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mummy2harry
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      03.01.2014 23:20
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      A fab read

      Who's pleased that the fantastic Angela is back at last?! I was over the moon when Lindsey Kelk announced that she was bringing back Angela and co for a festive installment of the 'I Heart...' series, especially because I thought her last, I Heart London was the last in the series. I was therefore thrilled to receive a very early proof copy of the book, and quickly got stuck in to it. In fact, it was the first festive read of 2013 for me, and certainly kicked it off in style. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop and really enjoyed every page, it was fantastic to be back with Angela in New York once more!

      Angela's having Christmas in New York, and she is really pleased with that. She's finally gotten married to Alex, and the pair have happily settled into married life. Angela's loving her job at the magazine, and Alex's music career is going strength to strength, leaving Angela lots of time to plan their first Christmas together as newlyweds, and to make it one that's unforgettable. However, as is always the case with Angela, things don't quite go to plan. Angela soon finds herself with a new job, Alex deciding that the pair need to grow up and settle down like proper adults and her best friend from London suddenly arriving on her doorstep in a bit of a tizz. Angela feels like her perfect Christmas is slipping away from her and fast... can she save this Christmas and make it one to remember?!

      This is the sixth book in Lindsey Kelk's 'I Heart...' series, and getting back into the swing of the story with these characters was like getting to know a friend again! I really love Angela, she's one of my favourite chick lit characters of all time, and this was definitely the case with this one. I loved Angela for wanting a perfect Christmas, she really loves the festive season, and doing Christmas in New York just sounds perfect, and I can't blame her for wanting it to be exactly right! She's a bit confused in this book, with a lot going on and poor old Angela ends up getting herself a bit frazzled, and rightly so to be honest! She's a hugely busy woman, thanks to her recent new job and the arrival of her British best friend Louisa and young daughter, not to mention Jenny seemingly going crazy too!

      I really loved the pacing of this book. It starts well, before Christmas with the excitable build up, and Kelk puts this across so well, with Angela keen to decorate her huge Christmas tree in their tiny flat, and hiding presents all over the place. Things aren't always plain sailing in their marriage, and I feel that Lindsey Kelk has tackled important issues here that are very realistic and a lot of young couples have to face, and it was interesting to read the uncertainty between Alex and Angela for a change, and I could certainly argue for both points of view, although I was slightly more leaning on Alex's side if truth be told! The story with Jenny seemed a little bizarre to me, but then again, Jenny Lopez is a tad bizzare herself and she certainly adds some comedy moments to it, as well as a rather poignant scene involving Angela, one that shocked me and really struck a chord with me too.

      Of course there are quite a few calamaties throughout the book, poor old Angela certainly knows how to find herself in the middle of them, and they really are funny! There's an absolutely hilarious scene involving Angela and an air vent, a mad dash around New York searching for a missing person and much, much more that had me chuckling away as I was reading. Without wanting to spoil too much as well, there's a surprise return for a character from previous novels and it was brilliant having this person back too, it certainly added a bit more drama to the book! And of course another amazing part of the book is that it's set in New York at Christmas, one of my favourite places in the world, and Angela seemed to love it as much as me! Kelk brings to life all of those amazing sights and the festive feeling, and it was just brilliant from start to finish.

      I cannot tell you how much I loved this book, and being back with Angela, Alex and the gang again, especially at Christmas time. I really hope this isn't the last that we see of these characters, although in a way it's the perfect ending to an utterly brilliant and classic chick lit series. Angela was as hilarious as ever, there were lots of laughs as well as some more serious and poignant moments for this well loved character, and I was really feeling the emotions along with her as I was reading. The festive feeling was apparent all the way through the book, despite Angela's hectic schedule, and I had everything crossed for the perfect Christmas for her despite everything! While this book would work okay as a stand-alone novel, it's best read as part of the brilliant series, and if you've read them all so far, you definitely WON'T want to miss out on this! A super festive treat that shouldn't be missed!!

      Available as a paperback or an eBook.

      Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com.

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      24.11.2013 22:34
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      A very good summer based novel

      Three women, friends for years, have finally managed to get their acts together and are all heading off on a Greek holiday, families in tow. There's perpetually single Frankie, a teacher who seems a bit cold and hard-hearted but is hiding a painful secret that has changed her outlook on life forever. Married Leila looks like she has it all, a loving husband and a gorgeous young daughter. But Leila is hiding something that threatens to spoil everything she holds dear, and she doesn't know how much longer she can keep it to herself. Finally, there's Tor, who is dating a younger man called Ed, which does make her feel insecure at times and wondering if it's the right life path for her. When she unexpectedly finds herself pregnant, she's sure her younger man will run for the hills, but she doesn't want to lose him. The women are hoping a holiday in the sun will help solve all their problems, but will it all end happily for each of them?

      Right from the start of this book, I really enjoyed it. I loved each of the characters, and that was because they were really believable normal women. The women are not perfect, they have all made mistakes and are struggling to live with the consequences of what happened, but I liked them for that. My favourite of the group had to be Frankie. She does seem hard and uncaring, but later in the book, the reasons for her behaviour are explained and it all starts to make sense, you certainly do feel sympathetic towards her when you realise what she has been through. I also liked Tor, she's pregnant which makes her happy but she's sure her much younger lover will not want the responsibility, again a believable storyline. I felt sorry for her, she was longing to tell someone her news but has to keep it all built up inside her, I really wanted her to have a happy ending.

      The best thing about the book for me though was the surprise entrance of another female character, a young woman called Candy. The women all judge her based on her appearance, but as the book goes on, we can see there is a lot more to her than meets the eye. It certainly shows we can't judge people on how they look, but we do too easily make assumptions on people just as Frankie in particular does here. The holiday setting was gorgeous, and sounded like a little bit of heaven on earth. Everything from the luxurious villa they stay in to the local tavern they eat at sounds perfect, and the descriptions of it make it come alive in your head as you're reading, I have to say I was jealous of the women when I was reading this! Yes, there is fun and sun, but there are some serious undertones in the book too, and I enjoyed how Farnworth balanced all of these stories.

      Her writing is very easy to read, and the book flits between the stories perfectly, and it was very easy to follow. The stories were very interesting to read, and while it wasn't obvious as I was reading that it was all going to end with a happy ending for each of them, you certainly hope for it for Tor, Frankie and Leila. It's a fun read for the summer that is a nice way to spend a few hours in the sun devouring, and it'll certainly make you want to go on your own Greek holiday once you've finished reading. I really enjoyed the book, and it makes me look forward to more of Rebecca's books. With believable characters, good stories and a gorgeous setting, everything makes you want to keep reading this once you've started. If you've read Katie Price's books and enjoyed those, I'm sure you'll enjoy this too, but equally if you haven't, this book is a good place to start.

      ISBN: 978-0099564478. Published by Arrow on 18th July 2013. Also available as an eBook.

      Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://www.chicklitchloe.blogspot.com

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        10.08.2013 14:50
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        An okay sequel, perhaps better left to our imagination than this book?

        I read The Devil Wears Prada a good few years ago now, and I really enjoyed it. However, I have to confess that I did enjoy the hit movie starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway a little bit more than I did the book, and to this day can't think of Miranda Priestly, the horrible Devil magazine editor from the book, without picturing Meryl in the role. When I heard Lauren Weisberger was bringing back the characters for a second novel, I was slightly worried that it might taint the brilliance of the first story, but I was also looking forward to having these characters back again, especially Andy who I loved reading about last time. I was so disappointed with the new cover, it's very bland and not my cup of tea, but of course I couldn't resist getting stuck in the moment it arrived through my letterbox!

        At the end of the last book The Devil Wears Prada, Andy had screamed obscenities at her boss Miranda Priestly in Paris, and consequently cost herself her job. This book picks up Andy's story 10 years after leaving Runway magazine, and she's certainly made a success of herself. Together with her former Runway colleague Emily, the pair have created and now run their own weddings magazine, The Plunge. Couple that with the fact she's about to marry one of the shareholders and her own Mr Right in Max, it seems everything is going right for Andy. But just as she thinks life is perfect, it seems her past has come back to haunt her. Miranda is back, and Andy is determined that she won't let that woman back into her life again. But she's up against the odds - how will Miranda aka The Devil destroy her life this time, and will Andy come through it a better woman?

        I was so excited to see more of the Miranda vs Andy clashes, but if you're expecting a lot of that in this book, I'm afraid you're going to be sorely disappointed. In fact, I was left disappointed with how little of Miranda was in the book as a whole. She doesn't appear in any big scenes, at first it's just glimpses of her, but even by the end, there haven't been any major "Miranda incidents" as there are throughout the first book, so it kind of makes the title a bit of a mystery too. Yes, Miranda is back, but, well, not really. She isn't nice, she's still ruthless but we do get to see a different side to her, and it just seemed very odd to me. I was constantly awaiting something huge to happen, but it never materialises, and while I enjoyed the story as a whole and reading about Andy again, the lack of Miranda and her "revenge" was a huge let down.

        Andy is the book has certainly grown up in the book, is ready to get married to Max and is a successful magazine editor in her own right, but I have to say I did want her to grow a bit more of a backbone in the book! She was far too nice for my liking, not willing to put her own point of view above anyone else's, especially Emily's, and it did start to grate on my nerves after a while. I enjoyed reading the development of her marriage to Max and the other developments that happen to her, and the celebrities and scenarios she finds herself in through her job are fun to read about. I also liked the mentions of designers and clothes, which were frequent throughout the book but didn't seem too over-the-top which was good, and of course Andy and Emily had an appearance to uphold!

        For me, this book was far more about Andy and her journey at this point in her life than about anything to do with Miranda. Yes, the devil does come back, but not in the way a lot of readers will be hoping for, and I have to confess I was left surprised by the final few chapters and what occurs there. I can't imagine this book turning into a big Hollywood movie as the first one did, simply because people would demand more of Miranda than is included in it. Weisberger is a good writer that can draw you into a story and make you care about her characters, but I have to question the title and lack of Miranda Priestly - let's be honest, she is going to be the reason most people will want to read this, and to find out what her revenge is going to be. I enjoyed it for what it was; an enjoyable read about a woman moving on with her life in New York despite a few wobbles, but for those hoping for The Devil Wears Prada part 2, I'm afraid you might be left disappointed.

        ISBN: 978-0007311019. Published by Harper on June 20th 2013. Pages: 432. Also available as an eBook.

        Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a review copy to http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com

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          06.08.2013 23:44
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          A super summer read

          Lindsey Kelk is back! Yippeeeeee! I was over the moon when I was sent a really early review copy of Lindsey's brand new book About A Girl, which is the first in a brand new series of books by her, and stars a brand new leading lady, Tess Brookes. I have loved Lindsey's 'I Heart...' series, always eager to pick up a new Angela Clark adventure so I hoped I would be able to get into this too and start to love Tess like I loved Angela! I have to say the cover is so gorgeous and summery, it's most definitely a book you'll want to take with you on your summer holidays and enjoy in the sun, but I enjoyed it just as much on my sofa in a cloudy April too lol!

          When Tess Brookes suddenly finds herself being made shockingly redundant, she doesn't know what to do with herself. She loved her career and put everything into it, so now what does a girl do? Tess also manages to make a bit of a hash of things with her best friend Charlie, so when she accidentally answers her horrible flatmate Vanessa's phone, she accepts the job as a photographer in Hawaii, and hops on the next plane out there, never mind the fact she hasn't done any photography in a long time. Armed with Vanessa's camera, and a small supply of clothes, Tess goes about convincing everyone, inclduing journalist Nick who is working on the exclusive job with her, that she is in fact Vanessa, photographer of the stars. The job doesn't exactly go to plan though, and Tess is left wondering how she can possibly pick up the pieces of the mess she's managed to make...

          One thing I loved about this book was that Tess wasn't a perfect woman by any stretch of the imagination - she's flawed and she knows it. However, I loved her despite those flaws and I was really keen to read her story and find out what madcap idea she was going to get into next! The fact she accepts someone else's job and hops a plane without thinking of the consequences made for a hilarious story, especially when she realises she actually has to be Vanessa for the duration, and that her reputation isn't the best! I don't think I could have kept it up like Tess does, and it's hilarious to see her as she tries to remember who she is every morning she wakes up! It leads to a lot of laughs in the book, and you can't help but feel a bit sorry for her when it all gets too much and she can't cope! Enter Kekipi, the wonderfully hilarious man in charge of the estate where Tess is staying, he's every girl's perfect BFF and he and Tess were fab to read about together!

          Nick was the main male character that we see in the book, a journalist with quite a good impression of himself, and he isn't afraid to show that women like him either. He's a bit of a cad, but you can see why Tess falls for him, and her dilemma in admitting the truth about who she is to him! One of my other favourite characters was Paige, the designer from Vanessa's magazine who is in charge of the photoshoot, a bit of a crazy woman whose heart is in the right place, but you wonder how far Tess can trust her. The whole cast is really likeable, and between them cause a lot of really funny moments that will have you laughing out loud, and cringing as well! Tess is perfect though as the main female character, and I really can't wait to find out more about her other adventures, she's the perfect next Angela!

          The setting of Hawaii sounds absolutely perfect, and I am so jealous that Lindsey got to go there to research the book, it's one of my dream holiday destinations! Writing from Tess' point of view, we get to discover the island through her eyes, and it sounds like a dream, Tess certainly picked the right job to accept! I loved that there was a bit of everything in here - love, laughs, sex and a gorgeous location to boot. It's got that typical Kelk writing style too that just makes you want to keep ploughing on to the end of the book, I just didn't want to put it down, it was so much fun to read. I love escapist books that I can get lost in of an evening, and About A Girl certainly delivered that for me. I have to say I loved the little plot twists along the way too, it kept it fresh and me surprised, which is always a good thing! The ending is one that'll leave you satisfied, but certainly wanting to find out what Tess is up to next. It's definitely my Summer Read of the year, and I'm so looking forward to the next book in the series due out in 2014!

          ISBN: 978-0007497980. Published by Harper Collins as a paperback and an eBook. RRP: £6.99. Pages: 416.

          Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://www.chicklitchloe.blogspot.com and to you for reading.

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            13.07.2013 21:07
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            A lovely to read debut novel

            Helen Chandler's debut Two For Joy is a book I have been looking forward to reading for quite a while now. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, and when my review copy arrived, I was so excited to open it up and get stuck in. I don't what it was about it that made me really want to read it, but I loved the sound of the story and I was curious about the idea of things becoming more complicated for the characters... how could it get more complicated than how the story makes it sound?! I finished the book in just a couple of sittings, and here is why you must read Two For Joy this year!

            Julia and Toby have been best friends for years, and Julia is sure she's always been a little bit in love with him, but is sure that he won't reciprocate her feelings. Toby's in a new relationship with dancer Ruby, but when it ends badly, he and Julia finally realise they are meant to be together and make things official between them. But soon after Toby gets a text that changes both his and Julia's lives forever - Ruby is pregnant. Toby feels he has to do the right thing and try to make things work with the mother of his child, and leaves Julia bereft. But when she makes a shock discovery, she realises things are going to get much, much more complicated...

            I have to say that I really loved Julia from the beginning. She's a successful career woman, has got her ideal little house in London and is pretty content with her life, and her friendship with Toby, even though she wants a bit more from him. As the book progresses, and things happen between her and Toby, you feel happy along with her, her happiness really radiates from the pages and I love her optimism in the smallest things that happen. You then feel the real lows she feels, and I actually felt angry on her behalf at how Toby treated her once he had his news. I don't want to spoil the other twists and turns as I didn't expect them and enjoyed them being revealed in the book, but as Julia's other storyline develops, I just liked her even more, she was a really strong woman.

            Toby, on the other hand, I really struggled to like. Yes, I know he was trying to do the right thing by Ruby and trying to support her through her pregnancy, but I felt the way he treated poor Julia was out of order and I disliked him because of that. Ruby was a bit of a complicated one - I really didn't like her attitude towards pregnancy and motherhood, but at the same time, you get a sense that there is something more going on with her and I really wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. We don't really see a huge amount of her in the book, but she doesn't come across in the best light throughout, even at the end when she made the decision that she did.

            I have to say the idea of the story was a little bit unrealistic, that these things could happen as they did and the coincidences that do happen, but of course it just makes the book even more fun to read. I was happy for Julia because she got what she always wanted, but the way things happened weren't ideal. I also loved the inclusion of Julia's best friend Rose and her own story which was also very interesting. It certainly showed how marriage wasn't always all it cracked up to be, and that Julia's situation wasn't as bad as she may have feared. Their friendship was touching, and made a nice addition to the book. These are really the only 4 characters we meet in the book, but it works because they are all you care about and want to find out what's going to happen next in their inter-twined lives.

            Chandler's writing was very easy to read, and I enjoyed how the story flitted about between Julia, Toby and Rub,y and Rose. Julia is certainly the main character, but the others are vital the story, and Chandler juggles them all with ease. She depicts scenarios which I am sure people will be able to relate to, and the emotions the characters go through in the book, especially Julia, are very real and you cannot help but feel them along with her. For a debut novel, this was brilliant, and I really did enjoy every page, I didn't want to put it down! Chandler is an exciting new voice in women's fiction, and this debut makes me very excited for what else she has to come. I hope you enjoy Two For Joy as much as I did, it was fantastic!

            ISBN: 978-1444769296. Published by Hodder books on 6th June 2013. Pages: 320. You can also buy this as a paperback.

            Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com

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              02.07.2013 18:28
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              Another great story from one of Ireland's best authors

              I have to say I was really curious about the idea of Sheila O'Flanagan's new book Things We Never Say. The blurb didn't give too much away and I was curious to find out exactly what happened with Abbey and her family. As usual, I like the cover for the book, but I have to say I find it a little bland and a bit unrelated to the story which is a shame - a book cover is really important for me, and I prefer something a little brighter and bolder, but that's just me. The book is a rather large hardback, but as always, Sheila had me whizzing through the pages, engrossed in the story and eager to find out what was going to happen next. Here's why you should read Things We Never Say.

              Abbey Andersen is happy living in San Francisco, she's got a great job as a nail artist, has good friends, and although she doesn't see her mother anywhere near enough, she's happy that she is in a good place too. When Abbey finds out everything she thought about herself is slightly different to what she's always believed, she's shocked and heads to Ireland to find out more about her new family. Something shocking soon happens, and leaves Abbey in a quandry and she doesn't know what to do. She can't quickly turn to her mother, so asks Irish lawyer Ryan, who seems to be a nice guy, what to do with her tough decision she has to make, knowing it's more than just her who will be affected by the outcome...

              I have to say I really liked Abbey from the beginning. She's an easy to like character, someone who seems to fade into the background of life, but she's happy with her lot. She's a talented artist, but has never quite managed to make it in that career, instead loving her work as a nail artist, making other women happy with themselves while struggling to find that happiness for herself. I did find her a little weak at times, especially relating to male relationships in the book, but other than that, there really wasn't anything I disliked about her. We follow her for pretty much all of the book, so it's important that readers warm to her and care about the outcome for her life. The things that happen for Abbey are really surprising, and I enjoyed the twists and tales of the story as things progressed for Abbey. Her relationship with her mother's ex-boyfriend Pete was touching too, and it was a positive relationship. Abbey's mother was a complete mystery, and I was guessing all the way along what was happening with her, but I was pleasantly surprised to see I was totally wrong! Their relationship, though, was very touching and I enjoyed their closeness despite their distance from each other.

              The Fitzpatrick family were certainly interesting characters, if intensely dislikeable at times too. The male Fitzpatrick's were quite unbearable actually, and I really wanted their respective wives to give them a bit of kick into reality, they were just living in cloud cuckoo land! Suzanne, the Fitzpatrick daughter is the only remotely likeable one, but is still as money-obsessed as her awful brothers - it's quite sad actually that they all only cared about the money in the end and nothing else. I found the information about the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland very intriguing, it's not something I've heard much about before but it certainly brings to forefront of your mind how views on things such as teenage pregnancy have changed dramatically over the years, and I thought it was a fascinating subject for Sheila to cover in her story, and the way it was woven in to the book was cleverly done.

              The action is split between Ireland and San Francisco, and I enjoyed Abbey discovering Ireland through a foreigner's point of view, highlighting the beautiful parts of the country, the friendliness of people and of course, the Irish weather, and I liked having an American main character for a bit of a change too. Things We Never Say was a really interesting book, and had lots of twists along the way that kept me intrigued, especially the mystery involving Abbey's mum, and the eventual outcome, which I have to say I was initially displeased with but soon grew to accept it! With an interesting cast of characters who will certainly evoke emotion in a reader, Things We Never Say is a very readable book, and I'm sure fans of Sheila's books will love it. It's a family drama, highlighting not a perfect family, but in fact some of the worst aspects of family, and how money really can be the root of all evil. It's a long book, but worth the investment for such an enjoyable story.

              ISBN: 978-0755378432. Published by Headline Review on June 20th 2013. Pages: 512. Also available as an eBook.

              Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com.

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                28.06.2013 19:52
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                A fun and interesting read

                Amy Wilde is a gardener, and she really loves her job. She lives with her mad flatmate Jo, a woman of wealthy means, whereas Amy scrapes by with her business together with Toby. When they throw a party at their London flat one night, Amy gets talking to a handsome stranger, and the two click together easily. Jo finally reveals to Amy that her handsome stranger is in fact a handsome prince... Prince Leo Wolfsburg of Nirona to be precise. The pair begin to date, but Amy soon realises that their lives are worlds apart, and she struggles to cope with the demands of Leo's high profile life and everything it entails. Will Amy be able to overcome her fears of Leo's life, or will spend the end of their happy ever after?

                I will be honest and say at the start, I found it to be a little slow and I was struggling to get into it. I decided to carry on reading because I had heard such good things about it, so I was hoping it would pick up and draw me in like I hoped it would. Luckily, my perseverance paid off, and soon I began to get involved in Amy's story, and started to warm to the other characters too. Amy is the lead character, the one we follow throughout the book, and the one the whole story hinges on really. I really liked her, she's a hard-worker, determined to make it on her own, and is a little bit naive about her relationship with Leo until quite a way in, which I found quite sweet. She just wanted to be a woman in love with a man, ignoring all the other circumstances, and I liked how hard she tried to make that happen.

                Prince Leo himself was a wonderful character, treated Amy like a real princess, and was the perfect male hero! You could see he did his best by her despite how different their lives were, and I liked that he was willing to stand up to his family for the sake of his girlfriend. Browne writes them as almost the perfect couple, so you can't help but will them through to the end. Jo, Amy's flatmate added some real humour into the story, and I loved the scenes with her in, she sounded like a great, fun person to live with! I loved the descriptions in the book too, for me they made it come alive and everything from their flat to Amy's gardens and plants that she deals with were vivid in my mind as I was reading. The way Browne writes about London makes it sound so amazing, and the island of Nirona was so beautifully described, I wished it were real! Even the castle building sounded wonderful and opulent, Browne certainly has a knack for making things seem amazing!

                Although the main story was the one involving Leo and Amy's romance, and the madness that is Prince Leo's life, there was also a bit of a mystery running right through the book. It was involving Amy's family and their past, but we aren't told for a long while exactly what happened. It's hinted at throughout the book, the effect on Amy and her parents is quite blatant, especially her poor mother, and I have to admit it really did have me curious because I was desperate to know what the secret was and why it had affected the Wilde's so much. I loved that Browne was able to keep it a mystery, and how it all came out in the end was great to read and very enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I loved the cast of characters. It's really an proper love story, about love overcoming the odds, and Amy and Leo are one couple you really end up rooting for. Browne's writing was easy to read, and really got me into the story, especially with her descriptions of Nirona, London and Amy's wonderful gardens. It's a joy to read, and I'd definitely recommend it.

                ISBN: 978-1782065678. Published by Quercus on 6th June 2013. Pages: 448. RRP: £6.99. Also available as an eBook.

                Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com

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                23.06.2013 11:42
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                A fun read about the effects of erotica

                Estelle owns Cafe Crumb, and is struggling to make ends meet at the moment. When she spots the local bookshop closing its doors for the last time, she gets an idea - to run a book club all of her own in the cafe to help raise some money, and to indulge in her favourite passion too - reading. When 4 new members turn up, Estelle is unsure if she can make the club a success. But together with Gracie, Reggie, Rebecca and Sue, the foursome find that it isn't ordinary books that they want to read... it's erotic novels, but with a bit of a twist. Soon, the five members of the book club are allowing their lives to be more influenced by their reading material than they ever would have imagined...

                Like I said, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I certainly didn't expect the fantastic story that I would get completely hooked on. Yes, there is some sex in there, but they are well written and fit in well with the theme of the book, and don't get too graphic and involved so I imagine most people wouldn't mind reading them. In fact, they're few and far between so it isn't too in-your-face at all which is good for those readers who would rather avoid scenes of that nature in a book. It was the lives of these 5 very ordinary people which drew me in and kept me wanting to read more, and find out what was going to happen to them next. Estelle, the lady who held the group together as the café owner, was fantastic, a hard-working single mother to a teenage son, and someone who is sure she'll never find love again. As the book progresses, you hope for her that she will, and I really enjoyed reading Estelle's parts of the book.

                Gracie was probably one of my favourites, along with Rebecca. Gracie is a librarian with strong feminist views, and a love of all things 1950's, and I loved how Hart described her gorgeous outfits, and her bold attitude and how she isn't afraid to speak up for her beliefs. Rebecca is a teacher, and quite newly married but is worried their private life has gone stale. Rebecca got really into reading the books, and it was fun to read her attitude change. Reggie was the only male of the group, and I loved that Hart wrote a man into the book, he certainly added a new perspective into it. Sue, a newly retired married woman, is in a slump. Her husband doesn't want to do anything except sit and watch telly, but Sue is eager to get out and explore the world. The books they read change their perspectives on so many things, and I liked that they read lots of different types of erotica, just not the new stuff that's out, and it certainly enlightened me on books I've never read before!

                The pace of the book was fantastic, and I enjoyed everything that happened as it went along. The scenes in the café were great, and I wish there was a local little café like that I could go to, it sounds so friendly, and the cakes sound delicious! The book isn't afraid to explore the sadder side of relationships as well as the naughtier and more fun sides, and I felt like there were lots of ups and downs, but I hoped these characters would get their happy ending, and I have to say there were a few scenes that were quite moving for me! I really did enjoy this book and thought it was so much more than what I thought it would be, and makes me look forward to reading more books from Sophie Hart! It's got a cast of characters that I really got to know and love, and some interesting looks at different erotica novels too, and I found Sophie Hart's writing style to be so easy to read. It was a really enjoyable book that I can highly recommend, I loved it!

                ISBN: 978-0007514946. Published by Avon on 6th June 2013. Pages: 400. RRP: £6.99. Also available as an eBook.

                Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com.

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                  20.06.2013 22:06
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                  A superb summer read!

                  I am a big fan of Lucy Diamond's books, and the release of her new book usually means summer is around the corner! The cover of her new book Me and Mr Jones looks so bright and colourful, it certainly shouts out that it's a summer read, and I was really looking forward to getting stuck in and reading the book. Luckily for me, Lucy didn't disappoint and I have to say I really did enjoy reading every page of this book. It's also a book that I think can span a broad readership - there's something in here for anyone to enjoy, and to me that's the sign of a pretty perfect book.

                  The Jones' brothers are all very different men, but so are the women in their lives. There's eldest brother Hugh, married to Alicia who is about to turn forty and is determined to change her life for the better when she hits that milestone. How will she shake up her life and her marriage? Middle son David is married to Emma, but the fact they are struggling to conceive is gnawing away at their happiness every day. When David has to go away for a while, will Emma be tempted elsewhere through desperation? Finally, the youngest son Charlie isn't with anyone but has his eyes on dance teacher Izzy. But she and her daughters are hiding a secret past they want to put behind them - will it jeopardise Charlie's chances of a happy ever after? Then there's the Jones' parents, living and working hard in their B&B but for how much longer...?

                  The book focuses on the one family, and I loved this because it meant a small and focused cast of characters, and I wasn't left trying to remember far too many names and different stories. Instead, we're introduced to them all one son at a time, and as well as that we meet their lovely parents who run Mulberry House, a quaint B&B. They're struggling though, and it's clear Eddie, their dad, has more problems that anyone will let on. I loved how close the family was as I was reading actually, the sons would do anything for their parents, and it was nice to see how they all pull together as things chop and change throughout the book. I really loved the idea of the B&B, it sounded perfect and Diamond wrote it so beautifully, you can picture it and its setting so easily. I didn't like Lilian, the Jones' boy mum and owner of the B&B at first, she came across as harsh and a bit uncaring but as the book went on, I did warm to her.

                  The Jones' men were fantastic to read about, and each very different. Their wives though, are the focus of the book and I loved reading their different stories and how they tolerated each other and the family dynamic that was going on. Alicia was probably my favourite, a put-upon mum trying to make her life a bit more exciting but nothing really goes to plan... I'm sure a lot of mums will sympathise with that one! She's very likeable, and I was hoping she'd get her happiness in the end. Emma, too, was good to read about - it was hard reading how desperate she was to have a baby and how it wasn't happening for her, and you're left wondering if she's going to do something very silly, and I found myself whizzing through the book to see what she is going to do next, I was really hooked! Finally, there's Izzy, and her story was a bit of a mystery for a while but as things come together, it's quite a shocking storyline and had me surprised as it exploded in the book. It was brilliantly handled by Diamond though, she has a talent for making you feel like you're right in the middle of the action, feeling everything along with these characters.

                  One thing I really enjoyed about the book was how realistic it all was. There was nothing too out of the ordinary or too dramatic that happened that took it that step further, instead it was a believable story with a cast of realistic people going through realistic things - and I loved it. I loved the drama that was created just through the people in it, up against the odds, handling tough situations - it also highlights the importance of family and pulling together when times are tough. I find Diamond's writing is a joy to read - it flows so well and the pages fly by, because you're left wanting more every time you tell yourself "just one more chapter!". For me, this is probably one of my favourite books by Lucy Diamond, up there with her last release 'Summer With My Sister' which was also a superb book. I can honestly say I really loved this book, and it simply MUST make it onto your summer reading list this year! Brilliant.

                  ISBN: 978-1447208662. Published by Pan on 6th June 2013. Pages: 400. Also available as an eBook.

                  Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com.

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                    15.06.2013 15:30
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                    A really enjoyable debut novel

                    Sometimes I am sent books to review that I quickly dismiss as not being something I would read as I don't think they are of the chick lit genre. Emily Gillmor Murphy's debut novels was one such book - on looking at the cover I didn't think I'd like it, but once I had read the synopsis, I was actually intrigued and thought it might be worth a try. Emily is a young, new Irish author , still studying herself yet signed to a big UK and Ireland publishing house, so there must be something pretty special about this book which makes it worth my while in reading it. I'm so pleased I did because this was a little gem of a read.

                    Young Olive has finally made the break away from home, and is going to University. She's excited to be starting a new chapter in her life, but nervous about leaving her parents and beloved brother behind. Then there's Tom. He's keen to move out of home, away from his depressed mother and father who would rather pretend he didn't exist. When Tom spots Olive one night, he's determined he must get to know this beautiful, yet shy young woman. When the pair strike a relationship and something tragic happens in Olive's life, Tom is the one she turns to in her hour of need. But one stupid mistake a few weeks ago just might destroy everything Tom has built up with Olive. Can he undone what has already been done?

                    This is quite simply a love story of two young people struggling to get on with their lives despite the troubles they each have in their personal lives, and I really enjoyed it. Gillmor Murphy, while a new author, seems to have honed in on the emotions, actions and general lifestyle of her characters so well, they could well be any two young people attending college. I daresay Gillmor Murphy has perhaps drawn upon her own experiences of college as well, it reads so realistically and while there are some dramatic moments as the book moves on, I was more interested in reading the day to day lives of Tom and Olive and finding out what they would do next. I haven't read a book where I really liked both characters and really rooted for them both for quite a well, and it was a fabulous thing to discover that in this book.

                    The backgrounds of both characters are very important, and revealed gradually throughout the book. Olive's was an interesting one, because of a more secret story we don't know about that is explored slowly, and is quite devastating as it reaches its climax. It moved me to tears in a few scenes, and I have to really commend Gillmor Murphy's writing here because it really gets to the heart of the emotion of it, and it felt utterly devastating to read it. Olive's reactions, too, are very realistic, you cannot help but feel sorry for her and it made me all the more determined she'd have a happy ending! Tom, too, was a troubled soul and I felt sorry for him so much, he was like a lost little boy, and was using drink and drugs to try and escape his awful life. As the relationships he has in life, especially with his divorced parents comes to light more, you can understand why Tom is how he is - emotionally shut down - and I hoped Olive would be the one constant in his life.

                    I liked how Gillmor Murphy juggled the story, alternating between Tom's story then Olive's story, and then slowly beginning to merge the two as it develops further. The book is told in the first person from both characters points of view, and I found Gillmor Murphy easily got into the heads of both characters, and I didn't struggle with Tom's narrative at all, sometimes a problem I find when women writers try to write from a male perspective, but this seemed very realistic and enjoyable to read. She covers all aspects of University life, from their studies to new and flourishing friendships, to their home lives and growing independence too. There's no stone left unturned, and I found it was a joy to read because of this, there was nothing missing or that left me wondering. There was also a little side story involving one of the characters, Olive's friend and I found this to be equally captivating, and also quite emotional too, showing love can transcend all class barriers if the two people want it badly enough.

                    I thoroughly enjoyed this book right from the beginning, and grew to love Tom and Olive as the book went on, despite the good and bad points about both of them. With her dual narrative story-telling, Gillmor Murphy allows you to get really invested in their stories, and while Tom does make some silly mistakes, you can't help but wish that Olive will forgive him and that they'll live happily ever after. It's a book about young love, and it explores all aspects of their life in a realistic and hard-hitting way, but in a form that you can enjoy, whatever your age. Yes, there's some sex, and drug use in the book but it didn't put me off at all, and just added to the atmosphere of the book for me. With likeable secondary characters, a great setting and a well told narrative, Gillmor Murphy's debut novel is one to really enjoy, and one that I will certainly recommend this summer. Brilliant.

                    ISBN:978-1848271432. Published by Transworld on 6th June 2013. Pages: 352. Also available as an eBook.

                    Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com

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                      10.06.2013 22:30
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                      A fun summer read.

                      Alice Archer has always faded into the background, and she's been pretty happy with it that way. She works hard, makes sure that she makes time for her dad and her not-so-nice sister Stella, and is generally a nice person to everyone she meets. So when her sister offers her a free holiday to the Greek island of Kethos for a week, Alice decides Stella's diva attitude can be put up with for a short week and jets off to the sunshine. There, she meets gardener Milo, who she befriends and falls in love with Kethos too. But all of a sudden, Alice realises men are finally starting to pay her attention - what is it that Alice has done to herself that has made her irresistible, and will she be able to make her feelings for Milo into anything that can work out for the pair of them?

                      This book has one of the most gorgeous and summery covers I have ever seen! It is just as beautiful in real life as it is on the computer screen, and it makes me want to be on a sunny balcony looking over an ocean just as blue as the one on here! The story is set on the Greek island of Kethos. Now, I've never been to Greece myself before but this book has certainly persuaded me that it might be a lovely place to go, it sounds very idyllic, and I'm just like Alice, in that I love to go exploring and soak up the culture, rather than just sit on the beach and get burnt! Connelly does write the island so vividly, you can picture everything in your mind as Alice is walking around and seeing the sights, especially the beautiful gardens at the Villa Argenti, they just sound stunning!

                      I really liked Alice, she was a great character, and as things got rather strange for her after talking to the Aphrodite statue, you can't help but like her even more for it, especially when things get a bit out of control! Now, I'll quickly mention that there's a bit of a magical element to this book and you have to kind of suspend your sensibilities for a minute when you're reading. Normally, that isn't my kind of thing but I really enjoyed it in this book and had no problem just taking it at face value and letting the story go on. Anyway, Alice is a bit cynical too and I think that helped for me. I also found her relationship with her father very touching to read, and this was one of my favourite parts of the story.

                      However, I have to confess I'm really not so keen on Alice's awful sister Stella. Normally in a book with a bad character, there is usually something a little bit redeeming about them somewhere along the line, but there really wasn't for Stella, and she was just so dislikeable. She was selfish, mean and just not a nice person in any way so while she made Alice look like an even better person, it's a shame there wasn't just one nice thing about her at all. Now to Milo. Well, he was a perfect leading man, handsome, hard-working, family oriented and just completely loveable - you can see why Alice was rather taken by him, and I enjoyed reading all about his gardening and how passionate he is about his family. I really enjoyed his parts of the story, even when Alice was not around, and he was certainly a favourite character of mine in the book.

                      I really enjoyed this book, and although I had a pretty good feeling how it was all going to end for these characters, I didn't mind when the ending came and it was what I had predicted it was going to be because the story it took to get there was so enjoyable to read. I find Connelly's writing really easy to read, and dip in and out of, and I think the fact I read this book in just one Saturday when Harry was away says a lot, I thoroughly enjoyed every page. It's got a beautiful setting that Connelly brings to life on the page, and I enjoyed that while the main story of course followed Alice and her escapades, every now and then there was a chapter dedicated to Milo and his life, which were really enjoyable to read for me. Connelly will certainly make you crave sunshine and a lovely holiday after reading this book, and I'm sure you'll wish you were there with Alice and Milo! A great book that I will definitely recommend for your summer reading pile.

                      ISBN: 978-1847562838. Published by Avon on 9th May 2013. Pages: 400. Also available as an eBook.

                      Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com.

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                      07.06.2013 10:20
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                      A super summer read!

                      I absolutely loved Abby Clements' debut novel Meet Me Under the Mistletoe which was released last year, and was a beautifully written festive treat which made me very excited to read more from her. Luckily for me, I didn't have to wait a whole year until she released a new book, as this brilliant book was released just a few days ago, just in time for the summer I hope we are going to be having soon! I loved the cover straight away, it's a gorgeous summerly looking one with pale pinks and teals, it really is beautiful and somehow perfectly fits the book. Anyway, here is why you must read Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop.

                      Clements bases the book around two sisters, Anna and Imogen, who couldn't be more different as people. Anna is happily settled with her boyfriend and his son, moving into a new flat is a huge step for her, and she's just got a good promotion at work too. Imogen has been living in Thailand for a few years, working on her photography and she loves travelling, and living by the sea. However, when their beloved grandmother Vivien dies and leaves the women her ice-cream shop, they decide maybe it's time to do what Vivien wanted and restore the ice-cream shop to its former glory once more. They soon find out though that running an ice-cream shop isn't as easy as they thought it would be and that it just might change their lives for the better as well!

                      I really liked both of the lead characters in this book so much, and I think that really enhanced my enjoyment of the book overall. While they are both very different, the girls both hold family very important to their hearts, and I liked how close they were to their grandmother, especially Anna who lived quite nearby. Vivien only appears briefly at the start of the book, but is important throughout, and I liked how frequently she was spoken about and referenced in the book. I really liked Anna, she's hard-working, she is a lovely person and is just someone who does the best for everyone around her. Her sister Imogen is very different - she enjoys being a free spirit even though her family want her home, and is reluctant to want to stay in England because of her travel bug. Even so, I liked how passionate she was about her photography and although she made some bad mistakes, her heart was in the right place.

                      Clements chose to set part of the book in Italy too, where Anna goes on an ice-cream making course and meets some new friends. I loved how realistically she writes these scenes, you can really imagine beautiful Italy around her, and the way she describes the ice-cream making process and the mouth-watering flavours she discovers sound just amazing! I really liked the character of Matteo she meets in Italy as well, he was great to read about, and their friendship was very sweet. In fact, the whole usage of ice-cream throughout the book was brilliant, and it certainly makes you think differently about it, especially when you're only used to eating the basic flavours we all know and love! I've never made my own ice-cream but this book makes it seem do-able and it'd be interesting to have a go!

                      This book was a joy from start to finish, and I have to say I'm a bit gutted that I read it as quickly as I did because it meant it was over too quickly! I loved everything about it, from the brilliant characters to the storyline that really draws you in. Yes, the idea of someone inheriting a shop has been done countless times in fiction, but there was something different about this one, it was more about the journey these women went on and how the shop helps them do that and changes them as people. The ice-creams sound so delicious, the shop sounds perfect, and I wish there were more places like that to visit as it sounds perfect! With a few bubbling romances going on, lots of delicious ice-cream and characters to really care about, Vivien's Heavenly Ice-Cream Shop is a book you'll definitely want to devour this summer. I really loved it, and I know you will too!

                      ISBN: 978-1782064282. Published by Quercus on 23rd May 2013. Pages: 400. Also available as an eBook.

                      Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com.

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                        04.06.2013 22:24
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                        A great story

                        I read my first of Zoe Miller's novel last year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Rival Passions was a fun read, and I was surprised that after reading it that it had taken me so long to pick up one of Zoe's books! Therefore when I received a review copy of Zoe's latest book A Family Scandal (published in the UK by Piatkus), I immediately stuck it at the top of my to-read pile because I was so eager to get stuck and reading it as soon as I could! Luckily, it didn't disappoint, and I whizzed through the book in just a couple of evenings as I was so keen to get to the end and find out what was going to happen!

                        The book is about 3 sisters, who have very big life differences and don't always get on. There's eldest sister Ellie, a fashion designer who's in a relationship but isn't sure that it's forever; middle sister Miranda who has fled across the world to Hong Kong where she feels she isn't living the shadows of her sisters, and their younger half-sister Lucy, who is the daughter of tragic rock star Zach Anderson, and a fashion model in her own right. It's the 20th anniversary of Zach's death, and the sisters are more deeply affected than they will let on, and turn to each other at the tough time. But when things happen that threaten the relationship between the Morgan sisters, will they be pushed together or pulled further apart than ever?

                        This story dove straight in to the action, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The Morgan sisters are introduced to us one by one, and their life and story is roughly explained to the reader so we know who is who, and what is going on. It continues this way throughout the book actually, and it allows us to follow each of the sisters throughout the book and across the world without being too confusing as well. Miller's writing throughout is seamless, and I found it so easy to keep up despite the chopping and changing of who the book is following, and everything that is going on throughout. I liked the use of the third person narrative which was the perfect voice for the book, and Miller writes the three women in particular so well, that by the end of the book you really feel like you know the Morgan sisters.

                        While we see perhaps the least of Miranda in Hong Kong, I enjoyed her story and her "middle child" syndrome too, and you can see how being away from her family makes her a stronger person which is interesting. The book does mainly focus on the other sisters, Lucy and Ellie who were great characters. Lucy is a bit of a spoiled brat to be honest, used to getting what she wants thanks to her looks, and doesn't seem to appreciate a great deal. However, the death of her father when she was a baby clearly still affects her, and I liked how this brought out a softer side to her as the book progressed. She was the main part in another important part of the story involving a stranger called Ian who weaves himself into the lives of the Morgan family, and is a bit of a mystery... this part of the book was fantastic and it really helps with the tension and excitement towards the end of the story.

                        Ellie is perhaps the character I liked the most. She is the eldest of the sisters, and feels the responsibility of this all the time, especially towards Lucy. You do feel very sorry for her as the book goes on, but I liked how she took off to New York to try and get over the betrayal she suffered, and starts to try and make a new life and new friends over the pond. In the book, Miller highlights the delicate bond between sisters, and how even the smallest betrayal can tear them apart, and I was really hoping that the Morgan sisters could forgive each other by the end of the book. As I mentioned, the book flits from Ireland to London, Hong Kong and New York, and Miller writes the places so well you can clearly picture them all as you are reading. I especially loved the parts in Hong Kong, I felt they really stood out in my mind and were good to read.

                        This was a fantastic read that I enjoyed from start to finish. It's quite a detailed book in that you have to concentrate and follow what is going on with the characters, but once you are into it, it's a joy to read and there was plenty going on to keep you interested. The family dynamics were interesting, and you can see how the bonds between the sisters are stretched to breaking point. I liked the sinister overtones that lie throughout the book, and the inclusion of the mysterious Ian makes it all the more intriguing, you're desperate to keep reading to find out more about him! I loved this, and Miller's writing is a joy to read from beginning to end. I can't wait to read Miller's next book, she's certainly become an author I really want to read!

                        ISBN: 978-0749952297. Published by Piatkus on 7th March 2013. Pages: 448. Also available as an eBook.

                        Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://www.chicklitchloe.blogspot.com

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                        26.05.2013 23:41
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                        A really great eBook sensation that lived up to the hype

                        I was sent a review copy of this new eBook sensation quite a few weeks ago now, but for some reason it didn't jump out at me and I wasn't sure it was my sort of thing. However, I kept reading things on Twitter about it, and in the end, curiosity got the better of me and I decided one night to start Jessica Sorensen's book. Sorensen has published many books under many different series, but this is the first of her books to be picked up by a British publisher (Little, Brown), and it's part of the 'New Adult' genre that is certainly becoming all the age at the moment. It seems quite a few authors who went down the self-publishing route are getting a big break, and now I've read The Secret of Ella and Micha, I can see why Sorensen is a New York Times bestselling author.

                        This is basically a love story. Ella and Micha have been best friends for years, but as they have grown, so have their feelings for each other. Ella is haunted by her past, and by what her mother has done, and a few months ago had a bad night with Micha and she ran away to Vegas, where she went to college, but she didn't tell anyone, especially Micha, where she had gone. Now it's summer and she has to return, knowing she will bump into Micha once more, but she doesn't want to reveal the old Ella as she's done such a good job of reinventing herself for the Vegas crowd. But as she's forced to spend more time with Micha when she gets home, feelings start to become stirred once more, and he's determined to get her to realise her feelings for him, and make her love him as he loves her. Will Micha be able to win back his beloved Ella for good?

                        The book's prologue hooks you in straight away - you are left wondering what on earth is going on to make Ella act in such a way, and you can also feel Micha's love for her. After that short prologue, the book suddenly jumps 8 months into the present day where we pick up the story and stay with it for the rest of the book. The book is told through two first person narratives, Ella's and then Micha's, and it continues this way up until the end, and I really enjoyed this. It allowed me to get really into the story of both of these people, and we're given different perspectives of what happens as well. Despite Ella's initial hesitance at getting close to Micha, you can tell she has deep feelings for him however she might appear, and I was left just waiting for her to finally give in to Micha and to her feelings. Ella was quite a closed book, and things are slowly revealed about her past which allow us to make sense of why she's such a introverted person and wanting to hide who she used to be.

                        Micha is a fabulous male lead, and he's everything you want to read about in a hot male lead! He sounds rather attractive, with his pierced lip, he's a musician (of course), and likes to drive cars - fast. He is deeply in love with Ella and wants her more than anything, and is hating the fact she is turning him down. Yes, he's a bad boy but he's so much more than that too, and Ella really brings out a different side of him. Micha has a bit of a back story with his family too, and I felt more sympathetic to him as the book went on. I especially liked his scenes when he's driving his fast cars - Sorensen writes the action and the excitement so well that you feel like you're in there with them, feeling the adrenaline pumping as Ella does. Sorensen writes the sexual tension between Ella and Micha so well, you can really feel it as you're reading, and I was left wanting them just to get on with it because you can see how much they want each other, no matter how much Ella might try and deny it, and Micha's way of wooing her is pretty great lol, however did she resist?!

                        I was only around a 1/4 of the way through the book when I began reading it Sunday night, and I ended up staying awake until gone 2am to finish it, because I became so absorbed with their story that I couldn't put it down. I loved everything about this story, from the way Sorensen builds up the tension and the story between Ella and Micha, and also how she weaves in their pasts, especially Ella's to fully round off their tales. I liked the inclusion of Ella's college roommate Lila who is there to show us how different the Ella of now is compared to the one she was pretending to be at college, and I loved her shocked reactions to some of the things Ella does. It's a real love story that will draw you in and have you turning the pages until you reach the final one because you're desperately craving a happy ending for Ella and Micha. I'm thrilled to see that there is another book with Ella and Micha coming later this summer, and I can't wait to catch up with these two once again. Jessica Sorensen took me by complete surprise with this book, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Now where can I find me my own Micha?!

                        Published by Sphere. ISBN: 978-0751552287. Published on 11th April 2013. Also available as an eBook.

                        Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://www.chicklitchloe.blogspot.com.

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                        12.05.2013 22:02
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                        A great start to a brilliant series.

                        I used to read the Secret Seven books when I was a young girl, then moving onto the Famous Five, Mallory Towers and St Clare's novels. Enid Blyton is a fantastic author, and so I was thrilled when my mum bought Harry the first of the Secret Seven books as a treat recently, and he was quite intrigued to read it. It's had a cover overhaul, with a nice modern look to it, with computer imagery depicting a scene from the book, although I have to say it has quite a dark look to it. I told Harry to expect some rather old-fashioned language and a story set in a time that wasn't quite the same as the world we live in today, but he absolutely loved the book, and now we're eagerly collecting the rest of the series.

                        The Seven children, Peter, Colin, Jack, Janet, Barbara, Pam and George, have formed a secret society together, aptly named The Secret Seven. Together, they want to solve mysteries and be known around their village as crime solvers, but aren't quite sure about how to stumble upon one. When they are playing a game in the snow one day, Jack notices someone being taken into the old house at the bottom of the lane, although no-one lives there. The seven are determined to find out who is being held prisoner in the house and why!

                        As you can see, it's a bit of a mystery story, and I have to say Harry really loved it. We haven't read anything like this before, we tend to read funny books (his favourites being Roald Dahl and David Walliams), so I was interested to see how into the concept of a mystery he would be able to get. Luckily, he loved it and was always trying to guess what was going on, eager to read the next chapter and find out more with the children. Blyton's writing is brilliant, moving along at a pace which allows the story to develop without leaving it too bogged down in detail, as these books are probably aimed at children reading with an adult of around 6 years plus, or a little older if they are reading alone. It's easy to follow the tale though, with lots of explanation, constant referring back to what has happened, and of course some exciting adventure thrown in too.

                        I have to be honest and say I struggled to keep up with the names of the children and who saw what, but Harry seemed not to have that problem. He was always able to tell me the next night what had happened in the previous chapter, and followed the story with ease. He didn't seem to comment on the differences in their lifestyles to his, such as being allowed out on their own without their parents, and children trying to solve mysteries alone (which I certainly wouldn't let Harry be doing!), but he was totally into the idea of it, and was eager to see if the Secret Seven could solve the mystery.

                        This book was fabulous to read, and we enjoyed every page, so much so that when we finished this one, we straight away got the next book and have already devoured that too! Blyton is certianly one of the greatest children's authors of all-time, and these books, despite it being over 60 years old, still appeals to its target market even now - children love to read about other children, and that makes stories such as these timeless. The publishers have done a great job with the cover, giving it a modern feel and Harry was fascinated by the fact the story was first published in 1949... that's even older than Grandad he said excitedly! A wonderful chapter book for those children perhaps just starting chapter stories, and a great mystery to be solved by its young readers. A wonderful story to be shared.

                        Published by Hodder Childrens Books. ISBN: 978-0340917541. RRP: £4.99.

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