18 Dec 2014

Book Review / I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson **A Christmas Must Read**

The author of the Sunday Times bestselling Take a Look at Me Now, returns to New York with her most heart-warming, romantic story yet.

Have you ever given up on love?


When her boyfriend lets her down for the last time, Brooklyn bookshop owner Bea James makes a decision – no more. No more men, no more heartbreak, and no more pain.


Psychiatrist Jake Steinmann is making a new start too, leaving his broken marriage behind in San Francisco. From now on there'll just be one love in his life: New York.


At a party where they seem to be the only two singletons, Bea and Jake meet, and decide there’s just one thing for it. They will make a pact: no more relationships.


But the city has other plans . . .


Published:     4th December 2014
Publisher:  Avon
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


 My Review
 
What I loved about this story...
EVERYTHING!!!   Words cannot truly describe how much I loved this book.  Miranda Dickinson is now firmly placed in my list of authors I love.  Although this book was 495 pages long, I read this in one sitting (albeit a few bathroom breaks in between and a very awkward lunch 'break' whilst reading!).  You have two main characters in this story - Bea James who has broken up with her boyfriend of five years and Jake Steinmann who has split from his wife of ten years and is having to move back to his home, New York, to forget about her.  Both characters meet at an engagement party held for some friends and make a pact that there will be no more relationships.  As the spend more time together as friends, maybe magic might happen in the end.  With a few twists and turns in both of their paths, I enjoyed following their story right until the very last page.  

If there is one book you read at Christmas, make it this one.  You won't forget it!




About the Author 
(from Goodreads)


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17 Dec 2014

Waiting on Wednesday / The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 20th April 2014
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.

For readers of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
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10 Dec 2014

Three Book Review / Sheila Roberts (Snow Globe, Nine Lives of Christmas and On Strike for Christmas)

Discover an unforgettable holiday treasure in Sheila Roberts’ heartwarming tale of love and laughter, magic and miracles, friendship and coming home… 
 
On a blustery afternoon, Kylie Gray wanders into an antique shop and buys an enchanting snow globe.  “There’s a story behind that snow globe,” the antique dealer tells her.  The original owner, he explains, was a German toymaker who lost his wife and son right before Christmas.  When the grieving widower received the handcrafted snow globe as a Christmas gift, he saw the image of a beautiful woman beneath the glass—a woman who would come into his life, mend his broken heart and bring him back to the world of the living.  For years, the snow globe has passed from generation to generation, somehow always landing in the hands of a person in special need of a Christmas miracle.

Kiley could use a miracle herself.  This year, all she wants for Christmas is someone to love.  A hopeful shake leads her on an adventure that makes a believer out of her. When Kylie shares the story of the snow globe with her best friends—two women with problems of their own—they don’t believe it.  But they’re about to discover that at Christmastime, sometimes the impossible becomes possible and miracles really do come true.


Published:     2nd December 2014
Publisher:  Piatkus
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
 

My Review

What I loved about this story...
I really enjoyed this story.  Just the thought that you had a magical snow globe that helped people discover their true desires and hopefully try to make it come true.  This was a short read but enjoyed it immensely.  What I liked the most was the fact that this story concentrated on three characters, one being Kylie who finds the snow globe in an antiques place and follows their journeys as they each 'take their turn' having the snow globe.  This is such an inspirational read, making me want to believe that every miracle can come true this Christmas if you believe...

What I was not fond of with this story...
This is probably going to be same comment with all three of these books but unfortunately, for me, the characters were not rememberable.  I was reading this book in two chunks in one day, once in the morning and once in the evening and I did find that when it came to sit down to read in the evening, I could not remember much about the characters.  But that being said, this is a really great story and I enjoyed reading it.



Two people are about to discover that when it comes to finding love, sometimes Christmas magic isn’t enough…sometimes it takes a pesky orange cat named Ambrose. When a guy is in trouble, he starts making deals with his Creator…and Ambrose the cat is no exception. In danger of losing his ninth and final life, Ambrose makes a desperate plea to the universe.  He’ll do anything—anything!—if he can just survive and enjoy a nice long, final life. His prayer is answered when a stranger comes along and saves him—and now it looks like he has to hold up his end of the bargain.

The stranger turns out to be a firefighter named Zach, who’s in need of some serious romantic help. If Ambrose can just bring Zach together with Merilee, the nice lady who works at Pet Palace, it’s bound to earn him a healthy ninth life.  Unfortunately for Ambrose, his mission is a lot harder than he ever thought.  Merriliee is way too shy to make the first move on a ladies man like Zach, and Zach thinks he’s all wrong for a nice girl like Merrilee.  Now it’s going to take all of Ambrose’s feline wiles—and maybe even a good old fashioned Christmas miracle—to make them both realize that what they’re looking for is right in front of their eyes.


Published:     2nd December 2014
Publisher:  Piatkus
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
 

My Review
What I loved about this story...
This was such a great quirky story I could not stop myself from smiling most of the way through this one.  Some of the story is told from the perspective of Zach who finds himself taking in a stray cat, Ambrose.  However, some of the story is told from the perspective of Ambrose the stray cat.  Ambrose was saved from being eaten by an angry dog and Zach saves him.  Ambrose makes a deal with his creator that as he is nearly at the end of his nine lives he has to make a difference.  He decides that Zach is the person he needs to make a difference to.  Having made himself at home in Zach's house, we see him plot to try and get rid of Zach's nasty girlfrield and try and set him up with someone else.  I really enjoyed following the story from this perspective and made me smile a lot. 

What I was not fond of with this story...
As with the book above, I read this book also in two chunks and the problem I had with not remembering characters was the same with this book.  It might have been my frame of mind at the time of reading but when sitting down to read the second half of this book I did struggle with remembering the characters (except Ambrose of course!).

At Christmas time, it seems as though a woman's work is never done. Trimming the tree, mailing the cards, schlepping to the mall, the endless wrapping - bah humbug! So this year, Joy and Laura and the rest of their knitting group decide to go on strike. If their husbands and families want a nice holiday filled with parties, decorations, and presents - well, they'll just have to do it themselves.

The boycott soon takes on a life of its own when a reporter picks up the story and more women join in. But as Christmas Day approaches, Joy, Laura, and their husbands confront larger issues in their marriages and discover that a little holiday magic is exactly what they need to come together.





Published:     2nd December 2014
Publisher:  Piatkus
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
 

My Review
 
  
What I loved about this story...
This was a good read.  Although this book is my least favourite of the three I liked the message this book was giving.  That people should not take their other half's or families for granted, especially throughout the Christmas period.  One person should not be shouldering all the responsibilty for Christmas events as it is one of the biggest events for families in the year.  This book did a good job and putting the message across that people should work together at times like this, which makes for a happier Christmas. 

What I was not fond of with this story...
Although this story was enjoyableto read, this was the one that I liked the least out of the three.  Aside from the fact that I had the same problem above with the not remembering characters when I picked this up a second and third time, I found that the amount of characters and different scenarios happening in this book I did find it hard to keep up with what was happening with each family and have to admit that I did get a bit confused near the end.  
















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Waiting on Wednesday / The Return by Jennifer L Armentrout


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 17th February 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)


Goodreads link is here.

It’s been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they’ve given him have been violent and bloody – which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He’s got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet.

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy’s deal might be, but it’s a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to “puree”. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of an ancient myth is gunning for her.

But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.

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8 Dec 2014

Book Review / The 100 by Kass Morgan

In the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth's toxic atmosphere. 

No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again. 

But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland... before it's too late.

Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they've only seen from space. 


Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. But they're haunted by their past and uncertain about the future. To survive, they must learn to trust - and even love - again.

Published:     3rd September 2013
Publisher:  Little Brown
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, The Hundred
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
Review:   3 out of 5


My Review

What I loved about this story...
I really loved the idea of this story.  Something horrible happened on Earth forcing humans to live in a spaceship in space.  Obviously, there is only so long that you can live in space without running out of supplies etc so it was interesting to see how they dealt with that situation.  They send juvenile delinquents (people who are 18 or just coming up to their 18th birthday) where they would normally be convicted when they legally become an adult they get a chance to escape from that.

There were a few characters in this story but the way the author has written the chapters to shift from different characters' perspectives made it really easy to get to know each of them and find out about them.  There are also really helpful flashbacks into certain character's pasts to find out more about how they got to where they are now.    

With the way this book finished, I am definitely intrigued to find out what happens next...

What I was not fond of with this story...
Although this book does a great job with introducing characters and their surroundings, I didn't really connect with any of them and that did affect how I read this book. It could be a number of factors that caused it and maybe it might have been my particular frame of mind when reading this book but I wished I had connected.  That being said, I am definitely looking forward to finding out what happens next and will be checking that out...

About the Author
(from Goodreads)


Kass Morgan studied literature at Brown and Oxford, and now resides in Brooklyn, where she lives in constant fear of her Ikea bookcase collapsing and burying her under a mound of science fiction and Victorian novels. Kass is currently working on the sequel to The 100, which she’ll finish as soon as she finds a coffee shop that allows laptops on the weekend.



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7 Dec 2014

Author Interview / Rachel Manija Brown (co-author of Stranger)




 Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, "the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. "Las Anclas" now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.





1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
Collaboration isn't only a matter of who you most admire as an author; it's also about who you enjoy working with, and if you can get your working styles to mesh. Both Sherwood and I have successfully collaborated with others, but have also had unsuccessful collaborations with people whom we liked, but couldn't manage to find a working style that was good for both of us.
So I have no idea who else I'd enjoy working with. I couldn't know until I tried. 

2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
Sherwood and I develop the story together, then literally sit down at the computer and type together, alternately speaking the dialogue, like an improvised play. We usually work at her house, or at a writing retreat. We enjoy visiting author Judith Tarr's horse ranch, riding and writing. It's a wonderful retreat.
I also write solo. I am currently in the middle of the third book of my "Werewolf Marines" series, which is urban fantasy for adults written under the pen name Lia Silver. I write that at home and on my lunch breaks at work. (I'm a PTSD therapist.)

3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Beginnings, when I don't have the voices and tone down yet, and early middles, when I am convinced that it's all terrible.

4. When and why did you first start writing?
At age seven, I wrote my first "novel" in a notebook. It was the lightly fictionalized adventures of my actual pet rat, Ratsy, and was called "The Adventures of Ratsy." (There are cute mutant rats in Stranger; I like rats. They are so smart and fuzzy!)

5. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Sherwood and I wanted to write a fun adventure story for everyone who normally gets left out of the fun books - for the readers who aren't normally seen as heroes, because they're racial or ethnic or religious or sexual or gender minorities. It probably originally comes from me being a little Jewish girl who wanted to read books about girls being heroes, and stories about Jews having adventures rather than facing anti-Semitism. 

6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I read constantly! Right now I'm in the middle of a wonderful book called Santa Olivia, by Jacqueline Carey. It's about a genetically engineered lesbian boxer after the apocalypse, and it's terrific - fun and juicy and completely engrossing. 

7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Don't give up. There's someone out there who really wants to hear the stories you have to tell.
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Stacking the Shelves / 7th December 2014




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3 Dec 2014

Book Review / The Crash by Krystyna Kuhn

Mount Ghost looms high above Grace College, and holds as many secrets as the valley itself. 

Secrets of missing students, lies and betrayal.

Julia has barely scratched the surface of what the valley has hidden and she's determined to discover what connects her father to the mysterious Grace College.

The answer, she's sure, lies on Mount Ghost, so when her friend Katie suggests that they investigate the students who went missing there forty years ago, Julia jumps at the chance.

But Julia can no longer hide from her past in the valley. And she's not the only one . . .



Published:     4th October 2012
Publisher:   Little Brown Books
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2 Das Tal
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
Review:  2 out of 5


My Review

What I loved about this story...
I liked the premise of this story.  You have a college/school based story with lots of secrets and adventure.  I really enjoyed learning more about each of the characters and finding out a little bit about them (although not too much was given away in this book). 


What I was not fond of with this story...
Unfortunately, there is a bit more to put in this section than the section above that I would have wished I could write more about.  First off I am just going to mention that when I had finished reading this book and went to look up about the next book in the series, I discovered that not only was this book 2 in a series but that it is a translation so it made it more difficult to figure out on Goodreads what the series was and what was book 1/2 etc....  

The other thing I was a bit disappointed with is that in the description it mentions secrets of missing students  and answers that can be found on Mount Ghost.  More than three quarters of the book were about the students at the College and travelling up to Mount Ghost.  The bit that I was more excited about when starting this book was finding out what would happen when they got up to Mount Ghost.  Yes there were a few things that happened and you did find out something major but I felt it was very rushed and would have loved that part to be a bigger part of the story. 

About the Author

Krystyna Kuhn lives near Frankfurt with her husband and her daughter.



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2 Dec 2014

Waiting on Wednesday / The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 13th January 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
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29 Nov 2014

Book Review / Honeyville by Daisy Waugh

A hooker. A mistress. A murder. This town was built on sin.
The town of Trinidad, Colorado was a tough place to be a woman in 1913. But it was the best place in the West to find one, if you had the cash.

Honeyville, they used to call it.

A murder throws Inez and Dora together – two women from opposite sides of town, in a town built for men. Against all odds, the well born girl and the high class hooker are drawn together in friendship…

But this is a town that is rotten to the core, and beyond the rustling of silk skirts, the dancing and laughter, deadly unrest is building…

Welcome to Honeyville – a town living by its own rules, where nothing is quite as it seems

A STORY INSPIRED BY A LOST CHAPTER IN AMERICAN HISTORY


Published:     20th November 2014
Publisher:  Harper

Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
Review:   5 out of 5


My Review
 
What I loved about this story...
I just love it when you try a new book from a new author to you and absolutely love it!  This was definitely one of those for me.  I am not sure how much of this story is based on historical fact but I just loved the way that the author managed to pull me into this world and not let me go until the very last page.  I have to say that there was no one particular character that really stood out in this story, they were all equally interesting to follow.  For me, this was more about the story and what was happening in the town of Trinidad n 1913.  You definitely got a feel for the era, particularly how man and women were treated differently.  

What I also loved about this story is the fact that it kept me thinking for a very long time afterwards, especially when it comes to the divide between men and women and what they could and could not do when there's trouble in the neighbourhood. 



About the Author

(from Author website)

Daisy Waugh is a novelist, columnist and journalist. She has published seven novels and a travel book, A Small Town In Africa, about her time working as a teacher in Northern Kenya. She has worked as an Agony Aunt, a restaurant critic, a property reviewer, and a general lifestyle columnist for many years – most recently for the Sunday Times. She writes a monthly column for the magazine Standpoint, and has worked for radio and TV.

Her last two novels, Last Dance With Valentino and Melting the Snow on Hester Street are set in silent era Hollywood and so is the novel she is currently working on. She has also written a non-fiction book (to be published in June 2013) about the absurdities and indignities of modern motherhood, called I Don’t Know Why She Bothers (Guilt Free Motherhood For Thoroughly Modern Women).

She lives in London with her film producer husband and her three children.
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26 Nov 2014

Waiting on Wednesday / The Rebel Next Door by JS Cooper


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: February 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.

Sometimes the rebel next door can surprise you.

When hunky Brody Hunter moved next door, Kyla Richards knew that her quiet dreamer life was going to change. Only she never imagined just how much. Brody Hunter was the sort of guy that girls had posters of on their walls. Only Kyla sensed that there were hidden depths to his beautiful surface; depths that she would give anything to explore.
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25 Nov 2014

Book Review / The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

Every bookshop has a story.

We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books. We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.

Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France; meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains; meet the bookshop in Canada that’s invented the world’s first antiquarian book vending machine.

And that’s just the beginning.

From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).

The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.


Published:     2nd October 2014
Publisher:  Constable and Robinson
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here 

Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
Review:   5 out of 5


My Review

What I loved about this book...
Ask any book lover and they will tell you that there's nothing better than reading a book about books.  That's the ultimate reading experience.  This book took me on the ultimate book shopping experience from my own living room (and without buying any books which was the sad part lol!).   This book has introduced me to so many interesting book shops that I have definitely added to my list of 'places I want to visit'.  

What I also liked about this book is that you had interviews with authors such as Tracy Chevalier etc talking about their book experiences.  Its probably the equivalent of someone who is an organiser reading a lifestyle magazine just to see the pictures of people's living rooms to see how they decorate etc...

This book was so good I read it in one sitting, could not put it down...  There were so many places that I had to Google to find out more after I had read the book, it's definitely addicting.

About the Author
(from Goodreads)

Jen grew up in a small village by the sea in the north-east of England. After studying English Literature at Edinburgh University, she moved to north London to sell books and write stories. She works part-time at an antiquarian bookshop.

Jen's first book, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, was published in 2012 and was a Sunday Times Bestseller. The sequel, More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, was released in 2013. 'Weird Things...' is available in seven different languages, and was a finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards.

Her new non-fiction book The Bookshop Book was published October 2014 by Constable/Little, Brown, and is the official book of the 2014 Books Are My Bag campaign. www.jen-campbell.co.uk/the-bookshop-book

Jen is also an award-winning poet and short story writer. Her poetry pamphlet The Hungry Ghost Festival is published by The Rialto., and she is currently writing her first novel.

She is represented by Charlie Campbell at Kingsford Campbell.
 




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24 Nov 2014

Book Review / A Proper Farmily Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Annabel Buchanan has it all. A privileged life. Pots of cash. Looks and manners born of generations of fabulous breeding. At least, that's what she likes people to think. But Annabel's carefully created image is about to come crashing down.

With her beloved daughter Izzy in need of a kidney transplant, Annabel is desperate to find a suitable donor. That's how she comes to admit that before Annabel Buchanan there was Daisy Benson, given up for adoption by her teenage mum and dad.

Hoping her biological family will be able to help, Annabel traces the Bensons and is horrified by the embarrassing, chavvy bunch she discovers. They're definitely not her kind of people. And she is equally baffling to them.

But as Christmas approaches and Izzy's situation brings the Benson and the Buchanan families closer, will Annabel discover at last that blood is thicker than water?


Published:     6th November 2014
Publisher:  Hodder
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Proper Family
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
Review:  4 out of 5


My Review

What I loved about this story...
I really enjoyed the fact that you had two completely separate families; one 'well off' family who acted very posh and quite snobby like and one family who are more 'down to earth' and quite opinionated and loud.  Following both of these families when their worlds collide was very entertaining.  The two characters that I liked the most were Izzy and Sarah who strike up a friendship through all the rivalry and fighting between the families.  Another two characters that I found particularly funny was Jack and his grandfather.  Jack is a young boy and the grandfather is much older (obviously!) and is suffering from Alzheimer's.  When these two get together, the results are really quite funny, particularly how much fun they have.

What I was not fond of with this story...
If I was completely honest, I was a bit disappointed by the ending.  I won't spoil the story for you here but the conclusion to something that happens throughout this story was not the one I was expecting. 


About the Author

Encouraged my by English teacher, Mrs. Pocock, I published my first short story in Just Seventeen when I was fourteen years old. The story was called ‘Whatever happened to the wonderful boy I fell in love with’ and I published it under the pseudonym ‘Carolyn Lane’ because it largely consisted of a transcript of an argument I’d had with my boyfriend. I bought a black denim jacket from C & A with the proceeds.

I continued to contribute short stories to Just Seventeen to help pay my way through university. I studied Experimental Psychology at St Edmund Hall in Oxford. Alas, I devoted rather too much time to my social life and staggered away with an unimpressive 2:2. In retrospect, that 2:2 saved my life. It meant that none of the graduate training schemes I had hoped to join would have me. I wouldn’t become an accountant after all. I moved to London and took a series of temp jobs to support myself. It was while I was working at Prelude Audio Books, a company which took erotic ‘classics’ and put them on tape, that I met my first real novelist: David Garnett.

David is a very well respected science fiction writer, who once dabbled with writing erotica under the name Angelique. Prelude was recording the Angelique novels. One afternoon, David spent a couple of hours sitting on my desk, waiting for my boss to come back from a very long publishing lunch to discuss some unpaid royalties. I told David I’d always wanted to be a writer. He dared me to write a novella like Angelique’s. A few weeks later, I handed him my first full-length manuscript. David cast his experienced eye over my scribblings, helped me tweak it and then passed it on to his editor at Little Brown. Incredibly, she made an offer on it. My dream of becoming a proper writer was reborn.

That first book was called ‘Inspiration’. It centred on the sexual shenanigans of a group of artists in St Ives. Wary of embarrassing my parents, I published ‘Inspiration’ as Stephanie Ash. Four more Stephanie Ash novellas followed, helping me to pay my rent and attract the attention of a literary agent. In 1997, I published my first Chris Manby novel, ‘Flatmates’…

Thirteen novels on the single life as Chris Manby later, I’ve just published ‘Getting Over Mr. Right’ as ‘Chrissie Manby’ (apparently too many people are under the impression that I am a bloke!). 




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23 Nov 2014

Cover Reveal / The Lighthouse Pylon by Jeffrey Perren

     

   

      The Lighthouse Pylon
   

 

 
 
    
 CURL HOYER WAS A MAN WHO COULD NOT BE FOOLED… EXCEPT THIS ONCE.

1955. An unstoppable sea and an immovable tower hold the key to several lives, past, present, and future.

Approaching middle-age and desperately lonely, Lighthouse Keeper Curl Hoyer is pining to find a wife, the unique partner just right for him.

When alluring photo-journalist Henne arrives to do a story on him and the romantic coastal facility, his prayer seems answered at last. Seductive and intriguing, she soon makes him fall in love with her — all according to plan.

What is that plan?

At first blush, it appears nothing more than a desire to corral a man of unusual character: a rare blend of passion, curiosity, and tenderness. Soon, it’s revealed to be a demonic scheme for revenge, payback for wounds festering since adolescence.

Why? What is the mysterious connection between the pair reaching back 20 years? And can Curl uncover the plan in time to save himself and the vital lighthouse?

A haunting seaside tower brings them together again for one final showdown.

“The Lighthouse Pylon is dramatic suspense harkening back to the golden age of Gothic romance, when a shoreline structure could be as menacing as the villain. Jeffrey Perren’s latest is surely his finest novel yet, with a twist at the end we challenge any reader to guess!” - ClioStory Publishing


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeffrey Perren wrote his first short story at age 12 and went on to win the Bank of America Fine Arts award at age 17. Since then he has published at award-winning sites and magazines from the U.S. to New Zealand.

His debut novel was "Cossacks In Paris," an historical adventure set in Napoleonic Europe, inspired by a real soldier of the Battle of Paris in 1814. His second, “Death is Overrated,” a romantic mystery, is the story of a scientist who must prove he didn't kill himself. His third is “Clonmac's Bridge,” an archaeological thriller and historical mystery set in contemporary and 9th century Ireland. “The Lighthouse Pylon,” a novel of romantic suspense is expected to be published on December, 2014.
He was born in Independence, MO right around the corner from Harry Truman's house. But then, at the time, everything there was right around the corner from Harry Truman's house. He now lives in Sandpoint, Idaho with his wife, an economist.

Amazon profile - http://www.amazon.com/Jeffrey-Perren/e/B00B7PTTKO
Goodreads profile - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6851798.Jeffrey_Perren
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Stacking the Shelves / Book Haul - 23rd Nov 2014



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20 Nov 2014

Blog Tour / I Want to be Baptized by Annalisa Hall

Help your little ones recognize the joy, responsibility, and importance of being baptized. 

"I Want to Be Baptized"—from the same author and illustrator who brought you "The Holy Ghost Is like a Blanket"—depicts what baptism really means for children’s lives by comparing it to objects they remember and relate to. 

Turn to these heartwarming illustrations and meaningful analogies next time a child asks you about baptism.
  

GOODREADS LINK - CLICK HERE



AUTHOR INTERVIEW



1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? There are plenty of authors I admire. Bob Staake, David L. Harrison, Julianne Donaldson, Kelly Milner Halls, and Merrilee Boyack to name a few. I think collaborating with Josi S. Kilpack on a children's mystery book would be fun -- cooking up something yummy in the process would be a special treat. And definitely Sheri Fink -- her whimsical world is something I'd love to be part of one day. My daughter loves her books which encourage and empower children to do good and be good. Also, when it comes to children's books, the illustrator has a big role. Corey Egbert was my pick for "The Holy Ghost is Like a Blanket" and it was only natural for him to illustrate "I Want to Be Baptized" And yet with a new children's storybook in my head, I've been conjuring a new style which has allowed me to venture into the art world again -- David Habben is currently a new favorite artist.


2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? The family is up by 6am and we're out the door to school and work by 7:30am (if I haven't forgotten to feed them or read the scriptures – it’s a good start). At 5pm we're back home together for dinner, family prayer, and bedtime routines (which may or may not include eating dessert first). By 8pm the kids are tucked into bed, and that's when the real day begins -- the reading & writing routine. First, I write in my journal (it’s my data dump). Then, I edit the previous days’ work (the clean, clear & concise method) and press forward with new work. I alternate days between writing children's books and other genres. But at pumpkin time, I go to sleep (as in, I need my beauty rest & that starts at 10pm). I write in journals, on magazines, and in Google Drive. My favorite is still composition notebooks though.

3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you? Knowing when to submit the work to a publisher is the hardest part for me. Polishing work can take an eternity, but it’s important to remember that no amount of refining or editing will help if it doesn't meet the publisher's needs at that time. At some point, I realize that I've addressed all the major issues and the publisher needs to decide what happens next. Then, it just takes a lot of courage to find the right publisher -- weeding through the rejection until you sprout up and find the publisher that will help your book blossom. For these children’s books, it was Cedar Fort Inc. [Thanks to an intro by my friend, Merrilee Boyack].

4. When and why did you first start writing? I daydream. I write snail mail. I write short stories. I write poetry. I write more. I read. And I write again. My 8th birthday, with a children's illustrated dictionary and an "About Me" journal, launched me into the writing world. Words and stories have filled my mind ever since and I continue to see the world for what I imagine it should be not necessarily what it is. My friend, Julianne Donaldson, author of "Edenbrooke" and "Blackmoore" suggested I submit one of my true stories to the Friend magazine. I did and it was published in Sept 2010 - "Garbage Can Graffiti". It was an exciting event that propelled me to continue writing and submitting to publishers my fiction and non-fiction works.

5. How did you come up with the idea for your book? "I Want to Be Baptized" is the prequel to "The Holy Ghost is Like a Blanket" and both are the result of a parent's need to teach their young children about Gospel principles and ordinances. It took a lot of prayer and patience to decide what are the main goals were - what do children need to know and feel while reading the book - and I'm grateful these LDS Non-fiction children's books came together so well.

6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now? Yes, reading books is a huge part of perfecting the storytelling craft and I read multiple styles (YA, Picture Books, Love Inspired, Comics…) at the same time. I just finished "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. My nightstand currently has the series of Latter-day tales by Rebecca H. Jamison, "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Suess, "Math Curse" by Jon Scieszka, "Bluebird" (wordless) by Bob Staake, and "The Rancher and the Schoolteacher" by Judith Bowen. [You can see my 'shelfie' pic @helpfulannalisa with many of my favorite children's books.]

7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers? (A) Write and write and write, (B) Join the national book / writers’ club for your genre(s) and be a member of the corresponding local chapters [i.e. SCBWI ], and (C) Please your readers [meet their expectations] -- give them a great story.


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19 Nov 2014

Waiting on Wednesday / The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 10th February 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.

There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.


The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.
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17 Nov 2014

Book Review / I'll be Watching You by Beverly Barton

Ella, sweet Ella, you were meant to be mine. You can’t begin to imagine all the things I want to do to you. When the time is right, I will come for you . . .

A series of hand-delivered letters leaves Ella scared for her life. Someone is watching her. Wanting her. Someone promising revenge.

Desperate for the nightmare to end, Ella will do anything to discover the truth. Even join forces with a man who comes with his own danger warning . . .


Published:     9th October 2014
Publisher:  Avon
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
Review:   4 out of 5

 


My Review

What I loved about this book...
I have to admit that crime style stories have not been my favourite genre in the past but this year I had decided to push my reading limits and read outside my comfort zone and crime style stories is one of those that I wanted to read more of.  I am so glad that I picked up this story and I will definitely look into the other books that are out from this author.  I really enjoyed the vast array of characters in this story and trying to figure out who was good and who was bad. 

What I was not fond of with this story...
There was a point near the middle of this story where I felt it did drag along a little bit but I am really glad that I pushed through that because the ending was well worth the wait!

About the Author
(from Goodreads)


Beverly Marie Inman was born on 23 December 1946 in Tuscumbia, Alabama, USA. Daughter of Doris Marie and Walter D. Inman Jr. A born romantic, she fell in love with The Beauty and the Beast epic at an early age, when her grandfather bought her an illustrated copy of the famous fairy tale. Even before she learned to read and write, her vivid imagination created magical words and fabulous characters inside her mind. Movies fascinated her, and by the time she was seven she was rewriting the movies she saw on television and at the local theater to give them all happy endings. By the age of nine she'd penned her first novel. She wrote short stories, TV scripts, poetry, and novels throughout high school and into college.

After her marriage to Billy Ray Beaver, the "love of her life", and the births of her two children, Beverly continued to be a voracious reader and a devoted moviegoer, but she put her writing aspirations on hold until her children were teenagers. At every age of their lives, from infancy to adulthood, the children had been a true joy to her. She devoted herself to her husband and children and considered herself one of the many selfless "supermoms" who put their family's needs first. She believed she had had it all, just not all at the same time.

In her mid-30s, Beverly returned to her former passion — writing — as a hobby, but before 40, she decided that she wanted to make writing a full-time career. And when she rediscovered an old dream — of becoming a published writer — no one was more supportive of her aspirations than her family. Her children were her greatest cheerleaders and her husband was her biggest supporter. After writing over 40 books and receiving numerous awards and nominations, as well as having books on the USA Today list and consistently on the Waldenbooks bestseller list, her career was indeed a dream come true. Having a fantastic family and fabulous friends, as well as making a living doing the one thing she had loved doing since childhood, she considered herself truly blessed. Beverly died suddenly of heart failure on 21 April 2011.
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