31 May 2011

Book Review: The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

Evie Flynn always felt like an outsider in her own family, she sort of floats along in temp jobs, never seeming to get anywhere unlike her sisters who are both settled down with children. Evie isn't sure her relationship is going anywhere although she adores her step-son Saul. However, Evie is thrown a curveball when she is left The Beach Cafe after the sudden death of her Aunt Jo. With the cafe being in Cornwall and Evie living in Oxford, it seems like a nightmare but Evie starts to wonder if she should start her life again and move somewhere totally new. When she finally makes the break, Evie finds out running a cafe is far harder than she thought, not to mention the fact that she feels totally alone with everyone she knows being 150 miles away. Will Evie be able to make a success of the café and keep her Aunt's legacy going?

I have read quite a few of Lucy Diamond's aka Sue Mongredien's books, and so was very much looking forward to reading this one, it sounded like a lovely summer read. The new cover design is gorgeous, and I think the blue theme suits the idea of a beachy book perfectly, and her older books have been redesigned with this look too. I was surprised at the size of the proof copy, it was quite a chunk of a book but I quickly got stuck in, eager to read all about Evie and her adventures in Cornwall. However, I did find it took quite a while to get going and once I had finished it, I couldn't help but think it could have been half that short and still had the same things happen, it felt a little too long and convoluted to me!

25 May 2011

Book Review: Something From Tiffany's by Melissa Hill

One Christmas Eve in New York City, 2 men are buying their lucky women a very special gift... something from Tiffany's, 5th Avenue! Gary is buying his girlfriend Rachel a silver charm bracelet. He doesn't want to spend too much and think it'll make a lovely last-minute gift for her, despite the fact she paid for the entire trip over to New York City. Ethan on the other hand is splashing quite a lot of cash on a very special ring for his girlfriend Vanessa, the lady who has made him happy again after the loss of his wife a few years ago. However, when a freak accident occurs, the men end up with each other's bags and Rachel ends up with Ethan's ring, and a very shocked Gary doesn't understand what is going on. Ethan desperately tries to track down his engagement ring and sort out the problem once and for all, but does the ring have a mind of its own about who it should end up with? Maybe it's just the Tiffany's magic...

I absolutely adore Melissa Hill's books and always read them the minute they come out, so when I saw her new book was going to be based on the idea of getting something from Tiffany's, I couldn't wait to read it! The cover is just perfect, almost matches the iconic Tiffany blue perfect and the silver and white highlights just make it look the real deal and it is certainly a book which is going to make women everywhere want to pick it up and see what it's about! As a girl who has been lucky enough to have a special present bought for her in Tiffany's, 5th Avenue, NYC, this book was pretty special to me as it brought back lots of great memories, and I absolutely adored the magical story within.

24 May 2011

Book Review: To My Best Friends by Sam Baker

When Nicci Morrison becomes very ill and knows she is going to die, she decides to write letters to each of her best friends with instructions for them, from everything to their love lives to how to help raise her young twin girls who will be left without a mother. However, Nicci doesn't count on her friends finding it difficult to cope with her requests. Mona is left Nicci's husband David, which puts the two of them in a very awkward position, and one neither particularly wants to go through with. Jo is left Nicci's twin girls to look after, as Nicci felt that she'd be a great mother considering she can't have children of her own. And finally, Lizzie is left Nicci's beloved garden, but is completely rubbish at gardening and is sure she is going to fail. Will Nicci's best friends be able to cope with Nicci's bequests and will it do damage beyond the death of their best friend to everyone?

I read Sam Baker's last release The Step-Mothers Support Group a few years when it came out and really loved it, so when I saw Sam was back this summer with her new book, I couldn't wait to read it. I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of the cover, I think its a little bit bland for my liking - yes, it fits in with the story of the book but it really wouldn't be a cover that would attract me to picking up the book which is a shame, but luckily for me, the story inside more than makes up for it so I am glad that I picked the book and gave it a read. With the subject matter, it is a little depressing but there are light tones in there which stop it being completely miserable, thank goodness!

19 May 2011

Book Review: It Happened One Summer by Polly Williams

Nell Stockdale is enjoying her life at last - she's got a good relationship with a young man, is loving her job in London as a journalist and her daughter Cass seems happy and settled at home too. However, when her mother Valerie becomes very sick, Nell is nominated by her sister and brother to move her life down to Cornwall to look after Valerie. Things aren't as simple as they seem however. Nell will find it harder to avoid her sister Heather who is now marrying Nell's ex boyfriend Jeremy, her brother Ethan has his young twin sons to look after as well as worrying about his mother, and Nell suddenly finds herself out of a job as well. Will she be able to adjust to life in Cornwall, which is very different to her hustle and bustle-y life in London, and will Valerie be able to get better now daughter Nell is around to look after her?

I am a huge Polly Williams fan, and have read all of the book she has brought out so far. Her latest book It Happened One Summer was delayed last year but has finally made it to bookshelves this summer, so I was really excited to be able to review this book. The cover immediately caught my eye, the lovely green and pink makes the book look really fresh and appealing for the time of year, and the story also sounds fantastic, something that will really draw you in and allow you to lose yourself in. I absolutely loved the book, its a step away from the books Williams has written before, but I love that, it felt really mature and was throughly enjoyable to read.

17 May 2011

Book Review: The Doctor and The Diva by Adrienne McDonell

In Boston in 1903, Dr Ravell is doing great things to help couples struggling to become pregnant create families of their own with his own advanced medical techniques. He is a rising star in the medical world so when Erika Von Kessler and her husband struggle to conceive a baby, they enlist the services of Dr Ravell to try and help them create their own family. However, when his initial treatments fail and Erika enters into a deep depression, Ravell decides to try something completely shocking, something that has to be so secret he has to take it to the grave with him. However, he doesn't count on he and Erika falling in love from afar and when she travels to Italy to pursue her dream of becoming an Opera singer, the miles don't seem to matter, when Erika thinks of the doctor, he is with her. Will their love story have a happy ending?

If you look back at all of my reviews on this site, you will see that I really only read within the chick lit genre because I enjoy it, and I find it easy to read and get through my review books. However, when this book arrived, I was really intrigued by it, and I loved the gorgeous cover which instantly grabbed my attention. After spending a while trying to choose my next read, I stumbled across this book and decided to give it a go. Being set in the early 1900's, it wasn't my usual type of book but I thought it was worth a try, and I am so glad that I did because it was an absolute pleasure to read from start to finish and has certainly opened my eyes to trying new genre's within the women's fiction umbrella.

12 May 2011

Book Review: Becoming Scarlett by Ciara Geraghty

Scarlett O'Hara is a wedding planner, and a pretty good one too. She's made her name with some pretty lavish bashes that she has thrown for her clients, but ironically she's not overly happy with her own love life. She's been in a relationship with John for years, but after feeling things have gotten stale, she is shocked when he walks out on her. She goes out and has a great time that night, but is shocked weeks later to find out she is expecting a baby, and now has no idea who the father is. Scarlett struggles to come to term with her shock pregnancy, and together with the help of her best friend Filly, her eccentric parents and the possible dads-to-be John and Red, she begins to get used to the idea of being a mother. Is Scarlett O'Hara about to throw caution to the wind and start a whole chapter in her life?

I read and loved Ciara Geraghty's debut novel Saving Grace, it was fresh, it was well written and it was incredibly enjoyable. We've had quite a wait for this book to be released, but after the success of her first book, I was convinced this was going to be worth the wait and eagerly sat down to read it when it came through my postbox. I quite like the new cover design, again, its very different from her debut novel but I love the cartoon style, although I think the amount of white isn't great and makes it look a tad blander than it could be. At around 400, its a fairly long novel, but I like that - its something to get stuck into, so I was hoping this would be a great book I wouldn't be able to put down.

11 May 2011

Book Review: The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell

Lydia, Dean and Robyn have no idea who each other is, yet they are all amazingly linked by one man, Daniel, laying in a hospice bed with his friend Maggie tending to him. The three are Daniel's children, yet none of them know it. On his death bed, Daniel decides to make contact and sets off a chain of events that is going to make enormous changes in all of their lives. Lydia still struggles with her upbringing, the death of her mother and the behaviour of her father, and this has carried on in to her adult life. Dean has found himself having to grow up very quickly after his relationship with Skye takes a very tragic turn, and is unsure of how to deal with it. Robyn wants to follow in her father's footsteps and be a doctor, but is she wanting to do it for the right reasons? What will happen when these three people realise each other exists, and how will it impact on their lives?
I haven't read a Lisa Jewell book for a good few years now, so when The Making of Us turned up, I was quite curious by the premise and thought it sounded like it could be a good read. I have to be honest and say I wasn't overly taken by the cover, the colour is very bold but does look a little basic - however I like the imagery used, it does look quite nice in that respect. It's quite a large paperback as well, and at 400 pages it's not a short read but it whizzed by really fast and before I knew it, I was turning the last page. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book and it'll certainly make me want to pick up more of Jewell's books in future.

5 May 2011

Author Interview: Freya North

Freya North recently released her latest novel 'Chances', a book I really loved which told the story of the Vita and Oliver, and their budding romance set around their own busy lives. I hadn't read any of Freya's work in a long time, since her early "Chloe" and "Sally" days, so I was really pleased Freya agreed to take part in an author interview so I could ask her some questions about her books, her careers and a few other things too!

Q1. Tell us about "Chances" in one sentence.

An unashamedly romantic yet feisty romp in which Vita and Oliver decide whether or not to take a chance on love again, aided and abetted by friends, an elderly shop-lifter and a troublesome pear tree!

Q2. Vita is a wonderful character, and one that really grew on me throughout the book. I also loved her little shop, That Shop. Is Vida based on any one particular person, and does "That Shop" really exist anywhere?!

No, Vita is fictitious, as her little shop - but I filled it with all the bits and bobs I'd love and I gave her the chance to do the things I'd never dare do...!

4 May 2011

Book Review: Crystal Balls by Amanda Brobyn

Tina Harding is the successful owner and manager of her own estate agency, Harding Homes, and is very proud of where she has come from. Tina always wanted to be an actress but when her dreams didn't come to anything, she took a different direction and got to where she is today. When Tina goes with her colleague Chantelle to visit a Crystal Ball reader, Tina finds herself being sucked into the world of fortune-telling and psychic folk. Despite her initial reservations about the craft, Tina soon finds herself depending on the readings, and begins to question her life again. When housing tycoon Brian Steen comes into her life, Tina begins to wonder if she has found her "one", and sets about capturing Brian once and for all, but it seems a lot is against the pair getting together. Will Tina and her fortune teller readings be able to predict a happy ending Tina?

Another Irish writer has emerged from Poolbeg Press, and that new name is Amanda Brobyn. Her debut novel, Crystal Balls, is a fun foray into the world of psychics and fortune-telling. I am not a great believer in that sort of thing myself, but I like to keep an open mind with my reading material. When this brightly covered book dropped through my front door, I was instantly drawn to it - I'm terrible, I just can't resist a pretty book cover, and so decided that this would be my next read. I was hoping that it would be an interesting and fun read about the world of 'Crystal Balls' and perhaps teach me a thing or two as well!

3 May 2011

Book Review: Who's Afraid of Mr Wolfe? by Hazel Osmond

Ellie Somerset is a girl who had her life set out in front of her. She loves her job as a copywriter at an advertising firm, working alongside her best friend Lesley, and also loves her career-obsessed boyfriend Sam very much. But when things start going wrong between the pair, Ellie oddly starts to find herself attracted to her dark and brooding new boss, Jack Wolfe. He isn't the type of man to have an affair with one of his employees, but Ellie can't help her feelings and starts to wonder whether she's just imagining the looks she is getting from Jack across the meeting room. However, Jack Wolfe isn't all he seems, and soon secrets start to be revealed which shock Ellie to her core. Is Ellie really afraid of Mr Wolfe, or is it he who is afraid of her?

If I'm honest, I received this book some time ago but I just put it on myself as I hadn't heard of it and it wasn't a priority for me to read because of that. However, when I came to choose a new book, something about this jumped out at me so I decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did because this book is an absolute gem, and certainly hasn't got the publicity that it deserves. It is truly a modern love story, with a strong heroine, and a handsome dark and brooding "hero" and I loved everything about it. The glittery purple, blue and white cover is gorgeous,and I really hope my review puts this book on more people's radar because it is a joy to read.