Posts Tagged: Fiction


25
Mar 14

5 Books to read this Spring!

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well and having a lovely week. As it’s officially Spring, I thought I would share 5 great books I think are definitely worth a read this season.

What have you all been reading this week? Don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s books you think I should feature!

Julie xxx

 

Bad Brides by Rebecca Chance

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 Light-hearted and easy to read, Bad Brides is about two brides who battle it out to land Style magazine’s coveted ‘Bride of the Year’ tiara. One is Milly, a delightfully deceitful up-and-coming actress.  The other is the naïve Brianna, who isn’t sure whether she wants to marry Edmund, and whose mother Tamra is determined to climb to the top of society. Things get even more complicated when  an old enemy threatens to reveal details from Brianna’s past…

 The plot is fairly straightforward, making it a great read for a lazy sunny day in the park!

  Bad Brides is available from 27March 2014.  Publisher: Simon & Schuster

 

There’s More to Life Than Cupcakes by Poppy Dolan

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I absolutely love to bake, so I couldn’t put Poppy Dolan’s novel down. The protagonist Ellie has it all: a job, lovely husband Pete, and a home. However, the rest of the world seems to think it’s baby o’clock. Between partying friends, redundancies at work and generally trying to work out what she wants herself, Ellie suddenly finds herself signing up for a baking class. There, she meets the young and handsome Joe, and suddenly she starts to wonder if she can make a decision without losing everything that matters to her.

This book is perfect for anyone who loves to bake when they need to relax.

There’s More to Life than Cupcakes is available now. Publisher: Novelicious

 

Waiting for Summer by Anna-Maria Anthanasou

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When Anna-Maria Anthanasou wrote this love story, she kept it a secret from family and friends for 18 months, writing late at night and first thing in the morning. It was only when her brother found the manuscript that she agreed to get it published. The story follows Sylvie Sapphiris, whose perfect life is thrown into disarray when she suffers from tremendous heartbreak (Without spoiling anything, there’s a lot of stuff you seriously don’t see coming). She decides to take control of her life, but a second chance at love could risk hurting those around her.

The story takes a while to get going, but Sylvie is a very likeable character and you quickly find yourself involved in her journey. Great to read if you go on a mini break!

Waiting for Summer is out now. Publishers: Austin Macauley

 

 

The Perfect Affair by Claire Dyer

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Anyone who has ever fallen for someone who they shouldn’t could relate to Claire Dyer’s book. Protagonist Rose knows only too well the excitement and devastation that comes with loving a married man. She watches as her close friend Eve falls for her new tenant Myles, both of whom are unhappily married. It’s not always the most cheerful story, as Eve and Myles’ affair is complicated and reminds them of what they’re missing in their own marriages, but Claire Dyer writes in a way that you don’t judge them for their decisions, but instead watch them as they try to make sense of their feelings.

A great read for a weekend when the British weather lets us down and you stay inside with a cup of tea!

The Perfect Affair is out now. Publishers: Quercus

 

Carry You by Beth Thomas

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It’s only been a few months since she lost her Mum, and Daisy McIntyre is in a black hole she can’t get out of. She spends most of her days having DVD marathons, eating Jaffa Cakes and surfing the internet, with no time for friends or boyfriends. Her best friend Abby (who is an awesome character) decides that something needs to be done, and signs them both up for a charity walk, and suddenly, Daisy’s life takes an unexpected turn…

Beth Thomas lost her own mum to cancer at the age of 33, and the fact that she draws on her own experience makes the book a really emotional read. It’s beautifully written, and you really feel Daisy’s devastation.

A great read for a day spent in the garden – wouldn’t recommend reading this in public in case you get tearful!

Carry You is out the 24th April. Publishers: Avon

 

 


10
Mar 14

How To Get A (Love) Life by Rosie Blake

Book: How To Get A (Love) Life
Author: Rosie Blake
Publisher: Novelicious Books
Available: Out now, e-book format
If you enjoy this book you might like: The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, by Melissa Banks

Summary: Nicola Brown is the kind of girl who double-locks the front door, leaves the plastic covering on new furniture, sticks to a super-strict diet and definitely, absolutely Does Not Date. Exasperated by her reluctance to have fun, her colleague Caroline decides that enough is enough, and challenges Nicola to find true love by Valentine’s Day. As Nicola steps out of her comfort zone and faces some disastrous dates, she slowly finds herself having fun…

 

How To Get A (Love) Life by Rosie Blake Cover (323x500)

Think of the worst date you’ve ever been on. Was it worse than being forced to go kayaking in the middle of November? Because that’s exactly what Rosie Blake’s protagonist Nicola finds herself doing when she agrees to be more adventurous in her dating life (even if that was way over the line). The dates in How To Get A (Love) Life can be excruciatingly awkward, but they’re hilarious. From a guy who won’t share a bag of popcorn, to a teacher who quite clearly has some unresolved issues with his career, Rosie captures worst-case-scenarios and turns them into hilarious anecdotes (Although I definitely hope I never have to go through one in real life).

That’s not to say that this book will put you off dating – there are some brilliant male characters. Nicola’s brother Mark is a smart, laid-back guy who is determined to win over the love of his life, and happily gets involved in setting Nicola up on dates (some of the most disastrous ones in my opinion). Then there’s Nicola’s dashing boss James, a potential love interest who is dating Thalia, his “nasty supermodel girlfriend with great clothes”.

It’s not too difficult to figure out where the plot is heading, but Rosie writes in a way that you find yourself actually looking forward to seeing what Nicola will go through in her search for true love. Even with her strict routine, you can relate to her as we’ve all had moments where we’ve been forced to step out of our comfort zone, so it’s easy to identify with her as she musters up the courage and energy to complete her mission. I did think she accepts the challenge fairly openly for someone who is supposed to be so close-minded to new things, but Rosie delves a little deeper into Nicola’s past so you get a better understand of where she’s coming from.

Because the plot is easy to follow and the book is broken up into Nicola’s various dates, it’s a great read for when you’re commuting.

 

 


22
Feb 14

From Dust to Dust and a Lifetime in Between by Katherine Anne Lee

Book: From Dust to Dust and a Lifetime in Between
Author: Katherine Anne Lee
Available: Monday 24th February
If you enjoy this book you might like: One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez

SummaryDevoted grandmother Mollie Cooke always dreamed of writing her own eventful life story, but sadly dementia robbed her of the opportunity. Mollie’s granddaughter Katherine has finally published her biography, two years after Mollie’s death at the age of 96. Discover the momentous events in Mollie’s life from her childhood in the countryside, to the tragic losses in her life, and her final struggle with dementia.

***

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Picking up Katherine Anne Lee’s novel, I was a little apprehensive – I wasn’t sure whether it would be easy to connect with someone else’s grandmother in a book which was essentially a tribute. So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself growing increasingly attached to Mollie, the protagonist, as she navigated her way through the highs and lows of life. By the time I finished the novel, it felt as if I had lost a family member of my own.

Mollie’s story is beautiful, but sad. She experiences tragic losses in her life, notably of people who are extremely important to her (I won’t say who as I don’t want to spoil it for you), and the way Katherine writes allows you to experience Mollie’s devastation right alongside her.

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The novel also deals with hard-hitting themes such as war, however it doesn’t delve too deeply into what is happening outside of Mollie’s life. When World War II erupted, she was a young woman old enough to understand what was happening around her. The focus remains on the small rural town in which she lives, making it easier to get drawn into her story as you experience the devastation on a more personal level.

Cancer is another emotionally-difficult theme in the book, but I found Katherine’s representation of it particularly interesting. Imagining it as creatures that enter Mollie’s dreams and taunt her as it attacks her loved ones, it really emphasised the way Mollie felt it was an invisible monster, and constantly preyed on her mind.

Moving away from the sadder themes, I really enjoyed the way love was presented in the book. When Mollie meets her first husband Jack, it’s an all-consuming, romantic love, full of dreamy dates and love letters. When Mollie meets her second husband Billy, it’s a quiet, unassuming love: she slowly falls for him and when the two eventually wed, she remarks how safe she feels in his arms.

At 96-year-olds, Mollie’s journey through life is epic, but what I really loved about the book is the way Katherine makes you feel that time is passing by too quickly, so you really feel for Mollie both through the ups and downs. It’s what makes the dementia passages so moving: you experience everything with Mollie and then watch her final struggle as she tries to remember it all. It can be frustrating as a reader, because you know the answers and want to help her.

The novel is beautifully written, and Mollie’s story is definitely worth a read.


18
Feb 14

The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne

Book: The Vintage Girl
Author: Hester Browne
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Available: Out now
If you enjoy this you might like: The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella

Summary: Evie Nicholson is obsessed with all things vintage, so when her sister volunteers her to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive family heirlooms, she thinks she’s hit the jackpot. However, in each heirloom lies a story, and as Evie uncovers long-buried family secrets, she becomes increasingly determined to find the truth. Add the handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit ball in the mix, and Evie’s heart is sent reeling. 

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It usually takes a lot for a book to make me laugh, but Hester Browne’s The Vintage Girl is very funny – it has all the elements of a great romantic comedy.

The main character, Evie Nicholson, is very easy to identify with, especially for those of us who have a slight tendency to hoard. As she gets carried away with fantasies of living in the past, it’s almost impossible not to be swept along with her, as Hester Browne gives us the fairytale-esque setting of a Scottish estate, complete with a candlelit ball. The book definitely caters to vintage-lovers, with descriptions of huge rooms filled with antiques, vintage clothes, and even some undiscovered gems…

Evie’s love interests, the dashing Fraser and gloomy Robert, provide a great love triangle: Fraser is essentially a Prince Charming, but I found Robert to be more interesting as his character was a bit more flawed, for example his complete indifference to the family’s heritage.

There are some really funny characters, particularly the estate owner Duncan, who tries to create his own brewery. Evie’s sister Alice was one of my favourites because she constantly both causes and solves problems for her sister, including letting Evie cover up when she drops out of an important dance at the ball, giving no explanation.

While the plot line was sometimes a little bit predictable, it doesn’t stop the book from being really fun to read – I would definitely recommend it for a lazy Sunday.

 

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