29 November 2010

Book Review: The One Before The One by Katy Regan

Caroline was pretty sure she had made the right decision when she ended her engagement, and comes out of the relationship she has been in since she was at school. She knows she has hurt her ex but realised that to be happy, she had to be free to do what she wants. However, Caroline's plans are scuppered when her 17 year old half sister Lexi turns up on her doorstep and announces that she has come to stay for the summer. Caroline doesn't know what to do with a 17 year old, and so tries her best to make it work with Lexi despite the upheaval in her own life. She knows she has to make some decisions about the direction of her life, and whether her on/off relationship with married lover Toby will last, whether she will ever find happiness with Mr Right despite her family's less than successful rate with relationships, and whether a 17 year old has anything to teach her about living?

This is Katy Regan's second book, and I was really excited to read it because I loved her first novel, One Thing Led to Another, a book based on Katy's own experience of having a baby with her best friend. This one has been delayed a couple of times, but finally has hit the shelves, and a great read it is too. I have to say I am really not a fan of the cover,  I don't think it's particularly attractive to look at or fresh and modern, but of course you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover are you?! Either way, I hoped the story inside would be as good as Regan's previous offering and sat down hoping to devour it, and luckily I did just that.

24 November 2010

Book Review: All I Want For Christmas by Amy Silver

Bea is about to spend her first Christmas with her baby son Luca, but it's going be a bittersweet Christmas for the pair of them. Bea's Italian café The Honey Pot and is as usual doing a booming business, and she loves the characters she meets along the way. Outside, with just 12 days to go until Christmas, Olivia ends up on the pavement after nearly being run over. She's taken inside The Honey Pot by Bea and is taken care of, but is she running away from the pressure of hosting her fiancé's entire family for Christmas? Then there's Chloe whose relationship with Michael seems to be falling apart at the special time of year. She's lonely, she wants to enjoy her man but hates that he has to go back to his family every night instead of being with her.With just 12 days to go until Christmas, will the lives of Bea, Olivia and Chloe be sorted out and will they all get their Merry Christmas?

I read and adored Amy Silver's debut novel Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista last winter, so when I heard Amy was back this winter, this time with a festive themed book, I was really excited to get my hands on a copy as soon as possible! I think the cover is absolutely gorgeous, the publishers have really hit the nail on the head with this one! It suits the book perfectly, it matches the story, it looks festive, and it's just gorgeous to look at! It did seem that this book was going to be totally different from her first, but I love when authors do something different, so I excitedly began this book, and just couldn't put it down, it's fabulous.

17 November 2010

Book Review: It's Got To Be Perfect by Claire Allan

Annie Delaney just wants to be happy. She wants a big white wedding, a family and a happily ever after, but she's suer that isn't what she is going to get with her current boyfriend Pearse. He seems more interested in the running of his restaurant than he is paying Annie any attention, and she's had enough. When she wakes up one morning with another man in her bed, she thinks fate is trying to tell her something and decides that maybe what her and Pearse have just isn't perfect after all. Annie's best friend Ffion is also heading down the aisle with her Mr Right, making Annie realise what she wants, but when things start to unravel, can Annie hold it together for Ffion and find her own perfect ending too?

This is Claire Allan's fourth novel with Irish publishers Poolbeg, and considering how much I have enjoyed 2 of her previous books I have read, I had high hopes for really enjoying this one as well! I find that Claire's books are always very realistic, with characters that you can imagine knowing in real life and I am always hooked by her stories too. I do love a book that you can imagine actually taking place, and Claire's books always deliver on that for me. It's Got To Be Perfect has a gorgeous red and white themed cover, it's quite under-stated and I feel that works well for the book - it is one that would attract me to pick it up so it was  a good start for me!

15 November 2010

Book Review: Promises, Promises by Erica James

Maggie Storm is really fed up her life. Her husband Dave only ever speaks to her when he wants a cup of tea or the sitting room to be hoovered, and her son Dean isn't the model child either. She works as a cleaner for families who make her feel worthless, and she doesn't know why she puts up with it. When she meets Daryl by chance at a neighbour's house, Maggie gets a glimpse of what it could be like to be loved properly, but something is holding her back. Maggie made a New Year's Resolution to hold back on what she wants and what she thinks, and she doesn't want to break it just yet.Decorator Ella Moore gets a commission at Ethan and Francesca's home, and is sick of being treated like a lacky by Francesca. Ethan on the other hand is more than affection to Ella, and she doesn't feel entirely happy about it. She's recently got out of a relationship with Lawrence and his 2 children, so she isn't ready to dive into anything new just yet. Are either Ella or Maggie ever going to pursue the happiness that both of them deserve? Or are the promises they've made themselves too hard to break?

I first read an Erica James novel a few years ago called Tell It To The Skies and really enjoyed it, although the subject matter of the tsunami wasn't exactly all that happy. I was drawn to this book because of it's gorgeously wintery looking cover, but after reading the book, I can't help but feel the publishers have only gone for this theme of cover because of the season the book is being released it - it really doesn't have much to do with the book at all since it isn't specifically set in winter or at Christmastime! Either way, I was really looking forward to reading the book, and quickly got stuck in.

10 November 2010

Book Review: Swimming With Dolphins by Deborah Wright

Julia Rothwell is at a bit of a loss. She's just lost her high-flying job as a hedge fund manager in a big bank, and doesn't really know what to do with herself. So when her best friend and flatmate Reece suggests that she writes a "10 things to do before I die" list, Julia gets stuck in and coming up with a pretty exciting list. She wants to swim with dolphins, visit Tokyo, have relations with an Italian man and many more too! Thanks to her exciting list, Julia ends up jetting all over the globe alone, with her friends and with a few strangers she meets along the way too. Julia soon begins to realise that there is much more to life than working crazy hours and getting promotions at work, but what is she going to discover about herself along the way too? Will Julia achieve all 10 of her dreams, or will she get more than she bargained for?

I read and adored Deborah Wright's previous novel The Celebrity Mother earlier this year, so I was really surprised to discover that just 11 months later, Deborah had another book coming out. I loved her the previous one, so I was really excited to read this one and see if Wright's story-telling would live up to my expectations. In deep contrast to many of the latest releases we have seen on the shelf recently, this book has a gorgeous summery themed cover, and is certainly one to read and brighten up these somewhat dull autumn/winter days. I think the cover really reflects the book perfectly and it's nice to see something bright and sunny on the shelves for once!

3 November 2010

Book Review: Ambition by Immodesty Blaize

Sienna Starr is grateful for what being the daughter of burlesque star Tyger Starr brings her, but also wants to break out on her own. She loves being a chorus girl in a dancing show, but is determined to be a star in her own right, and shine as the lead dancer. Unfortunately, Sienna seems to have made an enemy of the show's leading lady Brandy Alexander, and she's determined to make Sienna's life hell, not wanting her to take any shine off Brandy herself. However, when someone from Brandy's past shows up and threatens to wreck everything she has worked hard for, how far will Brandy go to protect herself? Will Sienna be able to reach her dreams of being a leading lady herself, and sort of her own personal demons with boyfriend Max too? When does too much ambition become a bad thing?

Immodesty Blaize hit the women's fiction market last year with a bang when her beut novel Tease was released to rave reviews. Somehow that book passed me by, but when I was sent her second novel Ambition to review, I was curious to see if it would be my sort of read and so decided to give it a go. It actually wasn't as sexually graphic or gratuitous as I was expecting which was quite good, but still had a really OTT and exciting story to keep your interest as you are reading! This book would definitely appeal to fans of Louise and Tilly Bagshawe, Sasha Wagstaff, Lulu Taylor, and books along those lines so if you're a fan of any of those authors, look out for a copy of an Immodesty Blaize book!