Monday, 28 April 2014

Top Ten: Young Adult Fiction

As my deadlines are still looming I 'm still starved for reading time, so here we go with another "time-saving" blog post (actually, it probably took me longer to think about my top ten books than it would have taken me to read and review a new book!).

Who doesn't love a good bit of YA fiction and at the moment the spotlight has never been more focused on this budding genre, jumping on the bandwagon I thought I'd share some of my favourite YA books. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

To Be Read - April/May

If you follow me on twitter (I'm going to keep mentioning this until you follow me so you might as well just do it now) you'll know that I am currently in deadline hell and am substituting some review posts with blog posts. Today I thought I'd expand more on my TBR 'pile' (a bit euphemistic, it's more of a TBR bookcase at this point) which I talk about a lot. Most of you will know that TBR stands for 'to be read' and I thought I'd share some of the books languishing on that list today.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Review: Little Beach Street Bakery - Jenny Colgan

Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their townhouse, she has to move miles away from everyone, to the sleepy little seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.
And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it.
Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

Having recently rediscovered Colgan I've been eagerly anticipating her latest for some time now. This Easter gave me the perfect opportunity to take some time off, lock myself away and completely devour Little Beach Street Bakery (and a packet of hot cross buns...).

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Mini-view: Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Boy - Lucy-Anne Holmes

'My love story may not be the sort you read about in books or see in films . . . Love stories have glorious highs and ghastly lows. But when it comes to my own life, I'd have to say, you can keep your fabulous highs and I'll happily steer clear of the terrible lows.' 
After a rocky start in life, Jenny Taylor, 27, star receptionist at the local doctors surgery, has things all worked out thanks to 'The Smiling Fanny Manifesto' - a list of 10 daily things she must do to keep the blues at bay. But her life is turned upside down when she meets aspiring musician Joe King. And reliable boyfriend Matt proposes. And then her mum leaves her dad and moves into Jenny's flat determined to 'bond'. 

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Lucy-Anne speak about her No More Page 3 campaign at the University of Edinburgh. A highly skilled and charming speaker I was instantly compelled to seek out one of her novels and the library happily obliged with a copy of Just a Girl sitting there right on the shelf, for little old me.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Review: The Geography of You and Me - Jennifer E. Smith*

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.
Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met. 
A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

At the moment I am really enjoying the YA scene which, I've said before and I'll say again, is going from strength to strength of late and is becoming increasingly prominent in the book world. Jennifer E. Smith is a new author to me and having adored this, her latest novel, her previous books are going straight onto my somewhat bulging TBR (to be read) pile.

Review: Animal Attraction (Animal Magnetism #2) - Jill Shalvis*

She’s tempting his basic instincts…
Sunshine, Idaho, is a quiet ranching town, a perfect place to give injured animals a refuge…or to find one yourself. Veterinarian Dell Connelly suspects there’s a reason his clinic’s uber-efficient receptionist has taken shelter here.
Jade Bennett couldn’t be happier to escape the big-city jungle to work with hurt animals, and have a forlorn stray kitten make its home under her desk…or enjoy the gorgeous views of her ruggedly sexy boss.
Jade is used to planning everything in her life, but Dell’s seductive, alluring ways have sparked an uncontrollable desire. And though Dell has never had time for love, Jade’s strength and sass is the kind of call no red-blooded male can resist…

Last month I reviewed the first in the Animal Magnetism series by Shalvis and since then I've been off devouring them all and I have to say I am loving this series. Shalvis is quickly becoming one of my go to authors for a quick, heart-warming romance with added steam and emotion.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Bargain Read: If I Could Turn Back Time - Nicola Doherty*

What if you found The One, then lost him again? 
Or not so much lost him as became the neurotic, needy girlfriend from hell. The girl who tried to make him choose between her and his job, and got seriously paranoid about his relationship with his best female friend... 
Zoe knows she doesn't deserve another chance with David. But if there's the tiniest possibility of making things right, she'll snatch it. Even if it means breaking the laws of physics to do so...

Is it just me who wishes that authors would stop using titles similar to popular songs? I haven't been able to get If I Could Turn Back Time out of my head all week and I think my sister has had enough of my Cher impressions.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Review: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me - Sarra Manning

Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don't get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve's heart since university. But William's been in LA for three years, and Neve's been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he'll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.
So she's not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she'd better get some, well, experience.What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia's colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he's such a man-slut, and so not Neve's type, she certainly won't fall for him. Because William is the man for her... right?Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve's lost her heart - but to who?

A few weeks ago I reviewed my first ever Manning novel It Felt Like a Kiss and since then I have been predictably squeezing in a few of her older reads in between everything else that has been languishing on my TBR pile. It has to be said that You Don't Have to Say You Love Me could have over taken It Felt Like a Kiss as my favourite Manning novel to date.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Review: The Time of Our Lives - Jane Costello

Imogen and her friends have had their fill of budget holidays, cattle-class flights and 6 a.m. offensives for a space by the pool.So when one of the group wins a VIP holiday at Barcelona's hippest new hotel, they plan to sip champagne with the jet set, party with the glitterati and switch off in surroundings of unapologetic luxury.But as they mingle with movie stars, mafia bosses and millionaires, it becomes clear - with riotous consequences - that even in the most glamorous of locations, things can go wrong. Very wrong . . .

I was actually lucky enough to win an e-book copy of The Time of Our Lives over on twitter and giddy with the high of actually winning something (I think the last thing I won was a swimming contest at age seven) I sat down to read Jane Costello's latest after a horrible week of deadline hell.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Bargain Read/Review: A Day at the Office - Matt Dunn

Julie kissed Mark at the office Christmas party. She doesn't seem to remember, but he's not been able to forget. What better day to jog her memory than Valentine's Day?
Calum's found the girl of his dreams on the internet. Trouble is, he's not been completely honest about himself. Tonight he's meeting her for the first time. But will it also be the last?
Nathan's organised his usual Anti-Valentine's party for the office singletons. Sophie's going - again. Though this year, if she gets her way, they might just be leaving together.
One office. Five lives. On the most romantic day of the year.

I have never been one to need an excuse to eat chocolate but at the moment there is the perfect reason to have that cheeky little bar. Galaxy currently have a promotion running in conjunction with Kindle on all of their irresistible reads packs; if you buy a single bar of chocolate you can claim a free Kindle e-book from a small selection, and their bigger bars give you the chance to win your very own Kindle (to read all those new books on). Being a chocolate fiend I have had the chance to read a few of the books on offer and decided to review them for you guys, first up is Matt Dunn's A Day at the Office.