Friday, 26 June 2015

Dream A Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher

Sarah is doing just fine...

Sure, she's been single for the last two years, and has to spend an uncomfortable amount of time around her ex boyfriend, his perfect new girlfriend and all their mutual friends. And yes, her job as a PA to one of the most disgusting men in London is mind-numbingly tedious and her career is a constant disappointment to her mother. But it's really okay. She's happy(ish). 

So it's not surprising that when Sarah starts dreaming about a handsome stranger, she begins to look forward to falling asleep every night. Reality isn't nearly as exciting. That is until her dream - stranger makes an unexpected real life appearance, leaving Sarah questioning everything she thought she wanted.

Because no one ever really finds the person of their dreams.... Do they?

*Contains Spoilers*
You know those books where you reach the end and sigh, a happy sigh, a great big ahhhh kind of sigh? And even though you half know the outcome will be a happy one you still have that ahhhh moment?
Well that's exactly what happened when I reached the end of this third novel by the gorgeous Giovanna Fletcher.

I'd read, and loved, the previous two novels from Giovanna, Billy and Me & Your The One That I Want plus her novella, Christmas With Billy & Me, albeit not in the correct orders, and so couldn't get wait to get my hands on Dream A Little Dream when it was released last week.

Sarah is the main character and the story is told through her. She's in a boring job as a PA to a slimball of a boss and has been single for two years since the love of her life, Dan, dumped her for Perfect Lexie. The only catch is that her and Dan met at university, her friends are his friends, his friends are hers, in fact their closest buddies still get together for a weekly pub quiz.... And that's not awkward at all is it?!! 

The book starts with Sarah having a very imaginative and vivid dream which features Brett, a blast from her uni past. These dreams occur more and more and eventually Sarah can't wait to go to bed to shack up with "Dream Brett".

As Sarah plods along in her boring job, she over hears the office gossips and decides to take action on moving her career forward asking her boss if there's chance of a promotion. Sadly she's beaten to the post and as the new guy starts, Sarah's dream life becomes real. You guessed it, Mr I've Got Your Job is none other that Dream Brett. 

As the story unfolds we see copious amounts of flirting between Sarah and Real Brett at the same time  as Sarah has to deal with an announcement from Dan and Perfect Lexie, and support her life long friend come flat mate, Carly... Or Cheeky Cow Carly as I've come to known her as, through an emotional heart breaking time.

The characters in the book are totally relatable which is one of the things I love about Giovanna's writing style. Sarah is the friend everyone wants... Down to earth, funny, caring to name a few, and her relationships with the other characters are just genuinely the real deal... I could picture the group having their Wednesday night quizzes and credit to Mrs Fletcher, I felt like I was there and joining in with the groups banter whilst I was laughing out loud.

Dream A Little Dream is a complete page turner, although I decided not to speed read through as I wanted to enjoy the book and characters... If you've read the other books Giovanna has written, which are amazing and I recommend you to source them if you've not, then I think you will notice a great improvement in Giovanna's writing, Dream really show cased her imaginative style so much more as there was not only the main feature of Sarah's life but also the dreams Gi created to keep the book going are, at times, completely out there with their crazy and randomness along with the odd celebrity name drop... Particularly a certain Billy Buskin! If your a Paige Toon fan you are sure to love the small name cameo Giovanna has created, much like Toon does in her books.

I brought my copy of Dream A Little Dream from Waterstones and therefore included a short story at the back. I won't spoil this too much but I will say that it is from the view of a character in the main book, and if Giovanna wanted too, she could not only take Sarah and Dream/Real Brett's stories further, I for one would love to know how they progress, but I really think she could be on to something with the short story developing into a full story, if not with this character but maybe Dan and/or Perfect Lexie... Now that would be interesting!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Just A Girl Standing In Front Of A Boy by Lucy-Anne Holmes

The review for Just A Girl Standing In Front Of A Boy is brought to you by Guest Reviewer Katrina.

My love story may not be the sort you read about in books or see in films . . . Love stories have glorious highs and ghastly lows. But when it comes to my own life, I'd have to say, you can keep your fabulous highs and I'll happily steer clear of the terrible lows.' 

After a rocky start in life, Jenny Taylor, 27, star receptionist at the local doctors surgery, has things all worked out thanks to 'The Smiling Fanny Manifesto' - a list of 10 daily things she must do to keep the blues at bay. But her life is turned upside down when she meets aspiring musician Joe King. And reliable boyfriend Matt proposes. And then her mum leaves her dad and moves into Jenny's flat determined to 'bond'. 

I happened to stumble across 'Just A Girl Standing In Front Of A Boy' by Lucy-Anne Holmes as I was scrolling my Twitter feed. A girl I follow had written a review about it for her blog and I immediately went to buy a copy from Amazon.

Honestly, I've never felt so attached to a book and it's characters, I genuinely could not put the book down. From the first page it was impossible to stop cackling with laughter!

The book's protagonist, Jenny Taylor (otherwise known as Fanny, I'll let you read the book for the explanation) is magnificent and I really rooted for her from the start. Having suffered from depression, she now lives by a happiness manifesto written by her best friend Philippa.

Jenny is quite content with her life, she loves her receptionist job at the doctor's surgery and her boyfriend Matt has just proposed. That is until her mother lands on her doorstep, having left her husband and in the middle of what seems like a midlife crisis. Throw in the introduction of rock god pharmacist Joe King for good measure and Jenny's life is suddenly exceptionally chaotic.

The characters are very well written by Lucy-Anne, with Joe King being a particular favourite of mine. That's a slight understatement actually, for the first time ever I have fallen in love with a literary character! I'm still at a loss as to where I can find my own Joe King?! He is the ideal man, a far cry from Jenny's fiancé Matt. He almost seems too good to be true but I guarantee that you will be cheering for a happy ending for Jenny and Joe.

There are many twists and turns during the book, some of which I definitely did not expect. Whilst the book made me laugh hysterically throughout, it also pulled on my heart strings several times, especially towards the end. I thought I could foresee the ending but I really couldn't - I don't want to spoil it for anyone but it's a tearjerker! 

I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves humour and romance in abundance. I desperately need to get my hands on Lucy's other books - she's a fantastic talent and I'm sure the rest of her work will captivate me just as much as this book did. To be honest, my review doesn't do this book the justice it deserves - go out and grab a copy and see for yourself the wonder of Jenny Taylor's world, as written so fantastically by Lucy-Anne Holmes! 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Wedding Tiers by Trisha Ashley

Growing up in the beautiful village of Neatslake, Joise Gray and her childhood sweetheart, Ben Richards, always dreamt of a life of rural bliss. And when Josie inherits her beloved grandmothers cottage, it seems like all their dreams are coming true.

The tranquil village turns into a hive of activity with the return of Josies childhood friend, Libby Martin, now a wealthy widow. Soon, Libby and Josie are hard at work at their fledging wedding business, with Josie dreaming up all manner of wonderful creations; from a fashionista cake - complete with icing Manolos - to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

But amidst all this romance, Josie's fairytale relationship with Ben turns into a nightmare, and she quickly becomes loves number one cynic. Until charming wedding photographer Noah Sephton arrives in Neatslake...

Can this hopeless romantic persuade pessimistic Josie to give romance one more try?

Or will be be a case of always the cake maker, never the bride...?

*Contains Spoilers*
I've had Wedding Tiers stuck on my bookshelf for what feels like months and with the wedding season upon us I decided now was as good a time as any to get stuck in to it.

Although for me the book was a little slow to get into, Trisha Ashley set the story up really well with a prologue titles 'Ends and Beginnings, 1983'.
To start we are introduced to Josie, the main female character, as a young girl waking up in hospital after a horrific crash which killed her parents. Josie is taken in by her grandmother and starts a new school, where she meets her best friend Libby and long life partner Ben.

As we then go through the book, the story, told from Josie herself, tells you about her life with Ben. Ben splits his time between Neatslake and London as he tries to make his name as an established artist, whilst Josie stays at the cottage looking after their fruit and veg patch, enabling them to live a self sufficient life. 

At times the book was a little predictable too, like I'd worked out a few chapters before, that Ben was having an affair, but there were surprises too... I wasn't expecting Ben's new bit of stuff to fall pregnant, which as you go further through the book is the one thing Josie wants. There's also other little bursts of surprises which keep you reding on.

Josie instantly throws Ben out and after getting completely drunk one night, sleeps with Noah. Noah is the complete opposite to Ben and like most good romantic stories, Josie and Noah have a happy ever after but I won't tell too much of that as it comes after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, plus in the meantime.... Libby gets married and also has a brainwave of opening her barn for other weddings, as her and Josie throw themselves into making this business work alongside Josies own wacky cake making venture, you can see Josie and Noah's relationship bloom. 
There's also Ben trying to win Josie back and then her keeping a secret from her best friend, Uncle debating whether to emigrate or not, and the local TV soap start trying it on...It all happens in Neatslake!! 

What I really liked about this book is at the start of each chapter there is a little extract from 'Cake and Ale' which is Josie's column for a country magazine and tells all about what's she's growing or doing with her veg and fruit at that time, and despite the book being wedding themed and suitable for this time of year as I originally thought, these little extracts move the story forward through Christmas and Easter too so you could easily pick this up and read literally whenever!

There's also a real warm, kind...humbling feel to the book. 
Josie's neighbours don't have much money and so she provides them with imaginary acorns, if they help out in some way they earn these acorns which in turn can be used as bartering tools for cakes, biscuits, jams, pickles or whatever else Josie is making at the time.

There are some really lovely relationships through the story, from love breaking down to love blossoming, friendship and family. The closeness of Josie and Uncle came over really well, and there's also Libby and her daughter who aren't particularly close but with Josies gentle intervening you see Pia warm to her mum.

Although I found this a little slow and predictable at time, it didn't stop me enjoying the story, and personally the way it's left (uncles new life, babies and business for instance), I feel Trisha could easily wrote a follow up novel as I'd be interested to read how the individual lives panned out...

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon

The Longest Holiday review is brought to you by Guest Reviewer Samantha.

"Don't wait for the storm to pass; learn to dance in the rain..."

"Laura has been married to the man of her dreams for seven months. But a week before the wedding, Matthew made a terrible mistake.

Escaping the humiliation that is now her marriage, Laura is whisked off to Florida's Key West by her best friend Marty. A carefree holiday full of cocktails and fun, surrounded by gorgeous, tanned men, is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Distraction comes in the form of sexy Cuban scuba diver Leo. Laura's instant attraction to him knocks her flying, and she falls hard.

As the end of the holiday approaches, Laura doesn't want to go home. Is it time to face the music? Or is there more to Key West than a holiday Romance?"

Having read Chasing Daisy after a friend recommended it to me, I fell in love with Paige Toon's books. You immediately become gripped and want to read on. This book didn't disappoint either.

Laura is just like many other people in this world. She has been cheated on and she wants to escape from her husband. She places herself in the happiest place that she could be but with more and more drama  unfolding throughout the book is it this really the best decision? The way that you can relate to the characters such as Laura is just what makes the book so good because she does what a lot of people would want to do.

I loved the way that Paige keeps the action going right up until the end where you are thrown into a different perspective and shown another side of what is going on. Laura and Leo are like children who are playing love chase and they really are sweethearts. 

This is one of the best books I have ever read and I want to keep reading the books by Paige. I will definitely be looking to get hold of some of the others and I may just have to re read this one in the mean time.

Witness Laura's love affair and follow her as she experiences events which can change her life forever.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Bridesmaids by Jane Costello

The review for Bridesmaids is brought to you by Guest Reviewer, Nicole.

Four weddings.
Three disgruntled ex-boyfriends.
Two very effective 'chicken fillet' boob-enhancers.
And one gorgeous man...

With less than an hour to go before her best friend is to walk down the aisle, Evie is attempting to fulfil her most important role as bridesmaid: to deposit the bride at the start-line.

Although the odds appear stacked against her, she at least has her new 'chicken fillets' to boost her confidence. Until, that is, they are witnessed popping out of her dress by the dazzlingly handsome Jack.

Evie is 27, a sparkly, down-to-earth journalist who has never been in love and has started to think that she never will be. Small wonder, then, that the prospect of being a bridesmaid at so many impending wedding fills her with utter trepidation.

When Jack starts becoming a regular fixture at the nuptials, however, things really start looking up.

Only between her discovery that he's dating the stunning, self-obsessed Valentina, and an unfortunate incident with a 10- inch vibrator, not everything goes quite as Evie might have hoped...

From the get go Bridesmaids had me laughing.  Although first written in 2008, this book jumped out at me on the bookshelf and also heard from my friends that it had won an award too.

Everyone needs a friend like Evie, she would go above and beyond to make her friends happy and smile. I think a lot of girls would relate to her, her hang ups, confidence and wanting the guy that's already taken.

Jack, Evie's love interest takes a shine to Evie and throughout the book I love the chemistry and banter that they have. Jack seems as if he's too good to be true, even her mum loves him (Evie's mum is an eccentric do-gooder). I particularly like the way Jane Costello, shows just how close Evie and her mum get throughout the book, which finds her opening up to her. 

I loved loved loved this book, so good in fact I had to read it again straight away, not bad really as I couldn't put the book down and read it both times in a day.

Follow Evie on her journey with her university pals, which includes, laughter, tears and drama.

Author Spotlight ~ Paige Toon

Paige Toon came into my life back last year when I first read Thirteen Weddings. I've since discovered she is a well loved author within my circle of friends, with many of us reading her various books. Safe to say, she's everyone's favourite author!

Many of her books are set in the UK and OZ and I can only guess this is due to the fact that Paige grew up between England, Australia and America, she currently resides in Cambridge with her family.

The first book Paige had published was Lucy In The Sky back in 2007, and her latest published just a few weeks ago, The Sun In Her Eyes, which you can read my review of here.

Most of Paige's books are stand alone reads, apart from Johnnys Girl which is a short Ebook sequel to Baby Be Mine which also happens to be a full length sequel to Johnny Be Good.
One Perfect Christmas is also a short sequel to One Perfect Summer.

One of the things I think makes Paige stand out from other authors is her character links and The Hidden Paige.

Character links.... I don't want to give too many examples of this as I think it's enjoyable as the reader to discover them for themselves, however I will give one for you.
In Thirteen Weddings, Alex has an on/off fiancée, Zara. In The Sun In Her Eyes, Zara again appears with a cameo role as Ned's boss.
From my research on Paige, in nearly, if not all of her books there are small cameos from characters you will have already heard and read about.... One article I read when looking into the links, referred to Paige having a complete character world called ToonVille!,
The picture below will also show the links should you wish to study it!

The Hidden Paige is something else I've only just discovered. Most authors have a section on their website where you can subscribe to their newsletter, The Hidden Paige is just that, however is cleverly titled as occasionally Paige will include short stories or additional chapters of a book from another characters perspectives along with news and competitions. Sign up to THP here which is also the link to her website.

Paige Toon, in my opinion is a fab author. Her books that I've read have excellent and strong story lines, how she manages to cram so much into one book without confusing the reader is genius.
Her characters, mostly as Zara who I've previously mentioned is a nightmare, are loveable and you feel like you know them within a chapter or two.

If you've not yet ventured to reading one of Paige's books then I strongly suggest you add it to your list, I don think you will be at all disappointed.

Keep up to date with Paige Toon,
Facebook -
Twitter - @PaigeToonAuthor

       Photos used are copyright to Paige Toon via her website or shared publicly online.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Love Shack by Jane Costello

Life's great when you're 29 years old with a gorgeous girlfriend and a fulfilling job. Until you have to move back in with your mum...

Dan and Gemma have found their dream first home, but the asking price is the stuff of nightmares. The only way they'll ever save enough for the deposit is by moving in, rent free, with Dan's mum.

It's a desperate solution, but it's only for six months. And Gemma's determined to make it work, no matter how bad things get.

But between Dan's mums kitchen karaoke, her constant innuendos, irrepressible argumentative streak and - worst of all - her ham and pineapple curries, life back at home would test the patience of two saints. Which Dan and Gemma most definitely are not.

Then, as they're trying to convince themselves it will all be worth it, Gemma's past comes back to haunt her. And suddenly the foundations of their entire relationship are shaken to their core...

I'm new to reading a Jane Costello novel but when looking at my TBR list The Love Shack grabbed my attention.

I was sceptical when I started reading this as I'm not usually a fan of books where chapters are based from characters point of views (POV's), mainly because I find they don't flow particularly well.
In this case however,  the POV's were only from the two main  characters, Dan and Gemma, and therefore told the story perfectly as each chapter linked.

The couple are obviously madly in love despite Gemma always replying no to Dans wedding proposals... A standing joke between the pair that runs throughout the book.
They've had their ups and downs as most couples do, and throughout various chapters or POV's they highlight their journey on how hey eventually became a couple.
Deciding to take their relationship to the next level, after searching tirelessly, they set their hearts on buying their first home - Pebble Cottage.
Only one thing stands in their way, lack of deposit.

Moving in with  Dans mum is obviously the right choice financially but as we meet Belinda its clear to see why Dan didn't want this outcome... His mother is nothing short of a nightmare - her telling them to "go at it like rabbits" was enough to put me off them getting physical and I was only reading their story!!!

As the sale of Pebble Cottage moves forwards it promotes it's own set of troubles and adds pressure to their relationship with Gemma on edge and fretting about every single detail.

Things go from bad to worse when she bumps into Alex one day.
Alex was her first love and as she meets him on several occasions it's clear he's still crazy about Gemma and she questions her feelings for him vs those to Dan.

The Love Shack had me gripped as I was eager to find out how this couple would survive a very real life problem of getting on the property ladder whilst battling the pressure of mothers/in - laws and ex's.

A thoroughly enjoyable read from Jane Costello and I look forward to diverging into more of her books over the summer!