Archive | September, 2013

Book review: Model Misfit (Geek Girl 2) by Holly Smale

30 Sep

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am still a geek.”

Harriet Manners knows a lot of facts.

She knows that humans have 70,000 thoughts per day.

She knows that Geek + Model = a whole new set of graffiti on your belongings.

And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.

But Harriet doesn’t know where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives. And with her summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get away.

Can Harriet cope with the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes?

Will geek girl find her place on the other side of the world?

I loved Geek Girl when I read it earlier this year so I was very excited to get my hands on the second book in the series. I was even more excited when I realised that Holly Smale has worked her magic again and produced a sequel that I loved just as much (maybe even more!) than Geek Girl. Let’s face it  – second books, and especially those in a series can be tricky but Holly has has done it again and Model Misfit is one of my favourite books of the year so far.

From the opening chapters I was hooked and found myself laughing at/with Harriet as she tries to cope with a complicated love life, a changing family situation and an international modelling assignment all during her summer holidays from school!

Harriet is well and truly back and as witty and wacky as ever but what I particularly loved about this book was that Holly Smale didn’t stick just stick with familiar characters from the first book but introduced a fab cast of new friends and frenemies and I loved kooky step-grandmother Bunty and Harriet’s Japanese model flatmates – especially Rin and they certainly kept Harriet’s adventures fresh and interesting!

It was also great (in most cases!) to be back with my favourite characters; stalker Toby, Lion Boy and agent Wilbur, although I did find myself (mentally) shouting at Lion Boy a fair bit during this novel. Wilbur’s endearments are as funny as ever with my favourite moment being when he called someone ‘my little flip-chart’ – I’m resisting the temptation to use this at my next work meeting ;-)

A large part of this book is set in Japan and Tokyo in particular and you can tell that Holly Smale loves the country and has spent time there. I visited Tokyo on a three day stopover once and absolutely loved it too. Holly has really captured the craziness and beauty of the city and had my dying to hop on a plane to go back and explore some more. And when it came to the bit about the Bullet Trains I got really excited and had to share the facts with my train-obsessed five year old!

Japan is the perfect backdrop for Harriet’s modelling assignment and as she finds herself in a series of increasingly surreal scenarios (that in true Harriet style, don’t go particularly well) I was turning the pages as fast as I could to find out what happened next. There are some brilliants twists in the story and I loved that it kept me guessing as to what was going on. With a heart-melting and heart-warming ending I was sad to see this book end and I can’t wait for more!

5/5

Model Misfit is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book via Netgalley.

Find out more about Holly and her writing at: http://holsmale.com/

 

Book review: It's Got to Be Perfect by Haley Hill

29 Sep

When Ellie Rigby hurls her three-carat engagement ring into the gutter, she is certain of only one thing, that she has yet to know true love.

Following months of disastrous internet dates and conflicting advice from her dysfunctional friends, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Although now, instead of just looking for a man for herself she’s certain her life’s purpose is to find deep and meaningful love for all of the singles in the world.

Five years on, running the UK’s biggest matchmaking agency, and with hundreds of engagements to her name, she has all the answers she needs.

She knows why eighty-five percent of relationships fail. She knows why twenty-eight is the most eligible age for a woman. She knows that by thirty-five she’ll have only a thirty-percent chance of marriage.

Most of all, she knows that no matter what, it has to be perfect.

Or does it?’

Haley Hill’s debut, It’s Got to Be Perfect is a sassy and funny look at the dating world through the eyes of Ellie, the owner of a top notch dating agency. Haley certainly had plenty of experience to draw on for the book as founder of a leading London dating agency and I felt like I was getting an insider view of the dating world as I read.

Subtitled, The Memoirs of a Modern-Day Matchmaker, this is a fiction novel but it’s clear that Haley knows her stuff when it comes to relationships and matchmaking. I have to admit, I found some of the statistics in the book depressing (and I’m not even single!) but the message in the end was a hopeful one.

The novel opens with lead character Ellie planning her dream wedding but quickly takes a turn for the worse as her fiancée decides he’s not actually ready to walk down the aisle with Ellie. As Ellie jumps back into the dating pool with generally poor results she is inspired to do something more; for herself and others looking for love and so sets herself up as a matchmaker.

Featuring an eclectic set of characters from glamour models to hedge fund managers, the story felt fresh and interesting and I enjoyed seeing things from the matchmaker’s side and the different perspective this offered. Haley’s writing is smart and funny and neither she nor her lead character Ellie hold back from telling it like it is. There are some hilarious moments in It’s Got to be Perfect but also some really thought provoking scenarios and relationships and Hill shows all sides to those searching for The One.

Fans of Sex and the City will enjoy Ellie and her fellow matchmaker’s adventures and I’d recommend this novel to readers looking for a funny, honest and entertaining read.

3/5

It’s Got to be Perfect is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank Haley Hill for sending me a review copy of this novel.

Find out more about Haley Hill and her writing at: http://matchmakermusings.com

Enter my giveaway to win one of five signed copies of It’s Got to Be Perfect.

 

Giveaway! Five copies of It's Got to be Perfect by Haley Hill

27 Sep

Haley Hill’s debut novel It’s Got to be Perfect was released earlier this week and Haley has very generously given me five signed copies of the book to give away to lucky readers! The novel is inspired by Haley’s six years as a matchmaker in London and has already been shortlisted for two awards!

When Ellie Rigby hurls her three-carat engagement ring into the gutter, she is certain of only one thing, that she has yet to know true love. 

Following months of disastrous internet dates and conflicting advice from her dysfunctional friends, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Although now, instead of just looking for a man for herself, she s certain her life s purpose is to find deep and meaningful love for all of the singles in the world. 

Five years on, running the UK s biggest matchmaking agency, and with hundreds of engagements to her name, she has all the answers she needs. 

She knows why eighty-five percent of relationships fail. She knows why twenty-eight is the most eligible age for a woman. She knows that by thirty-five she ll have only a thirty-percent chance of marriage. 

Most of all, she knows that no matter what, it has to be perfect. 

Or does it?

To enter this giveaway just leave a ‘pick me’ comment in the box below. I’ll draw five winners using Random.org after the closing date. This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Tuesday 1st October.

Good luck!

Check out the fab trailer for It’s Got to be Perfect:

Find out more about Haley and her writing at: http://matchmakermusings.com/

Book news: Holding Out for a Hero by Amy Andrews

26 Sep

Holding Out for a Hero is the latest novel from best-selling author Amy Andrews. The book is being published on 15th October by new digital romance imprint Momentum Moonlight. It sounds like a fab rom-com read and I couldn’t resist sharing the cover which has just been released, with you today!

When sensible schoolteacher Ella Lucas rides into her home town on a Harley and seduces the resident football hero, Jake Prince, she figures she can be forgiven and move on. After all, she’s just buried her mother.

Two years later, back in the city, their paths cross again but this time Jake is in the process of destroying her favourite dive bar. With her home facing a wrecker’s ball, her school being closed down and her 15-year-old brother hell bent on self-destruction, it’s the last straw. Throw in a dominatrix best friend who is dating a blue ribbon guy so straight he still lives at home with his mother, it’s no wonder the sanest person in Ella’s life is a dog.

With all this to contend with, the last thing Ella needs is Jake back in her life. But, as fate would have it, Jake is the only chance she has to save her school.

As the school football season heats up, old secrets threaten to surface and Ella takes on greedy developers, school boards and national tabloids. But can she save not just her home, her school and her brother, but also the reputation of the man she’s never been able to forget? And, more importantly, does she want to?

Short Story Spotlight: Lost and Found in Cedar Cove by Debbie Macomber

25 Sep

Jo Marie has big plans for her bed-and-breakfast. With the help of handyman Mark Taylor, she intends to plant a beautiful rose garden in time for her upcoming open house. Jo Marie and Mark rarely see eye to eye—especially on matters of home improvement—but she knows he has her best interests at heart. After the two walk the grounds, Jo Marie realizes that her beloved rescue dog, Rover, is missing, and at a time when she most needs a friend, Mark abruptly leaves. Confused by Mark’s behaviour and worried for Rover’s safety, Jo Marie searches for her precious dog all over Cedar Cove. But Rover is on an adventure of his own—one that will lead to a delightful surprise for two unlikely people.

I’m becoming quite the Debbie Macomber fan – in particular, the Rose Harbour series. So when I saw that a new short story was being released featuring Jo Marie and her Inn, I jumped at the chance to read it.

Like the short story that Debbie released in July (When First They Met), I thoroughly enjoyed this little story and it gave an added insight into Jo Marie’s world. This story actually falls between The Inn at Rose Harbour and Rose Harbour in Bloom, but I don’t think you need to have read either book to enjoy it and I’d highly recommend it as a quick introduction to Jo Marie, her beautiful inn and he lovely residents of Cedar Cove.

Lost and Found in Cedar Cove story focuses on Jo Marie’s dog, Rover who disappears one morning for a little adventure of his own. This is a really sweet and romantic story and a great quick read to snuggle up with as autumn begins. There’s also a preview of Debbie’s next UK release, Starry Night which is out in November included in this ebook and it has gone straight on my wish list!

Lost and Found in Cedar Cove is released today in ebook formats.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy via Netgalley.

Find out more about Debbie Macomber and her books at: http://www.debbiemacomber.com/

Book news: Step Back in Time by Ali McNamara

24 Sep

I’m a huge fan of Ali McNamara’s books so I had to share this exciting cover news about her new novel, Step Back in Time which is out in November. Some of you might have seen the news post that I put up way back in April about this book featuring a lovely bright cover but earlier this week Ali announced that the final version of the novel would have a different cover!

I have to admit to being a bit nervous when I clicked on Ali’s reveal link as I was quite fond of the old cover but look what I found …

Isn’t it fab? This is actually my favourite of all of Ali’s covers so far and I love that it is in keeping with her previous covers. The dark blue makes it really stand out and the little stars are so cute. You can read more about the reasons for the change over on Ali’s lovely website.

I’m lucky to have been sent a proof of this book and having read the first few chapters I can tell you you’re in for a treat so if you haven’t already done so, add Step Back in Time to your wish list now :-)

Step Back in Time is released on 7th November in ebook and paperback formats.

Find out more about Ali and her writing at: http://www.alimcnamara.co.uk/

Guest Post: Meet Blogger Girl by Meredith Schorr

24 Sep

Today I’m welcoming Meredith Schorr and her lead character Kimberly to One More Page to tell us about their new release, Blogger Girl. 

A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to, and was famous among her friends for writing witty birthday cards.

When she is not hard at work on her current work in progress, Meredith spends her days as a trademark paralegal.  She is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner.  Meredith is the author of three published novels, Just Friends with Benefits, A State of Jane and Blogger Girl. Welcome Meredith and Kimberly!

My creator, Meredith Schorr, asked me to say a few words about myself on Amanda’s One More Page book blog. So, here goes:

My name is Kimberly Long. I’m twenty-eight years old and I live on the Upper East Side of New York City. I’m a Legal Secretary by day and a book blogger by… well, I’m sort of a book blogger by day as well since Rob, my boss, is totally cool with it. The secretarial gig is pretty easy for me and so in my free time, I read and review A LOT of books for my popular book blog, Pastel is the New Black.

Until recently, my blog provided all of the passion that was lacking from my day job. That was until Nicholas, the hottie attorney in my department, started paying attention to me. I can certainly send some passion his way if you know what I mean. I can’t imagine why he would be interested in me though. He’s on track to make partner at the firm, he’s gorgeous and he’s charming. I, on the other hand, am just a secretary and I’m not even five feet tall. But he’s definitely noticed me. Or maybe he’s just noticed my boobs.  In any event, work has become a lot more interesting since Nicholas and I became *friends.*

Things in my life were definitely looking up until I received that buzz killing email from Hannah Marshak’s publicist. Hannah, the “mean girl” from my high school wrote a novel and actually expects me to review it on Pastel is the New Black. After the hell Hannah put me through in High School, I have no interest in helping to promote her stupid book, but everyone in social media as well as my younger sister, a blind devotee of Hannah, is talking about the “fabulous debut” from Hannah Marshak. With my ten year High School reunion coming up, even my loyal BFF Bridget will not be able to shield me from Hannah’s pushy ways.

What’s a book blogger to do in this situation?

Thanks Kimberly! So bloggers and readers; what would you do in Kimberly’s situation? Would you read the book and take revenge in your review? Would you ignore it or would you take a different approach? Do tell us what you’d do!

And if you’d like to find out what Kimberly does, read on for more details of Blogger Girl:

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in aManhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

Blogger Girl is available now in ebook formats.

Find out more about Meredith and her books at: http://meredithschorr.com/

Book review: The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

23 Sep

Ardent and Idealistic, Esme Garland has arrived in Manhattan with a scholarship to study art history at Columbia University. When she falls in love with New York blue-blood Mitchell van Leuven, with his penchant for all things erotic, life seems to be clear sailing, until a thin blue line signals stormy times ahead. Before she has a chance to tell Mitchell about her pregnancy, he abruptly declares their sex life is as exciting as a cup of tea, and ends it all. 

Stubbornly determined to master everything from Degas to diapers, Esme starts work at a small West Side bookstore to make ends meet. The Owl is a shabby all-day, all-night haven for a colorful crew of characters, such as handsome and taciturn guitar player Luke and George, the owner, who lives on spirulina shakes and idealism. The Owl becomes a nexus of good in a difficult world for Esme—but will it be enough to sustain her when Mitchell, glittering with charm and danger, comes back on the scene? 

The Bookstore is a celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them. The Bookstore is also a story about emotional discovery, the complex choices we all face, and the accidental inspirations that make a life worth the reading.

Bloomsbury timed the release of The Bookstore perfectly to coincide with the launch of the Books Are My Bag campaign in the UK and this is definitely a book written by an author who loves both books and book shops. I was captivated by the quirky New York book store, The Owl that Esme finds herself drawn to and its cast of eccentric and contrasting employees and customers. The descriptions of the book shop, reading and books throughout this novel had me smiling and made me want to jump on a plane to go and search out some hidden reading gems for myself.

Lead character Esme is an English girl in New York having won a scholarship there to study art history. As with the descriptions of books and book shops, the descriptions of Esme’s New York are also wonderful and really made me want to visit again. I could picture the scenes as I read and I could easily imagine this book being made into a cool indie film.

The Book Store surprised me as I read as it wasn’t the romantic story that I’d expected and I was quite shocked at Mitchell’s character right from the start – I really couldn’t see what Esme saw in him as she came across as an intelligent and independent woman and he was the absolute opposite of her! Mitchell’s comments and actions throughout the book really set me on edge and I felt that the whole relationship and Esme’s reaction to it spoiled my initial connection with Esme.

Despite my dislike of the relationship, this was a book that I read quickly as I found I couldn’t leave the story for long – I needed to find out what would happen to Esme next! I found the other characters in the novel interesting and likeable, particularly Esme’s bookshop colleague, the enigmatic, guitar-playing Luke and Esme’s neighbour and friend, Stella and I liked how they rallied around Esme in their own ways as she finds herself pregnant and alone.

As Esme tries to come to terms with her unplanned pregnancy, I thought Deborah Meyler did an excellent job of capturing Esme’s shock and rapidly changing emotions. I love books and characters that present situations that make me think about what I would do faced with the same circumstances and I found myself with a lot of admiration for Esme by the end of the book. The actual ending was a little too open for my liking but overall I found The Bookstore an enjoyable and thoughtful read and I would definitely recommend it to book lovers and fans of New York.

3/5

The Bookstore is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank Bloomsbury for providing me with a review copy of this book via Netgalley.

Book extract: Afterworld by Lois Walden

23 Sep

I love discovering new authors and one of the best ways I’ve found to see if I think I’ll like a book is to read an extract so today, thanks to Arcadia Books I have an extract of Lois Walden’s new novel Afterworld to share with you. This book sounds wonderfully different and I can’t wait to read it. Look out for my review soon!

Meet four generations of the Duvalier family, for whom sugar cane is both their blessing and their curse. From patriarch Carter, who perishes before the novel begins after being hit in the head by an exploding manhole cover, and his indomitable holy-roller wife Lily, to their dysfunctional sons Winston and Steven, and their equally screwed-up grandchildren, the Duvaliers – both dead and alive – would do anything to keep their secrets hidden. With their world blown apart by the winds of Katrina, the götterdämmerung of their greed and lust, and the unearthly Afterworld, who plays with their fate, the tangled lives of these unforgettable characters create a novel of unimaginable beauty, dark humour and terrible tragedy. At once screamingly funny, deeply poignant, enchantingly original and absolutely unforgettable, Lois Walden’s multi-layered, multigenerational saga takes you on a hugely imaginative tour of Louisiana, uncovering its corrupt beauty and seductive secrets.

AFTERWORLD preface and first chapter

Afterworld is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Lois Walden and her writing at: http://loiswalden.com/

Book news: Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

22 Sep

As regular readers will know, I’m an Austen fan and I’m always keen to read adaptations of  her novels so I was very excited to hear about The Austen Project. The Austen Project will see six bestselling contemporary authors writing their own take on Jane Austen’s six complete novels: Sense & Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion and Mansfield Park.

The first book in the series will be Sense and Sensibility reimagined by Joanna Trollope. I love the cover for this and can’t wait to read the modern day version of one of my favourite Austen novels.

Two sisters could hardly be more different.

Elinor Dashwood, an architecture student, values discretion above all. Her impulsive sister Marianne displays her creativity everywhere as she dreams of going to art school.

But when the family finds itself forced out of Norland Park, their beloved home for twenty years, their values are severely put to the test.

Can Elinor remain stoic knowing that the man she likes has been ensnared by another girl? Will Marianne’s faith in love be shaken by meeting the hottest boy in the county? And when social media is the controlling force at play, can love ever triumph over conventions and disapproval?

Joanna Trollope casts Sense & Sensibility in a fresh new light, re-telling a coming-of-age story about young love and heartbreak, and how when it comes to money especially, some things never change…

Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope is released in hardback and ebook formats on 24th October.

Check out the lovely Austen Project website for more information.

You can find out more about Joanna Trollope and her writing at: http://www.joannatrollope.com/