book as my reading slows down to savour it.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

Like new....I did it so hard to read new books as I hate marking or creasing a new book. Weirdly I tend to prefer second hand books, or library books which are a bit weathered. I think it's because they feel like others have enjoyed the book and so will I. I do however hate any books where the spine is completely broken with loose pages, or those that smell of cigarettes, or have food, drink or other ahem substances spilt on them.

Do you write in your books?

Not in fiction ones, no way! There is nothing worse. There is someone at my local library who has taken to writing comments about a book, or criticising the author in a book. It is infuriating and I can't read them. I don't know why people would do that.

I am guilty of writing in study books, but they are books I am going it retain and it is to help me in exams etc so feel that is different.

Thank you so much to Shaun for the opportunity to do this. I would now like to tag:


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

My ten most eagerly awaited releases for 2014

Hi all.

I have been ill and in bed for the last week which has given me lots of time to think about and browse books. Even though I have more than enough books to keep me reading for many years, I cannot resist getting excited about what books are coming up. This has prompted me to compile my top 10 books that are due to be published during 2014. If there are any others I would love to hear from you.

Written In The Stars by Ali Harris (publication date 5 June)

Ali Harris wrote the fantastic The First Last Kiss which was released in 2013. I laughed, I cried, and I loved the book. I am lucky to have received a review copy of Written In The Stars and look forward to reading it and sharing my opinion with you closer to release date.

The Life You Left by Carmel Harrington (publication date 19 June)

If you've read any of my blogs or tweets you will no doubt have seen my raving about Beyond Graces Rainbow, her debut novel. I have rarely been affected so intensely by a book and still find it playing on my mind a couple of months later.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about the new book. If anyone wants to pre-order it in Amazon for Kindle it is only £1 99

The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson (publication date 19 June)

The third eagerly anticipated novel by the mega talented Lucy Robinson. I devoured the first 2 books and have no doubt that the same will happen this time. Lucy has a great style of writing that really engages you with the characters. They develop personalities that leap out of the page and keep you with your nose in the book, unable to put it down until you finish.

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf (publication date 4 July)

I stumbled across Heather Gudenkauf when at my local library browsing. Wow, her books are just brilliant. I started with One Breath Away  and I have gone on to read them all. She writes with such emotion, but her books are also taut and tense. I am very much looking forward to Little Mercies.

What A Girl Wants by Lindsey Kelk (publication date 17 July)

What can I say? The magnificent Lindsey Kelk rides to the rescue with summer reading! I cannot tell you how much I love her books. The I Heart series is up there as one of my favourite series ever. Then last year she published About  A Girl and bought Tess into our lives. Tess is already set up to be a heroine and I could go on and on about just how excited I am to catch up with her and see what adventures she gets up to, and what her love life has in store for us as we (hopefully) soak up some summer rays.

Cop Town by Karin (publication date 31July)

Karin Slaughter leapt at me as an author with her Grant County series. She can write a thriller and a half. The Grant County series centres around the police forces, particularly Jeffrey, Lena and Will, and the local pathologist Sara as they investigate murder cases. Cop Town is a stand alone book. I was slightly disappointed as I needed another Grant County fix, but her newsletter this week got me all excited with the promise of the likes of Will and the gang in a new book. This is definitely one I will not miss.

It Had To Be You by Alice Peterson (publication date 25 September)

Alice Peterson was one of the first authors I discovered when I bought my kindle and I have gone on to read all her books over a short period of time, so I am delighted to have a new Alice Peterson book to look forward to. Alice's books never shy away from delicate subjects such as disability, and are written so beautifully I absolutely adore them. Her characters often have a feeling of vulnerability about them which helps you develop a real sense of caring for, and rooting for them. Try reading  Me Beside you or Letters From My Sister....they are gorgeous (have tissues ready).

Hope To Die (Alex Cross 22) by James Patterson (publication date 6 November)

This date cannot come soon enough. I am totally in love with the Cross family. James Patterson has done such an amazing job at not only telling stories of crime and murder, and developing some truly ruthless evil baddies, but he has developed a family that I love. The ending of the last book took my breath away and left me rocked by it. I don't just want to read this book, I need to read it and have to know whether all is ok.

I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson (publication date 4 December)

This is my early December reading sorted. It has 2 things that already make it a winning combination in my is set in New York (my obsession) and is written by the uber talented Miranda Dickinson. I haven't seen a synopsis for the book yet, but since I read Take A Look At Me Now, during which I fell in love with the characters but also San Francisco, I have a feeling that I will be bugging my boyfriend a out a trip to New York throughout the festive period, and cooing about romance.

Still to be titled book by Carole Matthews (publication date to be named, expected Dec)

Ok, you think I am mad.....I am writing about a book that as yet has no title or publication date. But any of you that have read The Chocolate Lovers Club and/or The Chocolate Lovers Diet will know why I am just sooo excited to hear that a third book is being written. If you haven't read them, do yourself a favour and do. They are simply fantastic. Not only have I loved them, but my Mum and Daughter have both read them and loved them equally as much. If this is published in December it will be a great end to the year for me.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Geography of You and My by Jennifer E Smith

The Blurb:
For fans of John Green, Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Ockler, THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME is a story for anyone who's ever longed to meet someone special, for anyone who's searched for home and found it where they least expected it.

Owen lives in the basement. Lucy lives on the 24th floor. But when the power goes out in the midst of a New York heatwave, they find themselves together for the first time: stuck in a lift between the 10th and 11th floors. As they await help, they start talking...

The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland they can't shake the memory of the time they shared. Postcards cross the globe when they themselves can't, as Owen and Lucy experience the joy - and pain - of first love.

And as they make their separate journeys in search of home, they discover that sometimes it is a person rather than a place that anchors you most in the world.

My review:

The Geography of You and Me tells the story of Lucy and Owen. It begins when they become stuck in a lift together during a mass blackout in New York. Once freed from the lift the blackout continues and they spend the night together on the roof of their building. During this time a chemistry develops. Whilst Owen and Lucy don't spend much time together the book shows that what they feel is very strong. Owen and Lucy both move out of their apartment block soon after, but remain in contact via postcard, which I thought was a beautiful idea. The book takes the reader through the time they're apart and we see what happens to each of them.

I enjoyed reading this book, and the style of writing was lovely. However, I felt there was something missing. I never quite got truly engrossed in the book. I love a good romance, and appreciate that, as a young adult book, it is not written with my age group in mind, but it still lacked something for me. I didn't feel that I really warmed to the characters, perhaps because I felt we only got to know them on a basic level, so didn't develop enough empathy and rooting for them as I have in other books. 

There has been a lot of hype around the book, with many comparisons to other writers and books, such as John Green. Perhaps this had an effect on how I viewed the book. I expected something grittier and more compelling. Because the characters and storyline lacked some of the oomph of other books I was disappointed. I didn't feel the book lived up to the hype. 

I still think people who enjoy young adult books will like the book, as it is a love story of sorts. It is easy reading and does make you smile. It's just not as explosive and all consuming as other books I have read recently. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Accident by C.L.Taylor

The Blurb: 

A gripping psychological thriller about the deadly secrets your children can keep …
Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.
Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.
Sue will do anything to protect her daughter. But what if she is the reason that Charlotte is in danger?

My review:

This truly is a gripping book that draws you in right from the start. We meet Sue who is Mum to Charlotte. Charlotte is in a coma and Sue is desperate to try and find out what happened and what she can do to try and help Charlotte to wake up.

The book centres on a journey through Sue's present as well as her past. It is extremely cleverly written with Sue's diary being used to tell the reader what happened to her in her younger years. The more you get into the book the deeper the past grips you, and makes you question what is happening. You see Sue's world unraveling and find yourself questioning what to believe and playing detective yourself.

The characters are very powerfully portrayed, it's hard to believe that this is a debut novel as it is so skilfully written. I found it very hard to put this book down. The chapters are short so you end up saying to your spell 'just one more' before realising that you have been absorbed for ages. I loved how this book captivated me and kept me guessing right up until the last chapter. If you like thrillers do make sure you read this book.