BOOK REVIEW: The Beach Wedding by Dorothy Koomson

Format: Paperback, ARC
Links: Goodreads | Amazon UK
Blurb: Will your past always catch up with you?

Tessa Dannall is excited and happy when her daughter, Nia, arrives at their family’s tropical beach resort to get married.

Tessa is also trying to forget the last time she went to a wedding on this beach and how that day changed her life for ever.

But as the big day draws near, Tessa realises she must face the deadly ghosts from her past – or they may ruin her daughter’s future… Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: The Beach Wedding by Dorothy Koomson”

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BOOK REVIEW: Six Foot Six by Kit De Waal (& giveaway!)

Format: Paperback, ARC
Links: Goodreads | Amazon UK
Blurb: It’s an exciting day for Timothy Flowers. It’s the third of November, and it’s Friday, and it’s his twenty-first birthday. When Timothy walks to his usual street corner to see his favourite special bus, he meets Charlie. Charlie is a builder who is desperate for Timothy’s help because Timothy is very tall, six feet six inches. Timothy has never had a job before – or no work that he’s kept for more than a day. But when Timothy and Charlie have to collect money from a local thug, things don’t exactly go according to plan…

Over the course of one day, Timothy’s life will change for ever. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Six Foot Six by Kit De Waal (& giveaway!)”

What I read in January

At the beginning of January, I set myself a goal to read 4 books this month. I know, not a lot compared to all y’all hard-core readers out there but I vowed I wouldn’t set myself any unrealistic and unreachable goals this year. So far, I haven’t. I completed my 4 books goal – actually exceeded it! I have reviewed all of them in full but I wanted to do a little round-up today so I can keep track and look back and be like yassssss, slayed it. You know what I mean. I’m also thrilled to look at this post and see lots of different types of books and genres. I’ve certainly not just stuck to my favourite genres this month and by doing so, have found some really wonderful books. So anyway, on with the post!

Continue reading “What I read in January”

Book Review: Sunshine With a Chance of Snow by Carole Matthews

18081165What its about:

Beth and Michael have worked hard all their married life to give their children everything they want. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it. Now, as Beth enjoys quality time with her family on their beach holiday, she knows she has a lot to be thankful for. But it’s not until she’s faced with her biggest challenge yet that Beth really begins to understand how lucky she is.

In this ebook exclusive short story, Carole Matthews will transport you to a world filled with love, family and sunshine. So put your feet up, stick the kettle on and indulge yourself for just twenty minutes.


Review:

I was lucky enough to be donated this book by Carole to my readathon and as I was raising money for Cancer Research, it kind of fit the bill. Sunshine With a Chance of Snow is a short story about a woman named Beth who is diagnosed with breast cancer. She has a wonderful, loving family who support her through the ordeal and she realises throughout her battle that that’s all that really matters.

This story was very short – only 36 pages – but it made me cry. It made me cry loads. Beth is a lovely woman who has a seemingly perfect family and although, like many families, they have money issues and other mundane things to worry about it shows the effect a genuine, life-threatening problem can have on not only the one suffering. It makes you look at your own life and wonder whether the materialistic things really do matter? As expected, it was well written and easy to read – like all of Carole’s book – and is a subject that I think will resonate with a lot of people. Perfect quick read which is both uplifting and thought-provoking.

You can find Carole and Sunshine With a Chance of Snow on the following links:

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Short Story: The Girl Who’s Never Had a Valentine by Elizabeth Player

20727540What it’s about:

All Beth’s ever had on Valentine’s Day is unwanted junk mail and unpaid bills! But this year, when the post lands on her doormat, one item in particular catches her eye…

Could this be Beth first ever genuine Valentine’s Day card?! The handwritten card might be a cheesy cliche….but who cares! The big question is – who is it from?

Unfortunately, the only possibilities racing through her head are people she sincerely hopes didn’t send it, including all of her definitely-not-Mr-Perfect exes. (Oh, or the guy in Accounts with the comb-over!)

Sadly, Beth’s pretty sure it’s not from Luke – her dishy new neighbour with the super-glamorous model girlfriend, and dreamy eyes that have never once noticed her… Or have they?

For a girl who’s never received so much as a Valentine’s e-mail before, this February 14th Beth finds herself with a secret admirer…who could just turn out to be The One

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Review: 

The Girl Who’s Never Had a Valentine is a very short story (about 25 pages) about literally, a girl who’s never had a Valentine. 28 year-old Beth lives alone, has had a string of unsuitable boyfriends over the years but currently no man on the horizon. On the morning of February 14 she wakes up to find a Valentines Day card sitting amongst her mail but has no idea who it’s from. Things take an unexpected turn and this little card may have brought her more than just secret admirer.

The problem I have with short stories is they don’t give you enough time or information to get into their world but with this book, I don’t think that was the point. It really does confirm everything us girls have thought about at some point during our lives of boyfriends, lack of boyfriends or boyfriends who we thought were ‘the one’. In a weird way it shows that anything can happen in that odd twist of fate. Beth was a charming character and in the short time I knew her, I really connected with her and would have very much enjoyed this book as a full length novel as Beth seems like the sort of girl I would have really enjoyed getting to know even more.

The writing style was readable and enjoyable which is another reason this story would have translated well into a full-length book. It was a cute and fun quick read, perfect to read in one sitting on a tea break, on your morning commute or when you just need a break from life for 20 minutes.

You can find The Girl Who’s Never Had a Valentine on the following links:

Amazon UK | Goodreads

Book Review: North Pole Reform School by Jaimie Admans & author interview

nprscover-500What it’s about:

Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn’t think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can’t get any worse.

Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom.

She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn’t expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him.

But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves’ lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas.

CharlooDividerReview:

How pretty is the cover of this book?! First of all, Jaimie is one of the coolest and most down to earth authors I’ve met through blogging and I reviewed Jaimie’s ‘Not Pretty Enough’ and loved it so much I jumped at the chance to review her new YA short story North Pole Reform School. I hope everyone who is involved in the blog tour of this book likes it as much as I did and I hope it’s a big success! North Pole Reform School is about a girl called Mistletoe who wakes up to find herself in a strange, cold, snowy place with no idea how or why she is there. Along with 4 others they learn that they have been brought to the North Pole Reform School due to the fact that in the past they have spoilt Christmas for other people. They meet elves, reindeers and Santa and are given various jobs to do around the North Pole in the hope that they will learn to like Christmas again, get to go home and realise what they done in the past was wrong. Follow Mistletoe in her weird and wonderful journey through the north pole where she teaches a reindeer how to fly, finds unexpected love and learns to true importance of Christmas.

I think someone should send me to the North Pole Reform School because I have to admit, I’m a bit like Mistletoe! However, this book definitely gets you in the mood for the festive season. I absolutely love Jaimie’s writing style. I realised this after reading Not Pretty Enough, it’s so easy to read and follow and I finished North Pole Reform School very quickly. It was a relatively short book but I find that gives you a nice break every once in a while. I’ve definitely grown on short stories because of how fast paced they are. They stick to the storyline, don’t go off track to irrelevant information and they flow easily – which describes North Pole Reform School perfectly. I’m not sure if this was designed to be a love story, but I really like the underlying romance between Mistletoe and Luke. You can kind of see it from the beginning and they’re both young and battling with some personal problems so it’s very sweet and I definitely found myself rooting for them, which is unusual because I normally squirm at romance!

This book definitely must have required a lot of imagination to come up with such a well thought-out, layered and completely made-up world and every single Christmas related thing you can possibly think of was probably mentioned in this book at some point! I love that Jaimie literately thought of everything children would wonder about Christmas, for example, how the toys get made, how the reindeers fly and what Santa is really like. The only small problem I had was that the elves live inside a giant dome in the north pole and they tell the students that there are zombies outside who like to listen to the Christmas songs they play. Although it’s a funny idea and did make me chuckle, the zombies didn’t sit too well with me and I thought they were just that bit too much! However, they’re not mentioned a great deal in the book. Whilst Mistletoe is doing one of her jobs, the elves explain to her how lucky she is to have a family that cares about her and presents to open on Christmas day and that there’s children out there who don’t have anyone or anything and I know it’s only fiction, but those elves make a great point. Even in the real world, there are children out there who have no family and don’t get any presents and children with illnesses who may not see another Christmas and although I don’t think the message was intentional, somewhere deep down it did make me realise that Christmas is important and that I am indeed, very lucky. So if this book leaves you with a feeling of gratitude like it did for me, I definitely think it’s a success!

I am going to give Jaimie a excellent and well deserved 4 cupcakes, enjoy!

4 cupcakes

CharlooDividerInterview:

1. Hi Jaimie! Thanks for answering some questions today. Can you start off by telling us what North Pole Reform School is about?

It’s about a girl called Mistletoe who hates Christmas. She finds herself transported to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves who are determined to change her feelings towards the season. She’s stuck in a group with a bunch of weirdos, and Luke – one not-so-weirdo who she ends up rather liking! While a gang of elves try their hardest to make the group enjoy Christmas, Mistletoe and Luke end up getting far more involved than they expected!

2. Do you enjoy Christmas or are you more of a Mr Scrooge?

I love it. Seriously, LOVE it! I actually found it quite hard to write Mistletoe because there’s nothing about Christmas that I don’t like!

3. Where did your ideas for North Pole Reform School come from?

Funnily enough, a headline in a newspaper! It was about a window cleaner dressed as an elf, cleaning windows without a harness on. The headline was ‘Elf and Safety’, which ended up being a class that Mistletoe has to take in the book! The smallest things can spark off an idea, and that line put a picture in my head of elves in a classroom, learning the elf equivalent of health and safety, and somehow that got to an idea of elves in a classroom teaching humans, and the whole thing snowballed from there!

4. What is on your wish list for Christmas this year?

A winning lottery ticket? I don’t know, actually! I don’t think there’s anything I really want! Maybe some more books, and the ability to fit them onto my bookshelves! Big fluffy socks are always a winner for me too!

5. Is this book self-published or through a company? What made you decide to take that direction of publishing?

It’s self-published, all of my recent releases have been, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it so decided to do the same with this one earlier in the year. I love the control I have over my own work and don’t think I want things any other way at the moment!

6. What is the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?

My first ereader, easily! It was a rubbish, cheap one and promptly died a year later to be replaced by a Kindle, but it changed my reading habits so much! I read loads of books that I’d been unable to read up until then, suddenly I could read US releases that would have cost an arm and a leg to have shipped over in paperback form. It was great, and best of all was that thousands of books didn’t take up any extra space! I loved it, and wouldn’t know what to do without my Kindle now!

7. I mention in my review that I feel there was an underlying message for people to be thankful for how lucky they are when there are children out there who don’t have much. Was this message intentional?

It wasn’t at first, but as I was writing it, I did start thinking about how lucky we all are. The elves needed a way to show Mistletoe and the others how much they have to be thankful for, even if they’re too caught up in hating Christmas to appreciate it. I did loads of research into what children write to Santa about, and the more I went into it, the more I wanted the characters to realise how lucky they are to have families who love them, even if their gran does knit embarrassing jumpers!

8. Who are some of your personal favourite authors that you’d recommend?

I love Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, Melissa Senate, Judy Blume. I can read anything by them countless times!

9. Do you think there will ever be a sequel to Mistletoe and Luke’s story?

I don’t know, but I don’t think so. It was never intended to be a series, only ever a standalone. I don’t have any ideas for a sequel, but I also never say never, because you never know when inspiration is going to strike!

10. When is the official release date of North Pole Reform School and where can we follow the tour?

It’s officially out on November 6th, but will probably be sneakily uploaded to Amazon before that (shhhh!) There is supposed to be a tour in December, the 9th until the 18th, but sign-ups aren’t open yet so I can’t give you the official schedule, although I will be doing a daily tour wrap-up on my blog each night, so it can be followed on there too!

CharlooDivider

jaimieadmans2About Jaimie Admans

Jaimie is a 28-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, drinking tea and watching horror movies. She hates spiders and cheese & onion crisps. She has been writing for years but has never before plucked up the courage to tell people. Afterlife Academy is her third novel and she hopes you enjoy it. There are plenty more on the way!

Website: http://www.jaimieadmans.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/be_the_spark

Facebook: http://facebook.com/jaimieadmansbooks

Book Review: Not Pretty Enough by Jaimie Admans

 

npe-cover-doneWhat it’s about:

Title: Not Pretty Enough
Author: Jaimie Admans
Date of Publication: August 1, 2013
Genre: contemporary YA comedy

New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Lloyd Layton will know I exist. He once said three whole words to me, so this is obviously progress. If I don’t get a proper conversation out of him soon, then I’ll take my top off and streak through the cafeteria, because nobody could fail to notice these boobs.
2. I will not get expelled for streaking through the cafeteria.”

Those are the words that begin her mission. Chessie is fourteen, not pretty enough, and very much in love. Lloyd Layton is hot, popular, and unaware of Chessie’s existence. Her goal is clear: to get Lloyd to love her as much as she loves him, and she has exactly one year to do it. As Chessie’s obsession with Lloyd reaches boiling point and she starts to spin a web of lies that spiral out of control, Lloyd turns out to be not quite the prince she thought he was. Can Chessie avoid the gathering storm before things go too far?

Not Pretty Enough is a contemporary young adult comedy suitable for ages thirteen and over.

Book two in the series will be released early 2014.

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18142578-not-pretty-enough

Purchase the book from Amazon

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Review:

From the very first page, I knew I was going to enjoy this book and it made a pleasant change from everything long and complicated I’ve been reading lately. I signed up for the blog tour of this book, run by Dianne ( http://oopsireadabookagain.blogspot.co.uk ) and Jaimie Admans herself and got sent a free copy to read and review. I’m so glad I did because not only is this my first blog tour, it is the first of Jaimie’s book’s I’ve read it’s definitely encouraged me to read more! This is a relatively short and straight-forward story about a teenage girl called Chessie who is in love with a boy in her school called Lloyd. However, Lloyd doesn’t seem to know she exists. The story takes you through the journey of Chessie’s school year and her unique attempts to get Lloyd to notice her but with Chessie’s bad luck, none of them seem to go as planned.

This book reminded me a lot of Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal snogging as it was the same sort of idea and it was so easy to read, I finished it in a day and a half! I loved that it was in first person from Chessie’s point of view because it helped me imagine her and her world very easily and you begin to feel like a part of it. So much so that at times when something embarrassing was about to happen to her, I felt my heart racing because I knew what was coming! I’m sure just as Chessie would have felt in the book. Jaimie puts into words what every teenage girl thinks and feels at some point during their adolescent years. Not only Chessie, I think all the characters are very relatable and recognisable and the way everyone talks to each other is very believable. When you’re 14 and at school, you’re bound to know people similar to the different characters in the book, for example, the class bully and a group of boys mad about cars and football. But I think the thing that made this such an enjoyable read for me is that it was so funny and definitely my kind of humour. It’s all very well having a book about a girl who likes a boy but when all the girl does is mope around it’s no fun! Chessie actually goes well out of her way to make this boy notice her and ends up in some hilarious situations, some of which genuinely made me cringe out loud!

If you’re not into anything long, hard-going and complicated and fancy a few laughs this is definitely the book for you! It’s hilarious, cringe-worthy, ridiculous and emotional with a very un-expected ending. I think Jaimie teaches you some important life lessons along the way too like lying will never get you what you want, some people aren’t what they seem and never forget the importance of friendship. It will definitely take you back to all those awkward moments when you were 14 and trying to impress a boy however, if you were as unlucky as Chessie was, I feel sorry for you! The sequel is coming out in 2014 and I for one cannot wait! 5 out of 5 stars!

CharlooDivider

jaimieadmans2About Jaimie Admans

Jaimie is a 28-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, drinking tea and watching horror movies. She hates spiders and cheese & onion crisps. She has been writing for years but has never before plucked up the courage to tell people. Afterlife Academy is her third novel and she hopes you enjoy it. There are plenty more on the way!

Website: http://www.jaimieadmans.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/be_the_spark

Facebook: http://facebook.com/jaimieadmansbooks

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/oDXZj

CharlooDividerClick HERE to join the giveaway for your chance to win a $40 Amazon gift card and some other goodies!