Review of Will You Remember Me? by Amanda Prowse

Published: 17th July 2014
Publisher: Head Of Zeus
Pages: 345

Blurb:

Poppy Day is looking forward to her best year yet. She’s thirty-two, married to her childhood sweetheart, and a full-time mum of two gorgeous children. She loves her clean little house in the countryside – a far cry from the London estate where she grew up. Her husband Mart, a soldier, has just returned safe and sound from his latest tour.

But Poppy is so busy caring for others, she hasn’t noticed the fatigue in her body, or the menacing lump growing on her breast. If there’s anyone strong and deserving enough to defeat cancer it’s Poppy. After all, she’s fought harder battles than this. But does life really work like that?

Review:

Thank you to Midas PR for kindly sending me a copy.

In the prologue, Poppy has just married the love of her life – Martin. They’re crazy about one another and that love doesn’t seem to fade away anytime soon as we cross over into the present day. It’s the beginning of the New Year and the Cricket family are looking forward to being positive and having nothing effect them. That’s when the trauma kicks in.

When Poppy discovers that she has Cancer, readers will find it very difficult to smile as the pain unfolds from Poppy’s heart to your own. In regards to Amanda’s writing, I thought she was extremely brave to write about the nasty disease but she did it justice. 1 in 3 women suffer from Breast Cancer and it’s not just the victim who is affected. Amanda wrote the Cancer scenes with a lot of care and her understanding of the medical issues came across very well. I didn’t question Poppy’s motives once as everyone deals with Cancer differently. It’s like being in mourning – you can’t tell someone how to cope and I’m sure another author may have wrote the book a completely different way but that goes to prove how different the views of Cancer are.

I could talk about this novel all day long, but it’s one which you really have to read for yourself. A lot of other book bloggers cried their way through the pages, but not me. I thought the ending was very sad, but beautifully written. Amanda has done herself and her readers proud.

Twitter: @MrsAmandaProwse
Website: www.amandaprowse.org

Review of The Story Of Us by Dani Atkins

ATKINS_Story of Us, The

Published: 14th August 2014
Publisher: Head Of Zeus
Pages: 400

Blurb:

Emma Marshall can’t wait to marry her childhood sweetheart, Richard. But then a tragic accident changes everything, and introduces a stranger, Jack, into her life. Gorgeous and mysterious, Jack is like no-one Emma has met before. But Richard is the man she loves…

Two different men.
Two different destinies.
How will Emma end her story?

Review:

Thank you to Becci at Head Of Zeus for kindly sending me a review copy. I read, reviewed and LOVED Dani’s debut novel Fractured which was just utterly beautiful. My main question was – what Dani be able to produce yet another stunning book? Silly question…

The narrative begins at the end where Emma (great name!) is getting ready for a wedding. Her own perhaps? The scar on her head reminds her of how life used to be and so, we journey back in time to learn about The Story Of Us. Emma and her two bridesmaids, Caroline and Amy are driving back from the Hen Party when disaster strikes. Luckily for them, handsome Jack comes to the rescue and he is instantly painted as a hero. Panic was alight in my mind when the three girls were in trouble and I found myself frantically reading, wondering if they were all ok. The incident isn’t the only painful storyline to read about as the subplot of Emma’s Mum is quite difficult to read as it’s full of emotion, one which you hope you never have to truly experience for yourself.

In my opinion, the storyline between Emma, Richard and Amy was a little bit predictable as I found myself guessing what would happen between them. But the way in which Dani wrote it was tremendous and full of visual aspects. I thought it fitted well in with the plot and allowed Emma to be pushed into another man’s arms. Richard and Jack are two very different men. I instantly liked Jack but with Richard, he was Mr Nasty from the very start. Something just didn’t feel right about his character.

The ending was a true love story and once again, Dani has allowed the reader to wonder what is truly happening. It was such a beautiful, well told story and all the way through, I felt as if this was a real story. Definitely a favourite of mine from 2014.

Twitter: @AtkinsDani

Review of True Love Always by Siobhan Curham

Published: 13th July 2014
Publisher: Dare To Dream

Blurb: 

It’s a scorching May Bank Holiday and Caitlin Kennedy’s marriage is in meltdown, her daughter dreams of being adopted by Miley Cyrus and her four-year-old son has just declared that he wishes to be renamed Daphne. Where did it all go so wrong? In a bid to find out, Caitlin retrieves her long lost diary from 1984 and is sent hurtling back into her past. Back to a time where fashion crimes were committed on a daily basis, the striking miners were at war with the government and a hopelessly romantic teenager embarked upon a search for true love. As we journey back with Caitlin, we slowly piece together the events that changed the course of her life so dramatically. But there are still pieces missing from the jigsaw; pieces that Caitlin has been too scared to search out before. Forced to confront her past for once and for all, Caitlin uncovers a shocking twist in the tale of her first love with young striking miner, Jed.

Review:

No matter what genre Siobhan writes in, I’ll always read and review. She came to me in July and asked me to review True Love Always – it’s that much of a hit, she’s decided to re-release.

Caitlin is an adult with a husband, two children, a writing column and a biscuit eating best friend. She has everything a woman could ask for, but she has no excitement, no thrill…

Cat retrieves her old teenage diary from the attic and begins to read. We’re instantly taken back into the past and we see Cat’s love for Jed through her eyes. Her daily entries were fantastic to read and I loved how quickly the images came into my mind. They were so strong, clear and vibrate. But will anything come of reading her diary again? Who knows?

The ending of the book is very shocking – it’s reveal after reveal after reveal. I was left SCREAMING at Siobhan via. text – yes, seriously! I couldn’t believe what my eyes were reading, but I loved it. The narrative had such a powerful effect on me and that’s what makes a really good book.

Even though Siobhan and I have been friends for a couple of years now, I do have to be honest and treat each author like the next. I did find little faults with this book. I wanted to be shown the emotions, not told. I disliked how we were left with quite a few unanswered questions.

Twitter: @siobhancurham
Website: www.siobhancurham.co.uk

Review of Making Marion by Beth Maron

makingmarion

 

Published: 20th June 2014
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Pages: 320

Blurb:

Marion Miller comes to Sherwood Forest to uncover her father’s mysterious past. She is looking for somewhere to stay, but instead finds herself on the wrong side of the reception desk at the Peace and Pigs campsite. Despite her horrible shyness, she promptly lands herself a job working for the big-hearted and irrepressible Scarlett. It takes all of Marion’s determination to come out of her shell and get to grips with life on a busy campsite, where even the chickens seem determined to thwart her. Then an unfortunate incident with a runaway bike throws her into the arms of the beautiful, but deeply unimpressed, Reuben… Can Marion discover her father’s secret? And will she find peace, and perhaps even love, among the pigs?

Review:

Thank you to Midas PR for kindly sending me a copy.

Marion has purposely wandered into Sherwood Forest and has somehow lied her way into a job. From the first couple of chapters, readers learn that she’s a jumpy person and constantly on edge – but why? With the use of past memories, an aspect which I enjoyed reading about, we learn about her relationship with her Dad as well as a so-called “love life.”

I thought the plot was really well written but there was no main hook for me – nothing to really draw me in, nothing to make me say “oh wow, that’s fantastic.” For me, I thought the plot surrounding her Dad ought to be the main one but at times, it was pushed to one side and Marion just wanted to sort her love life out – really? Overall, I thought it was an easy read with plenty of adventure, but sadly it just wasn’t for me.

Review of A Cornish Affair by Liz Fenwick

Published: 23rd May 2013
Publisher:
Orion
Pages: 320

Blurb:

Running out on your wedding day never goes down well. When the pressure of her forthcoming marriage becomes too much, Jude bolts from the church, leaving a good man at the altar, her mother in a fury, and the guests with enough gossip to last a year. Guilty and ashamed, Jude flees to Pengarrock, a crumbling cliff-top mansion in Cornwall, where she takes a job cataloguing the Trevillion family’s extensive library. The house is a welcome escape for Jude, full of history and secrets, but when its new owner arrives, it’s clear that Pengarrock is not beloved by everyone. As Jude falls under the spell of the house, she learns of a family riddle stemming from a terrible tragedy centuries before, hinting at a lost treasure. And when Pengarrock is put up for sale, it seems that time is running out for the house and for Jude.

Review: 

Thank you to Orion to kindly sending me a review copy. I’m pretty sure I won this in a Twitter competition…

Jude is about to get married. She’s stood at the top of the aisle, but as she looks around she realises that this isn’t her wedding. Everything was picked by her Mother, even her dress which is too big for her. Does Jude really want to get married? Does she even truly love him or is she just pleasing her grieving Mother? If Rose was around, she’d know what to do.

When Jude decides on her marriage fate, there’s no conversation with her parents about how they both feel which I thought was quite odd. Why should Jude be made to write thank you notes to everyone when she needs to sort her life out? The plot line was good but for me, there were certain areas where I thought, “that would never really happen.” But that’s the beauty of Fiction – sometimes it can be very realistic and other times, not so much. But I did expect it in a Contemporary read.

As the plot progresses, Jude moves from Massachusetts to Oxford to Cornwall to Massachusetts and then finally, back to where she really belongs in Cornwall. This book wasn’t really about Jude walking out on her almost marriage, this was a book about mystery and secrets. It wasn’t just about Jude’s family, it was about another – one who have wanted the answers to so many questions for years on end.

The narrative had a really soft and inviting tone to it. I managed to read it in within a single day because I just wanted to know more. I wanted to know the truth about Jude’s sister Rose and the Pengarrock house. This book will take you on an unexpected adventure.

Twitter: @liz_fenwick
Website: www.lizfenwick.com

Review of To Have And To Hold by Helen Chandler

Published: 19th June 2014
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 352

Blurb:

From the outside, Ella has the happy marriage, the cute kids and the comfortable home – inside, she craves something more. But giving in to temptation will stir up a whole heap of trouble… Imogen’s relationship with Pete was once fun and carefree but since they’ve become parents, everything is different. Then an accident provides the catalyst for a life-changing decision. Fifteen-year-old Phoebe is miserable at home and at school. And now her dad, who was always her ally, seems completely distracted by something – or someone. Maybe it’s time Phoebe took a stand, and took control of her own life.

As Ella, Imogen and Phoebe contemplate taking the biggest risk of their lives, marriages, families and friendships hang in the balance. Should they take the leap, or will they risk losing everything?

Review:

Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for kindly sending me a copy. I read Helen’s previous book and really enjoyed it.

Phoebe is being bullied at school and her Mum isn’t exactly supportive. “If you didn’t always have your head stuck in a book, lost a bit of weight…” She sounds like a lovely person, right? HA! Phoebe’s parents treat her very differently and readers are instantly Team Dad. Ella and Imogen have been friends for three years now. They’re both Mum’s and their lives are a little on the dull side. Ella wants excitement and for her husband Grey to do more around the house. Imogen, on the other hand, seems to do absolutely everything. Her baby’s Dad lives with them and he is actually in a relationship with Imogen – but he may as well not be.

I thought the narrative progressed at a nice, easy pace to read but at times, I needed the plot to speed up a little. Phoebe’s part in the book was the strongest in my eyes. As scared and alone as she was, I instantly connected with her. As for Ella and Imogen, I was surprised by their outcome. I thought Ella’s connection to Phoebe was a little on the unrealistic side, especially with everything that happened between Ella and Phoebe’s Dad.

Twitter: @HelenLChandler
Website: www.helenlchandler.wordpress.com

Review of Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Published: 3rd July 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 464

Blurb:

Oz has turned into a savage dystopia under Dorothy’s rule and now a new girl from Kansas must take her down. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz meets Kill Bill in this edgy, fast-paced fantasy adventure. Somewhere over the rainbow… Something has gone terribly wrong. A twister has hit Kansas again, and this time it whisks away a girl named Amy Gumm. At first, Amy is thrilled to have left her trailer park life behind. But instead of the magical land where troubles melt like lemon drops that she knows from the books and the movies, she discovers the place has been destroyed. And it’s all Dorothy s fault. Amy soon joins up with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked a group of deposed witches and warlocks who are determined to end Dorothy s oppressive reign, and who need Amy’s help. They teach her the secrets of witchcraft and combat and then they give her an impossible mission: steal back the Tin Woodman’s heart, the Scarecrow’s brain, and the Lion’s courage. And when she’s done, Dorothy must die.

Review:

Thank you to Harper Collins for kindly sending me a review copy, which was an International Edition. I’m loving YA Fiction at the moment, so this was perfect.

Amy has no friends in Kansas. She’ll never be popular. Even when when the popular girl is pregnant, Amy is still “trailer trash.” I really liked the concept of this book from the very first page as it was a true “don’t underestimate me” type of plot. The tornado takes Amy and plants her in Oz – no, not Australia. Just like Dorothy did, Amy has a pet to accompany her, but it’s not a dog, it’s a rat… Oz is not the same as it used to be and we realise that quite quickly – all the colour has vanished and nobody is happy.

“It was like going to Disney World and not getting your picture taken with Cinderella.”

Along the way to Emerald City, Amy and her pet rat pick up some companions: a Munchkin with a severe attitude problem and a flightless monkey. When we eventually meet Dorothy, she’s not the girl everyone knows from the film. She’s dark, dangerous and constantly evil. I loved that. I was so pleased that Danielle did a dark twist because it really paid off.

“But this wasn’t a game and this lion made the lions I’d seen in the zoo look like kittens.”

Overall, I thought the book was absolutely fantastic and I’m very pleased that it’s going to be a series, because seriously – the ending was just epic and it’s making me want the second book right now.

Twitter: @daniellempaige

Review of OMG Baby! by Emma Garcia

Published: 5th June 2014
Publisher:
Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 448

 Blurb:

This ISN’T a book about babies. It’s not about sleepless nights, nappies or nurseries. It IS about two people, one unexpected pregnancy and a question…

Viv and Max were best friends for years, then they were lovers and then it all went wrong. Now finally they are to be reunited. Viv feels sick. Not just with nerves at seeing Max again, but because there’s a small chance she might… quite possibly… most definitely… be pregnant. It’s thrilling. But also terrifying. Most of the time they can hardly look after themselves, let alone a baby. And then Viv’s estranged mother reappears on the scene and they all end up sharing a bedsit… and hell breaks loose.

HOW ON EARTH ARE THEY GOING TO COPE?

Review:

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for kindly sending me a review copy. This is the sequel to Never Google Heartbreak – you can see my thoughts on that below. This was the sixth book which I read during #sunathon and I was pleased to go out with yet another witty book.

We’re back with Viv’s crazy world, but this time, she’s in Spain chasing after the man of her dreams and who can blame her? He’s absolutely gorgeous! There’s just one slight problem – he doesn’t see himself as a Dad anytime soon and Viv is pretty convinced that she’s pregnant without even taking a test. Is she? Maybe she is. Maybe she isn’t…

Due to the fact that this is a sequel, I felt very settled with the characters. I was reading about old friends and I loved reading about Viv and Max. They were just ideal for one another. Viv’s personality is rather loopy, but in the good way. She reminded me of the Muggle version of Luna Lovegood. See, I told you she was good. I wasn’t a fan of her Mother though – Rainey. She irritated me to my bones with her selfish act after selfish act after selfish act. Did she care that she may/may not be a Grandma? No, she didn’t and that really ticked me off.

I thought Emma wrote the sequel just as brilliantly as the first. Major props to her. Once again she’s produced a wonderfully witty book. Roll on her next one!

Twitter: @EmzaGarcia
Website:

Review of Never Google Heartbreak by Emma Garcia

Published: 14th March 2013
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 352

Blurb:

When her fiancé Rob breaks off their engagement for the third time, Viv does what any girl would do – she Googles heartbreak.

Confronted by tales of misery, she decides to set-up her own self-help website for the broken-hearted. But as Viv passes through the three essential stages of grief (denial, vodka, disastrous haircut), she becomes determined that it’s not too late to try and get Rob back.

When things get out of hand after a drunken declaration of love at an extremely inappropriate moment, Viv’s scruffy, tequila-swilling best friend Max is there to pick up the pieces. Viv starts to realise that maybe the real thing has been under her nose all this time, and now – one ex and a massive error of judgement later – she has to face the question:

What’s the craziest thing you’ll do for love?

Review:

I received the sequel, OMG Baby! from Hodder & Stoughton so I decided to treat myself to the first, Never Google Heartbreak from Amazon. I’d never read anything of Emma’s before so for me, it was a lot of fun discovering a new author who I’d heard a lot about. This was the fifth book which I read during the #sunathon week.

Sometimes, I read the blurb of books which I’m sent and others I don’t because at times, they give the plot away. Guess what? This one kind of did that. I honestly thought that it told the readers a lot about the main plot line and that’s something which really bugs me about books. However, once I got stuck into the book, I found that with the unexpected twists and turns, this book was brilliantly witty.

Viv and Rob are doing a Ross and Rachel – they’re on a break, but this isn’t an ordinary break, they’re actually over. It kind of came across like it was all Rob’s idea because it kept saying “Viv, you broke up with me.” Actually Rob, you’re a twonk and you called the wedding off so I think that was your idea pal. As you can tell, I don’t like Rob. Viv now lives in a small London flat and relies solely on Post Lucy (BFF #1) and Max (#BBF2). I loved their friendships and how realistic they were. They had little bickering moments over silly things and I liked that aspect.

I thought Emma’s writing was exceptionally witty, refreshing and truly brilliant. She had me in fits of giggles in all the right places and I began reading the sequel OMG Baby! straight away. The review of that will be up in a couple of hour’s time.

Twitter: @EmzaGarcia
Website: www.emmagarcia.co.uk

 

Review of Boy 21 by Matthew Quick

Boy21

Published: 19th June 2014
Publisher:
Headline
Pages: 288

Blurb:

Basketball has always been an escape for Finley. He lives in broken-down Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. At home, his dad works nights and Finley is left alone to take care of his disabled grandfather. He’s always dreamed of somehow getting out, but until he can, putting on that number 21 jersey makes everything seem okay.

Russ has just moved to the neighborhood. The life of this teen basketball phenom has been turned upside down by tragedy. Cut off from everyone he knows, he won’t pick up a basketball, and yet answers only to the name Boy21—taken from his former jersey number.

As their final year of high school brings these two boys together, “Boy21″ may turn out to be the answer they both need. Matthew Quick, the acclaimed author of Sorta Like a Rock Star, brings readers a moving novel about hope, recovery, and redemption.

Exciting Film News From Matthew’s Website: Tom Heller (Producer: 127 Hours, Precious, Mud, Win Win) is developing BOY21 for film. Just let that settle in…

Review: 

Thank you to BookBridgr for kindly supplying me with my Matthew Quick fix. In my eyes, he is an absolute genius. In his book bio, he states that his nickname is Q. Can this be changed to Mr Genius, please? Seriously, I have so much love and respect for this man. This was the fourth book which I read for #sunathon in July.

The preface cements that Finley likes to shoot hoops. Immediately, Zac Efron in High School Musical popped into my head. He’s very good at it – Finley that is – but he’s not facing up to what is going on within his house. He’s not much of a talker and who can blame him? He’s been through the worst time of his life; losing his Mother. Due to the fact that he’s quiet 98% of the time, that means he doesn’t stand up to men when they comment on his girlfriend. Erin wishes he would and so did I.

“You have a calming presence, Finley.”

When we meet Russ aka. Boy21, we’re made aware that his obsession with outer space is on a whole other level and I really liked that about him. Later on in the narrative, readers learn why he’s so obsessed and it was extremely touching when he opens up to Finley. Finley, Erin and Boy21 quickly become a loveable trio. I didn’t quite follow why Finley and Erin went their separate ways before basketball season began, but it broke the trio up and I didn’t like that. They were the Young Adult version of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Finley grew in his own time and it took an “accident” for him to realise how special and important the people around him are. It’s not all about basketball and I was happy that he realised that.

“So what if Wes wants to read Harry Potter?”

Matthew Quick writes with such confidence and comfort. He teaches his readers to love the characters for who they truly are and to see past their problems. What I like the most about the people he creates – they’re not complex, they’re real. The ending was magical, just like Hogwarts. You’ll know what I mean when you read the book… AND WATCH THE FILM!!

Twitter: @MatthewQuick1
Website: www.matthewquickwriter.com