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Amy (UK)

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Summer Daydreams
Summer Daydreams
by Carole Matthews
Edition: Hardcover

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Summer Daydreams, 1 Mar 2012
This review is from: Summer Daydreams (Hardcover)
I am a huge fan of Carole's books and think I have read most if not all of them now. Aside from having a gorgeous cover what I liked about this book was the story and the characters featured throughout. Nell is the main character in the story, she's a mum that works hard to provide for her family in the local chip shop. However, when her friends and work colleagues see that she has so much more potential they encourage her to follow her dreams of making and selling her very own range of handbags.

From the very beginning I could see that all of the characters were going to be a joy to read about, and it was clear from fairly early on how much they cared for and wanted the best for Nell. Due to this I found them a joy to read, there were no ulterior motives and they were just all round good people. My favourite character in the book though had to be Nell's four-year-old daughter Petal who was a right little character. I thought she had some great little lines in the book, which at times made me chuckle and she was a character that really jumped off the page and came to life for me.

I found the story featured in the book interesting as it showed the various different sides of business, from the hard-work required to get one off the ground and the sacrifices people have to make to keep them afloat, to the feeling when things go well and the business starts to become a success.

Overall, this is a very good read and one that I'd highly recommend, along with Carole's previous books.


Me Before You
Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Me Before You, 9 Feb 2012
This review is from: Me Before You (Paperback)
I really enjoyed JoJo's previous novel The Last Letter From Your Lover which I read back in 2010, so I was looking forward to Me Before You. Then, when I heard that the book had been selected as part of Richard and Judy's Spring 2012 Book Club and I started reading more and more sparkling reviews for it, I was even more eager to get my hands on a copy.

The book centres around Lou and Will. Will who was involved in an accident is struggling with life and how it the accident has changed things for him. So when Lou enters his life she does her best to change his perception on the world around him.

I am pleased to say that the book exceeded all my expectations. It was brilliant and I read it in just three days, and with the book coming in just short of 500 pages that's not always the easiest thing to do! I loved the story from the beginning and thought it was a great (and somewhat brave) topic to explore - I've certainly never come across a storyline like it in any book I have read before. The two main characters, Lou and Will were great and I couldn't fault them. They kept me turning the pages because they were both so interesting and brought out the best in each other. Even the supporting characters in the book were interesting to read about and I thought that there was a nice combination of characters all thrown together in the book. I also liked that there were several chapters told from a different character's point of view, I felt this helped to see things briefly from a different angle and also gave a slight break from the emotion that Lou was feeling. It also enabled me to see how Lou and Will's loved ones felt about what had happened to Will.

As you can see I loved this book and can't recommend it highly enough. The story was thought-provoking and emotional and a joy to read and I can't wait for JoJo's next one!


Confessions Of A Karaoke Queen
Confessions Of A Karaoke Queen
by Ella Kingsley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.13

4.0 out of 5 stars Confessions of a Karaoke Queen, 20 Jan 2012
Confessions of a Karaoke Queen is Ella Kingsley's debut novel, although Ella Kingsley is a pseudonym used by a well known woman's fiction writer. I have tried to work out who she Ella really could be, and while I have my suspicions, I'm more than likely wrong.

Confessions of a Karaoke Queen explores the realms of the reality television and just how far people are preapred to go to get their faces on TV. Maddie is the main character in the book. She is the daughter of 80's pop duo Pineapple Mist, who now run a down trodden karaoke bar, which Maddie ends up finding herself in charge of. Hoping to get the business back up on its feet, she allows a TV crew to film the business's and it's staff every move.

There are an array of characters featured in the book, many of which edged on the side of eccentric. Jaz was a rather strange character, particularly in the way she was described, and I really didn't know what to make of her guniea pig Andre's part in the book.

Aside from that I enjoyed the book and thought it was well writter and quite different from the story featured in a lot of chick-lit books. It was a relatively light-hearted read that I devoured over a weekend and which I would recommend to fans of chick-lit.


One Minute to Midnight
One Minute to Midnight
by Amy Silver
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Minute to Midnight, 20 Jan 2012
This review is from: One Minute to Midnight (Paperback)
One Minute to Midnight it Amy Silver's third book. It tells the story of Nicole and her various New Years.

I found the way the story evolved interesting, Every other chapter was set in 2011, while the rest detailed New Years from Nicole's past from when she was a teenager to now. This meant the story unravelled slowly leaving me plenty of opportunity to guess what had happened between the intervening years before finally finding out for sure.

I enjoyed the way the story was told and thought the characters were all well developed and interesting to read. There were a lot of different topics explored throughout the story which nakes this a slightly heavier read a lot of chick-lit books and perhaps the cover suggests, but it's written well and is enjoyable to read.


Home for Christmas
Home for Christmas
by Cally Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.67

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just For Christmas, 20 Jan 2012
This review is from: Home for Christmas (Paperback)
Home for Christmas is Cally Taylor's second novel, although it is the first of hers that I have read, I will now keep an eye out for her debut as I really enjoyed this one.

The main characeter in Home for Christmas is Beth, a woman in her twenties who loves her job in a local cinema but fears it will be taken away from her when a new owner threatens to take over.

I thought Cally Taylor's writing was great. The story was fast-paced and moved along wondefully. There was humour dotted throughout the book which really livened up the story and brought the characters to life. The chapters alternated from being from Beth's point of view to that of Matt's - the man directed to get the cinema off the current owener's hands. Both Beth and Matt were great characters and it was nice to read chapters from a male's point of view, which rarely features in chick-lit.

Overall, this is a good read which I really enjoyed and would recommend. My only niggle is that it wasn't as Christmassy as I was expecting based on the cover and title of the book.


Meeting Lydia
Meeting Lydia
by Linda MacDonald
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meeting Lydia, 14 Jan 2012
This review is from: Meeting Lydia (Paperback)
Meeting Lydia is Linda MacDonald's debut novel, and I can happily say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The main character in Meeting Lydia is Marianne, a 46-year-old Psychology teacher, struggling to deal with her daughter flying the nest, the woman Marianne believes is spending far too much time with her husband, and attempting to come to terms with the effect that being bullied at school has had on her by seeking out one of the only people she remembers not bullying her on Friends Reunited.

Meeting Lydia is like no book I have read before. It looks at everything from a psychological angle - understanable as the author is a Psychology teacher herself. I have a keen interest in the subject and so found this book interesting and intriguing. However, I don't think you have to be in to Psychology to enjoy this book. Marianne is a character the reader can really connect with and as so many aspects of her life are explored, I'm sure many will be able to connect with her and her story in some way and enjoy the book.

Since reading this book I have discovered that Linda is in the process of writing it's sequel, which she hopes to release later this year. I personally can't wait to read it and am looking forward to its release.


The Jewels of Manhattan
The Jewels of Manhattan
by Carmen Reid
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars The Jewels of Manhatten, 14 Jan 2012
For the past few years Carmen Reid has stuck to writing her Annie Valentine series, so it was a nice change to pick up a Carmen Reid book with completely new characters and a storyline miles away from those featured in the Annie Valentine series.

The Jewels of Manhatten tells the story of the Jewel sisters; Em, Sapphire and Amber, who find themselves getting mixed up in all sorts of trouble. I liked all three of the sisters despite them all being very different, which I thought was a good thing as it made it easy to differentiate between them remember which sister was which.

I personally found the book to be quite young and felt that it was aimed more at the younger end of the women's fiction market than Reid's previous novels as all three of the women were quite young (in their early twenties) and the storyline was rather juvenile and light-hearted.

Overall, this is a good read and one that is ideal for young adults looking for a light-hearted, fun read.


Breakfast At Darcy's
Breakfast At Darcy's
by Ali McNamara
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breakfast at Darcy's, 23 Dec 2011
This review is from: Breakfast At Darcy's (Paperback)
Breakfast at Darcy's is Ali McNamara's second novel. The book tells the story of Darcy who discovers she has been left a small island in her Aunty's will.

I thought that the story was a good one and one that I have never come across in chick-lit before. However, I did feel that the book was more of a beach-read than the winter-read that the book cover makes it out to be. Darcy and her best friend Roxi were typical chick-lit characters - highly into fashion and very image conscious. I'll be honest and say that Darcy was not the most likeable of characters, particularly early on in the book, although she did redeem herself later on in the book, especially as she grasped more of a reality of life living on an island.

Overall, I preferred Ali#s previous novel, From Notting Hill with Love... Actually more than this. However, this is still a good read which I'd still recommend as it was a nice light-hearted read with some good twists and turns.


It Started With A Kiss
It Started With A Kiss
by Miranda Dickinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Started with a Kiss, 23 Dec 2011
This review is from: It Started With A Kiss (Paperback)
It Started with a Kiss is Miranda Dickinson's third novel, although it is the first of hers that I have read. Having enjoyed the story though, I am now looking forward to reading its predecessors.

The book tells the story of Romily who, after sharing a kiss with a stranger, starts a quest to find him again. I thought that the first chapter of the book was particularly captivating and it left me wanting to read more as it was a great start and so much happened.The wedding band that Romily was a member of was great and their scenes were written wonderfully and in such a way that you can tell Miranda (who is a member of a similar-style wedding band herself) loves music and all that being a part of a wedding band entails.

The story kept me guessing right the way through - was Romily going to find the mystery man, or was her quest going to all be for nothing? I was literally guessing right until the last few pages, and I happily never expected the ending Miranda gave - it was great! I thought things were going to end one way, then a spanners was thrown into the works and everything changed in the split of a second.

Overall, I thought this was a great read with a brilliant and captivating storyline.


Christmas at Tiffany's
Christmas at Tiffany's
by Karen Swan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Very Christmassy, 23 Dec 2011
This review is from: Christmas at Tiffany's (Paperback)
I chose this book because it was December and I wanted a Christmas read, and the cover and title of this book seemed to fit my requirements. However, this book is not in the least bit christmassy, or even wintery at all, so I was very disappointed. Fortunately though, the story was good and it was strong enough to keep me turning the pages, despite my initial disappointment.

The story focuses on Cassie and her three friends, Kelly, Anouk and Suzy. Deciding to spend the year with three friends in their home countries, the story takes Cassie to New York, Paris and London. I enjoyed the story the most when it was set in New York as I felt that it was where the characters were the most interesting and where the story progressed the most. I personally found Cassie's length of time in Paris quite dull and thought it only heated up at the end of the section where there was a revelation. Cassie's spell in London was enjoyable and eventful and far more interesting to read.

Overall, this is a good read, but don't be fooled by the Christmassy cover and title which are very misleading!


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