26 May 2010

Book Review: The Bridesmaid Pact by Julia Williams

When they were children, Caz, Beth, Sarah and Doris all made a pact together that they'd be each other bridesmaids, no matter what. But as we all know, the path from childhood to adulthood doesn't run smoothly, and this definitely the case for these 4 girls. When we meet them as grown ups, Caz is no longer a part of the group, Beth is having problems conceiving a baby and not talking to her friends about it, Sarah's marriage is in real trouble and Doris is hiding a terrible secret that might change the group before her special wedding day. But has Doris got what it takes to reunite the group once more and let them finally be able to deliver on the pact they made all those years ago?

I've been a fan of both the Julia Williams' books I've read which are Pastures New, and more recently Last Christmas. When I was given a chance to read this one, which I've been looking forward since I read her last book  before Christmas, I jumped at the chance, and actually managed to finish it in just a day as my son was out most of the day and I wanted to relax a bit with a good book! I love the gorgeous light blue cover adored with all weddingy-pictures and think it looks like a perfect spring read, one I'd certainly pick up off a shelf. I was hopeful that it would just as good a read as Last Christmas which I really did adore, and luckily for me, it was even better!

24 May 2010

Book Review: A Reluctant Cinderella by Alison Bond

Samantha Sharp is a football agent, and a very good one at that. She's worked hard to get to the top in a male oriented world, and it's finally paying off. However, when Sam is set up and her beloved career threatened, she's determined to clear her name and get to the bottom of who wants to destroy her life. She's also afraid that if her bosses dig hard enough, they're going to find out about something about Sam's past she has managed to keep hidden for a long time, and something that she doesn't want to come out. Is Samantha going to be able to fight for justice for herself, or is everything she's worked hard to build going to crumble down around her?

I've been looking forward to this book for a while now, and I was pleased to receive a copy of it from the publishers Penguin to review. I was intrigued about it... the blurb on the back and online doesn't really give anything away, and the cover is way too wishy washy for my liking, but still, we're always told not to judge a book by its cover. But in this case, it's not just the cover we mustn't judge by. The whole synopsis is quite misleading - it implies that this is a love story about a woman trying to succeed in her life, and win the heart of the man she loves, even though he might be dangerous. In reality, this is a book set in the world of football, it's agents and some rather shady Russians thrown into the mix too. Why the publishers feel it necessary to dupe their readers I don't know, but I would certainly have been more likely to pick this up had it got a stronger cover that actually represented the story inside, and a blurb that told me honestly what the book was about. The title is also very odd, again it has nothing to do with the book, and I think they could have titled it so much better to reflect the story itself. This doesn't detract from Alison Bond's fantastic story and writing, but I feel she's been let down by her publishers big time here.

21 May 2010

Book Review: The Truth About You by Melissa Hill

One morning in the small town of Lakeview, Ella Harris finds a cardboard box on the doorstop of her café. At first she thinks it's her usual muffin delivery but is shocked to find that the box actually contains a newborn baby.

But what kind of mother would abandon a defenceless baby like that, and why?

Could it have been newly single Nina who, after being rejected by the father of her unborn child, has no choice but to return to Lakeview to stay with her estranged (and slightly peculiar) dad?

Or was it Lakeview-born Hollywood actress Eva Seymour, who on the eve of her triumphant return home from LA, has a completely ill-advised fling with a handsome co-star. A baby is certain to ruin her hard-fought-for career.

Or perhaps it’s happily married Jess who, as the only non-mum amongst her friends, finds herself increasingly left out. Terrified that she will lose them altogether, she embarks on becoming a mother too. But is she really rushing into something she really knows nothing about?

Anyone who visits this site regularly will know that I am a massive Melissa Hill fan and get rather excited whenever I find out she has a new book coming out. Luckily for me, I was sent an ARC of this book to review for the site, and I couldn't believe my luck when it landed on my doorstep! I don't have the pretty cover that you can see pictured on this post, but it's as lovely as the other Melissa Hill covers, and it'll certainly entice lovers of Melissa's books in! This book is actually Melissa's 9th novel, and I think she is one of those authors who just gets better with every book which is a great talent to have! Anyway, back to the review.

14 May 2010

Book Review: Hard To Get by Jessica Fox

Charlotte Sinclair is getting on with her life when fate throws her a curveball courtesy of a fortune teller she meets at a friend's hen party. The psychic tells her "Love comes through hope alone", and while Charlotte is pretty cynical, a tiny part of her hopes that it might be true. She's forced to work every day with her ex-husband Richard and his new partner Suzie, but she won't let on how much seeing him every day gets to her. The pair are sent on a work trip to Yorkshire (much to Suzie's chagrin!) and there they meet 2 charities vying for the council's art funding, and consequently Charlotte finds herself getting pretty close to both Heath and Paul. However, she's sure no  man out there is honest and manages to find a fault in both of them. But is Charlotte pushing away a potential love by being so cynical? Is love really so hard to get?

This is the third of the 'Hen Night Propecies' series being published by Little Black Dress author Jessica Fox, and I'm very much enjoying the series so far. The first book passed me by, but I loved the 2nd book, Eastern Promises so when this one arrived, I was quite looking forward to reading it. I really liked the purple cover, they seem to all match in certain ways which I like as it makes them seem more of a cohesive set. I was curious to see how much of the previous book would be covered in this one i.e. the characters from Eastern Promises and whether they'd be mentioned, so I sat down eagerly to read it. What I love about the LBD books is that they aren't too long and are perfect when you fancy a light hearted, fun read!

10 May 2010

Book Review: The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne

Every girl should know what the finishing touches are.

That dash of gloss on the cheekbones to lift your complexion.
High heels for poise, and a luscious lipstick for the perfect pout.
It’s the spritz of perfume on the pulse points and the...
....ability to stand on your own two feet?

When 21st century girl Betsy is called in to rescue an exclusive finishing school from financial ruin, she knows she must change the school drastically, if it’s ever to survive. So it’s out with debutante decorum and in with modern manners and man-management. But before she can teach the girls how to walk in high heels, Betsy may just have to remember how to wear them herself. With the added bonus that her gorgeous friend Jamie and the surprisingly hunky bursar Mark both seem to rather approve of her new stilettos...

7 May 2010

Book Review: The Way We Were by Elizabeth Noble

Susannah and Rob were childhood sweethearts. But as with most early love affairs, they broke up, moved on and now find themselves in very different places. And not entirely happy - who is? A chance meeting between them sends shockwaves through their lives. What happens when your first love makes a surprise reappearance? Is fate telling you it's time for a second chance . . . or should you simply walk away and let the past become ancient history? But Susannah and Rob just aren't able to forget the way they were . . . and the world is about to realize the consequences of their reunion.

I always get really excited by the release of Elizabeth Noble's books because I fell in love with her writing ever since I read Things I Want My Daughters to Know, and this was followed up by the equally brilliant The Girl Next Door. So when Leah posted that Elizabeth's next book was due out this May, I was thrilled and therefore very happy when a review copy landed on my doorstep a few weeks ago. I managed to wait a few days before opening the book, but once I started I had a horrible feeling that I wasn't going to enjoy it as much as her previous 2 novels, and sadly for me I was right.

5 May 2010

Author Interview: Tara Hyland

A few months ago, Tara Hyland released her debut novel Daughters of Fortune with publishers Simon & Schuster. I was lucky enough to read it and found it to be a great read, and Tara was also kind enough to grant us another author interview so here it is.

Q1. Can you tell us about your book 'Daughters of Fortune' please.

The novel is about the three very different daughters of William Melville, an English fashion mogul. There's cold, ambitious Elizabeth; gentle, naïve Caitlin; and wildchild Amber. The book follows their lives, loves and tragedies, as they grow from being teenagers to young women. It starts off with the arrival of Caitlin, the illegitimate child, in the Melville household. The product of an affair between William Melville and a shop assistant in the seventies, Caitlin has been raised in secret in Ireland for the first fifteen years of her life. But when her mother dies, Caitlin is sent to live with the father she's never met and his resentful family. She struggles to adjust to her new, privileged life, and naturally her presence stirs things up in the Melville household, laying the path for events that will have an impact on the family over the next decade or so.

3 May 2010

Book Review: Excess All Areas by Mandy Baggot

When the going gets tough Freya Johnson gets going! Humiliated by her boyfriend the day she turns 30, Freya boards a last minute flight to Corfu to visit her best friend Emma. Little does she know that this holiday will change her life forever. Enter Hollywood film star Nicholas Kaden whose entourage is stirring up the village of Kassiopi while filming his new movie.

Caught up in a media frenzy, feeling unwelcome and uncomfortable in Nicholas' movie world, Freya battles with the ghosts of her past and the uncertainty of her future. Can she help Emma? Can she keep her own big secret? And can she find out what Nicholas is hiding before she feels the urge to run away again?

Mandy Baggot is an unsigned author who published her novel on YouWriteNow.com, a website that allows unsigned authors to print copies of their own books and hopefully garner interest from literary agents and big name publishing houses. I was a bit concerned by the dark cover, it didn't look that attractive and I think it doesn't do any justice to the book at all. I'm terrible for judging a book by its cover, so I am glad I didn't in this case. I was really impressed with this book, and I am surprised that Mandy hasn't been snapped up by a publishing house yet, this is just as good as many chick lit books I have read, and better than a few as well!