Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Skeletons by Jane Fallon

All Jen had ever wanted was a big, happy family. And when she married Jason and became part of the Masterson clan that's exactly what she got. For years everything was perfect. But then Jen sees something that she was never meant to see; unearths a secret she was never supposed to discover. If she tells, then her idyllic life might be over. But can she really keep it to herself?
I have read all of Jane Fallon's novels before this one, and I absolutely loved them all, especially "Getting Rid of Matthew" which is one of my all time favourite books, so I was excited when I received this on my Kindle!

Jen's family, until she meets Jason, has been very small, just her and her mother, as her father left her mother when Jen was just 8 years old. When she meets Jason, she is welcomed into the family fold and enjoys spending every sunday there, with his two sisters, and parents-in-law. 

The Masterson family dynamic is warm, friendly, pretty much picture perfect, a far cry from Jen's childhood. It is what anyone would wish for. I liked this family, they all had their own personalities, but fitted well together. 

Jen was a great lead character, and I really felt for her, after she discovers a secret that she wished she hadn't, she struggles with what to do.

I really liked the scenes where she was at work, the banter she had with Sean (who I loved) and the relationship she had with her colleagues, the whole "Mrs Neil" thing was really funny I thought.

The character I liked least was Cass, I know she wasn't happy with the situation she was in, and I don't blame her, but I don't think she handled it well at all, and was unnecessarily mean towards Jen. She came across as quite brattish to me, but maybe this was the difference in age between her and Jen.

The ending I thought was interesting, and my opinions of alot of people changed a fair bit, which surprised me. Overall I really enjoyed this book, and it kept me hooked right until the end.

Released on 27th March 2014

Pre order on Amazon now!

Published by: Penguin Books UK

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Bad Brides by Rebecca Chance

Two brides. One prize. Who will come out on top?
Milly Gamble is an up-and-coming actress, and the perfect English flower child. At 23, she's always been cast as the innocent heroine. But looks can deceive. Calculating and fiercely ambitious, Milly is determined to be the most famous star in England. And how better to achieve her goal than by dating Tarquin Ormond, lead singer of the biggest folk band of the moment? Tarquin is madly in love with Milly; Milly is only in love with herself.
Brianna Jade is an all-American pageant girl. The daughter of Tamra Maloney, a stunning billionairess, Brianna is a sweet, pretty girl who is more than happy to go along with her mother's ambitious plans for her. Now Tamra's brought her to the UK and hooked her up with an Earl. He has a crumbling stately home and needs a rich wife to help restore it to its former glory. Tamra is as ambitious and determined as Brianna is sweet and innocent - is this more a case of mother-in-law-zilla than bridezilla?

Both Milly and Brianna's upcoming weddings will be huge, lavish events that garner national press. But with the cover of the biggest magazine in the country to be won, things are about to get very dirty…
This is the first novel by Rebecca Chance that I have read, and I love weddings, so what better place to start?

I loved the idea of the competition to become the cover bride for Style magazine, however I did expect it to feature more heavily than it did, which is a shame. This did mean though, that there was more time for character development, and I think all the characters were developed really well.

Brianna was so sweet and nice, I did wonder if it was all a fake act and if she would turn out to be a complete nightmare, but happily, she was as down to earth as she first appeared. She also seemed very mature for her age, probably because she broke the stereotype of a rich, blonde pageant queen. Edmund was polite and gentlemanly, but not stuck up like you can imagine someone with a title and lives in a stately home (however desperate in need of renovation).

Milly was the bitch of the book, it was quite funny to read how self-centred she was, and how she put her brand first and foremost in her life, rather than her relationship with Tarquin.

I think this book was wonderfully written, I especially enjoyed the Milly and Tarquin thread of the story. This book is the perfect read if you want a sexy, steamy read which you will be unable to put down! Rebecca has certainly earned her title ‘Queen of the Bonkbuster’ here!

Released on 27th March 2014

Pre order on Amazon now!

Published by: Simon and Schuster

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Mischief and Magnolias by Marie Patrick

In 1863, Natchez, Mississippi, peacefully surrendered to the Union Army—but not everyone surrendered peacefully, especially not Shaelyn Cavanaugh. With both her brother and her intended off to war, her home, Magnolia House, and her beloved steamboats are taken over by Major Harte and his small contingent of men. Shae will use every mischievous weapon at her disposal to show Major Harte he has chosen unwisely. She begins by putting vinegar in his coffee.

This is not a genre I normally go for, I love romance, but more on the chick-lit side of things, never really a straight forward romance, or in this case a historical romance. That being said I love to try new genres, so I looked forward to reading this book.

Set in 1863, during the American Civil War, we join the Shaelyn and Brenna Cavanaugh in the town of Natchez, Mississippi. Due to the war, they are having to loan the use of their house and business to the Union, with no say in the matter.

To start with, I didn't really like Shaelyn, I thought she was spoilt and not very tolerant, her actions seemed more childish than a normal angry reaction for someone of her age, but her behaviour is understandable given what she and her family had gone through. However, Shaelyn’s mum, Brenna had a lot of patience and understanding, maybe Shaelyn got her stubbornness from her father.

The other supporting cast, and obviously the male lead, were all wonderfully likeable. I was very surprised with the amount of action towards the end of the book, while I had guessed the basic plot points, I expected it to be dealt with in a similar way and setting as the beginning of the book, so it was a very welcome surprise, it was great getting to see some ‘Girl Power’, which I can’t imagine was very common in 1863! It bought a slight modern twist to the book.

Overall, a good tale, with a great big slushy ending, that warmed my heart.

Published by: F+W Media/Adams

Received from the Publisher with thanks.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Bitches of Brooklyn by Rosemary Harris

From the author of the Anthony and Agatha-nominated Pushing Up Daisies and Dead Head.

Are they really bitches? That depends who you ask...four friends await the arrival of a fifth at a secluded Cape Cod bungalow where they spend an all-girls weekend every summer. But this year the fifth woman doesn't show. Instead she sends a note that reads - "I've run off with one of your men."

Has she? Is it a prank? Do they run for the phone or try to enjoy the weekend without her? Fun, flirty and filled with Harris' trademark snappy dialogue and quirky characters forced to reevaluate their marriages, their friendships and their memories, The Bitches of Brooklyn has been called "a cross between Pretty Little Liars and Sex in the City."

Inspired by a classic Hollywood film, The Bitches of Brooklyn will appeal to readers of Jennifer Weiner, Cathleen Schine and Susan Isaacs and is for every woman who's ever had a best friend and she really??
I really liked that this book wasn't based on romance, but on the friendship of 5 woman and what happens when one of them mysteriously misses their annual girls-only trip. 

The dynamic between the 4 friends we follow is really funny to read, I laughed out loud quite a lot during the scene where the girls go to the restaurant Minetta's, and they obviously get along really well. Yet they all have their insecurities that they hide from each other. I think Rosemary has got the realism for this group spot on. Their group title 'The Bitches of Brooklyn' works well with this, as they all have a slight bitchy banter, but it is self-derogatory at the same time.

I liked all the characters, though I would have liked a bit more about Rachel, of the 4 main characters, I thought Rachel was the least developed, until the end. I can only hope there is a sequel to this book, and that maybe she will be a more central character there, I would love to read another book about this group of friends.

My favourite thing about this book though, was the ending. I can;t say this about many books, but the ending completely took me by surprise, and even as I am writing this, I am facepalming myself at missing any clues.

This book is a real feel good story about friendship, and I cannot wait to pick another of Rosemary's books up soon!

Available as a paperback and ebook on Amazon

Published By - Chestnut Hill Books
Received from the Publisher with thanks.
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