Posted in 2013 Book Reviews

Yes Chef, No Chef – Susan Willis

Yes Chef, No Chef – Susan Willis

Source: Review Copy courtesy of Endeavour Press – Thank you!

Blurb: Can kneading bread dough be erotic when your man is behind you nibbling at your ear? And is it always bad manners to refuse an invite into your hunky neighbours greenhouse to examine his glorious courgettes?

Those are just two of the issues Katie has to wrestle with in this sparkling romantic comedy from Susan Willis.

When Katie’s partner Tim lands a dream job as the head chef at a smart London restaurant, he suddenly changes. From the sweet-natured, food loving guy she fell for, he becomes unbearably arrogant. ‘Yes Chef, No Chef’ respond his cowed assistants as he barks orders at them across a steamy kitchen. But when he starts thinking he can treat Katie like that as well, she won’t stand for it. After a huge row, she walks out on him.

With the help of her two close friends she rebuilds her single life, starts a catering business — and soon discovers she can make a huge success of it. As the business grows and grows, Tim realises what he has lost when he let her go.

But when he wants her back, Katie does not know what to do. Will she say ‘Yes, Chef.’ Or ‘No, Chef…’

Review: Yes chef, No chef is a typical chicklit book of, friendship, drama and love. It is based on the relationship of Katie and Tim. Katie is a pleasurable, hard-working, lovable girl who you connect to more or less straight away. Tim is her obnoxious, arrogant partner who likes a drink and has a huge stubborn streak.

The story watches their relationship crumble and both trying to lead a life apart. Katie with the help of her two best friends Sarah and Lisa. Tim with his colleagues Jessie, Simon and best friend Luke. With both focusing on their careers to help them along, Tim in his new role as head chef and Katie’s case a new culinary adventure cooking for Discernible men. Or to you and me men who can’t cook.

I connected with both Katie and Tim in different ways. You really do feel for both of them and wish them both not to be so stubborn. Katie ends up in some sticky situations which will have you giggling along to and Tim well you either want to punch him in the mouth or hug him.

The book has been written from both sides of Katie and Tim’s relationship. Now, I like books wrote this way, I find it easier to read and gives better depth and understanding of the characters and their personalities. With this book though, it seems to side more with Katie. Even though Tim does have his say, to me it does tend to lean more towards her. Now this may be deliberate, I’m unsure but, it throws you slightly. It also doesn’t run very clearly between both either. You end up back tracking a few days with the next person and it loses a bit of depth and anticipation. I also found that sometimes the food references where a bit over powering. It seemed like it was constantly being thrown in my face. I understand the books based on both their love and passion of food and the author felt the need to be foodie, but in my opinion it wasn’t necessary, the story was strong enough to hold its own with less food references and less comments about tastes and flavours, well you get the picture.

I liked this book regardless of the few little things that bugged me. The story was good and had me enticed. I really loved the friendships of Katie, Lisa and Sarah. How they reminded you of you and your friends. But most of all I loved the understanding that romance and lost sparks of relationships don’t last forever, but are always still inside you somewhere, waiting to be found and waiting to be rekindled.

4/5

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Posted in 2013 Book Reviews

A Day at the Office – Matt Dunn

A Day at the Office – Matt Dunn

Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: Julie kissed Mark at the office Christmas party. She doesn’t seem to remember, but he’s not been able to forget. What better day to jog her memory than Valentine’s Day?

Calum’s found the girl of his dreams on the internet. Trouble is, he’s not been completely honest about himself. Tonight he’s meeting her for the first time. But will it also be the last?

Nathan’s organised his usual Anti-Valentine’s party for the office singletons. Sophie’s going – again. Though this year, if she gets her way, they might just be leaving together.

One office, five lives, on the most romantic day of the year.

Review: Okay, I like Matt Dunn and his work. He’s charmingly witty regardless of what he is writing about and has some really good plots. All is the same here with A Day At The Office. From the plot to the characters the twists and the excitement, it has all been cleverly put together to have you desperately needing and wanting more, typical Matt Dunn.

The first chapter covers everything about the characters in the story and allows you to straight away form opinions and bonds. Just as you think it’s getting a bit repetitive though it throws in an eye popping twist which has you grinning and knowing that from here its only going to get better.

The books full of giggles and smiles, has a small bit of seriousness, but has some serious cheesiness too it too. That’s not my cup of tea at all, but I will let it slide for the fact that people are actually cheesy in real life aren’t they? The shame!! One thing I found amusing was a few little things that may have come from a certain office in a TV sitcom that I’m a huge fan of. Two of these particular comments had me laughing out loud remembering a certain episode. Coincidence maybe? Still funny and good to know that Mr. Dunn has fabulous taste in TV.

Book is a winner, I’d recommend it to you if you’re wanting something light, quick and funny, but still has the overall mushy girly stuff in it too.

Funny, quirky, misunderstood love & forgivable cheesiness. What’s not to love?

4/5

Posted in 2013 Book Reviews

The First Last Kiss – Ali Harris

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The First Last Kiss – Ali Harris

Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: How do you hold on to a love that is slowly slipping away from you?

Can you let go of the past when you know what is in the future?

And how do you cope when you know that every kiss is a countdown to goodbye?

This is the story of a love affair, of Ryan and Molly and how they fell in love and were torn apart. The first time Molly kissed Ryan, she knew they’d be together forever. Six years and thousands of kisses later she’s married to the man she loves. But today, when Ryan kisses her, Molly realises how many of them she wasted because the future holds something which neither of them could have ever predicted…

Review: So, here we have what I would call a predictable read, saying that though I still liked it. I did struggle through the first chapters, and I believe it would read so much better as a straight diary. It was so jumbled & confusing, I found myself putting it down a few times. Once I managed to get past the struggle I automatically knew what came next. Is this because I’ve read so many books? Or is this a problem to everyone? The ending I thought could have had a bit more depth too. I would have liked a bit more. I feel truly awful here 😦 (sorry, Ali)

OK so to the good! The storyline is fabulous. It’s well researched & holds no bounds, which is a big plus. 

As much as I struggled through and guessed what would happen earlier on. I actually liked the book. It was warm, caring, emotional and honest. The closeness between all characters is one longed after by many. What was refreshing to see was the every day mishaps, arguments, friendship and love throughout. It did make me want to kiss my husband every time I seen him, and want to remember my memories I have with him. Without a doubt this book will be a favourite by many.

3/5

Posted in 2013 Book Reviews

The Naughty Girls Book Club – Sophie Hart

The Naughty Girls Book Club – Sophie Hart

Source: Author request

Blurb: A quaint suburb. A quiet little reading group. A very naughty reading list…

Erotica meets a small town community – how ever will our book club cope?

Estelle sets up a book group in order to increase custom to her struggling small town cafe, what follows is more scandalous than she could have ever imagined…

As the first book club meeting flounders, Estelle suggests a spot of erotica to spice up the members lives – with trepidation the decision is accepted.

Inspired by their sizzling reads, this group of shy suburban readers shake off their inhibitions and discover a new side to themselves with some tantalising results.

Review: You’d think The Naughty Girls Book Club is going to be nothing but all naughty and full of sex. Now as much as that plays a big part in the book, in my opinion it’s actually a story about friendship and relationships. It’s a perfect chicklit read, but with a naughty twist.

The book follows Estelle Humphreys in her lovely little cafe – cafe crumb. Struggling financially she starts a book club to try attract new custom. The book club takes shape and ends up consisting of Estelle (of course). 64 year old frustrated, retired Sue. Bored and shy teacher Rebecca. Bolshy, opinionated and quirky librarian Gracie and lastly uni geek Reggie who’s painfully shy and who’s really there to help him out for his thesis.

The group come together brilliantly. Not only do we get their insights on some of the more naughtier novels around, but also their insights on life. The versatility you get with them all and their own individual stories opens the book up to allow you to get to know the characters and see their opinions and views on books/life in their eyes as well as your own. I have to be honest and say I did struggle with the first few chapters. I got swept away with my own opinions and thoughts which restricted me from getting stuck in. I did get over it though and I’m glad I did, after that the book became a dream to read. It’s funny, sad, cheesy, raunchy and real.

The balance of real reactions to controversial subjects has been thoroughly met and researched brilliantly. I applaud Sophie greatly for this.
I recommend this to everyone. Male, female, young, old. It’s defo worth a read. Go on click the link you know you want too.

4/5

Posted in 2013 Book Reviews

You Had Me At Hello – Mahairi McFarlane

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You Had Me At Hello – Mahairi McFarlane

Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: What happens when the one that got away comes back?

Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart.

It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away. From the moment they met they’d been a gang of two; partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on. Ben is married. Rachel is definitely not. In fact, the men in her life make her want to take holy orders…

Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And, along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.

Review: So, I got this book because it was on special offer and I’d heard raving reviews about it.

I was instantly gripped to Rachel’s tumbling relationship to the stuck in his ways Rhys.  However, if I’m totally honest it was inevitable what was actually going to happen very early on in the book. I’m not saying this is a bad book far from it, what I’m saying is sometimes its just off putting when you guess early on.

Apart from that You Had Me At Hello made for a good read.​ All characters where portrayed brilliantly so, making you automatically feel like you’re one of the gang.  Their unique and different personalities crashing together to give you drama and can’t read fast enough moments. Rewarding you with laughter and I suspect in some tears. (Still a swinging brick here remember)

It’s not hard to realise why Ben is Rachel’s ultimate man, it’s hard not to want to fall in love with him yourself as you imagine yourself being Rachel in their younger days. He’s everything a girl wants. 

Mhairi really has done a good job producing a funny, romantic, lovely story that will have you glued to the pages and imagining its you.

4/5

Posted in 2013 Book Reviews

The overnight fame of Steffi McBride – Andrew Crofts

The overnight fame of Steffi McBride – Andrew Crofts

Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: When Steffi McBride is plucked from obscurity and lands a starring role in the country’s most popular soap opera, it seems as if all of her dreams have come true. Little does she realise that far-reaching effects her new found fame will have...

Steffi’s life changes beyond recognition when she gets her lucky break. The whole country falls in love with her, including the gorgeous pop star she had a crush on throughout her teenage years. For the up-and-coming star, it seems as if life just could not get any better…

But someone out there has in their possession a secret about Steffi’s past and heartless media revelations blow apart everything she ever believed to be true about her family and about herself.

Review: Okay, so I’ve just this minute finished The Overnight Fame Of Steffi McBride. I can’t express my hatred for crap endings enough! You know the ones that just stop dead in the middle of a story, making no sense, and leaving you feeling like a withered up deflated balloon? This book has that exact ending. I’m seriously feeling robbed here.

Sorry…
I’ll start again properly this time haha, I just had to get that off my chest.

Steffi McBride is a typical girl from the bad side of town, bought up with less than most and striving attention from her parents and siblings. She’s not got many friends and feels like a total outcast in all situations. Her dreams of being a star are that overwhelming she goes out of her way to deliberately ignore her father’s wishes and starts drama school. Her Father is a bullying drunk who likes old school ways of thinking and male dominance in his home. This all results in numerous twists, tales and turns throughout Steffi’s story.

The book really does read like a dream. It’s like you’re watching a documentary on the TV of your mind. That alone is the highest praise an author can receive. It’s thorough and straight to the point. Always leaving you wanting more and you not being disappointed in what you get when it comes. Page after Page of unbelievable family and fame drama. That is until the end like! “Tut”

I must mention that I was loving the book until a song was featured heavily in it. For the life of me I couldn’t match the connection to the lyrics and the story it symbolised. It threw me completely of track and I started losing interest a bit after that. Now maybe that’s just my mind, I’m not too sure. I don’t know if all your minds work like mine whilst reading. So maybe you won’t think the song is an issue.

I feel like this is has been more a negative review which is hard because I did actually enjoy the book. It’s full of everything and anything you can imagine, it does have you gripped from the start. It’s not heavy and it doesn’t start to bore you in anyway. I think that’s what makes it all the more frustrating once you get to the end.

I’d definitely recommend this book for you to read. It’s a marmite book you’ll either love it or hate it. Or like me do both.

3/5

Posted in 2013 Book Reviews

Wedding Night – Sophie Kinsella

Wedding Night – Sophie Kinsella

Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: Lottie is tired of long-term boyfriends who don’t want to commit to marriage. When her old boyfriend Ben reappears and reminds her of their pact to get married if they were both still single at thirty, she jumps at the chance.

There will be no dates and no engagement-just a straight wedding march to the altar! Next comes the honeymoon on the Greek island where they first met.

But not everyone is thrilled with Lottie and Ben’s rushed marriage, and family and friends are determined to intervene

Will Lottie and Ben have a wedding night to remember . or one to forget?

Review: I’m a HUGE Sophie Kinsella fan. I have all of her books and was extra super excited for ‘Wedding Night’. Now, if I’m being totally honest it sorta starts of slowly and unconvincing. You push on regardless though with a bit of a hump on. The next minute the book comes alive and whacks you around the head with a brand new direction! Your blood starts pumping, you get all wide-eyed and you slyly think to yourself aaahhh Miss Kinsella you sly horse you.

The book after this point does not leave your hands.

It’s a roller coaster of twists and turns of emotion. You start backing characters then changing your mind about them, then changing your mind again. Your heads constantly baffled with it all, it’s great.
The best part about this book is the double narration from both sisters. Lottie and Fliss that is. Having both sisters inner thoughts and views on the situations and circumstances they both become involved in is truly brilliant. Makes the story come alive just that bit more.
I do like a bit of a challenge and this storyline with its ups and downs gives you just that. I did however, want more. I can’t go into detail really as of why as I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I will say there are two cracking love story’s here and I wanted the second to have a bit more attention.

No doubt about it this book will be a number 1 best seller. Regardless of what I write you’re buying it anyway aren’t you? You will enjoy it immensely. She writes with a gold ink does our Sophie.

‘Wedding Night’ is a perfect read for all occasions, whether it be beach, journey, snuggle up read. It’s fitting for everything and everyone.

Romance + giggles = perfection right?

4/5

Posted in 2013 Book Reviews

Me Before You – JoJo Moyes

Me Before You – JoJo Moyes

Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Review: As you are all aware I’m known for having a swinging brick instead of a heart. I rarely allow my hard exterior to be broken. I get the occasional lump in my throat now and again don’t get me wrong, but I’m not the crying type. This however, all changed when I read Me To You. Everything about the book from the way Jo-Jo Moyes has beautifully written it, to how much emotion and compassion has been put into the characters, the research done to make sure this book was medically correct and ultimately fascinating.

I don’t really want to say much about the story as I would love it for you all who haven’t read it to go do so.
It’s enriched with power, Love, friendship, dreams, shattered lives, humour, but more so reality.
Like I said I cried after reading this book. Not straight away, but about an hour after I’d finished. I sat and pondered greatly over life and the many issues some of us have to face. Then, I cried. Sobbed, in fact. I honestly could not get the book out of my head. It took days for me to get over it. I swear to god, no lies. I tweeted JoJo a day later and this is what I wrote:

‘Still lost in my own head 24 hours after finishing me before you. A modern day Romeo & Juliet, a serious must read! praise for @jojomoyes’

I was honestly blown away. You relate to characters all the time in books, but this is on a completely different level. It’s truly brilliant.

One of the main reason it hit me so hard was that actually a few months before, I watched a documentary/film on assisted dying by Sir Terry Pratchett. Sir Terry made the film to establish whether he would be able to die at a time and in a way he wanted. The programme, showed Peter Smedley, a 71-year-old hotelier, travelling from his home in Guernsey to Switzerland and taking a lethal dose of barbiturates given to him by the Dignitas organisation. On Sir Terry’s Journey to the Dignitas home, I remember them entering into an industrial estate. It was full of warehouses and factories and it was awful, truly awful.
The Journey Lou takes in this book, is this journey.

Sorry, I’m aware how morbid and depressing this review has become.

It does have wonderful funny parts too, it is a fabulous book. Please don’t take this review as anything but positive. I can assure you that is all I have for it is praise.
This is a book worthy of a film contract. 

There are no marks out of five or star ratings for this book because I don’t have enough stars or numbers to give.
It is by far my favourite book. I treasure my copy and I recommend it to everyone I know who reads. Please treat yourself to a copy and like me have your eyes opened to how you see yourself at the end of it. It’s a book filled with nothing but pure love.

Posted in 2013 Book Reviews

Legally Wed – Ciara O’Neill

Legally Wed – Ciara O’Neill

Source: Author request

Blurb: Business professional Mia Lombard is faced with the ultimate test: marry her boss to save his employees’ jobs or risk losing her own job and much loved home.

Max Dylan isn’t exactly Frankenstein and when he discovers his UK work permit has expired, the wealthy American financier could call on any number of models or starlets to marry him so he can stay in the country. Knowing that a marriage to a greedy social climber could bleed him dry, he agrees to his colleague’s suggestion to get married for appearances only.

Mia and Max invent a convincing cover story for their supposed secret romance and sudden marriage which leaves no one with any trouble believing they’re love birds. Initially, Mia has no difficulty with the pretence as she’s had a crush on Max for years but after discovering they have to stay hitched for three years wonders if she can commit that much of her life. It would mean shelving any chance of meeting someone else and having a family.
Then the unexpected happens. Max, who’s always kept his work relationships professional, seems to fancy her.

Can Mia commit to three years, living with Max on a platonic basis? Or is she brave enough to jump in and enjoy a ‘no strings’ sizzling fling with while she can?

Review: Ever done this after finishing a book? “Noooo don’t finish!!” I bet you all know that feeling, don’t you? You get that engrossed in a book that when it ends you’re fuming. You don’t want it to end. In this case, with legally wed I wanted to stay in the warmth love of Max and Mia Dylan and their gorgeous families 😦 I’m not even writing a proper review. You’ve got the synopsis and you’ve got my honest word that this book is sensational. You will be seriously trapped into a gorgeous love story with the pleasures of family love and scandal. It’s honestly bursting with so much charm and Love that you can’t help but get attached to the characters and become a part of their world.

This little gems going in to my favourite shelf. Perfect for any one wanting a great romance/chick-lit book.

5/5

Posted in 2013 Book Reviews

A Girl Like You – Gemma Burgess

gbA Girl Like You – Gemma Burgess

Source: Personal Copy.

Blurb: “I’ve discovered the secret to successful singledom. I’m acting like a man. And it’s working.

After breaking up with her boyfriend of, well, forever, Abigail Wood must learn how to be single from scratch. Her dating skills are abysmal, and she ricochets from disaster to disaster – until Robert, one of London’s most notorious lotharios, agrees to coach her.

With his advice, she learns to navigate the bastard-infested waters of the bar scene and practices the art of being bulletproof. The new Abigail is cocky, calm, composed…but what happens when she meets her match?

Review: Here we have a page by page low down of insecurities and dating dilemmas that many of us girls face. I read this in one sitting as it had me smiling, giggling and surprisingly adoring the cheesiness of it.

It was pretty obvious at the start of the book to me that Abi and Robert would get together, but it still had me giddy with excitement for the actual stages that lead up to it.I adored Abi’s naivety to dating, robs take the piss attitude and how friendship was cherished.

In my opinion, if you can put a book down after finishing with a sly smile then its a gooden.This, you will be putting down with that said sly smile. This is the first Gemma Burgess book I’ve read and I must admit I liked the easy manner in which it reads and the whole general feel to the story. I will most definitely be purchasing more from her.

5/5