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You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2
You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2
Price: 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars You will be laughing out loud!, 22 July 2014
Part 2 is where we meet Jamie! The owners son and the vineyard creator! We also are in for a surprise when we meet Elle's boss! This is not something you expect to happen to you on a singles holiday, oh and poor Elle, she has worked so hard with her image and reputation at work and now she feels she can't let her hair down as her boss, Donna will look down on her...

There is so much we learn in part two and the pace of the book is excellent, we are introduced to the first 'getting to know one another' challenges is a blindfolded wine tasting game. This is where guests will be matched up depending on the wine they seem to have a taste for. Then jumping straight into grape crushing and a trip to Florence! This part really has it all; if you weren't already racing through the book, you will be now!

We also begin to see a different side of Elle, she wants to keep a low profile and has stated she is not interested in finding a partner, this is not the reason she is on the trip! However 'George' the most annoying character in the world is born and continues to try his luck!!!

I absolutely loved the trip to Florence, from visiting myself I felt I had been transported back there again and could picture where all the characters were. If you haven't been to Florence, after reading part two, you are going to want to jump on the next plane there, even if it is only to see the statue of David...

I would say the trip to Florence I think is one of my favourite parts of the book at the moment, not only is it a beautiful setting but it just seems to be turning out wrong for poor Jamie and Elle, everyone on the trip is annoying and you just wish they would bug off!

So here are some of my favourite quotes from part 2...

''Yes, go in, look around, go up the dome if you dare.'

Jane stepped forward. 'Is there a lift?'

'There's not going to be a bloody lift, you bloody idiot!' shrieked Vicky.'

I loved this, had me rolling in stitches! I also loved the photo incident with David, couldn't quote that! Would be the longest quote in the world! You will just have to grab yourself a copy to know which bit I am talking about!

''Well those mannequins do have fantastic bums,' I coughed.'

Admiring the views in a sexy undies shop... again very funny!

As you can see things are hotting up and you will need to pre order part 3 to continue with the story, it is ace and once you will want on your kindle this summer!

You Had Me at Merlot: Part 1
You Had Me at Merlot: Part 1
Price: 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars You will want to be whisked away, 22 July 2014
Elle loves her life, she is single and can do whatever she wants. She doesn't have to answer to anyone about what to watch on the T.V, how she decorates her house or how much of her life is devoted to her work. Laurie is her best friend but is completely different. She has decided that it is about time she settled down. The problem is though she is still single and is miserable because of it; she decides that it was about time that her and Elle went on holiday, not just anywhere though but to a wonderful place in Italy. What she reluctantly tells Elle is that it is a singles holiday. This does not thrill Elle with excitement but as she is a good, supporting friend, agrees to go along.

I really liked Elle and Laurie as characters, right from the beginning I felt I could connect to them and wanted to tag along with them on their holiday to Italy. Although both girls are on the holiday for different reasons, they seem to balance each other really well and they both have some great one liners!

At times I was laughing out loud! I must say the funniest part of part 1 I think has to be the incident with the Botox...

'Laurie dunked her face back in. I sat on the toilet (with the seat down, we're not that close) while she repeated the face- dunking several times and admired the bathroom.'

I could not stop laughing about this, I could actually see this playing out in my head and wanted to be in the bathroom with the girls!

Part one is a great introduction to this book, it allows you to feel familiar with the characters and gives you a snippet of what you are in store for. This is a brilliant entrance to 'You had me at Merlot' and after reading this part you are going to want to download the next straight away!

Dorothy Must Die
Dorothy Must Die
Price: 5.05

4.0 out of 5 stars Oz with a difference!, 16 July 2014
This review is from: Dorothy Must Die (Kindle Edition)
I had heard a lot about Dorothy Must Die since about April and I knew it was going to be released in the U.K soon and I couldn’t wait to read it. I love The Wizard of Oz, it is my favourite childhood film and I have since been to everything I can that is related to The Wizard of Oz. I have seen the musical and Wicked too.

So when the lovely Justine contacted me and offered me an early readers copy of Dorothy Must Die, I had to say yes! I couldn’t wait to get stuck into it.

Amy Gumm is another girl from Kansas; she has a mundane life and seems to be the victim at school for the bullies. Her home life is not better, she lives in a trailer with her mum and her mum’s pet rat, her mum has got issues of her own and Amy is often an afterthought. After tornado warnings Amy is left in her trailer while her mother goes out, this is the last she sees of her mum as she is taken up and out of Kansas and arrives in the land of Oz.

Oz, is not the place we know and love anymore, Amy has landed in a place that perhaps once looked like Oz, yes there is the yellow brick road but that seems to be the only similarity. Oz has taken a dark turn, with what once was good is now evil and can wicked now be good?

There are many characters in this story, they are all interwoven well and it is easy for the reader to understand who is who. I enjoyed reading and perhaps learning a little more about older characters from the original story, however also thought the new editions bought with them some mystery and magic.

I must be honest, I was in for a shock with the level of gore and violence I came across in the book, this was something I didn’t expect; however I felt it was relevant to the story and made it very vivid. The whole story is easy to visualise and I could easily see this as a television programme or a film as it would lend itself so well to the screen.

I found the first third of the book (up to around chapter 12) to be very fast paced and engaging, I think I read in an hour or so. The final third I found as equally engaging and enjoyable and whizzed through this. The middle part of the book, however I found was a little slow at times and some of what was being said could have been done using less words. There was a lot of description which at times I felt was unnecessary.

Amy as a character grew on me, to begin with I was a little unsure of her, and when she arrived in Oz, she annoyed me as she constantly was trying to explain to the reader all the people she seemed to come across were ‘around her age’. This was quoted a lot in the book and this did grate on me a bit. Thankful she dropped this and her character began to change. I could feel she was confused and unsure who to trust, she began to realise that she needed to believe in herself and to go with her gut instinct. Amy became a wonderful heroin in the book and her confidence began to grow.

This is a great debut novel for Danielle Paige, she has taken a well known and loved fairy tale and transported it into a new era. This is not for the fait hearted; there is blood, gore and nightmares in this book, which has totally turned Oz on its head. On finishing the book I noticed it will be a series, I would say after that ending I would expect that. From reading the book did I get any major surprises? No but I did enjoy it. This I found even though it was 452 pages was quite a quick read and it was very intriguing, I was dying to find out how it was all going to be wrapped up...and now I know ha ha! You will need to read the book for yourself in order to find out!

I don’t want to say a lot more about this book as I don’t want to give anything away only if you like the Wizard of Oz I would give this book a go. Overall I am really pleased I had the opportunity to read this book and after this I would definitely want to read the next in the series by Paige. I give this book 4 stars out of 5 due to the slowness I felt in the middle of the book.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this copy to review.

Searching for Someday
Searching for Someday
Price: 4.98

4.0 out of 5 stars A Romance With A Difference, 12 July 2014
Searching for Someday is the first in the searching for series.

I have heard that Probst is known for her very steamy reads, I was a little apprehensive about reading this book as I am not a fan of erotica novels. This book however I did not get this ‘erotica’ feeling, there was not a lot of steam in it and for me that was perfect!

Kate is a successful business woman who has her own match making agency. This match making agency is one with a difference, Kate has the ability to tell if the person you are with is your soul mate.

Slade is one of the top divorce lawyers of the state and is a little bit of a protective brother. His sister is using Kate’s agency to find herself a partner, Slade however wants to identify to his sister that the company is a fraud and sets out to prove it. In order to do this he decides to register with Kinnections as a client to show her the company is a bit of a joke.

Searching for Someday is an easy going read, if you are looking for a deep big plot this is not for you. If you are looking for a cute and fun romance this hits the nail on the head. It is perfect for a holiday; the story is told in two perspectives which makes it really nice for reading. The only negative I would have about this book is that I thought it took a while to build the tension in the beginning, but then I found it to be at a good pace.

I particularly enjoyed the magic element of the story, this to make made it different and stand out from other books in this type of genre. After reading this I would definitely be interested in reading the others in this series.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

The Fever
The Fever
by Megan Abbott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Completely Unexpected!, 9 July 2014
This review is from: The Fever (Hardcover)
The Fever is a book I knew nothing about, I have never read a book by Megan Abbott and after reading the blurb I was excited to get started on this book.

Deenie has two best friends, Lise and Gabby. The story starts really interesting and really draws the reader in from the beginning, with Lise suffering a seizure in the middle of her class one morning. She then is taken into hospital with what is seen as a mystery illness. Lise begins going from bad to worse where she falls into a coma and has everyone including the medical team confused about her illness.

Meanwhile back at school, other girls begin to develop symptoms of a mystery illness and panic starts to spread though the school; along with parents who blame it on a vaccination the girls had. The members of the community continue to ‘freak’ themselves out by watching videos on the internet and watching the T.V.

I love the style that this story has been written in. We read through the point of view of Deenie, her brother Eli and their father Tom. I love this, it is very cleaver and although you may think confusing, it was easy to read and not at all confusing. All these characters come across as three dimensional and believable. Tom is regularly worrying about his parenting and about keeping his children safe and what is best for them. Eli comes across as a caring brother but also has his own issues going on which he needs to deal with, and Deenie is carrying a secret along with her friends.

I really enjoyed the story and found that it hooked me in right from the beginning, I would say that I did find the story a little slow in the middle and I felt that it times some of the points covered were being dragged out a little. Saying that towards the end the story picked up again and I was racing through to the end. This is a very intense read and at times I felt I was so tense I needed a break, at times it felt a little heavy, due to it being so tense I think.

This is a cracking YA story and although I am not in my late teens or early twenties I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is scary in a sense of who you know and makes you look at people differently. I loved all the red herrings in the story and I didn’t guess the ending. This being my first Abbott book has made me want to read more from this author. I think it was a brilliantly written and intriguing book that YA or not will enjoy.

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

The Tea Chest
The Tea Chest
by Josephine Moon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.39

4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Debut, 6 July 2014
This review is from: The Tea Chest (Paperback)
This story centres around the future of 'The Tea Chest' one of a chain of boutique shops offering gourmet and custom blended teas; with two shops in Australia the owner Simone Taylor has secured a shop in London with the intention of launching her unique blends of tea in the UK when her untimely death leaves the future of the London shop in jeopardy. Kate Fullerton who inherits Simone's share of the business feels that she wants to continue with the London store in memory of her friend. Despite Simone's step sisters' wish to sell the business as she is also a part owner, Kate is determined to launch this store and fulfill Simone's dream. Kate has a family and it's not easy for her to leave them behind in Australia and she also has to contemplate facing financial risks to make this work for Simone but she realises very quickly that it is something that she needs to do both for her friend and for herself.

Essentially this is about having courage to take a chance, facing fears, trusting your instincts, friendships and love. Kate's passion for tea and her close bond with Simone push her to achieve the almost unachievable, it teaches her a lot about herself, her relationship and her friends. Kate has no real head for business and realises she needs help and recruits Leila Morton and sisters Elizabeth Clancy and Victoria Plimsworth to help her. Working long hours and facing many obstacles along the way including construction workers, jealous neighbouring shop owners, London riots and personal problems they finally make this happen.

I did feel that the constant jumping from character to character and time periods was annoying in that it made it hard to recall where I was in the book each time I picked it up as I could not read this over a couple of days as I would have liked to. I also didn't share the writers obvious passion for tea and found the technicalities of tea making a bit laborious but the overall appeal of the story came through despite this for me.

A nice lighthearted read, good for round the pool/holiday reading, nothing too heavy to worry about here and of course it all has a happy ever after ending. I did think it was perhaps too tightly and neatly wrapped up but satisfying nevertheless.

Dare I say it but it was not quite my cup of tea (excuse the pun) but possibly different enough to be a successfully entertaining read. I would give this a 3.5 star rating (rounded up to 4 for Goodreads and Amazon) - the ending was predictable but it just was a little slow for me.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81
The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81
Price: 1.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A little gem of a book, 4 July 2014
Can I just say how much I love this cover! I love the cartoon element of it and when I received this book I was a little unsure what to expect, but I really liked the sound of it.

This story is about a man called Frank, he leads a very normal life, watching films, buying things from second hand shops and looking after his cat. One day he gets run over by a milk float, he is unable to look after himself as well as he could; so his daughter who lives abroad hires a carer for him, while he recovers.

Frank initially is not pleased about having a carer; however as time goes on he begins to look forward to the visits from Kelly. Kelly brings new adventure into Frank’s life and encourages him to live his life a little more.

This book is great to identify with, just because you are getting older does not mean you need to have a mundane life and you can enjoy yourself just as much in your eighty’s as you did in your twenties.

To be honest I wasn’t sure I was going to like this story, I thought I may find it a little boring and depressing, I couldn’t have been more wrong, it was upbeat and humorous. There were times when the story was a little sad and sometimes tragic; this story addresses issues that we all fear with getting older, being lonely and how our life will change.

Overall I found this story to be very enjoyable, it was moving and sad but brilliantly written and one that stays with you for long after you have finished reading it. This book I feel will appeal to all ages as getting old is a fear we all have, regardless of age. It also reminds you to grab hold of life and make sure you take all chances with both hands.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

The Lemon Grove
The Lemon Grove
by Helen Walsh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Let feeling a little flat, 3 July 2014
This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Paperback)
The Lemon Grove has been every where this year, since it was first released in hardback it has been doing the rounds on social media and been heavily pushed in newspapers, magazines and in book stores. So when I had the opportunity to read and review this I jumped at the chance.

Summer looks like it may have finally arrived in the U.K and that was perfect for me to take the opportunity to read this now.

Jenn and Greg visit Mallorca every year, they have been bringing their daughter Emma too, this year Jenn and Greg head out to the island early leaving Emma to arrive a week later, she brings her other half; her first proper boyfriend 17 year old Nathan with her.

When Nathan arrives he disrupts the dynamics of the family, Jenn is struggling to terms with coming to her age and is looking for escapism and a way to hold on and connect with her youth.

This story is about relationships in the family, mother and daughter, husband and wife. It is about secrets and betrayal and identifies how quickly these can escalate into something more. It also covers shifting in relationships of parents and their children.

Something I do have an issue with in this book is the 'act' of lust with Nathan, I feel this is a little unbelievable and that this seems in the book to be acceptable. Personally I don't know why Jenn would think her actions were acceptable and moral.

The way in which the story has been written has made it very hard to like and connect with any of the characters. I also found it very intense and at times graphic. I am not sure if this was the authors intentions to make you feel uncomfortable but if it was, she has achieved this with me.

The setting of the story was beautiful, having been to Mallorca myself I could picture the island well and enjoyed reading about it. This although a 'holiday' read, is not light and fluffy. It has dark themes and the subject matter is serious, if you are looking for something fun for the beach this is not for you.

The story itself is very short, I read in just two sittings, it is compulsive and I did want to get to the end to find out what was going to happen. This is where I felt a little let down by the book. I was expecting something major to happen and I feel I didn't get that, this left me feeling flat, and personally wanting a different ending.

I would recommend this as a different type of holiday read, it will keep you engaged and you will race to end.

I would like to thank the publishers for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

A Gift to Remember
A Gift to Remember
by Melissa Hill
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A chick lit with a difference, 28 Jun 2014
This review is from: A Gift to Remember (Hardcover)
A Gift to Remember is a Christmassy themed book and I thought, picking this up in June may not be a great idea, as I enjoy reading Christmas books at Christmas time! Saying this, other than the odd comment around Christmas Eve coming close and snow on the ground, no other Christmas references were made and at times I completely forgot when the story was set. It was magical and wonderful but this can come across at any time you read it.

Darcy works in a bookshop and being a book addict, this job for her is her dream, yes she went to university and got a degree and could easily do a job that matches her skill set, but she doesn’t want that. She wants to be surrounded by books day in, day out. After a few days working in the shop, she realises that perhaps it was not all hearts and flowers that she imagined but loves the job anyway. At times I wished we had more time in the book shop with Darcy, I could picture myself in there browsing the shelves and sitting in a comfy chair with a book.

One day on the way to work Darcy crashes into a man on her bike, he hits the ground and has to be taken to hospital, a dog – Bailey is left by the side of the road. Darcy feels terrible about the whole accident and the least she can do is take his dog to look after him and try to get him back to his owner. Darcy makes this her mission as after all she is responsible for this terrible episode.

Darcy is a lovely character and I felt I could connect to her straight away. I loved her personality and felt and carried the guilt along with her, I wanted Darcy to help Aiden as much as she possibly could and discover the mystery surrounding him. Also I fell in love with Bailey, the Husky and I now want one of my own! Such a cute dog and so well behaved!!

This book surprised me in many ways, I did not find it predicable at all and I loved the mystery surrounding Aiden and wanted Darcy to discover the truth. I feel that the mystery element could have been developed more as; as soon as it was discovered I quickly worked out the ending. I thought the mystery element bought something different to this chick lit that many don’t have and I enjoyed that.

The only negative thing I would say about the story is that about half way through we began to have Aiden’s side of the story which I did enjoy, but this isn’t clear until you have read a paragraph or so and I found this a little confusing when it started. As soon as I worked out what was happening then I was looking out for the change in the character. I felt this could have been something easy to correct, either put the characters name on the top of that chapter or write it in italics or something. This is just my opinion and like I said as soon as I worked out this was happening, I just then looked out for the change.

Another thing I would have liked to have seen was the date or day of the events, time is used in the story a lot, ‘in three days’ etc, I just think it would have been nice to have had say, 22nd December, written on the day it was meant to be. This to me would have made it a smoother read. There was one point very close to the end that it was mentioned 27th December was in three days time… this I feel could have been helpful to the reader; again though this is purely my own opinion.

Overall I did enjoy the story a lot especially considering I didn’t think I would enjoy it being June. I would say if you are looking for a ‘strong’ Christmassy themed book then this one is not for you as there is not as much festivity in it and I had expected there to be. However this is a brilliant read for any time of year, which has been injected with a little magic.

The story is written beautifully and it is clear that Hill researched the setting well, this comes across in the writing and I was able to feel like I was in New York along with Darcy and Aiden. After reading this book (which is my first by Hill, although I do have another sitting on my shelf to be read!) I would definitely pick up more books by her as her writing style is so smooth, easy and enjoyable to read.

I would like to thank the publishers for sending me this copy in exchange for an honest review, and also to Melissa for signing my copy.

A Dark and Twisted Tide: Lacey Flint Series, Book 4
A Dark and Twisted Tide: Lacey Flint Series, Book 4
by Sharon Bolton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish I had read the series in order, 28 Jun 2014
I had not read any of Sharon Bolton’s previous books, however I enjoy crime/thriller books so thought this would be right up my street.

Lacy Flint has left a detective team and has moved to the river police team, she spends most of her time at the Thames in London; she finds a body in the river and suddenly finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. Lacy who wanted a quiet life has realised that this may not be the case for a while.

The characters are well developed and snippets from previous novels are evident, this helps to create real and believable characters. I enjoyed that I did not know what was going to happen in the story or who the culprit was, this shifted throughout the story, which kept my interest alive. The story is full of suspense which is exactly what every good thriller needs.

I did enjoy the book, however I felt I lacked background info and the last few chapters seemed a bit weak, this could have been as I had not read any others from this series, however saying that after reading this and on the strength of Bolton’s writing style I would be keen to read more from this author and go back to catch up on this series. This can be read as a stand-alone book as the stories differ, but for continuity and for the characters relationships to become easily followed I would suggest the series is read in order.

Sharon Bolton is very quickly becoming one of my top thriller and crime writers, the only reason I have not given this 5* is down to the fact I have not read the previous stories in the series and I felt I would have enjoyed it more and had a richer reading experience if I had.

I would like to thank the publisher again for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

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