Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Unscripted by Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz: A Review

Unscripted by Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz

When Was It Released?:  28th November 2011

Where Did I Get It From?: From the authors in exchange for a review. Thankyou
Who Published It?: Carina Press

Have you ever wanted to know what really goes on behind the scenes of your favourite reality television show? I know that I have always wanted to find out the gossip and dirt on what really goes happens and Unscripted by Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz defiantly takes you there. Add a splash of romance and some chick lit and you have a novel that you will fly through.

As a producer on a reality dating show, Abby Edwards knows that true love is a myth. When her screenwriter ex makes a hit movie based on their relationship, Abby's faults are projected on screens across the country. Suddenly the fact that her job depends on orchestrating hot tub hook-ups doesn't seem so impressive. Her friends rally to help. Zoë thinks she needs to meet a guy. Stephanie suggests an attitude adjustment. Nancy wants her to get in touch with her inner Goddess. Abby knows they mean well, but she prefers to focus on her work. Unfortunately, she's already embarrassed herself in front of her new boss, Will Harper, who she would find totally crush-worthy if he weren't so irritating.

Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz have both worked in reality television before, which really added an extra layer to Unscripted. I loved the way in which they were able to weave some extreme and hilarious goings on behind the scenes into their story. I was constantly left wondering whether these happenings were entirely made up or whether Natalie and Marla brought these in from first hand experience. With Unscripted being written by two different authors I have to admit I was a little sceptical that it would be obvious that which author had written which parts. Well my worries were sent packing, I found that the writing flowed smoothly with no interruptions. Unless you knew beforehand, there is no tell tale signs that Unscripted has been written by two different authors. While the pace of Unscripted was a little slow to begin with, once I got started on the story I found it very hard to put down. I kept flying through the pages, ready to find out what the reality stars were going to get up to next. I did, however, find the ending to be a little abrupt. I got to the last few pages and was really beginning to wonder how Natalie and Marla were going to wrap up the story in that limited amount of space. While I don’t want to give anything away, I will say that I would have liked the ending to progress a little more.

As a character, I really connected with Abbey finding her to be smart and funny, which are two qualities I enjoy a main character to have. I loved in way in which we see her at her lows and her highs, giving a full range of her character. I really enjoyed her interaction with her best friend, ,they go through some rough times in their friendship and I liked the way it was handled. I was constantly torn between thinking that they shouldn’t be friends anymore to wanting them to work through their differences. Something that anyone who has ever had an argument with a close friend can relate to. As well as liking Abbey, I also enjoyed reading about the secondary characters as well, finding almost all of them to be intriguing. My only issue, in terms of characters, was with the romance aspect between Abbey and her co-worker Will. I just felt that there was not enough of it and would have loved to see this develop more. While it is underlying throughout most of the novel, I really would have liked to see more of it. I would also have enjoyed seeing more of Will as a character as even at the end of the novel, I felt I knew very little about him.

Overall. I did enjoy Unscripted, finding it to be unique. In the romance and chick lit genre all too often some novels become predictable and similar, I really enjoyed how Unscripted took a different route into an area that has had very little exploration in this genre. Unscripted is a light, entertaining, charming read that will have you laughing out loud from beginning to end. If you are looking for a twist on a romance or chick lit novel I would defiantly recommend Unscripted.

Winner: 100 Follower Giveaway

My 100 follower giveaway to win the fantastic prize of either a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card ended on Monday. I was astounded by the number of enteries, and want to thank everyone so much for their support. I have now picked a winner a random.

The Winner Is:

Tara V

Congratulations to our lucky winner Tara, who I have also emailed so that she can claim her prize. Thankyou so much to everyone who entered the giveaway for your support of Chick Litaholic. I will be bringing you lots of giveaways in the future. Please stayed tuned for the latest giveaway, that you will not want to miss, which will be announced on Monday.

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that and looks upcoming releases that we cant wait to get our hands on.

This week's pre-publication I really can't wait to read is:

The Bungalow by Sara Jio (27th December 2011)

In the summer of 1942, twenty-one-year-old Anne Calloway, newly engaged, sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancé, she is drawn to a mysterious soldier named Westry, and their friendship soon blossoms into hues as deep as the hibiscus flowers native to the island. Under the thatched roof of an abandoned beach bungalow, the two share a private world-until they witness a gruesome crime, Westry is suddenly redeployed, and the idyll vanishes into the winds of war.

How awesome does this book sound?  The cover is so beautiful and the destination of Bora Bora makes me want to hop on a plane and head off to a tropical destination. On top of that this is a book by Sarah Jio, I don't think that needs any more explanation.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Book News: Ali McNamara and Breakfast

When Ali McNamara's debut novel From Notting Hill With Love..... Actually was released I just had to buy it and I fell in the love the story. When I heard that Ali Mcnamara had a second novel coming out entitled Breakfast With Darcy, I just could not wait to get my hands on a copy. After all how many novels do you read where the main character inherits a small island.

When Darcy McCall loses her beloved Aunt Molly, she doesn’t expect any sort of inheritance - let alone a small island! Located off the west coast of Ireland, Tara hasn’t been lived on for years, but according to Molly’s will Darcy must stay there for twelve months in order to fully inherit. It’s a big shock. And she’s even more shocked to hear she needs to persuade a village full of people to settle there, too. Darcy must leave behind her independent city life and swap stylish heels for muddy wellies. Between sorting everything from the plumbing to the pub, she meets confident, charming Conor and sensible, stubborn Dermot - but who will make her feel really at home?

In the run up to the publication date of Breakfast At Darcys, which is released on 24th November 2011, Ali Mcnamara has been running an interesting and unique feature on her website. Ali was set with the task of eating 30 different breakfasts in the 30 days before the publication date. What a fantastic idea, after all I know myself I always struggle with variety at breakfast time, and afterall the task fits in nicely with the title of the book. You can check out what Ali has been eating every day on her website:

You can also check out her journey to publication of her first novel From Notting Hill With Love......Actually below:

Secret Obsession by Kimberla Lawson Roby: A Review

Secret Obsession by Kimberla Lawson Roby

When Was It Released?:  6th September 2011

Where Did I Get It From?: From the publishers in exchange for a review 
Who Published It?: Grand Central
Number Of Pages: 175 pages

Have you ever thought your best friends boyfriend was cute? I'm sure most of us have found this to be the case but we would never take things any further than that. Well, how about taking it one step further and becoming obsessed with your sisters husband. Afterall thats what happens in Secret Obsession, Paige falls for her sister, Camille's husband.

Paige Donahue has always lived in her sister Camille's shadow. As children, Camille had the grades, the friends, and their parents' love, while Paige was left with hand-me-downs and criticism. Now as adults, Camille lives an idyllic life with her husband, Pierce, and her two perfect children in a beautiful home, while Paige is stuck in a small condo with bills she can't afford to pay. But no more. With seeds of doubt planted in both Camille's and Pierce's minds, Paige's plan to steal her brother-in law starts to work. But when he reveals his decision to make his marriage work, a desperate Paige moves from envy to madness. What results from her dangerous scheme is something no one could have imagined.

My first thought when I heard about Secret Obsession was that it is based around such an interesting concept. I have read a lots of books where there is cheating involved but never have a read a book where one of the characters becomes so obsessed with her sisters husband that she tries to steal him for herself. I really thought this was a great premise, and looks at the 'bad' side of relationships. Secret Obsession is a short read, that is fast paced throughout. The plot moves quickly and I kept turning the pages desperate to know what extremes Paige would go to next and exactly what was going to happen. There is a scene at the beginning of the book that made me very uncomfortable reading it, however if you can past it the scene really sets the tone of just how far Paige is willing to go to get what she wants. I have to admit that I did not enjoy the epilogue. I thought that after such a real, hard hitting, emotional storyline the epilogue tied things up too perfectly. I would have liked to see things end slightly differently to keep with the overall tone of the book.

In terms of characters, I really disliked Paige finding her to be extremely self centered with very few morals. Paige is a character you are expected to hate and Kimberla Lawson Roby wrote her this way for a reason. I also did not particularly like Pierce either, as he commits actions later on in the novel that are out of line. The only character I did like on the whole was Camille, who is Paige's sister. I found her to be genuine, generous and caring, always looking out for her sister and everyone around her. I was really routing for Camille throughout the book and was hoping that she would come out of the sitaution relatively unscathed.

Some of you may be put off by the idea of someone going after her sister's husband, after all it is a pretty twisted sitaution. All I can say is that, yes it is a pretty extreme idea, but cheating happens everyday, and while I would never condone that, it can make for very real and emotional reading. If you can get past the concept of Secret Obsession then I would definatly recommend this book to you. It was a really enjoyable, fast paced read that I devoured all in one go.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sandra D Bricker: Interview

Sandra D Bricker the author of the Emma Rae Creation series, including Always The Wedding Planner Never The Bride (you can read my review here ). Sandra writes hilarious womens fiction for the inspirational market. Thankyou to Sandra D Bricker and her publishers at Abingdon Press for proving this interview. To find out more about Sandra you can visit her website here
Q&A With Sandra D Bricker

1. How did you decide on a wedding destination hotel as the setting for your books?
As a former publicist, a lot of event planning went into that job. I used to wish all the time that there were more venues that offered everything in the same place and that led me to the idea of one location that offered everything from engagement party through honeymoon....and The Tanglewood was born!

2. How did you "meet" the character of Sherilyn?
I looked in the mirror. LOL. Well, then I squinted my eyes and made her a natural redhead with awesome features! Sherilyn is very much a reflection of myself. She battles a weight problem, she's uber-organized to the point that she makes people around her a little crazy, and she has a wilder side that she has worked very hard to divert.

3. Is there any part of your personality in Sherilyn or the other characters?
I think there's a little piece of me in all my characters. From the first book, Emma was a diabetic with a penchant for cake [Check!] In The Big 5-OH!, Olivia was an ovarian cancer survivor in search of what comes next after an experience like that [Check!] Sherilyn, of course [Check! and Check!]

4. While doing the research for the book, did you come across any interesting stories of weddings gone awry?
I did! A disappointing wedding, I have come to believe, is the most traumatic thing a bride can experience. She's been building up to that one moment and that one day, often since childhood. I can across several stories that made me cringe, and even cry. One bride with an outdoor wedding wasn't just rained out, it was a monsoon! Another bride I read about, broke the heel of her SIX INCH shoes and fell into her cake, before they had even cut it. Like any other carefully planned event, a wedding is pretty likely to have something go wrong. But sometimes things go "wronger" than others.

5. Do you think you would make a good wedding planner?
I think I would. I used to enjoy that part of my job as a publicist. My clients were all actors, and they had their fan club gatherings and pet charity fundraisers, all of which required event planning skills. But on occasion, I've been asked by my less-organized friends to help out with planning their weddings, and it has been a real kick for me. In fact, my friend Dianne (the most UN-romantic or ceremonial person I know!) told me her and her fiance had decided to go downtown that week to get married at the courthouse. "Dianne", I objected. "You can NOT call and tell your friend the romance writer something like that!" A month later, they went to St. Augustine and were married in a beautiful wedding destination planned by ME.

6. What type of environment is the best for your writing?
I write best with a large block of time (no less than four hours) to be alone and play my inspiration music and really get into my story. I usually have a cold bottle of water, a cup of coffee or tea, or even soda nearby, and a bowl of munchies, like nuts or pretzels nearby.

7. What do you hope readers will take from your stories?
Before I turn it in to the publisher, I pray over every manuscript I complete and ask that God's hand would be upon it, and that every person who reads what I have written would be blessed in some way and drawn closer to Him.

8. What's next for you?
I have just finished the third book in the Emma Creation series (Always The Designer Never The Bride) and I'm about to start on book four, the final one in the series (Always The Baker FINALLY The Bride). I'm really excited about the opportunity to give Emma and Jackson their happily-ever-after ending at last. Emma's been a good friend to me after all! I want to see her blessed and happy.

Always The Wedding Planner Never The Bride by Sandra D Bricker: A Review

Always The Wedding Planner Never The Bride by Sandra D Bricker

When Was It Released?: 

1st October 2011
Where Did I Get It From?:

From the publishers for review.
Who Published It?:

Abingdon Press
Number Of Pages:

320 pages

Working in the wedding industry, I’m just a little bit in love with all things wedding and that includes books about weddings. When I heard about the novel Always The Wedding Planner Never The Bride by Sandra D Bricker I just knew that I had to read it. Always The Wedding Planner Never The Bride is the second book in the Emma Rae Creations series with Always The Baker Never The Bride being the first book. After all what could be better than chick lit with weddings and wedding planning? Not much in my eyes, which is why I was so excited to get started.

Sherilyn Caine has left Chicago behind to marry Andrew Drummond IV, an Atlanta native with a family name that tops all the social registers. Landing the job as The Tanglewood’s wedding planner is a piece of cake for someone with a Type A personality; she’s the perfect fit for a wedding destination hotel known for its attention to even the tiniest details. But when everything else is going along swimmingly, why are her own wedding plans drowning right before her eyes? One way or the other, Sherilyn is determined to make this wedding work—until the latest development threatens to call the whole thing off. Is it possible that Sherilyn is allergic to her fiance?

Always The Wedding Planner Never The Bride was a really fun read with plenty of Southern charm thrown in. I did find the pace to be a little slow to begin with, finding it a little hard to get into the story to begin with. Sandra D Bricker’s humour was spot on throughout and I laughed out loud multiple times while reading the book. I really enjoyed all the wedding elements involved and loved having a real insight into the wedding planning world. In particular I love the little titbits of wedding planner advice and recipes that were added in at the end of chapters. The love story involved between Sherilyn and Andy was really sweet, yet realistic, with both of them having doubts at times which I could defiantly relate to.

I really liked the characters within Always The Wedding Planner Never The Bride in particular Emma and her Southern charm. I also liked Sherilyn finding her to be hilarious, relatable and caring. Her self esteem issues made me really feel for Sherilyn and her doubts over the wedding again make her very relatable. I found myself wishing throughout that these characters were real so I could make friends with them. One word of warning, however Always The Wedding Planner Never The Bride has a lot of religious references. While I do not mind some elements of religion in the novels that I read I did find this got a little overwhelming. There were many parts of the novel where God was mentioned multiple times as well as praying. While I did not feel as though religion was being pushed down my throat I did find there were too many references for my tastes.

Overall I really enjoyed Always The Wedding Planner Never The Bride finding it to be entertaining, hilarious and it had a range of characters that I loved. If you are looking for a great story with lots of wedding fun thrown in then this is defiantly the book for you. I would highly recommend Always The Wedding Planner Never The Bride and I cannot read to the next book in the Emma Rae series.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top Ten: Books I Read Outside Of My Comfort Zone

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday The Broke and the Bookish post their top ten lists on various topics: Top Ten Tuesday page

This week I am focusing on the Top Ten Books I read that were outside of my comfort zone. This one is difficult for me as I read a lot of different genres, however, these books are ones that were not in my comfort zone at the time I read them:

1. City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare - Now I have a confession - before reading City Of Bones, I had never read a book that contained Vampires, Werewolves, Demons etc. No, not even Twilight (I still havent read or watched Twilight!) I was under the impression that I really wouldn't enjoy a book with any of the aforementioned involved. I have no idea where that preconception came from but it kept me away from many books for many years. Until I got talking to people in theYA book community read City Of Bones and realised, actually, I do want to read more Supernatural books.

2. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa - Do I even need to explain this one?! This was the book that sparked my slight, ok maybe big, obsession with Fae. It was with very first book I had read since I was a very small child that featured Fae in any shape or form. I really thought this type of book wouldn't be for me, until I heard so many great things about it from the book blogging community. It was also the very first YA book I ever read!

3. Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell - My dad leant this one to me, after I ended up wanting to read and having nothing to read. This was years ago before I started to collect books and only went to the library for books. I really thought that this book would be one word; boring and that it would be a book only for guys with all the historical references. Boy, was I wrong, I loved this one and have read many other Bernard Cornwell novels since.

4. Envy by Gregg Olsen - I don't usually read crime novels. In fact I hardly ever read crime novels. Perhaps it is because my mum reads ONLY crime novels, where at least one character ends up murdered. After reading a couple of her novels and being scared out of my mind, when I was younger, I stayed clear of crime novels. That is until I read Envy, which I have to admit I really enjoyed.

5. Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake- I really dislike horror. You can call me a wuss if you want, thats fine by me. I just hate to be scared and I really don't like gore. I refuse to watch horror movies, and would rather give up all my books than ever watch Saw. Yes, thats how much I hate horror. So, I tend to stay away from horror books as well, that is until this Halloween when I read Anna Dressed In Blood and LOVED it.

6. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown - Angels and Demon's involved pretty much everything that I tend not to read about in a book - religious aspects, Science, crime and so much more. With all the hype around this book and pretty much everyone else I knew reading it I decided to give it a shot. You know what? - I actually enjoyed it.

7. Birthmarked by Caragh M OBrien - Birthmarked was the very first Dystopian novel I ever read. Why? Well I just did not think Dystopian would be for me, afterall I have always prefered more 'real life novels'. Read this one and LOVED it. Hmmm perhaps I need to stop having preconceievd notions about genres and novels. I think I need to learn my lesson that whenever I think I won't like something really it means that I will. This book definatly got me into reading more Dystopian novels.

8. Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan - I tend not to read much Sci-Fi, in fact I never read Sci-Fi. Although, another confession, I do enjoy an occasional episode of Star Trek Enterprise. Yet Sci-Fi books had never really appealed to my reading tastes. That is until I read Glow and really enjoyed it. While I doubt I will read much more Sci Fi in the future, except of course the next book in the series, this was an fantastic change from my usual reading genres.

9. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl - Before reading Beuatiful Creatures I had not read a witch book since my childhood when I loved The Worst Witch books. Since then, I put Witch books aside and didn't think twice. That is until I stumbled across the Caster Chronicles series and realised that you are never too old to enjoy a well written book about Wicthes.

10. Mein Kampft by Adolf Hitler - I know you are double checking to make sure you saw the title that you think you did. Yes, I read Hitler's 'biography', and no this is not because I like Hitler, more because I studied Nazi Germany at school and did some extra reading around the subject. To say one thing about the book would be that it was interesting. This was outside my comfort zone for the obvious reasons but also because I tend not to read very much Non-Fiction.

What books have you read that are outside your comfort zone?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Book News: Miranda Dickinson

Now I may have been living under a rock to only just have come across this, but I have recently become aware of Miranda Dickinson's vlogs. I'm a big fan of Miranda Dickinson's novels Fairytale Of New York and Welcome To My World and I am eagerly anticipating her third novel It Started With A Kiss which is released on 10th November 2011. Every week Miranda has been making video posts about the process of publishing It Started With A Kiss and the journey that she goes on. It's a fantastic insight into the world of writing a novel, publishing a novel and what happens after the book hits the shelves.

If you want to check Miranda's Vlog's out, then head over to her blog and you can catch up with all the goings on:

To keep you going in the meantime while you are eagerly awaiting the release of It Started With A Kiss, here is the book trailer:

Want to pre-order It Started With A Kiss?

Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard: A Review

Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard

When Was It Released?:  
11th October 2011
Where Did I Get It From?:

From the publishers for review. 

Who Published It?:
 Harper Collins
Number Of Pages:

Now, before I begin, I have a confession to make. It's a confession that may shock some of you. I have to admit that before reading Everything We Ever Wanted I had never read a Sara Shepard novel. Before you all start throwing things at me, I promise that I will be reading her others novels, especially her Pretty Little Liars series. So, therefore as soon as I had the opportunity to review Everything We Ever Wanted I jumped at the chance. After all I just had to see for myself the reasons why everyone is so in love with her novels.

A late-night phone call on a Sunday evening rarely brings good news. So when Sylvie, a recently-widowed mother of two, receives a call from the head teacher of the school she's on the board of, she knows it won't be something she wants to hear. The school was founded by her grandfather, and she's inherited everything he strived to build up - a reputation, a heritage, the school and the grand old family house. And with this inheritance comes responsibility.So when her son Scott is whispered to be involved in a scandal that led to the death of one of the boys he coaches at the school, it throws the family into chaos: Sylvie has to decide between her loyalty to the school that has been part of her family legacy for years and her son who she feels wants nothing to do with her. She starts spying on the dead boy's father, making an unlikely connection.

The first half of Everything We Ever Wanted was very slow moving in terms of plot, as not a lot seems to happen. This part of the book seems to focus more on the characters themselves than what is happening within the story. I found this meant it was a little difficult to get into the novel to begin with. In the second part of the novel the pace does move a little quicker with changes happening within each of the characters lives. While the pace is relatively slow, I did find the writing to be beautiful. The descriptions really brought the story to life and the writing really made me want to read more.

The characters within Everything We Ever Wanted experience a wide range of emotions that as a reader I was swept along with and able to feel with each character. Sylvie, Joanna, Charles and Scott are each going through inner turmoil for different reasons, and this added real depth to each character. While I did want to find out what happened to each characters life I did think that it was very difficult to relate to and actually like any of the characters. Sylvie in particular seemed a little cold and self centered at times, which lead me to dislike her until late on in the novel. I did enjoy the way Sara Shepard is able to dig into the depths of each character and really get into how everyone deals with their roles as, mother, wife, son etc.

Overall I did enjoy Everything We Ever Wanted finding the book to be brutally honest, emotional and beautifully written. While the novel is more of a look at the characters themselves than having much of a plot it was still very entertaining. I would recommend you try this novel if you enjoy Sara Shepard's previous novels. I still cannot wait to try Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blog Tour - The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton Review

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

When Was It Released?: 27th September 2011
Where Did I Get It From?: As part of a blog tour from Jen Big Heart 
Who Published It?:  Tor 
Number Of Pages: 352 pages

Ever since reading The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa I have developed an interest, that perhaps borders slightly on obsession, about Fae. As soon as I became aware of The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton a few months ago I knew that this was a book that I needed to get my hands on. I mean after all what could be better than a mix of historical fiction with fae? Not much in my eyes! 

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. 

The Faerie ring is a novel where there is so much involved, you never for one second want to put the book down. Take a mix of enchanting history, beautiful descriptions, a love story and action and adventure and you end up with a book that has something for everyone. The plot was an excellent spin on Fae, which I really enjoyed, and was definatly something that I had not seen before. I particularly loved the way in which historical aspects were added to the novel, as this really enriched the story. The descriptions were done so beautifully that at times I felt I really could have been in London during this time. I almost felt as though there was an Oliver Twist aspect to this story which really made me feel for the characters. The pace of The Faerie Ring is fast and action packed, sweeping you away with thedrama and leaving you wanting to find exactly what is going to happen. I also really enjoyed the romance that is injected into the storyline. While the romance aspect is never at the forefront of the novel it still adds extra depth and is really interesting to read about.  

In terms of characters; I loved Tiki. I found her to be compassionate and generous, looking out for everyone else over herself, which made her really likeable. I really liked all the other orphans she lives with, finding myself feeling for them all. The interaction between all of them was really enjoyable to read, while being humourous at times. Reiker is definatly an interesting character, as there is a cloud of mystery over exactly who he is and what role he plays. I really enjoyed how his character evolved throughout the novel.  

Overall, I really enjoyed The Faerie Ring. I was on the edge of my seat wondering exactly what was going to happen. Who really is Reiker? and What is the significance of the Faerie Ring? This is an enchanting debut novel that I was unable to put down from beginning to end. I recently became aware that this will continue on  as a series and I cannot wait for the next book to be released.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Looking For Leon by Shirley Benton: A Review

Looking For Leon by Shirley Benton

When Was It Released?:  26th January 2011
Where Did I Get It From?: From the author in exchange for a review. Thankyou Shirley 

Who Published It?: Poolbeg
Number Of Pages: 374 pages

Looking For Leon is Shirley Benton's debut novel, which I have been excited about reading ever since I first heard about the novel. After reading a large amount of paranormal and horror novels over Halloween, I was more than ready to delve into a chick lit book and Looking For Leon was the one calling to me the most. The premise of going across the world to find someone you have feelings for really had me intrigued and the first line "There I was on the front page, flashing my knickers" had me instantly hooked.

Andie hadn’t gambled on meeting the love of her life on a holiday in Las Vegas but when she meets Leon, love suddenly seems like a bet she can win. That is, until the wheel of fortune steps in and separates them during a fire drill. With next to no info on Leon, Andie finds it impossible to track him down despite staging a series of publicity stunts to get the media in on the act. Back in Ireland, journalist Andie begins to write a regular newspaper column about her search. Readers . But does Leon want to be found?

When I first read the synopsis of Looking For Leon I was instantly drawn in and once I started reading the idea of the novel was just as good as I thought it would be. I really love when a chick lit book is able to have some element that is unique and Shirely Benton pulled this off perfectly. After all who of us hasnt daydreamed about running off halfway around the world to find someone we love, even if only hypothetically? I find this to be such a romantic and at the same time fun notion. The pace in the beginning and end are fast and I was completly swept away in the plot. While the middle does slow down a little I still enjoyed it. I liked how as the pace slowed we were able to see Andie's character grow as well as her relationship with another character develop.  My absolute favourite element of Looking For Leon was the humour that Shirley Benton injected into the novel as well as into the character of Andie. I found myself laughing on more than one occasion, which I think left a few of my fellow travellers on the bus wondering if I was perhaps slightly crazy but I was so involved in the novel that I didn't even care.

I fell in love with the character of Andie, even though she is flawed. I found her to be likeable, funny, confident and able to make fun of herself. Her flaws really bring her to life, after all who doesn't have flaws, no matter how well we may keep them hidden? I like my characters to have some roughness to them rather than being seemingly perfect. I also really liked Colm, the camera man, especially his quirky penchant for biscuits and his love of the 70's, which really made him unique. There are lots of minor characters within Looking For Leon whom I also really enjoyed reading about, including Philppe and Isolde. Every character no matter how small a role they played still made an impact on me as a reader.

What I loved most about Looking For Leon though, was the twist and the events that played out towards the end of the novel. While I don't want to give too much away, I will say that I definatly did not see the twist coming. It completly engulfed me with emotions and I could not read the last few pages fast enough in order to find out what happens. Overall, I loved Looking For Leon and would definatly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fun, exciting chick lit book. I cannot wait to read more from Shirley in the future

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November TBR

Last month I started showing you all the books that I want to read each month. While I deviated greatly from last months TBR with October and my mood changing, I still wanted to carry on showing you what I want to read for November. While this list may and most probably will change, this gives you an idea of the books I will be reading. The emphasis this month is very much on chick lit and women's fiction, whereas last month I focused more on paranomal YA fiction.

Books I Would Like To Read:

City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Looking For Leon by Shirley Benton
Highland Storms by Christina Courtney
It's A Waverley Life by Maria Murnane
Always The Wedding Planner Never The Bride by Sandra D Bricker
Miracle On Regent Street by Ali Harris
The Generation Game by Sophie Duffy
Mad About The Boy by Susan Battah
The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey
Wrapped Up In You by Carole Matthews
What are you reading this month?
How do you decide what to read next?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Chick Lit Releases I Cannot Wait For

With November here, and the weather turning colder there is nothing I enjoy more than curling up with a good chick lit book. Well this month there is no shortage of great chick lit books being released and here are just a few that I cannot wait to get my hands on:

It Started With A Kiss by Miranda Dickinson - 10th November

As the singer in a wedding band, Romily Parker has seen her fair share of happy endings, even though her own love life isn't quite as simple. On the last Saturday before Christmas, (shortly after disastrously declaring her love for best friend Charlie), Romily has a brief encounter with a handsome stranger whose heart-stopping kiss changes everything. Determined to find him again, Romily embarks on a yearlong quest, helped (and sometimes hindered) by enthusiastic Uncle Dudley, cake-making Auntie Mags and flamboyant Wren. Will she find the man of her dreams? Or could true love be closer than she thinks?

Home For Christmas by Cally Taylor - 10th November

Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now, aged twenty-four, she feels like she's finally on the verge of her own happily ever after. She lives by the seaside, works in the Picturebox - a charming but rundown independent cinema - and has a boyfriend who's so debonair and charming she can't believe her luck! There's just one problem - none of her boyfriends have ever told her they love her and it doesn't look like Aiden's going to say it any time soon. Desperate to hear I love you' for the first time Beth takes matters into her own hands - and instantly wishes she hadn't. Just when it seems like her luck can't get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt Jones. Matt is the regional director of a multiplex cinema and he's determined to get his hands on the Picturebox by Christmas. Can Beth keep her job, her man and her home or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?

Breakfast At Darcys by Ali Mcnamara - 24th November

When Darcy McCall loses her beloved Aunt Molly, she doesn't expect any sort of inheritance - let alone a small island. Located off the west coast of Ireland, Tara hasn't been lived on for years, but according to Molly's will Darcy must stay there for twelve months in order to fully inherit, and she needs to persuade a village full of people to settle there, too. Darcy has to leave behind her independent city life and swap stylish heels for muddy wellies. Between sorting everything from the plumbing to the pub, Darcy meets confident Conor and ever-grumpy Dermot - but who will make her feel really at home?

The Secret Of Happily Ever After by Lucy Dillion - 10th November

When story-lover Anna takes over Longhampton's bookshop, it's her dream come true. And not just because it gets her away from her three rowdy stepchildren and their hyperactive Dalmatian.Unpacking boxes filled with childhood classics, Anna can't shake the feeling that maybe her own fairytale ending isn't all that she'd hoped for. But, as the stories of love, adventure, secret gardens, lost dogs, wicked witches and giant peaches breathe new life into the neglected shop, Anna and her customers get swept up in the magic too.Even Anna's best friend Michelle - who categorically doesn't believe in true love and handsome princes - isn't immune.But when secrets from Michelle's own childhood come back to haunt her, and disaster threatens Anna's home, will the wisdom and charm of the stories in the bookshop help the two friends - and those they love - find their own happy ever afters?
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