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Dear Committee Members
Dear Committee Members
by Julie Schumacher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Think I should have read letters a few at a time, 23 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Dear Committee Members (Paperback)
This short novel is written entirely in a series of letters by Jason Fitger, a Professor of English and Creative writing at Payne University in America.

I really love books that have this format, either in letter or email form, they somehow seem more interesting to read, almost because you know you shouldn't be reading someone else's letters/emails. Through these letters the reader learns that the building is being redesigned, they have leaky windows, and dust is flying from the building works. A lot of the staff have already left and you are almost left to pity the staff that haven't left yet.

These letters really paint a picture of Jason, divorced, his own writing career has failed or well never really got off the ground, he is grumpy and doesn't like modern day technology. One he particularly hates is the online form of media and forums. He seems to be rarely talking to his friends and seems to have driven most of them away.

These are humors through the way they are told and sad at the same time, I love the fact that they are told through letters as this seems to be something that is dying out. I don't want to say too much about the book as it is quite short and you would be able to read this rather quickly.

Although I did really enjoy the book, it was at times hard to keep reading one letter after the other, it may have been better to read a few letters at a time and then come back to the book. This is just my own personal opinion on the book and the reason I only rate it 4 out of 5 *. At times I did find it a little bit heavy in this format all at once. Saying that if I had read a few letters at a time and returned to the book, I may have enjoyed it even more.

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

Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer (Max and Maggie Journal)
Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer (Max and Maggie Journal)
by Ali Maier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.21

5.0 out of 5 stars One of a series, 23 Mar. 2015
This is a really fun book, I would say for children ages 8-12 especially for those who have siblings. This story is about Max and Maggie, 10 year old twins, who have just broken up for the summer holidays and mum has bought them a journal to write in and make sure they get along. They are required to share the journal and write in about their summer holiday, so this is written in journal format.

I really loved the format of the book and it really made it fun and interesting to read, the font inside is slightly different depending on who is doing the writing so it makes it really clear to follow and understand. I also loved all the scribbling inside, of pictures or enlarged letters, this really gave it the feel of being a journal and something that they children love to write in.

I really loved this book, although I am slightly older than 12! It is brilliant for children as it covers bickering and squabbling with a sibling, it helps them understand the thoughts that perhaps the other is having.Both Max and Maggie find it frustrating that they have to understand the others point of view, however they over come it.

I really liked the style of this book and I think it will prove to be extremely popular. Especially for long car journeys in the summer or on a plane trip. As an adult you will also enjoy it, remembering childhood memories that you may have had with your own sibling, and the doodles in the book are sure to make you giggle.

This is one book that I strongly recommend, I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

After the Storm
After the Storm
Price: £1.19

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit slow, 23 Mar. 2015
This review is from: After the Storm (Kindle Edition)
This book has been really difficult for me to review. I really wanted to love it. From reading the blurb it sounded right up my street, travelling and a bit of a thriller, I was there! Unfortunately I found it very slow and very hard to finish, it has taken me weeks and weeks to read and that was just not as enjoyable as I had hoped. This was my first experience of Jane Lythell as an author and although I really wanted to read 'The Lie of You', I haven't yet got my hands on a copy. I wish now I had started with that book as it has had really great reviews.

So about the story: English couple Anna and Rob are travelling around South America, this really appealed to me as I really love to travel, especially in South and Central America. They meet Kim and Owen, an American couple who are on their way back to Florida after months of sailing. They offer Anna and Rob the chance to sail with them for the remainder of their holiday in exchange for some dollar, they take a risk by doing this. Although Anna is not keen and slightly worried about spending the last part of her holiday with two strangers on a boat, Rob manages to convince her.

So far, so good, I was really enjoying this story and I couldn't wait to find out about the journey and these 2 couples living with each other in tiny surroundings. However this is where I suddenly found the story slow, I understand that tension needed to build between the two and the story is about the developing relationships and the secrets they keep. It is a slower burner, that is the only way I can describe it. During this time we find out about the different characters and how they have made them the person they are today. I thought this was going to be more interesting than it was and I was just left wanting more.

I thought there was going to be more thrill in the book and although it was beautifully written and is very descriptive I was just left feeling a little disappointed. I thought that after all the slow burning of the plot developing that it would have been an almighty shock at the end, however I found it to be a bit of an anti climax.

Although I did find the book disappointing I would still be keen to pick up Lythell's other book, I feel that she is able to create believable and well rounded characters, the relationships between them felt real and the description in the book was good. Although I found the book too slow in pace, many will love this.

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

A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
Price: £2.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written novel, 21 Mar. 2015
So when this book arrived for review, my mum couldn't resist and she wanted to review it for me. Here is her review:

Such a lovely well written novel; as a Londoner and former florist who was a regular 4am visitor to old Covent Garden I could almost smell the flowers in this book. I remember the hustle and bustle of the early morning traders, cupping and blowing into my frozen fingers and feeling the warmth of tea or hot chocolate to keep out the cold, banging my frozen feet on the ground waiting while my father bartered with the sellers and then loading boxes of flowers onto our van ready to take back to our shop to sell. All these long forgotten memories came flooding back to me as I read about Flora and Rosie the little orphaned flower sellers. Good storytellers evoke memories and Hazel Gaynor definitely did this for me with A Memory of Violets.

Covent Garden has changed quite a bit now but when I was a child it must have been unchanged from the late 1800's and I could easily picture Flora and Rosie picking up fallen flowers and watercress to make into posies to sell to the gentry. Because I felt such a connection this was quite a special read for me. I loved how the whole story was bought together by Tilly Harpers' story and how she fitted into the novel to help find the missing little flower sellers' sister.

I don't want to retell the story or give away any spoilers to this beautiful heartwarming and often heart wrenching story so you'll have to trust me and read it yourself but I can say that you won't be disappointed. It is even more poignant when you remember that life really was like this for so many children at the turn of the century, never knowing if they would eat, having no where warm and safe to live, being terrified of the Work House and having to work as soon as they were able. I'm sure Flora's story was not uncommon and many young girls suffered the deprivation and hardship of poverty, many died young, lost their families and spent their lives searching for their siblings on the often cruel streets of London. This novel is so much more than a work of fiction and that is what for me makes this such a good piece of writing.

Tilly, Flora and Rosie will stay with me for a long time, I am so glad I read this book and so glad that I was not born in the late 1800's

I have to give this book 5 stars.

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

Beneath the Moon and the Stars
Beneath the Moon and the Stars
Price: £0.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Debut, 15 Mar. 2015
When I say this on netgalley I knew I had to request it. I had heard really great things about this book, and with a cover like that it had to be brilliant.

Joy Cartier has never really been settled in life, after her parents died when she was a child, she relied on her brother Alex to bring her up. Since then she has jumped around from job to job and travelled the world, never really having anywhere she can call home though.

Joy discovers the family home she grew up in at Bramble Hill is up for sale and decides she wants to buy it. After lots of felines by the New owner, Joy decides to move back to try and persuade them.

Joy believes that she can be happy again and make a home for herself in the village. The villagers seem to disagree, they really take to hating her and start to make her life miserable. That is Everton other than Casey, who doesn't live in the village and her hot neighbour Finn. Finn feels sorry for her, although has recently had his heart broken by his wife, he does instantly want to dislike Joy, mainly for the reason she is a red head, just like his ex.

There are quite a few background stories going on in the book, Casey's relationship, Joys brothers and what is Joy actually up to? There are robberies going on, has she anything o do with these? And why is she creeping about at night?

This book I found very easy to read, unfortunately I didn't have time to read it in on or two sittings, but this didn't matter, I was able to dip in and out of it with no trouble of knowing where I was.

I enjoyed the humour that was present in the story but also loved all the emotion that surrounded the characters too. My only negative is that it was predictable, which was ok an most chick lits are, their were occasions that I got a little fed up of Finn and Joys relationship as it felt it wasn't going anywhere. This however were only the negatives I have of the book. Overall it's a warm debut novel that is written well.

I would recommend this to others as a light hearted book that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

The Glam Guide
The Glam Guide
Price: £5.03

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to add to the wish list!, 7 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Glam Guide (Kindle Edition)
This book I had seen a lot of and desperately wanted to get my hands on a copy. As a blogger I have recently got into reviewing the odd beauty item and Fleur being a beauty Youtuber I was interested in her take on beauty. I have never watched any of her videos but I will now be searching for her as I enjoyed this book so much.

I really love the look of it, the front cover is just so girly and the theme follows throughout. I love the layout of the book, it is very easy to follow and has some great tips in.

Personally I love the travel part of the book, I am going away soon and I found this extremely interesting and useful. I really enjoyed reading about taking a chunky scarf on a flight even in summer, some of the ideas for the uses of it were really useful and I hadn't thought of some of the uses. I will certainly be taking a big scarf on my flight after reading this. The Glam Guide is very easy to read and the sections are short which allows you to dip in and out of this book. This is a book that I feel I will always be using as it is so useful and covers so many things a girl wants to know.

The overall look of the book is very professional, mature and clean. A lot of Youtube books seem to be attracting a younger/teenage audience. This is the first Youtube book that I have seen that has a more adult look to it and I feel the book has been targeted well for the late 20's early 30's audience. I also believe it will do very well in this age bracket.

I do have one negative about this book, (it's not actually that negative, more like an opinion) that is that I would have liked to have seen more photographs in the book. I do like the mix between illustration and photo's, however I feel it would have benefited from more high definition photographs.

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

by Harriet Lane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't live up to the hype., 24 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Her (Paperback)
This book has been a hard one for me to review. I finished it a few days ago and its taken me this ling to really think about how to describe this book.

Her has been already a big hit and got quite a bit of hype around it, so when I received this in the post for review I couldn't wait to get started.

Her is a psychological thriller with two main characters, Nina and Emma. We follow both characters and get both their point of view on each event. This I really struggled with as majority of the even would be repeated in the perspective of the other character. I enjoyed reading the event the first time around but by the time I began to read that chapter again but in th Point of view of someone else I began to get bored. Sometimes it would almost be.identical and have paragraphs which were a complete repeat. Once I identified this was the pattern of the book I found myself skimming the second chapter of that event.

Nina knows Emma from her past and she has done something to Nina, the who story is building up to us find in out what she has done an to be honest I found This was done very slowly. I did expect a lot more from this book an I think that is probably down to the amount of hype this book already has received. I felt I was constantly waiting for something to happen in th plot, I waited and waited until almost 90% through, when we as th reader finally fin out what is happening. When I did find out I was disappointed, I found it to be unrealistic and silly. I was really expecting more.

The Book is beautifully written , however and it s a pleasure to read from that respect, but unfortunately this book did not do it for me. There were too many issues I had to over come and then I felt left down at the end. I also felt that the ending was incredibly rushed. It felt like as the reader we waited forever for th plot to arrive, but blink and you miss it. I actually had to go back and reread what had just happened.

Overall the book was O.K, I have tried to be very honest about my review and as I said I have found it quite difficult to write. I wish the author the best of luck with this book, but unfortunately this was not for me. I would rate this book 2.5 stars, so rounded it up for Goodreads and Amazon.

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

Red for Revenge (Quick Reads 2015)
Red for Revenge (Quick Reads 2015)
Price: £0.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quick Read, 22 Feb. 2015
Red for Revenge is part of the Quick reads for this year and high up on my list for this reason. I think Quick Reads are a great program, and this was another great short story to come out of it.

This is about two women, one has a husband of 25 years and things have gone a little stale, Maggie knows things have been a little dry for a long time but Phil is the father of her children, they are grown up now but Maggie still feels there is a place for the family. She has got into a rut but decides for their anniversary dinner to make more of an effort and to look her best. She decides to use a beauty voucher that her bought her for Christmas.

Carla works with Phil, she is single and knows how to dress well. When the two women meet in the beauty salon it becomes apparent that they have a lot in common.

I really felt that I connected with the two women, both for different reasons, I felt the emotion that came across in this short story and I thought it was executed well. This is a short read, just over 100 pages and I really loved that. IT allowed me to read this in one sitting which was brilliant as I felt I could really get into the story and be with the characters.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to escape life for an hour. It was a satisfying read, however I do wish I knew a little more. I don't want to spoil it for you by telling you what happened in this short story, that is for you to go and find out for yourself.

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

The Life I Left Behind
The Life I Left Behind
Price: £6.98

3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing, 21 Feb. 2015
This is an unusual psychological novel in the respect that part of it is told by someone who is already dead. The story is told from 3 different perspectives, Eve the girl who is dead, Melody who has been attacked and survived, and Victoria the DCI who is investigating Eve's murder. A cleverly woven plot that links Eve and Melody together on similar paths, Eve already dead who cannot pass over until she has warned Melody of her impending danger and Melody who after an attack on her life can't quite rid herself of her demons and retreats into a half life. Melody's emotional decline is perfectly balanced against the tension Eve builds up to her own death. Seemingly two separate people who's lives collide in a chase against time to save Melody from a similar fate as Eve is captured very well in this novel.

Secondary characters were not really developed enough for me but since this was essentially about two main characters it did not detract from the overall plot of the novel. I did guess the outcome but for quite a while it could have been one of two people which made it worth reading until the end. I think Colette McBeth could have given more background on the killer than she did - without giving too much away in a spoiler I felt that we knew very little about him and his reasons to turn killer. This I felt was a weakness in the plot line especially since such a lot of time was spent building up another character to look like the killer. I also felt that the novel was a bit too long, lots of padding out which could have been filled with more insight into the killer's mind that was in my opinion lacking.

However overall it was unusual enough to keep me reading; I would give this 3 stars, a good read in parts, not so great in others and a little predictable, certainly not the best psychological thriller I have read and a bit disappointing hence the 3 stars - just didn't do it for me I'm afraid.

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

Second Chance Island (Novella)
Second Chance Island (Novella)
Price: £0.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Will brighten up your winter day., 19 Feb. 2015
This short novella does not lack any drama or action, from the first few pages you are thrown right into it.

I love the setting of this novella, with a back drop of the Great Barrier Reef, this book just gleams sparkle and holidays. It took me back to my time in Australia and reminded me what a beautiful county it is.

It is just over 40 pages, which makes it such an easy and quick read for the odd hour you have, I read this in one sitting in just under an hour and I was really swept up in the story.

This is about a girl and a guy, who had previously met, however they have changed a lot and perhaps are not the people they remember them as. Laura had hurt Phil four years ago and now she is here, with him on Tropical Island. This is a great contemporary which is going to be brilliant for the summer months, personally I love a little bit of heat and anything that can take me away from the winter skies, so reading it this time of year was perfect for me.

This was my first experience of Jenny Schwartz, however I would be keen in reading her longer novels after finishing this.

I would recommend this novella for a pick me up on a winters day and urge you to look out for this author.

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

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