26 March 2010

Book Review: The O'Hara Affair by Kate Thompson

Fleur O’Farrell thinks that she has a pretty great life. She’s got a little boutique in the sleepy Irish town of Lissamore that does very well, a wealthy boyfriend Corban who seems to dote on here, and wonderful friends in the Kinsella sisters Rio and Dervla. Dervla’s just enjoying her new marriage when suddenly her mother-in-law who suffers with dementia has to move in with them, and Dervla finds herself having to be her carer. She’s horrified at the things she has to do for the elderly lady, but gets on with it to please husband Christian.

Around them, the town of Lissamore has been transformed with the arrival of a movie set called The O’Hara Affair. Fleur’s boyfriend Corban has ploughed a lot of money into the project, and she’s happy because a lot of her friends have got jobs through it. But as the film progresses, dark secrets are revealed, and a young member of the cast finds herself in a situation she doesn’t know how to get out of. With everyone being taken in by the glitz and glamour of the film, have they lost sight of their own problems?

I came across Kate Thompson last year when I read her novel The Kinsella Sisters, and I adored it. I loved the writing style and how quickly I got into the characters, so when I heard Kate was writing a follow up to that book I was quite excited. The O’Hara Affair isn’t a sequel like you would usually expect – the main character focus has shifted on to a minor character from The Kinsella Sisters, and Rio, one of the major characters from the first book, hardly pops up at all in this book. Still, I was curious to read it and find out how good it would be so when I received a copy a few weeks ago, I started it straight away.

24 March 2010

Book Review: What's Yours Is Mine by Tess Stimson

Although they are sisters, Grace and Susannah have never really been close. Susannah was always sickly as a child and consequently had the constant attention of their mother much to Grace's chagrin. Grace, however, worked hard and was determined to make her father proud of her. She managed to do so, and is now happily married to Tom, and the pair have everything they could dream of. Everything, that is, except a baby.

Grace resents Susannah for the way she has treated her own 2 children, and the fact she's never been a proper mother to them. Susannah sees the opportunity to get the power back from her wealth and successful sister by giving her the one thing in the world that she wants - a baby. But as they say, you can choose your friends, not your family. What happens when the sisters start to clash again, will Susannah keep the balance of power in her favour or is Grace determined to trump her sister once and for all?

I came across Tess Stimson's work when I first read her superb book The Cradle Snatcher last year. I loved how edgy and dark it was compared to some other chick lit out there, so when I was offered a chance to get a copy of this, I jumped at it and eagerly sat to devour it one evening. The gorgeous pink and black cover is incredibly striking and would definitely make me want to pick a copy up off the shelf, and I think it looks a little different to other covers in the genre too. As with The Cradle Snatcher, some of the themes and ideas in this book are dark but they make for extremely gripping reading, and I just couldn't put it down once I'd started!

23 March 2010

Author Interview: Julia Llewellyn

The lovely Julia Llewellyn agreed to answer some of my questions to celebrate the release of her new book Love Nest. I really enjoyed the read and was really pleased to be able to ask Julia some questions I had about the book, and about her as well. I really appreciate Julia taking the time to answer my questions, and I hope you enjoy the interview!

1. Tell us about your latest book in a sentence.

Love Nest is about four groups of people in a housing chain, buying each other's properties, and the reasons behind their moving house.

2. Love Nest follows a group of people whose lives are intertwined in various ways. How long does it take to sit down and sort out how all these people are "related" to each other before you begin writing?

I'm actually very bad at sorting out anything before I start writing. I tend to just write and see where it takes me. I think I spent about a day with a pad of paper, scribbling down ideas for the characters I wanted to write about. I was intrigued in particular by the idea of an infertile woman wanting her sister to donate her an egg, as a friend of mine was undergoing egg donation. I also wanted to explore the character of a woman whose husband was recovering from cancer who found, contrary to popular belief, that suffering hadn't made their relationship stronger but had destroyed it.

17 March 2010

Book Review: Top Tips For Life by Kate Reardon

Top Tips for Life is a book compiled of tips taken from Toptips.com, a website created by author and journalist Kate Reardon to allow real women to share advice. The tips cover everything from raising toddlers and communicating with bolshy teenagers, to how to hula hoop properly and get rid of those awful burn marks on the bottom of your saucepan. If you've got a problem with your life, your home or your kids, then Top Tips might be the book for you.

12 March 2010

Book Review: Daughters of Fortune by Tara Hyland

The Melville sisters might have money but does it always lead to happiness? Eldest daughter Elizabeth is determined to succeed in her family's business, despite the fact her father and owner William Melville doesn't seem to be very supportive of her plans. Elizabeth isn't about to back down but is she one to work behind the scenes without the glory? Amber isn't blessed with the business brains of her sister, but has the looks to carry her through. Amber doesn't have any plans to work for the family company but she's decided that modelling is the career for her. She moves to LA without her family's blessing and meets up with some bad boys and gets into things she knows she shouldn't. Unfortunately for Amber, she doesn't know a way out.

Finally, illegimate daughter Caitlin is still coming to terms with the death of her beloved mother when she's sent to live with her father William and his family. Caitlin soon feels she doesn't belong in the opulent world of the Melville's and breaks free as soon as she can. She's determined to make her own way in the world without using her family name, but is she going to get the success and recognition she's always wanted? And what about the family too?

The gorgeous proof of Tara Hyland's debut novel Daughters of Fortune landed on my doorstep a few weeks ago, and I was really curious to see what it was going to be like. It sounded very much in the vein of Tilly and Louise Bagshawe, Lulu Taylor and Olivia Darling, all authors that I love so I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy this book. I adore the gorgeous blue cover, and think it will really make it stand out in bookshops simply because it looks so elegant and the blue is just divine. Tara also revealed the American cover on her website, and we featured it in a Cover Wars post a while back, but I definitely prefer the UK cover! Anyway, back to the review.

10 March 2010

Book Review: How To Be Married by Polly Williams

Sadie Drew thinks she's the world's worst wife. She doesn't keep her home spotless, she's a tad unorganised when it comes to paperwork and bills, and she's not exactly fond of her mother-in-law either. However, she loves being a mum and wife to her husband Tom, and everything seems just okay as it is.

That is until Tom gets a promotion at works and starts to change towards Sadie. Suddenly, he's not happy with the Sadie of old and wants his wife to change so she mixes in better with the other high-flying wives and makes him look good. Sadie's devastated, and desperately wants to make Tom fall in love with her all over again. A chance meeting with Enid at the park might just be the answer to all of Sadie's problems...

I've been a fan of Polly Williams' books since I read and loved her debut novel The Rise and Fall of A Yummy Mummy good few years ago now, and since then I've made sure to read every book she has written. Her last novel, A Good Girl Comes Undone was fab but it was a few years ago, so I've been waiting a while for this one. It was scheduled for release a long while ago, but Polly changed publishers to Headline, and finally How To Be Married has hit the shelves. The gorgeous turquoise blue cover is a new look for Polly's books, and I hope it wins her a new set of readers too.

4 March 2010

Book Review: Celebrity Shopper by Carmen Reid

Annie Valentine has hit the big time, and she's thrilled! Years of hard graft as a Personal Shopper at The Store have paid off, and now Annie fronts her own show about how to dress and it's a massive success. She loves doing working in fashion, but didn't bank on being quite so busy. Annie's boyfriend Ed is feeling slightly left out because Annie's left him at home holding the babies - literally - as well as Annie's older 2 children Lana and Owen. He's not keen on the house renovations Annie's planning either, never mind the fact she never seems to want to marry him. Will Annie's career continue to get in the way of her personal life, or is the fame and glory everything Annie has ever wanted?!

Carmen Reid's 'Personal Shopper' series have been a very popular set of books, and this is the 4th title in the list so far! The Personal Shopper, Late Night Shopping and How Not To Shop have all featured the fabulous character of Annie Valentine, and luckily for fans of her, Carmen has brought her back for another adventure! I've enjoyed each of the books so far with them getting better as they go alone so I had high hopes for this book. I was excited to get the gorgeous green hardback through my door the other day and quickly set about reading it!

1 March 2010

Book Review: Foursome by Jane Fallon

Rebecca and Daniel are happily married, and love their life together with their two children. They've known their best friends Alex and Isabel since they were at University and they've always done everything as a Foursome, from getting married to babies and even group holidays.

So when Alex leaves Isabel, it shatters their foursome once and for all and Rebecca isn't happy. It's made even more awkward when Alex makes a shocking confession to Rebecca, one of which might change the group dynamics forever. Suddenly, Alex appears with new girlfriend Lorna, who also happens to be Rebecca's enemy at work, and the two instantly clash. Is their foursome destined to be broken forever?

I adored Jane Fallon's debut novel Getting Rid of Matthew, and then went straight to the shops last year when her last book Got You Back was released, and I loved that too. I've been waiting for news of Jane's third book for ages, and so when it finally went up on Amazon I was so excited! I didn't like the first cover that was released so when the finished version seen above was shown to us, I thought it suited the book much better. When the book was delivered to my house a few weeks ago, I eagerly started to read it and devoured it in just a couple of days, it was fabulous!