A Streetcat Named Bob – James Bowen

 

When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet.

Yet James couldn’t resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat, whom he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.

Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts.

A Street Cat Named Bob is a moving and uplifting story that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it.

 This was such a touching easy read.  It tells a amazing story of how animals can help people when they are in a time of need.  I knew homeless people existed, I knew drug addicts did too.  But little thought was taken as to how people end up this way, or what they do to get themselves better.  James’ and Bob’s story is quite unusual, its very well written from James’ perspective and although personal it isn’t a sob story with emotional blackmail which leaves you feeling quite depressed.  It’s quite uplifting and it does have a message to tell.  I’m rating this one as a good read.

You Dont Have To Say You Love Me – Sara Manning

8471815Sweet, 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?

Like other Sara Manning books this one was slow to start off with, but don’t let the leisurely start put you off.  It’s funny when you get in to it and you can’t help warming to the lead character; Neve.  Neve has food issues that I can relate to.  She’s lost an immense amount of weight in a hope that being a size 10 will make other people view her differently and her happy.  She’s in love with a guy who she was at Uni with, he hasn’t seen her for three years but he’s due back in a few months.  The story is about how Neve feels that she needs to have dating and relationship experience so that when William comes back from the States she wouldn’t make any mistakes.  That really does sum up Neve’s low self esteem, she’s been bullied all her life about her weight, burying her nose in a book to escape real life.  Neve meets Max and they embark on quite a hilarious pancake relationship, but Max has his own issues.  I’m rating this as a must read.

Polly – Freya North

NEW on ebook for the first time with NEW author afterword.He’s out of sight, she’s out of her mind.

Polly Fenton is about to embark on a year-long teachers’ exchange to America. Swapping cottage pie for corn dogs is one thing, but trading lives with her American counterpart, Jen, is quite another.

The minute Polly’s feet touch down Stateside, she’s swept off them altogether. When she meets Chip Jonson, the school athletic trainer, all thoughts of home suddenly disappear.

Spanning three terms and two countries, this is a sparky and sassy story of New England and Old England, fidelity and flirtation, receiving one’s comeuppance – and making amends

Polly is one of my favorite Freya North novels.  It isn’t traditional chick lit and tells quite a different story to the usual boy meets girl.  I wouldn’t mind to be a teacher, just so I could do a job swap with someone in another country – especially America!  Polly is already in a relationship from the start of the book, which is unusual as normally the leading lady is single and the book is about how she finds her man.  Freya touches on real problems a long term and long distance relationship may encounter.  I love the language Freya uses, the imagery is so realistic; even though I’ve never been to New England I can imagine the setting.  Again Freya converses with her reader through the book, by providing a narrating voice which is fantastic.  It helps to set the scene and also give more understanding of what is going on.  I’m rating this as a good read

 

Chloe – Freya North

Chloë Cadwaller’s godmother’s dying wish was for her goddaughter to travel the four countries of the United Kingdom – one in each season of the year. Join Chloë on the adventure of a lifetime as she learns to celebrate the beauty of Britain and discover love, lust, life (and a man for each season).

Ah, another Freya North original.  I’m working my way through the whole back catalogue.  The early books have been re-released with updated artwork so I’m taking the opportunity to re-read.  Freya’s writing style is second to none, she has such a way of writing Chick Lit Romance without making it seem trashy or off putting.  Her humorous, witty attention to detail is refreshing – which is funny really seeing this book is about fifteen years old!  You always know what to expect with a Freya North novel.  Not in a bad way, you expect to be hooked from the first page, you expect to warm to the leading lady and falling in love when she does.  And most of all you expect to be transported to another life, which for me is why I read.  I enjoy the escapism, the questions it makes me ask about my own life as well as inspiration it provides.  Such an uplifting read, I always feel so empowered once I’ve finished 🙂

I’m rating this as a must read – more Freya North re-read reviews to come soon.  That new Rowling book has caught my eye.  I’m off to read it next.

Monday To Friday Man – Alice Peterson

 He proposed. She accepted. He changed his mind. She was heartbroken.

What do you do if you’re 34 and recovering from being jilted two weeks before your wedding day?

While friends are marrying, having children and moving to the depths of the countryside, Gilly Brown finds herself alone in London with just her little dog Ruskin for company. It’s time to move on, so, on a friend’s advice she looks for a lodger, a Monday to Friday one, and finds handsome television producer Jack Baker. Gilly falls for Jack’s charm and is transported into an exciting social whirlwind of parties, dining out and glamour.

When Jack is introduced to Gilly’s family and friends, it’s only the attractive and eccentric Guy, the newest recruit in the dog walking group, who isn’t quite so convinced about Jack’s intentions. As Guy watches them grow closer, his suspicions of Jack and his feelings for Gilly deepen. Is Jack so perfect after all… and what exactly does he get up to at the weekends?

 

I loved this book.  Its touchingly (is that a word?) written.  I was bawling my eyes out when Guy lights a candle for  Megan and the way that Alice has written in the storyline of Megan is so beautiful.  I couldn’t put this book down, and read it really quickly.  It touches so many subjects without getting heavy and is well described in that I could picture every scene and character.  Guy was definitely my favourite I could see exactly what he looked like and loved the hats!  And I was routing for him and Gilly (with a G) to get together.   I didn’t want it to end.

I’m rating this as a must read.  My next book is Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

The Love of My Life – Louise Douglass

‘I miss him with every breath and heartbeat. He should have been my happy ending. Instead, he is the sad beginning to my story.’

Olivia and Luca Felicone had known each other nearly all their lives, but when they fell in love as teenagers and eloped to London they broke the hearts of those closest to them. Luca’s parents run Marinella’s restaurant, the colourful hub of life in the otherwise bleak north-eastern seaside town of Watersford, and his mother, Angela, has never forgiven Olivia for causing such a rift in her beloved family.

On a freezing January night Olivia’s life is shattered when she learns that Luca has been killed in a car accident. She is left with nothing and, after suffering from weeks of overwhelming grief, she abandons her job and returns north to where Luca has been buried in Watersford.

Olivia’s chance meeting with Luca’s married twin brother, Marc, leads to the realization that he is experiencing a loss almost as painful as her own. Their desolation draws them into an affair which both know has no future, but fills the space where Luca should be. It is a course of action that can only spiral out of control, and when it does the consequences are both explosive and cruel.

The Love of My Life is a beautiful novel that portrays both the innocence of childhood, and the dynamics of love and loss with deftness and sensitivity. It is, above all, a stunning debut from an author with a unique and natural narrative voice

 

Such a moving story about a woman’s life; how she copes when her husband dies, and how her past affects her future.  This book is beautifully written moving from past the present seamlessly.  You can feel Liv’s pain, her desperation as she comes to terms with the loss of the love of her life.  She struggles against a family feud which you learn why in the story she tells.  There are funny bits, bits you can relate to – happy and sad.  Desperate to feel closer to Luca, she moves back to her home town where he’s buried but that isn’t enough.  She falls into an affair with Luca’s twin brother, to help her depression.  But it doesn’t help.  Liv manages to put some of her demons to rest, and comes to terms with the ones she can’t. 

This is quite a sad story, but without being too depressing it describes the grief of loosing a love one.  The author is such a good writer, it’s a sensitive subject but you don’t feel like your trespassing into someone’s grief or detached from the main character. 

I’m rating this as a must read.  My next book is Monday to Friday Man by Alice Peterson

The Horse Dancer – Jojo Moyes

 From the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award.

In a hidden corner of London, Henri Lachapelle is teaching his granddaughter and her horse to defy gravity, just as he had done in France, fifty years previously. But when disaster strikes, fourteen-year-old Sarah is left to fend for herself.

Forced to share a house with her charismatic ex-husband, her professional judgement called into question, lawyer Natasha Macauley’s life seems to have gone awry. When her path crosses that of Sarah, she sees a chance to put things right.

But she doesn’t know that Sarah is keeping a secret, one that will change all their lives forever . . .

Finally a book which correctly describes my feeling and bond I have with my horse.  I was lucky enough to have lessons with well known Classical Dressage instructor – and what JoJo has captured is so true and correct.  Her acknowledgements dedicate this book to Mecca Harris a real life Sarah who was tragically murdered.  I found the book so moving, and gripping.  I could relate to it totally, the sacrifices made to be able to have a horse, the rewards and partnership you can have when you get it right.  My story isn’t the same as Mecca or Sarah, but many of my weekends were spent helping out at my local riding school.  Unable to have a horse when I was a child, it was a dream that I focused on, something which got me through the bullying and challenges at school.  For me I was only able to have a horse when I could pay for it myself so, knowing I had to have a decent job to pay the livery, and basic care costs; I knuckled down at college but didn’t go to University.  I went straight into work at 18 and saved for a year so I could buy my first horse, who 7 years later I still have.  She means the world to me and has helped me live my dream.  Jojo has managed to describe this perfectly.  She’s evoked emotions and memories and also made me question how far I would go to ensure my horse was safe. 

Even if you’re not horsey I think you would still enjoy this book as it describes the way of life in such a way not to alienate readers. The book isn’t 100% horses it also follows a couple going through a divorse.  I think if you weren’t into horses that you would still find it a great read as it is so well written.

I really enjoyed this book so I’m rating it as a must read.

My next book is Second Time Around by Erin Kaye

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