Thursday, 29 December 2011

Review - The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit by Amanda Egan

A month or so ago, I was delighted to be invited to read Diary of A Mummy Misfit and my review can be found here.  When Amanda Egan asked me if I'd like to review the sequel - The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit - I was over the moon to be joining the cast of this cracking book again.  The sequel did not disappoint me at all.  In fact, I absolutely loved it.  As a reader, you can't help but have expectations of a sequel.  I can honestly say that this was everything that I wanted it to be and more!  

In the first book, Libby and husband Ned, put their son into private school and made some wonderful friends, but met some truly awful, snobby people along the way too. At the end of the novel, they came into some money and were able to finally afford to do the things that the other families at the school did.  Libby had always wanted a second child and to her delight became pregnant.

In The Darker Side, Libby and hilarious friend Fenella start their pregnancies together, while still helping to fundraise at the school.  They meet and befriend Patience, a single mom who is automatically disapproved of by most of the parents at the school.  When they find out her background, they keep it up their sleeves for using at a time in the future when it is needed most. 

While Libby and her family can now afford to do things that she craved in the past, she almost feels that her life being broke but happy, was preferable.  In this novel, her friendships, marriage and family are put to the test with lots of bumps along the way.   

I laughed so hard at times I thought I was going to wet myself (sorry to share that with you but I felt that I must!)  I also cried a lot at this book.  It contained a real rollercoaster of emotions and anyone who has been through the things that Libby went through in this book would empathise sincerely with her and want to personally help her through her ups and downs.   

I felt that I was inside Libby and Fenella’s friendship.  They were both hilarious but really good strong friends who understood each other so well.  Amanda Egan’s writing is outstanding, her characters so utterly likeable and believable that you want to join them in their lives.  The places she describes are so vivid and colourful they are so easy to imagine and conjure up in your mind. 

It was a real page turner, and I couldn't put it down.  It's such a throroughly enjoyable read, and flows so well that you just keep on reading. 

I would dearly love to hear more about the adventures of Libby, her family and her friends.  I sincerely hope that this is not the end of them.  I miss them already!

Amanda Egan was born and bred in London, and she trained  professionally as an actress.  After many years of procrastination, she has turned her hand to writing Chick/Mummy-lit.  She focused more on her writing after her son developed school phobia when he was 11 and she had to hang around his school in the background while he regained his confidence.  In her spare time, she loves to read anything from Maeve Binchy, Jill Mansell, and Penny Vincenzi to Noel Coward, Dostoevsky and Zola. She also love crafts and entertaining, particularly hosting themed dinner parties. 

A little request!

Hi all, I have a little favour to ask to see if you are able to help me at all.

My son is in the Nursery class of Westhill Primary School in Staffordshire and I wondered if you could help me at all to create more bookworms!

As a book blogger, and a massive bookworm since I was old enough to read, I would love to be able to help them in this year's project, which is to get the kids reading more.  The school library, and the individual classes too, need their stocks of books replenishing and they are busy trying to raise funds to be able to do this. They also run a Jackanory Story Club after school, so are always trying to get the kids reading more.

I've been so lucky that some children's authors, and a publisher have been absolutely fabulous and have very generously donated books so that they can help the school in this project. I would love it if anyone else would be able to help in any way at all.  If you can, please do let me know. 

Both myself and the school really would appreciate any support that any children's authors or publishers are able to give the school.

Thank you so much. 
Kim
xxx

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Review - Taunting The Dead by Mel Sherratt

What an awesome novel this was!  Exciting and thrilling.  Could not put it down!

Steph Ryder is a rich bitch, and trophy wife to husband Terry, a dubious character and property developer that the police have their eye on.  Difficult daughter Kirstie is mixing with Lee, son of Phil Kennedy - Terry’s right hand man, and Steph tells her not to see him anymore and that if her dad finds out he’ll be furious.   Steph drinks a lot to drown out the fact that on the outside, her life should be perfect, but inside, it’s not all it may seem and she is desperately unhappy.

Steph’s best friend Carole, has a soft spot for Terry and wishes that she had Steph’s life instead of working all hours yet still struggling to make ends meet in the restaurant she owns with husband Shaun.  They borrowed money from Phil and owe it back with considerable interest, but Phil tells Shaun that he’ll wipe his debt off in exchange for him “taking out” someone. Shaun knows it’s tempting, but as a good person, really doesn’t think he can do it, although he’s actually given no choice in the matter. 

When Steph is found dead with her caved in, a number of people have a motive for murdering her, and there is a long list of suspects including her husband for the police to work through. 

Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton, obsessive about her job and about finding the man who ruined her sister’s and family’s lives, is married to Mark who finds the energies she puts into her job instead of her marriage sometimes just too much, even though he tries hard to support her.   Allie’s instincts tell her that Terry is hiding something, yet she appears to be taken under his spell and charmed by him all the same. 

The book was riveting, gripping right from the first page, and I really couldn’t get enough of it.   I could feel my heart thumping at times, anticipating what was going to happen next.    You were left guessing until the very last chapter, who actually killed Steph and whether they were going to get away with it. 

The last paragraph, was totally unexpected and I wanted to immediately pick up the next book in the series.  The only problem is that it hasn’t been finished yet but I can honestly say that I’ll be counting down to the day when it’s published.    Come on Mel, please hurry up! 

There was lots of blood and gore in the book, but not so much that it made a vulgar read, it was kind of necessary to the plot.  The characters were created well and believable although I’m very glad that I don’t come into contact with any of them.   And to think that I thought Stoke On Trent was a quiet little town in the Potteries where Robbie Williams came from!  

Mel Sherratt is married and is from Stoke on Trent and has always been interested in reading and writing, winning a writing competition when she was just 11.  She has been dabbling with writing for over ten years and it was when she changed her genre from women’s fiction to crime thriller that her writing flourished. 

Mel's website can be found by clicking here.  Mel also hosts a blog called High Heels and Book Deals which can be found by clicking here   where she reviews books, interviews authors and talks about books.

You can follow Mel on Twitter and more importantly, you can buy this awesome crime thriller at Amazon by clicking here

 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Review - The Star Child by Stephanie Keyes

 
Gosh, it's been a busy old week over here.  Yesterday, I had the wonderful Janice Horton join me for a chat, today I'm delighted to welcome Stephanie Keyes, author of The Star Child.

Hi Steph, welcome to my little old blog.  Thanks so much for joining me here today.

In light of the Christmas holiday being just two days aways, I thought I'd ask just a few holiday related questions, if that's alright
?

Sure Kim, fire away!

Where are you with your Christmas shopping? Have you finished?
I'm all done! I was finished in November. I hate having to deal with all of the crowds. So I started in September.

How will you spend the holiday?
We host my in-laws on Christmas Eve and my husband does all of the cooking. Then we get up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning and spend the entire day with my mother and brother. We have a big dinner on both days and I end up working out on the morning of the 26th out of guilt!

What was the most challenging gift that you bought this year?
I don't know if it was challenging to buy so much as challenging to have delivered! I ordered a bike for my son from Santa and they were delivering it to our front door when we were pulling into the drive. I kept telling him to look down the street at the Christmas lights and it was the middle of the day!

Win a Starbucks Gift Card!
Use the Comments section to tell us about the most challenging gift that you bought this year and you could win a Starbucks gift card! The use it to buy your coffee to accompany your read of The Star Child! Only comments posted on December 22nd are eligible.

About the book
Kellen St. James is a bright young man who has never recovered from the loss of his Mother when he was a young child, and has a father, who he feels does not care for him at all.  If fact, his father even forgot to go to his graduation from Yale.  While on the podium receiving his accolade, the world as he knew it, stopped and he was taken back in time to a period of his childhood where he was staying at his Grandmother's house.  While there, he met a beautiful young girl called Calienta.  She walked away from him with her father and all he wanted to do is to go with her.

Calienta has haunted his dreams ever since, and when he discovers that his Grandmother has passed away, he returns to her house on the Irish Coast and finds out far more about him mother.  Calienta turns up, this time not in his dreams but for real and tells him a tale about an ancient prophecy and informs him that he is the only one who can save the world from darkness. 

Bearing in mind, that he loves this girl more than he thought would ever be possible and had nothing really to lose, they set off on an wild adventure, through mystical worlds of faeries and angels, with the odd evil demon and wild dog thrown in along the way.  Sound bizarre?  It is, but also hugely enjoyable.  

This book was a real treat for me to read.  Quite different to my normal reading material, this magical fairytale held me captivated until the adventure ended.  The main characters were wonderfully created, enchanting and loveable.  I became submerged in a whole other world, a world of make believe and fantasy, a place where the outside world didn't exist.   I found myself thinking about the story and the characters when I was away from the book, which I always think is the sign of a cracking book. 

While reading this book, I did think to myself that as Stephanie is mom to two young children and the family dog, she must tell the most amazing bedtime stories!  She is full of imagination and fun.  The vivid and colourful descriptions make the scenes in her story come alive and I'd love her to visit and read a story to Oliver at bedtime! I'm sure he'd be the same as I was; completely mesmerised. 

A fabulous debut novel from this author and I hope to seeing a lot more from her in the future.

About the author:
When Stephanie isn’t writing, she works full time as a Corporate Educator and Curriculum Designer. She holds a M.Ed. from Duquesne University and an undergraduate degree in Management information Systems from Robert Morris University. Stephanie is a clarinetist, saxophonist, and vocalist, and is always making music somewhere at sometime. She credits her loving husband of ten years and her two sons for the completion and publication of the Star Child. 
Find out more about Stephanie at http://www.stephaniekeyes.com.

The Star Child is available on;


Barnes and Noble 


Follow Her On Twitter: http://bit.ly/jjneXg

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Review & Interview - Reaching For The Stars by Janice Horton

Janice's "pink palace"
AKA Drumlanrig Castle
http://www.drumlanrig.com/
I'm delighted today to be joined by the wonderful novelist Janice Horton who has recently launched her new book Reaching For The Stars (review below) but as a queen of descriptions, I wanted to ask Janice exactly how she manages to conjure up the most fantastic of venues in her novels. 
Hi Janice, before I throw my questions at you, please let me congratulate you on your latest book Reaching For The Stars.  I hope it's a huge success.  In it celebrity chef Finn McDuff takes off to a castle in the hidden depths of Scotland. Did you have a particular place in mind that you based the castle upon and why?

Thanks so much Kim and thanks so much for having me with you today. 

In Scotland, where I live, we have quite a few castles around us. Most are romantic ruins but there is one magnificent castle built of pink sandstone, known locally as ‘the pink palace’ which was in my mind while I was writing ‘Reaching for the Stars’. It is exactly the sort of castle to be my fictional Craigmuir Castle - and a splendid focal point of a traditional Scottish Estate.

In Bagpipes and Bullshot, the main characters lived in an old country estate. Again, did you base this on anywhere in particular and if so why?

Yes, I did base my ideas for the setting in Bagpipes & Bullshot on the Scottish country estate where I live. The fictional Buchanan Estate is much smaller than the mighty estate surrounding my cottage, but it did inspire my descriptions in the story. The fictional village of Thornfield is actually my local village of Thornhill. I must emphasis though, although I love to describe the beautiful places that surround me every day, I have never used real people in my books and all my characters are entirely made up.

What is it is about these big old traditional places that you love the most and brings out the descriptions in your writing?

When I start to write, it is always the human characters that come first but once I know who they are and what the story will be about, I need conflicts for them to overcome. The most important conflict is the emotional one - what does this character need and how will they get it? Then comes the objects in their path. These objects, or conflicts, can be emotional and they can also be physical. In Bagpipes & Bullshot for example, the cold old rundown house provides many problems. In Reaching for the Stars, the castle that has become our media shy chef’s garret suddenly becomes the setting for a huge social event and then becomes his challenge.  So, you see, big old traditional places are important in my books not just as settings but as both characters and conflicts anchoring the story.

What sort of home do you live in? Is there a particular place in your home that makes you feel creative enough to write, or can you write anywhere?
For over twenty years I have lived in an isolated old shepherd’s cottage. We bought it derelict from the local Estate and have improved and extended it over the years to accommodate our family. I’m originally a city girl who dreamed of living a country lifestyle and so living here has been like living a dream. I’m a bit of a romantic at heart and that romance filters through my dreams, my ideals, my life, and ultimately my books. I can’t help it - living here makes me want to set my novels here - as I find the mists, the scenery and the land based lifestyle, totally intoxicating and romantic.

Thanks so much for sharing that with your readers Janice.  Lovely to know a little more about where your ideas come from.  Just be careful, now we know where you live, we may descend upon you for a weekend in what sounds like an idyllic haven of peace and tranquility!  Well - till we get there anyway!

Here's a little more about Reaching The Stars and what I thought of it. 

Well, she only went and flipping did it again!  Janice has not disappointed me at all with another delightfully charming novel.

A fabulous tale of gorgeous celebrity chef Finn McDuff who wouldn’t let anything get in the way of him achieving his 3 stars – the highest accolade in his world, and Raine a journalist who always promised herself that she would write with integrity and respect for her subjects.  It’s a bumpy ride for both of them, as Finn uses Raine’s empathic reporting style to try to woo back his third wife who has finally had enough and left him, and Raine uses this story to win a position with a top paper and has many fights with her rival to get there. 

When Finn realises that his life has changed and that he would have to give up things to get his wife back, he escapes the limelight and hides himself away from the world much to the interest of Raine's rival who starts a countrywide campaign to find him.   But who will find him first? Where is he and what is the real reason that they want to find him?

I love the way that Janice writes.  Her words flow so easily from page to page and her descriptions make the whole story come to life. You are whisked away to a part of Scotland where you feel you’ve always known and get so involved with the story that you feel that you are playing a star role in the book. 

You are left desperate to find out where the plot is going, and certainly in this case, left hanging on right to the very end with twists and turns along the way but also with a great deal of humour which again makes the read so enjoyable.  And there's always a great deal of romance thrown in as well as a gorgous leading man and a beautiful leading lady, both of with which you fall in love with and would love to know in real life.  She is a charming novelist and can’t write quickly enough for me. 

About the author: Janice lives in Scotland and writes romantic novels with humour which are, for the most part, inspired by the beauty of the heather-filled glens around her country cottage. When Janice is not writing novels, she write lifestyle articles and has had work published in national and international magazines and regional newspapers. She edits The Review Chair for the innovative reader/writer website loveahappyending.com and is also the bestselling author of the humorous romance ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’.

Reaching for the Stars is available for your Kindle now at the special launch price of just 95p /£1.40
Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US


Janice is a www.loveahappyending.com author
Follow her on Twitter @JaniceHorton 
Facebook Author Page: http://on.fb.me/nbaWed

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Review - Dark Mind by Jennifer Chase

Always interesting when you’ve read a book, and the sequel is launched.  Will it be as good as the first?  How will the writer be able to keep your interest in the characters?  Well Jennifer Chase is the person who should be able to answer these questions because this book is another awesome novel from this superb crime writer.  I hope she’ll answer these questions for me when she has a minute.  I was lucky enough to interview Jennifer earlier this year. You can read the interview here but what an interesting lady? 

Emily and Rick have headed out on a holiday to a beautiful Hawaiin island called Kauai (always wanted to go to Hawaii!) but they just can’t leave the super sleuthing behind.  They are soon on the trail of a child kidnapper and then find themselves getting caught up in various other crimes on the island much to the distress and intrigue of local cop Sergeant Lani who each time he attends a crime scene bumps into Emily.  Will he find out who Emily really is and why she keeps turning up at places a tourist shouldn’t be? 

It was intense, it was thrilling, it was exciting and it was gripping.  In my last review of Jennifer Chase’s book Dead Game which can be found here I compared her to the amazing James Patterson and Emily Stone to Alex Cross.  I stand by my comparisons.  Patterson is a writing master and I’m sure that Jennifer Chase will have a million more ideas for Emily Stone up her sleeve to follow this third in the series.  I certainly hope so! 

I love Emily Stone.  She is one kiss-ass, tough cookie that you SO wouldn’t mess with!  The novel is action packed right from the start and continues throughout.   She stumbles across trouble without even looking for it and always manages to get herself out of it too!  Or does she?

Despite being beautiful, Hawaii does seem to be one of the most dangerous places in the world (next to Pontypandy and Emmerdale!) as also demonstrated by my favourite TV Series Hawaii Five 0.  Maybe one day I’ll get there but I’ll be sure to travel with my new best friend Emily Stone!

Jennifer Chase lives in California and holds a bachelor's degree in police forensics and a master's degree in criminology. She also holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling and is a member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists so she definitely knows what she's talking about.  Compulsion is the first novel that stars Emily Stone and Dead Game the second.  I love that Jennifer has a section of her website that is dedicated to Emily.
 

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Review - The Other Place by Carol Arnall

When Carol Arnall asked me to review The Other Place telling me it was a little bit different to the majority of the books I write about, I wondered what on earth I was going to end up reading as she described it as a paranormal mystery.  Mmmmm sounded interesting I thought!


However, this book was a complete and utter joy to read.  From the moment I read the opening line, I knew I was going to love it.   Who couldn't love a book that says knickers in the first line?


The story is about Chrissie who lives with her sister Babs, her Mom Lilly and her stepfather Alf who has always seen his stepkids as an inconvenience in his lifem  in a eperiod in time when people didn't have TVs and washing machines and life was really tough.  Chrissie is a little "different" to other young girls, she's a real loner but lovely with it. 

Both Chrissie and Babs can't wait until they are in a position where they can leave home, Babs being the first and Chrissie not too far behind.  She has phobias, a memory of something that shouldn't happen to any human being, thinks she has a stalker, definitely has an imaginary friend and is generally unhappy with her life, until she meets Barbara who through hypnotherapy discovers that Chrissie has had a past life.


The story takes you through Chrissie's trials and tribulations of life along with her family and dips in and out of the past and the present in a way which is clearly identified and very easy to follow.   An interesting tale, with some perfectly formed characters and marvellous descriptions of places, and a beautiful friendship between two sisters which lasted the test of time made this such an enjoyable book to read.   A real page turner, with twists and turns along the way; one of those that you can't wait to pick up and find out how the story will unfold.  As the story developed I fell just a little bit more in love with this book.  It was one that had me getting up very early and the first thing on my mind was to carry on reading!  I could not put it down and had to force myself to get ready for work!  Needless to say it didn't take me very long to read. 


A beautifully written novel, and an absolute pleasure to read, I shall definitely be reading more of Carol's other work.  A very interesting author and I shall have to quiz her as to which bits of the book are based on true life if any at all! 


Carol lives near Cannock Chase in Staffordshire (yay - a local girl to me!)  When she is not writing, she loves taking photographs of the deer on Cannock Chase and also loves embroidery. 


Following a serious road accident in the late 1980s, Carol decided that as she could not return to work, she would write a book.  Always having an interest in the Supernatural she has written a number of ghostly booklets, later combining them into Mysterious Happenings.   Carol has also written other books, Memories of Rugeley, Dreams Explained, Birmingham Girls and Choosing Your Psychic Pathway. 


She decided to turn her hand to writing fiction in 2007, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of writing Dancing with Spirits and Spirits of the Lights the sequel. Both are full of mystical happenings.  The Other Place is Carol's third novel.  


You can buy The Other Place here via Amazon
You can learn more about Carol at http://www.carolarnall.com/
You can follow Carol on Twitter here
You can like Carol on Facebook here

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Janice Horton - Reaching For The Stars

The lovely Janice Horton launches her new book today called Reaching For The Stars.  You can see my review of it here on my blog on 21st December when Janice stops by on her blog tour but I will let you into a little secret - it's a fab book! I loved it!  


Links to this book can be found here. 


To celebrate the launch, Janice has asked us to post a piccie of where we'd like to be! 

This is my piccie. Earlier this year we returned to Portugal for a week in October and this piccie is my view from the seat of a cafe that I have sat at many times, overlooking the beach at Albufeira and watching the world go by.  It's one place that I love to return to time after time.


Don't forget to visit me again on 21st to see my review of the book.  Look forward to catching up with you then.

Kim
x

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Review - Diary of A Mummy Misfit by Amanda Egan

This was hilarious! What a funny lady Amanda Egan is!

Libby is Mom of four year old Max, and wife of Ned, and they have decided that they will sacrifice whatever they must, to be able to give Max the best education possible so move him from mainstream education to private school.  They certainly didn't realise just awful the majority of the parents of the children who go there would be. 

Libby & Ned meet Fenella & Josh, also parents of a child who is about to start at the school, just like Max, yet despite this and the fact that they are absolutely minted, they become bosom buddies and share some fabulous evenings and certainly plenty of booze.  Fenella & Libby are cajoled into organising the school Christmas Fayre and are constantly put upon and unreasonable demands made of them by the school committee, yet don't feel that they can say no to the pressure which they are put under. 

Libby feels that she is always being looked down upon by the other parents, because they don't live in a huge house, can't afford to go on expensive holidays, buy designer handbags and  have flash cars.  Libby desperately wants another baby yet they are totally unsuccessful in that department and husband Ned is under constant pressure from his employers and threatened with redundancy which is obviously giving them worries over whether Max will have to be removed from school, when he's just settling in and doing really well.

Oh and I forgot to tell you about the next door neighbour, a lovely yet slightly bonkers Asian lady constantly trying to match-make Libby with her very handsome son, despite the fact that Libby is extremely happy in her marriage and also Libby's two gay best friends who are also hilarious and come to the rescue on many occasions. 

Amanda Egan is now up there with my favourite other funny writer Milly Johnson.   The characters she created in this book, are SO funny, Fenella in particular is a person I would love to have a night out with.  What a card she is!  This book gave me so many laugh out loud moments in a way that I think people must have thought I was slightly cuckoo!  

The trials and tribulations of motherhood are written about in a way that are funny but real and I have found myself in situations such as Libby a number of times and how she handles them are so true!  Amanda has a true gift for humour and I found myself laughing about situations when I thought about them the following day and one particular part, still makes me laugh even now when I think back to it!  

This is a fast paced, easy to read, page turner which certainly keeps you wondering how it will end.  It also had the message in there, that money certainly isn't everything, and that you might have everything materially in the world, but it can be taken away from you in a heartbeat and doesn't make you happy.  Family and friends are what are important in life and if you have them, you can get through most tough things that are thrown at you.

I'm really looking forward to the sequel The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit to come out which Amanda is working on at the moment - hurry up please Amanda - I can't wait!

Amanda Egan was born and bred in London, and trained professionally as an actress.  After many years of procrastination, she has turned her hand to writing Chick/Mummy-lit.  She focused more on her writing after her son developed school phobia when he was 11 and she had to hang around his school in the background while he regained his confidence.  In her spare time, she loves to read anything from Maeve Binchy, Jill Mansell, and Penny Vincenzi to Noel Coward, Dostoevsky and Zola. She also love crafts and entertaining, particularly hosting themed dinner parties. 

You can buy Diary of A Mummy Misfit via Amazon
You can follow Amanda on Twitter
You can like her on Facebook

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Review of Build A Man by Talli Roland

This is another thoroughly enjoyable, funny, easy to read book by the lovely Talli Roland. 

Serenity Holland has moved to England to pursue her career as a tabloid journalist.  She has however, got a little stuck along the way, by taking a job as a receptionist at a cosmetic enhancement clinic and moves in with Peter who is the owner and surgeon.  Their life is very regimented, and a little dull and Serenity certainly doesn't feel like she's fulfilling her life dreams by having to be nice to the extremely rich and very rude clients that attend the clinic.    That is until the day that Jeremy walks through the door.  He's a lovely man, quite good looking too in fact, although wants to change his appearance drastically by having a number of surgeries. 

When she pitches to The Daily Planet, about a makeover for a man, and gets a response to call the editor, she's overjoyed, but they require her to befriend Jeremy and dish the dirt on his life to make this a great feature. 

Will Serenity sell her soul to The Daily Planet, or will she cough up to her undercover status to genuinely be friends with Jeremy?  Will Peter find out that she's undermining the confidentiality of one of the clinic's clients or is she able to hide it from him?  Will Jeremy's surgery be a success?  Can this story possibly have a happy ever after ending?

All of Talli's books are funny, romantic and easy to read, and you find yourself constantly turning the pages, becoming involved in the story and wanting to find out more.  Build A Man is just the same.  The characters are genuine, but she makes them funny at the same time, with humerous little quirks of their own.  You find yourself loving Serenity even though what she's doing isn't the wisest choice one of your friends would make, but you can't help feeling sorry for her.  Jeremy is a wonderful character, a man who wants to change his appearance because he thinks that he'll be able to find love if he looks different and Peter who is very stuck in his ways, and doesn't really light any fires, apart from for the rich and famous who desperately need his cosmetic services.  

This is a hugely entertaining book, light-hearted yet with hidden messages of self belief, hope and about following dreams.  

Talli writes funny and romantic fiction.  She lives in London and admits openly on her website to having a crush on Sir Alan Sugar!    
 
Her debut novel, The Hating Game was in the top 100 on Amazon Kindle UK for over 75 days.  I was lucky enough to review Watching Willow Watts earlier this year which was a great read, and you can read my review of this book here
 
She also writes the 24 Hours travel guides under the name of Marsha Moore.    You can find out more about Talli at her website www.talliroland.com or read her entertaining posts at her blogsite http://talliroland.blogspot.com.
 
You can follow Talli on Twitter by clicking here.
You can buy Build A Man via Amazon by clicking here.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Review - The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon.

An absolute cracker! I adored this book and want to move to this village!

Michelle had run away from her past, her bully of a husband Harvey and her family who think he's the best thing since sliced bread and has moved to a village called Longhampton, where she knows no-one but more importantly no-one knows her.  She has bought a shop and called it Home Sweet Home which stocks lots of fabulous goodies to make your home beautiful. 

Just when Michelle thinks she has no friends in the village, Anna's dog bursts into the cafe and snaffles Michelle's cake and Michelle and Anna become firm friends. Anna is married to Phil.  Their plans to have a baby are on hold until they have been married for four years although their plans have been scuppered slightly as their lives have been invaded by Phil's three daughters who have come to live with them while their Mom spends two years in the States. 

When the bookshop next door to Home Sweet Home becomes available, Michelle wants to expand her business so she speaks to the solicitor involved who tells her that it has to be run as a bookshop for the next year.  She immediately believes that between her and Anna, they can turn this into a thriving business.  Rory, the solicitor, becomes a person who she finds at first quite irritating but seems to be popping up in her life whether she likes it or not.

The village bookshop becomes a magical place where people can meet friends, drink coffee, and browse new and second hand books.  Anna's life is not what she thought it would be as stepmum to three children and she begins to wonder whether her love for Phil is enough to get her through coping with this life that she signed up for. She is tested to the limit by these children that do not belong to her and by a husband who just expects her to take care of everything. 

What happens when Michelle's past comes back to haunt her, and will she share her secrets with her new friends?  Will Anna get her happy ever after? You know the rules - buy the book and find out!  I know that you're going to love this book just as much as I did. 

This book had me so mesmerised, I wanted to go into the bookshop myself and enjoy a cup of coffee and browse through the books. I wanted to meander through the knick knacks in Home Sweet Home feeling the luxurious fabrics and choosing gorgeous gifts for Christmas.  I wanted to meet these wonderful characters that Lucy had created who lived in Longhampton.  The way that the places and people are described made the whole book come alive for me in a totally enchanting way. What an amazing gift an author has to be able to create all of this with their words.  

I became worried about the characters and what was going to happen to them and I was kept guessing practically to the end.  I wanted to tell these children what a wonderful lady Anna was, putting everyone else before herself and not to treat her the way they were, that she deserved to be treated with courtesy and respect.  I wanted to tell Phil to appreciate her more and not treat her like a doormat.  This was another book that had me wanting to rush home from wherever I was to tuck up on the sofa and totally lose myself in this fabulous story which had numerous twists and turns along the way to keep my interest.  I was actually really sad when it came to an end and still think about these characters days after I finished reading.  I'd love to be friends with both Anna and Michelle, both fabulous ladies in their very different ways. 

The book explored relationships, families, marriage, love and friendship.  A tremendous read, and it's shameful to say that I've only just discovered this fabulous and understanding writer, but I am SO glad I've discovered her and am SO checking out Lucy other's books as soon as possible.  

Lucy Dillon was born in Cumbria and now divides her time between London and the Wye Valley, where she enjoys walking in the Malvern Hills with her Basset hounds, Violet and Bonham.

You can buy this book on Amazon by clicking here.
You can follow Lucy on Twitter by clicking here.
You can like Lucy on Facebook by clicking here.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Review - Paying The Piper by Rachel Brimble

Well, what a thoroughly enjoyable book!  It was also hot, hot, hot!  

Grace is the daughter of an infamous hard man on the club scene and she is well known for being a tough cookie who doesn't take any crap.  After the death of her Mom, she struggles to understand why her Dad is selling her Mom's pub, a really important place to her being the home in which she and her family were brought up and where her Mom's ashes are scattered.  Relations are quite strained with her Dad when good guy social worker Jimmy turns up at his club, looking for work as he needs to raise cash to give a home to the kids that he has taken under his wing and whose care home is about to close down. 

Because Grace thinks that Jimmy is too nice to be working for her Dad, she decides to get him working for her instead, but underestimates his good looks and infectious personality as sparks begin to fly between them and she tries to hide the fact that she actually fancies the pants off him, and likewise, he can't keep his eyes off her either.   Neither of them have a strong history of being able to trust people.  Do they become friends, lovers or enemies?

Steamy encounters mixed with a strong storyline that flowed well made this book a great read.  I found the characters well developed and interesting, and there were parts which were really funny - you'll know what I mean when you meet Gerald!  Places and people were described well, which helps to picture the scenes in your head. 

There's certainly a lot of emotion written into the story, which you can feel from all the characters and there are strong messages of love, grief, family, trust and friendship.

A very enjoyable read from Rachel Brimble.  I will certainly enjoy reading more of her work. 

Rachel Brimble lives with her husband, two young daughters and black lab in a small market town near Bath.  When pregnant with her second daughter, she seriously sat down and wrote towards publication, and realised that if she didn't do it now, she'd have to get a proper job!  She wrote a number of short stories and learned to write.  Short stores weren't the way forward for her, so in 2006 she decided to make a start on her first novel Searching for Sophie.  She has since had a number of publications and you can find out more about her books by visiting her website www.rachelbrimble.com. She also works in her husbands financial firm but uses every possible opportunity to write, and when not writing, she's either reading or walking in the countryside with her family. 

You can buy Paying The Piper via Amazon by clicking here. 
You can follow Rachel on Twitter by clicking here.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

Look at this fabulous book trailer for Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti. 

It's a gorgeous trailer and a fabulous book too!

You can read my review by clicking here.


Saturday, 12 November 2011

Review - Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

OMG - simply amazing!  What an emotional book this was! This is the second book I've read this week where I've cried and cried, and cried!  It's been a tough old week!

Eilidh has been trying for a baby with husband Tom for a number of years and whilst failed fertility treatments were a way of life for them, their marriage was slowing disintegrating around them.  Her family were constantly degrading her, not intentionally, but were totally insensitive to her situation.  She was so desperate to have a baby, that even the fact that Tom was seeing someone else didn't deter her from their last attempt.  When this last attempt was succcessful, she was overjoyed but she lost the baby at an early stage and this clearly broke her heart.  

She decides that enough is enough, and leaves Tom taking herself off to the Highlands, the place that holds some wonderful childhood memories for her turning up on the doorstep of her old aunt Peggy.  She meets up again with old friends in particular, her old friend Jamie.

Jamie's life hasn't always been a bundle of roses. After a brief fling with Janet, she turns up on his doorstep one day announcing that she was pregnant and not at all happy about it.  When Maisie came along, they tried to make their relationship work, as a family, but Janet, an artist, who just wanted to paint, left Jamie and Maisie behind to pursue her dreams.  They were already sad as they were mourning the loss of Elizabeth, Jamie's mother who played a massive part in both of their lives. 

With Jamie, hurt and rejected from his relationship and Eilidh battered and bruised from the trauma that she's been through, Elizabeth may be on the other side, but still tries to have a hand in what happens in her son's life and tries to draw them together once again.  Can they let go and move on or are they stuck in the past?

This heart wrenching, emotional, wonderful story is probably one of the best books I've read this year.  Beautifully written, you can tell that Daniela Sacerdoti must have the biggest heart in the world.  Having lost my own Mom a few years ago now, I could relate so much to the story being told from both Elizabeth's point of view and the point of view from the person who has lost a parent.  I hope and pray (and Daniela has probably confirmed it for me) that my Mom is watching over me and guiding me in the right way that Elizabeth did with Jamie in this book.  I can admit to openly sobbing with the emotions that this book had me feeling.  You probably already know by now, that I'm a big softie anyway but all of this was very close to home for me. 

The emotions that she describes from the point of view of being a parent, for both Jamie and his sister were so well written, the way that Shona felt when she had each of her babies and the way that Elizabeth felt for Jamie was described so perfectly and beautifully. It re-confirmed for me just how lucky and blessed I am to have been given the gift of my little boy and that even though my Mom never met my son, she hasn't missed a thing.  I'm sorry to mix up my emotions with those of the characters in the book but that's how it got me!

I was SO into this book, that I couldn't put it down and it was another one that had me rushing home from work, wanting to get back to it, although I'd read it in just a couple of nights because I loved it so much.   This is a book that deserves to be read by everybody, such an enjoyable read - I'm sure you can tell by now that I absolutely loved it.  There was one particular part (which Daniela knows) where I found myself unable to breathe with the emotions that it stirred up for me.  What an glorious writer she is to be able to do that to someone, through the power of her words!

An amazing debut novel from this magnificient writer who I am sure is going to be a massive success with, I hope, many more novels on the way in the future. 

Daniela Sacerdoti was born and raised in Italy but moved to Scotland ten years ago, now living in Glasgow with her husband and sons.  and her love for this country comes through in her writing.  She holds a degree in Classics from the University of Turin and has taught Italian, Latin & Greek.  Writing has always been a big part of her life as her great-uncle was the renowned Italian writer Carlo Levi.  She admits to stealing time to write when everyone has gone to bed, or before they wake up. She is a Primary teacher, but she chose to be at home with her children. She loves being with her boys, reading anything she can get her hands on and chatting with her girlfriends. But she also adores being on her own, free to daydream and make up stories.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Review of Dollars to Donuts by Kathleen Kole

Great fun, lots of laughs and extremely entertaining. 

Newspaper columnist April has left the city to move to a small, sleepy town with boyfriend Kevin and they have the most bizarre neighbours you could ever wish for!   A mystery unfolds in the “odd” cul-de-sac in which they all live, and she seems to spend her life trying to avoid these very strange people and their wacky ways and in doing so, walks head first into the one thing that she didn’t want to get involved with! 

Disillusioned with and drifting through her life, writing as close to her deadlines as possible about a subject she’s really not very interested in, when Kevin’s good looking friend Gerritt moves in with them, things start to get interesting.   April’s sister and friend Jessica points out a few home truths to her and she re-evaluates all that she thought was ok in her life.

Kathleen Kole is an energetic and fun writer.  She writes in a way that makes her books easy to read, with a load of laughs thrown in along the way.  Her characters are hilarious, all with their own hilarious traits (especially the Scottish neighbour!).  Underlying in all this humour is the serious fact that similar to her previous novel Breaking Even, the lead character is going through a dilemma working out whether she is happy with her lot in life, or whether she wants more. 

You can completely relate to the main character in the book April, who is a likeable and genuine person if somewhat a little scatty at times, dealing with issues and emotions that we all deal with at some point in our lives. 

I have to say that I’m SO glad that my neighbours aren’t completely bonkers like the lot in this book!   Well actually . . . . . .

Kathleen is an extremely talented writer.  Born in Edmonton, she began storytelling in grade school and has many fond memories of entertaining her friends by story telling in her back yard.  She pursued a career in story telling and graduation from college with a Diploma in Radio & Television Arts and became a freelance writer for local newspapers.   She lives with her beloved husband, adored son and daft dog! 
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