22 August 2014

Book Review: What A Girl Wants by Lindsey Kelk

"Tess Brookes was the girl with a plan. Now she's the girl with a choice. 

Should she stay in London and start her own advertising agency with her best friend and potential boyfriend Charlie? Or should she head to exciting Milan to pursue both a new career as a photographer and a new man, the enigmatic and elusive (and highly irritating) Nick? 

For the first time, Tess has to choose between the life she always dreamed of and a future she never imagined possible. With her heart and her head pulling her in different directions, Tess has to make a life-changing decision about What a Girl Wants."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy What A Girl Wants as an eBook or a paperback now.

One of the highlights of my summer is Lindsey Kelk bringing out a brand new book! This is the second in her new series featuring the fabulous lead character of Tess Brookes, following on from the brilliant first novel last summer called About A Girl. I adored Lindsey's I Heart series, so it's been great to have another series to get my teeth into. The last book left everything quite open so I was looking forward to getting back to it and see what Tess was going to get into next. I have to say how much I love the cover as well - it's really bold and bright, and certainly makes it exactly the sort of book you'll want to stick in your beach bag for a good old read in the sunshine this summer!

Tess knows she has to make a choice. However, it's definitely not going to be an easy one to make, knowing she will upset someone whichever path she chooses. She has to choose between her best friend, and now potential boyfriend too, called Charlie, with the pair of them aiming to set up their own business and possibly pursue a relationship, something Tess has thought she's wanted for years. But then there's the chance of a lifetime to go out and work as a photographer in Italy, and meet the man who she's also fallen for, journalist Nick. The job is a dream, everything Tess has always wanted, but her loyalty to Charlie is making her wonder if she is doing the right thing. Which choice will Tess make, and will it be the right one?!

I loved the fact that the book begins exactly where About A Girl left off, with Tess returning from her escapades in Hawaii. She's back in London and facing up to everything that has happened since, and the consequences of her actions while she's been out there too. Poor old Tess can't seem to do right for wrong, and manages to get herself in all sorts of issues, even when she's meaning things to go well. Right from the beginning, there's lots of hilarious, laugh-out-loud moments and I was really in love with the book from the beginning! The main crux of Tess' dilemma is whether she wants to be with Nick or Charlie - after About A Girl I was definitely #TeamCharlie, but I have to say I was changing my mind a bit to #TeamNick after this book! Neither man was ideal really, neither a real hero of the book, but both had their positives and negatives.

The majority of Tess' story is set in Milan, where she is doing some photography work for her pal Walter, who first appeared in About A Girl. I loved having familiar characters come back again, and it was nice to read yet another travel-based setting. Milan sounded amazing, with Kelk's descriptions making it sound beautiful, especially the palatial home in which Tess finds herself living, along with her crazy yet very enthusiastic best friend Amy. She made me tired just reading about her - how is anyone that perky all the time?! However, she is brilliantly funny, and tried to really cheer up poor indecisive Tess. The fashion parts of the book too are brilliantly written, with descriptions of clothing really coming alive on the pages - I'm not especially into fashion and clothes but even I enjoyed reading these parts. The story as a whole is really enjoyable, Tess has to be one of the unluckiest people ever though!

For me, this is a fantastic follow-up novel to a brilliant start in a series. I can't wait to keep reading and find out what other mishaps Tess can get herself into, and whether she's really going to end up with Nick or Charlie - or perhaps somebody different altogether! Kelk's writing as usual is a joy to read - light-hearted, witty, very funny and had me engrossed every time I picked the book up. Tess, Amy and co are a fantastic cast of characters you'll fall in love with - even if you haven't read the first book, this one is just as enjoyable and gives you enough information about the first story so you don't miss out, although of course I'd recommend you start with About A Girl. I loved every part of this book, it was great to read a story set in beautiful Milan and with some hilarious goings-on too. Brilliant fun.

20 August 2014

Book News: The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern

Popular chick lit author Cecelia Ahern is back this autumn with a brand new book, and what an absolutely stunning cover it has, so pretty! The Year I Met You is out on 9th October and sounds like it's going to be another brilliant read from Cecelia. I've been a bit hit and miss in the past with her books, but the last few I have read have been brilliant and I'm super excited to read this one too.

You can pre-order The Year I Met You as a hardback or an eBook now.

"Jasmine know two things: one, she loves her vulnerable sister unconditionally, and will fight to the death to protect her from anyone who upsets her. Two, she's only ever been good at one thing – her job helping business start-ups.

So when she’s sacked and put on gardening leave, Jasmine realises that she has nothing else to fill her life. Insomnia keeps her staring out of her bedroom window, and she finds herself watching the antics of her neighbour, shock jock Matt, with more than a casual eye. Matt is also taking a forced leave of absence from work, after one of his controversial chat shows went too far…

Jasmine has every reason to dislike Matt, and the feeling appears to be mutual. But not everything is as it seems, and soon Jasmine and Matt are forced to think again…"

18 August 2014

Book Review: The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson

"Life is full of second chances…if only you keep your heart open for them.

Spring Hill Square is a pretty sanctuary away from the bustle of everyday life. And at its centre is Leni Merryman's Teashop on the Corner, specialising in cake, bookish stationery and compassion. And for three people, all in need of a little TLC, it is somewhere to find a friend to lean on.

Carla Pride has just discovered that her late husband Martin was not who she thought he was. And now she must learn to put her marriage behind her and move forward.

Molly Jones's ex-husband Harvey has reappeared in her life after many years, wanting to put right the wrongs of the past before it is too late.

And Will Linton's business has gone bust and his wife has left him to pick up the pieces. Now he needs to gather the strength to start again.

Can all three find the comfort they are looking for in The Teashop on the Corner? And as their hearts are slowly mended by Leni, can they return the favour when she needs it most…?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Teashop on the Corner as a paperback or an eBook now.

One of my favourite authors is Milly Johnson, and I so look forward to a new novel from her each year - I always know I am guaranteed a brilliant read! There's been many of Milly's books I have read to date that can easily be called my favourite book by her, but this new one, The Teashop on the Corner, is definitely my favourite one by Milly to date. It's got everything I wanted in one of Milly's books, and I just couldn't put it down from the moment I began! Here's why I think The Teashop on the Corner is an absolute must-read.

Carla is devastated when her husband Martin dies very suddenly, and she's left to contemplate the rest of her life on her own, not with her husband by her side. But when she discovers the secret that Martin has been keeping from her all these years, she realises she has to move on and find a new future for herself. Molly lives alone, next door to her sister, and when a blast from her past makes a shocking reappearance in her life, is Molly ready to forgive the wrongs Harvey did to her so many years ago and make peace? Will's business has sadly gone bust, and his wife has high-tailed it away back to her parents as well, leaving Will feeling pretty worthless. He too must start again from nothing, and prove to himself that he's worth more than his wife ever made him feel. These characters come into each other's lives at Leni Merryman's lovely Teashop on the Corner in Spring Hill Square, where the new friends share more just a cup of tea and a chat together!

I've often said that I love books where there are lots of character stories going on, and then bringing them altogether to create another story, and that is exactly what Milly has done with this book. We're introduced to each of these characters separately, each going through a bit of a tough time of their own, and then being brought together through Leni and her lovely teashop. For me, I have to say the teashop was the highlight of the book! It sounded like a book lover's haven, full of lovely bookish goods such as stationery, mugs, tea towels and all sorts of good, as well as the obligatory cake and tea of course! It sounded great, and you can see why each of the new friends kept returning for more! Leni was a bit of a mysterious character, hovering on the outside for most of the book but as her story was revealed bit by bit, I couldn't help but warm to her more and more.

The other three characters were fantastic, and each had their own stories to tell. I felt terribly sorry for poor Carla whose husband Martin was a bit of a dog, shall we say. Moving on can be hard, but with the help of her best friend, and some of her new found friends too, Carla tries to build a life for herself, away from the stigma of being Martin's wife, and I enjoyed seeing her come out of her shell. I liked her friendship with Will too, the poor man was utterly sucked in by his awful ex-wife and he was such a kind soul, I felt bad for him when he lost everything he had because of the recession. Finally, there was the bittersweet story of Molly and Harvey, a long-lost love mixed with heartbreak and sorrow, this was so beautifully written I'm not going to say anymore about what happens because you simply have to discover it for yourself and fall in love with them like I did.

For me, this novel is what Milly does best. It's got realistic characters, a wonderful setting, and just generally nice people that are there for each other in their time of need. When I sit down at night, I want to read something that is easy-going and is going to make me smile - this book certainly delivered on that, although I have to confess a few tears were shed as well. Milly's writing was brilliant, bringing not only the characters to life as well, but making you want to find your own Teashop on the Corner, she's made Leni's sound so very inviting! I absolutely loved everything about this book - it's Milly at her complete best, and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's definitely shot to the top of my Milly favourites list, and I know it's one I will enjoy reading again and again.

Book News: The Wedding Proposal by Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft has a new book out in paperback soon called The Wedding Proposal. It's out now as an eBook but is out on 5th September as a paperback too. I really love the cover - it's simple but really elegant, and I like the sound of the story too, a great sounding summer read!

You can buy The Wedding Proposal as an eBook now or pre-order it as a paperback.

"Elle Jamieson is a private person, in relationships as well as at work - and for good reason. But then she's made redundant and with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to sunny Malta.

Lucas Rose hates secrets - he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less in return. He's furious when his summer working as a divemaster is interrupted by the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks to his Uncle Simon's misguided attempts at matchmaking.

Forced to live in close proximity, it's hard to ignore what they had shared before Lucas's wedding proposal scared Elle away. But then a phone call from England allows Lucas a rare glimpse of the true Elle. Can he deal with Elle's closely guarded past when it finally comes to light?"

15 August 2014

Book Review: The Story of You by Katy Regan

"Your past will always be part of you, but does it have to define your future? Or can you rewrite your story?

I want to explain it all to you. How this happened. How that summer – the summer I was 16 – made me the person I am today.

I want to share my memories with you: the happy memories are like sunbursts, sparkling on the sea. But then, like a current dragging me under, there's that summer of 1997.

The summer my life exploded.
The summer I had to grow up.
The summer you came into my life.

And so this is the story of you."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Story of You as a paperback or an eBook now.

I'm a big fan of Katy Regan, I've read all of her books to date but everything I have heard about this book has made me excited to read it. People have said it is Katy's best book yet, that it's brilliant, emotive and just one that you won't want to put down. This, of course, made me super excited to read it - I couldn't wait to see what all the fuss was about. The blurb didn't give a lot away to me, and I think this piqued my interest even more, I really wanted to find out who the story was about, and what was going to happen in it!

Robyn King is a psychiatric nurse who loves her work, she loves making a difference to people with mental health issues, and wants people to change their own perceptions of these problems too. When an old face from her past, Joe, gets back in touch after years, Robyn is unsure about resuming contact with him. But when she finally decides to face the music, her life is sent spiralling down a brand new path, one that she is scared and nervous to explore alone. When Robyn is forced to confront the bad things in her past, she's sure that they are going to repeat themselves, and she will be back in her own kind of hell. Will Robyn be able to take a chance at happiness, or is that too far for Robyn?

First off, I want to warn you that this is a very emotional book. It deals with issues that some will find upsetting and hard to read, and it had me in tears at parts. Katy's writing was so raw, putting across Robyn's emotions so well you can't help but feel them with her. Mental health is clearly another major topic in the book, covering many issues through Robyn's patients, and it certainly opened my eyes a lot. The way Robyn dealt with her patients was brilliant, she is a fantastic nurse and I certainly held her in a high regard once I'd finished reading. Her commitment to her patients was second to none and I admired her so much for that, even when she felt the boundaries were perhaps becoming a bit blurred - how far is too far for a patient?

Robyn herself is a superb character. I loved everything about her, although she did frustrate me a little bit regarding her attitude towards her old friend Joe. It's clear the two have a past when he is first introduced into the book, and as this is revealed, you can't help but love them both and want them to work it out together. They both deserved happiness, but the question was whether or not they were going to allow themselves to have that. We also meet Robyn's sisters, Niamh and Leah who are both interesting and very different. I liked Robyn's relationships with both and loved the family scenes - they're a bit dysfunctional but you can feel the love between them, and I loved the King family. Joe himself was wonderful, very patient and kind, loving and just a generally good guy - you cannot help but love him and want Robyn to see his good side so much!

One of my favourite parts of the book were the letters to someone called Lily, which are interspersed throughout the book at the beginning of chapters. They give the reader a massive insight to Robyn as a person and her past, what hurt her before and how she is coming to deal with it. The relationships in this book are key - they make it utterly compulsive reading and you just want to keep reading to find out if they can all be resolved happily. This is a very powerful book  - it's message of hope, forgiveness and moving through the bad times is so uplifting, I was utterly hooked by it. Yes, it was sad, it made me cry and I felt so sad at times, but then a scene would come along that would make me laugh, would light me up inside, usually a scene involving Robyn and her patients if I'm honest. But the way it's juggled about in the book is perfect, it's balanced nicely between sadness and hope, and I loved every single page. This is most certainly Katy Regan's best book to date; emotive, powerful and just utterly brilliant. Read it.

eBook News: Trouble in Tinseltown by Aimee Duffy

Aimee Duffy is bringing a new series out called Summer Flings featuring 7 eBook short stories, and the first of these, Trouble in Tinseltown is out now. It's followed by 6 more stories, Misbehaving in Miami, Point Us to Paris, Geeks Go Greek, Ibiza Insanity, Flirting in Florence and Deliver to Dublin. The books are being released a few days apart so keep an eye out for them!

You can buy Trouble in Tinseltown as an eBook now.

"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!"

14 August 2014

Christmas in August: I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) by Tracy Bloom

A new Christmas novel came to my attention the other day, complete with a pretty funky Christmas cover as well. Tracy Bloom's new book I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) is out on October 9th, and it sounds like a hugely funny book! I haven't read anything by Tracy yet, but I think this will be a great place to start!!

You can pre-order I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) as a paperback or an eBook now.

"There comes a time in every woman's life when the only answer is to marry George Clooney.

For Michelle, that time is now.

Slogging her guts out in a chicken factory whilst single-handedly bringing up a teenager who hates her, is far from the life that 36-year-old Michelle had planned.

But marrying the most eligible man on the planet by Christmas could change all that, couldn't it?

Sometimes your only option is to dream the impossible - because you never know where it might take you."