Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Bear With Me!

Hello you lovely lot! Just wanted to let you know that it may be a little quiet on here for the next couple of weeks as I am in the process of moving house. Reading is the only thing keeping me sane though so I will have plenty of reviews to share with you once I am back up and running. I am also mulling over the possibility of doing some vlogs but we shall have to see what our internet connection is like.

See you all soon

Dot
xx

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Book Review: Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

Hallie has a secret. She's in love. He's perfect for her in every way, but he's seriously out of bounds. And her friends aren't going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie doesn't have long to live. Time is running out.
Flo has a dilemaa, She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won't be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming frriends- let alone anything more.
Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type and she's afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.
Three Amazing Things About You begins as Hallie goes on a journey. A donor has been found and she's about to be given new lungs. But whose?

Publisher: Headline Review
Pages: 382
Publication Date: TODAY! 

Three Amazing Things About You is Jill Mansell's latest fantastic book. I read it in just over a day and it reminded me how much I enjoy this author's writing.
Hallie is the central character, she is only 26 but she has cystic fibrosis so she is very aware that her time is limited. She has very strong feelings for Luke but she can't act upon them as while Luke is a good friend he is also her GP. Hallie keeps her feelings a secret but how will she take it if he meets someone else?
Flo is another lovely character and she becomes more and more important as the book develops. Her attraction to Zander is a shock to her but she completely underestimated his nightmare sister who will do everything she can to wreck their happiness.
Tasha meets Rory in a very entertaining way but she can't believe how quickly she falls in love. He's a complete adrenalin junkie and his friends question whether she is too sedate for him. When their relationship is put under a huge pressure, Tash shows to everyone just how much she loves Rory and will do all she can to be by his side.
These separate characters come in to each other's lives at several points without interacting; they may just be in the same place or mention a shared acquaintance. I think this really helped explore the idea of fate, how much of our destiny do we actually control?
I think that one of the things Jill Mansell does best is the interaction between her characters. Her dialogue is effortless which makes them more believable.
Cystic fibrosis is a big issue to approach and I felt that it was handled really well. I know somebody who has cystic fibrosis and I really did feel that it was clear to see that Jill Mansell had done her research. I was very impressed with how this book will raise awareness about cystic fibrosis and organ donation.
Three Amazing Things About You had me in tears at the end. It is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it.

Many thanks to NetGalley for a review copy of this book. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Book Review: The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews

Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop from her beautiful garden. She whips up airy sponges and scrumptious scones, while her customers enjoy the lovely blossoms and gorgeous blooms. Looking after the cake shop, the garden, and her cantankerous mother means Fay is always busy but she accepts her responsibilities because if she doesn't do all this then who will?
Then Danny Wilde walks into her life and makes Fay question every decision she's ever made.
When a sudden tragedy strikes, Fay's entire world is thrown off balance even further and she doesn't know which way to turn. Can Fay find the strength to make a life changing decision even if it means giving up the thing she loves the most? Life, love and family are about to collide in  The Cake Shop in the Garden.
Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 432
Publication Date: Hardcover and Ebook available now, paperback published 23rd April

The Cake Shop in the Garden, in my opinion, is Carole Matthews' best book! I think it is possibly her longest at 432 pages but I devoured it very quickly.
Fay Merryweather is the central character, she runs The Canal Side Cafe from her childhood home with the help of her Russian assistant Lija. She loves running the cafe but it is also a necessity as she is the sole carer of her mother. There is not actually anything medically wrong with Fay's mum but she took to her bed several years ago and is refusing to budge

. Fay's sister Edie couldn't care less, she lives in New York and hasn't visited for years. She only really contacts Fay if she needs her to move some money to her ever dwindling bank account.So Fay has a lot  to deal with; she does have a long-term partner Anthony but he seems to be more interested in his hand-bell ringing hobby than putting any effort into their relationship.
Fay is just plodding along, she knows that she's not necessarily happy but she feels trapped by it all, especially her responsibilities to her mother. Danny Wilde turns up on his boat one morning at the bottom of Fay's garden and makes her realise that she deserves so much more. He quit his job in the city and is looking for work so he ends up helping Fay tidy the garden ready for the summer. The attraction between them is instant and palpable but Fay has Anthony and the business to run whereas Danny is just embarking on a new adventure. Fay's world is thrown into even more turmoil when tragedy strikes at the heart of her family. Will she be able to hold it all together and does she really want to?
I loved, loved, loved Fay! I could have shaken her at times but she is a brilliant character. You get a real sense of the weight of responsibility she has on her shoulders; she doesn't do anything without thinking about how it will affect everyone else first. Danny is exactly what she needs; someone to give her a jolt so she notices that life is just passing her by.
Lija, Fay's assistant is one of the best characters Carole has ever created. She is feisty, loyal to Fay and very, very funny. She provided me with many laugh out loud moments and was one of my favourite parts of the book.
There was a huge and brilliant twist at the end of the book which I in no way saw coming. I really couldn't believe what I was reading, Carole really pulls it out of the bag with this one!
I think people are going to love The Cake Shop in the Garden, it's a great story, good characters, a few surprises, humour, warmth and plenty of cake, what's not to like?

Many thanks to the very lovely Carole Matthews for sending me a copy of her fabulous new book! 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

One abandoned baby. Two sisters with a secret. One chance to rewrite the past.
Over seventy years have passed since sisters Rose and Connie Doughty found an abandoned baby near their home on the island of Scribbly Gum. With no one to take care of it, Rose and Connie took the baby in as their own.
Since then the 'Munro Baby Mystery' has brought fame and fortune, putting Scribbly Gum on the tourist map, especially for the Island's annual celebration.
But now, with Connie dead and outsider Sophie Honeywell about to move into her home, Rose beings to wonder if they made the right decision all those years ago. How much longer can they cover up the lie that has sustained their community for generations? And what other secrets are about to be revealed?
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 416

Liane Moriarty is fast becoming the Queen of secrets and lies! All of her books revolve around characters keeping information from each other or bending the truth in some way and The Last Anniversary is no exception.
Sister's Connie and Rose are at the centre of 'The Munro Baby Mystery' the sister's found Alice and Jack Munro's house abandoned and their tiny baby sleeping in the crib. Nobody came forward to claim her so they brought Baby Enigma up as their own.
The sisters and Enigma's children and grandchildren all live in Scribbly Gum Island which has become a very lucrative tourist spot due to the Munro mystery.
It is all thrown into disarray when Connie dies; she leaves her house to Sophie Honeywell, a complete outsider but one who is fascinated by the Island's secrets. Rose, the sister left behind is no longer constrained by Connie to keep the secrets that have been fuelling the island for over seventy years. Rose is tired of the lies but how will the family react to her revelations?
Liane Moriarty is fabulous at drawing the reader into the story from the very beginning. The Last Anniversary is very clever in the way it has a very subtle  but sinister undertone running through it. You know that this twee little island run by two twee little old ladies is not all it seems and then you are intrigued to find out the truth. Moriarty throws in several twists at the end, making this a very memorable book.
The Last Anniversary has been a great start to my reading in the New Year. I very much enjoyed the mystery element of the book and I felt that Liane Moriarty looked at some particularly interesting and serious ideas. I hope that this author has a new book out soon and she just gets better and better.

Many thanks to Katie at Penguin for sending me a copy of the book to review, The Last Anniversary is out now. 

Saturday, 3 January 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

A whirlwind romance.
A perfect marriage.
Hannah Reilly has seized her chance at happiness. Until the day her husband doesn't come home...
Can you ever really know what happened before you met?

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 276

This book is very difficult to review without giving the plot away but I will try my best.
Hannah Reilly married Mark and has moved back to the UK from New York after a whirlw
ind romance. She is madly in love and settling into her new role until Mark doesn't come home. He was supposed to be in New York but his assistant thought he had taken Hannah to Rome. Can you really trust someone you've not known long, even if he is your husband?
Before We Met took me a little while to get into but the plot was well thought out and the characters very believable, especially Hannah's husband Mark. I felt that Hannah was very closed off as a character but as I got to the end of the book I felt that it explained her relationship with Mark and how she reacted to him.
The last few chapters were gripping and there were a few surprises thrown in to. Lucie Whitehouse has built up a huge amount of tension , I was almost pleased that the book finished as I felt as though I was holding my breath.
If you're a fan of Lucie Whitehouse's books then I'm sure you will enjoy this one. Before We Met is quite an edgy read and poses a lot of questions about the people we love.

Monday, 8 December 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Married by Midnight, a Christmas Story by Talli Roland

Christmas is coming...and so is the biggest day of Kate's life.
While choosing a vintage dress for her Christmas Eve wedding, Kate finds a cryptic note pinned to the inside of a 1930's gown. As doubts about her own ceremony loom, Kate is determined to track down the dress owner and determine what became of her and the marriage.
Will Kate find the answers she's seeking to propel her down the aisle, or will her discovery prompt her to call off the wedding for good?
I hardly ever read short stories but Talli Roland has opened my eyes to how enjoyable they can be. I read Married by Midnight in just over 40 minutes and it put me in a really good mood for the rest of the day.
Kate has had a bit of a whirlwind engagement an
d is due to get married on Christmas Eve. When trying on her vintage wedding dress she finds a mysterious note pinned in it and it leads her to search for the previous owner of the dress. In doing so she raises questions about her forthcoming marriage and it is not clear whether she will be walking down the aisle or not.
The story had an excellent pace and I loved the mystery element to it. The festive setting made it a perfect story for this time of year and I really liked the characters created by Talli Roland too. I do love getting involved in a full length book but I will definitely be reading more short stories from now on; they're great for this time of year when we're all so busy.

Many thanks to Talli Roland for sending me a copy of Married by Midnight, it's available now!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan

Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear; it's going to take all their strength and the support of their families and friends to hold them together... After all, don't they say it takes a village to raise a child?

Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 383 

I have read the other two Rosie Hopkins books by Jenny Colgan so I was chuffed when I realised that Jenny's latest festive read was all about Rosie too. Don't worry if you've not read the others (I would highly recommend them) as the first chapter summarises everything you need to know.
Rosie and Stephen are still living in the beautiful village of Lipton, Rosie running her Aunt Lillian's sweetshop and Stephen teaching at the local school. They are just beginning to plan their wedding when their world is turned upside down. Rosie and Stephen's future becomes very uncertain when they realise they need to move from Lillian's beautiful cottage. Stephen's mother, Lady Lipton is still as frosty and his sister is also back on the scene from New York and after her inheritance. Things seem bleak for the couple and Christmas is just round the corner, they are both thinking it will be their last in the village that has been their home and sanctuary.
Jenny Colgan writes such enjoyable books, I purposely read this to get myself in the festive spirit and it certainly did the trick. Rosie and Stephen are both fantastic characters, I was rooting for them to sort their problems out. The book is warm and very funny but Jenny Colgan does not shy away from the real issues so you get a bit of everything on this book.
I think that Christmas books are very difficult to get right, they do need to have a lot of sentiment whilst avoiding being twee. Jenny Colgan gets the balance just right and I would highly recommend The Christmas Surprise as part of your festive reading or perhaps to give as a gift.

Many thanks to Victoria at Sphere for sending me a copy of The Christmas Surprise to review. 

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