Thursday, 16 October 2014

Review: It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

Isn’t it great when you find a new voice that you love? Whether it’s cutesy, silly, razor sharp or dryly funny, there’s nothing better than discovering an author that you click with from page one. That’s exactly how I feel about Mhairi McFarlane. Reading her is like spending time with my best friend.

It’s Not Me, It’s You follows the story of  (gorgeously girly, red-headed) Delia Moss as her life, as she knows it, implodes. Delia travels from Newcastle to London and back as she discovers how to become her own hero. Throw in a cheating, rat-fink man, a proposal gone awry, new friends and a fox costume (complete with fluffy tail) and you’ve got yourself one very funny book.

So, what’s good about it? It’s snuffle-into-your-coffee funny, but also has some very tender, very real moments (it was a case of hanky at the ready at one point- you’ve been warned!) By the end of the book I really felt that I knew Delia, Emma, PN and the gang, and I’ll miss them like absent friends now that I’ve finished. Also, it’s so refreshing to have a heroine that decides to become master of her own destiny- whatever the end of her story is (and no way am I giving it away)- you can rest assured that it didn’t happen to her, it happened because of her.

Oh, and the best thing? It had the ending that I was rooting for- and caused a 2 a.m. hop out of bed complete with dance-around-the-room when I reached it… sad, maybe, but true nonetheless.

And anything bad about it? Nope. Just give in to the mild insanity of the story and let yourself be swept along.

I loved it and will now be toddling off to buy Mhairi’s other books to keep me company.

p.s. you can now grab a sneaky (free) preview here!

The Blurb:
Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong. Everything was going smoothly. Ok, she had a slightly rubbish job working for the council and she hadn’t seen her best friend Emma in god knows how long, but she’d been working up to proposing to Paul for months. This. Was. It.

But with one annoying little ‘beep beep’, Delia’s life is turned upside down and rather than stick around and commit GBH by punching her cheating scumbag boyfriend (who still wants to be with her) in the chops, she decides the best thing to do would be get some head space and leave for London.

But a new city is never going to be the answer, and with a dodgy new job in media PR, where a suspicious yet devastatingly handsome journalist seems to be sniffing around and endangering her job, Delia can’t run forever. Where did the old Delia go? And can she get her back?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Can There Be Life After Cupcakes?

A huge great sob as another series of The Great British Bake Off comes to an end. For your TV viewing habits- this just means a weekend spent re-watching the entire series on BBC iPlayer and then looking forward to next season, but what about in your chick lit? Do you still look forward to the next book set in a bakery? The next cup cake encrusted cover?

After all, cupcakes, cafes, bakeries and sweet treats have all played starring roles for a good few years now…

Can there be life without cupcakes? Would chick lit ever be the same again? What would take their place?

What, do you think, will be the new cupcake?

P.S. What did you think of tonights winner on #GBBO?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Review: The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam

Something a bit different for you again today. The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House is part historical (ish – it’s a split story between 1924 and 1965), part mystery… and, dare I say it… part classic read in the making.

There are two main characters: it’s 1965 and 18 year old Rosie Churchill has run away to the run-down boarding house, Castaway, in the seaside town of Helmstone. Her only link to the second main character is a scruffy self-portrait of him she discovers in her rented apartment. It’s 1924, Robert Carver is at Castaway, visiting his cousin, taking the sea air for his health and indulging in his artistic hobby. Very soon Rosie begins to unearth the dark mystery of the old house and as Robert tells his side of the story from 1924, the years that separate them begin to disappear and the links that bind them to the old house become clear.

I simply can’t believe that this was a debut novel- the story telling is adept, vigorous and not at all afraid to take on a serious challenge. Hopping between 1924 and 1965, we get see the town as it changes – like a time-lapse animation adding detail or peeling back the layers to describe the difference time has made.

Stephanie Lam is definitely one to watch- and although any romantic elements in the book are secondary- this is a story about how relationships, and their consequences, echo across the decades.

Grab your copy here

The Blurb:

It's 1965 and eighteen year-old Rosie Churchill has run away to the beautiful but run-down Castaway House in the seaside town of Helmstone. But when she uncovers a scandal locked away in the walls of the old house, she soon comes to realise that neither her own troubled past nor that of the house will stay buried for long. . .

In 1924 fresh-faced Robert Carver comes to Castaway House to spend a languid summer in the company of his much wealthier cousin, Alec Bray. But the Brays are a damaged family, with damaging secrets. And little does Robert know that his world is about to change for ever.

As Rosie begins to learn more about Robert, the further she is drawn into the mysterious history of the house, and their stories, old and new, entwine.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Review: The Christmas Party by Carole Matthews

I never used to be a Christmas novel fan… but last year I got converted by two authors: Sarah Morgan and… yup, you guessed it… Carole Matthews. Last year’s Calling Mrs Christmas had me hooked and feeling festive as early as August, so I’ve been really looking forward to this year’s arrival.

At first, I had a bit of a sinking sensation. The first chapter of The Christmas Party didn’t grab me straight away, not because it was a bit early to be delving into Christmas reads, but because for my liking, there was a lot of exposition – story set-up rather than actual story.

Fear not, fair reader, all was well. The story soon kicked in and what a corker it is! The plot is a tightly woven ball, three days centred around the annual office Christmas party of corporate giant, Fossil Oil Corporation. And what a Christmas party it is - full of secrets, lust, treachery and those first glimmerings of early romance. Oh – and don’t forget the odd disaster or two!

Seen through the eyes of ‘fish-out-of-water’ single mum Louise, a new player in the corporate game, we get a fantastic insight into the loneliness that can exist within a seemingly perfect life, and conversely, the warmth and love that can exist in a more humble setting.

I loved the ending of this book. Everyone gets their just comeuppance. There was plenty to leave you thinking about, ensuring that The Christmas Party stays on your mind for a long time after closing the covers.

Who it’s for: If you like a book packed with interesting, well written, real characters. You love a bit of festive fiction but don’t necessarily need the full sugar-fest.

It’s not for you if: you need everyone to come out smelling of roses with their happily ever after… there’s a lot of loveliness at the end, but not everyone will be filled by festive cheer.

The Christmas Party has already arrived on the shelves in hardback and kindle versions and the paperback will be released on  23rd October – available for pre-order here

The Blurb

Louise Young is a devoted single mother whose only priority is providing for her daughter, Mia. Louise has a good job in a huge international corporation and she's grateful for it. The only problem is her boss who can't keep his hands to himself, but Louise can handle him. What she really doesn't have time for is romance - until she meets the company's rising star, Josh Wallace. 

Louise usually says no to evenings out but she's decided to let her hair down tonight. It's the office Christmas party, she has a pretty dress to wear and she's looking forward to some champagne and fun. She's completely unaware that others around her are too busy playing dangerous games to enjoy the party - until she's pulled into those games herself . . . 

Romance is in the air and secrets are about to be uncovered. It's going to be a night to remember at The Christmas Party.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Grab Episode 1 of The Temp by Emily Benet!

Do you ever struggle to find something a perfect read for your daily commute (or in my case, the perfect bath-time read!)? Not this month!

The team at HarperImpulse have released Episode 1 of Emily Benet's fantastic The Temp - it's available now for just 49p! Even better- they're setting up a discussion post for each episode as it arrives, so that once you've devoured it you can join the crowd and have a good old natter about what you think of it so far.

HarperImpulse will release three parts per week over the next three weeks - join the discussion...

Grab Episode 1 of The Temp HERE and then head HERE to have a chat about what you think so far...

The Blurb:
Discover the new Wattpad sensation!

Amber is a twenty-something, out of university with a degree she’s not sure what to do with… so she temps in order to earn enough money to live in London.

One of her favourite life-hacks is to attend modern art gallery openings for free wine. It is during one of these that she thinks ‘if they can do it, why not me?’, and meeting a handsome gallery promoter cements her ambition to become famous through her art.

With the help—and sometimes hindrance—of her friends Farrell, Bibiana, and Egg (short for Egbert), can Amber achieve her dream AND snag handsome Elliott?