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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Seven Steps To Happiness by Stella Newman - book review



Do you love Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Jill Mansell? If so, Stella Newman is for you! 

Is there such a thing as a formula for happiness?

If it's Netflix + 2 for 1 Malbec + the perfect toasted-cheese sandwich, Lenny Dublonsky has it covered. Even if she works for a tech company where her colleagues ride scooters round the office, and is in a relationship with a man who doesn't do relationships.

Lenny's friend Juliet never planned to be pregnant and married at nineteen, but since then she has been the perfect wife with the perfect family. Until her husband Matt drops the ultimate bombshell...

Lenny is determined to save the day. So when she's asked to test an app that enhances happiness, she puts scepticism aside and persuades Juliet they should give it a go.

Could it really be that happiness is only seven steps away?

A funny and moving novel of friendship, heartbreak, and the restorative power of melted cheese.


Paperback352 pages
Published October 20th 2016 by Headline Review



My Review


Seven Steps to Happiness is a fun and easy to read story following the journey of two friends - Lenny and Juliet - as they hit troubles in their lives and try to find a way to put the fun back in their lives and achieve their dreams.

Lenny is asked to roadtest a new app that promises happiness in seven easy steps, so when her best friend Juliet is extremely down in the dumps she decides that they both should try it out and see what effect it can have on both their lives - and the results aren't quite what they expected!

There are so many funny moments between the 2 friends that you really enjoy their friendship, and even during the darker times they seem to be able to find a little humour which puts a smile on your face as you are reading.


This isn't a sugar coated book where everything runs smoothly, and that just adds to the reality of certain situations and the foodie mentions are always an added bonus - can't imagine why I'm craving a toastie or two right now!!

This is my first Stella Newman book and won't be the last! Looking forward to reading more soon!


Friday, 25 November 2016

My week in books......

So Black Friday is with us! I'm doing all I can to resist the urge to browse a few online deals despite the emails arriving by the minute it seems! Anyone grabbed any bargains today?!  Just hope I can hold out for the rest of the day - before the next round of sales emails arrive next week!!

On to the subject of books!!  Been keeping the postman busy this week with a few arrivals of the purchased and ARC kind so here's what has popped through the letterbox so far this week...

The White Camellia by Juliet Greenwood


Won/Bought this through a charity auction online for a signed copy so am excited to read it as it sounds like a fabulous historic fiction story!

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles


This is a review copy I received from Nudge Books and all I've heard is good things about this so can't wait to dive into this stunning looking book!

The Lonely City by Sara Laing


Am determined to read more non-fiction books, inspired by non-fiction November - and this title really intrigued me as I've seen it quite a lot online so had to treat myself!

The Book of Mirrors by E.O Chirovici


Another ARC arrived today and it is this intriguing title that has been a hit wherever it has been released and it is due to be released at the end of January 2017 in the UK by Cornerstone.

BOOKS FINISHED

Another successful week of reading too and have put reviews on here and GoodReads for all of them so will just add pics of the covers and they've all been really great reads!






Got another 3 books on the go at the moment too so hoping I will be able to add those to my wrap up next week if the reading mood sticks with me! Managing to avoid the reading slump vibes at the moment and that is always a blessing when the book TBR pile keeps growing!!

ooh and before I forget, there's a competition running on my Twitter page @bookkaz until sunday evening to win a copy of the fabulously festive read Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson - so head to my page, follow and RT the pinned tweet and you could grab yourself an early Xmas pressie!! Go on, you deserve it!

HAPPY READING!!


Thursday, 24 November 2016

The House of Birds by Morgan McCarthy - book review



THE BLURB


Morgan McCarthy's THE HOUSE OF BIRDS is a beautiful and bewitching story of love, war and second chances that will be adored by readers of Louisa Young and Virginia Bailey. 

Oliver has spent years trying to convince himself that he's suited to a life of money making in the city, and that he doesn't miss a childhood spent in pursuit of mystery, when he cycled around the cobbled lanes of Oxford, exploring its most intriguing corners.

When his girlfriend Kate inherits a derelict house - and a fierce family feud - she's determined to strip it, sell it and move on. For Oliver though, the house has an allure, and amongst the shelves of discarded, leather bound and gilded volumes, he discovers one that conceals a hidden diary from the 1920s.

So begins a quest: to discover the identity of the author, Sophia Louis. It is a portrait of war and marriage, isolation and longing and a story that will shape the future of the abandoned house - and of Oliver - forever.



Hardcover448 pages
Published November 3rd 2016 by Tinder Press




MY REVIEW


There was something completely captivating about this dual timeline novel! It is one of those understated books with no big action scenes, or shocking twists, that just really charmed me and kept me enthralled from start to finish! And the cover is rather beautiful too!!  I need that wallpaper!!

The basis of the story is following the couple Kate and Oliver from the moment they met as schoolchildren to the present day where their lives seem to be moving in different directions, and they both seem unable to decide the best way forward. Kate is then left a house in a will, and Oliver remembers the house from when they first met and seemed to be under its' spell from that moment and his connection to the house just grows the more time he spends there renovating it while Kate is working in New York.

Oliver then stumbles across an old diary about the mysterious Sophie and her life is instantly brought to life through her words and completely takes over all Olivers' thoughts and actions. Kate seems less and less interested in the house and the family squabbles it has caused so just wants to sell it on, but Oliver is so drawn into the family drama through the diary he wants to know more and even gets in touch with the other family disputing the will and finds those relatives are not quite as Kate has portrayed them.

I loved the character of Oliver as his quest for knowledge about who Sophia was in relation to Kate, and to know more about her story started giving his life meaning and unlocked the passion he had for history. He seemed to will the house to bring history alive and turns into a detective to unlock the secrets that have been hidden for so long.

And Sophia's storyline was equally as important and stunningly told, in her own words, and the struggles she faced throughout her life at the house and why she went to the lengths she did to pass on her story and her need to share such things with whoever found her words in the future.

This book is full of all that family life throws at us - secrets, heartache, lies - and just the power that a well told story can have over someone living in a different time. Full of fascinating characters and some challenging storylines I found it to be a delight to read.



Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Watcher by Ross Armstrong - book review



The Blurb

The Girl on the Train meets Rear Window, The Watcher is an absolutely addictive and on trend commercial psychological suspense read, with a captivating unreliable narrator and some powerful narrative twists. She's watching you, but who's watching her? Lily Gullick lives with her husband Aiden in a new-build flat opposite an estate which has been marked for demolition. A keen birdwatcher, she can't help spying on her neighbours. Until one day Lily sees something suspicious through her binoculars and soon her elderly neighbour Jean is found dead. Lily, intrigued by the social divide in her local area as it becomes increasingly gentrified, knows that she has to act. But her interference is not going unnoticed, and as she starts to get close to the truth, her own life comes under threat. But can Lily really trust everything she sees?


Expected publication: December 29th 2016 by MIRA





My Review



She's watching you. But who's watching her?.........

This tagline perfectly sums up this rather chilling thriller that i've just had the pleasure to read! Definitely a book full of twists and turns and quite a sinister undertone that leaves you guessing right up until the last few pages!

This is the story of Lily, and told from her point of view. Life is seemingly perfect for her and her husband, Aiden, as they live in London in their lovely new build flat. As in many parts of London, they overlook old blocks of flats that are set for demolition and this book shines a light on the 'them and us' situation that many places suffer from nowadays.

Lily has some binoculars that she used for birdwatching, but she soon becomes more attracted to neighbour watching though windows - own up! We've all done it!! - and this soon begins to take over her reality and is all she tends to think about.

And when a student goes missing in the neighbourhood and another neighbour is murdered, Lily is convinced she has seen things through her window that could help solve the case and takes it upon herself to investigate more with no concern for her own safety! This is when the book starts to take on an extra creepy level as some of the characters she meets aren't the most pleasant and you begin to wonder why Lily is putting herself through this and not letting the police do the work instead.

But the more she interferes, the more that she seems to be making trouble for herself and there is a real sense of fear as to just how far she is willing to go to prove that she saw the perpetrator. And those around her are noticing the changes in Lily too and start to question her motives.

I really enjoyed the style of writing with this book as it didn't go over the top to state facts and grab your attention. And the pace never seemed to let up either so it was often quite difficult to put down!!

A fascinating debut thriller which I can highly recommend if you love a book that keeps you guessing from start to finish! Peeking out of my window at the neighbours will never be the same again!!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

All Darling Children by Katrina Monroe Book Review



THE BLURB


All boys grow up, except one.

On the tenth anniversary of her mother's death, fourteen-year-old Madge Darling’s grandmother suffers a heart attack. With the overbearing Grandma Wendy in the hospital, Madge runs away to Chicago, intent on tracking down a woman she believes is actually her mother.

On her way to the Windy City, a boy named Peter Pan lures Madge to Neverland, a magical place where children can remain young forever. While Pan plays puppet master in a twisted game only he understands, Madge discovers the disturbing price of Peter Pan's eternal youth.





MY REVIEW


I am always intrigued by re-tellings of fairy tales so when I saw that this was all about Peter Pan and Neverland my interest was captured and what a dark, twisted, fun read it has been!

Really think the cover added to my intrigue as well as it is such a striking image and gives a hint of the darkness of the world you are about to enter!

I've always thought the character of Peter Pan was one of the most complicated and this reworking just adds to the complex and evil character that he really seems to be! This is based around the Darling children, mainly Madge who is a very unhappy teenager under the rule of Grandma Wendy. She tries many times to run away but is always thwarted, but one night she manages to break free and is determined to head to Chicago where she is sure her mother Jane is, despite her Grandma telling her she was dead. But she soon ends up a long way from Chicago and is immersed in the world of Neverland that seems to attract all the generations of Darling children 

The Darling link with Neverland and Pan is fully explored in this dark adventure, and the current story is also littered with extracts from Wendys' diary of her time in Neverland and how her time there was definitely no Disney fairy story!

After watching the TV series, Once Upon A Time, they really showed a darker side to Pan and this book adds to that sinister side and the control he has over so many and how he manipulates those around him to get what he wants. 

All the favourite characters are involved in this story -Hook, Smee, The Lost Boys - and I really loved the fresh approach to the story and how you are often left wondering just who to trust and believe as many of the characters have such dark sides! There is violence and swearing so be warned if you are easily offended by such goings on! 

A fabulously entertaining read!

I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of the book courtesy of the publishers and NetGalley.




Friday, 18 November 2016

My week in books!

Bonjour!!  Friday seems to have turned me French this week!  Not sure why!!  Has put me in the mood now to find some French related books so watch this space in the coming weeks to see if I found any - suggestions of the best reads set in France always welcome!!

Hope everyone has had a good bookish week!! Been a pretty good week on the reading front and on the acquiring new books front too. Yes, I know I keep saying I need to stop buying but I failed! Again!!  And my book obsession has now led to me this week getting rid of the TV and DVD from my bedroom, so I could replace the TV unit with new book storage!! Have had lots of fun this afternoon putting one unit together, and now just waiting on Argos to deliver the smaller unit this afternoon! They have til 6pm...... i'm waiting!!

So, on to the books!!  Been a good day on the BookPost front today as my signed Cecelia Ahern book that I won via a live Facebook signing arrived!!! Squeeee!!!




How blooming fabulous is that!!!!  Anyone read it yet?!  Has been on my radar since it was released as I love her style of writing so I just can't wait to sit down and start reading it!

And today was the day my November Book And A Brew subscription box was delivered!  Have been impressed with this service ever since I joined up a few months ago and another new title for me arrived today with some more yummy tea!


Have to admit to knowing very little about The Glasgow Coma Scale  and it has received some 'interesting' reviews on GoodReads so I will withhold further comment until I read it!

And then there was another rummage round a charity shop or two in the hunt for Persephone books!  And I struck lucky once more, so I now have 2 Persephone books for my collection haha!  And this one cost the princely sum of £1!


Hence the need for new shelves to display these gorgeous books on!!  The quest for more continues!!


Books I've read this week


The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry



The Road To Ever After by Moira Young




The Last Days of Leda Grey by Essie Fox





Some really good reads for me this week!! Am now also in the middle of reading another 3 books - why have 1 on the go, when you can have 3!! - and am enjoying all of those so hopefully will have those finished very soon to share my thoughts on!  With nothing planned for the weekend either, other than re-arranging my new bookshelves!, there should be plenty of time for reading and the weather is definitely turning more reading friendly! What can be better than a hot chocolate, or cup of tea and a book while it is freezing outside!!

Wishing you all a happy weekend!!

Happy Reading!!





Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Last Days of Leda Grey book review

THE LAST DAYS OF LEDA GREY by ESSIE FOX




THE BLURB

A bewitching novel about an enigmatic silent film actress, and the volatile love affair that left her a recluse for over half a century - for fans of Sarah Waters and Tracy Chevalier.

The Sunday Times selects Leda Grey as their Historical Book of the Month in October 2016. The review calls the novel "luminous... with a sensuousness to the prose ... Leda Grey's world is utterly beguiling."


Published November 3rd 2016 by Orion



MY REVIEW


Drawn to this book from the absolutely stunning cover and the subject matter, as there are rumours that where we live used to house an old film studio where many silent films were made, and this book turned out to be just as mysterious and stunning as some of the films of that era

This is a beautifully written and atmospheric story of a forgotten actress by the name of Leda Grey. And it is only by chance that the journalist Ed Peters stumbles across her photograph in an antiques shop and is almost instantly under her spell, and becomes obsessed with finding out all about her career and discovering the reason why she has lived in White Cliff house as a recluse for so long.

With the help of a scrapbook that he also is sold by Leda's brother in the store, he pieces together her story and what exactly happened that turned such a glamorous teenager into such a recluse, unable to trust anybody.

The story really comes alive when he makes it to White Cliff House and gets to meet Leda, although their first meeting is quite strange and she seems to live in her own little world devoid of electricity or much human contact. She is soon eager to share the stories of her life and loves, and how she was transformed into a film star. She has always been wary of cameras and her mantra always seems to be 'cameras can steal a soul' and this seems to be proven as the intriguing tale unfolds

This is a story of love, obsessions, deceit, dreams and family and all set in such an eerie setting and over 2 time periods as Leda allows Ed to read her memoirs and transports him back. And while she opens up to him, this also seems to push Ed into facing the past as well.

This is a book that is worthy of all the praise it has been receiving and offers the reader a story and world to be lost in as you turn the pages


I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book via NetGalley

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Cover Reveal Tuesday!!

Am extremely happy and  excited to be able to share the latest Choc Lit cover real for One Dark Lie by Clare Chase..... are you ready???!!! Are you sure??!  

3, 2, 1..... 


ONE DARK LIE by CLARE CHASE





The truth can hurt, and sometimes it leads to murder … 

After becoming embroiled in a murder investigation, Nate Bastable and Ruby Fawcett have decided to opt for the quiet life. But crime has a habit of following them around.

When her work dries up, Ruby finds herself accepting a job researching and writing about Diana Patrick-John, a colourful and enigmatic Cambridge academic. Simple enough. But then there’s the small fact that Diana was found dead in suspicious circumstances in her home – the very place where Ruby has now been invited to stay. 

As she begins to uncover Diana’s secret life, Ruby’s sleuthing instinct kicks in, leaving her open to danger and retribution. But can she rely on Nate to support her? Especially when his behaviour has become increasingly distant and strange, almost as though he had something to hide … 


  • Category: Crime & Thrillers
  • Expected Release: 13 December 2016
  • Publisher: Death by Choc Lit
  • Print Length: 300 Pages
  • Language: English


One Dark Lie is published by Choc Lit and is now available to pre-order as an eBook on iBooks. 



Told you it was exciting!!  Definitely sounds like one of those 'must read' crime thrillers so please add it to your TBR lists!!!  


Friday, 11 November 2016

My week in books....

Friday returns!  I trust this makes you all happy!!  And I trust that this week has treated you all well, and has left you with lots to be grateful for! And if there's been an excuse for cake I hope you have taken it!!  There should always be cake.......


Been a very productive week on the bookish front and also a winning one too!  Was part of the Facebook live signing by Cecilia Ahern for her new book Lyrebird, and was rather chuffed when she read out my comment and personally signed a book for me so I am eagerly awaiting the postman to deliver that very soon!! 



Books Finished this week


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


5 stars again, as I got to re-read this as part of a Facebook Book Club.  Loved it the first time, loved it even more the second time! If you've not read it yet, why not???!!! Go read it!!

Alice by Eva Hanagan

Was intrigued by this on NetGalley as it had a really pretty cover - not the one above - which caught my eye. Unfortunately the story inside didn't match so I only gave this 2 out of 5.

What Alice Knew by T.A. Cotterell


received an advance blogger edition of this book and ooh!! It was good!!  One definitely to watch out for as it had me guessing all the way through and is really cleverly set up!

Because of You by Helene Fermont


Another copy I received through the publishers and the Bookollective group, and another absorbing story as the reader gets to see inside the life of Hannah Stein over a number of years, and all the highs and lows that life often throws at people.  Very accomplished debut so highly recommended!


Book Haul

I have managed to keep myself a little more restrained this week and have bought the grand total of ONE book!!

The Road to Ever After by Moira Young


 How could I not buy it with this gorgeous sparkly cover???!!!  Was supposed to be a present for my 9 year old niece,  but I'm thinking I might just have to read through it first myself and see if it is suitable as it looks just a gorgeous story and worthy of a place on any bookshelf! ;)

Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman


And in the post today I was lucky enough to be sent a copy a copy of this fun looking title from the publishers Headline Press.  So this might be my next read over the weekend with a rainy Saturday forecast!!



Rather happy with my progress on the reading front this week! So I am now up to having completed 164 books in 2016 on my GoodReads challenge!! Yay me!! Have been quite lucky in a lot of those have been shorter books as I've not been brave enough to face some of the bigger hardbacks on my TBR pile! Maybe I should start attacking those before Christmas!  I wish they didn't scare me so much!! I need to be brave and dive right in!! 


Happy Reading!!






Thursday, 10 November 2016

Because of You by Helene Fermont - book review



THE BLURB


Because of You is the deeply moving debut novel by Scandinavian writer Helene Fermont. It’s a gripping work of modern women’s fiction with a distinct ‘Scandi’ feel and a psychological twist. 

Because of You spans 36 years in the life of Hannah Stein, a Swedish teenager who arrives in London, at the tail end of the disco era, for a gap year before embarking on a teaching career. The people she meets change the course of her life irrevocably and the novel charts her changing personal and professional fortunes over the next three decades. Because of You is about love, coming of age, friendship, bereavement, stillbirth and rape. Its themes include redemption, acceptance, fidelity and family. Because of You is a story that every woman can relate to. 

Scandinavian noir has firmly established itself as a bestselling genre in the UK. Because of You takes the elements that make this style of writing so compelling – the realism and dark, morally complex mood – and combines it with women’s fiction.

This is a dark, morally complex and cross-generational story of enduring love, fate and destiny and will appeal to readers who appreciate an emotive, uncompromising and fulfilling read driven by character and circumstance.


Amazon UK - buy your copy here



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Born into a bilingual family (Swedish/English), Hélene Fermont enjoyed an idyllic childhood on the outskirts of Malmö, Sweden's third largest city and a major cultural hub.

Growing up in the early 1970s, she enjoyed a brief musical career on Swedish TV and radio before pursuing a rewarding career as a therapist specialising in children with learning difficulties.

Hélene has lived in London for over 20 years but still regularly returns to her native Sweden, where the unspoiled scenery and tranquility help aid the creative process. Hélene is currently hard at work on her second novel.
 



MY REVIEW

Was offered the chance to read a copy of this paperback from the lovely people at bookollective  and I have to thank them and the author for the opportunity!


This book has proved to be an absorbing read set over a span of 36 years in both London and Sweden. It's the story of Hannah Stein - her highs, her lows, her happiness, her despair and all that happens in between!


Hannah moves to London when she's 18 and this book allows you into her head for every new experience, whether good or bad, as she discovers the power of a first love, and how life experiences can change you and those around you, and teaches her to enjoy the little moments and listen to those giving her advice



There are a few characters that appear in her life who are pretty ghastly but this is only reflective of real life - not everybody is nice and has your best intentions at heart, and it is fascinating to see how Hannah deals with those around her and shows that the author is not afraid to sugar coat the realities of life. We also get to see that with some of the topics featured throughout - death of loved ones, rape, dementia and the loss of a baby - it isn't an easy read at time but all these topics are dealt with in a very sympathetic way.



I did find my interest did dip at a couple of points through the book, but think this was to be expected in a 500 plus page novel! But there was always something just around the corner to raise emotions again and regain your interest and concern.



This was a really detailed insight into Hannah as she progresses from an 18 year old teenager into a woman and all those experiences that those years bring your way. Was also fun to have to the little glimpses of the fashion and music around at the time of her stay in London and really helped give you a flavour of the time.


A fascinating debut and I can't wait to see what else Helene Fermont has in store for us with her next novel!