25/08/2015

Summer Book Review: All Together Now by Gill Hornby

My Synopsis. 
Imagine This: You live in a small town and have single-handedly raised your child. You are now in your forties and happy to live with your son who won't move out already—something you are pleased with.

Your new identity in this new town is to stay away from all sense of community, stay at home all day when you have no work and do rock and roll marathons with your son yelling at the top of your lungs. 

One evening, after your son has finally decided to go get a job—which wouldn't last, you know him—you are singing to a soulful rhythm till you hear the doorbell ring.

A novelty. No one has ever rang your doorbell. 

It's a man from the community choir, calling on you to come join. 

Reluctantly, you attend. And here are three things you note about Bridgeford Community Choir:

1. The only singing done is hardly harmonious. More of a group of people butchering songs from Sound of Music.

2. No one in the town cares about the choir.

3. No one in the choir cares about the choir.

You do not care too, really. Till you perform a soulful Abba and everyone's straining to hear more. Soon, all these choir members with their personal dilemmas are crowding into your doorway, convincing your son to leave you for Africa and "training" for a championship they've set their eyes on ever since.

A championship you know they won't win. But everyone needs a little Hope these days. The community needs it. The choir needs it. Apparently, you need it too...

And singing your lungs out, hearts out, your secrets out, your drama out, your past out, might just be the only way to reignite this Hope for the future.  
Tracey Beckford—who isn't Tracey Beckford at all—'s life summed up for your delight.


My REVIEW
I loved, loved this book! So you know in my review I'd be butchering all your fave songs in your ear to go get this book!

The storyline is fantastic! You have never read a book about a community choir this amazing, this inspiring! So Woman with hidden secrets as well as an amazing talent decides to take the community choir under her wing and whip it into something that's close enough to be a choir, at least! Meanwhile, property developers are about ruining their small town and together, with one voice—which no one in the community seems to have at all—they must prevent this.──★ 

Secondly, you'd love the main characters! It's not every author who can pull a multiple character read of both genders and still gain my attention. (Well, some try!) This book's main characters are true, real and engaging! Meet Tracey Leckford, in her forties battling with losing her only son. There's also Annie already approaching sixties too involved with her community to put away the emptiness she feels when her daughters and now her husband have moved on to another life. There's Bennett, jobless, divorced man, who's family gets off making jokes at his expense, who also lacks the enthusiasm for life. A star!──★★

Other characters are also great! My favorites, Lynn and Pat, the two oldies who are always giving of snarky asides to each other about members in the choir. There's Judith, who goes on and on about her boyfriend who everyone believes is imaginary. There's Lewis, whose democratic values lie out of deciding which song the choir should sing—so no democracy then. There's Jazzy, she fancies herself as a soloist but cannot concentrate on her singing because of her junky mother who keeps coming and leaving. Trust me, lots of well-developed minor characters you can't get enough of! A star!──★★★

This book is a laugh-out-loud read! You see this term being used all over on books but no, none are not even (close). But this book would make you laugh till strangers cast weird looks your way and wonder if they are safe around you. (Give reading at public places a go!)──★★★★

My rating is a five out of five stars!──★★★★★

Gill Hornby's All Together Now which I'd never forgive myself for reading too late in the year is available on Amazon

I recommend this book to anyone who loves something kicking, and exciting and inspirational to conclude all your summer reading! Anyone who wants a title with likable and relatable and real characters should go grab this! If you have a voice that sucks (—not very much like mine), there's no stopping you from singing at the top of your lungs even if everyone around you wants to jump in front of a moving car than have to deal with your slow torture, because, this book teaches no matter what voice you have, you shouldn't put off singing (a little). Hope is the thing with singing. 😀


My work not done here. Off to post my review on Amazon and Goodreads





19/08/2015

Summer Book Review: The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish




My Synopsis 
Imagine This: You just threw in all your savings, borrowed from your parents and purchased a monstrous house going at a surprisingly low rate on Lime Park Road, the neighborhood every family wants to move into.

But you are not exactly living the suburbia dream. None of your neighbours have come out to introduce themselves. And the ones far off your property aren't exactly warming up to you because they have no idea why you look down on them for giving up a chance at a possible career to be a stay-at-home(—you really hadn't intended to do this, there are really only a few ways to hide shock.)

Apparently, the old residents of your house upped and left after less than a year of moving in. Everyone loved them. Hence, perhaps, no one can take a liking to you and your husband for taking their place?

Far from your assumptions, this neighborhood is keeping a secret. A secret about the reason the old neighbours suddenly moved. And though your husband tells you to use your free time for something useful, you can't help but watch behind a curtain, as the mystery unravels.

Soon, you'd be dealing with threats from a bad-tempered neighbour next door, the mysterious story of the woman whose place you live in, whose leftover jewelry you wear around, who in the course of a few months made Lime Park Road the neighbourhood no one wants to remain in.

Christy Davenport's life summed up for your delight.

My Review.
I adored this book so much you know in my review I'd be telling you to ditch every summer book you are reading this year and get into the Lime Park Road mystery.

I very much loved the storyline! I read the blurb of this book and gasped! It was so Desperate Housewives, I thought (a series I'm praying ABC would do a remake of). Imagine Wisteria Lane gone quiet (you'd have to kill Libby), everyone is keeping a secret about the old residents' home which was the entertainment center of the neighbourhood, and no one is talking to the newbies because they want to give nothing away. A star!──★

The book begins with an undercurrent of mystery that made me position myself at the edge of my seat right from the start. Why did the Frasers leave? you'd ask yourself. And why's everyone being so distant to the newbies? Why are there no signs of life in the neighborhood? A star!──★★

I loved the main characters. The story is told in two point-of-views. There's Amber Fraser, the previous resident of number 40, who wins you over with her first-person narration that has so much character adding a layer of complexity to the already complex, mysterious character she is. You'd also love Christy Davenport, the new resident of number 40, who's account is told in third-person and reveals a woman dull in contrast to her predecessor who wants to find answers to the puzzling questions about the neighborhood and the old residents. A star!──★★★

Other characters in this title add to its perfection. There's Rob, the surly neighbour in Christy's account and the enigmatic heart-throb in Amber's account. There's Caroline, the Mummy Bee in charge of running the lives of the neighbourhood wives. There's Felicity, the senior citizen who reminds me a lot of Mrs. McCluskey but a lot less nosy and very suspicious of Amber Fraser's flawlessness. There's Joe, Christy's husband who has a job that wears him out and is vaguely intrigued by his wife's stories as neighborhood spy (—though not for long). Jeremy Fraser, Amber's husband who's so rich, loving and caring to a fault! A star──★★★★

I would always love this book because it rekindled a missing-Desperate-Housewives emotion I was trying to put off with Pretty Little Liars (another horrible neighborhood drama). A star!──★★★★★

Oh, I adored how it ended! The whole mystery unravelling with time at an unenviable pace. An end, which has too much sequel-ability, I would be ecstatic if, Candlish began the Lime Park Road series. ──★★★★★

My rating: 5/5 stars. 

Louise Candlish's amazing The Sudden Departure of the Frasers is available on Amazon

I recommend this book to anyone who loves Domestic Thrillers! Anyone who wants a book that would get them reading into the soft hours even if they have so much commitment the following Day. Anyone who loved Desperate Housewives and the shenanigans of the people of Wisteria Lane like I did, should go grab this! A fab summer read you could easily juggle around your daily routine, putting your legs up for more excitement anytime you deem to resume.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on goodreads and Amazon 

14/08/2015

Blog Tour + Review: Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes by Jules Moulin






My Synopsis 

Imagine This: You are a mother pushing through forties. Your only daughter is twenty. And here's a secret you do not tell anyone:

You do not have sex all times, any time.
But ten years ago, something remarkable happened in your life. One of your students in your Fem Economics class, stepped too far with you. He's young, you are older. He was leaving college the next day. But somehow you two managed to have sex—make-love all over your appartment. So many times.

Ten years later, he's back into your life. He needs your help. He might be still in love with you. You might enjoy more of him than you want to. But he brings your daughter home for dinner...

And that's when your life implodes: your daughter needs a nose job. She's getting it no matter how much you tell her she's perfect. And she's getting into porn to prove that she can make it (her nose) in life without your help.

Ally Hughes' life summarized for your delight.



My Review  

I liked this book.

Storyline is amazing. A feminist professor with her daughter and her lover go through lots of shenanigans to prove sex represents power for all females, and support the neo-feminist stand but agree that women need men for a whole lot of things: sweeping them off their feet, giving them some good loving. It trashes the porn industry and Hollywood/society for the image they confine on all women. A star to the storyline!.──★

It's fun when you pick up a chick-lit title which is a staunch-educator on women affairs. It crosses the thin line between commercial and literary fiction and appeals to audience of both genres. A star..──★★

The characters are great. Ally Hughes, the main character represents all (middle-aged) women who believe celibacy is underrated, but sometimes getting a break and having sex is also good. There's Lizzie, the daughter who's deeper than she likes to portray with a pool of knowledge on women affairs (post-feminism) she picked up from her mum. There's Noah, the actor who has a thing for older women and has never forgotten Ally since he sat in the back row of all her classes, listening attentively. There's also Anna, the super-funny friend of Ally who I loved (more than the lead). There's the super-fishy Fishman and Ted who run a porn business. A star..──★★★

Humor in this title is also a plus. And the SEX!.──★★★★

I liked this book. But I wish I could have loved, loved it. I wanted more. More suspense, more plot twists, less predictability. 

My rating: Four/Five stars.

Jules Moulin's debut available on amazon 

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a funny chick-lit title that also touches on issues that affect women. Anyone who wants something romantic (—because it is very) to cosy up to this summer.


My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads as well as Amazon



10/08/2015

Summer Book Review: Double Mint (Davis Way Crime Caper #4) by Gretchen Archer




My Synopsis 

Double Mint (#4) takes reins from Double Strike (#3) to tell the story of Davis Way’s mysterious/romantic/hilarious/ undercover life.

If you were Davis Way, here are a few pointers to begin with your (very chaotic) life:

1. You are on the security force of a
casino, sort of a spy on the team.

2. You are not easily ruffled by theft, murder, shooting because that’s what you headbutt on a daily basis.

3. You are the spitting image of your boss’ wife (if you coat an additional heavy layer of foundation, pull on some contacts and spray-dye your hair) and that—unfortunately—makes her your boss too.

4.  Your relationship with your newly-wedded husband is sheer bliss...  if only you could move out from the haunted house causing a few disagreements between you two.

So now that we are settled on your character, let's brief you on your mission for this instalment. One, it's summer get some rest while you can. Two, while you are getting that rest, find out why the casino's Special Events Coordinator has quit her job and is nowhere to be found. Three—you are still supposed to be resting—take on the role as the hotel's Special Events Coordinator organising weddings with guests who can't see eye to eye and have different bands for the different set of families. Four, find out why platinum from the casino's vault has been stolen. While at that, you just stumbled on some incriminating evidence in you and your husband's new home that might lead you both to jail--get rid of it. Last but not least, break it to your boss' wife that she has menopause... and try surviving after that.


My Review. 

I loved this book! You cannot go through summer without a Women Sleuths novel. In this review I'd be like a magazine recommending you go get this book to prevent excessive summer boredom (and accelerate your aging process by acquiring a few laughter lines!).──★

Gretchen Archer doesn't disappoint with another amazing storyline in her Davis Way Crime Caper series. So there's evidence of minting fake platinum coins in your favourite casino/hotel and Davis Way has to get to the bottom of this before she finds herself and a lot others behind bars, and though no one believes her prime suspect for the crime—an old woman who is known to have poor sight (really, there must be an accomplice who has good enough eyes to mint coins)—she has to find a way to convince everyone they are really on to a devious woman who knows (or sees) more than she's letting on. A star!──★★

It's not hard to love Davis Way, really. Besides being funny, and dead-good with a gun, she's your relatable lead who's not sure her maternal instincts has kicked in yet and can even take care of a cat! The Same Davis I fell in love with starting this series, the same Davis I continue to love with every instalment. A star!──★★★

One thing you'd love about series novels is to get to see old characters you got smitten with since instalment one. Bradley, the amazing fiance now turned husband now turned boss who would love it if Davis Way makes dinner more than she makes trouble. You'd love Bianca, the boss's wife who is always getting under the knife as much as she gets under Davis' skin. Fantasy, the partner who always has her shit together, her husband's and children's ... although not anymore. Eddie, Davis' ex-ex-husband who is annoying and the man no woman wants to get married to—twice! This series saw new characters such as Magnolia, the sneaky old lady with presumed poor sight who constantly busts into Davis' old home—which was her previous home—and leaves behind a trail of heavy perfume. And a cat that's so irritating readers would wonder why they love cats anyway (—not me. Hate them).──★★★★

Lots of humor in this title (although not as much as the previous instalments)! Lots of suspense and twists and so many unexpected moments. The ending has massive OMG moments that would make you gasp.──★★★★★

Another five-star read from Gretchen Archer. I'm waiting for the day when I'll fall out of love with Davis Way, but this day isn't happening so I'm giving up.

The only thing I hated about this novel should be, blink and you'd miss something. So fast-paced if you do not keep up you'd easily be Left behind. I worried for my avid-reader friend who blinks a lot and can't help it. This book was not made for Blepharospasm.

Gretchen Archer's Double Mint is available on amazon. If you want to buy the whole series—I recommend this, click here.

I recommend this for anyone who wants a Women Sleuth title this summer. If you want something gasp-out-loud funny, just get this book. No one wants to sit on the edge of their sun lounger, but if you want to, I recommend this!

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Amazon and Goodreads.


Book Review: Being Sarah Chilton by Ruth Briddon




Book Description: At long last Sarah Chilton has finally bagged her perfect man; she can see the perfect house with the white picket fence and room for a pony coming into view and even hear the distant chime of wedding bells and the pitter patter of tiny feet. It s all going to be so wonderful well, not quite Follow the often hilarious trials and tribulations of one, ever so ordinary, Mum who is left literally holding the newborn baby, whilst trying to keep her job, home and sanity. Battling with what feels like half the cast of a Harry Potter movie, plotting her revenge against Voldermort and tackling the institutions and stigma of single motherhood all take their toll,
Will it be the wine, Classic FM, TV or Prozac to the rescue?

My Review 

I liked this book.

The storyline is lovely. Mum realizes giving birth and raising a child is not as sunny as the media portrays it. And even more crappy when you are a single-mum and do not have your shit together and your child well-toilet-trained. A star!── ★ 

You'd love Sarah Chilton. Dreamy from the beginning of the novel, but isn't everyone when they are about to marry the person they think is 'the one'. She transforms into a character with a stronger voice after the birth of her first child. All mums, soon-to-be mums would relate to her. She gives critical advice post-pregnancy for mums and attacks her shitty life with humor and the little achievements of her son—his first steps, his first solid food, his first words—as life goes on. A star to her.── ★★ 

It's nice when a chicklit book is able to attack problems women all over the world face. Ruth E. Briddon teaches, sometimes though you'd prefer being confined in a cell where you could get a few hours to yourself than being with your screaming, yelling child, there's no joy than watching your child grow.── ★★★

I liked this book. But I really, really wished I could have loved it. It was on a normal pace for most of the book. I wished there were more surprise moments as there was lots to laugh at.── ★★★★ 

So my rating: Four out of five stars. 

Ruth E. Briddon's being Sarah Chilton is available on amazon.

I recommend this book to anyone who's a mum or not. Anyone who wants a guide to tackling real problems of (single) motherhood. And anyone who wants a title so true and so funny to laugh and relate to.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads as well as amazon

04/08/2015

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW: The Milliner's Secret by Natalie Meg Evans






My Synopsis
Imagine This: It’s 1940s in Paris. You make hats for a living. But your dad is beating the life out of you and taking back all your hard-earned money. How’s that living?

A Londoner, you always imagine yourself living your dream in Paris. You’d escape your dad’s fists. You’d ran to Paris and begin a whole new life out there. Paris, the city of lights with many possibilities.

Except you had no idea how dark your future would turn if you make it into Paris. A one-chance opportunity presents itself, and before you know it, you are waking up in bed in the arms of a married man. In the City of Love, you become a mistress. Ahh, bliss.

Then the Germans invade, sending your life into turmoil. They’d kill any Jew, any Gypsy and definitely any Englishwoman masquerading as French with a new identity. The secret of your nationality, you’d die to keep. Because if you reveal it, you’d die anyway.

But whoever said, this secret is your biggest problem? Soon, you’d have to face devious fashion-rivals, Gestapo, a scorned lover fighting for the enemy, helping friends escape brutality and lots of danger in a city dominated and run by die-hard Nazis. When all this is accomplished, your life, if you ever have one, would never be the same again.

Coralie de Lirac/Cora Masson’s treacherous life summed for your delight.


MY REVIEW 
I loved this book! So in my review, you’d know I’d be yelling at you to go buy the hell out of it along with lots of vintage hats!

Yet again, Natalie Meg Evans wows with a wild storyline set in '40s Paris—a time of war, resistance, and love if you ever have the time! Stunning! I’m fiercely very scared for debut authors releasing a sophomore title. A sophomore title which might not outrun or even match the success of their debut novel. This storyline is a winner, carving out an image for Natalie Meg Evans as a historical romance author who breaks (fashion) boundaries, destroys enemies and neatly weaves romantic plots in Paris during the second world war! I fear no more for Natalie Meg Evans' inevitable success. A star.── ★

I loved the lead! SO, SO much! Very ballsy, very daring, the kind of historical heroine that would grab you right from the start! You’d love Coralie, for the tough decisions she has to make to save herself, her little daughter, and her friends. Her struggle to make it in Paris is so engaging. Then when she finally makes it, her struggle to keep all she has from falling apart would reel you in further. A star!── ★★

Other characters are amazing! You’d love Una Kiplin, the American fast-talking, fashionista who has lots of lovers falling at her feet. You’d love Dietrich, the German-lover who would stop at nothing to protect our lead (then make love to her). You’d also adore, Ramon, our lead’s husband, who’s quite the charmer, given he’s an anarchist (are those types charming at all?). You’d also fall in love with Teddy, the flamboyant art dealer who takes a liking to our lead. Lots and lots of characters in this book you would adore. Even the ones, you’d have to hate—Serge Martel, the shady club-owner who loves to bite off ears in the throes of love-making; Lorrienne, the scorned milliner who would do anything to destroy our lead’s business; Hiltrud, the wife of Dietrich, who would take a journey of vengeance that would leave readers gasping. A star!── ★★★

There’s something about this book I cannot help but bring up. The dialogue! It’s sharp, fast, and very… different. I didn’t really realize that was one of the engaging features of Nat Meg Evans’ writings till I remembered her debut. The Dialogue embodies the beauty of the age Nat Meg Evans writes about—an age of fine sarcasm, an age of witty comebacks and innuendoes stronger than a fist. A star!── ★★★★

There’s suspense that would keep you holding this book. I can vouch that you’d only drop this book only to go get yourself a hat… after you are done reading. There’s also humour to keep you chuckling. A star.── ★★★★★

Very few writers do this: make you forget how excellent their previous title—which was also their debut—was after reading their latest! If you have read The Dress Thief (—if you haven’t, I highly recommend it!), after reading this, you'd be thinking: Debut? What debut?

My rating: Five/five stars!

The Milliner’s Secret is available on amazon.

I recommend this to anyone who wants something historical to get cosy with this summer. Anyone who’s been a fan of Hitler-themed novels should grab this off the shelves. If you also love couture in Paris in the forties, this book is for you. Most importantly, if you want a book with an amazing plot, an engaging heroine, do not hesitate to get this. This is not your average historical romance with leads worrying about how tight their corsets are fancying and not-quite-fancying rogues and knights—if you would pick this title expecting a standard historical read you'd be disappointed! This, is one of the many reasons I love Nat Meg Evans!

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads as well as amazon.

03/08/2015

Summer Book Review: Summer at Tiffany's by Karen Swan







My Synopsis
Imagine This: You are almost-married. You have the most-adorable boyfriend in the world. Except, no matter how many times your friends, family are persisting you set a date, you are not ready to get married yet.

You were once married. So even though you love your boyfriend with all your heart, you are not sure you want to risk your freedom for an institution that doesn’t favour the woman.


Meanwhile, your boyfriend’s cousin is getting married in her early twenties. The same age you were before you got married. Would she make a mistake similar to yours? Would she consider her love eternal and ignore the signs of a cheating husband—or more to her situation—a surfer boyfriend who’s sticking with her because he smells an inheritance?


Your best friend, who’s also your boyfriend’s sister, wants you to destroy this marriage. This wedding cannot happen. In your attempts to put sense into the cousin’s head, and prevent her from making your mistakes, you find yourself believing every argument you rake up to put her against marriage. Woah. You had no idea how much you wouldn’t be willing to marry your boyfriend now.


Except your boyfriend has noticed your insecurities, and eavesdropped on all your arguments with his cousin marriage.


And soon he’s giving you an ultimatum: You have three months to set a date for the wedding. Simply saying ‘yes’ isn’t enough. He wants ‘I do’ soon.


This summer you’d find yourself entangled in your friends’ problems, risking falling back into the arms of your ex, and wondering if you are willing to let your freedom go for the love of your life... or keeping your freedom intact and being with Mr. Right. 


Cassie's life summed up for your delight.

MY REVIEW

I loved this book! 

I have never read Christmas at Tiffany’s! But this is my third title from Karen Swan, and as with every author I love, I jump into their latest without reading the blurb. So you could tell my surprise when I found out there was already a prequel. Suddenly, I was worried, I wouldn’t like this book very much. What with a storyline continued from where a previous title left off?

Except, I really, very much loved it because of its ability to adapt as a standalone novel! Summer, commitment issues, wrecking weddings, heart attacks, English summer adventures—a star to the storyline!── ★

You’d love its lead, really. Cassie is amazing, rhymes with Carrie and could also be likened to the iconic lead character of Sex and The City. She’s very girl-next-door, very contemplative when it comes to relationships—she offers lots of insight here. You’d love her for her populated life with exotic friends, extravagant parties and the tendency for drama to follow her everywhere she goes—much like Carrie Bradshaw! A star.── ★★

There are other characters you'd also love. There's Suze and Arch—our lead's boyfriend's sister and her husband, they are my favorite couple in the book! You'd love Suze for her tendency to be overprotective of her husband, and her deprecating wisecracks against him. You'd also love Arch for his tendency to rebel against his wife's orders... when she's out of earshot. There's Kelly, the elegant all-black New Yorker friend hiding news about her pregnancy. There's also Anouk, the hard-hearted Parisian friend who'd kill our lead if she steps out not looking perfect enough. Luke, is the ex boyfriend who seems to have moved-on and causing our lead headaches. Theres's Gem, the cousin who's all about giving yoga lessons for the troubled when she isn't exactly Zen with a Capital 'Z' as she claims. Lovely characters.── ★★★  

Humor is a feature in this title you'd love, and one thing I've noticed about Swan's summer-novels... some ridiculous, audacious summer adventures! Ooh, there's also the appearance of Cold Play. And DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA—without being irritating—that's engaging!── ★★★★

Does reading two of Karen's novels (before this) give me the right to spot a trend to her writing? Unlike her previous releases, there was no brow-lifting mystery in this title. I was a bit disappointed. There was mystery all right, but it would have been nice to have some mystery not entangled with the romantic plot (as with her previous titles).

So my rating: 4.5/5 stars.

Karen Swan's latest is available on amazon.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves a summer-title laden with lots of girl-fun! Anyone who wants a romantic title that isn't  irritatingly-harlequin-styled (because that's the reason we all quit Harlequin Romance!) should go for this. Also if you loved Christmas at Tiffany's, then I'm very much sure this would be a winner to you too (because who doesn't love a reappearance of characters they adored!)

My work not done here. Off to put up my review on Amazon and Goodreads