Sunday, 30 December 2012

Top 10 Books of 2012

I have read so many fantastic books this year that I found it really hard to narrow down to just ten. However, here in no particular order are my ten favourite reads from 2012.

The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay

Read my review here:

When I Fall in Love by Miranda Dickinson

Read my review here:

The Queen's Secret by Victoria Lamb

Read my review here:

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Read my review here:

Tideline by Penny Hancock

Read my review here:

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan

Read my review here:

Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley

Read my review here:

Sworn Secret by Amanda Jennings

Read my review here:

The Road Back by Liz Harris

Read my review here: 

The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow

Read my review here:

Friday, 28 December 2012

Review of Sworn Secret by Amanda Jennings

Sworn Secret is an outstanding novel by debut author Amanda Jennings.

Anna Thorne is killed in a terrible accident and her family are struggling to come to terms with her death. Just as they are beginning to get their lives back together, a devastating revelation about Anna's past threatens to tear them apart once more.

This is a novel about family, friendship and love. It takes you to the heart of the Thorne family, with parents Kate and Jon battling to come to terms with Anna's death and her younger sister Lizzie embarking on a dizzying love affair that threatens to lead to more heartache and pain for her family.

Intense, mesmerising and packed full of emotion, Sworn Secret had me captivated from the very first page. The book is so well written with short concise chapters that leave the reader on the edge f their seat desperate to know what will happen next. This is a stunning debut novel and I cannot wait to read more from this author.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Review of When I Fall in Love by Miranda Dickinson

Last year, It Started with a Kiss was one of my favourite books so I was thrilled to receive a copy of Miranda Dickinson's latest book 'When I Fall in Love' to review.

Elsie Maynard has suffered a terrible tragedy and is just beginning to put her life back together. She is working at 'Sundaes and Cher' a local ice cream parlour in Brighton when an unexpeced event leads her to meet ex-rockstar Woody Jensen.

Elsie is such a great heroine, she is witty, kind and a very strong person. I actually liked all of the characters and felt that Dickinson drew them all into the plot very well. I loved the descriptions of Brighton and Paris; the beauty and vibrancy of these cities is really brought to life in the novel.

This is a wonderful, heart warming novel packed full of moments that will have you laughing out loud. Have your tissues on hand though as there are a few tear jerking moments too. The cover is beautiful too!

I think this is my favourite book by Miranda Dickinson so far – highliy recommended.

Launch event for When I Fall in Love

I am a huge fan of Miranda Dickinson and was super excited to be invited along to her launch event for 'When I Fall in Love' last month. The event was for competition winners and was held at the Parlour restaurant at Fortnum and Mason. It was great to meet Miranda and the competition winners and chat about books, we were each given a signed copy of her latest book. It was fitting that the event was held at the ice cream parlour as this is one of the main settings in the novel. The ice cream on the day were delicious and enormous – you can see a picture of mine below.

Thank you to Becke at Avon for inviting me along to such a fantastic day!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Review of The Ripper Secret by Jack Steel

Liz has reviewed The Ripper Secret for us...

An interesting take on the perennial mystery of the murderer who wreaked havoc in London during the late 1880s, Jack Steel`s story is a delight to read. He takes us deep into the dirt, squalor and poverty of the Whitechapel and Spitalfields areas of London of the time – a place of dosshouses, brothels, and drunkenness where women have to sell themselves on the streets for 4 pence, the price of a doss-house bed for the night. If they were successful in their quest, they headed for the nearest pub more often than not and drank away their misery and their earnings, so had to start again.

It is against this background that the horrific murders take place, perpetrated by a very clever man who can remain invisible to the general population and to those who are trying to apprehend him. The police were an infant force then, lacking the organisation or the forensic expertise which we have come to take for granted in this day and age. In spite of the ineptitude and lack of organisation in the investigation, Inspector Abberline suspects the Ripper`s motive for the increasingly gruesome crimes but is hampered by his Commissioner, Charles Warren, at every turn – does Warren know more than he is letting on? Should a man in such a powerful position be doubted? Warren is an antisocial character placed in a job which he hates, vilified by the press and disliked by both the Home Secretary and those whom he commands – does he have a secret?

Jack Steel plunges us into a dark world of fear and abject hopelessness and builds the tension between the reader and his subject throughout the book – on the one hand, there is the insight of Inspector Abberline, on the other the progress of the killer and overall the one person who has knowledge. I could not put the book down! I thoroughly recommend it to readers of crime and historical novels. As no-one will ever discover who Jack the Ripper was, this is a very plausible take.

A great and very satisfying read.

Thanks Liz and thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us a copy to review.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Review of Dream a Little Dream by Sue Moorcroft

Dream a Little Dream is the first book by Sue Moorcroft that I have read and I will definitely be looking out for more from this author.

The novel follows Dominic Christy and Liza Reece. Dominic suffers from narcolepsy and is desperate to get over his debilitating condition and return to his normal life and routine. Liza is a reflexologist working at a treatment centre called The Stables. When an opportunity to run The Stables arises Liza jumps at the chance. However, she has competition in the form of Dominic who proposes to open an activity centre.

This was a pleasure to read and I found myself glued to the pages from the very beginning. Both characters have issues that need to be overcome, in Dominic's case it is the narcolepsy. It is evident that Moorcroft has done a lot of research into this issue and I felt like I knew a lot about it by the end of the book.

A recommended novel – you won't be disappointed!

Thank you to Choc Lit for sending me a copy to review.

Dream a Little Dream is available to buy here in paperback:

A kindle edition is available to buy here:

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Review of The Sea Garden by Marcia Willett

The Sea Garden is the first book by Marcia Willett that I have read and I loved it.

The two main characters are Kate and Jess. Kate is the widow of artist David and Jess wins his prestigious award for her botanical painting. When Kate invites Jess to stay in Devon and see some of the places where David lived and worked she jumps at the chance. However, Jess doesn't realise that her own family is interwoven in local society and soon secrets hidden in the past threaten to burst forward and effect the lives of Jess and people around her.

Despite being very different, Jess and Kate are strong characters battling with family issues. For Kate, it is that her son and daughter-in-law are suffering marital problems, whilst Jess feels isolated now that her mother has moved to Belgium to start a new life. Willett has skillfully given each character an equal amount of space in the book and this really helps the reader to feel that they can get to know each one. There were also a number of sub-plots in the storyline, which fitted in with the plot really well and did not feel at all overwhelming.

This is a mesmerising, thought provoking novel, full of mystery and intrigue. The pace is quite gentle, but Willett packs in a number of twists in the plot that I hadn't been expecting. Overall, this is a really great read and I will now be on the look out for more from his author.

Thank you to Transworld for sending me a copy to review.