Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Bit of a change...

Having a bit of a change around here, ready for the new year!
As 2009 has been about how many books I've read and a brief overview of what I've thought about them...and it only has been my rather limited opinion!!  I've decided in 2010 to try and spend a little longer (and more thought!) to the reviews as I seem to have read some books sooo quickly this year, when I look back I can hardly remember them at all.  Now, some book have been instantly forgettable...but I will try to do better this coming year!

Just as a quick summary of this year...
Total books read in 2009 - 162
How did I manage that?!  Well I've spent huge parts of my holidays laid of the sofa reading, rather than doing any housework, gardening, shopping...I've also spent a fortune on Amazon and also saved a bit by ReaditSwapit.
Books I most enjoyed...
Okay, they might not be classics, but here's what I loved this year.
Bridgerton Series
A Spring Affair
A Vintage Affair
The Love of my Life
The Villa in Italy
The French Gardener
The Italian  Matchmaker
It's the Little Things
Last Christmas
Don't bother with...
The Gift - depressing
The Luminous Life of Lily Aphrodite - sorry, I just didn't get the point of it!
Hard to Choos
English as a Second Language
Could it be Magic?
The Ballroom on Magnolia Street
Members Only
Heaven knows I'm miserable now

Not bad, but slightly disappointed by...
The Return
The Alchemist
Madonna of the Almonds

Anyway, that's the summary of 2009.
So - if anyone's out there - I hope you like the refurb and stick with me!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Last books for 2009...

A Load of Old Tripe by Gervase Phinn
A Christmas present and a quick read - will definately use it at work, paricularly with the older kids.  No surprises and some of the stories (as sometimes happens with Phinn) I've heard from other people just in slightly different circumstances!

Very Nice ways to Say Very Bad Things by Linda Berdoll
Yuk!  Thought it'd be a witty book of quotes of put downs from well known authors...however it's a trawl through rude words (non of which were new or particularly shocking) and showed a major lack of understanding of how cetain words are used in the UK.  Don't bother.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
Had this for 12 months and it's sat at the bottom of the pile...don't know why!  It's sweet and links well with the final Harry Potter book.
Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiana
4.5 stars really...I've loved some of her previous books, particularly Lucia, Lucia.  This is good and obviously the start of a series, but it does overindulge in description which really slows it down.  I also though Valentine was a bit of a sad case - she's desparate for a fella, so lets him treat her like dirt at certain points and then keeps him at arms length - make up your mind, girl!  The sections about shoe making were fasinating, but it needs to move on faster.
A Single to Rome by Sarah Duncan
Okay...for me it dwelled too much on still loving Michael...but loved the deatil about Rome and the supporting characters were very well written and interesting. Just a bit too miserable for the first half to be my kind of chick-lit.

Maskerade by Terry Pratchett
An old favourite that I fancied re-reading!  Love Pratchett and was introduced to him years ago at Uni by a friend with a very warped sense of reality...but she was spot on with this!  Not my favourite, but features Esme Weatherwax, who is one of my favourite characters (and as I get older, I admire her sooo much more! Worrying...eh?!) and the amazing Greebo!
Based on the Phantom of the Opera - lots of snipes at the operatic world but less focus on the discworld.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Last Christmas by Julia Williams
A gorgeous Christmas read!  Gently romantic which weaves the stories of Marianne, Gabriel, Cat and Noel.  Sweet ending, but not too sacharine in how it gets there...didn't actually need the character of Ralph as far as I was concerned, but it all worked well into the overall theme.

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
Yes it's YA again and it's very gossip girl - but the actual story is a good idea, just the characters aren't terribly sympathetic.  Morgan is a petty nasty pece of selfish work - especially the way she thinks about her best friend...can't understand why anyone would be so desparate to stay with such a whiner and was it necessary for Pip to turn out to be such a hunk?  wouldn't she have been better to learn that beauty is more than skin deep?!! Or let's face it I'm far too old and cynical to be reading this really...

Beast by Donna Jo Napoli
YA retelling of Beauty and the Beast from the Beast's pov.  However, the bulk of the book is about how he becomes the beast and the lead up to meeting Beauty...
Orasmyn is a Persian prince who falls for a fairy's trick and becomes a lion.  His love of roses and books helps him to maintain an aspect of his humanity to be able to entice Belle into his life.  An interesting take and maintained interest despite 2/3 of the book being about him travelling between Persia, India and France with only his eating and sleep patterns to tlak about!  No I'm noy kidding...Belle is a slightly "damaged" woman, but again due to the pov you don't find out about her motivations.  Well written and interesting but not amazing.
Tempted by PC and Kirsten Cast
More of the same...although Neferet is pretty much out of the picture.  Still having trauma about boyfriends...although the amazing Eric's attractions are wearing thin...still have to save the world although the poor humans don't seem to be aware what's happening...not sure I'll carry on with this series - it's very same-y and the characters don't seem to be developing or maturing.  I know all the books have happens in a short timescale of about 3 months but they don't seem to going anywhere.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

More for December...

Hurray!! On holiday at last...this term has lasted FOREVER!! And the amount of work I've had to plough through this past few weeks has had an adverse impact on the amount of reading I've been able to do...shame! Hoping once I've sorted myself for Christmas (no tree or decorations up yet!) I can have a few days of serious serial reading!! have a couple of Christmas themed books lined up and I want to indulge in the whole Twilight and Beauty and the Beast thing again...I know I'm a secret romantic at heart!! But here's what I've read this week!

The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
Don't bother!  Cover is gorgeous and it's blurb is very clever...however, if you want Christmas cheer, don't read!!
The only saving grace is that I didn't pay for it...it was a present (from someone I think likes me, too!)  It's a depressing, moralising ramble with characters that don't deserve any redemption.  I've been disappointed in all Ahern's books since PS I love you, but this is the worst.  Doubt I'll bother with any again.

Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye by MC Beaton
Got to say that the last few Aggie's have gone off the boil and it's been a bit tiresome to honest, but once I've committed to a series I do try to stick with it.  However, this is much better and Aggie is back on form.  It's better for the lack of James, less Chrales and the focus on the actual investigation.  The wonderfully understanding Mrs Bloxby also stands up to Alf the vicar too.

Summer at the Villa Rosa by Nicky Pellegrino
Enjoyed this...very similar to many others I read this year, particularly as the Italian setting has been a popular theme in many of my reads. Again,it's very gentle and slightly "oldy worldy" with the strong moralistic and religious beliefs of the villagers. Not so much of a romance, but more of response to the characters previous actions and behaviours...not a lot actually happens. Like it but prefered "The Italian Wedding" from the same author.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

December books...

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Elena is the world's only female werewolf and although she tries to lead a normal life she gets drawn back to the pack when the mutts start to cause trouble. It took a while for me to get into it, but i did enjoy it...okay, so all the pack werewolves are a bit too good looking and smart and the heroine is a bit of a smart ass type, but it romps along at a good pace. Will probably read others at some point.

Beastly by Alex Flinn
Modern take on Beauty and the Beast (see, I'm on a theme here!) set in NYC and told from the Beast's pov. It has it's good points and as YA fiction I've read far more self indulgent, self concious stuff...but, what spoilt it for me was that in being YA the characters were 16! Just jars with me...particularly since its my favourite fairy tale and I thought the whole point was that the Beast had to learn both to not judge on appearances and the true meaning of love. Er, at sixteen?! Not going to happen no matter how much they play in the snow and visit the greenhouse to look at roses! Okay - but missed the point for me!

Beauty by Robin McKinley
Retelling of Beauty and the Beast which follows most of the traditional lines...Beauty is bookish and plain (which is slightly over emphasised) and the Beast is less brutish and more self-aware than in some versions. Slow to get going, but once she gets to the castle is beautifully written with sensitivity and real care of the characters. Shame the end is a bit rushed, but 5 stars simply for being so thoughtfully written.

A Compromising Position by Carole Matthews
Didn't realise this was a reprint and the book was originally written about 7 years ago...the development of facebook et al have aged the story a little, as there's no shock factor in naughty pictures appearing on the internet any more. However, once it gets going it's a jolly chick-lit romp with a predictable ending. The characters are suitably likable and frustrating, the situations beyond ridiculous but well done by a consistently good author.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

More in November...

Darke Academy: Secret Lives
Odd YA - strange happenings in a super-selective borading school that moves around the world each term. (Currently in Paris!) Has a special secret group that sucks the life source out of their roomies...what else can I say?  Didn't really go anywhere - don't really care!

New Moan by Stefordy Mayo
Bought this as much as I adore twilight, it is a guilty pleasure and I don't take it too seriously! After all I'm at least 25 years too old and this got the best reviews for all the parodies! Don't bother...it started out okay and I did laugh in places, the irritating, self obsessed Bella/ Heffa character was spot on in the early stages, but it all became a bit "trying to hard and self consciously clever" and they really didn't get the point of Edward/ Teddy...he's meant to be like that! That's why all the tweenies love him - he's gorgeous, infatuated, potentially dangerous but isn't!

Undead and Unwed
Good giggle - unwilling vampire who ants to keep most of her human comforts but has supper powers.  Not life changing, but good fun!

hush, hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Another book off the back of the Twilight rush! It had potential and was a really interesting idea with a "fallen angel" trailing an ordinary American teenger...(getting the Edward and Bella similarities?!!) but it lost on the character of Patch being too unlikeable...he doesn't struggle with his demons as Edward does and he's all over the place as far as his motivation. Nora (bad name!) readily admits she's attracted to him but again the romance is unconvincing and uncompelling as they are soooo dull anyway...who cares?! I know I'm way to old for YA fiction but it's my guilty secret and I was disappointed.

The Italian Wedding by Nicky Pelligrino
Not as simplistic as I first thought -the story of Pieta's parents life were well woven into the current tale of her sister's wedding. I felt Pieta was a bit weak in places and Michele could have been developed more but I really enjoyed the story.

Summer School by Domenica
Gentle story about a writing course in a beautiful old Italian palace. The descriptions of Siena and Rome are great and the overall characterisation and mood of the story is pleasantly done. Slightly predictable, but with enough twists to keep it interesting - I really enjoyed it!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

November's books!

The Calafornia Club by Belinda Jones
Okay, holiday type chick-lit with the usual everyone finds love and happiness at the end! Well written but not quite as engaging as some of her others.

Phantom by Susan Kay
Amazing! Okay, so I'm totally addicted to Phantom, particularly if only a bit of him resembles Karmin Raminloo...but this is has the potential to be completely addictive. Tells the life story of Erik and how he develops into the "phantom". The sections on his childhood and early adulthood are fasinating and show how he becomes the complex disturbed man at the Paris opera. Yes, it has a somewhat happy ending, but it didn't really need it as the book was soooo good!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Finishing off for October...

The Importance of being Emma by Juliet Archer
So it's a modern retell of Emma and is totally predictable in that we know the characters and events. It's okay and pretty enjoyable fluff...however, Knightley is pretty weak and Emma is more disagreeable and less likable than in the original. Harriet is a dumb Essex girl rather than simply naive and unsophisticated and what's the deal about India? Pleasant enough.

On the way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn
The last of the Bridgerton series...and I loved indulging in it all! This one is based on Gregory, the youngest son! Although he doesn't appear much in the other books, he's a likable chap, but would have preferred him to be more defined as a character rather than just being much younger that the other brothers! Lucy is a pleasant enough heroine and has her moments, but it it all came to a bit of a warm mushy end rather than the promise of the first two books. saying all that - it's been an enjoyable read through the series and I'll probably try some of Quinn's other books after a bit of a break!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Even more in October...

It's in his kiss by Julia Quinn
It's Hyacinth's turn this time and although I can only vaguely remember her appearing fleetingly in The Duke and I, I found her a fab character! Less self absorbed than Francesca, less abrasive than Eloise and with a bit of a wild streak! She falls for Gareth - another rake, with an awful "father" and an interesting family history. They fall for each other to their surprise and it's another happy ending. More of the same but great fun and a light romantic read!

Beautiful People by Wendy Holden
I was really hopeful about this - I usually love this author and have read many of them on a beach and had a good giggle...however, with this I was disappointed...and I really did want to like it! It's too long and would have been better if edited more fiercely. Although the characters all interlink, many are either uninteresting or too much of an evil caricature. Shame, but one of my don't bothers.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

More in October...

Agatha Raisin and Love, Lies and Liquor by MC Beaton
Less enjoyable and I have to say as I go through the series I'm finding it all a bit wearisome. Agatha is still the same, obsessive and stupid over the dreadful Charles and rat James. Another murder in another awful seaside town. Pretty mediocre.

When he was Wicked by Julia Quinn
Love it - slightly diffrent as it's based around Francesca, who hasn't featured much in the previous books. Michael loves her, but she's married to his cousin John... the book tells of the loss and troubles before a happy resolution. Complete romantic fantasy but loved it!

To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn
Yes I'm back to the Bridgertons...and after a break I loved this! Didn't really like Eloise in the previous book, but here she becomes a much warmer and rounded character. Yes, it's a bizarre premise that she dashs off to see if Sir Phillip is a suitable husband and not even two horribly behaved children puts her off! Phillip is more rugged and less urbane that previous heroes but seemed a bit "thin" to me - yes, he's had a tortured childhood and a depressive first wife but that didn't translate to the passion he shows Eloise. Still a cracking read though!

Members Only by Leonie Fox
Pretty charmless - sort of footballer's wife based around the golf club. Pointless, lacks any sympathetic characters and going on the don't bother pile.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

October's books...

One Night Stand by Julie Cohen
Good fun but took a while to get going - I still can't work out why she was working in the pub if she has 16 books published?!! Yes, it's chick-lit and there's no great surprises, but it got pacy and fun. Found the characters of Sheila and June to be a bit weak and "padding" to the overall story, but I enjoyed it.

The One that got Away by Jessica Fox
First in "the hen party prophecies" and I won't bother with the others...totally, unforgivably predictable, even for chick lit. Weak supporting characters and a heroine with little charm. Poor!

Cross Stitch by Diana Gabalson
Bit of an odd one - yes, I enjoyed it but there were aspects of it that made me really uncomfortable. Firstly, a synopsis of the plot - it's the end of WWII and Claire falls through time due to some "fairy stones". She ends up in 18th century scotland and meets a gorgeous outlaw Jamie. After getting married and other various trials they end up in a French monastery! Simple! The uncomfortable bits were the "icky" love scenes of which there are many, the fact that he brutally beats her (and enjoys it!) and she eventually accepts that he was right to do it...the over descriptive passages of Jamie's childhood where his father beat him, as a reason for his behaviour and worst of all the fact that Jamie seems to be a love magnet for other men and the sadistic torture one of them inflicts on him. So it feels like a guilty pleasure - you enjoy it but after too much or when you've thought about it it makes you feel queasy.

It Should Have Been Me by Phillipa Ashley
Another little black dress book by the best author of theirs that I've read so far. Yes, it's unrealsitic and predictable, but so well done and another sexy hero, but no steamy sections in this one! Really loved it!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Amy's Honeymoon by Julia Llwellyn
A RISI swap and only because it's set in Rome! Gorgeous setting, totally unrealistic meet with a film star, but well written and paced and I adored the descriptions of Rome...I must get there soon! Pretty good overall and better han many holiday reads!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Hex and the Single Girl by Valerie Frankel
Don't bother...just not my taste. tried too hard to be cute, the main character was simply annoying and the love interest was rich and well endowed...but had little else in his favour. Maybe i just prefer British chick-lit, but definitely, not for me.

Spirit Willing, Flesh Weak by Julie Cohen
Again, competent but not amazing...different set up to many others with the fake psychic angle. Okay.

Just Say Yes by Phillipa Ashley
Not the best one by this author, but a competent chick-lit. Nice setting, but not a lot else to make it stand out.

The Italian Matchmaker by Santa Montefiore
Another fab one by this author. took a while to get going and of course everyone is terribly good looking, rich and well connected with huge estates in the country or Italy, but it's well done and I really enjoyed it!

Bridesmaids by Jane Costello
Fairly predictable chicklit, based around Evie and her friends weddings. All the usual disasters, break-ups and one "Hello" type do. Disliked how the fat and frumpy friend becomes transformed into an exercise junkie and husband stealer material...does a diet do that?! Nothing amazing and not even particularly recommended. Average.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Romancing Mr Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Have to 'fess up and say I love this series. I'm actually forcing myself to have a break and read a couple of differentbooks before I carry on...this is for two reasons, firstly I don't want to finish them too quickly but secondly, I didn't enjoy the last two quite as much and I hope it's not due to familiarity.
I thought this would be one of my favourites...in previous books Colin, although he didn't appear too much, was a very engaging character and seemed like fun. However, his "darker" side and need to find himself was a bit of a pain at times, I think I like the charmer better. Obviously, my taste in heroes goes for the moody, brooding types...blame Austen and Darcy! Penelope started off alright but didn't totally convince as the mysterious writer...particularly from such a young age. Overall, it was an enjoyable read but I prefered the first two books and Anthony still remains my favourite Bridgerton so far. (Even if he seems to have gone a bit soft in this one)

Saturday, 12 September 2009

More romance...

An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
The third Bridgerton story that tells of how Benedict gets married. It's a Cinderella story, that gradually evolves from the original fairytale. Sophie is the illegitimate daughter of an Earl who becomes a maid when her father dies and she's left to the mercies of her stepmother. She has a heavenly two hours at a masked ball and instantly falls in love with Benedict. Two years later their paths cross again. Not my favourite of the three so far, but I did enjoy it. Benedict is lovely, the "artistic" brother and although not a witty or abrasive as Anthony he comes across well. It was Sophie's "dilemma" with who she was that got monotonous and she made problems where it wasn't necessary. Violet (the mother) is a complete star!

The Viscount who loved me by Julia Quinn
How Anthony gets married...I loved this! Anthony was great in the Duke and I with his brooding protectiveness and that's what comes through with this book too. The way the Viscount who has cleverly managed to avoid getting married through several seasons gets caught out by a bee sting was funny and the developing relationship between him and Kate was touching. Throw in a manic dog a near death experience and it's a brilliant book. Total romantic slush, but I'm a sucker for it!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

September again...

Celebrity Bride by Alison Kerwin
Okay, but not what I'd hoped for. Main character is weakand pretty dim, the boyfriend alludes to being a Hugh Jackman type character but disappears for large sections of the story. Elodie is evil (yes, she's meant to be) but it all became a bit tedious. Overall it fell a bit flat.

Saturday, 5 September 2009


The Kinsella Sisters by Kate Thompson
Enjoyed it - not really what I expected but a cosy read.

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Fab...regency romance with a sexy edge! Think I'll be completely addicted to this series...already ordered ore from Amazon.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Start of September...

Wish You Were Here by Phillipa Ashley
Not as good as the previous one, but sparky heroine and lush setting. Typical modern romantic fiction, but well written.

Decent Exposure by Phillipa Ashley
Sligtly trite premise of mountain rescue men posing for a nude calendar to raise funds, but well written and very hot! type of book I would have loved even more 10 years ago!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Last for August?!!

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
Loved it...beautiful detail about vintage clothes, too! Based around Phoebe who's best friend has died leading to life chnge changes including opening a vintage dress shop. this leads to meeting Therese who has her own tragic regrets from the past which Phoebe investigates. Stick in a couple of love interests and a foul teenagegirl and it's a wonderful read. Lovely one to finish the month on.

The Ballroom on Magnolia Street by Sharon Owens
Feel a bit let down by this one as I read the Tea House on Mulberry Street ages ago and really enjoyed it, but this was a disappointment. Firstly, and this is my fault...it's not about a ballroom at all, but a disco that survived through the late fifties to the eighties. The book is set in the eighties, although I do think some of the records and the dating is a bit off, but maybe they were released differently in Belfast. It's mainly based around two sisters and their eventual double wedding. I only stuck with it beacuse I rarely give up once I've started a book. It was very slow to get going and the time references seemed confused ...it took me a while to realise when the book was set. The characteristation was weak, they were all 2d, even the more sympathetic ones like Declan and Shirley - I really didn't care and then the end was all summed up in a few paragraphs. One of my don't bothers.

Annie May's Black Book by Debby Holt
I really like the idea of this and had it as a RiSi swap at the beginning of year. As my to read list grows, especially as i can't seem to stop buying books, I thought I ought to give it a go. It's a fun fluffy read, but very cliched - even more so that I expect from this genre. It's set in Bath and everyone is remarkably well off and well connected...the typical "middle class" names of all Annie's friends got confusing and they really weren't importnat at all expect the one who's husband's been having affairs for years and she has a total personality transplant to bring the two estranged romantic leads together again. Slightly disappoined as I really enjoyed one of the author's other books.

Friday, 28 August 2009

More for August...

Air Babylon
I think this is my 4th Babylon book and probably one of the better ones (though the beach and fashion were overated)...no surprises, I doubt anyone would be shocked by the antics of the ground and air crews and most has already been fairly well publicised in the press and TV. However, it's slickly written putting years of events into 24 hours and is an entertaining and rather (guiltily) trashy read.

Village School by Miss Read
I remember my mum getting the Miss Read books from the library when I was small and probably more into Milly Molly Mandy! I suddenly decided I fancied a gentle, old fashioned read and that's exactly what I got. Set in the mid fifties, it tells of Miss Read the "headmistress" of Fairacre Village school, a two classroom school with no running water in an undefined rural area of England. There's no action, it's mostly character observation and the annual events that mark country life. It's so gentle, it's like a fluffy duvet and a piece of chocolate cake - the world, and education is definately a very different place now.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Still in August...

Jinxed by Sara Lawerence
Continuation of High Jinx (I bought both books together or i wouldn't have bothered)...more of the same really with too much swearing, sexual and drug references to be a YA book for me...but maybe I'm just extremely old fashioned! I ceratinly wouldn't let school stock it, though! Only redeeming feature is that the main characters are slight nicer to the less beautiful and well dressed than before.

A Spring Affair by Milly Johnson
Fab...loved it! Lovely romance set in Barnsley, at last a book where they go off to Meadowhall rather than the swishy, unobtainable shops in central London...(not that I'm biased or anything!)Interesting characters that you actually care about and yes, it's predictable, but done very well. Shame Lou got to Tom Broom first he could bring a skip round any time for me!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Still in August...

Having a late rush on reading...

Every Woman for Herself by Trisha Ashley
I know I keep saying it but Trisha Ashley is fab and I've really struggled to get hold of her earlier books...i think this was on Amazon Marketplace for about £50! Now, I like her, but not THAT much! Finally this appeared in RiSi and I got a swap. It's a 4.5 star really... I loved it, but it's not as complete as her later offerings, probably due to it being a much shorter book! However, Mace (awful name) was underdeveloped for me to be the true romantic hero and there was a little too much emphasis on the weird and wacky chracters that the story didn't really need. Saying that, Charlie, was a good lead and suitably awkward and stroppy heroine.
As a last point, I finally get where the "Skint Old Northern Woman" mag that crops up in the later books comes from...it all fits now.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Books in August...

Well, last month was a bit poor - I don't know where the time goes and the pressures of work before the hols and going away straight away sort of conspired to eat into my serious reading time! Sadly, August doesn't seem to have got much better. However, I know the problem this month, firstly I decided to make a scrapbook of my trip to Venice, which will be gorgeous but is an epic undertaking considering I took about 550 photos which I managed to cut to 160ish! That lead to lots of looking on sites for papers, die cuts etc (see almost a scrapbooking pro...maybe a sideline on the blog?!!) and I've found e-bay! Yes, I'm a late starter in life, I know and facebook still remains a mystry to me, but not only did I find all these crafting things, I'm addicted to trawling through for Radley bags etc. So, there goes my reading count...I have no idea how I'll manage going back to work...talking of which, I haven't actually done any work in the past 5 weeks which means it'll be a rush job from now on until the start of term - argh!

Still books so far...

Could it be Magic? by Melanie Rose
Sadly not...overall found this disappointing, although I raced to the end to see if it was going to redeem itself but too contrived for me and very much in the style of Cecilia Aherne, which I also find annoying (particularly that one about lost things.) Lightening strikes just as Jessica meets the man of her dreams and then is struck by lightning - well, it saves going through the corny chat up lines, I suppose. Dan is dull - what's to like about him - oh, yes he's nice to his dad...who appears purely for that purpose. Though the chracters were poorly developed, Jessica is happy until she becomes an instantly natural mother to Lauren's four children. Lauren has no redeeming features until the end when Jessica realises that the husband was a total rat and she was trying to protect the children?! Not for me.

It's the Little Things by Erica James
I love Erica James and this is a fab book - totally loved it and devoured it over two days. Not twee, the character of Sally is really unpleasant and she deserves her come-uppance, however, it all worked out too well for her in the end, in my opinion...that lady deserved to suffer! The sexy curate Seth with his interesting back story, made it all the more readable, although Chloe was a bit too slow to catch onto herself, but it all works in the end. Fantastic holiday read...highly recommended.

Hotel las Flores by Kate McCabe
Enjoyable, although a little too predictable. For me there were too many characters introduced early on and not enough to distingusih between them, so I spent a bit of time flicking backwards and forwards trying to find who was who. Also some of the romantic pairings happened so quickly, Edward proposed in less than a week - get real...he'd agonised over working for a year New Zealand for ages and then decides the more importnat life changing event in seconds?!! I also didn't feel that the farming family needed a lottery win to make their story workable...so make it a bit "unreal". However, pleasant and inoffensive enough, regular Irish chick-lit that won't hurt!

Folly by Alan Titchmarsh
People might knock him, but his books are really easy reading and this is one of the better ones. based in Bath around the art and autioneering world I found the backstory based in Oxford and the modern day romance engaging. However, the trauma that pulled the couple apart...(spoiler here...) Missy finds they both had the same grandfather, but different grandmothers, that makes them cousins? I know it's not great but I though legally cousins could marry?!! That sort of ruined the drama of why they couldn't be together for me...However, apart from that i really enjoyed it.

Rumour Has It by Jill Mansell
Someone else, I love...Jill Mansell is great and doesn't rely on seedy, unnecessary sex scenes to make her books work. Gorgeous men, slightly stroppy female lead, unrealistic working conditions and setting...total bliss!

Just a Family Affair by Veronica Henry
I read the Honeycote books ages ago and wish I'd had better recall of the characters and events this leads on from. Some of it seemed familiar but it took me a while to get into it! The ending appears to lead into a continuation into the next in the saga, so was a bit weak...but i will definately read the next one. Covers the consquences of a past affair, first loves and the potential loss of the family business, well written but a little slow at times.

Changing Grooms by Sasha Wagstaff
Loved it! It's a bit of a cross between Jilly Cooper and Fiona Walker, indeed Fiona Walker had a "blurb" on the cover, so shes probably bessie mates with the author! Lots of gorgeous, rich people in the countryside, celebrity traumas and misunderstanding between the two main cahracters. Total holiday read, but excellent fun!

Friday, 31 July 2009

Books for July...

It's a terrible month to get through many books, there's so much going on at work and then I was away for a week...so this month is light!

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
Only bought this because of the setting (which is beautifully presented in the book - Venice in winter, all swirling mists and no tourists!) but was pleasantly surprised by an interesting crime investigation, which although I worked out who very early on, didn't get the why! Will definitely look at her other books in this series.

High Jinx by Sara Lawerence
Young Adult school story...Malory Towers it ain't! Over reliant on alcohol, drugs, swearing and sexual references to be a true school romp and I found that all distracted from what could have been a strong story with characters that I could have warmed to. It wouldn't shock teens and falls short for anything else. Trying to hard.

The Ballroom Class by Lucy Dillon
Chick-lit cashing in on the "Strictly Come dancing" trend, about three couples (and various hangers on) who attend a ballroom class. Familiar, well trodden path of ambitious back to work mum and house husband tensions; pushy mother in law to be and middle aged debt, but well written and engaging.

Good Husband Material by Trisha Ashley
I love this author (I think I've said it many times before!) one of her earlier books that I struggled to get hold of. Married to the James who leaves her in the lurch, Fergal the pop star (from her past) becomes infinately more attractive. fab, five star chick lit!

Top Ten Venice
I'm going and so need to check a few things out - nice piccies, not too dull descriptions...can't wait to go!

Gods Behaving Badly
wasn't sure what to expect with this one...it had some fabulous reviews and the idea is very clever. I was also pleased that I knew a fair bit about the gods...so I obviously did take something in at school! Some of the events were very funny, but overall for me it lacked a bit of warmth, partcicularly for the two human characters who I didn't sympathise enough with to care sufficently what happened to them at the end.

The Beach Bar by Kate McCabe
Came to me as an Amazon recommendation and it was okay...not amazing but pleasant enough. Amazon must love me...I just spend, spend, spend! Made Fuerengiola seem a lot more attractive than I've ever suspected...but there you go. Light holiday read, instantly forgettable!

Friday, 10 July 2009

June's books...

Okay so I know it's now well into July, but this is a busy time of year and I'll be playing catch up for a while!

The Chocolate Lovers Club by Carole Matthews
Group of women meet up to share their traumas at an upmarket chocolate cafe. Covers marital affairs, the need for a baby and inetrnet gambling with humour, but the situations seemed a bit too contrived and yes, I know it's chick-lit and so that's what I should expect, but not one of her better ones. The whole repetitive "chocolate giving succour" comments throughout really got on my nerves - where was the editor?!! Fluff with cocoa topping!

Garden Spells
By the same author as Sugar Queen, but this one came first and actually I think it's better. Still with the magical realism slant, but had a less manipulated feel for me and the main character had more depth. Not sure I'd bother with any more by this writer though.

Villa Serena
Another Amazon recommedation...and I enjoyed it. Life in an Italian villa isn't what the main character expected after the husband bobbies off leaving her with stroppy teenage kids. However, gorgeous man appears and it all turns out well...not a great surprise at the end and a bit of a rush in the final chapters, but lovely setting and nice light read.

The Eternal City
Understated family drama set in Rome. Beautifully descriptive of the setting and senstive characters - really enjoyed it.

Hunted by PC and Kirsten Cast
More of the ongoing teenage vamp saga. Yes, they're all painfully fashionable and totally gorgeous, I'm like loving the style, girlfriend...ooh, look out the bad woman's gonna kill you!

The Sugar Queen
Sad, unfullfilled girl who relies on sweets and magazines to plug the gap finds a women in her closet.This changes her life and she finds love. Not as twee or saccharine as it sounds but it didn't quite pull it off for me.

Untamed by PC and Kirsten Cast
More of the same - teenie vamps trying to hard to save the world from the evil Nefertari...nuff said!

Madonna of the Almonds
Ever so slightly disappointing...mainly because I loved "Glassblower" and so had such high expectations from this. The main character seemed to be a bit cold and the Jewish side story actually appealed more than the main characters. Not awful, but not not what I hoped for.

Love and Dr Devon by Alan Titchmarsh
Warm, safe easy reading. The organ trafficking seemed to jar a bit but usual fare from the author. Like a coffee and a choccie digestive!

With or without You by Carole Matthews
Enjoyable chick-lit...split up from boyfriend leads to a hike in the Himalayas (as it always does!) and a new romance. Totally predictable, but well written and engaging.

Old School Ties by Kate Harrison
Strangely disappointing and rather superficial. Bought into the fad of Friends Reunited and reading it now it seems a bit dated and tired. Bully of the school is made to realise what is important in life, but the "bullied" actually comes across as the meaner character...felt a bit indifferent to it all.

Chosen by PC and Kirsten Cast
More of the same - US teen trash with teeth! the main character is ever so annoying, particularly the way she makes all males in the vicinity lust after her...but harmless enough.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Final May round up...

Yes, it's taken me ages to get to this point, but as a final round up of May...

Heaven know's I'm miserable now
If you weren't you will be after reading this! I expected an affectionate look at the eighties, I loved them and have great memories - this is a rant about a dull love life, psycho girlfriend and art school. Totally self indulgent and a complete bore to read.

Fashion Babylon
No great surprises - if you watch TV or read any glossy mag, you'll have come across all the "revelations of the fashion world." Doesn't take great imagination to know that it's a bitchy, drug and drink fuelled environment with mad deadlines that ultimately is completely useless in terms of improving peoples minds...but that's not why you read this book. It's okay!

Marked by PC and Kristen Cast
Yes it's a teen book, but I was getting Twilight withdrawal! It's far less romantic, more gossip girl and media savvy, I suppose its a US Harry Potter with teeth...it's pretty crude at times, but an interestng story. I'll stick with the series and see where it goes. Not a keeper, but fun!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Rest of May...

English as a Second Language by Megan Crane
As you may have realised, I rarely (as in never) give up on a book once I've started it. i keep going, hoping for the best and trying to find a redeeming feature. However, this is one I truly struggled with...I disliked the main character of Alex, she was totally self-absorbed and although she finally realises that there was nothing endearing or sympathetic about her in the meantime. The supporting cast were poorly drawn and uninteresting, even the love interest left me cold. I'm aware York Uni isn't the most inspiring campus in the world, but the book didn't even manage to sell York itself as a place of any value! Okay, I've been a student, yes i drank copious amounts, but the amount of time spent in the pub was just lazy.
Maybe I'm coming from the wrong angle and it's definately aimed at the US market, but sadly a waste of a few hours reading.

The Return by Victoria Hislop
I soooo wanted to read this and waited impatiently for it to come out in paperback. It's good, but doesn't live up to The Island. (Which is one of my all time favs!) Interesting but not enough "feeling" in the middle section about the the Civil war...in parts it was a bit text book description rather than novelisation. Loved the flamenco bits. Still good, but not what I hoped for.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Books in May...

Well I've read loads, but not managed to keep up with the blog, so here's a go!

Sex, Lies and Fairytales by Kate Thompson
More Irish chick-lit...and certainly one of the better ones. Enjoyable small town romp with likeable characters and far better than the disappointing "Hard to Choos" lead me to believe. Will definately look at others by the same author.

The Last of the Great Romantics by Claudia Carroll
Irish chick-lit! Not her best (imho) but does what it says on the cover...fun and frothy, with bizarre characters and unlikely events...pleasant escapism!

The truth about Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell
I was desparate to get to the end of this to find out about Melody's forgotten life and it was enjoyable, but the style made it repetitive...the reader was given information and then Melody "remembered" it for herself. Not a particularly "joyful" read, but hope and love triumph in the end.

An Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell
Superior chick lit...you know what you're getting with Jill Mansell and they are always well written, interesting and fairly "real" characters and a happy ending. Loved it - great for a mooching Sunday.

Trust me I'm a Junior Doctor
Expected disasters and slip ups by newly qualified doctors being let loose for the first time. Usual "funnies" but realistic and humane too.

Late Season by Christobel Kent
A slow burner - took a while to get into it and none of the English characters are particularly likeable, however, it grew on me and although the twist was visible at an early stage it was rather well done.

The Carousel by Rosamunde Pilcher
Haven't read Pilcher for years...remember sitting up late ploughing through September, which i loved. This is a fairly short, but compelling story of love in Cornwall (surprise!) well written and beautiful characterisaion.

Going Home by Harriet Evans
Have mixed feelings about this author...love "Hopeless Romantic" but disliked "Love of her Life", so didn't really know what to expect. It falls in the middle - enjoyable, easy read, bit irritating at times as I just wanted her to get over herself and all the fuss about losing the house, but okay.

Keeping Mum by Kate Lawson
Disappointing. Had potential...didn't happen.

Wedding Tiers by Trisha Ashley
Again, another author I love. Well written romance with a few slight reference to characters and events in A Winter's tale. Village life, gentle, non-threatening main character and happy ending...lovely weekend read.

Do you want to know a secret? by Claudia Carroll
I do enjoy this author...romp through three friends finding their way through "The Secret" type self help book. Great fun, completely silly...loved it!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Finishing off the April list...

Agatha Raisin and the Perfect Paragon by MC Beaton
Last Aggie book in the house (although there's a couple more still to go!) so having a break for a while. More of the same and just what I'd now expect!

Persuading Annie by Melissa Nathan
Modern take on Persuasion, which I love. Nathan's books are always fun, but some do the update better than others...this was pretty good, but not enough regret/longing about the past from either of the main characters. Entertaining enough, but not her absolute best.

Can't wait to get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg
Not my choice - mum bought it for her hols and wanted me to read it first. Not at all what I expected and where it could have been preachy and saccharine, I found it to be fun and uplifting. makes the point that everyone is here for a reason and we need to just get on with it!

Agatha Raisin and the Deadly dance by MC Beaton
More of the same - Agie angst...need I say more?!

Hard to Choos by Pixie Pirrelli
Urgh...bought this due to Amazon recommendation and wish I hadn't bothered. It's "written" by an author who appears in a Kate Thompson book and is supposed to a sparkly chick-lit. It's cliched, weak and obsessed with coco de mer underwear. Maybe I'm missing something and I've got the real book this stems from on order, so maybe I've done it the wrong way round, but it tries too hard to be sexy and modern and falls flat.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

The Villa in Italy
Another not my choice...mum on a holiday book hunt again. I loved it! Okay, it took a while to warm up and the characters take a while to grow on you, but due to a mysterious will all these people turn up at a villa and find themselves. Their interwoven stories and how they crossed paths with their unknown benefactor was brilliant. Descriptions of Italy and the pretty villa were also pretty convincing and made me want to take off. Will definately look for others by this author.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

End of the holidays...

Where do two lovely long weeks go? It seems forever and suddenly it's the last weekend and I'm still ctaching up on all the things I promised I'd get done! Too depressing to dwell on!

So to update my reading - not so much this week as I've been away...

Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by MC Beaton
After the depressing tales of Lilly I wanted something light...and also something that wouldn't need much concentration on the train! Here it is, usual stuff...new "love interest" that doesn't come right for Aggie and unfortunately the slimy Charles is back!

The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite by Beatrice Colin
I really wanted to like this book...it has a fab cover and had amazing reviews, but sadly it left me cold. The character of Lilly was passive and I couldn't actually like her, Hanne was even worse! The whole saga of the changes in her life and the terrible events in Germany at the time were interesting, but not compelling. I feel I've missed something that others have obviously seen in this book. Sorry. i stuck with it - willing it to grow on me, but sadly not.

Monday, 13 April 2009


The Cinderella Effect
It took me a while to get into this...partly due to the strange opening, but mainly due to the writing being in the first person but alternating between the main femaile character, Lila and the romantic interest, Johnny. I found this distracting, until I got further into the book. Unfortunately, I didn't find Lila particularly likable. However, on the plus side, I loved the setting and the basis of a Midsummer's Night Dream...so an extra star there!

Forgot to say I've become a "super swapper" with RiSi...done 50 swaps! Now have a huge pile of books to read...what a dilemma!

Friday, 10 April 2009

So many books...so little time...

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
It's taken me a while to read this draft - I downloaded it during the Christmas hols when I had just finished reading all 4 books, but held off for a while. watching the Twilight dvd made me look at it again today. the film was good and I really emjoyed it...Robert Pattison is far too young for me to drool over and he's not quite as I imagined Edward to be, but overall he was excellent...if only I was 18 years younger! The film seemed less intense than the book, but Edward was more "tortured", it now makes sense after reading Midnight Sun. Yes, I wanted Edward's pov...particularly as I never had much sympathy with Jacob! But...I hope this book is finally finished and done properly...Edward is too pained and I want more of his background, I keep wanting to know why and find that frustrating. Although I'm aware this is a teen book and I'm massively out of the "target audience"...I think he's more interesting than his obsession with Bella, but maybe that's my image of him rather than the authors!

Agatha Raisin and the Curious Curate by MC Beaton
More of the same - well I have read 13 of this seris, so no surprises! Better for the lack of James and the charmless Charles.

Take a Look at Me Now by Anita Notaro
Mixed feelings about this one...okay, I devoured it, but was left a bit cold by the main characters. The "shock" factor of the sisters background didn't really work for me and i had high hopes that it was going somewhere, but for me it didn't quite make it.

Agatha Raisin and the day the Floods Came by MC Beaton
As you'll have sussed by now I do love Aggie and have ordered the next lot from Amazon already so i can keep going. Usual quick read and fun. Not missing James and the new author is a potential love interest!

London - April 2009
Had a fantastic time! Loved Priscilla...it was soooo camp and then added more feathers and sequins! Everytime I see a new show I am amazed by how slick and fab it all is! Oliver Thornton was great - no man deserves to look that good in stockings and a dress!
Phantom was brilliant (my third time), better overall seats, as we could see better when the phantom is right at the top, but last time was good for seeing expressions and little quirks. I still cried at the end - it doesn't change and she goes with the wrong man! Ramin is amaaaaazing! Although I have doubts about a sequel, I'll pay to see him in it!

Wedding Season by Katie Fforde
Good quality chick-lit! An easy read, the main character is slightly confused by what a "strong, independent" woman is as she still needs the adoration of a man, but it's fun, fluffy and a nice way to spend a weekend!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Easter hols...

At last, the holidays have arrived! It's been a month every week for the past few and i never thought I'd get there! No after a couple of glasses of very chilled white, I'm a little more chilled myself!
Still ferociously reading and have managed quite a few despite the work load...and have lots more that I'm looking forward to!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Another go at catching up...still in March

Nobbut a Lad by Alan Titchmarsh
A pleasant memoir of childhood - made me smile and think of things my mum and dad would say!

Acting Up by Melissa Nathan
Good, quick, fun chick lit based on P&P...predctable, but warm and fuzzy when you got there!

Crazy as Chocolate
Interesting, but not completely sure...the back story of two girls and their manic mother was intersting, but the sister in present time was simply annoying. Maybe I missed the point?

The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore
So, in typical vein, it's another doomed love over many years...but she does do it well! have been disappointed by a couple of her books in the past, which seemed a bit writing by numbers...but this is a much more and I throughly enjoyed it, despite being fairly predictable. Sympathetic characters and beautiful settings. Lovely!

The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall
Mma Ramotswe is a complete star. More gentle stories from Botswana...I find these books really relaxing and reminiscent of a gentler time.

Take a Chance by Sarah Webb
Disappointing...a great idea, particularly with all the focus on Mama Mia and Abba, but it doesn't live up to the blurb. The twist was completely obvious from early in the first chapter and the characters ween't well developed enough. A light read, but felt it was a missed opportunity.

Daughter of Venice
Got this due to recommendation from Amazon and didn't realise when I bought it it was a "teen" book. Given this I really enjoyed the historical side of the book and the background of noble Venetins was well done...however, the overall plot and characterisation was a bit thin. Just because it's for "younger readers" doesn't mean they can't take more complicated ideas.

Mum's the Word
Bought on the back of the psychic detective books and although it was okay, I didn't find it as intersting as the Abby Coper books and the main character is far less sympathetic. Won't bother with the rest of this series.

Better Read than Dead
The second of the psychic detective series and enjoyable...just wish they were a bit cheape and easier to get hold of from Amazon! Abby remains an interesting chracter and the developments with Mitch show promise.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

So to get back on track...Books for March!

Abby Cooper: Pyschic Eye by Victoria Laurie
Psychic turned dectective in this US book. Interetsing characters and not too predictable, although I did guess who did it well before the end. Will definately look at the next in the series...

Beach Babylon
Little disappointing after I enjoyed Hotel Babylon last year, but now after a bit of thought I shouldn't be too surprised as after all it's more of the same just with sun and sand. And that about sums it all up!

The School for Husbands
I love her other books but found this one a bit flat...probably because I felt sorry for the husband and thought Sophie needed to get real rather than him! Also the mother interferring was sooo unbelievable, it was all a bit too contrived, even for chick-lit.

My Best Friend's Life by Shari Low
Okay, so I did find some sections funny and it was a quick read, but over all it was a bit seedy and to go from frump to complete sex queen just by living in London (as if, or I wish?!) I don't need threesomes and girl on girl action in my chick-lit either.

The Glassblower of Murano
I loved this and am looking forward to her new book that's out soon. It's very gentle and not an awful lot happens, but loved the setting and the back story of the glassmakers...reminded me of The island, which was one of my better reads a couple of years ago.

The Love of my Life by Louise Douglas
Brilliant! Beautifully written and sensitive. Didn't want to get to the end.

Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell by MC Beaton
James turns out to be just as cold as predicted and joins a monastery (honest!) Agatha flails around as usual with Charles in tow...one of the best ones of the series and now we need a worthy man for Agatha to pine for in the next one!

Love Potions by Christina Jones
The girl who didn't get her man in Seeing Stars gets another chance through aromotherapy. More of the same - well written, although she's not my favourite heroine, but pleasant.

Playing catch up...

So long since I've updated my blog and I'm in danger of losing track of what I've read!
So to finish of my Febrary books...

Seeing Stars by Christina Jones
More of the same, but I really enjoy this series...this time it's Fiddlesticks and their old fashioned celebration of the stars that has a powerful effect on the main characters love life!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

end of the hols...so depressing!

Had a fab week and now it's Sunday and I'm all depressed again!

Class by Jane Beaton
Found this by accident on RiSi and tried to swap - as it didn't happen I bought it from Amazon out of curiosity and because i like the cover. So, I admit to being shallow! Like the author i loved the boarding school stories as a child and vividly remember St Clares, Mallory Towers and the Naughtiest girl in the school! Like many girls I thought my very ordinary school was dull in comparison...well this is boarding school for grown ups (well pretending to be grown ups!) and it's a romp through school girl pranks, difficulty settling in for the girls and the staff...I'm already for the next one!

An altenative "Phantom of the Opera"...where Christine makes the right choice!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Half term...

Hurray...but why is it only a week long?!
Loved Jersey Boys - didn't think it was my thing, but so slick and all the cast were fab! Ryan Molloy is amazing!!

Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam by MC Beaton
What can I say...I know exactly what I'll get before I start reading. Agatha ends up in Norfolk - still trying to get away from James. Okay, so Charles is less annoying in this book and actually seems to be more sympathetic towards Aggie, but i still wonder what she's thinking, and then the quick surprise at the end!! Hope all the sparks will kick off in the next one. Still think she's better in the Cotswolds with familiar characters around her, but a quick, fun read.

Hubble Bubble by Christina Jones
So I've found these books and am now reading them out of sequence. This is the first one where Mitzi Blessing finds she can do magic with her cooking. Light and frothy...a no thinking required book with ridulous characters and situations. Silly, but fun.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Only 3 more get ups...

Nearly the holidays...can't wait!

The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater
Not one of my choices - acquired from my mum. A pleasant meander through the south of France in a derelict olive farm that the author and her partner buy. Okay, but a bit wordy in places where it wasn't always necessary and some of the parts i would have liked more about were skipped through...at least it wasn't like Peter Mayle by lingering on the "funny folk" too much.

An Angel on my shoulder by Theresa Cheung
If you believe in angels already this book will convince you and you will be delighted...if you're not sure all you see is "nice" anecdotes that don't convince and simply describe coincidences and kindness. What else can I say? I remain unconvinced!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

end of the weekend...don't you hate Sunday nights?!!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Someone at work lent this to me to see what I thought of it. Okay, it's a children's book, but unusual as it has a huge number of illustrations and little text. It looks beautiful - the pencil illustrations are gorgeous and the whole feel of 1920's Paris emanates from the page. It did gro on me - at first the story left me a bit cold, but as it progressed it did suck me in and i was sold by the end. Not sure how many children I work with would be absorbed by it though...a great starting point for work in school, but possibly a new children's classic that is bought by adults for children, rather than what they'd choose themselves.

It had to be you by Sarah Webb
More Irish chic-lit! Easy read - bit of fun, will try more from the same author. Nuff said?!

Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden by MC Beaton
I do sometimes get cross with Agatha! She's lost her hair so goes to some godforsaken coastal town in winter to avoid James until it grows back again. She comes across the usual murders...get proposed to and then ends up having a night with Charles! I still don't understand the point of Charles - he a charmless, irritating, tight wad and Agatha deserves much better! I know there's a limit to how many murders you can have in one small village, but I do miss Carsley in the books set away from the Cotswolds.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

February all ready?!!

Love Affairs for Grown Ups by Debbie Holt
A gentle but entertaining read and I really liked the main characters who were warm and reasonbaly realistic, although it took them too long to suss themselves out!

The Paradise Room by Belinda Jones
I do love Belinda Jones, but this isn't my favourite...and when I think about it, I'm not sure why! the setting (as always) was glamorous and I still want to feed the fish from my coffee table in Bora Bora!! But something about the book didn't draw me in as usual...maybe it was just the mix of characters that didn't appeal. The main character who dressed frumpily but had the body of a supermodel wasn't as sympathetic as usual and the love interest was a bit of a plonker?! All a bit too predictable - and this from a chick-lit fan?!!
Slightly disappointed as I really love Belinda Jones - sorry!

Friday, 30 January 2009

hurray!! the weekend...

At last...feels like this week has lasted forever!

Waiting in the Wings by Donna Hay
Another enjoyable read. Not come across this author before and will look up their other books. Pleasant chick-lit - thought the ghost in the theatre idea could have been developed further as could the supporting characters, but got the feeling that maybe it was edited down considerably and some of the sub plots were reduced?!

The Cupid Effect by Dorothy Koomson
Gave me flashbacks of being a student in Leeds so it was nice to be nostalgic about my youth! Enjoyed it and the "cupid" effect of the main character could have been an awful idea but was actually well handled and written with humour and a light touch. I haven't read anything else by the same author, but ceratinly would now.

Monday, 26 January 2009

where does the time go?

So after looking for interesting pics of Hugh, i have managed to get some reading done...honestly!

Happy Birthday by Christina Jones
A follow on from Heaven Sent, which I really liked to. A fluffy, no commitment book which is entertaining and good fun. A pleasant and enjoyable read, not particularly thought provoking, but a good way to pass an afternoon.

Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham by MC Beaton
Still reading all the Aggies! Why is she wasting her time with Charles? He's a complete waste of space and I find myself getting really irritated by him! Have some self respect, Agatha! Usual stuff and yet again done quickly in 250 pages. The traumatic end to all her visits to the hairdressers did make me smile and I wonder where it'll go now with James as they both seem determined to avoid each other. Also feel better with the books now coming slightly more up to date and using mobile phones etc., although I do find the characters, especially Roy, strangely old fashioned.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Time out...

See what I mean?!!

another week...

Cafe Tropicana by Belinda Jones
Good fun! I do enjoy this author - it's well written chick-lit with likeable, not too perect main characters and attractive love interest. This one is set in Puerto Rico and the setting is lovingly described...okay, so you know where it's going, but that's the whole point of romantic fiction as long as the chracters are well formed, a couple of twists and a happy ending.

Okay, now I'm going off track but...Hugh Jackman! OMG!
Finally got to see Australia last night and I'm in total awe...

Sunday, 18 January 2009

later in the weekend...

So, I've now found goodreads...I can see another addiction on the horizon! I haven't put everything on yet, but slowly intend to to help keep track of all my books.
Reading through a lot of chicklit at the moment, partly because I share these with friends and I like to make sure I pass books around regularly, but now I'm back at work and mainly reading late in the evening, I find I don't get into the slightly more serious stuff unless I have a concentrated length of reading time (if only!)
Where is that lottery win? Beach...book...drink? Nice to dream?!!
Trying to pull the next few Agatha Raisin books to keep up with the series and can't find swaps so have gone back to Amazon and bought them...nice to know I'm keeping them going in these times of credit crunch!!

Who's that girl? by Alexandra Potter
I've read other things from the same author and I was hoping that her books would have developed a bit by now. This book was predictable...time slips (or however it happened, which wasn't properly explained either) are fashionable and she did similar with the Mr Darcy book. I actually found the sloany Beatrice more interesting than the dull Charlotte and would have liked to know more about her! The younger version - Lottie was equally mediocre. Okay book and I've read far worse, but overall disappointing.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

start of the weekend...

Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death by MC Beaton
Agatha's back on form after I was a little disappointed with the last book. James is still being very cool, although they do finally work together to solve the murders. Usual froth and antagonism from Agatha and a new man in her life, too!

RiSi update...
I've now done 17 swaps! How mad is that is less than 3 weeks? had some excellent swaps and looking forward toreading them all. Only problem is I'm addicted to swapping but have far too much to read now and am running out of books to swap! What a trauma...

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


Heaven Sent by Christina Jones
A bit slow to start and I was slightly confused by all the names of her friends, and then I realised that some of the friends had appeared in earlier books and so it all clicked into place!
I have read some of Christina Jones earlier books in the dim distant past and seem to rember them as being pretty good. I really enjoyed this - it's fun, the characters are well written and having a character like YaYa didn't spoil it...(the token wacky character for effect can be a pain in less well thought out books!) It also makes a change for there to be no steamy scenes and although the reason why Guy and Clemmie "fall out" was weak, I could live with it!
I have already bought "Happy Birthday" which is the story of Phoebe (Clemmie's hairdresser friend) and I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Read it Swap it...

Not another book...I do have to work as well as read and I must say it's most inconvenient the way it interferes with my leisure time!
Totally, utterly, completely addicted to RISI...checking emails all the time at home...even consider swaps with books I'm not really bothered about, but I am trying the rein that urge in at the moment!
So far it's been really good, just one slow swap, but otherwise it's great and I love the thrill of getting home and having a jiffy bag waiting for me! I'm so easily pleased!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

and another...

Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by MC Beaton
Still am a big fan of Agatha and up until 2/3 of the way through this one was really enjoying the change of scenery - it's set in Northern Cyprus. Then I started to find Charles tiresome and the unexplained coincidence of him being at the same resort and hotel didn't work for me. James becomes even more remote and Agatha more needy...I think she misses the calming influence of Mrs Bloxby!
I thought this the weakest of the series so far and hope it's just a blip.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
So, it's not changed my life!
Bought this years ago after reading an article somewhere which raved about this book and the other works of Coehlo. It's one of those that sat on the shelf, making me feel guilty whilst I read lots of trash and nothing worthy...so I finally got to it and...I don't really know what to say, but I'll try!
It's a fable - a gentle meander through a shepherd's journey to find treasure and what he learns on the way. Okay, so you must learn to listen to your heart, follow the omens and follow your dream...easier said than done, but maybe I'm not spirtitual enough! Not my usual type of book and I'm not searching for meaning in my life, like most people I'm reasonably satisfied with life and this hasn't changed the way I look at things. I'm sure this book has helped many people, but it's not my way of reaching enlightenment, although it was a pleasant way to pass an afternoon.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

and again...

Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by MC Beaton
Yes, I'm ploughing my way through the series as I can get hold of them! I actually ended up buying this and the next one from amazon as I couldn't manage to get a swap...by number 7 should be on it's way very soon in the post...hurray!!
Enjoyed this - it's a quick read and the character of Agatha is now coming through much more sympathetically. James is less so, butI'm assuming there is a reason why he's so cold that will come out later and the unresolved affair is needed to produce tension and worry in Agatha's life! Village life has never been so dangerous and her past life comesback to bite her, but it's all sorted and she's on her way to Cyprus...
I'm straight onto the next one now - so I'll let you know x


Sowing Secrets by Trisha Ashley
Really enjoyed this! Read another one by the same author last year and thought it was good too, so I need to look for more by the same person.
Yes it's light and fluffy, but well written, with quirky, sympathetic characters who you actually care about. Very much in the same vein as the Alan Titchmarsh stuff I've read before, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

another one...

Hippy Chick by
As I seem to have been a bit disappointed by the last couple of reads I thought I'd go for a bright, happy cover and leave my brain at the door. In doing so, I really enjoyed this - yes it's just fluff, but it was well written, made me interested in Ibiza (a place I've never been to and it had never appealed before this) and the characters were strong enough to make me bother about them. Okay spelling Edouard the french way was ever so slightly pretentious, Honeybee was even worse - but all is forgiven as it was light and fun and certainly better than the past few reads.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

January update...

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Only bought this because Amazon threw it out as a recommendation and I liked the look of the cover...shame really as it's a teenage "goth thriller". Had potential and an interesting idea, but the characterisation was limited. The descriptive passages slowed the pace down and i was left with a "so what?" by the end. This is the first of a series, but I'm quite happy to leave it there and not bother...I don't care enough about Gemma to see what happens. Nuff said.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Okay - starting properly now...January 2009

I love being off work - whole days to do nothing but sit, read, drink wine and eat nachos...I could easily become used to this life...who cares about the dust, ironing and other work building up?

So what have I managed in the early days of 2009?

Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley by MC Beaton
Did what it said on the tin...I do like Agatha, she's such a "normal" person. The murder is quickly dealt with, but her ongoing crush on her neighbour is finally rewarded. Good fun and a quick read.
One Glass is Never Enough by Jane Wenham-Jones
Took a while to get into it as the three main female characters blended into one at first and I couldn't remember who was what! saying that the characteristation of Sarah and Claire was pretty weak and made little impact through the book. Fairly pleasant meander through the usual events. Cross dressing husband thrown in for interest (sussed it when he got excited by the sari!) and careful edging around mental illness and depression.
Ordinary Miracles by Grace Wynne-Jones
Definitely ordinary! Okay, I knew it was "older-chick-lit" when I bought it, but very predictable (more so than I usually accept from the genre) and it took 200 pages to go where you knew it was going. The main character of Jasmin wasn't particularly appealing and the way she acquired her name was possibly the most interesting thing about her. Charlie had potential, but disappeared part way through whilst jasmin tried to find herself. Throw in the pig called Rosie, lesbian daughter, stroppy single friend who is secretly needy and that's about it. Lacked humour and has all been done before. Disappointing.
I haven't checked but strongly suspect that these two authors are the same person?!!

slight cheat...

Yes, I know I said I'd start from this year, but over the Christmas holidays I've read lots, so I'm going to start with those and then pick up from January in the next...it's my blog so I can do what I want?!!

Chrismas holiday reads...
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
Yes, I'm far too old for this series...by at least twenty years...so, there's really no excuse! But, I loved it! The writing isn't great and would benefit from stronger editing and the author not so obviously living through her main character , but I totally bought into the forbidden love and thought Edward was fabulous, although Bella is annoying at times, particularly through most of the second book. Gorgeous, sensitive vampires, particularly Carlilse and Edward! Jake the werewolf was mainly irritating and what was Bella thinking?! Edward became too self-sacrificing as the series developed and you wanted to tell him to get a grip and get rid of Jacob. The imprinting thing got slightly weird too, but I can still forgive most of that.
Twilight is my favourite and thought New Moon was the weakest of the four, just not enough Edward! Eclipse was fine and I liked the back stories of the Cullen's. The final book did bring it to a satisfactory conclusion, although it all seemed a bit easy for Bella, everyone else seemed to go through great pains to protect her and yet it all just worked out for her with her special powers. Cynical, moi?
Not great literature and I'm clearly not the target market, but I treated it like a huge box of Thornton's...I totally indulged and gorged on the books until I finished the lot, thoroughly loved it at the time and now feel a little bit guilty for enjoying them so much!

Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener
I love Agatha Raisin and wish I'd found them earlier...basic murder, usual crush and happy ending...what else?


Hi, I'm jooley.
Bookaholic with several other obsessions that I'm sure will crop up as I go along!

I truly don't believe anyone will ever look at this except me, but if you're here - hi! Please add comments as you feel the need!

I've decided to keep a record of the books I read through the year, give a brief overview etc, so I can see at the end of the year, just how much fabulous, amazingly good and mediocre I've wasted hours of my life reading!!

Also have a new addiction to the read it swap it website...we'll see how it goes...