Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Bookish things I love...

I thought on my new blog I would like to share the bookish items that I am currently coveting, it is not a sponsored post, just things I love!

Notebooks!


I was browsing one of my favourite bookish places and found this notebook...how could I live without it?

http://www.theliterarygiftcompany.com/bookish--and-proud-of-it-notebook-15382-p.asp

£7.99 free delivery when you spend over £30

Description: And so you should be! A notebook that tells it how it is. 

Details: Hardback notebook with elastic closure. 192 lined pages of acid-free paper. 13.5 x 19cm.

Books!


I'm so excited for February 26th when Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery from Jenny Colgan is published. She is one of my favourite authors and The Little Beach Street Bakery is my definite favourite book of hers, so when I found out that this was due out I was ecstatic!



Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn't be happier. Because Polly is in love: she's in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she's in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she's in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there's something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that's floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend's fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he'd left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

Gifts!



I adore this Jane Eyre Book Case for Kindle by Klevercase (£24.95 - other classics available) a perfect Mother's Day gift, just in case my children are reading this...

A beautiful vintage book hard back kindle, ereader and tablet cover handmade in England using 40 years of bookbinding experience.
The perfect coming together of old books and new technology make this the ideal gift for kindle and ereader owners that miss the feel of a book in their hands.
Made using locally sourced materials by highly skilled craftsmen and women in England, our cases are of the highest quality and have a lovely back story that makes them the ideal present and conversation piece.
Each case is wrapped with a beautiful antique paper band as standard, for an extra special personal touch.
SIZE GUIDE
We make covers with a specifically moulded interior holder for only the most popular amazon kindle devices which adds an extra layer of protection: Kindle Paperwhite (all generations); Kindle 7th Gen Touch Screen; Kindle Voyage; Kindle 4th/5th Gen and Kindle 3 keyboard only.
For most other branded 6 and 7 inch devices, we make a universal case with reusable infinity stick technology (see images) that holds your device like glue but leaves no residue:



Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain



What if everything you believed turned out to be a lie? 

Riley MacPherson is returning to her childhood home in North Carolina. A place that holds cherished memories. While clearing out the house she finds a box of old newspaper articles - and a shocking family secret begins to unravel.

Riley has spent her whole life believing that her older sister Lisa died tragically as a teenager. But now she's starting to uncover the truth: her life has been built on a foundation of lies, told by everyone she loved.

Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?

As Riley tries to separate reality from fiction, her discoveries call into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Can she find the strength inside herself to decide her future.


As readers of my previous blog may remember I am a HUGE Diane Chamberlain fan! I love her ability to tell a story and capture the reader instantly, I hate books where I have to wait for endless chapters before I'm drawn in, this never happens with Chamberlain. If you have never read one she has a massively long back catalogue to work through!

The Silent Sister starts with an intriguing prologue, then sees high school counsellor Riley McPherson returning to her childhood home to deal with the aftermath of her father's death, tidying up his estate etc... It becomes apparent quite quickly that there are secrets within this family. Riley's older brother, Danny, is a tortured soul. He is an Iraq war veteran and is badly affected by the death of their eldest sister, Lisa, a musical child prodigy who they had been brought up to believe committed suicide after battling with depression. His anger fuels him and his relationship with Riley is a strained one.

The further Riley gets into ordering her father's paperwork and belongings, the more secrets she discovers, and each one shocks her further to the core, and before long she realises her whole life is built on deceit. She finds a box of newspaper articles that state quite clearly that Lisa murdered a man, her violin teacher, and drowned herself before she came to trial. But as she delves further, the rumours begin that makes Riley wonder, is Lisa really dead?

As with all Chamberlain's books I was hooked from the very beginning, and read quite quickly through to the last page. However...I was slightly disappointed? I found the characters slightly two dimensional, and really struggled with the character of Danny - Riley's brother, I get that he was a tortured soul, terribly angry about his childhood, blighted by the apparent death of his sister, but it lacked any progression, resolution, anything really on his part. In fact I always assumed the story was on the cusp of revealing some huge secret about him, it didn't.

The plot was cleverly woven, yet a part of me wonders if there was maybe a little too much to weave? If a slightly less complicated plot could have allowed for more depth in the characters? It lacks the suspense and twists in the plot as some of her older novels, The Midwife's Confession being one of my favourites. 

I did, overall, find this offering quite predictable, but still a really good read.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Where Love Lies by Julie Cohen - 5* Review



When Felicity steps off the train on the way to meet her husband, she is so sure of everything. Where she is heading, what she will eat at the restaurant, the first words her husband will say when she arrives, their life together.
Then she catches a scent of perfume in the air. Forgotten emotions rush to the surface, memories of another man she loved years ago.
As it happens again and again, Felicity beginsto make decisions that no one can understand. What is happening to her? Is she losing a partof herself, or finding one?
How can she truly know where love lies?



Felicity is struggling with her life; her career as a children’s writer/illustrator is in jeopardy as she seems to be suffering from an unyielding writer’s block, and she feels suffocated in her marriage to Quinn. As lovely as he is to her, she feels stifled with the pressure and lack of privacy from his family. She seems to not know where she feels she belongs any more.
She begins to smell a the sweet scent of frangipani that evokes memories from her past – in particular memories of her recently deceased mother. She knows that the scent takes her straight back to Evan, her old love. Her heart tells her to seek him out to see if the feelings she is having about him are real, but her head tells her to stay where she is with a man who loves her. What does she trust more? Is it really fate at work?
I loved Where Love Lies almost as much as I loved Cohen’s Dear Thing, but don’t be deterred by the ‘almost’ – it really is the most wonderful story, beautifully written in a style that Cohen has marked as her own. She is a remarkable writer with the ability to draw the reader into the story with the most engaging plot and characters.
The characters are exceptionally well developed; Felicity is flighty, indecisive, and at times, infuriating with the decisions she makes, but then we understand why and in the third part of the book I felt a real, emotional tie with her and saw her stark vulnerability.
Quinn too was irritatingly suffocating at first and I found myself trying to escape from him too, and as for his mother… but as the book went on he grew on me a lot. In fact by the end the whole family are shown in a completely different light, as you become aware of the secrets they have been hiding under their Stepford exterior.
Fabulous book… highly recommended!





Sunday, 15 February 2015

As Good as it Gets by Fiona Gibson



“Midlife crisis? WHAT midlife crisis?!”

Charlotte Bristow is worried about her husband Will. With her 16-year-old daughter Rosie newly signed to a top modelling agency, and Will recently out of a job, things are changing in their household.

As Will dusts down his old leather trousers and starts partying with their new, fun neighbours, Charlotte begins to wonder what on earth is going on.

So when Fraser, Charlotte’s ex – and father of Rosie – suddenly arrives back on the scene, she starts to imagine what might have been…


I have only recently discovered Fiona Gibson when I bought Mum on the Run to read over the Christmas holidays. I really enjoyed it and wanted to read more from her so was excited when I saw that this has been released. I did then realise I have quite a lot of her back catalogue in ebook and paperback form anyway!

I really like her observational wit and basic telling it like it is! The way she describes family life is insightful, truthful, and hilarious. 

Charlotte's relationship with Will is steadily breaking down. Family matters such as 16 year old Rosie being scouted by a modelling agency (Will has been Rosie's stepfather since she was a baby after Charlotte was abandoned by 'real dad' Fraser) which Will is certainly not keen on, puts a further strain on their already struggling relationship. As does Will's unemployed status after he was made redundant several months earlier.

Charlotte muddles through, happy with her job and her life in general, if only her and Will could get back to a happier place, when things are made even more complicated by her receiving an email from Rosie's birth father, Fraser, her first true love, and when a sexy, fun new neighbour, Sabrina, who thinks Will is some kind of God in the kitchen and out, befriends the family, things start to spiral from bad to worse, leaving Charlotte wondering if the grass really is greener on the other side.

There really wasn't a character in this book that I disliked, well maybe Delph, a bit character model friend of Rosie's, she's every parents nightmare of a friend for their teenage daughter, but aside from her there was nobody that really irritates, a trait I find appealing in a book! 

The story reads well and the ending is lovely. I did find the story line relatively similar to Mum on the Run however, that would be my only criticism? But it certainly wouldn't be criticism enough to not read the rest of Gibson's back catalogue as I really do enjoy her writing style and the way she develops her characters, especially her leading ladies.

As Good as it Gets is a fun read, well written and with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. 





Friday, 13 February 2015

Appleby Farm Part One - A Blessing in Disguise by Cathy Bramley




Freya Moorcroft has wild red hair, mischievous green eyes, a warm smile and a heart of gold. She’s happy working at the cafĂ© round the corner from Ivy Lane allotments and her romance with her new boyfriend is going well, she thinks, but a part of her still misses the beautiful rolling hills of her Cumbrian childhood home: Appleby Farm.

Then a phone call out of the blue changes everything…

Freya’s beloved Uncle Arthur and Auntie Sue need her help. For the first time in years, Freya is back on the farm feeding the chickens, mucking out the stables, and loving every moment. As her visit comes to an end, she has a difficult decision to make: stay, or go?

How I love Cathy Bramley! I was so eagerly anticipating Appleby Farm after being left bereft when the Ivy Lane series of books concluded (review for the paperback coming soon...!).
How pleased I was to realise that some of the favourite Ivy Lane characters would be popping up in this new series, and that it was centered around Freya Moorcroft who we had met in the latter half of Ivy Lane.

Freya works in the cafe around the corner from the Ivy Lane allotments, it's just a cover job, as much of Freya's employment seems to be. She feels that she has never really settled anywhere, even though she is now in a relationship with Charlie which she thought was going swimmingly until he breaks it to her that it's just 'a bit of fun' and seems quite unwilling to introduce her to his young son.

When she receives a phone call from her Auntie Sue saying that her Uncle Arthur has had an accident while driving his tractor she is devastated. She jumps on the next train to be with them and help out while her uncle is laid up. When she arrives there she feels guilty that her aunt and uncle have aged considerably, she realises this is due to the fact that she has not visited anywhere near as much as she should have in the past few years.

While she is there she feels the comfort of home, as she has always looked upon the farm as, and wonders whether there is anything really to return back to Kingsfield for.
As she contemplates her decision she uncovers a troubling secret that puts the future of Appleby Farm in jeopardy.

Ahhh...to be back in another Cathy Bramley novel, well, I felt a bit like Freya, it's like being back home. There are not many writers that can put you at ease and entertain you like Cathy. She draws you in to the story and the characters, but FYI, I can't stand Charlie (Freya's boyfriend). Freya however is wonderful, as are her friends, and I especially love Auntie Sue and would really love to have been sat around her kitchen table with them all.

I love the new lit trend for serialised novels, as much as I hate it that you're just drawn hook, line and sinker into a story and it ends, it's lovely to anticipate each part of the series coming out and there's not too long to wait for Appleby Farm part two as it is released on March 5th (phew) and it will be great to wait for each of the four parts in turn.

This new series gets off to a flying start and I really can't wait to read the rest! A definite 5* for Part One!