Thursday, 1 March 2012

Read of the Month - February

The past month seems to have just flown by! Already it's March and the sun is out, which hopefully means that Spring is finally on it's way (Yay!). During February I only managed to read four books, which isn't a lot in comparison to how many I usually get through. However, there was one that definitely stood out from the rest, and it was Carole Matthews' new book Summer Daydreams.

I am a huge fan of Carole's books and think I have read most if not all of them now. Aside from having a gorgeous cover what I liked about this book was the story and the characters featured throughout. Nell is the main character in the story, she's a mum that works hard to provide for her family in the local chip shop. However, when her friends and work colleagues see that she has so much more potential they encourage her to follow her dreams of making and selling her very own range of handbags.

From the very beginning I could see that all of the characters were going to be a joy to read about, and it was clear from fairly early on how much they cared for and wanted the best for Nell. Due to this I found them a joy to read, there were no ulterior motives and they were just all round good people. My favourite character in the book though had to be Nell's four-year-old daughter Petal who was a right little character. I thought she had some great little lines in the book, which at times made me chuckle and she was a character that really jumped off the page and came to life for me. 

I found the story featured in the book interesting as it showed the various different sides of business, from the hard-work required to get one off the ground and the sacrifices people have to make to keep them afloat, to the feeling when things go well and the business starts to become a success.

Overall, this is a very good read and one that I'd highly recommend, along with Carole's previous books.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Read of the Month - January

I read nine books during January, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed and would happily recommend. Earlier on in January I reviewed Linda MacDonald's Meeting Lydia, which you can read here if you missed it. It was definitely a contender for my Read of the Month, but it was just pipped to the post by JoJo Moyes' new book Me Before You, which was the last book I read in January and which I only finished last night.

I really enjoyed JoJo's previous novel The Last Letter From Your Lover which I read back in 2010, so I was looking forward to Me Before You. Then, when I heard that the book had been selected as part of Richard and Judy's Spring 2012 Book Club and I started reading more and more sparkling reviews for it, I was even more eager to get my hands on a copy.

The book centres around Lou and Will. Will who was involved in an accident is struggling with life and how it the accident has changed things for him. So when Lou enters his life she does her best to change his perception on the world around him.

I am pleased to say that the book exceeded all my expectations. It was brilliant and I read it in just three days, and with the book coming in just short of 500 pages that's not always the easiest thing to do! I loved the story from the beginning and thought it was a great (and somewhat brave) topic to explore - I've certainly never come across a storyline like it in any book I have read before. The two main characters, Lou and Will were great and I couldn't fault them. They kept me turning the pages because they were both so interesting and brought out the best in each other. Even the supporting characters in the book were interesting to read about and I thought that there was a nice combination of characters all thrown together in the book. I also liked that there were several chapters told from a different character's point of view, I felt this helped to see things briefly from a different angle and also gave a slight break from the emotion that Lou was feeling. It also enabled me to see how Lou and Will's loved ones felt about what had happened to Will.

As you can see I loved this book and can't recommend it highly enough. The story was thought-provoking and emotional and a joy to read and I can't wait for JoJo's next one!

Other books that I read during January that I'd recommend are:
  • Build A Man by Talli Roland
  • Home For Christmas by Cally Taylor
  • One Minute To Midnight by Amy Silver

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Book Review: Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald

Last week I read Meeting Mydia, the debut novel by Linda MacDonald, and as I thoroughly enjoyed the book I thought I would write a review of it for you all to read. I first heard about Meeting Lydia after speaking to Linda on Twitter. I quickly added it to my Amazon Wishlist (which is growing longer by the day!) and I bought it shortly after receiving my Kindle at Christmas.

The main character in Meeting Lydia is Marianne, a 46-year-old Psychology teacher, struggling to deal with her daughter flying the nest, the woman Marianne believes is spending far too much time with her husband, and attempting to come to terms with the effect that being bullied at school has had on her by seeking out one of the only people she remembers not bullying her on Friends Reunited.

Meeting Lydia is like no book I have read before. It looks at everything from a psychological angle - understanable as the author is a Psychology teacher herself. Having studied Pyschology myself when I was at Sixth Form several years ago, I have a keen interest in the subject and so found this book interesting and intriguing. However, I don't think you have to be in to Psychology to enjoy this book. Marianne is a character the reader can really connect with and as so many aspects of her life are explored, I'm sure many will be able to connect with her and her story in some way and enjoy the book.

Since reading this book I have discovered that Linda is in the process of writing it's sequel, which she hopes to release later this year. I personally can't wait to read it and am looking forward to its release.

Meeting Lydia is out now and can be purchased from Amazon (UK site)

Monday, 9 January 2012

Me and my Kindle (Egg)

As some of you may know, I was lucky enough to receive a Kindle for Christmas. And I've been having a great time playing with my new toy. I have over 50 books downloaded already, although I am now starting to worry when I am going to find the time to read them all, particularly as I have a pile of paperbacks still to get through and there are lots of new releases I'm looking forward to reading over the coming year too.

My Grandparents bought me my Kindle, and I thought I'd share with you the conversation that led to its purchase as it made me chuckle and is the reason behind the title of this blog post. It goes as follows:

Nan: What would you like for Christmas?
Me: A Kindle, please.
Nan: A Kinder Egg?
Me: No. A Kindle.
Nan: What's that?
Me: It's a device you can read books on.
Nan: *Silence* A Kindle Egg?

And there you have it! I may be the only owner of a Kindle Egg, thanks to the words of my Nan! And do you know what? I've even taken to calling it just that.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

In 2012 I'm Looking Forward to Reading . . .

I read some great books last year, and have been reading through the list of books due for release this year. There looks to be some great books hitting the shelves over the coming 12 months, so I thought I'd comile a list of the ones I'm looking forward to getting my hands on. I was going to make a list of 10, but I've ended up with 13 instead (oops!)

Jane Costello - All The Single Ladies
Jane's books alwas make me laugh out loud. They have great stories and humour dotted throughout them, and I love the short and snappy chapters she writes too!

Paige Toon - One Perfect Summer
My favourite author! I could read Paige's books over and over again - in fact I have! I love Paige's story telling, her characters and the way she makes me feel like I am experiencing exactly what her characters are when I am reading her books.

Sophie Kinsella - I've Got Your Number
The Queen off Chick-lit and the writer of the fabulous Becky Bloomwood, Shopholic series. I love the series and her one-offs (possibly even more). I've Got Your Number sounds like a great read and is one I can't wait to get my hands on.

Melissa Hill - The Charm Bracelet
Melissa always manages to put some unforgettable twists and turns in her stories that take me by surprise. I'm looking forward to see what she's got in store in her book which is out later this year.

Ali Harris - The First Last Kiss
Ali's debut novel Miracle on Regent Street was released at the end of last year, it was a feel good, Christmassy read and I voted it my Read of the Month back in November. I thought there was something special about her writing style and characterisation, so I can't wait to read more of her work.

 Jill Mansell - A Walk in the Park
I have read every single one of Jill's books and have loved them all, so I'm not going to stop now. Jill's stories are were down-to-earth, her female leads are likeable and she always comes up with a corker of a story.

 Ali McNamara – From Notting Hill To New York… Actually
The follow up to From Notting Hill with Love . . . Actually, a book I adored! I can't wait to see where the next installment takes us and what antics are in store for Scarlett. 

Roisin Meaney - One Summer
First of all I can't wait to see the cover for this as her last two novels have had mouth-watering covers. Roisin is a great writer and story-teller and manages to connect an array of characters in a charming way, which I am hoping for more of with this one.

 Allie Spencer - Summer Nights
Allie is an author I discovered last year. Summer Loving was a read I loved from the very first page and I read the entire book in a little over a day. It was light-hearted, fun and had some lovely characters in it. I am hoping Summer Nights will grip me just as quickly as her previous novel.

Carole Matthews - Summer Daydreams
I love Carole's books! They're charming, well-written and feature touching stories and characters. She writes short, snappy chapters which are my favourites and always fly through her books.

Miranda Dickinson - When I Fall In LoveI've only read one Miranda Dickinson novel so far, although I aim to read her other two at some point this year. Miranda has a lovely writing style and a real knack at telling a great, heart-warming story. I look forward to following her writing progress of this book on her blog and then reading it when it's released at the end of 2012.

Pippa Wright - Unsuitable Men
Pippa's debut novel Lizzie Harrison Loses Control was released last year and I loved it! It was real feel-good chick-lit and Lizzie was a fun and likeable character, so I'm hoping Unsuitable Men will also be a great read.

Victoria Connelly - The Runaway Actress
I remember reading and loving Molly's Millions by Victoria several years ago and have read all her books since. This is her first book away from the Jane Austen series that she has released over the past couple of years, so I am looking forward to what this one is going to hold.

So that's just some of the books I'm looking to reading over the coming year. What's everyone else looking forward to?

Monday, 2 January 2012

Chick Lit Challenge 2012

Samantha over at ChickLitPlus is running a reading challenge, which I have just signed up to take part in. 

The rules of the reading challenge are:
  • Challengers will read 12 chick lit books throughout 2012. You can (obviously) read more books of other genres, but you need at least 12 chick lit to count for this challenge.
  • Two of the twelve books need to be from debut authors. The debuts should be released in 2012.
If you're interested in signing up to the Chick Lit Plus 2012 reading challenge, you can find out more about it here

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Read of the Month - December

I hope every one had a great Christmas and got everything that they wanted. I was lucky enough to get a Kindle, so I've been happily buying and downloading lots of new books. I've no idea when I'm going to get round to reading them, though!

It's been a busy month for me. Aside from Christmas there's been lots of family birthdays and partys, while I also decided it was a good idea to decorate a couple of weeks before Christmas - it wasn't as I ended up with presents in boxes I couldn't get to, and a missing strawberry hair masque that still hasn't surfaced. Despite all this I managed to read seven books this month, which isn't bad considering. So, my read of the month for December is:

The Time of my Life by Cecelia Ahern

Earlier this year Cecelia Ahern released a short story collection book called Girl in the Mirror which I was really disappointed with, so I was somewhat dubvious about how I would find The Time of my Life. I needn't have worried though as it was great. 

The book tells the story of Lucy who gets an invitation to a meeting with her life. She then finds herself facing up to all sorts of things she has buried and tried to hide as her life fights with her to confront it all. Yes, the premise of this story sounds slightly odd, but it works. Cecelia Ahern has such a great imagination and uses it to come up with a creative and innovative story in the form of The Time of my Life, and I can safely say that I have never come across a story like this before.

The characters are interesting and flawed, and that's what made this book for me. I particularly liked the character of Lucy's life as he really jumped off the page and stood out for me. While Lucy was a character who I thought was easy to relate to and who I really rooted for.

I'm not reading anything at the moment, but in January I want to read One Minute to Midnight by Amy Silver, Home for Christmas by Cally Taylor (Yes, I'm still on the Christmas books!) and Ella Kingsley's Confessions of a Karaoke Queen.

Other books I have read this month which are worth checking out are:
  • Working it Out by Nicola May
  • It Started with a Kiss by Miranda Dickinson