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K. L. Beeden (uk)
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Boy Meets Boy
Boy Meets Boy
by David Levithan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 6 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Boy Meets Boy (Paperback)
Paul is gay. He has been open and honest about it his whole life, and is fortunate enough to live in a community where people of all sexual orientations are accepted. He's had relationships before, but this time it's different. Falling in love changes everything...

I loved this book. I know I am going to fawn all over it and probably appear really annoyingly overkeen, but I can't help it. There aren't enough books out there that encapsulate how it truly feels to fall in love for the first time-that acute pain, the overwhelming longing, the desire to please. There certainly aren't enough books out there aimed at a YA audience which deal with being gay as beautifully as Boy Meets Boy does. David Levithan is going to become a cult author with teens if this is anything to go by. A lesson in acceptance and being true to yourself, Boy meets Boy is a school drama about friendship and love. It is heartfelt and touching, and beautifully portrays the developments in the relationship between Paul and Noah.

It does come across as idealistic, when in our world there is (unfortunately) still not the level of acceptance of diversity that there is in this book. But for anyone out there who believes a same sex relationship is incapable of igniting the same feelings as a heterosexual relationship I recommend they read this book, then they'll understand that isn't the case.

Finally, if you are an adult, don't be put off because this is marketed for teens. It has potential to be a crossover hit too.

Wonderful.


Just What Kind of Mother Are You?
Just What Kind of Mother Are You?
by Paula Daly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping, well written thriller, 6 Nov. 2013
There seems to be a real surge in psychological thrillers at the moment, particularly those in relation to motherhood. Just What Kind of Mother Are You? is a gripping book which will keep you guessing.

The plot follows Lisa, a busy Mum, struggling to balance all her commitments. The juggling act is always a challenge, but this time there are serious consequences to her taking her eye off the ball- her best friend's daughter goes missing. Riddled with guilt, Lisa is determined to do all she can to find the child...

I really enjoyed Just What Kind of Mother Are You? , it is a fabulously enticing read that had me desperate to turn the pages and uncover the facts. It sped by at a tremendous pace and I was halfway before I knew it. Paula Daly does a fantastic job at keeping you guessing-there are so many twists and turns and as a reader I was never sure who to trust. The pain and horror of being responsible for a child going missing is portrayed eloquently and as someone who works with children I found this quite an upsetting read, imagining how awful it must be to bear the burden of responsibility for someone else's child disappearing.

Well written and with an interesting plot, I would recommend this book to fans of Gillian Flynn and Liane Moriarty.


THE FAIRYTALE TEA DRESS SHOP IN EDINBURGH (Tea Dress Shop Series Book 2)
THE FAIRYTALE TEA DRESS SHOP IN EDINBURGH (Tea Dress Shop Series Book 2)
Price: £1.15

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun novella, 4 Nov. 2013
I must admit that I'm an out and out girly girl and was completely reeled in as soon as I saw the words `Fairy Tale' and `tea dress'. The title was alluring and appealed to me, and I am always keen to explore chicklit titles from authors I haven't read before.

The Fairytale Tea Dress Shop in Edinburgh is a novella with charm. It follows Delphine as she chances everything to pursue her dream of running a pre-loved dress shop and is a cosy, comforting read that will whisk you away to her world of sparkle. I loved the descriptions of the fabrics and fashions, with the materials being vividly illustrated through Black's words, and these were the definite highlight for me-I felt that the author must have a passion for fashion as I could clearly envisage the dress designs throughout. I thought the romantic elements were entertaining and although predictable this did not spoil my enjoyment, especially as I chose the book when looking for a lighthearted, easy read. The main negative for me was that the story ended abruptly. I was disappointed as it felt as though the author had been rushing to finish the book, which was a real shame when it had started so strongly.

There are some echoes of Kitty Charles's arcade series, but rather than being serialised De-Ann Black has created a series of novellas sharing a common theme yet designed to be read independently of each other. If you are looking for a quick chicklit read, The Fairytale Tea Dress Shop in Edinburgh may fit the bill.


Undertaking Love
Undertaking Love

4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for fans of Sinead Moriarty and Marian Keyes, 4 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Undertaking Love (Kindle Edition)
If you put a funeral parlour next to a wedding chapel, what do you get? A very entertaining romcom novel!

Cynical businesswoman Marla Jacobs has built up a successful wedding chapel in the heart of Shropshire. Loved-up couples travel from far and wide to have their dream day at the chapel which has a reputation for providing a unique and sensational experience. When Marla discovers that the building next door is being taken over by a funeral director she panics, fearing her business will suffer. After all, how many brides will want to walk past sombre widows on the way to their ceremony? Marla is set to go in with all guns blazing to stand her ground, but she hasn't anticipated her feelings for Gabe Ryan, the new man in town....

I wasn't sure what to expect as I had previously read the `Knight' books (published under the name Kitty French). Those are out and out erotic fiction, and Undertaking Love is a much softer read. Fun and froth with characters that are mostly very likeable, I enjoyed the plot which was like a soap opera. I would say Emmerdale, but it is much more glamorous than that, so maybe Hollyoaks! There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and it isn't as predictable as some of the books in this genre.

Undertaking Love is a humorous romance, farcical in places and has some very funny one liners. I think Undertaking Love will appeal to fans of Miranda Dickinson, Sinead Moriarty and Marian Keyes, as well as anyone who likes sharp, witty chicklit.Perfect for


Autobiography
Autobiography
Price: £5.98

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Autobiography-worth the wait, 28 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Autobiography (Kindle Edition)
Always known for courting controversy, Morrissey managed to cause a stir with his autobiography. Long-awaited by fans and the music industry, the release of Autobiography was delayed and then subjected to an embargo, giving added publicity to a book which surely didn't need it. Published under the Penguin Classics imprint, usually reserved for established, successful authors, there has been much debate about Morrissey's right to sit alongside Austen, Joyce and Waugh. Yet for over thirty years Morrissey has been capturing the imagination of his audience through his lyrics, a poet with a power to encapsulate emotion and touch the deepest, darkest thoughts of recent generations.

I am a Morrissey fan. I am a Smiths fan. I've been fortunate enough to see Morrissey live three times. I share some of the same political views as Morrissey (although certainly not all) and believe that meat is indeed murder. However, I don't fit into the Mozza stereotype. For me Morrissey is not a godlike figure who can do no wrong, he is human and fallible.

To actually hold Autobiography in my hands after such a long, drawn out wait felt momentous. I didn't want to be disappointed, and most of all I hoped beyond all hope that it would be entertaining, anecdotal and free from bitterness.

Written in prose, yet in no means prosaic, Autobiography gives an insight into Morrissey's family background, and on a wider scale also acts as a social history- Northern life in the reasonably recent past that seems so far removed from the regeneration projects taking place in Liverpool, Sheffield and of course Manchester.

Sometimes Morrissey comes across as coy and guarded, at other times like a petulant child spoiling for a fight. Autobiography inevitably covers Morrissey's time in the Smiths, although there are perhaps less pages dedicated to this pivotal, formative stage in his career than fans will hope. Contrastingly, the section around the Joyce trial is scathing (as expected) although is rather longwinded and repetitive. I can completely understand that Morrissey has used Autobiography as a platform to convey his side of the trial, and for what it is worth I completely agree with his arguments, but to this reader it did come across as acerbic and sardonic, and felt at odds with much of the rest of the book. Obviously this is Morrissey's story and he can write it how he wants, but the beauty and lyricism of the rest of the book is completely missing from what is one of the most memorable sections of Autobiography.

So, did I learn about Morrissey from Autobiography? Yes, certainly. His vulnerability and flaws are presented plainly to be seen and when writing about his experience of depression Morrissey touched a nerve with me and probably many others who have suffered the affliction of this malady.

Is it worth the hype? For fans, yes. For anyone interested in the music industry, yes. For the general public or someone looking at it purely on literary value? Maybe, maybe not. Whilst the imagery Morrissey conjures up is as evocative as anyone who has heard his music will expect, sometimes the sentence structure and punctuation is awkward and unnatural. It reads much like a freewrite, a splurge of words and emotions spewed onto the page.

This probably reads like a fairly negative review, when really it is not at all. Quirks and obsessions are beautifully recorded; longing and emotion for normality, acceptance and love are insightful and intense.

I did say I wouldn't stoop to the cliché of a Morrissey lyric to end this review, and certainly not that he is human and needs to be loved, but somehow that seems fitting. The allure of Morrissey continues to reign.


It's Got to Be Perfect: the memoirs of a modern-day matchmaker
It's Got to Be Perfect: the memoirs of a modern-day matchmaker

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and fast-paced, 28 Oct. 2013
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book. The subtitle 'The Memoirs of a Modern-Day Matchmaker' lead me to expect a diary format, which I sometimes find hard to get absorbed in, but I needn't have worried- this was set over a four year period but written in only two main sections.

Based on the author's personal experiences of running a successful dating agency, It's Got To Be Perfect is an amusing look at dating in the twenty-first century. Ellie Rigby starts up a dating agency as her own relationship falls apart. Determined to find if true love is a reality or a myth, Ellie's matchmaking skills sometimes leave a lot to be desired, and the a few of the characters looking for love are challenging...

Entertaining and fast paced, I enjoyed the comical stories of the nightmare dates and especially liked the feuding between Mandi and Mia, Ellie's assistants. Anyone who has ever had to work with someone who has opposing viewpoints to themselves will be able to relate to their disagreements!

This isn't a book I would necessarily have chosen for myself, but I was pleasantly surprised. This may well appeal to fans of Imogen Edwards-Jones's Babylon series, or anyone looking for a light hearted, fun-filled read.


So, You Think You're A Celebrity... Chef?
So, You Think You're A Celebrity... Chef?
Price: £2.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and original, 28 Oct. 2013
I enjoyed So You Think You're A Celebrity...Chef?, an escapist, farcical read that had me laughing out loud at some points. I felt it took a while to really pick up pace, but when it did I was immersed in a world very different from my actual life! Hilary is an interesting character, and I felt she developed well throughout the novel, although I did get frustrated at how the characters were all larger than life-although from watching many of the cooking programmes on TV, I can quite believe that many celebrity chef's actually are like those in the book! I really liked the elements of travel in the novel which added extra interest.

Overall, I felt this was an original book with fresh ideas, laughs and scandal. I admit to not being a huge fan of the influx of TV chefs, so am probably not the audience Caroline James is targeting, but So You Think You're A Celebrity...Chef? may well be a dish 'foodies' gobble down in one helping.


One Direction: Where We Are (100% Official): Our Band, Our Story
One Direction: Where We Are (100% Official): Our Band, Our Story
Price: £3.77

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for Directioners, 26 Oct. 2013
I am slightly reluctant to admit that I, a thirty four year old woman, have developed a rather large crush on Louis Tomlinson. Yes, I am just about old enough to be his mother (if I had had him extremely young!) but those exquisite cheekbones and that chiselled jawline... I can certainly see why girls have their hearts set aflutter by One Direction.

Where We Are is an 100% official book, and is, as I expected of very high quality. Hardbacked and printed on thick, heavyweight paper, it will definitely stand up to having the pages repeatedly drooled over and stroked, not that I have tried... There are a great selection of pictures of the band, from portraits to shots of them in the recording studio, from their time in Africa with Comic Relief to pictures of their adoring and dedicated fans.

Although almost a coffee table book in style, fans will be able to get an insight into the lives of Louis, Harry, Zayn, Niall and Liam through the sections on each member and a whole band interview. I do feel it would have benefitted from a bit more of this, however, the photographs manage to capture each of the group and their individuality perfectly, which is a great testament to the bands official photographer Calvin Aurand.

This book is a must for Directioners and I am sure any fan would be delighted to find Where We Are in their Christmas stocking, although this fan is hoping to find Louis himself wrapped up under her Christmas tree (I have been a good girl this year, honest!)


Begin With Goodbye Vol 1
Begin With Goodbye Vol 1

3.0 out of 5 stars Begin with Goodbye, 26 Oct. 2013
Begin with Goodbye is a serialised novel, expected to be completed in seven parts. This first part is 18 pages long, and introduces the reader to Samantha, who is reluctantly back in her hometown for her sister's funeral. Samantha is not only learning to live with her bereavement but is also having to face her sister's husband, her own former lover Julian.

Whilst I enjoyed the first person narrative which allowed some astute observations, I found Begin with Goodbye a bit rushed at times and the plot felt far-fetched. I am a fan of romantic fiction, but I just didn't feel like I bonded at all with any of the characters. The sudden ending, which is perhaps to be expected in a serialised book, left me unfulfilled, which was a shame as there were parts of this book which really appealed, especially some of the more emotive aspects.

I wouldn't rush out to get the next instalment of Begin with Goodbye, but can imagine that it may do well if they ever get published in one complete volume.


Secrets of a Chalet Girl: HarperImpulse Contemporary Romance (A Novella) (Ski Season Book 2)
Secrets of a Chalet Girl: HarperImpulse Contemporary Romance (A Novella) (Ski Season Book 2)
Price: £0.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hot, hot, hot!, 24 Oct. 2013
We find Flora in Verbier alongside the wealthy playboys. From the start of the novella I wanted to know more about her, she seemed to be quietly confident and on a journey of self discovery. Flora has been betrayed before, but surely Verbier is the perfect place to meet an eligible batchelor?

Enter Zac, devilishly good looking and fully aware of his charms, Flora is immediately attracted to him. When her friends dare her to approach him, she plucks up the courage to take the plunge and the story begins...

Handsome Zac set my heart aflutter and there is definitely something about the winter landscape, log cabins and roaring fires that appeals to my romantic side. Although he comes across as a bit cock-sure I still found myself drawn to him and he makes a great love interest for Flora. This one is definitely raunchier than the previous Chalet Girl book, and whilst not veering right over into erotica there are definitely elements of this book that will appeal to fans of that genre too.

I also loved how the friendship between the girls was portrayed, they seem like so much fun and I wished I had a group of friends who looked out for each other the way they do. Although I'm not convinced I could keep up with their partying!

For pure escapism and raunchy romance, Secrets of a Chalet Girl is a great wintery read-grab a hot chocolate and warm croissant and cosy up with it under a duvet. Now I'm off to dream about my latest book crush...


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