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Kirsty at Book - Love - Bug (Hampshire, UK)

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The Playground
The Playground
Price: £3.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry to say - not for me!, 26 July 2015
This review is from: The Playground (Kindle Edition)
I cannot say that I hated it because I did not finish it but the book just didn't gel for me - I couldn't get into it at all and I found myself constantly wishing I could put it down and read something else. I persevered for a while but when my feelings didn't change, that is exactly what I did do.

I'm sorry to say it - it really isn't like me to finish a book - but this just wasn't for me. However, from the reviews that are out there the book seems highly rated so please do not just take my word for it!


Too Charming (Choc Lit)
Too Charming (Choc Lit)
Price: £2.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Explosive chemistry, 26 July 2015
I am a bit behind the times, as this was released in 2013, but what an incredible debut from Kathryn Freeman!

The characters are likeable (and in Scott's case, absolutely to die for loveable) and the chemistry is the most explosive I've seen in a while. I loved that Scott wasn't a "what you see is what you get" man and I also loved discovering the other side to him, even if it was a frustrating journey that made me want to smack Megan several times over.

I adored his relationship with Megan's little girl and the moments with Megan's parents also brought a smile to my face. All in all, I adored it - it (well let's not kid ourselves, Scott) had my heart and soul hooked and I never wanted to put it down.

The only slight disappointment was the end - when it came, it was too quick and is the sort of ending that screams out for an epilogue and in the absence of that, I would love to revisit these characters in the future to see where they ended up.

The writing is outstanding; I feel like I lived every emotion with Megan and Scott and often found myself holding my breath as the chemistry and tension was so strong. I cannot wait to discover more of Kathryn Freeman.


The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne
The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne
Price: £0.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A real life mystery...., 26 July 2015
When I first started reading, I was momentarily panicked into thinking I had made a big mistake and that I was going to hate it but I was wrong. It took me a few pages to settle into the rhythm and the style of writing but once I was settled, I was hooked.

The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne really is a mystery - the fact that this book is based on true events makes it all the more captivating.

Andrew Nicoll has done an exceptional job of turning facts into fiction; the style, pace, characters and narrative are all absolutely perfect and the book remains enthralling until the last. Nicoll has created a sense of the time and place of Miss Jean Milne so well - he appears to have stayed true to the right facts at the same time as highlighting the gaps that really should have been filled and investigated at the time.

I did not guess the twists and turns that Nicoll was going to take us on during this journey but when it happens, it is so immersing, it certainly could be real. I felt that this book was completely as it should be - there didn't feel like there were any gaps and everything felt like it was perfectly wrapped up for the reader.

If you google it, there is plenty of information available on the real life mysterious murder and even the case files are available following a Freedom of Information request. It is a shame that we cannot categorically know the truth of what happened to Miss Jean Milne but Nicoll gives you a version of events that certainly could be true...


Letters To My Husband
Letters To My Husband
by Stephanie Butland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

3.0 out of 5 stars Unrelentingly sad...but promising writing, 26 July 2015
This review is from: Letters To My Husband (Paperback)
I found Letters to my Husband quite emotionally draining in the first instance. A lot of the first section is a little repetitive in that there does not feel like there is any light at the end of the tunnel. Then, once the 'secret' was revealed, I felt a little disappointed that was the turn the book was going to take, although I am not really sure what else I had expected.

I continued to read because the writing itself is good and I was intrigued enough to know what was ultimately going to happen, but I just couldn't adore such a book filled with such unrelenting sadness. However, at the same time as being sad, it is not the tear jerker that I was expecting. Unfortunately, I just didn't feel even a glimmer of hope or inspiration.

I want to stress that this doesn't mean I wouldn't consider reading a Stephanie Butland book in the future, however I found that Letters to my Husband did not have that uplifting element that would have made all the difference to me.


You, Me and Other People
You, Me and Other People
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A messy and tangled web of secrets and lies, 12 July 2015
This book follows Beth, Adam and Meg and the tangled web that is their family and be prepared because it is messy. Once the first secret is out, there is no controlling the rest which will eventually tumble out.

I have to admit that I do not really know how I feel about this book. I didn't not enjoy it but I just didn't adore it in the way I thought I would and I didn't come away from it wishing there were more pages to fill my life.

I did love the moments of Adam and Noah together, and Noah as a character was very special. I wish we had the opportunity to see more of him.

Due to work circumstances, about half way through the book I took a week long break and when I returned to it, it just never felt the same. I did want to return to it, but it hadn't left that burning impression on me that left my longing to return to the page the moment I had put it down. Following on from that 'break', I enjoyed reading but the storyline could have swung one of two ways and I found myself not really fully invested in caring which direction it was going to take. I wanted to really know what I wanted from the characters and the storyline, and whilst I cared enough to continue reading, I wasn't invested enough to pine for one outcome over the other.

I liked the alternating chapters resulting in the reader gaining both Beth and Adam's perspective of the situation and Kearney portrays the characters' emotions exceptionally well; I think she really gets them spot on.

Kearney is clearly an accomplished writer and I would not hesitate to read one of her books in the future. You, Me and Other People is Kearney's debut book and I am sure there will be plenty more to come.


The Ballroom Cafe
The Ballroom Cafe
by Ann O'Loughlin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 28 Jun. 2015
This review is from: The Ballroom Cafe (Paperback)
I adored The Ballroom Café which is a very touching story and will no doubt touch the hearts of many people across the world (and not just those with Irish connections) as it features the uncovering of an Irish adoption scandal.

It brings to mind Philomena and the scandal which has shocked people in recent years. However, at the same time this book is not really comparable to to Philomena; The Ballroom Café is so much more than just a story about adoption; it is a thought-provoking story of community, of love and loss, of hope and of friendship. I loved that the backdrop was based on true events, and you can read more about the Irish adoption scandal below.

I immediately felt like I belonged in this story which is set in County Wicklow, Ireland. Whilst heavily tinged with tragedy, there is a really light and buoyancy that radiates from this book. The characters are fabulous, whether that be the main characters or the supporting cast. I loved the relationship between the two sisters and the way they communicated only by short terse notes having not spoken for decades and I loved the way the various characters really touched each others lived.

The story is both intriguing and captivating. I was totally hooked and when the ending came, it was satisfying but there were some loose ends that left me craving more. My one and only complaint would be that the ending felt a little bit rushed, as though the editing sword had fallen a little to harshly in places. I wanted to bask in the ending and I wanted to know more.

I loved Ann O'Loughlin's style of writing, the words and chapters flowed perfectly which keeps you turning the pages and the characters are all excellently drawn to create the perfect story. I was shocked to discover that The Ballroom Café is Ann's debut book, as it feels like something from an extremely accomplished author; Ann's years of journalism and writing clearly shine through.


The Woman Who Stole My Life
The Woman Who Stole My Life
by Marian Keyes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, funny in places, always messy, delicious and real, 8 Jun. 2015
The Woman Who Stole My Life is simply fabulous and utterly divine. It is engaging, funny in places, always messy, delicious and real. It feels so right to be back in the arms of Marian Keyes.

Whilst the main narrative of the present day spans only a dozen or so days, the story covers a four and a half year period as we slowly come to learn how Stella ended up in NYC and then how she ended up back in Ireland in the state she is in. I enjoyed the time when Stella was in the hospital most, watching that 'spark' develop into a raging fire. I also enjoyed watching that fire burn and I have to say I enjoyed it burning in Ireland more than in NYC.

The Woman Who Stole My Life is not gripping in a psychological thriller type of way, but it does draw you in and it keeps you engaged. It is plump; full of detail (none of which you want to skip right over) and Keyes' has the knack of making you feel like you are in the room with the characters.

I have to admit it is not my absolute favourite Marian Keyes book; it does not have the warm Irish family loveliness that the Walsh family books have and I also have to admit that it is not totally recognisable as a Marian Keyes book from the style of writing; it didn't feel like reading Marian (in the way that reading Watermelon, for example, feels like being in a room with Marian Keyes telling you a story). However, at the same time, it is not totally unrecognisable - I still loved it; it is absorbing and I love getting lost in the world of Marian Keyes. I am not sure MK could ever disappoint, and she certainly doesn't here!


The Spider in the Corner of the Room (The Project Trilogy)
The Spider in the Corner of the Room (The Project Trilogy)
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nikki Owen weaves a complicated web with this gripping psychological, conspiracy-theory thriller, 6 Jun. 2015
Nikki Owen weaves a complicated web in The Spider in the Corner of the Room which is a gripping psychological, conspiracy-theory thriller and the first in a trilogy.

Nikki Owen is an exceptional writer. She has managed to concoct a story where the reader does not have the slightest inkling of what is going on but at the same time it is not frustrating, but totally absorbing.

The story is set mainly with Maria in intense therapy sessions but the story shifts around a lot and it is not always entirely obvious whether the shifts are to her memories, an alternative present or the future. The Spider in the Corner of the Room is not the sort of book you can just skim through; it requires your full attention and concentration. Even with that, there is so much going on that it was not until I sat down to write this review that I fully worked out how the shifts worked and what the present time consisted of. It is hard to say anything more without giving away the storyline!

With each shift, I found myself thinking that I finally knew what and who to believe and then I would turn the page, the timeframe would shift again, and once more I would myself back to square one and was left wondering whether I was going mad.

I have not read a book which has a character with Asperger's before and have no first hand experience of it so cannot say how true to form it is, but from reading other reviews of this book, it would appear that Maria is a well-researched and thought out character rather than being the stereotypical version of someone with Asperger's.

The book is powerful and it does make you think how scary and powerless you would feel if you found yourself accused of a murder you cannot remember committing and in a prison where you do not know who you can trust or what you can believe.

Around the middle of the book, I did find my interest waning slightly as the book as a whole is a little drawn-out and slightly repetitive but that adds to the powerful message. The build up is slow and the pace does not really accelerate until towards the end of the book when the answers you have been searching for begin to suddenly cascade into the reader's awareness. As I was nearing the end of the book, I was worried that Nikki Owen was going to end the first in this trilogy without answering a single question that I had flying around my head, but suddenly, right at the last minute, everything begins to come together and the ending does wrap up this part of the series as well as leading the way perfectly for the next instalment.


End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days Book Three): 3
End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days Book Three): 3
by Susan Ee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Penryn and Raffe return! Swoon!, 25 May 2015
I have waited for over a year for the third book in this addictive and explosive trilogy from Susan Ee. The first two books are incredible and so End of Days had a lot to live up to!

There are two things that I love most about this trilogy.

First...although each book leaves you desperate for more, there is no messing around at the beginning of the next book; we get to dive straight back into the storyline exactly where we left off. This is simply fabulous; there is not anything worse than being left on a complete cliffhanger (as the first book does, whereas the second book stops mid-flight, literally!) and then when you finally get your hands on the next instalment you find the author takes you around the houses for a few chapters to 'settle you back in'. Susan Ee glides straight back into the action and you instantly remember why you were so hooked in the first place. This also means that if you have not had yet had the pleasure of reading any of these books, then you can read all three and they will feel like one continuous story without having the tortuous wait that most fans have had to endure!

The second thing I love about this trilogy is Raffe (not in that order, I definitely love Raffe the most)! I adored the relationship and interaction that Penryn and Raffe have in the first book, which sadly you see less of in the second book but it is back with a vengeance at the start of End of Days as Penryn and Raffe are reunited. My absolute favourite parts of this book are Penryn and Raffe based - I don't want to give anything away but look out for Chapters 5 and 12 (I literally could not tear my eyes away from the page). If anything, I wish there had been more of these moments.

The chapters in End of Days are short which means the pace is fast. Susan Ee has done a great job with continuity of all the threads into the last part of this trilogy. There continues to be plenty of action from humans, angels, demons and locusts! I read it easily in two sittings, and it would have been one had I had a choice!

I felt like everything was wrapped up by the end (although felt perhaps a little rushed), however, my only complaint would be that when the end came, I found myself thinking "That cannot be it". There simply is not enough of the one thing all fans of this trilogy have been waiting for throughout the three books! I had longed for it for so long that I wanted to bask in it forever but it is all over so quickly. Then you turn the page and find an epilogue, and your heart skips a beat, but it does not really add anything in terms of closure! Perhaps Susan Ee will treat us with a surprise fourth book?!!

Highly recommended as a trilogy; I just wish there had been more! The Penryn and the End of Days Trilogy is not just a young adult trilogy - it can be enjoyed by YA and adults alike (I can definitely not be classed as a YA anymore!). If you've enjoyed The Angel Trilogy by L.A. Weatherly, I recommend you check out this trilogy too!

Overall, I absolutely loved the trilogy, but I have given this third book 4 stars as I did not love it as much as I loved the first!


You Think You Know Me (Choc Lit)
You Think You Know Me (Choc Lit)
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rollercoaster ride!, 24 May 2015
The first two thirds of this book is a gentle but interesting ride in which Clare Chase draws you in, but it cannot prepare you for the wild roller coaster that develops. You Think You Know Me transforms into a gripping page turner and I did not come close to guessing the outcome until it was thrust upon me.

I was disappointed once the ending came, but only because I had become so embroiled in the story that my brain, and my heart, was longing for more.

The character portrayals in You Think You Know Me are excellent and combined with the fabulous storyline, it make this an incredible debut from Clare Chase.

You can always rely on Choc Lit (publishers) to deliver the absolute best authors and they have not failed to deliver, once again, on this occasion. You Think You Know Me is chick Lit with a razor sharp edge.


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