Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend – Sarra Manning

Hope Delafield hasn’t always had an easy life.

She has red hair and a temper to match, as her mother is constantly reminding her. She can’t wear heels, is terrified of heights and being a primary school teacher isn’t exactly the job she dreamed of doing, especially when her class are stuck on the two times table.

At least Hope has Jack, and Jack is the God of boyfriends. He’s sweet, kind, funny, has a killer smile, a cool job on a fashion magazine and he’s pretty (but in a manly way). Hope knew that Jack was The One ever since their first kiss after the Youth Club Disco and thirteen years later, they’re still totally in love. Totally. They’re even officially pre-engaged. And then Hope catches Jack kissing her best friend Susie…  Does true love forgive and forget? Or does it get mad… and get even?

 

Don’t be fooled by the front cover of this read – it isn’t what you think.  If you’re expecting a quick break up at the beginning, a few chapters on the emotional state of Hope and then the rest of the book on revenge – you’ll feel cheated!  Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the book, but really it was the sex that kept me going in this book – Sarra Manning is very, very good at writing about sex!  But hands up to Sarra she hasn’t conformed to the norm, but in doing so I’m not sure if it quite works.  Throughout the book I was screaming at Hope to get a grip and also wanting to throttle Jack for being an idiot.  However their actions and responses were very true

This book stretches the chick-lit genre into something more serious and grown up.  I think maybe if it had a different name or even the cover designed differently than Sarra would capture a different audience who would appreciate it more.  I’m not going to rave about this book as it didn’t make me want to tell my friends a bout it.  Nor did it make me want to no put it down.  It took me over a week to read where most books take me four/five day’s tops.

But if I put my disappointment aside and judge this book for the storey it is – it doesn’t do too badly.  If you can get over the fact that this isn’t some fast paced chick lit which will make you laugh, cry and not want to put it down then you’ll find it a good read.  As it touches real emotions and a real topic which is refreshing to read.  If you want to try something new, broaden your horizons so to speak without going outside of your comfort zone then read this!

 I’m rating this book as an Okay Read

 

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Can You Keep A Secret? – Sophie Kinsella

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 Emma is sitting on a turbulent plane. She’s always been a v. nervous flyer. She really thinks that this could be her last moment. So, naturally enough, she starts telling the man sitting next to her – quite a dishy American, but she’s too frightened to notice -all her innermost secrets. How she scans the backs of intellectual books and pretends she’s read them. How she does her hair up like Princess Leia in her bedroom. How she’s not sure if she has a G-spot, and whether her boyfriend could find it anyway. How she feels like a fraud at work – everyone uses the word ‘operational’ all the time but she hasn’t a clue what it means. How the coffee at work is horrible. How she once threw a troublesome client file in the bin. If ever there was a bare soul, it’s hers.

She survives the flight, of course, and the next morning the famous founding boss of the whole mega corporation she works for is coming for a look at the UK branch. As he walks around, Emma looks up and realises…

 It’s the man from the plane.

 What will he do with her secrets? He knows them all – but she doesn’t know a single one of his. Or…  does she?

 I did enjoy this book, it had me laughing out loud in many places and giggling in others.  It’s just as good as the shopaholic series (well maybe the first few, I dont rate the latest ones)  I love how it is fluently written, with witty jokes.  Emma is fantastic, she’s such a funny character – although I did find her a bit irritating and annoying at first.   But she’s another character that I can easily identify with – especially when she plans her own date. 

I would reconmend this book to anyone who enjoyed the Shopaholic series or anyone for a holiday / plane read.

I’m rating it a Good Read

Pear Shaped – Stella Newman

If you found yourself glued to David Nicholls’s One Day or belting out the lyrics to Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black then you’ll love this book.

Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl loses mind.

Sophie Klein walks into a bar one Friday night and her life changes. She meets James Stephens: charismatic, elusive, and with a hosiery model ex who casts a long, thin shadow over their burgeoning relationship. He’s clever, funny and shares her greatest pleasure in life – to eat and drink slightly too much and then have a little lie down. Sophie’s instinct tells her James is too good to be true – and he is.

An exploration of love, heartbreak, self-image, self-deception and lots of food. Pear-Shaped is in turns smart, laugh-out-loud funny and above all, recognizable to women everywhere.

I don’t think I’ve read anything like this.  Which I think is a good thing!  I have quite a busy lifestyle, I work full-time, read for fun and also juggle a fiance and dog at home with a horse in a field somewhere; so I like a book which has lots of chapters.  Not to small and not too big so that I can read a chapter or few at a time and put the book down to be picked up again later on.  Suppose that is the OCD in me, I don’t like to leave anything unfinished, so can’t put a book down mid chapter.  This book only has Four chapters including the Epilogue.  Luckily for me there were page breaks along the way so I compromised and used them as my mini chapters.  I was twitchy in between, itching to go back and read some more, but I think it was more down to the fact that I was thoroughly enjoying this book.  I love how the chapters were a perfect start to how Sophie was at that stage in the book.  Especially the crumble one when she was falling apart!

I felt I could relate to Sophie; she has weight issues, and loves pudding!  My book character soul mate!  Although I did find myself disagreeing with her at some point – a UK size 12 is not fat!  But I can see how this is just how the author, Stella is highlighting the pressure women are put under by the media, celebs, men to stay skinny.   The obsessive relationship (which leads to) and Sophie’s breakdown is very well written.  I love the witty insides you get from Sophie whilst she’s at work, or  wherever; although at first and at points they were confusing.  But they helped the storyline and to also build the character.

There wasn’t one boring bit in the book, I liked how Stella has just briefly mentions things that Sophie’s doing, I start to read it and just as I think it’s getting slow we jump a few days ahead to a date with James or a meeting with Devron.  Also I can’t make up my mind who I hate more James or Devron – but in a good way – if you’ve read the book you’ll know why!  And the trip to Paris with Will was superb!

I really enjoyed this book, I haven’t read One Day so I can’t really compare it.  I’m rating it a Must Read

Yours, Faithfully – Sheila O’Flanagan

Iona’s not pregnant. It’s a blow, but she knows that when husband Frank gets home he’ll reassure her that their dream of a family together will come true. Sally, on the other hand, has just discovered that she’s very much pregnant. Which is quite a surprise, with her only child now a seventeen-year-old. And Sally’s not sure how her husband’s going to feel about it, when he gets home. Except Frank’s not going to get home – to either of his wives. Frank’s bigamy of several years is about to be exposed, because Frank was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now his wives are going to meet in the hospital where he lies in a coma. And everything is about to change for all of them…

Sheila has written a great story which has verisimilitude whilst still keeping the reader interested.  Not what you would normally expect, but the characters keep the story going.  There isn’t much romance in this book, seeing that Frank spends the majority of it in a coma!  But the way that it has been written, being from each character’s point of view ensures that Frank has as much depth and interest as the other characters.  I was left questioning at a few points how Sheila was going to resolve the bigamy issue if Frank wakes up.  The book builds speed as it goes along, dangerously so as Sheila ties up the loose ends quite quickly at the end.  But I feel that it is the right ending.  Unlike some books I’ve read where they feel unfinished at the end, I’m grateful for the last few chapters. 

Ireland has always been some magical place for me, another country so close to my own, but then again so far away as a different way of life.  Sheila has drawn a perfect picture of this, having never been she’s described it well – so well that I could picture myself sitting on a wooden lounger on Enrique’s patio in the sun.

 If you want a raunchy read this book isn’t for you.  However the unusual storylines make this book interesting and compelling.

 I would recommend this book and rate it as a Good Read.

 

Secrets – Freya North

They drive each other crazy.

And they both have something to hide.
But we all have our secrets.
It’s just some are bigger than others…

Joe has a beautiful house, a great job, no commitments – and he likes it like that. All he needs is a quiet house-sitter for his rambling old place by the sea. When Tess turns up on his doorstep, he’s not sure she’s right for the job. Where has she come from in such a hurry? Her past is a blank and she’s a bit of an enigma. But there’s something about her – even though sparks fly every time they meet.
And it looks like she’s here to stay…

This book has it all, the girl, the guy, the complications along the way.  I’ll warn you that it is slow to start, however if you’re anything like me persevere as it’ll be wanting to find out what the secrets are which will keep you reading.  Freya has captured a single mother perfectly.  Tess could have easily been a pathetic sap which would have made me want to reach into the book and give her a slap!  But no, Freya has highlighted the worries and priorities of a single mum and given it just a little bit of sugar coating to make sure the character stays interesting and you warm to her.

It did take me a while to get used to Joe, his no commitment view to relationships did make him a bit hard to like.  But in a way it worked, it was nice to see some male vulnerability for a change.  I liked the way that the book switched from a each character’s point of view.  It was a bit confusing in places, but not hard to follow.

I did enjoy this book, and would recommend it as a Must Read for any Freya North fans.

The Demon Girl – Penelope Fletcher

Rae Wilder has problems. Supernatural creatures swarm the earth, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Stalked by a handsome fairy who claims she is like him, demonkind, Rae thinks maybe it was a mistake breaking the rules by going over the Wall into demon territory. Plunged into a world of dark magics, fierce creatures, and ritual sacrifice, she is charged with a guarding a magical amulet. The changes to her mind and body are startling, but rather than accept her purpose she struggles against who she is destined to be. Throw in a big lust for a vampire who can’t keep his hands off her, and life starts to get complicated. Rae is forced to make the ultimate choice: to live and die human, or embrace her birth-right and wield magics that could turn her into something wicked, a force of nature nothing can control.

Oh Em Gee! This book is like pure perfection.  From the first page you’re transported into a parallel earth where the make believe is believable.  I’m not your classic fantasy lover.  But this book has a romance storyline which makes it like Twilight but with fairies!  You think of fantasy and I’m sure you’re visualising internet gaming geeks planning their next World of Warcraft convention.  But no this book is something I cannot put into words enough how good it is.  You’ll have to find out for yourself!

This book is the first book since Twilight that I’m actually addicted to.  I couldn’t function until I’d finished the book.  I couldn’t focus at work and I rushed home just so I could get my next fix.  I dreamt about the book and I sure as hell wished I could live the book.  It has everything; danger, romance and also that important hidden message which gets you thinking outside the storyline.  And best of all its a series.

I went straight onto Demon Day and then Demon Dark.  The next book is expected out this year, I cant wait.  I’m at a point where I wish I was Rae.

I’m rating this as a Must Read

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

I was gripped from the beginning with this read from Jojo Moyes.  I found it moving, funny and hard to put down.  This was the first book of hers that I’ve read and normally I find it hard to move to a new author but after the first page I was hooked. I enjoyed the main story and the little sub-lines throughout added depth to book but without distracting from subject in hand.  I liked the way that the book had mini cliff hangers where the narrative flitted from different character’s POV.

I found myself giggling at quite a bit, which didn’t feel wrong even through the main subject is quite sombre.  I’ll be honest here and say that had I known that this book was about assisted suicide I wouldn’t have been so keen on buying it, but I am pleased I didn’t know!  I feel that the book has been well researched from all angles, not just the main characters.

This book I’m rating as a must read, Jojo Moyes is an author to watch 🙂

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