30 Dec 2015


Favourite Complete Book Series of 2015

Following on from my post about favourite stand alone books for 2015, here are my favourite book series of the year, the ones that  I have read the full trilogy/series.  I hadn't really concentrated much on particularly reading complete series/trilogies this year so I was very surprised with what I had read.  The list below is in no particular order of favourites, these are just ones that I rated very highly and would defiantly read again.  You may notice that there is one book missing from the Uglies series, Extras.  As mentioned in my review at the time, I was a little disappointed with this book as it did not seem to follow the story from the previous three books but instead started a new-ish story many years in the future.  For that reason I did not finish reading it (but will pick it up at some point in the future but wanted to read it when I couldn't remember so much about the first three books so I maybe view it as a separate story rather than attaching it to the series) and don't really consider it part of the series.

I have made a few changes reading wise this year from not concentrating too much on what's new out to read but reading books I have on my shelf or on my Kindle especially those that have been on there for quite a while.  The results have been very surprising.  Some I have loved and some I really have not cared for so much.    So here are the completed series that I loved this year.  If you haven't tried any of these, you should.  I highly recommend them... :-)

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. In just a few weeks she'll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she'll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world-- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally's choice will change her world forever...

 A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder....

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, 300 years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end 50 years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters -- they live among us without our knowledge. Night World is their secret society, a secret society with very strict rules. And falling in love breaks all the laws of the Night World.

In Secret Vampire, Poppy thought the summer would last forever. Then she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now Poppy's only hope for survival is James, her friend and secret love. A vampire in the Night World, James can make Poppy immortal. But first they both must risk everything to go against the laws of Night World.

Fugitives from Night World, three vampire sisters leave their isolated home to live among humans in Daughters of Darkness. Their brother, Ash, is sent to bring the girls back, but he falls in love with their beautiful friend.

Two witch cousins fight over their high school crush. It's a battle between black magic and white magic in Spellbinder.


Continue reading Favourite Complete Book Series of 2015

28 Dec 2015

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My Favourite Stand Alone Books of 2015

What a fantastic reading year!  When looking back at the books I have read throughout the year I had not realised how many really fantastic books I have read and how many new authors I have discovered.  I thought I would share with you today my list of favourite stand alone books I read this year.  This list is in no particular order of favouritism.  These are ones that I gave 5 stars to and ones that I would not hesitate to read again and again and again!  I hope you guys have had a fantastic reading year and are looking forward to starting a new one... 

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

From the award-winning author of PIECES OF YOU comes this enthralling love story, guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and dream upon a star…

What if your first love was your only love?

When Molly is diagnosed with a life changing illness, it feels like her whole world has come crashing down. She hopes the news will make her marriage to Sam stronger. But why does Molly always call best friend Ed in a crisis?

Ed. The very same Ed that Molly fell in love with at a party when they were teenagers, underneath a star-filled sky. Then life took them in very different directions. They could only ever be friends.

Suddenly Molly starts to question every decision she’s ever made. What if they could turn back the clock? Back to the very beginning. When the only certainty they shared was each other …

The epic made simple. The miracle in the mundane.

One day, while browsing an antique store in Helena, Montana, photographer Tyler Knott Gregson stumbled upon a vintage Remington typewriter for sale. Standing up and using a page from a broken book he was buying for $2, he typed a poem without thinking, without planning, and without the ability to revise anything.

He fell in love.

Three years and almost one thousand poems later, Tyler is now known as the creator of the Typewriter Series: a striking collection of poems typed onto found scraps of paper or created via blackout method. Chasers of the Light features some of his most insightful and beautifully worded pieces of work—poems that illuminate grand gestures and small glimpses, poems that celebrate the beauty of a life spent chasing the light.

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

Sienna Murphy never does anything without a plan. And so far her plans have been working. Right after college, she got a prestigious job and gained the stability she'd always craved-until work takes her to the sun-drenched shores of Oahu and places her in the path of sexy surfer Luke Everett. For the first time, she lets her heart take control. Drawn to his carefree charm, she makes a spontaneous and very un-Sienna-like decision to drop everything and stay in Hawaii for two more weeks.

Luke lives fast and wild. When he meets Sienna, he's convinced that some no-strings-attached fun is just what she needs. As their nights quickly turn from playful to passionate, Luke can't deny the deep connection he feels. But there's a reason Luke doesn't do long-term. He can't promise Sienna forever, when the enormity of his past has shown him just how fragile the future can be . . .

The next stunning novel from Richard and Judy pick, Amanda Brooke
When Jo pretends to be asleep as her husband leaves for work the morning after an argument, she doesn’t realise how deeply she will come to regret the opportunity to say goodbye. By nightfall, her life has changed irrevocably.
David has disappeared and there doesn’t seem to be any trace of him. But Jo is five months pregnant and her marriage is full of secrets – not least, David’s unwillingness to start a family.
As the mystery around David’s disappearance shows no sign of being solved, Jo must choose: will she give up her baby to make the man she loves come home?

A street-girl and a lord? London is poised for scandal ... Bestselling author Joanna Taylor delivers captivating historical romance.

Can a street-girl fool Regency London?

Lizzy Ward never meant to end up working the streets of Piccadilly. So when a mysterious lord pursues her, it seems her fortunes are changing.
But Lord Hays wants feisty Lizzy for more than a night. He needs her to masquerade as his companion.

So can a street-girl navigate the fashion and faux pas of London society? And will Lizzy’s wild heart be too much temptation for Lord Hays?

Lily Fitzpatrick loves vintage clothes - made all the more precious because they were once owned and loved by another woman. Thousands follow her vintage fashion blog and her daily Instagram feed. But this passion for the beautiful clothes of the past is about to have unforeseen consequences, when Lily stumbles upon the story of a 1950s New York beauty, who was not only everything Lily longs to be, but also shares Lily's surname.

Joy Fitzpatrick was a legend. But what was the famous dress which she once commissioned - said to be so original that nothing in couture would ever match it again? What happened to it - and why did Joy suddenly disappear from New York high society?

Kate Kerrigan's enthralling novel interweaves the dramatic story of Joy, the beautiful but tortured socialite and that of Lily - determined to uncover the truth and, if possible, bring back to life the legendary dress itself.

They had found paradise.
What would they do to keep it?
With a quick spin of the globe, Kitty and Lana
escape their grey reality and journey to the Philippines.
There they discover The Blue – a beautiful yacht,
with a wandering crew.

They spend day after languorous day exploring the pristine
white beaches and swimming beneath the stars, and Lana
drifts further away from the long-buried secrets of home.

But the tide turns when death creeps quietly on deck.

A dangerous swell of mistrust and lies threatens to bring
the crew’s adventures to an end – but some won’t
let paradise go…whatever the price.

Over one short weekend, when Canadian musician Scott Emerson and British children's author Frankie Shaw meet by chance, a profound connection is made. Their homes are thousands of miles apart: Frankie and her children live by the coast of North Norfolk while Scott’s roots lie deep in the mountains of British Columbia. Against all advice, they decide to see where this might go.

Over oceans and time zones, they make sacrifices and take risks, discovering along the way new truths about love and family. For the first time in a long while, it seems life could be very good. But fate has a tragic twist in store, one that could destroy all that was hoped for.

Poignant, engrossing and moving, The Turning Point is a novel about the importance of seizing happiness and trusting that love will always find a way.

When her husband Richard dies in a freak accident, Shelby Pomeroy is devastated. But his death reveals a horrible truth - Richard was a liar and a cheat. Now Shelby is left with the consequences - huge, terrifying debts and mounting proof that her late husband betrayed her in every conceivable way.

Heart-broken but unbowed, Shelby is determined to fix her problems - if only for the sake of her gorgeous little daughter Callie. Returning home to Tennessee and the family she thought she'd lost for ever, she discovers a new sense of strength and freedom. And hope, too, in the handsome form of carpenter Griffin Lott - a straight-dealing man who couldn't lie to her if he tried.

But not everyone is thrilled to see Shelby Pomeroy back in town. And when a shocking act of violence is traced back to Richard's shady business, it becomes clear that she is not safe from him, even in death. With her life in danger, Shelby must face the lies of the past - or lose everything.

  The emotional and unforgettable new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series.

Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that she and her mother weren’t his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets,. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they’re on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again…


Continue reading My Favourite Stand Alone Books of 2015

21 Dec 2015


Book Review / Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres

I've experienced a whole lot the last few years and I have a lot to share. 

So I hope that you'll take a moment to sit back, relax and enjoy the words I've put together for you in this book. I think you'll find I've left no stone unturned, no door unopened, no window unbroken, no rug unvacuumed, no ivories untickled. What I'm saying is, let us begin, shall we?
Published:     4th October 2011
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source: Bought

I can honestly say that this book really surprised me.  I have been a long time fan of Ellen, right back to her TV show in the 1990s and thought it was about time that I read one of her books.  I decided to pick up this one.  My first impression before reading was that this would be a lot of laughs mainly and that is one of the reasons why I decided to read this on audio book as it was Ellen herself reading it.  Having Ellen read her own book just added to the greatness of this.  Of course, with this book there were a lot of elements which I found funny and elements where I found that I got a lot more of out this than just laughing.  I would highly recommend trying this if you haven't read one of Ellen's books  before, especially try this on audio, its so much fun although I would say that this is not so much a memoir of Ellen's life but like a compilation of anecdotes and stories.

Continue reading Book Review / Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres

14 Dec 2015


Trilogy Review / The Forbidden Game by LJ Smith

When Jenny buys a game for her boyfriend, Tom, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the guy behind the counter. There is something mysteriously alluring about Julian's pale eyes and bleached-blond hair. And when he places the Game into her hands, she knows their connection is something deeper.

But as Jenny and her six friends begin to play the Game at Tom's birthday celebration, a night of friends and fun quickly turns into a night of terror and obsessive love. Because the Game isn't just a game - it's the seven friends' new reality, where Julian reigns as the Prince of the Shadows.

One by one the friends must confront their phobias to win the Game. To lose the Game is to lose their lives. And that is only the beginning...

Published:     8th June 2010
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Forbidden Game, Books 1, 2 & 3
Source:  Owned Copy

This is another one of those that has been on my shelf for absolutely ages and as I am going through a bit of a bookshelf reorganisation (which I will share once it is finally done) I am going through and reading the books that I already have.  After reading and loving her other Night World series, I was really excited to pick this up.  The plot in this book is definitely greatly different to what I have read before.  It is basically like a supernatural board game gone wrong style story.  Despite the fact that this book was written in the 1990s (this edition being one of the later editions), I had no problems with any of the plot line at all, it didn't feel outdated and certainly did not have any references to things that were going on at the time that I wouldn't know about.  I always struggle with stories that were written a while ago when they make comments about things like that, if you don't know anything about it and its not part of the story why put it in?  

If I had to pick a favourite character in this story, I have to say that it was the Prince of Shadows himself, Julian.  I know he was the bad guy in this book but he was the kind of bad guy that you actually liked at certain points in the story.  He wasn't a flat out bad egg.  He had elements where he revealed his personality and made me like him if only for a little bit!  

Although I did enjoy this series, I felt that the story was too long.  If this had been a duology with a lot less filler in it I would have enjoyed this a lot more.  I felt that with parts of this story it dragged which means that I could have easily put this down and not picked this up again.  I am glad that I did because the ending was really good and it did really pick up in the last book but if it was a shorter series, either a duology or a really long stand alone book, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.  

Overall this was a really great trilogy, not as good as her other Night World series but well worth picking up and giving it a try.

Continue reading Trilogy Review / The Forbidden Game by LJ Smith

8 Dec 2015


Trilogy Review / Hex Hall Trilogy by Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. 

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Published:     2010,
Publisher:  Hyperion
Goodreads :  Hex Hall, Demonglass & Spellbound
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1, 2 & 3, Hex Hall
Source:  Owned

After reading The Witches I was really inspired to read something else witchy.  I decided to pick up this trilogy.  I had read Hex Hall, the first book, back in 2010 and remembered that I enjoyed it.  I had also read the second book, Demonglass (called Raising Demons in England) in 2011 but had not picked up the last book, which is a fate that a lot of trilogies and series tend to have happened for me.  Its something I am working on and, in fact, if a book is part of a series I actually try not to read it until the entire series has come out and I can marathon reading them.  Anyway, being that I read the first book back in 2010, I thought I had better re-read the first book and the second book before I dive into the third book.  I am glad I did.  If possible, I enjoyed this trilogy a lot better the second time around.  What I liked the most and what kept me reading right to the end is the secrets that are to be revealed throughout the book.  I always had a sense that there is more to the story than what the author was telling me after reading the first two books and I was right.  OK so the main character Sophie was not the sharpest tool in the box but she got to where she needed to be at the end and it was fun following her journey.

This trilogy was so fun to read and the stories aren't very long so I managed to get through the entire series in less than three days...

Continue reading Trilogy Review / Hex Hall Trilogy by Rachel Hawkins

3 Dec 2015

Blog Tour / The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston

A year after her husband’s sudden death, ceramic artist Tilda Fordwells finally moves into the secluded Welsh cottage that was to be their new home. She hopes that the tranquil surroundings will help ease her grief, and lessen her disturbing visions of Mat’s death. Instead, the lake in the valley below her cottage seems to spark something dormant in her – a sensitivity, and a power of some sort. Animals are drawn to her, electricity shorts out when she’s near, and strangest of all, she sees a new vision; a boatful of ancient people approaching her across the water.

On this same lake in Celtic times lived Seren, a witch and shaman. She was respected but feared, kept separate from the community for her strange looks. When a vision came to her of the Prince amid a nest of vipers she warned of betrayal from one of his own. Prince Brynach both loved and revered her, but could not believe someone close to him wished him harm, even as the danger grew.

In her own time, Tilda’s grief begins to fade beside her newfound powers and a fresh love. When she explores the lake’s ancient magic and her own she discovers Seren, the woman in her vision of the boat. Their two lives strangely mirror each others, suggesting a strong connection between the women. As Tilda comes under threat from a dark power, one reminiscent of Seren’s prophecy, she must rely on Seren and ancient magic if death and disaster are not to shatter her life once more.

1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?

Ooh, how to choose! For the language? Hilary Mantel. I am in awe of her writing. For sheer storytelling fabulousness? George R R Martin. Ill wait for their calls.

2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?

In term time I work very much to school hours. That means Im usually at my desk by 8.30, fetch myself a cup of tea at 11.00, break for lunch at 1.00. Then stick my nose outside, tend to livestock (two guinea-pigs and a few chickens, so nothing too strenuous) and maybe walk the dog. Then I work again from 2.00 until the children get home at 4.00pm. If Ive a deadline looming (pretty much always) I try to fit in another stint of writing after 10.00pm when the house is quiet.

Not that Im tied to times, you understand!

Its easier to write in the school holidays now than it used to be, as my children are of an age where they will happily sleep in late, so I can get a couple of hours done before they are up.

I think new writers have an idea that to succeed they must spend a LOT of time actually writing, but it isnt until you are doing it, full time (or working round the day job), meeting deadlines, working to commissions, and so on, that you really feel what that means.

I plan my target word counts and plot them on a planner a year in advance. And if I get even close to falling behind, I begin to get a tightness in my chest, the only cure for which is putting in some extra shifts.

I either work at my desk under the stairs (oh, the glamour!) or in our little summer house by the pond. The pond is rather a distraction, so I have to limit myself. And I have a super-high-tech chair at my desk, which every writer should invest in if they value their back!

3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?

I would say the hardest part is staying focused on one idea. I am currently writing two different series of books, as well as working on stand alone projects, so my mind is a pretty hectic place.
It is normal practice for a writer to be playing around with ideas for one book, actually writing another one, editing a third, and promoting a fourth. Its just the way the business works sometimes. Keeping my attention on one thing at a time does not come easy to me. It is definitely something I have to work at.

4. When and why did you first start writing?

Ive always written and made up stories, even as a child. I didnt start showing my work to anyone until I was in my thirties. It was a huge step, going from privately inventing new worlds, thinking up stories, and creating characters, to letting strangers read and critique my work. You feel very vulnerable when people take your creation apart! When I was at home having my babies I embarked on an MA in Creative Writing, and I think it was the nearest I came to giving up writing! It is hard having your ideas challenged and your talent questioned. Looking back I can see it was hugely helpful, both for making me evaluate my work, and for developing that crucial pachydermal epidermis!

5. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I live close to Llangors Lake where the story is set. I am fascinated by the history of Wales, and this area is just alive with it. There really is a crannog on the lake, built for a Welsh prince, and so I was able to build on what we know of it to develop my story.
With The Silver Witch I focused on Celtic shamanism and beliefs, as well as thinking about the way how we see something influences what we feel about it. Vision and visions are very important in this book.

6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?

I read late at night, often sacrificing sleep to stay with a good book. I love historical fiction, and fantasy, but Im easily persuaded by a review, so if a book or a writer sounds interesting I cant resist giving it a go.
At the moment I am reading (and loving!) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Cant believe its taken me so many years to get to this gem!

7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

Its tempting to say run! Save yourself! But I know that if you are really a writer, no amount of anyone telling you to give up will make you stop. You have to be prepared for the long haul. True, there are overnight successes, but they are really rare. Most writers work away at their craft for y-e-a-r-s before they start to get anywhere. And even then there are no guarantees.

I wrote seriously and determinedly for nine years before my first novel was published. Thats a lot of rejections slips. During that time I sold some short stories, had some non-fiction published, and got shortlisted in a couple of competitions. I also did an MA and got an agent. In the end, though, what worked was just keeping at it. There came a point when I realised that even if I never got published, I would still write. That was quite a liberating moment.

Having said that, I am thrilled that my books are out there, and I never get tired of the thought that there are people in faraway corners of the world reading what I have written.
So I think my advice is, dont give up, but also, you have to enjoy the actual writing. Its no good being in it for gold and glory - there is precious little of either! If you arent excited every time you get the chance to get back to your characters and your very own world and spend time spinning their tales, youre in the wrong job.

Continue reading Blog Tour / The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston

1 Dec 2015


Book Review / The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

This guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this book featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

Published:     14th October 2014
Publisher:  Ten Speed Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Owned - Audio book

With the grand success of listening to The Witches on audio book, I decided to give it another go.  This time I decided to listen to something that I had not read before so I chose this one.  I wanted to listen to this while doing my housework and organising etc to see whether it would influence the way I tidy and organise and whether I could get inspiration from it as I work my way through my house.  This was an interesting read.  It was interesting more for what I found out about myself rather than actually following this as a step by step guide.  As this book works its way through your house advising you to do this, that and the other there were parts that I thought were a good idea and parts that I really didn't think would work in my home.  Through listening to this book, I found out that I am more of a organise bit my bit, stage by stage, type person rather than gather up all of a certain type of thing in the house and sort it out all at once.  It was something that I had not realised before but realised that this was true of most of the things that I do around the house.  I like to do things bit by bit, processing each thing as I go.  For example, if my living room needs sorting, organising etc I would start with a section and do that and then I would move onto the next thing rather than sorting the whole room at once.

Although there were parts that I decided not to do because I felt it would not work for me, I found this book to be very inspiring and found great hints and tips.  So I would say that if this particular way of tidying up (gathering up everything and organising it in one go) does not appeal to you, do give this book a go as you can get so much more out of it than just that.  OK, it does get a bit weird in places where she is, for example, thanking your socks for their good duty but I actually found that to be funny rather than annoying and had a giggle about it as it is not something I would do...

Continue reading Book Review / The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

30 Nov 2015


Month in Review / November 2015

Hi!!!  Its been a very interesting read month this month.  I decided to mix up my reading habits a bit to see what happens.  Firstly, I decided to try poetry with the book Chasers of the Light and absolutely loved it!  The love poems were beautiful and the format of the book was so pretty.  If you haven't tried poetry before and want to give it a go, I definitely recommend giving Chasers of the Light a try.  Secondly, I decided to try audio books.  It is something that I have tried and failed at liking many times in the past but wanted to give it a go.  This time I decided to take a book that I have already read before and loved and see what I thought of that in audio format.  I loved it!  I chose The Witches by Roald Dahl, a childhood favourite of mine (I also love the movie...).  I had always thought the Witches in this book were evil but the creep factor of the book definitely came out a lot more with the audio book.  If you haven't tried it, I would highly recommend that also! 

If I had to pick my favourite book of the month, that would be a hard choice because I really enjoyed all of them but would have to choose Chasers of the Light.  It was such a beautiful read I couldn't not pick it as my favourite!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert begins a smoking hot new series about the O'Malley family-wealthy, powerful, dangerous and seething with scandal.

Teague O'Malley hates pretty much everything associated with his family's name. And when his father orders him to marry Callista Sheridan to create a "business" alliance, Teague's ready to tell his dad exactly where he can stuff his millions. But then Teague actually meets his new fiancée, sees the bruises on her neck and the fight still left in her big blue eyes, and vows he will do everything in his power to protect her.

Everyone knows the O'Malleys have a dangerous reputation. But Callie wasn't aware just what that meant until she saw Teague, the embodiment of lethal grace and coiled power. His slightest touch sizzles through her. But the closer they get, the more trouble they're in. Because Callie's keeping a dark secret-and what Teague doesn't know could get him killed.

In "Mistletoe and Mr. Right," Jessica (not Jessie) takes a flying leap and follows her boyfriend home for the holidays for Christmas break, sure that Ireland will provide the perfect backdrop to the beginning of their happily ever after. But it turns out his family--and his gorgeous ex-girlfriend--don't feel the same way, and the only person making the trip worthwhile is the local farmhand, who has a way of showing up when Jessica needs him most . . . and least.

The holiday hijinks continue in "Sleigh Bells and Second Chances," when Jessica's best friend makes her own way across the pond! Christina Lake does not want to be away at Christmas, but it's her duty to babysit one of London's hottest bands at their last-minute concert on Christmas Eve . . . even though she had a fling with Cary, the band's lead singer, that never officially ended. Now forced to reconnect, Christina is starting to think that maybe London is exactly where she's supposed to be to get the perfect New Year's kiss--at least until she finds out that he's been lying the whole time. Can Cary find a way to prove himself before the clock strikes twelve? Or will the New Year ring in a new romance?

Lyla Payne wraps up two perfect holiday novellas, ties them with a ribbon of romance, and tops them with a light dusting of snow. Perfect to curl up with under the tree. Just add hot cocoa!

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sweet Ache comes a blistering new novel filled with danger, secrecy, and a desire that can’t be sated…

Foreign war correspondent Tanner Thomas is addicted to living on the edge. Needing the adrenaline rush of his job to help him cope with a personal loss, he throws himself back into the game, concentrating all his energy on getting the next big story.

But when he meets his new photojournalist, Beaux Croslyn, he can’t help but feel like he’s losing his focus—and maybe risking more…

With secrets she won’t address, Beaux is far from your ordinary woman. Determined to keep her distance, she’s willing to pull Tanner in closer and hide behind the sparks flying between them. But as Beaux’s past begins to put their relationship—and their lives—at risk, Tanner’s determination to find the truth puts them both in jeopardy.

He's ready to chase her to the ends of the earth to find out if what they had was real, or if the danger surrounding them was just an exquisite heat fated to burn out…

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Fall Away series who never fails to deliver a “powerfully written contemporary love story…”*

Former tennis player Easton Bradbury is trying to be the best teacher she can be, trying to reach her bored students and trying to forget her past. What brought her to this stage in her life isn’t important. She can’t let it be. But now one parent-teacher meeting may be her undoing…

Meeting Tyler Marek for the first time makes it easy for Easton to see why his son is having trouble in school. The man knows how to manage businesses and wealth, not a teenage boy. Or a young teacher, for that matter, though he tries to. And yet…there is something about him that draws Easton in—a hint of vulnerability, a flash of attraction, a spark that might burn.

Wanting him is taboo. Needing him is undeniable. And his long-awaited touch will weaken Easton’s resolve—and reveal what should stay hidden…

Carla Scofield has looked after her family since she was a teenager but it's never been a bother because there isn't anything she wouldn't do for those closest to her. Warm, friendly, and with the ability to make everyone around her laugh, she carries her burden proudly.
As the years roll past, Carla sees life around her change dramatically. Wartime brings new challenges and a new job for Carla in a sewing factory, and she shines. It also brings with it love and Carla has a chance at real happiness - but not everyone is rooting for her. With Christmas ahead of her, and her sights set firmly on love and the future, will she be too distracted to sense the danger before it's too late?
An East End Christmas is an emotional, compelling and page-turning story that will be perfect for fans of Katie Flynn, Annie Groves and Carol Rivers.

 New York Times bestselling author Darcie Chan returns to the enchanting town of Mill River in a heartwarming novel of family, self-discovery, and forgiveness. Perfect for fans of Maeve Binchy.

Josie DiSanti is starting over. Recently widowed, she has fled her New York City home with her two young daughters—spirited Rose and shy Emily—in tow. She takes refuge in Mill River, Vermont, to live with her only remaining relative, Ivy Collard, the local bookstore owner and a woman Josie barely knows. There, the young mother and her girls build a new life for themselves—until a shocking tragedy tears the sisters apart.

Years later, Josie’s still-estranged daughters return to the quiet town for the reading of their mother’s will, which stipulates that they must work together to locate a hidden key to a safe-deposit box containing their inheritance. Even from the great beyond, it seems Josie will do anything to bring about her daughters’ reconciliation. Having no choice but to go along with their mother’s final wishes, Rose and Emily move back to Mill River for the summer to begin the search—discovering that, in the close-knit community known for magic and miracles, an even greater treasure awaits them.

 The spotlight doesn't only shine. Sometimes it burns.

Being the bad-boy bassist for the world's hottest band has earned Griffin Hancock some perks: a big house, a fast car, and most importantly his incredible wife, Anna. The one thing it hasn't brought him is the spotlight. Anna tells him to be patient, that his talent will win out. But Griffin is through waiting for permission to shine.

Without warning, Griffin makes a shocking decision and takes the gamble of a lifetime. Suddenly he's caught up in a new level of lights, cameras, and chaos. One that pushes his relationship with Anna to its limits. Anna has always found his unpredictable behavior sexy, but lately he's seen an ache in her eyes--and it has his soul in knots. Just as the recognition Griffin seeks is finally within reach, the thing he loves most in life could be slipping through his fingers...

 1988. 12-year-old Harper Richardson's parents are divorced. Her mum got custody of her, the Mini, and five hundred tins of baked beans. Her dad got a mouldering cottage in a Midlands backwater village and default membership of the Lone Rangers single parents' club. Harper got questionable dress sense, a zest for life, two gerbils, and her Chambers dictionary, and the responsibility of fixing her parents' broken hearts. Set against a backdrop of high hairdos and higher interest rates, pop music and puberty, divorce and death, What a Way to Go is a warm, wise and witty tale of one girl tackling the business of growing up while those around her try not to fall apart

Continue reading Month in Review / November 2015

26 Nov 2015


Book Review / The Witches by Roald Dahl

This is not a fairy-tale. This is about REAL WITCHES. Real witches don't ride around on broomsticks. They don't even wear black cloaks and hats. 

They are vile, cunning, detestable creatures who disguise themselves as nice, ordinary ladies. So how can you tell when you're face to face with one? Well, if you don't know yet you'd better find out quickly-because there's nothing a witch loathes quite as much as children and she'll wield all kinds of terrifying powers to get rid of them. 

Roald Dahl has done it again! Winner of the 1983 Whitbread Award, the judges' decision was unanimous: "funny, wise, deliciously disgusting, a real book for children. From the first paragraph to the last, we felt we were in the hands of a master".

Published:     9th January 1989
Publisher:  Puffin
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Owned (Audio book)

I have read this book so many times I really cannot keep count!  The first time I read this book was when I was a young teen and loved it.  I loved it then and I loved it now.  I decided this time to try and listen to it on audio book rather than read it from a book.  In the past I have not found audio books worked for me but I wanted to give them another go with a book that I know I love and see whether that would change my mind.  I have to say that it did!  Whilst doing my housework on a rainy Saturday morning, I put this on and listened to the entire recording in one day.  By listening to it, I found there was an added creep factor that hadn't been there in the physical copy book.  I really enjoyed it and found that in between reading physical books and listening to audio books I might just be able to read a lot more than what I have been doing!  Anyway, back to this book!  This book has a lot of creepy aspects to it, including the witches themselves.  The witches in this book are really nasty horrible creatures who want to rid the world of children by killing them.  They decide really horrible ways of getting rid of them and are now moving on to bigger and better plans.

If you haven't read this before and like creepy witch stories, give this a go.  It might surprise you.  I would even go as far as to recommend the audio book if you want an extra creepy experience...

Continue reading Book Review / The Witches by Roald Dahl

24 Nov 2015


Book Review / The Years of Loving You by Ella Harper

From the award-winning author of PIECES OF YOU comes this enthralling love story, guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and dream upon a star…

What if your first love was your only love?

When Molly is diagnosed with a life changing illness, it feels like her whole world has come crashing down. She hopes the news will make her marriage to Sam stronger. But why does Molly always call best friend Ed in a crisis?

Ed. The very same Ed that Molly fell in love with at a party when they were teenagers, underneath a star-filled sky. Then life took them in very different directions. They could only ever be friends.

Suddenly Molly starts to question every decision she’s ever made. What if they could turn back the clock? Back to the very beginning. When the only certainty they shared was each other …

Published:     19th November 2015
Publisher:  Avon Books
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher

What I loved about this story...  
After reading her first book, Pieces of You, I was very excited to to read this new story.  Like with Pieces of You, this story does have a very large 'emotional pull' to the story.  It just pulls you in and you really feel for the characters, especially the main character Molly who is diagnosed with an life changing illness that for obvious reasons changes the way you think about life and relationships etc...  Right from the beginning I have to admit that I was hoping that Molly and Ed get together, which is the one question that doesn't really get answered until nearer the end of the book.  I didn't particularly warm very much to Sam, Molly's husband.  There are obvious reasons for this but won't go too much into that because of spoilers.  What I also enjoyed was that not only do we follow Molly and her story we follow Ed and his story.  His story was just as emotional as Molly's.  

Ella has a way of making characters feel real and the plot so addicting with plenty of twists and turns along the way.  I loved this story and can't wait for her next one!!

Continue reading Book Review / The Years of Loving You by Ella Harper