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Book review: Giant by Kate Scott

7 Mar

giant coverAnzo is 11 years old and very, very short. Mum, Dad and his two uncles are extremely tall but they’re also high achievers, obsessed with fulfilling their lifelong ambition of opening a restaurant together. Everyone has a role – chef, DIY, marketing, accounts – but where does Anzo fit in? If only he could grow a few inches in height, then no one would be able to overlook him. Josh would stop teasing Anzo in school, he wouldn’t have to play all seven dwarfs in the school play, and at home he could tell his parents about his drawing and the comic convention he’s been invited to.

Then, overnight, Anzo starts to grow. Is life as a giant going to solve all his problems, or should he stop worrying and learn to just be himself?

Today’s review is a combined effort between me and my son, Max. We read Kate Scott’s Giant together and both of us absolutely loved it.At February half term Max was asked to write a book review for his homework and he wrote about Giant. With Max’s permission I’ve included some parts of his work sheet in this review as illustrations.

Here, in Max’s words is his review.

“Anzo is an 11 year old boy. He really likes comics and wants to be a professional comic artist. At school his teachers call him ‘Peanut’ because FullSizeRender (4)he is so short. He wishes he was taller. He has a best friend called Elise – she is funny and she made me laugh. This is a very funny book.

Anzo is sometimes sad and annoyed because his family don’t notice him. Elise and Anzo have an adventure. I was excited because I’ve never been somewhere on my own like Anzo. This book is really funny and exciting. Apart from Harry Potter it’s my favourite book that I’ve read.”

I probably don’t need to say much after that :-) I’m always on the look out for great books to share with my boys and Giant is one of my all time favorites too. Max and I had such a lovely time reading it together and he kept pointing the funny bits out to me.

FullSizeRender (2)Kate Scott has got the voice of Anzo spot on and he is a very relatable character – Max certainly identified with him, especially around some of the teasing that Anzo experiences at school and as a Mum I was pleased that the book helped us to talk about topics that are sometimes difficult like feeling like you don’t fit in. I also loved Anzo’s best friend Elise with her many wise words and post-it notes. It was also lovely to see a well written and developed boy/girl friendship.

With fab illustrations and a great comic book related story line, I’d highly recommended this book for the 8-11 year age group and we’re already looking forward to reading more of Kate Scott’s stories.

5/5

Giant is out now in paperback from Piccadilly Press.

We’d like to thank the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book.

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My ten books of Christmas 2016 – festive reads filled with cheer!

20 Dec

I was planning to post this weeks ago but life got in the way! There’s still plenty of time to enjoy a festive book or two though and I’m hoping to work my way through as many of these as I can in the next couple of weeks!

Here’s what’s on my Christmas reading pile:

12 days of christmasTwelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber (Arrow)

I look forward to Debbie Macomber’s Christmas release each year and always read her latest in the run up to Christmas (read my reviews of Dashing Through the Snow and Starry, Starry Night ). Debbie’s books are full of warmth and always get to the real meaning of Christmas so I can’t wait to read Twelve Days of Christmas.

Julia is infuriated by her grumpy neighbour, Cain, who can’t even be pleasant when they bump into each other.

So on the suggestion of her best friend, Cammie, Julia concocts a plan. She starts a blog in order to clinch her perfect job, and now she has a subject. Over the next twelve days, she is going to kill Cain with kindness – and Christmas cheer – and document it for all to read about.

But as the experiment goes on, Julia realises she underestimated the effect it would have on Cain, and on their relationship, and things take an unexpected turn…

A Nightingale Christmas Carol by Donna Douglas A Nightingale Christmas Carol

Donna’s Nightingale Nurses series is a favourite of mine and I’ve read all of the books in it. I read this book last month and loved it (review here!) and if you haven’t tried the series yet you can definitely read this as a stand alone – it’s a great place to start.

All that Dora Riley wants is her husband home safe for Christmas…

The Nightingale Hospital, London, 1944: With her husband Nick away fighting, Dora struggles to keep the home fires burning and is put in charge of a ward full of German prisoners of war. Can she find it in her heart to care for her enemies?

Fellow nurse Kitty thinks she might be falling for a German soldier, whilst Dora’s old friend Helen returns from Europe with a dark secret.

Can the women overcome their prejudices and the troubles of their past to do their duty for their country?

winter magicWinter Magic curated by Abi Elphinstone

At the end of Noovember I won an amazing book advent (#bookvent) calendar from SJ at Books and the City, part of Simon and Schuster. I’ve been counting down through December opening a wonderful book parcel every morning – nothing will ever top it! Winter Magic is one of my favourite of my #bookvent books – I’m loving dipping into the magical stories; they are just the right length for bedtime reading!

A beautiful and classic anthology of frosty, magical short stories from acclaimed children’s writers such as Michelle Magorian, Berlie Doherty, Lauren St John and Katherine Woodfine, and edited by author Abi Elphinstone.

Dreamsnatcher’s Abi Elphinstone heads up this gorgeous collection of wintery stories, featuring snow queens, frost fairs, snow dragons and pied pipers . . . from classic children’s writers such as Michelle Magorian, Geraldine McCaughrean, Jamila Gavin, Berlie Doherty, Katherine Woodfine, Piers Torday, Lauren St John, Amy Alward, Michelle Harrison and Emma Carroll.

An unmissable, enchanting treat of a collection that will be enjoyed for years to come, by readers of all ages.

Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnsoncomfort food

I loved Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe so ordered a copy of this novella sequel as soon as it came out. At just over 200 pages its the perfect length to fit in at busy Christmas time and Debbie’s writing always makes me smile!

Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture.

Little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Cafe is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill, it’s a place full of friendship where broken hearts can heal, new love can blossom and where Becca’s Christmas miracle really could happen – if only she can let it…

Inviting readers new and old to pull up a cosy armchair, Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe is the novella-length follow-up to the 2016 best-seller Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe.

all wrapped upAll Wrapped Up (Geek Girl Special Book 1) by Holly Smale

I’m a huge fan of the Geek Girl series so I couldn’t resist a copy of this when I was in the supermarket one day. This is a lovey short and sweet story that takes place just after the first Geek Girl book and is filled with Harriet-style Christmas facts and more hilarious Geek Girl moments. A perfect stocking filler for Geek Girls of all ages!

Harriet Manners knows a lot about Christmas.

She knows that every year Santa climbs down 91.8 million chimneys.

She knows that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was almost definitely a girl.

She knows that the first artificial Christmas trees were made out of goose feathers.

But this Christmas is extra special for Harriet, because four days ago she had her First Ever Kiss.

Now she just needs to work out what’s supposed to happen next…

A romantic festive treat from the internationally bestselling award-winning author of the GEEK GIRL series. Also includes a BONUS previously unpublished GEEK GIRL short story TEAM GEEK!

lilac cottageChristmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

It was cover love at first sight when I saw Christmas at Lilac Cottage and this sounds like a wonderfully romantic Christmas read – I’m very much looking forward to discovering a new author in Holly Martin too!

Snow is falling on White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air . . .

Penny Meadows loves her cosy cottage with its stunning views over the snow-topped town of White Cliff Bay, but not even the roaring log fire can keep her personal life from feeling frozen.

That is until dashing Henry and his daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage for the festive season. And between decking the halls and baking delicious mince pies, Penny realises there is more to Henry than meets the eye.

With sleigh bells ringing and fairy lights twinkling, the ice-sculpting competition and Christmas Eve ball are in full swing. Will Penny be able to melt the ice and allow love into her heart? And will she finally have the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

stealing snowStealing Snow by Danielle Page

I’d had my eye on this book for a while – it sounds like the perfect winter fantasy romance read! I loved the two short stories that preceded the launch of Stealing Snow; Queen Rising and Before the Snow so I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave .

She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate.

A wonderfully icy fantastical romance, with a strong heroine choosing her own destiny, Danielle Paige’s irresistibly page-turning Snow Queen is like Maleficent and Frozen all grown up.

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by David Levithan and Rachel Cohntwelve days of dash

I read Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares back in 2012 (yikes!) and it’s one of the Christmassy books that is on my ‘keepers’ pile so I was veery excited (and of course had to buy a copy) when I spotted a sequel had been released! This is another short read so great for fitting in around the Christmassy chaos!

Dash and Lily have been dating for nearly a year, but when Lily’s beloved grandfather falls ill, the repercussions take their toll on everyone. Even though they are still together, somehow the magic has gone out of their relationship and it’s clear that Lily has fallen out of love with life. Action must be taken! Dash teams up with Lily’s brother and a host of their friends, who have just twelve days to get Lily’s groove back in time for Christmas.

mistletoeMistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson

A brilliant Christmas read from Lisa Dickenson – her best book yet! Read my review here to see why I loved it so much!

Olivia has never experienced a snow-covered, ‘traditional’ Christmas before. Having grown up in a family that chose winter sun over decking the halls, she’s not sure what all the fuss is about. So when she and her colleagues are stranded in New York after a work trip, Olivia is perfectly happy spending the holiday season in the Big Apple.

Jon, Olivia’s friend, on the other hand is desperate to get home in time for his big family get-together. Nevertheless, determined to make the best out of the situation, he sets out to show Olivia how enchanting Christmas in New York can be. And when handsome New Yorker Elijah is added to the mix, could the magic of the season finally be working its charm on Olivia? As 25 December draws closer, Olivia suddenly finds herself with a decision to make: who does she really want to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?

A Fairy Tale for Christmas by Chrissie Manby chrissie

A lovely cover and premise for Chrissie Manby’s latest novel – her books are always such a treat so I couldn’t resist adding it to the pile!

What could be more magical at Christmas than a fairy tale come true?

It’s the festive season and the members of the Newbay Theatre Society, more commonly known as the NEWTS, are preparing to put on a show. Being cast as Cinderella is the realization of a dream for newcomer Kirsty, not least because she hopes starring in a panto under the direction of her boyfriend Jon will bring them closer together.

But Kirsty soon learns that it’s not all glitter and good cheer behind the scenes at the amateur theatre as bitter rivalries nurtured through decades, wardrobe mishaps and suspicious near-fatal accidents threaten to derail the production. And then there’s Prince Charming himself. Will working together with Jon bring Kirsty her happy ever after… or reveal their love to be nothing but a ‘showmance’?

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s going to take more than a Fairy Godmother to get Kirsty and her cast-mates to the ball.

So there you have my Christmas picks – what are your recommendations for great reads this Christmas?

 

Five fab festive audiobooks (so you can ‘read’ whilst wrapping!)

15 Dec

2016 was the year that I got into audiobooks and now that I’ve discovered crochet my audiobooks are keeping me ‘reading’ while I work on my projects.

Audiobooks are great for keeping you company in the car or making repetitive tasks more interesting – I’m loving listening to Christmas stories while I wrap presents this year so here are my suggestions for a festive audio treat. I use Audible but other audiobooks are available.

christmas feastA Christmas Feast and other stories by Katie Fforde

Katie’s Christmas short stories are always favourites of mine so I was excited to see that they’d been brought together in a lovely festive collection and even happier that I can now listen to them!

A delicious Christmas feast of short stories from the Sunday Times number one best-selling author of A French Affair and The Perfect Match.

Add some extra sparkle to your Christmas by joining Katie Fforde for a perfect romantic Christmas feast of short stories. Collected together for the first time and including one brand-new story. Make your Christmas wishes come true….

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore Narrated by: Jeff Bridgesnight before

This is only short but its lovely and Jeff Bridges has the perfect voice for it! My sons both love this story/poem and we’ve been listening to it at bedtime in the run up to Christmas.

Academy Award Winner Jeff Bridges’ iconic voice brings the beloved holiday classic story “The Night Before Christmas” to life.

Celebrate the holiday season with the only audiobook of “The Night Before Christmas”, read by Jeff Bridges. No other narrator brings Santa and these merry scenes to life quite like Mr. Bridges – it’s an instant Christmas classic! Create a new family tradition as you add this audiobook to your holiday activities leading up to December 25th.

xmas factor audioThe Xmas Factor by Annie Sanders

This is my all time favourite Christmas book so it’s lovely to have an audio version too. You can read my review here: http://www.onemorepage.co.uk/?p=1872

Meet two women with two totally different approaches to the festive season. Beth: it’s only September and already she has performance anxiety. Not surprising when she has agreed to lay on the annual Christmas Eve village bash – the piece de resistance of her husband’s former wife – not to mention having to host Christmas for his difficult offspring. New to this frenzied build-up to the festivities, Beth begins to lose sight of what it all means. To her the Christmas lights are looking more like the headlamps of an oncoming train. Carol: glamorous magazine editor, who put her aspirational Christmas issue to bed sometime in July and is so involved in finding a scoop to save her ailing magazine that she fails to notice the impending festive rush. Panicked and wracked with guilt, she is determined to make it a picture perfect time for her little boy and, opting for convenience, books a lovely-sounding cottage in a quaint village. Even the best laid plans have a habit of unravelling – and no plan at all is a recipe for disaster. So when these two Christmases collide, it looks like it’s going to be anything but goodwill towards men…

christmas carolA Christmas Carol: An Audible Original Drama by Charles Dickens

This Christmas Classic narrated by a sparking star cast has just been released by Audible and if you’re a member it’s free to download at the moment!

Jenna Coleman, Miriam Margolyes, Derek Jacobi, Brendan Coyle and Roger Allam are amongst the celebrity voices coming together this Christmas in a brand new multi-cast dramatization of Charles Dickens’ ghostly Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol.

letters from fatherLetters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien Narrated by: Derek Jacobi

Another lovely listen for all ages with beautiful narration and music.

Can you imagine writing to Father Christmas and actually getting a reply?

 Every year, the children of J.R.R. Tolkien would write to Father Christmas, and the letters they received told wonderful stories of his adventures at the North Pole.

These humorous tales are brought to life by Derek Jacobi as Father Christmas, John Moffatt as Polar Bear, and Christian Rodska as Ilbereth the Elf, complete with specially composed music.

Do let me know what your favourite Christmas stories to listen to are – I’d love to add to my collection!

Happy listening!

 

Giveaway! Win a Matilda DVD and bag to celebrate Roald Dahl Day!

13 Sep

As I’m sure many of you will already know, today is Roald Dahl’s birthday! 2016 is also his centenary year. Did you know 2016 is also the 20th anniversary of the release of the film of Matilda – one of Dahl’s most loved books?

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We’re huge fans of Matilda in this house and it was an absolute pleasure to introduce my son to her world this summer as part of The Big Friendly Read.

In celebration of this special day, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has given me a fab new copy of the Matilda DVD bearing the new #RoaldDahl100 sticker and a gorgeous Matilda tote bag to give away to one lucky reader  – I so wish I could win this giveaway myself!

MATILDA CDR24512SEN_2D w sticker
To enter this giveaway just leave comment in the box below or re-Tweet one of my tweets with the link to this post or like one of my posts about this giveaway on my Instagram page. I’ll pick a winner using Random.org after the closing date.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Sunday 18th August. Good Luck!

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 2016 celebrates Matilda’s 20th anniversary and Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday. You can purchase Matilda on DVD via Amazon here.

 

Book Review: Personalised Ladybird books from I Just Love It

7 Jul

Many of you, like me, will have grown up reading lovely little hardback Ladybird books – I still have some of my childhood books and they are treasured possessions.  I’m also a huge fan of the recently released ‘Adult’ versions which give a cheeky update to the original format with titles like The Hangover, Mindfulness and The Mid-life Crisis. The books make brilliant presents and have become huge bestsellers and now, to add to the excitement, gift website I Just Love It have launched personalised versions!!

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Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to review the books and I Just Love It kindly send me and my husband a fabulous package of personalised treats to go with our books. So firstly, the books. I chose one of the ‘How It Works’ series: The Husband and had it personalised with Dave’s name.

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Not only do the cover and spine have Dave’s name on them but the original pictures used to illustrate the text also have his name subtely included and the text itself has both our names in places! Reading this book made me giggle so much and I’ll definitely be buying personalised copies of books for friends and family with special occasions coming up.

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To go with the book we also received a set of treats to try including personalised craft beer, a huge tube of ‘Pint Pots’ sweets and a fab ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Chocolate’ bottle opener and bottle-top set. I probably don’t need to tell you that Dave is a happy man and I’ve earned all the blogging brownie points this month. For those with an interest, the pale ale is from Ilkley Brewrey and I quote, “is really nice!” It’s the little details with these treats that make them special and the bottle labels that came with the warning “Don’t drink and blog” made us both smile.

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But for me, the treat to top them all was the second book in the package – a personalised version of The Elves and the ShoemakerThis was my absolute favourite book as a child and although my copy didn’t survive I can still remember the illustrations and having the story read to me as a little girl … I’m pretty sure that book has something to do with my shoe obsession as an adult!

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The personalised version is just beautiful. It’s exactly hhow I remember it and I will treasure it! I Just Love It are also offering Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs and Rapunzel for personalisation from the ‘Well Loved Tales Collection’.

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If you’re looking for a special gift or a different and personal surprise for the book lover in your life, I’d definitely recommend the personalised Ladybird books and do check out www.ijustloveit.co.uk for lots of other lovely gift ideas.

5/5

We’d like to thank I Just Love It for providing personalised Ladybird books and gifts for review. No payment was received for this review and all opinions given are our own based on the products that we received and tested.

April 2016 new releases – hot picks!

3 Apr

So, March was the month where we all took it in turns to be ill in our little family so I didn’t get as much reading or blogging done as I’d hoped. But with a sunny new month comes a fresh start and I’m very excited about the April new releases. Here are the ten books I’m hoping to read this month.

head over heelsHead Over Heels (Geek Girl Book 5) by Holly Smale (HarperCollins Children’s Books) April 7th

I’m such a big fan of Holly Smale’s Geek Girl Series I’m currently halfway through this book and think it’s the best yet!

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I will always be a geek.”

The fifth book in the bestselling, award-winning GEEK GIRL series.

Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.

She knows duck-billed platypuses don’t have stomachs.
She knows that fourteen squirrels were once detained as spies.
She knows that both chess and snakes and ladders were invented in the same country.

And for once, Harriet knows exactly how her life should go. She’s got it ALL planned out. So her friends seem less than happy, Harriet is determined to Make Things Happen!
If only everyone else would stick to the script…

But is following the rules going to break hearts for GEEK GIRL?

Who’s That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane (HarperCollins) 7th Aprilwho's that girl

Another fab read from the author of the bestselling You Had Me At Hello. The hardback has a beautiful pearly cover and this is a story that will make you giggle!

When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgy, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

passengerPassenger by Alexandra Bracken (Quercus Children’s Books) 7th April. 

I’m so excited about getting my hands on this book having seen the great reviews from the US release. I love books with a travel theme and this one has the added bonus of another favourite theme of mine – time travel!

New York City, present day

In one night, Etta Spencer is wrenched from everything she knows and loves. Thrown into an unfamiliar world, she can be certain of only one thing: she has travelled not just miles, but years from home.

The Atlantic, 1776

Captain Nicholas Carter is tasked with delivering Etta to the dangerous Ironwood family. They are searching for something – a stolen object they believe only she can reclaim. But Nicholas is drawn to his mysterious passenger, and the closer he gets to her, the further he is from freedom.

The Edges of the World

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey
across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by a desperate thief. But as Etta plays deeper into the Ironwoods’ game, treacherous forces threaten to separate her not only from Nicholas, but from her path home – for ever.

The Map of Bones (Fire Sermon Book 2) by Francesca Haig (Harper Voyager) April 7thmap of bones

Having loved The Fire Sermon, I’ve been eagerly anticipating book two in the series! Do check out the blog tour and look out for my stop on 9th April!

The second book in Francesca Haig’s critically acclaimed debut fantasy series.

The ashes of the past cannot hide the truth forever.

The Omega resistance has been brutally attacked, its members dead or in hiding.

The Alpha Council’s plan for permanently containing the Omegas has begun.

But all is not entirely lost: the Council’s seer, The Confessor, is dead, killed by her twin’s sacrifice.

Cass is left haunted by visions of the past, while her brother Zach’s cruelty and obsession pushes her to the edge, and threatens to destroy everything she hopes for.

As the country moves closer to all-out civil war, Cass will learn that to change the future she will need to uncover the past. But nothing can prepare her for what she discovers: a deeply buried secret that raises the stakes higher than ever before.

these days of oursThese Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton (Simon and Schuster) April 7th

I heard Juliet read from this novel at the recent Simon and Schuster Spring Blogger event and I can’t wait to hear more!

A novel about love. Raw important love. Small, beautiful love. And what happens when the person you love cannot be yours… Perfect for fans of Rowan Coleman, Jane Green and David Nicholls.
 
Kate and Becca are cousins and best friends. They have grown up together and shared all the most important milestones in their lives: childhood birthday parties, eighteenth birthdays, and now a wedding day as they each marry their childhood sweethearts, Charlie and Julian.
 
Kate has always loved Charlie – they were meant to be. Then she discovers that life never turns out quite how you expect it to. And love doesn’t always follow the journey it should.
 
But best friends are forever, and true love will find a way, won’t it…?

The Keepers: Ethan by Rae Rivers (HarperImpulse) April 7thEthan Cover

Rae was one of the very first authors I read from HarperImpulse and I’ve been hooked on her Keepers Series ever since. It’s finally Ethan’s turn in the spotlight and it’s a sizzling read!

“Going to Ameera to find Hazel. Stealing the spell … You think you can pull it off?” he asked.
She nodded, not trusting herself to speak.
Just as she thought he’d kiss her, he reached for her jacket and said, “Then let’s go.”

A portal to another world has opened, unleashing dangerous creatures on earth. A dark witch is out for revenge. The stakes are high, a war inevitable.

One person can stop the madness. Jenna. She’s a Keeper to a powerful hybrid witch but she harbours a secret and if Jenna steps through the portal – seduced by the whispers of her hidden past – she may never return.

Fortunately, she has company… infamous Bennett brother and fiercely protective Keeper, Ethan. Their whip-cracking banter makes them perfect sparring partners in training, but how will they manage when their lives and everything they were born to defend are on the line?

When the battle lines are drawn, will Jenna and Ethan stand side by side – as friends, protectors, lovers … or as traitors?

the obsessionThe Obsession by Nora Roberts (Piatkus) April 14th

I do love Nora Roberts! I actually squealed when the proof of this book was delivered!

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.

Now, at last, she has decided to put down roots. The beautiful old house on Point Bluff needs work, but Naomi has new friends in town who are willing to help, including Xander Keaton – gorgeous, infuriating and determined to win her heart.

But as Naomi plans for the future, her past is catching up with her. Someone in town knows her terrifying secret – and won’t let her forget it. As her new home is rocked by violence, Naomi must discover her persecutor’s identity, before it’s too late.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (Borough Press) April 21st eligible

A favourite author taking on one of my favourite books – I can’t wait to see how the two come together!

From the bestselling author of Prep, American Wife and Sisterland comes this brilliant retelling of Austen’s classic set in modern day Cincinnati.

The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City.

Liz and Jane are good daughters. They’ve come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.

Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family’s BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men . . .

Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he’s a reality TV star too. But Chip’s friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father’s mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn’t only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.

But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.

steeple streetThe Nurses of Steeple Street by Donna Douglas (Arrow) April 21st

I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed all of Donna’s previous Nightingales nursing series so I’m really looking forward to this book which starts a completely new series. And it’s set in Yorkshire – yay!

Welcome to the district nurses’ home on Steeple Street, where everyone has a secret…

Ambitious young nurse Agnes Sheridan had a promising future ahead of her until a tragic mistake brought all her dreams crashing down and cost her the love and respect of everyone around her. Now she has come to Leeds for a fresh start as a trainee district nurse. But Agnes finds herself facing unexpected challenges as she is assigned to Quarry Hill, one of the city’s most notorious slums. Before she can redeem herself in the eyes of her family, she must first win the trust and respect of her patients and fellow nurses.

Does Agnes have what it takes to stay the distance? Or will the tragedy of her past catch up with her?

The Assistants by Camille Perri (Corgi) April 21stthe assistants

I’m looking forward to discovering a new author with this debut. There’s a fab quote from  Paige Toon on the front cover –  an excellent endorsement!

Behind every successful man is a busy assistant and Tina’s boss is very successful.

But Tina is tired of being overworked and underpaid.
She’s bored of her damp flat and her mounting debts.
Then a blip in the expenses system sends Tina a cheque.
She’s a good person.
But she’s desperate.
This isn’t stealing.
It’s an administrative error.
Right?

What would you do if you thought you’d get away with it?

 


What are you looking forward to reading this month?

The One Where I Join A Book Club!

11 Mar

I’ve always wanted to be part of a real life book club so when a friend who lives round the corner suggested setting one up with some of the other mums from school, I jumped at the chance. Last night was the first meeting of the book (wine and cake) club and it was a resounding success! There are thirteen of us, so quite a big group and plenty of opportunity for discussion!

As last night was our first get together we hadn’t read a book in preparation but everyone had been tasked to bring one book suggestion with them. We all wrote the name and author on a piece of paper and put them in a hat. We drew them out to get an order and now have at least a year’s worth of reading to look forward to as we’re aiming to meet every 5-6 weeks.

I was really intrigued to see what our reading list would be and spent quite a while trying to decide on a title to throw into the hat! I’m really excited about the final list and of the 13 books on it I’ve only read two already! I’m looking forward to discovering new books and authors as the year goes on and getting to discuss them with friends. As we read the books below I’ll try to summarise the thoughts of the group!

Our reading list is:

  1. The Green Road by Anne Enright
  2. Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa
  3. The Blue by Lucy Clarke
  4. The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
  5. The Stranger by Harlen Coben
  6. Us by David Nicholls
  7. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  8. A Little Life by Hanya Yanaginera
  9. The Secret History by Donna Tart
  10. The Actual One by Isy Suttie
  11. The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies
  12. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker
  13. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Have you read any of these? Are you part of a book group and how does it work?

March 2016 new releases – hot picks!

1 Mar

Here are my ten books to look out for this month:

Plumberry-Part-1-430x669The Plumberry School of Comfort Food Part One: Food, Glorious Food by Cathy Bramley (Transworld March 3rd)

I can’t wait for this to download onto my e-reader on Thursday – guaranteed to be another delicious read from Cathy!

Verity Bloom hasn’t been interested in cooking anything more complicated than the perfect fish finger sandwich, ever since she lost her best friend and baking companion two years ago.

But an opportunity to help a friend is about to land her right back in the heart of the kitchen! The Plumberry School of Comfort Food is due to open in a few weeks’ time and has rather gone off the boil. It needs the kind of great ideas that only Verity could cook up . . .

But as Verity tries to balance stirring up publicity, keeping their top chef sweet and soothing her aching heart, will her move to Plumberry prove to be a sheer delight . . . or a recipe for disaster?

Vigilante by Shelley Harris (W&N March 3rd )vigilante

I love the sound of this book – perfect reading for Mother’s Day on Sunday :-)

For Jenny Pepper, housewife, charity bookshop worker and mum to a stroppy teen, life has become a little boring. She was once an actress, but now spends every day tidying up after other people.

Then, on her way to a party one night, Jenny bravely steps in to save a woman in trouble. Suddenly her world is exciting again – and she’s a hero. As she starts patrolling the streets of her small town, she feels more alive than she has in years. But when a real villain appears, Jenny’s daughter is in danger. Will she tell the police what she knows or go it alone and risk losing everything?

VIGILANTE is about an ordinary woman stuck in a rut – and the extraordinary lengths she’ll go to recapture her life.

madwomanThe Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell (Quercus, March 3rd)

A must read for fans of books, literature and of course, the Bronte sisters – look out for my review on publication day!

Think you know Charlotte, Emily & Anne? Think again. Samantha Whipple is the last remaining descendent of the illustrious Brontë family, of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre fame. After losing her father, a brilliant author in his own right, it is up to Samantha to piece together the mysterious family inheritance lurking somewhere in her past – yet the only clues she has at her disposal are the Brontë’s own novels. With the aid of her handsome but inscrutable Oxford tutor, Samantha must repurpose the tools of literature to unearth an untold family legacy, and in the process, finds herself face to face with what may be literature’s greatest secret.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin (Macmillan Children’s Books, March 10th)the thing about jellyfish

This sounds like a wonderfully quirky and poignant read and what a beautiful cover.

It’s peculiar how no-words can be better than words. How silence can say more than noise, or a person’s absence can occupy even more space than their presence did.

Suzy is 12 when her best friend, Franny, drowns one summer at the beach. It takes two days for the news to reach Suzy, and it’s not something that she can accept: Franny has always been a strong swimmer, from the day they met in swim class when they were just 5. How can someone all of a sudden, just no longer be there?

Suzy realizes that they must have got it wrong: Franny didn’t just drown – she was stung by a poisonous jellyfish. This makes a lot more sense to Suzy’s logical mind than a random drowning – cause: a jellyfish sting; effect: death.

Suzy’s journey to acceptance is quiet – she resolves to either say something important, or say nothing at all. But it’s also bursting with bittersweet humour, heart-breaking honesty, big ideas and small details.

song-of-the-skylark-326Song of the Skylark by Erica James (Orion, 10th March)

This is Erica’s twentieth novel – look out for my stop on her special celebratory blog tour later in the month.

Lizzie has always had an unfortunate knack of attracting bad luck, but this time she’s hit the jackpot. Losing her heart to her boss leads to her losing her job, and with no money in the bank, Lizzie finds herself forced to move back home with her parents. When she reluctantly takes another job, she meets Mrs Dallimore, a seemingly ordinary elderly woman with an astonishing past . . .

Now in her nineties, Mrs Dallimore is also coming to terms with her situation. Old age is finally catching up with her. As she and Lizzie form the bond of unexpected friendship, Mrs Dallimore tells the story of a young girl who left America before the outbreak of World War Two and, in crossing an ocean, found herself embarking on a new life she couldn’t have imagined.

As Lizzie listens to Mrs Dallimore, she begins to realise that she’s not the only person to attract bad luck, and that sometimes life has a way of surprising you .

The Ship by Antonia Honeywell (W&N 10th March)the ship

I love the paperback cover for this book – it’s so striking and the premise has me very intrigued!

Welcome to London, but not as you know it. Oxford Street burned for three weeks; Regent’s Park has been bombed; the British Museum is occupied by those with nowhere else to go.

Lalla has grown up sheltered from the chaos, but now she’s sixteen, her father decides it’s time to use their escape route – a ship big enough to save five hundred people. Once on board, as day follows identical day, Lalla’s unease grows. Where are they going? What does her father really want? What is the price of salvation?

bucket listThe Bucket List To Mend A Broken Heart by Anna Bell (Zaffre Publishing, 10th March)

This sounds like such a fun romantic comedy read.

Abi’s barely left her bed since Joseph, the love of her life, dumped her, saying they were incompatible. When Joseph leaves a box of her possessions on her doorstep, she finds a bucket list of ten things she never knew he wanted to do. What better way to win him back than by completing the list, and proving they’re a perfect match? But there’s just one problem – or rather, ten. Abi’s not exactly the outdoorsy type, and she’s absolutely terrified of heights – not ideal for a list that includes climbing a mountain, cycling around the Isle of Wight and, last but not least, abseiling down the tallest building in town …Completing the list is going to need all Abi’s courage – and a lot of help from her friends. But as she heals her broken heart one task at a time, the newly confident Abi might just have a surprise in store …

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber (Arrow, 10th March)moving on

A new Debbie Macomber book is always a treat and I’m looking forward to reading this one!

How do you move on after your life has fallen apart?

When Leanne and her daughter-in-law Nichole went through divorces at the same time, they compiled a list to help them move on from the heartbreak. Now, two years on, these unlikely best friends have managed to pick up the pieces, and love is on the cards for both of them.

Leanne’s friendship with Nikolai, one of her language students, has deepened into something more meaningful. And Nichole has finally allowed herself to trust a man again. Rocco is the complete opposite of her ex-husband, and though he’s a little rough around the edges, he has a heart of gold.

But just when it seems they’ve figured it all out, life throws up more challenges, putting their hard-won contentment at risk…

Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel by Jane Costello (Simon and Schuster, 24th March)

Dancing and moonlight and love and romance – I’m so looking forward to reading this book!

Learn to dance at The Moonlight Hotel, in the most romantic place in Britain…Beginners and singles welcome.

The Moonlight Hotel sits on the shore of England’s best-loved lake, Windermere, exuding vintage glamour. And in its ballroom weekly dance classes promise evenings filled with music, friends and fancy(ish) footwork.

When Lauren agrees to sign up, it’s because she loves the building so much; it holds the key to her most precious childhood memories and she always dreamed of dancing the night away under its roof. Even her newly single friends Cate and Emily aren’t going for the men, they’re going for the fun – although a little romance wouldn’t hurt …

Then comes the news that the hotel has been sold to a faceless budget chain, which has devastating plans in store. And the revelation that marks the start of a chain of events – both on and off the dance floor – that puts the strength of their friendship to the ultimate test …

The Last Queen of India by Michelle Moran (Quercus, 24th March)last queen

This sounds like just my sort of historical fiction!

1857, India.

At nineteen years old, Sita is the shining star of Queen Lakshmi of India’s imperial guard, having pledged herself to a life of celibacy in the name of protecting the young ruler.

When Sita agrees to train Lakshmi in the art of military combat, a close friendship develops between the two women. But trouble soon threatens – Lakshmi’s court is dangerously divided and rumours are rife that the country is at risk. Meanwhile, in London, advisors to Queen Victoria are looking to extend the power of the Commonwealth, and India is coveted as the next jewel in the imperial crown.

In the ensuing battle, will the bond between Lakshmi and Sita be broken for ever?

 

Audio Book News: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Narrated by Scarlett Johansson

25 Feb

ADBLCRE_Alice_Merch_banner_940x110._CB297305045_

image001 (5)Audible.co.uk has just released a fab new version of the classic Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The new release is performed by Golden Globe nominee and Tony Award-Winning actress Scarlett Johansson who you may know for her roles in films such as Lost in Translation, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Scarlett was joined in the recording studio by her sister, actress and accomplished audiobook narrator Vanessa Johansson, who served as director of this production. Vanessa has narrated dozens of audiobooks in her own right, and brought her own experience and unique perspective on the art form to the recording process.

“It was a great pleasure to work alongside my sister, Vanessa, to read aloud the great works of Lewis Carroll,” said Scarlett.  “Having grown up loving the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and reading many books aloud with Vanessa, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to share my love for Alice with an audience. I hope that this recording is enjoyed by not only those who are existing fans of the material, but also by new and curious readers, who may just be discovering Carroll’s work for the first time.”

image002

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is such a deliciously whimsical and curious story,” added Vanessa, whose audiobook credits span a variety of categories including children’s books, history, fantasy, biography, fiction, self-development and more. “We had such a blast dialoguing during the recording process, thinking about the characters, and creating an audio world for this book. I hope the joy that we experienced together comes across to listener.”

Find out more and download your copy at: http://www.audible.co.uk/alice

Book news: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

24 Feb

I’ve heard nothing but high praise for this book; a story of love, friendship, growing up, grief and jellyfish! I’ll be reading and reviewing this book soon but I just wanted to share the beautiful cover with you and show you what you have to look forward to next month!

the thing about jellyfish

 

Suzy is 12 when her best friend, Franny, drowns one summer at the beach. It takes two days for the news to reach Suzy, and it’s not something that she can accept: Franny has always been a strong swimmer, from the day they met in swim class when they were just 5. How can someone all of a sudden, just no longer be there?

Suzy realizes that they must have got it wrong: Franny didn’t just drown – she was stung by a poisonous jellyfish. This makes a lot more sense to Suzy’s logical mind than a random drowning – cause: a jellyfish sting; effect: death.

Suzy’s journey to acceptance is quiet – she resolves to either say something important, or say nothing at all. But it’s also bursting with bittersweet humour, heart-breaking honesty, big ideas and small details.

The Thing About Jellyfish is released by Pan Macmillan on 10th March.

You can find out more about this book and author Ali Benjamin at: http://alibenjamin.com/site/