24 February 2010

Book Review: Anyone For Seconds by Fiona Cassidy

Frankie McCormick is just getting her life back on track. Her pig of a husband Tony left her for an American bimbo who he's now having a baby with, and left her with their 2 young children to look after, a job to hold down and a life to run too.

When she meets Owen at work, she doesn't expect him to be interested in a frumpy mum of 2, but luckily for her he is. However, there's one problem - Angelica, Owen's teenage daughter who seems hellbent on hating Frankie and making their relationship a misery. Is their relationship going to be able to survive the wrath of a wronged teenager or will it be heartbreak for Frankie once more?

This book was sent to me by Fiona's publicist Emma Walsh, and I was really eager to start it because it had such a good plot and looked exactly like the sort of book I love to read. Fiona is an Irish author published by Poolbeg Press, the leading publishers in Ireland for women's fiction, and I knew if they were publishing Fiona's book then it had to be good! We've been lucky enough to have Fiona write us a series of blog posts exclusively for our site about the road to becoming an author so do check those out if you get the time! Anyway, back to the review...

19 February 2010

Book Review: Missing You by Louise Douglas

Sean thought his life was perfect - he was married to wife Belle and they have a young daughter Amy who is the light of their life. But when Belle reveals she's having an affair and wants Sean to move out, he's shell-shocked and heartbroken. Fen works in a bookshop in Bath and lives with her ill son Connor, but they're happy being just the two of them. Fen is hiding a shocking secret that is eating her up, and when she takes in a lodger who turns out to be Sean, the two become closer than they could have imagined. Will the pair be able to bury their demons and come together as a family, or is the past just too much for them to bear and set to ruin their future happiness?

I first came across Louise Douglas back in 2008 when I read her debut novel The Love of My Life and adored it. It seemed too good to be a debut, and really touched me when I read it, and after looking around online, I found it wasn't just me who holds this debut novel very highly. It's been 2 years since that book and I've been eagerly awaiting another release from Louise and finally, it's now here. The blue cover is similar to her first book, and the plot sounded just as emotional and heart-wrenching so when it arrived on my doorstop this morning, I couldn't help but start to read immediately.

17 February 2010

Book Review: Take A Chance on Me by Jill Mansell

Cleo Quinn doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to men, but now Will’s come along. Handsome and attentive, he could be her Mr Right. Things are definitely looking up for Cleo… apart from one small problem with a rather large ego. Johnny LaVenture, sculptor extraordinaire and her personal childhood nemesis, is back in Channing’s Hill and tormenting her as if he’d never been away.

Meanwhile Cleo’s sister Abbie has a problem of her own – husband Tom has become distant and withdrawn, and she’s determined to find out why. But will the shocking truth mean the end of their idyllically happy marriage? The sisters are about to discover that the past can come back to haunt you, and that love can flourish in the unlikeliest of places.

I’ve really gotten into Jill Mansell’s books when I first picked her novel “Rumour Has It” a couple of years ago, and since then I have really looked forward to her annual release. The past 2 books by Jill I have thoroughly enjoyed, so Mansell has set a bit of an expectation for herself in my opinion so I always hope that with each book she is going to get better and better, and luckily for me she has delivered once more! We got sent the cover by the publishers a few months ago, and since then I’ve been really excited to read this book, and when a copy landed on my doorstep a few weeks ago I immediately set to reading it because I just couldn’t wait!

Author Interview: Dorothy Koomson

I was lucky enough to get to ask the fabulous author Dorothy Koomson some questions just after I had read a copy of her brand new book The Ice-Cream Girls. I had a good think about the things I wanted to know, and I hope these questions answer a few of your questions too. I really am grateful to Dorothy for taking the time to answer my questions, and I hope you enjoy the interview!

Q1. Tell us about your latest book.

The Ice Cream Girls, my sixth novel, is about two women who were brought together in their teens by a tragic set of circumstances that made them infamous, were then separated and are now about to be reunited. They should be friends but in reality they have a lot to dislike each other for. The book is also about the secrets we keep and why we feel compelled to keep them.

Q2. The themes in 'The Ice Cream Girls' are quite strong, and obviously something you would have to research heavily before writing about them. What sort of research did you have to do before you wrote the book, and what effect has it had on you?

Each book I write needs a unique type of research (oohhh, I should really grown-up and serious, don’t I?!) but with all of my books talking to people about their experiences and reading their stories in their own words is the most important element of research. With most ‘issues’ shall we call them, you find that the same things are repeated over and over.

Every one of my books has had a different effect on me. With The Ice Cream Girls, I came away from the book feeling very strongly about the treatment of prisoners and how the survivors of domestic violence are viewed. I always held strong views about those subjects, but when you hear these stories over and over again, you start to feel as if you’ve lived it. I’m incredibly lucky that I’ve never been on the receiving end of domestic violence or been to prison, but with the research I did, I came to realise that almost all of us are only a few wrong decisions away from being in that situation. That’s a humbling – and ever so slightly scary – thought.

15 February 2010

Book Review: The Ice-Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson

Serena and Poppy are the only 2 people who witnessed the accident that ended in the death of teacher Marcus, but neither believes the story of the other person. They’re both convinced each other is guilty but it doesn’t matter now – it’s all in the past. Poppy has done her time and has been released from prison, but she’s still determined to clear her name and make Serena own up to what she did. Serena on the other hand still hasn’t told her husband and children what happened years ago, and is intent on keeping it that way.

With the past threatening to rear its ugly head again, is Poppy going to be able to claim the innocence she has protested all along, and is Serena going to be able to keep the past buried deep down where she wants it? And just what is the secret torment of those young Ice Cream Girls that they haven’t told a soul all this time?

I have been a fan of Dorothy Koomson’s work since I read her novel My Best Friend’s Girl a few years ago when it was chosen as one of Richard and Judy’s summer reads, and since then I have tried to read all of her books, and have purchased all of them since they were released. When I heard about the release of The Ice-Cream Girls, I was so excited that I got worried the book would not live up to my expectations, but luckily I had no need to worry at all! The book was phenomenal, my favourite book of the year so far.

11 February 2010

Book Review: The Celebrity Mother by Deborah Wright

Karina’s celebrity star is falling fast, and she wants to get it on the rise again so what better way to do it than to adopt a child?! Karina, accompanied by the obligatory journalist of course, flies out to India to take home the little girl from the Orphanage who has been selected for her, named Devika.

Karina is sure that the press will love her “good will gesture” but she hasn’t a clue what being a mother to a child involves, let alone to Devika who has her own culture, problems with speaking English and finds it difficult to adjust to life in Britain. Thrown into the mix Karina’s ex-boyfriend Liam and you’ve got trouble brewing. Karina wanted more fame, but is it going to come at too high a price for her and Devika?

I’d never heard of Deborah Wright before I read this book so I didn’t know what to expect from her work at all. The book was initially due to be released last year with a black cover that looked a little tacky if I have to be honest, but then it was pushed back to a January release with a brand new cover, and I think it’s a much better look for the book overall. With celebrity adoption being such a “popular” thing to do at the moment, I was curious to see how Wright would tackle the subject and whether she would make it like a fictional version of a real celebrity’s adoption!

2 February 2010

Author Interview: Melanie Rose

Author Melanie Rose first came to my attention when I read her fabulous debut novel Could It Be Magic? and loved it. I was also intrigued by Melanie's road to becoming published by HarperCollins, and was lucky enough to ask her about her experience when she agreed to do an author interview with us. I've recently read Melanie's second book Coming Home and also loved that, so if you haven't picked up one of her books yet, make sure you do!

1. Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book, Coming Home, is my second novel published by Harper Collins and it is passing all my expectations with wonderful reviews and a slot in the top 20 Bookseller list!

I just love to write - and seeing my books in print and knowing people are enjoying my work is both gratifying and humbling.

Coming Home is actually based (loosely)on a true story. The Kitty in the story is my late grandmother, who really did have to wait for her first love to make his fortune before he married her and who sadly lost a son to illness. She really did visit relatives by the sea and almost lost her siblings on the cliff edge, and her stories are what make the characters so real.

The Kitty story is one strand in the weave of the book. I think of writing a novel as compiling a jigsaw with all the pieces fitting closely together to make the finished picture and the pieces just pop into my head and whirl around until they slot perfectly into place.

1 February 2010

Book Review: Three Nights in New York by Michelle Jackson

Eve doesn't believe in a man coming to save the day for her - as the director of a dating agency, she thinks  the bank balance and profile is the key to falling in love. So when she bumps into 2 friends visiting New York from Ireland, she doesn't expect a lot of old emotions to be stirred up about their past, and feelings to come out that she'd pushed to the back of her mind. Rachel is loving the freedom from her restrictive husband and family life, and is enjoying time with her new friend Alex, but how far is Rachel going to go for happiness? And finally Nicky is feeling the guilt of leaving her son home while she holidays in NYC with Rachel, and is convinced she's going to end up alone. She's only come to shop but might leave with more than she bargained for. With 3 nights in New York, it's going to be a trip the 3 women will never forget!

Michelle Jackson is another Irish author who is published by Poolbeg, the number 1 fictional publishers in Ireland, and a company I am getting to know more and more about as I read more of their published books. Three Nights in New York is author Michelle Jackson's second book, and is due out in paperback on 26th February. I haven't read Michelle's first novel Two Days In Biarritz but after this fantastic read, I definitely am looking forward to reading more of her books.