24 January 2011

Book Review: A Valentine's Kiss by Lucie Hart

Imogen is feeling a bit trapped looking after her brothers and sisters at home in England, so when she is offered the chance to go and live in France and work as a trainee chef, she grabs it with both hands. She soon finds herself settling in in France, making brand new friends and enjoying life again. But when her American friend Bunny throws a lavish party and the guests all play Blind Man's Buff, Imogen gets kissed and she can't believe that it's the best kiss she's ever had. The only problem is that Imogen has no idea exactly which man kissed her. With the help of her friends, she's determined to find her mystery kisser, and sets out to eliminate the men she knows one by one. Which man is Imogen's mystery kisser, and has she found more than a dream career in France?

A Valentine's Kiss is author Lucie Hart's debut fiction novel, and certainly sets to be poised as the chick lit title for Valentine's Day this year. It's gorgeous purple cover and romantic title certainly pave the way for its target audience, and I was looking forward to a romantic and fun read. I have to say it looks like the sort of book I would seek out in a shop, but I couldn't help but feel once I had finished it that I was pleased it was over rather than being sad it was over, and it isn't often I feel like that about a book. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the book but I just found it hard-going at times and somewhat of a struggle, but the basis was there for a good story.

21 January 2011

Book Review: Friends, Lies and Alibis by Debby Holt

Alison and Leah were upset when their best friend Merrily disappeared at the height of their friendship when they were teenagers. They never heard a peep from Merrily until Alison makes a chance sighting on a train station and spots the woman that has been missing from their lives for many, many years. When they are finally reunited as a group, Leah and Alison are horrified to see the situation that their best friend has got herself into. Her husband treats Merrily like a second class citizen, and puts down his wife at every opportunity much to her friends horror. Alison and Leah are determined to help their friend escape from her self-inflicted prison, but is it really what Merrily wants, or what her friends want for her? And will Alison and Leah realise that they aren't exactly leading the perfect lives themselves and should start fixing their own before trying to interfere in others...

I have read a few of Debby Holt's books in the past and really enjoyed them, so when I received a review copy of her latest book Friends, Lies and Alibis from the publishers to review, I was quite eager to do so, hoping it would be as good as her previous books that I have enjoyed. I really like the covers of Debby's books and this one is no exception, the bright pink writing contrasts well with the white and blue imaging on it, and I think it's quite nice looking! Overall, I was definitely looking forward to this one and luckily for me, it didn't disappoint!

19 January 2011

Book Review: Postcards From The Heart by Ella Griffin

Saffy finally feels like everything in her life is going right for her. She's got a great job that she loves, a beautiful expensive apartment, best friends and she is sure her boyfriend Greg Gleeson is going to propose to her at last! Greg, however, seems a bit more focused on his television career and cracking Hollywood than he is settling down anytime soon but he doesn't want to tell Saffy that. Their best friends Conor and Jess have it pretty good too. Jess doesn't ever want to get married but is happy in her relationship with Conor and their twins, and despite the fact Conor would love nothing more than to make Jess his wife, he's happy just being with her and trying to write his book. But there are secrets all around that are threatening to ruin everything the four friends have ever worked for - will the truth make or break these friendships and relationships once and for all?

This is Irish author Ella Griffin's debut novel, and a very good one it is too! I was impressed when I received the book because there on the front cover was a quote from Marian Keyes saying what a good author Griffin is, so that's a pretty good recommendation to go by, especially for a debut author! I have to say I really don't like the cover - it is quite bland and dull, and certainly doesn't stand out against some of the other books I have received lately which is a shame, but as the age old adage goes... never judge a book by its cover and I am glad I didn't on this case. Inside is a really good debut novel and it certainly makes me keen to read more from Griffin, a new promising voice in Irish chick-lit!

14 January 2011

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Lulu Taylor

Octavia and Flora Beaufort were born into an enormous fortune, but until now have had no idea exactly what they are worth. They have been hidden away at home by their aunt until their release into society on the 21st birthday, much to Octavia's delight and Flora's sorrow. Octavia loves the attention from the rich men and women she is now partying with, but her twin Flora struggles with the enforced focus on the girls and begins to shrink back into herself. The girls buy a house in London and start going about their lives - Octavia with a group of fashion obsessed models and designers who love living life to the full and spending money, and Flora with her tall, dark and handsome stranger who she quickly falls deeply in love with. However, the girls don't see what is coming... heartbreak, sorrow and a danger that they just don't see coming. They're in too deep and don't know how to get out again.. what will happen to the Beaufort twins now they are all alone?

This is the third book Lulu Taylor has released, and the third that I have read, so I was really looking forward to reading this. I was surprised when it arrived in the post because at nearly 700 pages, it was an enormous book  but with a gorgeous striking red cover that really drew my attention to the book. Taylor is known for her glamorous stories set in high society, a world which most of us will never be able to immerse ourselves in, so it really is escapist literature that I enjoy very much. Even though the book was really long, I found that it flew by because it was so enjoyable, and by the end I was disappointed that it was all over!

10 January 2011

Book Review: New York Valentine by Carmen Reid

Annie Valentine is back, and this time things are feeling a bit different for our favourite fictional fashionista! Annie thought her TV show "How Not To Shop" was going well, but when it's suddenly dumped by the channel without warning, Annie feels like she is up the creek without a paddle. When her business partner Svetlana comes calling with a problem with the "Perfect Dress" business, Annie knows she has to do what she can to help out. However, she also knows this means that she has to leave her lovely husband Ed and twin babies at home while she jets across the world to New York City with teenage daughter Lana in tow. Can Annie bring herself to leave her young family, and be miles away from them, all the while enjoying the shopping capital of the world?

Amazingly, this is the fifth book in the "Annie Valentine" series by author Carmen Reid, and I still look forward to the release of a new Annie adventure each year. I wasn't overly keen on the first in the series, The Personal Shopper, but I feel the books have got better as the series has progressed and now they are certainly ones to look out for on my releases calendar. The fifth outing sees Annie Valentine, a superb chick-lit character who a lot of women will be able to relate to, jet across to the other side of the world New York. I've been lucky enough to visit there twice, and so it was great to read about one of my favourite cities in the world again!

5 January 2011

Book Review: The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean

Dora is stuck at University, she's in love with a man that doesn't realise she fawns over him and she doesn't like dressing for anything except comfort, much to the annoyance of her grandmother Mimi. Mimi owns a vintage fashion store back where Dora grew up with her, and she hates the fact her grand-daughter won't wear any of her beautiful dresses. When Mimi suddenly becomes seriously ill, Dora is forced to return home and look after the shop, which brings back lots of her own memories. Together with Maux and Gabby, the three women rally around to look after Mimi and her shop, as well as trying to sort out their own lives. Is Dora going to realise her heart really lies in vintage clothing, and that there are men out there who are interested in her? And is she ever going to find out what the "secret lives" are that keep appearing within the vintage dresses she is starting to fall in love with?

I was sent this book to review by the publishers as an ARC and the pink and black cover really struck me straight away, it made me want to pick up the book and read it because it was so pretty! When I received a finalised copy, the swirls and book title were all gold foiled and made the book look even more gorgeous, I certainly think this is one of the prettiest covers I have seen in a long time! The book is by author Erin McKean, and this is her debut fiction novel based loosely on her website www.dressaday.com, something Erin runs herself. I do sometimes struggle with books written by American authors, but I was instantly consumed by this one, and it was certainly a great start to my 2011 reading list!