Saturday, 30 August 2014

A little farewell to a special man

I know this is primarily a book blog but I hope you will indulge me in posting about the loss of my boyfriends Dad who sadly passed away on 6 April this year. Tuesday would be his birthday and I guess with that approaching I am feeling his loss even more. It is more of a personal post and a bit of therapy so you may wish to stop reading have been warned haha.

Isnt it strange how time can seem to go so quickly, yet also feel so slow. It is 22 weeks tomorrow since John passed away, and in some ways it feels like forever ago, but yet it feels like only yesterday since I saw him last, and was asking Simon about him.

This time 22 weeks ago I was delighted that I had managed to get out of bed and see him for the first time in 4 months. I was planning to go back the next day and spend some more time with him. I had no idea that at Sunday lunchtime I would get a call telling me he was gone. I was up late and didnt go to sleep until the early hours. That haunts me every Saturday night now, that as I was drifting off to sleep, he has losing his. Its a horrible feeling that I hope in time will get better.

I hadnt seen John for 4 months as I had been in bed ill, but something pushed me out of my pit to go and see him that Saturday, and I will always be glad that I did. I was petrified leaving the house about whether I would feel well enough etc, but I just wanted to see him. I had the loveliest time, albeit a short time with him. We had a laugh, he was relaxed and seemed happy, and ironically, seemed better and healthier looking than I had seen him in at least a year. His son and daughter arrived so I decided to leave them together as a family. However, I was determined to go back the next day, but sadly it wasnt to be. I had no idea that when leaving I was saying bye for the final time. Infact I didnt even say goodbye, it was more of a see you soon. Would I have acted differently had I known? I have pondered that, and no. It was how it had always been between us.

I have been with Simon for almost 11 years and known his father for 9 of those. As with most people, I was petrified of meeting my Boyfriends Dad. Would he approve of me? would I be good enough for  his son? But I needn't have worried, he never once appeared to judge me or disapprove. What he actually thought I will never know, but I can honestly say that I enjoyed his company, and he seemed to enjoy being around me as well. He was very funny, even when he didn't mean to be haha. There was nothing pretentious about him, what you saw is what you got.

I met Simon at football. We were both die hard fans. Simon and his Dad had travelled up and down the country every Saturday for years following Wimbledon and you could clearly see the love between them, and the enjoyment of being in eachothers company. I feel quite honoured to have become part of that, and towards the last couple of years as his health deteriorated and he stopped going I missed him being there. When Simon was away I went with him and few times, and have memories that will have me laughing forever.

John was an integral part of my relationship with Simon. Most weekends after football we would go out for dinner with him, or go to the cinema, or just get a takeaway and hangout with him at home with a DVD. It was always relaxed and happy. I never felt ill at ease with him, and never stuck for something to talk about. He was a very interesting man, and we could always talk about all manner of stuff, particularly football, or aviation, particularly once Simon trained as a pilot....that gave us many jokes, usually as Simons expense :-) I loved how I was always welcome up at the house, perhaps because I would make him lots of tea and wash up haha. But in seriousness John, you never once made me feel in the way or unwelcome.

It's even sadder that, having been ill myself, I missed out on spending time with him over the last few months of his life. I do, and will miss the times with him, checking that he is ok, and even nagging Simon about him (yes, I do nag haha). I wish I could go back in time and fix that.

Grief is a funny thing in that it tests people and relationships like nothing else. It is extremely powerful in either bringing people together, or pulling them apart. Everyone grieves differently, and you never know how you will be affected until it happens to you. I always thought I would be supportive and know what to do if someone close to me was bereaved. Not at all....the complete opposite! His loss has blown everything I thought I knew out of the water. I havent been the supportive person I would like to have been to Simon, and I have been hurt by some of the things that have been said to me by people I thought I was close to, or should I say I thought knew me, and understood me. Time will tell if any of it is salvagable. But the one thing I am sure of is how I felt about John, and nothing can take that away from me.

It has been a very hard time for his family. But it has also been a very hard time for me.Nothing in comparison to their loss, I know. I have found that I have no one to share my grief with, or to talk to about him, and share anecdotes. It has been very lonely and I feel like I havent had the chance to express what he meant to me. I used to post on his wall on Facebook, or email him, but I can understand why that would be inappropriate, or not acceptable. Not being able to go and see him has left me a bit in limbo....

It has also bought my losses to the surface. I miss my Aunt and my Nan every single day. I love them with all my heart and always will. Losing John has made me realise that I havent yet come to terms with their deaths, even though they were years ago.

I have had to hold in all my grief. One because  it has not been appropriate for me to show it and be sad when it was his family who were going through the loss, and I needed to let them grieve. But also because I have perfected wearing a mask to cover how I feel. I dont like people to see me as vulnerable or anything other than bubbly and nonchalant. I bought A Chorus Line last week. I will always remember him by it. Sitting there insisting I watch it because he couldnt believe I had never seen it. I cant bring myself to watch it now, but one day I will.

I am also growing pansy seeds that were given out at his funeral. I used to share progress by posting a photo on Facebook, but know that caused distress to his family so have stopped. When they bloom (hopefully) I will bring you one. This is how they are doing now:

I am taking this as a chance to let it out, pay tribute to you John and I suppose say goodbye. You have been a very important man in my life the last few years. I can honestly say I loved you and enjoyed our time together. You are a very special man and irreplaceable. Thank you for your friendship and all the laughs.

You were the epitome of family, you were the glue that held the family together and I loved that everything you did was for them. You adored them, and they you, and you will always live on through them. I know you will be delighted with how close they have become. There is nothing more important in life than family and they are irreplaceable, Thank you for making me feel part of that family. It was very special to me.

I will always see your cheeky grin, your sense of humour, the way we could tease Simon, but equally your naivety and the way we could tease you and wind you up too. One day he may get a hat eh Johnny.

You will always be Johnny Boy, who never said goodbye, but would leave you with a cheerio, bye for now, or see you n on. So, this isnt really goodbye John, more of a cheerio.

Rest in peace and thank you for all the happy memories.

Oh and happy birthday. I know you love cake so here you go, this is for Tuesday.

Post: Most Anticipated Autumn / Winter Releases

Hi all

I cannot believe Monday sees the start of September. Schools are back, the X factor and Strictly Come Dancing are back on the screens, the evenings are drawing in, and I am turning my thoughts to where my hot water bottle is.

Its not all doom and gloom though, as there are many, many great books coming out over the coming months to keep us cheery. I have been looking around and below are some of those I have heard are being published, and cannot wait to read (I could easily have made it a far longer list I am sure).

The books are not listed in any particular order as that really would be impossible!!

I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson

Publication Date 4th December 2014
Pre-order from Amazon here

The Christmas Party by Carole Matthews

Publication date 23 October
Pre-order from Amazon here

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella

Publication date 25 September 
Pre-order from Amazon here

Hope to Die: Alex Cross book 22 by James Patterson

Publication date 6 November
Pre-order from Amazon here

One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson

Publication date 25 September
Pre-order from Amazon here

The Woman who Stole my Life by Marian Keyes

Publication date 6 November
Pre-order from Amazon here

Jenny Lopez Saves Christmas by Lindsey Kelk

Cover not yet revealed

Publication date 20 November
Pre-order from Amazon here

The Seafront Tea Rooms by Vanessa Greene

Publication date 8 September
Pre-order from Amazon here

Us by David Nicholls

Publication date 30 September
Pre-order from Amazon here

The Year I Met You by Cecilia Ahern

Publication date 9 October
Pre-order from Amazon here

Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey

Publication date 6 November
Pre-order from Amazon here

I would love to hear what books you are looking forward to reading this autumn / winter, and your recommendations.

Have a great week


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Deliver us to Dublin....With Care by Aimee Duffy

Published on 28 August
Published by Harper Impulse
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

The final instalment of Summer Flings – a fun, flirty and laugh out loud rom com series of short stories.

Miserable, lonely and broken hearted, Ciara returns to Dublin on a mission to sort out her life. A job is at the top of the list but a visit to the doctor has surprising repercussions.

She refuses to drift apart from her friends now that real life has begun, struggles to fit new relationships into her life and still has to deal with everything else fate throws her way.

But even Ciara should know that there’s always something a little bit special to be found at the end of the rainbow…

The ideal summer treat for those relaxing days soaking up the sun!

My Review:

I cannot tell you how much I have been anticipating this final installment in the summer flings series. I couldnt wait to get stuck in and see how it all ends. But at the same time I felt reluctant to read it and finish their journey.

I am not going to say too much about the storyline as I really dont want to ruin it. But, what I did like, was that it didnt just look at what happened next for Ciara and Zack and the whole, will they live happily ever after or not. Us readers get to find out what happens next for all the gang. Not all of it was how I expected at all.

As soon as I read Trouble in Tinseltown I knew I would love this series and I havent been disappointed. I have felt like a broken record as each novella has surpassed the previous one, but for me, it has just got better and better. I havent read any of Aimee's work before and have loved her style of writing. She has developed both the characters, and the storyline brilliantly. Each of the characters are quirky and at times annoying, but as a reader I have felt great warm towards them and would love to hang out and have fun with them.

I am quite sad that the summer is almost over and I will be leaving the characters behind. This installment does bring everything together really well, but I would love a full length book featuring them in the future as I can imagine there may be many more exploits and lots of fun still to be had.

If you havent yet read the summer flings series I would recommend them. A snappy, fast paced series full of sun, fun and sexiness (and some sassiness too).

Flirting in Florence by Aimee Duffy

Out now
Published by Harper Impulse
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Part 6 of Summer Flings – a fun, flirty and laugh out loud rom com series of short stories.

Instead of hitting the designer shops with her friends, Ciara’s all about proving Florence can be enjoyed on a budget – and she isn’t talking about the sexy Italians Elle and Gem pick up for the duration!

One-on-one with Zack is getting too intense so she plans a grape-squishing trip to a vineyard hoping to leave her problems back in the city. Of course her doomed affair is the least of her worries when her friendship with his cousin is on the line.

The ideal summer treat for those relaxing days soaking up the sun!

My review:

Hooray, the sixth installment of the summer flings series is here, and an opportunity to check in with Ciara, Gem and Elle and see what they are up to as they arrive in Italy. Infact I was so eager I downloaded it at midnight, snuggled under my duvet, and had finished by 1am.

I love Italy, and Florence is a beautiful city. I was delighted to see that Ciara has decided to show the others how to sightsee and survive in a city without breaking the bank. As a result we saw a bit more of Florence than in earlier parts of the series which I really liked.

The main storyline is around Ciara and Zack, and theirgrowing realisation that this is developing into more than a mere summer fling. D'oh, we readers have seen this for ages!! It is far more romantic than the others, and not just about them ripping eachothers clothes off at every second, although that is of course still there.....However, we do learn a deeper side to both of them, about their past and their ambitions.

There is of course still fun and laughter and Elle and Gem are still in pursuit of some flirting and fun. I have grown to like these two more with each trip, and I like seeing how at first you get the impression that Elle doesnt care about her cousin, yet, as you delve deeper she does have his back.

Flirting in Florence has really set the reader up for the final installment, Deliver us to Dublin....will they be delivered intact or will some spanners be thrown in the works? I cant possibly reveal how Florence ends, you will have to read it for yourselves.

Im very excited about seeing what happens, but also sad as it will be the end of the summer flings series, and not only will I miss the girls, but September will be almost upon least we have had a great summer of fun, and this series has been brilliant.

Monday, 25 August 2014

What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan by Jill Knapp

Out now
Published by Harper Impulse
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Life in the city gives 23 year old Amalia Hastings a ride she is not expecting. As she tries to find her way on the little island that never sleeps, she discovers she has a harder time navigating through life then she does the streets of Greenwich Village!

She thought she had everything she wanted – a new apartment in Manhattan, a first-rate education at NYU, a group of trusted friends and Nicholas, a boyfriend who she once believed was her soul-mate. But somehow, it isn’t enough.

Stumbling through her relationships, Amalia encounters Michael. An attractive classmate who quickly moves from being one of her close friends, to an inconsistent friend-with-benefits. After all, the only thing consistent about New York is its beauty.

Amalia is essentially torn between two men, and Michael is torn between two women. Her best friend Cassandra is being strung along by her "boyfriend", Bryce, and even her friend Olivia is having a secret relationship!

After getting terribly lost searching for love in all the wrong places, Amalia finds herself asking – what happens to men when they move to Manhattan?!

My review:

I was initially drawn to this book for two reasons; the beautiful cover, and the word Manhattan. I am ever so slightly obsessed with New York and so the thought of a book set there really appealed to me. But within the first couple of chapters I knew I would love the book, because of the storyline and characters. It is brilliantly written and has, in my opinion a great balance of fun and emotion.

The book follows Amalia who is studying in Manhattan and has recently moved into a new apartment. When we meet Amalia she is dating Nicholas whom she has been with for a few years. However, as with some of the best books, love never runs smoothly. The other main male character is Michael who she studies with. Michael also has a girlfriend but there is an undeniable spark between him and Amalia. Could there be a love triangle ahead??? I will let you guess!

We also meet Olivia and Cassandra who are Amalia's best friends. Just like Amalia and Michael, they also have love problems and like most 23 year olds are still discovering who they are, and all the fun that life has to offer. I loved the ladies, as they felt like real friends who had each others backs and would be shoulders to cry on any time, day or night. It was obvious early on that Cassandra's boyfriend was just playing her along and I wanted to get in and shake her to wake up and smell the coffee. Then there was Olivia and her secret rendezvous. It made the characters feel more vulnerable and real.

As a reader I enjoyed the style of writing. The chapters are relatively short and snappy which I enjoy as it allows you to flit between times and scenes easily. It also in theory means you can pick it up when you have a spare ten minutes...although I was addicted so didn't put it down too often.

I was able to build up a clear picture in my mind of each of the characters. I loved the whole Sex and the City era and I could almost see these lot as younger versions of in a similar kind of show. All the dilemmas and affairs of the heart whilst trying to study and have fun too. If I could turn back the clock I would love to life like this for a while. Ok, I admit the fantasy of living in a nice apartment in Manhattan helps fuel my desire too.

I at times could relate to how Amalia was feeling and I felt like I wanted to go in as another character and attempt to lead her away from making what I felt would be mistakes. I felt protective towards her and wanted to go bar hopping.

 If I had been more observant I would have seen that this is part one of a series. When I realised this at the end I was delighted. There is so much depth to the characters, and so many adventures and twists and turns that could take place I will definitely be interested to watch them develop. It was also great that, by creating a series the author didnt feel like they have to cram everything into this book and the ending is actually very open. It has set me up perfectly for the installment....I really cannot wait to see what happens next!!

Thank you to Harper Impulse for a copy in return for an honest review.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Ibiza Insanity by Aimee Duffy

Out Now
Published by Harperimpulse
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Part 5 of Summer Flings – a fun, flirty and laugh out loud rom com series of short stories.
After their not-so-relaxing week in the sun, the girls are off to the clubbing capitol of the world to let off some steam.

Skater boys, Ibiza’s Next Top Model competition and skimpy gold bikini’s don’t compare to the man Ciara’s desperate to cheer up. She’s beginning to realize her summer fling isn’t as uncomplicated as it should be.

To make things worse, she finds out that her best friends are keeping secrets from her that could change everything…

The ideal summer treat for those relaxing days soaking up the sun!

My review:

Woo hoo, the girls are back for the fifth instalment of sun, fun and adventure. This time they are hitting the centre of party land....Ibiza! When I saw the title I laughed and tried to imagine what exploits they could be getting up to!! This series is consistently brilliant and so well written. I love how each part of the series unwraps another aspect of the characters and who they really are. I am loving seeing them develop and wish I had gone to uni, made friends like them, and gone off travelling....if only I wasnt too old now!!!

As we hit Ibiza Gem needs to get over her fling in Greece, and Elle is still on the look out for some male company, so they figure Ibiza will be the perfect place to get out there, party hard and have a blast. This time it is Elle's turn to get the male attention.

Ciara still has the company of Zack, but whilst it is still steamy and at times quite explicit, as a reader I felt like I was starting to see some genuine affection between the two of wouldnt be the same without the romps, but it was nice to see more than that. Although they are still 'in action' multiple times a day....insatiable could definitely describe it!!

I started to sense the end of summer, and real life approaching for the girls. I actually felt a bit anxious about this as I dont want their exploits to end, and because I want Ciara and Zack to live happily ever after.

I laughed at their tales and willed Zack and Ciara to open up more to eachother. I liked seeing that Gem is more down to earth than she was first portrayed to be. Infact I really like all the characters in the series and would love to see more of them in the future.

Roll on the next leg of the trip to the beautiful city of Florence.......

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Another Night, Another Day by Sarah Rayner

Out Now
Published by: Pan Macmillan
Purchase on Amazon here

The Blurb:

From the author of the bestselling One Moment, One Morning comes another beautiful, bittersweet novel set in Brighton. 

Three people, each crying out for help . . . There's Karen, worried about her dying father; Abby, whose son has autism and needs constant care; and Michael, a family man on the verge of bankruptcy. As each sinks under the strain, they're brought together at Moreland's Clinic. Here, behind closed doors, they reveal their deepest secrets, confront and console one another and share plenty of laughs. But how will they cope when a new crisis strikes?

My Review:

What a beautiful, poignant and moving read this book is. Infact I finished reading the book last night, but I have fond myself still thinking about it today. The book is beautifully written and I found it totally compelling. I tend to be a fast reader, but I found myself slowing right down with this book as I connected so much to the characters I felt they deserved my attention.

Before starting this book I thought I would setting off on a light hearted chick lit story. Oh no, it very soon became obvious that this was going to be an intense book exploring depression, suicide and autism. But don't let that put you off.....I felt each subject was handled with incredible sensitivity and understanding. Each characters situation felt realistically portrayed and whilst yes, the storyline is deep and intense, I felt a very strong message about the power of friendship, love and caring which was incredibly warm and in some ways uplifting.

The story opens at Moreland Place, a mental health clinic. The therapists are obviously talking about one of the patients who has committed suicide. But as a reader I didnt know who they were referring to. I have to admit that I spent time whilst reading truing to work out who it was...a bit like a detective looking for clues.

The book revolves around three main characters; Karen, Abby and Michael. The first part of the book introduces the reader to each of them, and tells the story of their day to day life. If any of you have read One Moment, One Morning you will recognise Karen as the wife of the gentleman who dies. Karen is raising 2 children on her own, as well as having a sick father. I felt that she was juggling lots of things and never really giving herself the space she needed. Abby is married, albeit unhappily, with a child who has severe autism. Most of the parental responsibility falls to Abby and I can only imagine how hard this must be, given the severity of her son's autism. My nephew is autistic, though not anywhere near as badly as Abby's son, but I know some of the challenges it brings. Last, but not least there is Michael, a florist whose business is in big trouble, and with debts mounting could be in big financial trouble.

The characters come together when each of their lives comes to a head and they find themselves being treated in Moreland Place. There we also meet some great lesser part characters such as Colin and Lillie who I also found adorable. I really enjoyed (that feels like a weird thing to say given the subject matter) following their journeys toward recovery, and could feel myself becoming very attached to them. It definitely made me identity with the rescuer in me who wanted to jump in and make it all better for them.

I won't tell you anymore about the plot as it would spoil it for those who haven't yet read the book.

Whilst reading this book the news of Robin William's death was also announced and there has been a lot of talk about the struggles of those suffering from depression and anxiety. There is still alot of stigma around mental health and it is not understood, unless you have been through it yourself. I openly admit about my life time struggle with anxiety. I had severe agoraphobia in my twenties and it took me a long time to recover. It was also incredibly lonely doing it alone.

I felt this book handled the subject in a great way. As a reader I was able to take a trip into their worlds and understand what was happening for them that leads to their battles. The resistance to enter into therapy or to share their troubles also rings true. Those with mental health problems feel ashamed and don't want to burden others. I loved the way the author coaxed this out, and showed how with a little confidence and help you can overcome issues.

I loved this book (if you couldn't tell) and whilst it may not be the most uplifting of reads it is definitely one that will hook you in and make you feel empathy and warmth towards human beings.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan who provided a copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Geeks go Greek by Aimee Duffy

Out Now
Published by Harperimpulse
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Part 4 of Summer Flings - a fun, flirty and laugh out loud rom com series of short stories.

Who needs fun when you can chill out in a stunning villa in Santorini all week and be pampered in every way possible? Ciara does.

After an unfortunate wardrobe faux par, challenging her friends to jet ski racing, and hooking up with an unexpected visitor, Ciara's all about sex on the beach... the yacht... in the sea - wherever and whenever really! And she's not alone. It's the perfect fling in theory, but what happens when their Greek adventure comes to an end?

The ideal summer treat for those relaxing days soaking up the sun!

My Review:

Another great adventure with the girls, this time to Santorini in Greece. And phew, what a scorcher, and I don't just mean the temperature!! Things certainly get hot and steamy between Ciara and Zack, and we get alot more detail about just how steamy!!!

I know I say if each time, but I am really enjoying this series. It is written so well and the characters are just brilliant. If you haven't started them yet, then you really should. They make for perfect summer reading, and are great fun. I am not usually a fan of serialised books, but to me, the fact that each part is released quickly, and the exploits of the girls are so well written and so fun, has me totally hooked.

Geeks go Greek features quite heavily on the growing relationship between Ciara and Zack, and as I mentioned earlier, it is by far the steamiest part so far. That said it is still plainly obvious that there is a cute, romantic side to them too.

The trip to Santorini also involves Gem becoming interested in a guy which the others are convinced is gay.....will she seduce him or are the others right? Have a read and find out ;-)

I am really growing to like Elle more and more. At first I thought she was going to be rich, spoilt and precocious, but with each trip has begins to show her softer, more caring side. I loved that she secretly arranged for Zack to come over to Greece for Ciara.

Roll on Ibiza......

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Happy Mail - need cheering up?

Hey all

Hope everyone is well and enjoying a nice weekend, whatever you are doing!

As some of you will know, I have been a bit unlucky with my health over the last year, and have spent the majority of it in bed staring at the same walls day in and day out. When I was fortunate to be working, and running round like the proverbial blue arse fly I used to dream of a few days I bed doing I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy!!

So, in short life has been pretty miserable, and I know I have been very miserable to be around!!

One of the biggest discoveries for me has been the power of social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter. When you are socially excluded it can feel very isolating. Whilst I would much rather be outside in the 'real world' I feel really lucky to be able to keep in contact with friends via Facebook. I have also discovered an amazing network of people via Twitter. If it wasnt for Twitter I wouldnt have this blog, have 'met' other people with chronic illness, or had the same form of escapism and interaction that this allows me. I will be forever thankful for such great people who without realising it put a smile on my face each day.

One of fhe things I never really considered when well was just how much we are all fighting our own personal battles, and no ones is less or more important than the others, they are just different.

I have also been touched, like many by the sad loss of Robin Williams this week. I feel very fortunate never to have suffered from depression, but have seen people I love and respect battle it. Mental health is still too stigmatised in my opinion, and it takes a strong person to battle it every day, often alone with no help or support.

A couple of weeks ago the postman came to the door with the most beautiful envelope addressed to me. When I opened it there was a gorgeous postcard with a beautiful message to me, and a bookmark. It was a total surprise and I cannot begin to tell you just how much it cheered me up and made me smile.

The idea is from Suzanne, aka Librarian Lavender @lavenderlibrary on Twitter. She calls it 'happy mail' and sends them out to people who need a little smile in their life.

I also adore Rowan Coleman, aka @rowancoleman on Twitter, who is an amazing author. She has challenged herself to write 52 letters to other people and they are quite simply astonishingly beautiful and often move me to tears when reading them. I would urge you to read them as they are very humbling.

Knowing the value of these small acts of kindness I have asked Suzaane if I can also use the idea, and she has kindly said yes.

So, rather than sit on my increasingly fat arse each day wallowing I want to send out some happy mail. One of the big issues is that I don't have a creative bone in my body, so this could all be a disaster....but what the hell, I like a challenge!!!! I have bought some crafty stuff which I will be getting this week.

I would love to send out some happy mail. Ideally I would do it as a surprise, but not having addresses makes it hard!!! If you, or someone you know could do with cheering up please send me a DM or PM via Facebook or Twitter, or email me

Hope this doesn't sound totally bonkers, its only a small gesture, but it would make me so happy to think that I could do a little something to make someone smile.

Take care all


Friday, 15 August 2014

Point us to Paris by Aimee Duffy

Out Now
Published by Harper Impulse
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Part 3 of Summer Flings - a fun, flirty and laugh out loud rom com series of short stories.

Ciara would rather be anywhere else in the world than Paris. All the gooey eyed couples and handholding are making her miserable.

But Elle doesn't have time for moping - not when she's got the three of them on the guest list of an exclusive club. So Ciara tries her best to enjoy the free champagne, the loft party looking over the Seine and a little harmless sexting - until they realize they've stumbled into a nightmare none of them were prepared for.

The ideal summer treat for those relaxing days soaking up the sun!

My Review:

Point us to Paris is part three of a seven part summer fling series by Aimee Duffy. I have to admit, I love it am totally addicted! If you haven't read the first two, I can highly recommend them.

Each part is only around 40 pages long so ideal for commuting, or when you just feel the need for some escapism. This felt shorter than the other two but I have a feeling that it's more me devouring the storyline quicker each time as I get more and more into them.

Part three, as with each of the others, leads straight on from where the last one left off. We are following three friends, Ciara, Elle and Gem as they spend a summer travelling after finishing university, before heading back to reality and job hunting. We now know that Elle and Gem are quite affluent and can afford the best things in life, whilst Ciara comes from a more 'normal' background and comes across as more grounded and in touch with the value of things, and life. In LA, Ciara met and started a fling with Elle's cousin Zack which continued on their trip to Miami. Now the girls have headed to Paris to embark on the European leg of their journeys.

We don't get to see or hear very much about the Paris landmarks or Paris life, but we do delve further into the characters and what makes them tick. I think I perhaps expected some of the city to play a part...but thats probably just because I love Paris.

Ciara has remained my favourite character with her warmth, sense of fun, but normal side. However I have come away from the Paris journey having warmed to Elle far more than I expected to. I have a feeling we are going to be learning more about her in the coming parts and I am really looking forward to that. In parts Ciara felt like a misery, but we do get to hear why, and again I felt empathy towards her.

This part is far more serious and a bit darker than the previous two, and their escapades could have led to some horrible experiences. I liked what I felt was a message to be careful and think about what you're doing sometimes.

There appear to be secrets still to come out, and more depth to Elle and Gem than I first expected. I love the way Aimee teases more out with each part, and I am really looking forward to travelling with them, albeit via my kindle, to Greece to see what happens next in their adventures. Will it all be happy ever after? I do hope so!!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Misbehaving in Miami by Aimee Duffy

Out Now
Published by Harper Impulse
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Part 2 of Summer Flings – a fun, flirty and laugh out loud rom com series of short stories.
The girls are off to a beach house to catch some rays – and if they play their cards right – super hot guys!

With drinking games in the name of Gucci, a surprise visit from a very pissed off Zack and hunks galore, Miami is turning into their best stop yet. Not to mention Ciara finally comes up with a way to have her cake and eat it too!

The ideal summer treat for those relaxing days soaking up the sun!

My Review:

Fun, sassy and full of adventure, Misbehaving in Miami continues where Trouble in Tinseltown left off. This summer flings series is already becoming one of the best stories I have read this summer and I am so impatient I find it hard to wait for the next one. If you haven't read Trouble in Tinseltown then you really should.

The summer flings series follows 3 friends, Ciara, Elle and Gem on a summer of travelling and fun, before settling down to working life. I love them all, with Elle and Gem having a bit more money and being a bit flightier than Ciara. That said, my favourite character is Ciara because she is a bit more down to earth, knows the value of things, and seems a bit of a deeper character (so far anyway).

The high jinks in Miami are even better and funnier than the first installment. The girls continue to party and have fun, meeting some hot young guys to help them along the way. I loved Zachary returning as the guy interest for Ciara. I really want them to become a couple.

I love the way this series is written. Each part is only about 40 pages long, but it feels meaty and loads happens without feeling it is all just being lightly touched on. Aimee has a great way to delve into the characters and bring them to life really quickly. Their escapades are hilarious, yet believable. I feel like I want to jump on a plane and fly out to join the gang and go travelling and having the time of my life with them.

It looks like the girls are heading off to Europe and Paris next and I can't wait to catch up with them...goodness only knows what they will be up to....but I bet I will love finding out!!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

August Giveaway Competition Winners

Hi all

Thank you to everyone who entered my August giveaway to win copies of About a Girl and What a Girl Wants by the fabulous Lindsey Kelk.

Congratulations to Sarah-Lizzie and Sarah Louise who were randomly drawn by Rafflecopter. 

Copies of the books will be in the post to you this week.

To anyone who wasn't lucky enough to win this time, watch out for my September giveaway (each month comes far too quickly)

Have a great week


Friday, 8 August 2014

New Day by Emma Gibbens

Out now
Published by Emma Gibbens
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

So I have decided to write a diary! I do this every year and get to about the third week and then give up, but not this time. I am going to see it through for a whole year!
I have had the worst ever journey getting to work, first I got up late (getting from the south coast to London is going to be a nightmare now at the time I get going). Secondly, the shirt I was going to wear today had a bloody stain on it so I did the worst thing possible and fished out yesterday’s shirt from the wash bin (bit damp smelling but a bit of spray will mask that). Thirdly, this meeting has to go well as I need to hit my sales target. Sat waiting in this dark tiny waiting area that has no windows, pretty grim really, for my customer to have a meeting on a hot August day. I decide today’s the day, so here goes.......

My Review:

I heard about this novella from twitter when someone recommended it to me. New Day tells the story of Jane who decides she is going to write a diary and we as readers follow her story over a year, told in the format of diary entries. Jane works a mundane job, like many of us, but dreams of writing her own book. She lives with her boyfriend Graham who is fitness obsessed and would love to settle down with him. The diary charts what happens over the year and some of the highlights.

At only 75 pages it is a great quick read and it would be hard to tell you too much about the storyline without giving lots of it away and taking away the surprises and fun for you too.

From the start I was laughing and found myself recognising familiar situations she has encountered that I have also been in or witnessed. The story is full of anecdotes and little tales of things she encounters which amused me, such as the mother whose child is throwing a tantrum as they want McDonalds, only to be told by their Mum that if they don't move they will be having Smack Donald's. Or Jane's attempts at getting fitter (it definitely appeals to my sense of humour).

At first I found myself enjoying the anecdotes without warming to Jane, but as the story went on that changed for me.  I liked following her relationship develop with Graham. I wasn't sure whether I liked him or not and I don't want to give away the story or ending, but :-)

 As a reader I really liked the way that the story is told in diary format. I found it made it snappier and enabled the author to move the story on quickly. I enjoyed Emma's writing style. I found it warm and engaging, as well as funny, and at times touching.

I loved the last line of the story which read: Book to follow..............

I am looking forward to it!!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Trouble in Tinseltown by Aimee Duffy

Publication Date: 7 August 
Published by: Harpercollins UK, Harperimpulse
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Part 1 of Summer Flings – a fun, flirty and laugh out loud rom com series of short stories.

Armed with a degree from Oxford that she doesn’t have a clue what to do with, Ciara Bree convinces her two best friends, Elle and Gem to spend their first summer of freedom backpacking across the globe. Now it’s time to shop, sunbathe, think about boys for a change, and party hard…

First stop: LA!

The girls hit Tinseltown for a few days of shopping, star spotting, and even a movie premiere!

But their plan to sneak into an exclusive celeb party in West Hollywood backfires. Elle’s gorgeous older cousin, Zack, is called to the rescue and despite knowing she should stay away, Ciara just can’t seem to resist him.

The ideal summer treat for those relaxing days soaking up the sun!

My Review:

Trouble in Tinseltown is the first short story in a series by Aimee Duffy and I have a feeling it's going to be a lot of fun! I love stories which feature groups of friends, and Trouble in Tinseltown introduces us to three young women, Ciara, Elle and Gem who have just finished university and are for a summer of fun before whatever lies ahead.

I found this a really quick, easy and fun read. Infact it took no more than half an hour from end to finish so would be great for a commute or when you have a little bit of time to yourself.

The three girls are vivacious and out for fun. Ciara appears from this part to be the main character and I really enjoyed her. She isn't as well to do as the other two and I found this heart warming about her. She is a bit more level headed. However it doesn't stop her finding a cute guy to while away a night with......

I can't tell you much more without giving the whole storyline away....but I would recommend adding this to your reading list. Aimee's style of writing is good fun, and she develops the characters well so you feel like you know a bit of what makes each of them tick. Infact I am ready to jump on a plane and continue their travels with them. I wonder if they have room for a fourth best friend called Jill???

Roll on part two.......

Thankyou to Harpercollins UK, Harperimpulse for a copy in return for an honest review.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Second Honeymoon by James Patterson & Howard Roughlan

Out Now
Published by: Cornerstone
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

FBI agent John O'Hara receives a call from a man desperate for his help. His son and daughter-in-law have been found murdered on their honeymoon in the Caribbean.

The grieving father wants justice, and will pay O'Hara handsomely to hunt down the killer.

Federal agents aren't allowed to moonlight, but O'Hara is on suspension and battling some serious demons.

He takes on the case, but as O'Hara delves deeper, a past he thought was dead and buried soon comes back to haunt him.

My Review:

I love James Patterson books and have done for a long time. He is one of the authors who recaptured my love of reading as a child. I simply love the Alex Cross series and can never wait to get stuck in as soon as released. I am equally a fan of the standalone books that he writes, and the collaborations with other authors.

Second Honeymoon is written in collaboration with Howard Roughan and is the second book featuring FBI agent John O'Hara. I had read the earlier book, Honeymoon, but to be honest, if you haven't it doesn't really matter as this book works as a standalone.

As with all other James Patterson books I loved this one. It features not one, but two killers who are being sought. We meet John O'Hara who is on special leave still coming to terms with the death of his wife, as well as raising their two children. John is contacted by a wealthy businessman who wants him to investigate the murder of his son and his son's bride who had been murdered whilst on honeymoon.

At the same time special agent Sarah Brubaker is on the trail of a murderer who is killing people with the name....wait for it......John O'Hara........

It isn't long before their paths cross when Sarah tracks John down to protect him, believing that events that occurred earlier in John's career mean that he is the intended key victim. a As you can imagine, the two agents are soon busy chasing both killers.

As always with James Patterson books, the story is fast paced and full of action. I liked that the plot wasn't as obvious as other books I have read and I liked being surprised. As a reader I felt I needed to get a bit inside the killers head to understand them.  Neither killer is particularly gruesome and I found myself playing detective and trying to suss out motives more than in some others.

The chapters are short and snappy which is something I have heard readers say they either love or hate. I personally love it as I find it means the writer can flit between different scenes quickly. I feel this keeps the pace going and keeps my head buried in the book.

I could imagine John and Sarah cropping up again and becoming recurring characters in future books. I liked them both and would like to see how their personal and professional relationships develop. I warmed to their characters and have an interest in what happens next as well as other cases they become involved in.

I am intrigued as to how much of each book is written by each author in joint collaborations and I will be looking out for any work by Howard Roughlan to give his solo books a try. I really like Andrew Gross who has collaborated with James Patterson in the past.

I cannot wait for the next Alex Cross book to come out in November to read yet another of James's books.

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Ugly Man by P.D. Viner

Publication date: 1 August 2014
Published by Ebury
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

The summer of 1976.

The whole country baking in a heatwave. And in a sleepy Derbyshire village a man, known locally as the Ugly Man, walks into his local with a claw hammer and in front of everyone brutally murders the young woman behind the bar.

For Patricia Lancing, juggling the demands of being a wife and mother alongside her desire to get recognition as an investigative journalist, this could be the case that makes her career...

If she survives it.

My Review:

The Ugly Man by P.D. Viner is a short story about a local guy known as 'the ugly man' who was born with a facial disfigurement and always thought of as an odd ball by the local community. One night he walks into a local pub and kills the barmaid with a claw hammer.

Patricia is a Mum with a young family. She is also an investigative journalist who is sent to the area to investigate and report on the murder. Slowly she uncovers the truth that surrounds the Ugly Man, but not without risking her and her families lives.

I enjoyed the short story. It was long enough with enough context for me to get to know the characters. The story flowed well and for the most part I found the story easy to follow.

I liked the way the author told the back story of The Ugly Man and his childhood. I actually began to feel real empathy for them. At the outset he reminded me a bit of John Merrick, the Elephant Man, who was also judged and outcast due to his deformities. I felt like hie just wanted to be accepted and to be 'good enough'. Unfortunately getting In with Glenn feels like it led him astray and down a bad path. I didn't like the character of Glenn and wanted to rewind time to keep him away from Mark.

The story came together well as he retold it to Patricia and I was quite moved in some parts by it. How he turned from a boy looking for acceptance, into someone who could inflict pain and loss on others. I wasn't sure how it would end at first, and I'm not entirely sure I am content with the ending as it didn't feel just.

I enjoyed the short story, which can be read in a couple of hours. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a thriller.

Thank you for Random House UK, Ebury Publishing for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review.

August Giveaway: About a Girl and What a Girl Wants by Lindsey Kelk

Hi all

Welcome to August! I hope you are having a great summer and the weather is as lovely where you are as it has been in London. 

For any of you that read my blog or follow me on Twitter, you will know of my love for Lindsey Kelk and her books. I discovered her after buying I Heart New York when reminiscing over my best ever holiday to the big apple. I fell in love with her writing and with the character of Angela....seriously, if you haven't read this series YOU MUST!!!!!

Last summer Lindsey released About a Girl which featured a new heroine in the form of Tess. I, and many many others were hooked. I waited with baited breath to catch up with her again and stayed up til midnight on 17 July to download her new book, What a Girl Wants to find out what happened will not be let down. This book is just as good as all her other work. 

Ok, enough of me fangirling...

I have decided that my perfect summer read would be these two books, and as it is summer I am going to give you a chance to win them both. Incase you have been hiding away and not heard of them below are details of each book. 

Keep scrolling to the bottom and get entering. The competition will end at 23:59 (UK time) on 10th August, UK only. 

About a Girl

Tess Brookes has always been a Girl with a Plan. But when the Plan goes belly up, she’s forced to reconsider.
After accidently answering her flatmate Vanessa’s phone, she decides that since being Tess isn’t going so well, she might try being Vanessa. With nothing left to lose, she accepts Vanessa’s photography assignment to Hawaii – she used to be an amateur snapper, how hard can it be? Right?
But Tess is soon in big trouble. And the gorgeous journalist on the shoot with her, who is making it very clear he’d like to get into her pants, is an egotistical monster. Far from home and in someone else’s shoes, Tess must decide whether to fight on through, or ‘fess up and run…
What a Girl Wants

Being arrested in your own bedroom is never a good start to the day. Tess Brookes really needs to sort out her back-stabbing flatmate – and her life.

Should she gamble all on the new photography job she’s landed, or snap up the offer from long-time crush and best friend Charlie to start up on their own – in more ways than one? There’s just one small thing she hasn’t mentioned. Or rather, one tall thing. He’s handsome, infuriating and called Nick…

For the first time, Tess has to choose between the life she always dreamed of and a future she never imagined possible. From London to Milan, with high fashion and low behaviour thrown in, she’s going to have to make up her mind what a girl really wants…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and enjoy the rest of summer