Sunday, 27 November 2011

Review of Build A Man by Talli Roland

This is another thoroughly enjoyable, funny, easy to read book by the lovely Talli Roland. 

Serenity Holland has moved to England to pursue her career as a tabloid journalist.  She has however, got a little stuck along the way, by taking a job as a receptionist at a cosmetic enhancement clinic and moves in with Peter who is the owner and surgeon.  Their life is very regimented, and a little dull and Serenity certainly doesn't feel like she's fulfilling her life dreams by having to be nice to the extremely rich and very rude clients that attend the clinic.    That is until the day that Jeremy walks through the door.  He's a lovely man, quite good looking too in fact, although wants to change his appearance drastically by having a number of surgeries. 

When she pitches to The Daily Planet, about a makeover for a man, and gets a response to call the editor, she's overjoyed, but they require her to befriend Jeremy and dish the dirt on his life to make this a great feature. 

Will Serenity sell her soul to The Daily Planet, or will she cough up to her undercover status to genuinely be friends with Jeremy?  Will Peter find out that she's undermining the confidentiality of one of the clinic's clients or is she able to hide it from him?  Will Jeremy's surgery be a success?  Can this story possibly have a happy ever after ending?

All of Talli's books are funny, romantic and easy to read, and you find yourself constantly turning the pages, becoming involved in the story and wanting to find out more.  Build A Man is just the same.  The characters are genuine, but she makes them funny at the same time, with humerous little quirks of their own.  You find yourself loving Serenity even though what she's doing isn't the wisest choice one of your friends would make, but you can't help feeling sorry for her.  Jeremy is a wonderful character, a man who wants to change his appearance because he thinks that he'll be able to find love if he looks different and Peter who is very stuck in his ways, and doesn't really light any fires, apart from for the rich and famous who desperately need his cosmetic services.  

This is a hugely entertaining book, light-hearted yet with hidden messages of self belief, hope and about following dreams.  

Talli writes funny and romantic fiction.  She lives in London and admits openly on her website to having a crush on Sir Alan Sugar!    
Her debut novel, The Hating Game was in the top 100 on Amazon Kindle UK for over 75 days.  I was lucky enough to review Watching Willow Watts earlier this year which was a great read, and you can read my review of this book here
She also writes the 24 Hours travel guides under the name of Marsha Moore.    You can find out more about Talli at her website or read her entertaining posts at her blogsite
You can follow Talli on Twitter by clicking here.
You can buy Build A Man via Amazon by clicking here.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Review - The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon.

An absolute cracker! I adored this book and want to move to this village!

Michelle had run away from her past, her bully of a husband Harvey and her family who think he's the best thing since sliced bread and has moved to a village called Longhampton, where she knows no-one but more importantly no-one knows her.  She has bought a shop and called it Home Sweet Home which stocks lots of fabulous goodies to make your home beautiful. 

Just when Michelle thinks she has no friends in the village, Anna's dog bursts into the cafe and snaffles Michelle's cake and Michelle and Anna become firm friends. Anna is married to Phil.  Their plans to have a baby are on hold until they have been married for four years although their plans have been scuppered slightly as their lives have been invaded by Phil's three daughters who have come to live with them while their Mom spends two years in the States. 

When the bookshop next door to Home Sweet Home becomes available, Michelle wants to expand her business so she speaks to the solicitor involved who tells her that it has to be run as a bookshop for the next year.  She immediately believes that between her and Anna, they can turn this into a thriving business.  Rory, the solicitor, becomes a person who she finds at first quite irritating but seems to be popping up in her life whether she likes it or not.

The village bookshop becomes a magical place where people can meet friends, drink coffee, and browse new and second hand books.  Anna's life is not what she thought it would be as stepmum to three children and she begins to wonder whether her love for Phil is enough to get her through coping with this life that she signed up for. She is tested to the limit by these children that do not belong to her and by a husband who just expects her to take care of everything. 

What happens when Michelle's past comes back to haunt her, and will she share her secrets with her new friends?  Will Anna get her happy ever after? You know the rules - buy the book and find out!  I know that you're going to love this book just as much as I did. 

This book had me so mesmerised, I wanted to go into the bookshop myself and enjoy a cup of coffee and browse through the books. I wanted to meander through the knick knacks in Home Sweet Home feeling the luxurious fabrics and choosing gorgeous gifts for Christmas.  I wanted to meet these wonderful characters that Lucy had created who lived in Longhampton.  The way that the places and people are described made the whole book come alive for me in a totally enchanting way. What an amazing gift an author has to be able to create all of this with their words.  

I became worried about the characters and what was going to happen to them and I was kept guessing practically to the end.  I wanted to tell these children what a wonderful lady Anna was, putting everyone else before herself and not to treat her the way they were, that she deserved to be treated with courtesy and respect.  I wanted to tell Phil to appreciate her more and not treat her like a doormat.  This was another book that had me wanting to rush home from wherever I was to tuck up on the sofa and totally lose myself in this fabulous story which had numerous twists and turns along the way to keep my interest.  I was actually really sad when it came to an end and still think about these characters days after I finished reading.  I'd love to be friends with both Anna and Michelle, both fabulous ladies in their very different ways. 

The book explored relationships, families, marriage, love and friendship.  A tremendous read, and it's shameful to say that I've only just discovered this fabulous and understanding writer, but I am SO glad I've discovered her and am SO checking out Lucy other's books as soon as possible.  

Lucy Dillon was born in Cumbria and now divides her time between London and the Wye Valley, where she enjoys walking in the Malvern Hills with her Basset hounds, Violet and Bonham.

You can buy this book on Amazon by clicking here.
You can follow Lucy on Twitter by clicking here.
You can like Lucy on Facebook by clicking here.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Review - Paying The Piper by Rachel Brimble

Well, what a thoroughly enjoyable book!  It was also hot, hot, hot!  

Grace is the daughter of an infamous hard man on the club scene and she is well known for being a tough cookie who doesn't take any crap.  After the death of her Mom, she struggles to understand why her Dad is selling her Mom's pub, a really important place to her being the home in which she and her family were brought up and where her Mom's ashes are scattered.  Relations are quite strained with her Dad when good guy social worker Jimmy turns up at his club, looking for work as he needs to raise cash to give a home to the kids that he has taken under his wing and whose care home is about to close down. 

Because Grace thinks that Jimmy is too nice to be working for her Dad, she decides to get him working for her instead, but underestimates his good looks and infectious personality as sparks begin to fly between them and she tries to hide the fact that she actually fancies the pants off him, and likewise, he can't keep his eyes off her either.   Neither of them have a strong history of being able to trust people.  Do they become friends, lovers or enemies?

Steamy encounters mixed with a strong storyline that flowed well made this book a great read.  I found the characters well developed and interesting, and there were parts which were really funny - you'll know what I mean when you meet Gerald!  Places and people were described well, which helps to picture the scenes in your head. 

There's certainly a lot of emotion written into the story, which you can feel from all the characters and there are strong messages of love, grief, family, trust and friendship.

A very enjoyable read from Rachel Brimble.  I will certainly enjoy reading more of her work. 

Rachel Brimble lives with her husband, two young daughters and black lab in a small market town near Bath.  When pregnant with her second daughter, she seriously sat down and wrote towards publication, and realised that if she didn't do it now, she'd have to get a proper job!  She wrote a number of short stories and learned to write.  Short stores weren't the way forward for her, so in 2006 she decided to make a start on her first novel Searching for Sophie.  She has since had a number of publications and you can find out more about her books by visiting her website She also works in her husbands financial firm but uses every possible opportunity to write, and when not writing, she's either reading or walking in the countryside with her family. 

You can buy Paying The Piper via Amazon by clicking here. 
You can follow Rachel on Twitter by clicking here.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

Look at this fabulous book trailer for Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti. 

It's a gorgeous trailer and a fabulous book too!

You can read my review by clicking here.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Review - Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

OMG - simply amazing!  What an emotional book this was! This is the second book I've read this week where I've cried and cried, and cried!  It's been a tough old week!

Eilidh has been trying for a baby with husband Tom for a number of years and whilst failed fertility treatments were a way of life for them, their marriage was slowing disintegrating around them.  Her family were constantly degrading her, not intentionally, but were totally insensitive to her situation.  She was so desperate to have a baby, that even the fact that Tom was seeing someone else didn't deter her from their last attempt.  When this last attempt was succcessful, she was overjoyed but she lost the baby at an early stage and this clearly broke her heart.  

She decides that enough is enough, and leaves Tom taking herself off to the Highlands, the place that holds some wonderful childhood memories for her turning up on the doorstep of her old aunt Peggy.  She meets up again with old friends in particular, her old friend Jamie.

Jamie's life hasn't always been a bundle of roses. After a brief fling with Janet, she turns up on his doorstep one day announcing that she was pregnant and not at all happy about it.  When Maisie came along, they tried to make their relationship work, as a family, but Janet, an artist, who just wanted to paint, left Jamie and Maisie behind to pursue her dreams.  They were already sad as they were mourning the loss of Elizabeth, Jamie's mother who played a massive part in both of their lives. 

With Jamie, hurt and rejected from his relationship and Eilidh battered and bruised from the trauma that she's been through, Elizabeth may be on the other side, but still tries to have a hand in what happens in her son's life and tries to draw them together once again.  Can they let go and move on or are they stuck in the past?

This heart wrenching, emotional, wonderful story is probably one of the best books I've read this year.  Beautifully written, you can tell that Daniela Sacerdoti must have the biggest heart in the world.  Having lost my own Mom a few years ago now, I could relate so much to the story being told from both Elizabeth's point of view and the point of view from the person who has lost a parent.  I hope and pray (and Daniela has probably confirmed it for me) that my Mom is watching over me and guiding me in the right way that Elizabeth did with Jamie in this book.  I can admit to openly sobbing with the emotions that this book had me feeling.  You probably already know by now, that I'm a big softie anyway but all of this was very close to home for me. 

The emotions that she describes from the point of view of being a parent, for both Jamie and his sister were so well written, the way that Shona felt when she had each of her babies and the way that Elizabeth felt for Jamie was described so perfectly and beautifully. It re-confirmed for me just how lucky and blessed I am to have been given the gift of my little boy and that even though my Mom never met my son, she hasn't missed a thing.  I'm sorry to mix up my emotions with those of the characters in the book but that's how it got me!

I was SO into this book, that I couldn't put it down and it was another one that had me rushing home from work, wanting to get back to it, although I'd read it in just a couple of nights because I loved it so much.   This is a book that deserves to be read by everybody, such an enjoyable read - I'm sure you can tell by now that I absolutely loved it.  There was one particular part (which Daniela knows) where I found myself unable to breathe with the emotions that it stirred up for me.  What an glorious writer she is to be able to do that to someone, through the power of her words!

An amazing debut novel from this magnificient writer who I am sure is going to be a massive success with, I hope, many more novels on the way in the future. 

Daniela Sacerdoti was born and raised in Italy but moved to Scotland ten years ago, now living in Glasgow with her husband and sons.  and her love for this country comes through in her writing.  She holds a degree in Classics from the University of Turin and has taught Italian, Latin & Greek.  Writing has always been a big part of her life as her great-uncle was the renowned Italian writer Carlo Levi.  She admits to stealing time to write when everyone has gone to bed, or before they wake up. She is a Primary teacher, but she chose to be at home with her children. She loves being with her boys, reading anything she can get her hands on and chatting with her girlfriends. But she also adores being on her own, free to daydream and make up stories.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Review of Dollars to Donuts by Kathleen Kole

Great fun, lots of laughs and extremely entertaining. 

Newspaper columnist April has left the city to move to a small, sleepy town with boyfriend Kevin and they have the most bizarre neighbours you could ever wish for!   A mystery unfolds in the “odd” cul-de-sac in which they all live, and she seems to spend her life trying to avoid these very strange people and their wacky ways and in doing so, walks head first into the one thing that she didn’t want to get involved with! 

Disillusioned with and drifting through her life, writing as close to her deadlines as possible about a subject she’s really not very interested in, when Kevin’s good looking friend Gerritt moves in with them, things start to get interesting.   April’s sister and friend Jessica points out a few home truths to her and she re-evaluates all that she thought was ok in her life.

Kathleen Kole is an energetic and fun writer.  She writes in a way that makes her books easy to read, with a load of laughs thrown in along the way.  Her characters are hilarious, all with their own hilarious traits (especially the Scottish neighbour!).  Underlying in all this humour is the serious fact that similar to her previous novel Breaking Even, the lead character is going through a dilemma working out whether she is happy with her lot in life, or whether she wants more. 

You can completely relate to the main character in the book April, who is a likeable and genuine person if somewhat a little scatty at times, dealing with issues and emotions that we all deal with at some point in our lives. 

I have to say that I’m SO glad that my neighbours aren’t completely bonkers like the lot in this book!   Well actually . . . . . .

Kathleen is an extremely talented writer.  Born in Edmonton, she began storytelling in grade school and has many fond memories of entertaining her friends by story telling in her back yard.  She pursued a career in story telling and graduation from college with a Diploma in Radio & Television Arts and became a freelance writer for local newspapers.   She lives with her beloved husband, adored son and daft dog! 
Click the links below to :

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Review - Soul Protector by Amanda Leigh Cowley

What a cracking book!  Absolutely loved it!   An exciting, interesting, fabulous, paranormal romance.

Gracie, feeling sad and miserable, because she has just found out that her little sister has been seeing her boyfriend behind her back, goes along begrudgingly, to her friend Lydia’s birthday meal.  She realises when Lydia’s boyfriend proposes to her, that she’s really envious and wishes she could swap places with her.  She hugs Lydia to congratulate her, then suddenly to her surprise and horror, discovers that she’s swapped bodies and is now in Lydia’s body. 

When she has realised what has happened, she works out how to swap back and at a later point, she decides that she's brave enough to try it out again.  This time, its carefully planned out and when she swaps again, after noticing a strange coloured glow around certain people, she discovers after being “kidnapped” by Dan, that she is what is called a “Soul Protector”.  Encouraged by the fact that Dan is her dream man, she gets him to help her to find out more about what being a “Soul Protector” means and how she can use this new found ability to help others.  Will Dan and Gracie get it together, or is she destined to be on her own looking after others?

This was a book that definitely left me feeling all warm and fuzzy when I’d finished it.  The first of a series, really easy to follow and a pleasure to read, I’ll definitely be looking out for the other books in the series and following Gracie’s adventures.
I loved the way that the writing made you feel the emotions that Gracie has.  She is such a lovely and likeable character that you immediately warm to her.  Amanda is fabulous at portraying characters and places, so that you can really create them in your mind and build the story.  Dan, I pictured as my hero – Steve McGarrett from the new Hawaii Five 0 series (AKA Alex O’Loughlin - thought I'd include a piccie of this gorgeous man to brighten up all our days!) and this image certainly helped his character to develop in my mind!  

Amanda Leigh Cowley lives in Northampton with her husband, her two sons and her dog.  Between working in her husband's business, and being a busy Mom, she somehow manages to find time to write online articles and has also squeezed in this debut novel, and achieved her lifelong ambition to write a book.  She is currently working on the second book in the Soul Protector series, so watch this space . . . . . .

You can follow Amanda's blog here
You can follow Amanda on Twitter
You can like her page on Facebook
You can buy Soul Protector via Amazon here. 

Review - Princess Diana The Day She Didn't Die by Heath Samples & Claire Hooper

This “un-put-downable” book had me hooked right from the very start. 

The compelling storyline is extremely powerful and starts at the point that Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed are caught up in the memorable car crash in Paris.  They survive the crash and it then goes on to explore their suspicions as to whether it was a deliberate attempt on their lives or an unfortunate accident.  They play it down to the press and to their families, yet their lives are dramatically affected by the effect this accident has upon both of them. 

It then goes on to portray the developing relationship between Diana and Dodi.  It shows how their lives are still intertwined with both the national press, who are watching their every move, and the Royal establishment, despite the fact that she and Prince Charles are now divorced.  The book explores her interest in learning about the Muslim faith and shows how much she deeply adores her two sons.  It's so interesting to learn more about how their loves would have progressed had this lovely lady survived that awful day. 

The story also includes Ella, a student and massive Diana fan to the point of obsession, and how because of Diana she is keen to learn more about the Muslim faith, her life very much mirroring that of this very famous and beautiful lady. 

Really don’t want to go too much further into the plot at this stage, because it would be a real spoiler for the book, but there are a number of moments throughout the book, where you feel like you really need to ask some questions and I certainly hope that a sequel at some point will satisfy my curiosity!  The ending was a real stunner and definitely left me wanting more! 

I think that the fact that you already know the characters helps you to get deeply involved in the story right from the very beginning as you don’t have to create characters in your mind like other fiction books which makes it quite unusual.  It was one of those books that left you thinking about it even when you weren’t reading it, and I couldn’t wait to get back to it, to find out what was going to happen.  A definite page turner. 

This book would transfer fantastically into film and I would absolutely love to be seeing it on a large screen as I think it would have the whole world transfixed.  I really hope that Hollywood film makers are picking up on the vibe which is being generated from this deeply moving, amazing and powerful novel.

Heath Samples LL.B Hons grew up and now lives in Scarborough, North Yorkshire and after serving in the Royal Air Force, studied Law & Economics at University.  He holds a JAR-PPL Private Pilots Licence, RYA Yachtmaster, MCA Boatmasters Commercial License and BSAC SCUBA Dive Leader.  He has just established and set a brand new Guiness World Record by crossing the English Channel in relay on Sea Scooters!   I feel exhausted just reading this lot!

You can check out his blog for this fab book

Review - Wrapped Up In You by Carole Matthews

As a massive Carole Matthews fan, and having read all of her other novels, when Carol invited me to review her latest book, I have to admit to being just a tiny bit star struck.  This is an author who I’ve looked up to for years and her book Let’s Meet on Platform 8 is one of my most favourite books in the world!

I’m thrilled Carole didn’t fail to disappoint me with her new novel Wrapped Up In You - a delightful, heart warming, hilarious and truly wonderful read.  

Janie, a single hairdresser, is constantly harassed by her clients about her love life and when she meets her ex, who tells her that the girl he left her for, is now pregnant and that they are getting hitched, she finds herself telling him that she too, is happy in her life and is going off to Africa on safari, an idea which was given to her by one of her clients.  Realising that she needs some excitement in her life, she wonders, why the hell not, and books a trip to do exactly that!   Much to the disappointment of the only man in her life, Mike from next door, who is her best friend and realises that he wants more from her than just friendship. 

Janie goes on her exotic safari to a stunning Africa and falls madly in love with Dominic – her tour guide, hero, dream man, protector, oh and I forgot to mention fully fledged Massai Warrior!  He shows her his amazing home country and the incredible animals that stroll along as an everyday occurrence in his life, just a little bit different from hers.  

When her safari is over, how on earth is she going to go back to her previous life and how will she cope without this wonderful man in it, who is the only man who has ever made her feel the way he has?

Carole has such a fabulous way of writing, making you feel like you are actually in the plot of her books.  I could so easily picture myself in Janie’s front room of her cottage in the Buckinghamshire village with Mike popping round for coffee whenever he had the chance.  I felt like I went to work with her every day to the hairdressers and then I had such a great experience when I went with her to Africa and shared the amazing sights that she did.  I felt every single one of her emotions when she missed Dominic with the whole of her heart when she returned from Africa and tried to fit back into her previous life which suddenly felt so wrong. 

Carole continues to make you unable to put one of her books down.  She makes them so easy to read and so enjoyable that you definitely lose yourself and become lost in her world.  I sincerely hope that Carole never gives up writing.  She must give so many people so much pleasure from her novels, and I hope that she continues to think of new ideas and interesting plots to keep on writing!

Thanks Carole – you are an absolute star and an inspiration to us all.  

Carole Matthews is the Sunday Times best selling author of 18 previous novels which have been translated into many languages and sold to Hollywood.    When she entered a short story competition in Writing Magazine, she couldn't believe that she had won a thousand pounds!  She spent this money on a writing course (much to everyone's surprise!). The tutor on the course liked what she was writing and recommended an agent who took her on straight away. She sold her first book, which became Let’s Meet on Platform 8 (a fabulous read by the way!) a week later.

To find out more about Carole you can visit her website 

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Review - Torn by Gilli Allan

Wow – what a great title for a book in which I felt - absolutely torn!

Jess is a thirty something, single, hard working, hard playing ex city trader, who discovered that she was pregnant without knowing who the father was, and she met a policeman Sean who took on her and her son Rory.  When bully Sean’s mental and physical abuse became too much for her to handle, she left him and upped sticks to the country where she thought she could escape him once and for all. 

One night while out having a drink with a friend, Sean turns up and starts to drag her around, and she is “rescued” by Danny and his friends, who are a group of hippy individuals.  While out with her friends on New Year’s Eve, she is strongly attracted to one of the guests and realises that it is Danny, who’s new appearance is a delight to her and he ends up spending the night at her house.  She discovers that he is only 19, yet her feelings for him develop throughout the book.  She is also drawn to the man that Danny works for James - a widower with a young daughter who is Rory’s best friend so they are thrown together on a number of occasions and their friendship also grows.  Who does she choose and why? Don’t ask me – you know I won’t tell you.  You’ll have to read it for yourself and find out! 

A charming book, in which you befried the main character Jess and just want her to be happy whatever it takes.  She has a wonderful relationship with her young son Rory which having a young son the same age myself, I could totally relate to.  Well written and perfectly developed characters make this an effortless and most enjoyable read, and you want to just keep on turning the pages to find out who she chooses, or if indeed she chooses either of them!  The homes and places that Gilli portrays are so expertly created that you can completely picture them and envisage the scenes as they unfold. 

I loved this book, it was emotional, sad, happy, funny and just generally fab!

Gilli Allan started to write novels in childhood.  She went to Croydon Art College when she left school and went on to do a variety of jobs including shop assistant, beauty consultant, barmaid and property.  She was happiest in her favourite job which was as a commercial artist.    She started to write again when she stopped work to have her son and Torn is her third novel.