Monday, 30 September 2013

Glittering Fortunes by Victoria Fox: A Review

Glittering Fortunes by Victoria Fox

When Was It Released?:  2nd September 2013
Where Did I Get It From?: From the publisher. Thank you!
Who Published It?: Mills and Boon
Number Of Pages?: 400 Pages
Buy?:Paperback or Kindle

Charlie Lomax hasn't seen his brother in years.
Cato's been too busy living the A-list Hollywood dream to bother with the likes of a small Cornish town. But now he's back.
Hollywood and British aristocracy are about to clash as Cato sets out to claim the Lomax legacy he believes is his birthright.
Unsuspecting Olivia needs a job after spectacularly failing to make a life for herself in London. Forced back to Cornwall, she has no idea what she's letting herself in for by becoming a gardener at the crumbling but beautiful Usherwood estate. She certainly didn't bargain on becoming embroiled in the biggest scandal of the year, and not least because the brooding Charlie is a man she can't seem to stay away from...

Having read  and enjoyed some of Victoria Fox's previous bonkbusters I was excited to read her first novel published by Mills and Boon which was said to take a different direction to her usual novels. I couldn't wait to dive in and find out whether I would enjoy Glittering Fortunes just as much.

At the beginning some of the characters appear a little shallow and one sided, with them being the typical stereotypes that you would expect. As the novel, progressed, however so did the characters and I was pleasantly surprised to find that Victoria Fox added more depth especially to Cato and Susannah. I found that at times I was conflicted as to whether to hate them or to feel sorry for them. I enjoy reading about characters that you hate but see are not entirely bad underneath it all. I loved the rivalry between the two brothers Charlie and Cato, while routing for Charlie throughout. Olivia was a good heroine, even though I found her annoying at times, especially with her obsession with Addy, which drove me a little crazy. In the end I was hoping for a little romance between her and Charlie.

Glittering Fortunes is not just your typical romance story, it has humour, especially from Susannah and I found myself laughing out loud at some of her theories throughout. There is also a twist in the story, which I could see coming before it happened, however I still enjoyed it and think it played out well. I have a fascination for stately homes and country estates and so loved reading about Usherwood House and the upkeep of such a home as well as Charlie's complete and utter love for it.

Glittering Fortunes is a beautifully written story that had romance, secrets, humour and wonderful characters. I would highly recommend this book especially if you have enjoyed Victoria Fox's previous novels, you are always guaranteed a fun and entertaining read.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream by Abby Clements: A Review

Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream by Abby Clements 

When Was It Released?:  26th September 2013
Where Did I Get It From?: From the publisher. Thank you!
Who Published It?: Quercus
Number Of Pages?: 365 Pages
Buy?:Paperback or Kindle

Amelia has a dream: toasting chestnuts by the fire with her husband Jack in their own cosy cottage. Their real life is another world - a cramped one-bedroom flat in Hackney. But when life takes a surprising turn, removal vans are soon heading to the Kent countryside.
They soon realise the cottage makeover is a far bigger project than they'd anticipated. On top of that, there's Amelia's newly loved-up mum and her tearaway half-sister, Mirabel, to contend with - pushing Amelia and Jack's marriage to breaking point.
Amelia begins to strip back the wallpaper and fittings in the cottage and discovers the story of the cottage's previous owner - and a hidden secret. As Amelia's ideas about love and family change, will her fireside dream finally come true?

I have read all of Abby Clements previous novels and loved them, so when I heard that she was releasing a second novel this year I just couldn't wait to pick it up and devour it. The cover is so enticing and just draws you in, it is the perfect cover for an autumn read. With the change in the weather I love snuggling up with a cosy autumn read and this cover sets that mood perfectly.

Many people dream of moving from the hectic life of the city to somewhere quieter in the country and that is just what Amelia has always wanted to do before she turned thirty. Moving house and especially moving from one environment to another is never easy and I enjoyed how realistic Abby Clements made the situation. What I really loved about this novel was the decorating and renovation element. Amelia has to redecorate the entire house from top to bottom in her own style and I loved that the novel moved from room to room and the way Amelia made mood boards and details on how she would do each up. It almost made me want to start redecorating my own home so I could join in on all the fun.

I found the character of Amelia really relatable and I think she will strike a chord with many who want to make changes in their life and find out where they are headed. Amelia grabbed onto a dream that she had and followed it through which I found inspirational. I also really admired how much she cares about the students she teaches and how the school is run, it showed her caring side. I have to admit that I wasn't too keen on Jack, Amelia's husband. Yes he is a busy man who works in the city but at the same time I felt that he almost left Amelia in the country to get on with things while he continued to live his life with little disruption. I also didn't like the way in which he felt that his decisions and opinions on how life should be were much more important than Amelia's. That being said I was routing for both characters as a couple throughout.

I would recommend this novel for anyone looking for the perfect autumn read to snuggle up with as the nights draw in with a hot cup of tea. Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream is a moving realistic story that I found difficult to put down.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks: A Review

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

When Was It Released?:  17th September 2013
Where Did I Get It From?: From the publisher. Thank you!
Who Published It?: Sphere
Number Of Pages?: 416 Pages
Buy?:Hardcover or Kindle

Ninety-one year old Ira Levinson is in trouble. Struggling to stay conscious after a car crash, with his mind fading, an image of his beloved, and long-dead, wife Ruth appears. Urging him to hang on, she lovingly recounts the joys and sorrows of their life together - how they met, the dark days of WWII, and its unrelenting effect on their families.
A few miles away, college student Sophia Danko's life is about to change. Recovering from a break-up, she meets the young, rugged Luke and is thrown into a world far removed from her privileged school life. Sophia sees a new and tantalising future for herself, but Luke has a secret which threatens to break it all apart.
Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples, separated by years and experience, whose lives are about to converge in the most unexpected - and shocking - of ways.

Before I begin I just have to let you all know that I absolutely adore Nicholas Sparks. I have seen all his film adaptations and read a lot, although not all, of his books. I was eagerly awaiting The Longest Ride, his latest novel, and was so excited when I received a copy for review that I just had to dive straight in.

The Longest Ride switches between the plot of two different stories, that of Ira and that of Sophie and Luke, while alternating between the perspective of all three. I enjoyed seeing the two stories and eventually learning how they connect. Ira's story was beautiful and told of his journey and I learnt a lot about his past. Each time Ira's chapters came around I found myself liking him more and more and realising just what a wonderful man and character he really is. His love for his wife never falters and is so emotional to read about. I adored the character of Ruth and the way she is portrayed. I also enjoyed the story of Luke and Sophia, although I did like Luke's character a little more. Luke came across as caring and very family orientated while I have to say Sophia was a little selfish at times. Although as their chapters move on I did find myself liking each character by the end of the book.

The Longest Ride was not a typical Nicholas Sparks novel. Yes it had the raw emotion, yes it made me cry, more than once, but it was a little different. I think perhaps because of the two stories running along side each other of which you do not see any connection until the end of the book. I do not think this is a bad thing as I enjoyed both stories and their connection, it just made it a little different from previous Nicholas Sparks novels.

Overall, I loved The Longest Ride. The grand love story is there and I think the marriage and love between Ruth and Ira is one of the best I have read about in a long time. It made me wish for even a small amount of the way in which they love each other. I would defiantly recommend The Longest Ride for any Nicholas Sparks fan or for anyone looking for a great romance with strong emotion that will pull at the heart strings. Just be prepared, you will end up crying.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Reunion by Amy Silver: A Review

The Reunion by Amy Silver

When Was It Released?:  12th September 2013
Where Did I Get It From?: From Netgalley. Thank you!
Who Published It?: Arrow
Number Of Pages?: 432 Pages
Buy?:Paperback or Kindle

They thought they'd be friends forever.
Jen, Andrew, Lilah, Natalie and Dan were inseparable at university, but in the seventeen years since they left they have hardly seen each other. Until Jen invites them all to stay at her house in the French Alps. The house where they once spent a golden summer before tragedy tore them apart.
When a snowstorm descends, they find themselves trapped and forced to confront their unresolved issues, frustrated passions and broken friendships. And as relationships shift and marriages flounder, the truth about what really happened years before is slowly revealed. And Jen realises that perhaps some wounds can never be healed..

I have never read any of Amy Silver's previous novels, however from reading their synopsis and comparing them with The Reunion it seems as though Amy Silver has taken a turn in her writing. Her previous novels seem like more fun light hearted reads while the reunion takes a more mature storyline and deals with emotion, tragedy and friendships changing over the years.

The plot is told through three sections; the reunion of the six friends, the events of the past and then what happens after the reunion. Usually I don't enjoy books that move around between time periods, however with The Reunion I think this meant I understand the characters and the events that occur with much more clarity. I really enjoyed that at the end of most chapters is a letter sent between the friends, which really gave an insight into each characters true feelings. I think this is a unique and interesting way of telling the story. I also enjoyed how each character gets to tell their own story and we see the events that happened from each perspective, showing that there is always more than one side to every story

The Reunion is an emotional read that is deep and dark in certain places. While there is romance none of it is light hearted and there always feels to be something dark lurking with the relationships showing the problems and difficulties within each. Real friendship and the issues that are faced are dealt with extremely well, as many friendships do not last forever and if they do last then they change in many ways.

I would highly recommend The Reunion to anyone looking for a story with great depth and emotion. I had tears in my eyes on more than one occasion and the ending truly broke my heart. The story is thought provoking and beautifully written making me look at my own friendships and cherish life while we still have it.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Tempting Fate by Jane Green: A Review

Tempting Fate by Jane Green

When Was It Released?:  12th September 2013
Where Did I Get It From?: From the publisher. Thank you!
Who Published It?: Penguin
Number Of Pages?: 394 Pages
Buy?:Paperback or Kindle

Jane Green is one of my all time favourite authors and has been for many years. Every time she releases a new novel I rush out to buy it and devour it as quickly as possible. I have never been disappointed by a Jane Green novel and her writing just seems to get better and better over time. Tempting Fate, the latest novel, fulfilled all my expectations and much more.

When Gabby first met Elliott she knew he was the man for her. In twenty years of marriage she has never doubted her love for him - even when he refused to give her the one thing she still wants most of all. But now their two daughters are growing up Gabby feels that time and her youth are slipping away. For the first time in her life she is restless. And then she meets Matt . . .
Intoxicated by the way this young, handsome and successful man makes her feel, Gabby is momentarily blind to what she stands to lose on this dangerous path. And in one reckless moment she destroys all that she holds dear.
Consumed by regret, Gabby does everything she can to repair the home she has broken. But are some betrayals too great to forgive?

Tempting Fate pulled at my heat strings in a way that many books fail to do. I am against cheating in a very strong way but I empathised with the main character Gabby throughout the entire novel. I knew that she had done wrong and couldn't condone her behaviour but I also couldn't help feeling for her. There were times throughout this novel that I felt truly uncomfortable and really anxious for certain characters and it is Jane Green's fantastic writing and character building that did this for me. All through Tempting Fate I just wanted things to work out for Gabby and I have to admit that I cried on more than one occasion, which is a rare occurrence for me when it comes to books.

There may not be a lot happening in Tempting Fate in terms of plot, as this is more a character driven, emotional story about feelings, but I didn't feel anything was lacking within this book. I couldn't stop turning the pages anticipating what was going to happen next and how things were going to end up for the Gabby and Elliot. I really enjoyed that even though the majority of the story is told from Gabby's point of view, there are also a few pages showing the story from Elliot's side as well. This really added to the story as in these kinds of situations there really are two sides to every story and it was interesting to see how Elliot was coping throughout.

Along with Promises To Keep, Tempting Fate is one of my new favourite Jane Green books. I absolutely loved the story and just could not put it down. Even days later I am still moved by the story and cant stop thinking about the characters. If you love Jane Green you need to pick up Tempting Fate I cannot recommend it enough