Saturday, 15 July 2017

We are all Made of Glue by Marina Lewycka

From Goodreads

Georgie Sinclair's life is coming unstuck. Her husband's left her. Her son's obsessed with the End of the World. And now her elderly neighbour Mrs Shapiro has decided they are related.

Or so the hospital informs her when Mrs Shapiro has an accident and names Georgie next of kin. This, however, is not a case of a quick ward visit: Mrs Shapiro has a large rickety house full of stinky cats that needs looking after and that a pair of estate agents seem intent on swindling from her. Plus there are the 'Uselesses' trying to repair it (uselessly). Then there's the social worker who wants to put her in a nursing home. Not to mention some letters that point to a mysterious, painful past.

As Georgie tries her best to put Mrs Shapiro's life back together, somehow she must stop her own from falling apart.

My thoughts

I gave this an 8/10 or 4 stars. I've read several books by Marina Lewycka and she has the ability to pull together a story that has humour at it's heart. It's a thought provoking read though and perfect for reading groups with so many things that can be discussed.

I loved the relationship that developed between Georgie and her newly found relative Mrs Shapiro. The relationship between them both was hilarious at times. Tasked with looking after the Mrs Shapiro's house, Georgie is keen to find out more about her elderly neighbour. In doing so, she opens a can of worms in some respects and not all is as it at first seems.

Two particular observations by Marina Lewycka made me smile and both were aimed at men ~

'The B & Q store was tattier than the one at Tottenham and almost empty, silent with a hush of reverence - like a temple, I thought, dedicated to some male peculiar cult.' We always said that B & Q was my brothers church on a Sunday as he never seemed to be away from it.

'Have you ever noticed the similarity between BBQ and B & Q? My theory is that that's why men feel the urge to take over cooking on these occasions.' She's probably right you know, as men do seem keener to cook when it's a BBQ rather than a normal night's tea.

Marina Lewycka certainly has a knack of making great observations and weaving them into a great story.

Friday, 14 July 2017

One Christmas in Paris by Mandy Baggot


From Goodreads

They say Paris is the City of Love, so bring your je ne sais quoi and don’t forget the mistletoe!

Ava and her best friend Debs arrive in Paris just as the snow starts to fall. The Eiffel Tower glitters gold and the scent of spiced wine is all around, but all Ava can think about is Leo, her no-good, cheating ex.

Debs is on a mission to make Ava smile again, and as they tour the Christmas markets, watch lamplight glittering on the river Seine, and eat their body weight in pain-au-chocolat, Ava remembers there’s more to life than men ... Until they cross paths with handsome, mysterious photographer Julien with his French accent and hazelnut eyes that seem to see right inside her.

Ava can’t ignore the intense chemistry between them, but her fingers have been burned before and she can’t forget it, especially when her ex, Leo, starts texting again. Can Ava really trust Julien – and what exactly is his secret?

Will Ava go home with a broken heart, or will she find true love amongst the cobbled streets of Paris?

Join Ava and Julien in the most romantic city in the world this Christmas, as they discover the importance of being true to themselves, and learn how to follow their hearts.

One Christmas in Paris
 is a gorgeous, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy – perfect for fans of Jane Costello, Miranda Dickinson and Lucy Diamond.

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this feel good romance set in Paris an 8/10 or 4 stars.

I really enjoyed this story and it was pure escapism. It's a long time since I've been to Paris and the story made me feel as if I was there. Mandy Baggot knows how to tell a good story and this was definitely a good story.

Ava and her friend Debs travel to Paris, to have a break. Ava is nursing a broken heart and Debs would like to find someone for Ava to take her mind off her ex. To find out how successful Debs is, you'll have to read the story.

The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards


From Goodreads

A gripping psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Magpies.

It was the job she had dreamed of since childhood. But on her very first day, when an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie Greenwood would rather forget, she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.

What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie’s predecessor? When her husband and daughter are pulled into the nightmare, Sophie is forced to confront the darkest secrets she has carried for years.

As her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must race to uncover the truth about her new job…before it kills her.

My thoughts

A well deserved 4.5stars or 9/10 from me. My thanks to the Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

Mark Edwards is fast becoming one of my favourite creepiest Authors, he sure knows how to weave a good story that'll get under your skin. This was a bit of a slow burner of a story as the pace was set by flash backs to the past and the present. With lots of twists and turns along the way, like any good psychological thriller you'll be trying to second guess what's going to happen. However, Mark Edwards has the ability to set the scene well and the tension leaps off the page at you.

Sophie Greenwood has taken an extended maternity leave, she has just started a job working in an office for Jackdaw publishing. Office environments can be tricky places to work, especially when you're the new girl and you're not quite settled. The least little issue can soon become a major problem for you. Sophie doesn't feel comfortable at work and as things begin to happen, she's not sure what to think or who she can trust.

If you've not read any of Mark Edwards books then you need to make sure you grab one soon, as you're most definitely missing out. His writing style and genre choices remind me of James Herbert and Stephen King.

A Wedding in Italy (From Italy with Love #2) by Tilly Tennant


From Goodreads

Sun, spaghetti and sparkling prosecco. When it comes to looking for love, there’s no place like Rome – but once Kate’s found her man, can she keep him?

Kate is living the dream with her gorgeous boyfriend Alessandro in his native city, but the reality is sometimes a little less romantic than she’d hoped. Every day in her new home is a fight against leaking pipes, her cantankerous landlord and her less-than-perfect grasp of the Italian lingo.

All around her there is talk of weddings, but when a secret from her past is thrust out into the open, Kate must fight to prove to Alessandro’s Mamma – and the rest of his formidable family – that she truly is Italian marriage material.

With the women in Alessandro’s life on a mission to break them apart, the cracks begin to show and Kate starts to question if Alessandro really is the man of her dreams. Can love and the city of romance conquer all, or is that just a fairy-tale?

Let Rome steal your heart this summer in this gorgeously romantic escapist read. Perfect for fans of Jo Thomas and Abby Clements.

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this a 3.5 stars or 7/10.  I've not read the first in the series, saying that though, this can be read quite easily as a standalone story.

Kate has fallen for Alessandro in a big way. She's made her mind up that she wants to live in Italy, but she's got such a lot to prove to his family that this isn't just a holiday romance. She's got to find herself a job to help make ends meet. She's found somewhere to live, but it's not ideal as the landlord isn't the easiest person to get on with and the language can be quite a barrier.

This is an ideal summer read, it's a romance with some comedy thrown in for good measure, as Kate does manage to get herself in some situations.

I enjoyed the story and felt that the characters were very well developed. I've never been to Italy, it's somewhere that I hope to visit. Tilly Tennant you brought Italy into my home for a few days while I escaped in your book. Thank you.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Miss Wrong and Mr Right by Robert Bryndza


From Goodreads

‘This is men,’ said Gran. ‘When they vant you, but you don’t vant them, they stay. But let them know you vant them, they no longer need you, and they go! It’s like that movie, Nanny McPhee.’

Natalie Love has worked hard to have it all. She runs a successful London theatre that's about to host one of Hollywood's leading stars, Ryan Harrison. She’s pretty sure she’s found her man in yoga boyfriend Benjamin, despite his annoying habit of saying Namaste! every time he speaks. And her eccentric, glamorous Hungarian Gran is always on hand to offer sage advice and steaming bowls of goulash.

Life in the bright lights of London has always been Natalie's escape from her chaotic country family in rural Devon and Jamie, the childhood sweetheart she left at the altar fifteen years ago. Until he turns up at her theatre door...

Jamie is in town producing a West End show and with rivalry suddenly clouding old feelings, this isn’t quite the reunion Natalie was expecting.

Will Benjamin prove to be Natalie’s perfect match? With Ryan turning her head, Natalie is more confused than ever. And what about Jamie – could he be her second chance at first love?

Charming, hilarious and totally unputdownable, Miss Wrong and Mr Right will put a huge smile on your face and keep you guessing who Natalie’s ‘Mr Right’ is until the very last page.      

My thoughts

Review to follow soon or in this case not so soon (7 months later)!!

My thanks to the Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this a 4/5 stars or 8/10.

This is the first book that I've read by this Author.  If this is an example of all his work, then I will be reading others by him.

It was a quirky comedy romance, with lots of silly happenings between all the characters.
Natalie's life looked like it was all planned out, but as she jilts her fiancé at the altar. Life takes a sudden turn that she hadn't quite planned. Stuck in another relationship that doesn't seem to be going far again, her life could be all set to change yet again.

Well written this story had lots going for it and was great escapism, at a time when I most definitely needed it. I read this over Christmas last year and it was just the ticket. Grab a copy and let it take you away from your day to day life.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher


From Goodreads

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this Young Adult story a 3 stars or 6/10.

I really enjoyed the premise of the story and the way that it was told as if Clay was listening to the tape that Hannah had recorded. However, by the time I'd read the story I wasn't really bothered why she'd done it as to me, none of the reasons seemed to be valid enough reasons to make someone take their own life. I do appreciate that the actions of others, can and often do affect us all differently. Hannah could've been any High School student as most of what happened could've happened to anyone, unlike Hannah though they might have reacted differently.

It's not easy being a teenager, their bodies are changing, they have so  many pressures put on them from loads of different directions. It's no wonder really that something that we would perceive as not being a problem, to them it's immense. Hannah it appeared had loads of problems, that she saw fit enough to be reason enough to cause her to take her own life.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is so true, people young and old need to remember this or they too could be the one of the reasons that someone deems big enough cause to make them take their life.

This has been made into a TV drama and I would be interested in watching it, to see how it compares to the book.

The One by John Marrs


From Goodreads

How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes.

One tiny DNA test to find your perfect partner - the one you're genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love.

Now, five more people take the test. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking - and deadlier - than others...

A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

(Note: Previously published as A Thousand Small Explosions)

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this a well deserved 5 stars or 10/10.

WOW. That one word could very easily sum this book up. I have to admit that at first I did struggle with getting my head round all the various characters as the story flits from one to another. However, at one point the story just took off and had me gripped.

There is so much that could be said about the story, but to do so would spoil it for others. I agree it's a psychological thriller, but their are so many layers that to me it was more than just a thriller. The layers peel away one after the other like an onion and it's many layers. At it's heart are 5 people, some lonely and some maybe not as lonely, that are all determined to take the test in order to either find the one that is a true match for them and ultimately the soul mate, the one they are destined to be with for life if they believe the hype.

The premise may sound a little far fetched, but it's already in use, meet Gene Partner.

This story was previously published as A Thousand Small Explosions. If you read only ONE book a year, this year make it The One.