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'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 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) 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 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 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 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!