Archive | May, 2011

Book review: Living With Feet Too Big for a Glass Slipper by Lynne Tapper

28 May

Welcome to the mythical kingdom of It Is What It Is, where everything is as it seems and people are the perfect performers in the game of life. In the year of 1212 B.R., Before Reason, the beautiful Princess Innocent is born in the Royal Borough of Look At Me, one of the many Drama Districts that constitute the Kingdom.Having been raised on the propaganda of the fairytale, Princess Innocent is ill-prepared for her life’s journey when she leaves the castle to find her one true prince. Unfortunately she finds Prince Badboy, Captain Unavailable, Lord Lie-A-Lot and Prince Rescue-Me, among others.Both a parody of the fairytale and modern-day satire on the search for love in all the weird and wacky places, Innocent’s fraught journey captures the essence of what it is to be fantastically human.A whimsical tale of magical realism that takes readers on a journey to a mythical Kingdom, Living with Feet Too Big for a Glass Slipper is the first of five in The It Is What It Is Chronicles.

I decided to read this book because it sounded as though it would be different to anything I’d read before and I love modern fairytales. Princess Innocent lives in a fairytale Kingdom populated by a whole host of princes, princesses, ladies, lords and no end of quirky and eccentric characters who are all very aptly named. At eighteen Innocent leaves home and goes out into the world of It Is What It is to make a life for herself. The book covers the next eleven years of her life as she looks for her One True Prince, encounters just about every dating disaster you could imagine, makes a lot of unsuitable friends (and the occasional good one), analyses her life a lot and finally learns to love herself.

Living With Feet Too Big For a Glass Slipper is very much a satirical take on both fairy-tales and modern life; part self help manual, part comedy romance, it’s a fun read with a huge cast. With characters such as Prince Bad Boy, Captain Unavailable, Lord Lie-A-Lot, Countess Confidence and Princess True readers will no doubt recognise elements of themselves, their friends and possibly even some disasterous dates! Each character is the focus of a chapter in Innocent’s life and a few do crop up more than once during the book but for me there were too just many characters to keep track of and by the second half of the novel my head was spinning!

The story moves at a fair pace as Innocent moves from Prince to Prince, tries to find a job, focuses on friendships instead of love and even tries therapy and self help manuals to help her find her true calling and the man of her dreams. At 260 pages, Lynne Tapper has certainly packed a lot in to this novel and the underlying message is appealing; love yourself before anyone will love you. Innocent’s adventures made me smile but I would have liked to have seen more development of fewer characters and a more involved story line; despite the whole book being about Innocent I didn’t really feel like I knew her at all at the end of it. After a promising start, I was disappointed that there wasn’t just a little more magic in this story.

2/5

Living With Feet Too Big For a Glass Slipper is the first in a five book series the Is What It Is Chronicles, the next of which will focus on Prince Rescue Me. You can find out more about Lynn and her books at: http://www.lynnetapper.com/index.php

I’d like to thank Felicity at Midas for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Book News: Cover reveal for Baby Be Mine by Paige Toon

26 May

Simon and Schuster revealed the cover of the much anticipated next book from Paige Toon yesterday and it’s very different from her previous covers but despite the fact that it won’t match the others in my Paige Toon collection ;-) I really like it.

I think it looks fresh and interesting and will really stand out on the shelves – I also like the use of lots of blue (my favorite colour!). I cannot wait to read this book which is the sequel to Johnny Be Good. Baby Be Mine is out on 21st July:

He’s not mine, is he?
That’s the question I fear the most.
You see, I have a secret. My son is not fathered by my boyfriend, but by one of the most famous people that ever lived. And he doesn’t even know it.

Meg is terrified. She lives in the South of France with her doting boyfriend Christian, their beautiful son Barney has just turned one, and life should be idyllic. But she is living a lie – a lie that will turn their lives upside down and inside out. Because, as every day goes by, Meg’s son looks less and less like Christian.
How much longer can she keep her devastating secret from him, from her parents who live nearby, from Barney? How much longer before the whole world realizes that the father of her child is none other than Johnny Jefferson, wild boy of rock, constantly in the headlines, constantly in Meg’s thoughts?

Cover compare: The Birthday Party by Veronica Henry

25 May

Delilah Rafferty has lived out her tempestuous marriage to hell-raiser Raf in the full glare of the media spotlight. Now, from the luxurious comfort of her beautiful kitchen, Delilah is planning her birthday party, a night that will see a star-studded gathering of friends and family celebrate in traditional Rafferty style. But she has more on her mind than just invitations… Raf has been offered a part in a movie he can’t refuse. But will that mean he’ll succumb to the temptations he’s struggled so hard to resist for the last ten years – beautiful women and too much wine? And Delilah’s three daughters, Coco, Violet and Tyger, are building careers of their own, only too aware that the press are waiting for them to slip up. For although the Rafferty girls might look like angels, they are only human. As with all families, there are secrets and rivalries bubbling away, and on one gloriously starry night, it’s all going to come spilling out This is your invitation to a birthday party of the year…

I treated myself to the hardback of this book when it came out and thought it was a cracking read. I really loved the purple sparkly cover (it as one of the main reasons I splashed out on the hardback!) so I was surprised to see such a change in style for the paperback release which is out on 21st July. On the one hand I like that the paperback cover matches that of The Beach Hut which came out last summer but I think the hardback cover goes with the story better. Either way The Birthday Party is a great summer read but which cover do you prefer?

June new book release preview – on my wish list

24 May

 

There are lots of fab summer books being released in June but I’ve narrowed it down to six of my favourites …

Love and Freedom by Sue Moorcroft
Released 1st June
Published by Choc Lit
Website:
http://www.suemoorcroft.com/

I absolutely love the cover for this book and the story sounds great too!

New start, new love. That’s what Honor Sontag needs after her life falls apart, leaving her reputation in tatters and her head all over the place. So she flees her native America and heads for Brighton, England. Honor’s hoping for a much-deserved break and the chance to find the mother who abandoned her as a baby. What she gets is an entanglement with a mysterious male whose family seems to have a finger in every pot in town. Martyn Mayfair has sworn off women with strings attached, but is irresistibly drawn to Honor, the American who keeps popping up in his life. All he wants is an uncomplicated relationship built on honesty, but Honor’s past threatens to undermine everything. Then secrets about her mother start to spill out … Honor has to make an agonising choice. Will she live up to her dutiful name and please others? Or will she choose freedom?

 

The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond
Released 2nd June

Published by Pan
Website:
http://www.lucydiamond.co.uk/

I’ve not read anything by Lucy Diamond before but I’ve heard lots of good things about her books and I love Cornwall so this sounds like a good summer read.

Evie Flynn has always been the black sheep of her family – a dreamer and a drifter, unlike her over-achieving elder sisters. She’s tried making a name for herself as an actress, a photographer and a singer, but nothing has ever worked out. Now she’s stuck in temp hell, with a sensible, pension-planning boyfriend. Somehow life seems to be passing her by. Then her beloved aunt Jo dies suddenly in a car crash, leaving Evie an unusual legacy – her precious beach cafe in Cornwall. Determined to make a success of something for the first time in her life, Evie heads off to Cornwall to get the cafe and her life back on track – and gets more than she bargained for, both in work and in love…

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors
Released 6th June
Published by Bloomsbury
The bright cover for this book initially caught my eye but having read the synopsis the plot sounds gripping and this is a ‘must read’ for me!
When you’re the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalised for mental illness. After putting on a brave face for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue and the Queen can’t write it. Alice needs a story for her mother – and she needs one fast.That’s when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol’s voice in her head and see things she can’t explain, she must face the truth – that she’s either inherited her mother’s madness, or Errol is for real!

 

The Single Girl’s To-Do List
Released 9th June

Published by Harper
Website
: http://www.lindseykelk.com/

The third book on my ‘Most Anticipated Chick Lit Books of 2011‘ list. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time – it sounds like a perfect summer read :-)

Meet Rachel Summers: a twenty-something make-up artist whose life is very much going to plan. She has a job she loves, a lovely long-term boyfriend, a great flat in north London and some fabulous friends. The next phase in her masterplan is to buy a house, have a baby, move to a bigger house, have another baby, get a 4×4. Simple.

Well, not quite as Simon, Rachel’s boyfriend, suddenly decides that they should take a break. Rachel’s convinced it’s just a three-year itch but, four months later, they are still living under the same roof but sleeping in separate bedrooms.

It’s time for an intervention as Emilie and Matthew, Rachel’s best friends, can no longer bear to watch Rachel suffer anymore. As they try to convince her to move out and move on, they come up with the ultimate break-up cure – the single girl’s to-do list. A list of of all the things Rachel should see and do in her newly single life.

But nothing could have prepared them for the hilarious adventures that are about to unfold as the to-do list takes them around London and abroad, and proves to them all that love is out there if you’re willing to take a chance on it…

Witches of the East by Melissa de la Cruz
Released 21st June

Published by Sphere
Website
: http://www.melissa-delacruz.com/

I’m a huge fan of Melissa’s Blue Bloods series so was very excited when she announced a spin off adult series about witches set in the same world.

It’s the beginning of summer in North Hampton, and beautiful Freya Beauchamp is celebrating her engagement to wealthy Bran Gardiner, the heir to Fair Haven and Gardiners Island. But Freya is drawn to Bran’s gorgeous but unreliable brother Killian, and sparks fly when the two decide to play a dangerous game, following an ancient story of love, betrayal and tragedy that harks back to the days of Valhalla.

Witches of East End follows the Beauchamp family—the formidable matriarch Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid. Freya, a sexy bartender, has a potion to cure every kind of heartache, while Ingrid, the local librarian, solves complicated domestic problems with her ability to tie magical knots. Joanna is the witch to see when modern medicine has no more answers; her powers can wake the dead. Everything seems to be going smoothly until a young girl, Molly Lancaster, goes missing after taking one of Freya’s irresistible cocktails. As more of the town’s residents begin disappearing, everyone seems to have the same suspects in mind: the Beauchamp women.

About Last Night by Adele Parks
Released 23rd June

Published by Headline
Website
: http://www.adeleparks.com/

The plot for this book has me really intrigued – I can’t wait to read it!

For thirty years, best friends Stephanie and Philippa have been practically inseparable. There’s nothing they would not do for one another. Until a few simple words change everything. I need you to say that I was with you.’ Steph, eternally solid, considerate and dependable, is begging her best friend to lie to the police as she’s desperately trying to conceal two shocking secrets to protect her family. Pip, self-consigned to the role of scatty, frivolous hot-head is overwhelmed; she’s normally the one asking for help in a crisis although never anything as catastrophic as this. Both women have always believed that friendship is built on mutual selflessness, compromise and trust. Are those beliefs now to be tested beyond endurance?

Those are my hot picks for June – what are you looking forward to reading next month?

Book review: The Maid by Kimberly Cutter

23 May

(From the cover) It is the early part of the fifteenth century and the tumultuous Hundred Years War rages on. The French city of Orleans is under siege, English soldiers tear through the countryside wreaking destruction on all who cross their path, and Charles VII, the uncrowned king, has neither the strength nor the will to rally his army. And in the quiet of her parents’ garden in Domremy, a twelve-year-old peasant girl, Jehanne, hears a voice that will change her life – and the course of European history.

The tale of Jehanne d’Arc, the saint and warrior who believed she had been chosen by God to save France, and who led an army of 10,000 soldiers against the English, has captivated our imagination for centuries. But the story of Jehanne – the girl – whose sister was murdered by the English, who sought an escape from her violent father and a forced marriage, who taught herself to ride, and fight, and lead, and who somehow found the courage and tenacity to convince first one, then two, then tens, then thousands to follow her, is at once thrilling, unexpected and heart-breaking. Sweeping, gripping and rich with intrigue, betrayal, love and valour, The Maid is an unforgettable novel about the power and burden of faith, and the exhilarating and devastating consequences of fame.

Before reading this book I knew very little about Joan of Arc save for her unpleasant demise; burned at the stake at the age of 19 and the fact that she was given a posthumous sainthood.  I knew nothing of her background or the details of her deeds at all. If I’m honest,  the Hundred Years War period of history wouldn’t be my favourite era and I’m not a big fan of books with lots of battle scenes  but having read The Maid, Kimberly Cutter has done such a good job of bringing Jehanne (Joan) to life on the page and telling her story that I was completely drawn in and I found the detail of how she rallied people for her cause, fascinating.

The Maid feels very much like a personal account of Jehanne’s life. The majority of it is narrated in the third person but there are snippets of Jehanne’s thoughts written in the first person and woven into the book almost as though she is commentating on her own story which really pulled me in.

Despite the fact that Jehanne’s story is based on her deep religious faith, the book didn’t feel overtly religious and Jehanne’s visions and the voices she hears are dealt with in a way that makes them an essential part of the story but that emphasises Jehanne’s own will above all. Jehanne’s willpower and strength was the most amazing part of this story for me; the fact that a young peasant girl could find the will to follow her convictions, defy the gender constraints of the time and convince others to follow her to the point where she led an army of  ten thousand is an impressive story; the fact that the story is true is amazing and made The Maid a compelling read for me.

The book feels very well researched and although I’m no expert, the historical detail felt very accurate. I did find parts of the battle scenes quite gory but no doubt realistic. Some of the more colourful language used surprised me and wasn’t what I expected, but in context it made sense and I thoroughly enjoyed the way Jehanne dealt with it!

Although the book deals predominantly with Jehanne, there are some interesting minor characters, my favourites of which were The Duke of Alencon (Charles VII’s  first cousin) who becomes something of a confidante to Jehanne and Yolande, Queen of Sicily (Charles’s mother in law) who is very much the political spin doctor of the book.

As the book drew to a close, I found Jehanne’s fall from grace as she struggles with her fame and is manipulated politically, hard reading and couldn’t help wish the story had ended differently. In The Maid, Kimberly Cutter has made a very real person out of a legend, putting onto the page in a believable way, the thoughts and feelings that Jehanne might of experienced and creating an historical account that is well worth reading.

4/5

You can find out more about The Maid and Kimberly Cutter and dowload the first chapter of the book at: http://www.themaidbook.com/

I’d like to thank Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book.

Book review: Jenny Lopez has a Bad Week by Lindsey Kelk

19 May

Jenny Lopez is miserable. Having spent the summer working in LA, she’s back home in New York, and missing the three key elements in a girl’s life – a roommate, a job and a boyfriend. Jenny formulates a plan; surely someone must need a roommate and surely someone must need a girlfriend? By the end of the day, she has arranged a viewing for a potential roommate, the gay blond aka the Sex God, secured two dates, and work looking after a top supermodel. Things look like they are back on track; everything is going to work out great. If only life was so easy…

This is more of a mini-review as this is a short story and I don’t want to give away the plot but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed this book. It made for a very pleasant couple of hours reading on my train journey the other day and I really enjoyed being back in Angela’s world.

For those who haven’t read Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart … series (books set in New York, Hollywood and Paris), Jenny Lopez is main character Angela’s best friend, the one who picks her up and puts her back together when she first arrives in New York and the girl who is always there for her. We didn’t see much of Jenny in the last book (Paris) so it was lovely to catch up with her on her move back to New York.

This book is an easy, fun read and Jenny’s adventures over the course of just one week made me smile. I thought it was great to get to know a secondary character in more depth and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Jenny next.

If you haven’t read any of the series yet, don’t worry – this short story stands on its own and is a good taster for the I Heart … books and if you have read and enjoyed books in the main series, you’ll definitely want to catch up with Jenny.

5/5

Jenny Lopez has a Bad Week is out now as a free digital download available from Amazon or iBooks. Lindsey Kelk’s new standalone novel The Single Girl’s To-Do List is released on 9th June.

Event write up: Headline Bloggers Party

17 May

Friday 13th May was a very exciting day for me; my first book blogger event. There was much happy dancing when the invite to the Headline Bloggers Party popped into my mailbox and it exceeded all of my expectations so I’d like to start by thanking Maura, Sam, Helena and the rest of the Headline team for putting on a super event and letting us loose with some of their top authors!

It was great to meet some of my fellow bloggers too and almost as soon as I arrived I got chatting to Hadassah (Adventures of a PR Princess) and Mel (High Heels and Book Deals) two fab ladies whose blogs you must check out if you haven’t already.  It was also lovey to meet Matt (http://teenlibrarian.co.uk/), Sarah (http://www.feelingfictional.com/), Jackie (Farm Lane Books) and Carolyn (Book Chick City).

I’m afraid I didn’t manage to get any photos but I did get some exciting book news and previews of upcoming Headline titles! The event started with a video presentation about the latest books from Headline. So many exciting and lovely new books to look forward to but the highlights for me were (click the thumbnails for the full cover images):

About Last Night by Adele Parks (hardback released on 23rd June)

For thirty years, best friends Stephanie and Philippa have been practically inseparable. There’s nothing they would not do for one another. Until a few simple words change everything.  I need you to say that I was with you.’ Steph, eternally solid, considerate and dependable, is begging her best friend to lie to the police as she’s desperately trying to conceal two shocking secrets to protect her family. Pip, self-consigned to the role of scatty, frivolous hot-head is overwhelmed; she’s normally the one asking for help in a crisis although never anything as catastrophic as this. Both women have always believed that friendship is built on mutual selflessness, compromise and trust. Are those beliefs now to be tested beyond endurance?

Heaven Scent by Sasha Wagstaff (paperback released on 12th July)

When Cat Hayes impulsively marries a handsome, penniless French waiter in St Tropez, she didn’t realise she’d be widowed in just a few weeks. Neither did she know that her late husband was actually Oliver Ducasse, heir to the Ducasse perfume empire. Invited by the Ducasse family to their glamorous French mansion, Cat finds a family in chaos. What’s more she’s regarded her with suspicion and hostility, especially by Olivier’s playboy cousin Xavier. Will she run for the hills as fast as her high heels can carry her? Or will she realise that she is exactly what this mixed-up family truly needs?

All for You by Sheila O’Flanagan (hardback released on 7th July)

As TV’s favourite weather forecaster, Lainey is good at making predictions. But what she doesn’t foresee is that her own life is about to hit a stormy patch. With a string of failed relationships behind her, surely history isn’t about to repeat itself with her beloved Ken? To add fuel to the fire, her estranged mother announces that she’s returning to Dublin. Deanna has always been dismissive of Lainey’s choices – particularly in men. And Deanna’s lectures are the last thing Lainey needs now.

Yet is there more to her mother than she knows? Uncovering some long-concealed family secrets, Lainey begins to reassess her life. Is the happy-ever-after she’s always dreamed of really what she wants after all?

The Thread by Victoria Hislop (hardback released on 27th October)

Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a fire sweeps through the thriving multicultural city, where Christians, Jews and Moslems live side by side. It is the first of many catastrophic events that will change for ever this city, as war, fear and persecution begin to divide its people. Five years later, young Katerina escapes to Greece when her home in Asia Minor is destroyed by the Turkish army. Losing her mother in the chaos, she finds herself on a boat to an unknown destination. From that day the lives of Dimitri and Katerina become entwined, with each other and with the story of the city itself.

Thessaloniki, 2007.  A young Anglo-Greek hears the life story of his grandparents for the first time and realises he has a decision to make. For many decades, they have looked after the memories and treasures of people who have been forcibly driven from their beloved city. Should he become their new custodian? Should he stay or should he go?

We were also treated to two fab sneak peeks of books that will be out next year both of which have gone straight onto my wish list:

Pure by Julianna Baggott (released February 2012)

A futuristic dystopian novel about a society of haves–the Pure, who escaped the apocalypse and live in an uncontaminated dome-covered city–and have-nots–the wretched survivors who live in the nearly-destroyed outside world.

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters. We will, one day, emerge from the Dome to join you in peace. For now, we watch from afar, benevolently. Pressia Belze has lived outside of the Dome ever since the detonations. Struggling for survival she dreams of life inside the safety of the Dome with the ‘Pure’. Partridge, himself a Pure, knows that life inside the Dome, under the strict control of the leaders’ regime, isn’t as perfect as others think. Bound by a history that neither can clearly remember, Pressia and Partridge are destined to forge a new world.

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

(Synopsis taken from Lyndsay’s website: http://www.lyndsayfaye.com)In the summer of 1845, following years of passionate political dispute, New York City at long last formed a Police Department.

The potato, a crop that can be trusted to yield reliable nutrition from barren, limited space, had long been the base staple of the Irish tenant farmer.  By the summer of 1845, newspapers worldwide had begun to report anxiously that an infestation called “blight” was laying waste to potato crops throughout Ireland. These twin events would change the city of New York forever.

Timothy Wilde is a reluctant, newly minted NYPD.  One night while making his rounds, he runs into, literally, a little slip of a girl —covered head to toe in blood. When she claims she knows where dozens of bodies are buried, Timothy finds himself tracking down a brutal serial killer seemingly hell bent on fanning the flames of anti-Irish immigrant sentiment…and engaged in a battle for the truth that nearly costs him his brother, his romantic obsession, and his own life.

Having heard all about the books, it was time to meet some of the authors! The following lovely literary ladies and gents were present and very kindly signed their books :-)

* Jonathan L Howard : http://www.johannescabal.com/
* Julia Crouch : http://juliacrouch.co.uk/
* Geraint Anderson : http://www.cityboy.biz/

The finale to the event was a fiendish but fun quiz, the highlight of which for me was being on the same team as Jill Mansell (we came a respectable third!). Needless to say I went home a very happy book blogger. Thank you Headline!


Book news – book gossip

16 May

This week’s book news has a New York theme …

Free e-book by Lindsey Kelk!

Focusing on Jenny, Angela’s best friend in the ‘I Heart …’ series, Lindsey Kelk has published a short story called Jenny Lopez has a Bad Week and the even better news is that it’s free to download until May 23rd! You can find it on Amazon or iBooks. I’ve downloaded my copy and will hopefully have a review up later this week.

Jenny Lopez is miserable. Having spent the summer working in LA, she’s back home in New York, and missing the three key elements in a girl’s life – a roommate, a job and a boyfriend. Jenny formulates a plan; surely someone must need a roommate and surely someone must need a girlfriend? By the end of the day, she has arranged a viewing for a potential roommate, the gay blond aka the Sex God,secured two dates, and work looking after a top supermodel. Things look like they are back on track; everything is going to work out great. If only life was so easy…

From Notting Hill with Love… Actually … the sequel!!!!

I’m so excited about this snippet of news from Ali McNamara. I loved From Notting Hill with Love …Actually and I’m even more excited that the sequel is going to be set in my favourite city, New York. Just thinking about the huge number of brilliant films set there, I cannot wait to find out what Scarlett gets up to! Ali announced the news on her new website which looks great and the lucky lady is going to New York for a research trip soon. Have a fab time Ali!

Cover Love: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? By Claudia Carroll

I was browsing Amazon earlier and this cover caught my eye. The plot has me intrigued so this is another book added to the summer reading wish list. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? is released on August 18th.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder…doesn’t it?

What happens when two people decide to give themselves the year off…from each other?

Annie and Dan were the perfect couple. But now the not-so-newly weds feel more like flatmates than soul mates and wonder where all the fun and fireworks went …

When Annie lands her big break in a smash-hit show that’s heading for the bright lights of Broadway, she’s over the moon. Goodbye remote Irish village of Stickens, hello fabulous Big Apple! But with their relationship already on the rocks, how will Annie and Dan survive the distance?

They’re hitting the pause button on their marriage. One year off from each other – no strings attached, except a date to meet in twelve months at the Rockefeller Centre to decide their fate.

Will they both turn up? Or is it too late for love?

Book review: Ellie Andrews has Second Thoughts by Ruth Saberton

12 May

Ellie Andrews is finally getting married. Or she will be if she drinks enough champagne to pluck up the courage for her trip down the aisle. The problem is that after months spent bickering over menus and table placements, Ellie’s never felt more distant from the man she’s supposed to be spending the rest of her life with. As last minute nerves take hold, a night of soul-searching sees Ellie reflecting back on old flames in a bid to reassure herself she’s making the right decision. There’s Rupert – adoring but dull; Jay – the teenage crush; Marcus – sexy but toxic; and Xander – a true friend. But as the sun rises and the ceremony looms ever closer, Ellie is still unsure if she’s doing the right thing. Then an unexpected encounter turns her world upside down. Should she take a chance? Or should she stick with the choices she’s made? As Ellie makes her way to the church, only one question remains: who will be waiting for her at the altar?

I’d like to start this review by thanking Ruth Saberton for saving me from an incredibly dull hour and a half in a hospital waiting room the other day. Ellie Andrews has Second Thoughts is a fun and original novel that made me laugh out loud and I was so caught up in Ellie’s adventures that I almost missed my name being called for my appointment :-)

Ellie Andrews is the type of girl that you’d want to sit down and have a good giggle with; a down to earth heroine who not only made me chuckle but was also very easy to identify with. I found myself smiling in a knowing way so many times through the book at Ellie’s thoughts and comments. Ellie is the ugly duckling in a family of tall blonde beauties. Her four older sisters have all made ‘good’ marriages and Ellie struggles between asserting her independence and trying to keep her Mum (who just wants to see her settled) happy. There’s something a little bit Pride and Prejudice about Ellie’s relationship with her mum and sisters that I found really endearing.

There are two threads of storyline running through the book; the first in the present as Ellie awakes on her wedding day and begins to prepare (and panic!), the second told in flashback as Ellie reviews the events and men that have led to her impeding nuptials. As the story unwinds with short chapters counting down the minutes to the wedding interspersed with longer sections recounting the ups and downs of Ellie’s love life over the last year, the reader has no idea who will be waiting at the altar for Ellie, only that she’s having last minute doubts. I really liked the structure of the book. It kept me guessing right to the end and is cleverly written.

Despite her less than flattering perception of herself, Ellie seems to have no trouble attracting a string of gorgeous, rich and famous (in some cases infamous) men which include amongst themselves a rock star and a politician! The four main male characters are well written and throw in some entertaining twists to the story. Xander and Jay in particular are both very crush worthy and I found myself rooting for both of them to end up with our heroine at different times.

But the story isn’t just about Ellie and her suitors. There are a number of quite dramatic sub plots which bring out the more serious parts of the storyline and keep the pace moving nicely. Ellie’s quirky friends Sam (hippy environmental activist) and man-eater Poppy both have their own parts to play and Ruth has worked her signature animal character into the plot brilliantly with Serendipity the dog.

This is Ruth’s second novel and like her first, Katie Carter wants a Hero, is a fun romantic read that will leave you with a lovely warm glow. Ellie Andrews is my favourite leading lady of the year so far and if you love chick lit I’m sure you’ll love this book – fresh, original, funny and highly recommended!

5/5

I’d like to thank Ruth and her publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.

You can find out more about Ruth and her books at: http://www.ruthsaberton.co.uk/RuthSaberton.co.uk/

Book review: Destiny by Louise Bagshawe

10 May

Orphan Kate Fox is determined to make her mark in the world, and with her gorgeous looks, what better way to secure her future than to marry money? When she attracts the attention of media mogul Marcus Broder – sophisticated, powerful and wealthy beyond measure – it seems as though all of Kate’s dreams have come true.

But marriage to Marcus isn’t everything she imagined. A closet filled with designer clothes, and nothing to do with her time but shop, lunch and be beautiful, does not bring happiness. Before long, Kate wants out of her marriage, a career of her own, and a chance at love. But Kate’s reputation as a gold-digger is sealed. Ruthlessly pursued by Marcus, who will stop at nothing to destroy her, Kate knows she has to defeat her past if she is to win the trust of the man she loves.

Destiny is the first of Louise Bagshawe’s books that I’ve read. I was drawn to the book by the striking cover and the fact that it is set in my favourite city; New York. I love the use of the New York skyline silhouetted on the cover and from the synopsis I was looking forward to a story of triumph over adversity.

Main character Kate does indeed make good, but her success comes at a price. Full of glamour and drama, the book follows Kate’s journey from the point where she is orphaned at age sixteen into her thirties. I’m a big fan of stories like this that follow a character as they grow up and I love a good ‘rags to riches’ story but I did find it a challenge to really warm to Kate in the early parts of the book. Bagshawe makes it clear that Kate is gorgeous and that she uses her beauty to get her what she wants. It is clear that Kate isn’t stupid but she decides to pursue a path advocated by her mum that will see her marry a rich man and never to have to worry about paying the bills. Whilst I could understand Kate’s desire to make a better life for herself, I found it a hard to warm to her gold digger approach in the early parts of the book.

Thankfully Kate’s ambitions are balanced by those of her best friend Emily who is the opposite of Kate in looks and ambition. Emily sets up her own magazine and is very much happy focusing on her career. She acts as a good balance to Kate and the friendship between the two women made me more sympathetic towards Kate in the early part of the book.

My enjoyment changed dramatically once Kate realised that marriage to a rich man wasn’t everything and saw her husband (the very unlikeable Marcus Broder) for what he really was; a power hungry man with little regard for women. For me, the second half of the book was brilliant and I was absolutely caught up in Kate’s attempts to stand on her own feet and make a career for herself. I enjoyed reading as Marcus became a ruthless enemy and there were a number of good twists and turns to the story as well as good dash of romance leading to an explosive ending that I really enjoyed.

Destiny would make a fab beach read this summer and is an interesting look at beauty and power versus career and ambition with its mix of high fashion, millionaire media owners and trophy wives providing a page turning read.

4/5

I’d like to thank Emily at Headline for sending me a review copy.

You can find out more about Louise Bagshawe and her books at: http://www.louisebagshawebooks.com/index.html