BOOK REVIEW FINDING AUDREY BY SOPHIE KINSELLA

Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .

I have just finished this book and I devoured it…I loved it .

This book is so important to read and in particular very apt  to my current home situation .

Mental illness is there ,happening and affecting peoples life’s and I am a firm believer  should be spoken and written about . Sophie has mastered this beautifully with creating  a book that’s funny relatable and genuine .

My daughter read this ages ago and really enjoyed it.

I have read a few of sophies books so was very interested to see how her ya book would be and was not disappointed .

The family are excellent charactars and each play a crucial part to the story . The mum is literally me and I laughed very loud at some parts .Linus is adorable and made me swoon !

Really enjoyed this coming of age book and would recommend to everyone even if to gain insight into mental illness.

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BOOK REVIEW A PROPER FAMILY ADVENTURE BY CHRISSIE MANBY

Could you spend two weeks at sea with your family?
Thanks to an unexpected windfall, the Bensons are treating themselves to a luxury cruise. With stop-offs in Barcelona, Rome and Marseilles, plus constant entertainment onboard, it’s a dream come true . . . Or is it? Last time Chelsea Benson went on holiday with this lot she nearly went crazy.
Her mum and sister are convinced Chelsea’s boyfriend Adam will propose on the ship. Chelsea’s sure he won’t, but she can’t help feeling butterflies as they set sail. Is Adam going to pop the question, or will the only thing to pop be Chelsea’s ego?
Onboard dramas, family upheavals, memories and sunshine . . . Fall in love with the Benson family, and treat yourself to a five-star family cruise, all without leaving your sofa.

I was delighted to receive this so thank you hodder and bookbridgr.I loved her previous book a proper family Christmas so was great to be meeting the bensons again .

I read this while away with my own family and was great to be reunited with a fellow dr who fan as we was going to dr who experience .

Chrissie has created a family that are a right mixture but provide absolute comedy gold moments and heart-warming ones too .

There’s something for everyone in this book and this collection will be one of my firm favourites .

I’ve never really fancied the idea of travelling on a cruise before but this story swept me away on the seas and sounded fantastic .

The Bensons are joined by Kirsty and Jane who each have their own stories and dreams upon boarding the ship .They could be connected more closely than is thought .

Im delighted to have found out that the bensons will be back on our shelves by end of 2015 with a  Christmas book .

A great holiday read which provides laughs but also touches some serious subjects too .

If you are yet to read anything from this writer than I recommend starting with this series .

BOOK REVIEW THE DAUGHTERS SECRET BY ELEANR MORAN

Mia is a high-flying child psychotherapist, hoping to be made partner in the thriving practice where she works. But then she takes on a case which will change her life for ever, and bring back the past she has done her best to bury.

Thirteen year old Gemma was the last person to see her father before he went on the run, fleeing from a major criminal trial. The police are desperate to track him down, pressuring Mia to tease the information out of his angry and reluctant daughter. But what does Gemma really know and how hard can Mia push without betraying her?

Both are hiding devastating secrets. Both need the other to survive. Will they learn to trust each other before it’s too late?

Firstly thanks to Hayley at simon&schuster for sending me a copy to review .I don’t think I had read any of her other books so was intrigued to begin .The cover is striking and really sets the tone of the plot.

I have a huge fascination with counselling and mental health so this storyline really excited me .However for me personally it didn’t quite live up to my excitement . It seemed to take a long time for me to read as it wasn’t keeping me gripped enough .

It started off really well and the overall storyline was enjoyable it just wasn’t captivating me enough and some parts about Mia were unrealistic and at times annoying .

I enjoyed the contrasting chapters set between now and when Mia was a teenager as this helped us understand her more .This also helped us understand her interest with  Gemma and why she felt drawn to help her .

After studying counselling and receiving it I found it very helpful and interesting to get a brief insight into the therapist mind and what goes on when you leave your session .

Overall a good plot but lacked something for me .

Published 30th july

BOOK REVIEW I FOLLOWED THE RULES BY JOANNA BOLOURI

Rule 1: Never ask him on a first date. Rule 2: Laugh admiringly at all his jokes. Rule 3: Always leave him wanting more.
… wtf?!

Have you heard of The Rules of Engagement? It’s a book that promises to teach you to find the man of your dreams in ten easy steps. Unsurprisingly, I don’t own a copy. What is it, 1892?

But I’m a journalist, and I’ve promised to follow it to the letter and write about the results. Nevermind that my friends think I’m insane, I’m stalking men all over town and can’t keep my mouth shut at the best of times.

My name is Cat Buchanan. I’m thirty-six years old and live with my daughter in Glasgow. I’ve been single for six years, but that’s about to change. After all, I’m on a deadline.

I Followed the Rules and this is what happened.

I was so chuffed when I won a copy of this as I adored her debut novel .And this does not disappoint and I think I loved it even more as it was literally like reading my own thoughts.

I have fallen in love with one of the male charactars and hes been in my head all day so thanks Joanna lol

This book is hilarious and is written with such wit and comedy gold .

I loved all the dirty bits 😉

Grace Is an angel and I could relate to so much in this book .Being a single mum doesn’t leave much time for you let alone a guy and you can get a bit lost.

I cant recommend her books enough in all honesty and I really hope shes writing book 3 as I type this as I cant get enough of her writing .

I wish her every success with this book 🙂

BLOG TOUR THE OLIVE BRANCH BY JO THOMAS

Im thrilled to be part of the blog tour for this gorgeous book .

Here is a recipe for a cake which features in the book .

Jo Thomas – The Olive Branch recipe

I love to have the family around the table. I love the sound of chatter around the table, the smell of roasting meat and the clink of glasses. On Saturdays I cook pizzas. Pasta plays a big part in our weekday meals. But on a Sunday I like to cook a roast dinner and if we’re having friends or family over.

I’ve made lemon, prosecco and olive oil cake for family lunches before. This is Gennaro’s recipe.

This cake is perfect for dessert, wrapping up all the flavours of Puglia, lemons, prosecco and olive oil.  It’s a

simple, light but gorgeous cake.

Gennaro’s Lemon and Prosecco cake.

6 eggs, separated

100g sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil

150ml Prosecco

Finely grated zest of 3 lemons, and the juice of 1

150g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ a teaspoon vanilla essence

Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°c/350 F/Gas mark 4

Lightly grease a 24cm round cake tin with butter and dust with flour.

Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy. Beat in the olive oil, prosecco, lemon zest and juice. Then gently add the flour, baking powder and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 150°c and continue to bake for a further 20 minutes. Switch off the oven, open the door, and leave to

cool.

Remove, place on a plate & sprinkle with sieved icing sugar.

Try it with a glass of prosecco or maybe a glass of limoncello.

Limoncello

* 5 unwaxed lemons

* 1l bottle vodka

* 750g caster sugar

* 700ml boiling water

Method

1. Pare the zest from all the lemons, taking care not to include any white pith. Put the zest in a large clean jar and pour over the vodka. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and leave for a week, shaking the jar each day.

2. Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the vodka and peels and leave for a further week, shaking the jar regularly.

3. Strain into decorative bottles, adding a few strips of lemon zest to each bottle. Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2004

Heres my review again for this perfect summer read .

Firstly thank you to Frances at headline for sending me a copy to review . I was on the blog  tour for The oyster catcher last year which was Jos debut novel . You can have a read of that review here https://charlenejess.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/book-review-the-oyster-catcher-by-jo-thomas/

So I was really happy to have the chance to review her latest book.

Jos writing has the ability to transport you to where her book is set, her use of such descriptive language really sets the scene . By the end of the book if I closed my eyes I could smell and even taste all that Italy could offer .

This is perfect escapism especially if your not managing to travel anywhere .

Ruthies life couldn’t be any more different than what she imagines and it appears to have changed overnight ….by a click of a button .

There’s nothing for her anymore in London so if you are going to have a fresh start why not make it as good as possible .

Ruthie is brave and a strong female character and has to be resilient  when she manages to ruffle a few feathers upon her arrival in Italy .

Through hard work and sheer determination she manages to give her new life a go but its not a without a few bumps along the way and even a headstrong female in the form of a goat !

Very well written and a beautiful story all set in a gorgeous location .

Ruthie proves dreams can come true just sometimes not how you planned and sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith .

BOOK REVIEW THE BONES OF YOU BY DEBBIE HOWELLS

I have a gardener’s inherent belief in the natural order of things. Soft-petalled flowers that go to seed. The resolute passage of the seasons. Swallows that fly thousands of miles to follow the eternal summer.

Children who don’t die before their parents.

A community in shock

When eighteen-year-old Rosie Anderson disappears, the idyllic village where she lived will never be the same again. Local gardener Kate is struck with guilt. She’d come to know Rosie well, and thought she understood her – perhaps better even than Rosie’s own mother.

A family torn apart

Rosie was beautiful, kind and gentle. She came from a loving family and she had her whole life ahead of her. Who could possibly want to harm her? And why?

A keeper of secrets

Kate is convinced the police are missing something. She’s certain that someone in the village knows more than they’re letting on. As the investigation deepens, so does Kate’s obsession with solving the mystery of what happened to Rosie.

This is a book I have had to write my review instantly after  finishing as need to capture the freshness of my thoughts .

This book is a debut which I find unbelievable .Its written with such confidence and is so original .

It gets under your skin and I couldn’t wait to read at every opportunity  I had. Its a game of guess who and whos hiding the truth ?

Its a book and a author to keep in your radar as I have  a feeling both will leave a impression .

Whilst reading I was able to feel how each of the main characters were feeling until the big reveal and its like woah ….ok I didn’t see that coming .

Grief and panic hits the community and makes people fearful and change their outlook and judgements.

Addictive and compelling and in simple terms a real page turner.

The cover is fantastic and really captures the tone of the story .

A big thanks to Lauren at Pan macmillian for kindly sending me  a copy to review .

I wish Debbie every success with the release of this exciting psychological thriller .

Published  16th july

Low mood

Thought id have a  offload which ive not done in a while .I obviously need it as spent most of today crying and feeling flat which ive not been able to shift for a few days .

Its nothing major but just a build up of stuff and emotions ,that thrown in with my own mental illness which I need to remember is still there and sometimes im not as strong as want to be .

There’s been so much going on with the kids and my own health ,life has been manic to say the least .

Im being pulled from left to right often feeling like im not getting it right adding to the guilt I already feel .

My weeks consist of appointments and the feeling of living on eggshells taking each day as it comes in regards to Estelle .

Lynx has gone on his first school residential which of course he was anxious about.This is a huge event for my lynx who only 8 months ago struggled to venture on a bus . He has come so far but I couldn’t show him I was as worried as him .I have to be strong and almost fake with both my kids at present so they can function and don’t feed off my worries while working on their stuff .

This is hard though as im only human and  don’t feel I have many people if any at time to offload my own thoughts and feelings to .

With lynx away and me finally stopping today its almost like my mind and body allowed me to feel all what im feeling .

Being a single parent and having lack of adult conversation and affection certainly adds to a sense of frustration and isolation .

A few times lately ive found myself yearning for a easier life or at least someone to share he dark times with .Ive been single nearly 5 years now and I feel like ive lost my identity as a woman at times and confidence . I would like someone to help  me out emotionally, financially and practically eg help with the house and decisions .  id like someone to want to spend time with me  as doesn’t seem to be many of them .

With lynx away and focus being on mine and estelles relationship It brought home a few things .

Im probably not even making sense lol but just needed to get some words out .

A lot has gone on and it certainly leaves you feeling overwhelmed . Ive achieved a lot and fought battles and supported my kids but days like today can leave you feeling too drained to even want to get dressed .

Summer holidays are fast approaching which is mad !! and hello 7 weeks I repeat 7 weeks .I always get a sense of dread if im honest especially as lynx has got older its become apparent he struggles without the structure of school and routine . Then I have Estelle who is counting the days as school  is a unhappy place for her .So 2 kids with very different needs and someone is always not gonna be happy because im not supermum .

Lynx is home tomorrow and I cant wait to hear how hes got on !

I have a horrible hosp appointment 😦

Il end this on a positive note …Pretty little liars is taking over my life …addicted .

Lynx being away has enabled Estelle and I to have quality time even getting out on a school night and breaking the rigid routine we have due to lynx .  I had a break from school run and managed to clean  most of my ktchen lol

Thanks for reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW THE ART OF KEEPING SECRETS BY EVA RICE

THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS was selected for the Richard and Judy Book club when it was published in paperback. Set in the 1950s, in an England still recovering from the Second World War, it is the enchanting story of Penelope Wallace and her eccentric family at the start of the rock’n’roll era.

Penelope longs to be grown-up and to fall in love; but various rather inconvenient things keep getting in her way. Like her mother, a stunning but petulant beauty widowed at a tragically early age, her younger brother Inigo, currently incapable of concentrating on anything that isn’t Elvis Presley, a vast but crumbling ancestral home, a severe shortage of cash, and her best friend Charlotte’s sardonic cousin Harry…

Firstly a big thanks to Georgina and Bookbridgr for my limited edition signed copy ,they were all numbered .

I had never read any of her books before and want sure what to expect .

This is being re released for its 10th anniversary and can see this gathering even more fans and attracting a wider audience .

I loved this book ,imagne going to a country house for afternoon tea ….that’s how this book made me feel .

I found myself swept into the words instantly ,and transported to a different era .

The blurb doesn’t sell the book or make it sound exciting and attention grabing but believe me don’t dismiss this fantastic piece of literature .

This is a life im not accounstamed to so was magical to read .

Great charactars who each bring so much to the book and made me laugh .

I could really relate to Penelopes mum who like me had children young and finds hereslef confused and lost after losing her husbad and watching her children grow up .

We see peneople find herself and a whole lot more in the mst unlikely way with the unlikest companions and watch her make friendhsips that are set to change her life .

A beautiful book and I am definatly going to read her other books .

I

BOOK REVIEW AND BLOG TOUR FIRST ONE MISSING TAMMY COHEN

A page-turning pyschological thriller with the gripping plot of GIRL ON A TRAIN and the chilling suspense of BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP …

There are three things no-one can prepare you for when your daughter is murdered:

– You are haunted by her memory day and night

– Even close friends can’t understand what you are going through.

– Only in a group with mothers of other victims can you find real comfort.

But as the bereaved parents gather to offer support in the wake of another killing, a crack appears in the group that threatens to rock their lives all over again.

Welcome to the club no one wants to join.

Today Is my turn on the blog tour and I was so thrilled to have been asked . I have loved all of her books but this one is in a league of its own .

It is very dark especially reading as a mum .Tammy captures every parents nightmare with writing that sets the tone of a disturbing psychological thriller .

Its chilling and  gets under your skin .

There are a lot of characters and at first I struggled to keep up with who is who . But then you see how vital they all are to the storyline .

We  a given a insight into a mind of  a man who is clearly very disturbed and at times made for uncomfortable reading .I was thankful that Tammy just scratched the surface with him .

I did not see the ending coming and it happened so quickly I had to go back and check what I had read .

Cleverly written and addictive as always .

Published 2nd july

blog tour cohen

BOOK REVIEW THE OLIVE BRANCH BY JO THOMAS

You can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse.

Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible.

But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream.

First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his tempestuous family…and then there’s the small matter of running an olive farm. As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

Firstly thank you to Frances at headline for sending me a copy to review . I was on the blog  tour for The oyster catcher last year which was Jos debut novel . You can have a read of that review here https://charlenejess.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/book-review-the-oyster-catcher-by-jo-thomas/

So I was really happy to have the chance to review her latest book.

Jos writing has the ability to transport you to where her book is set, her use of such descriptive language really sets the scene . By the end of the book if I closed my eyes I could smell and even taste all that Italy could offer .

This is perfect escapism especially if your not managing to travel anywhere .

Ruthies life couldn’t be any more different than what she imagines and it appears to have changed overnight ….by a click of a button .

There’s nothing for her anymore in London so if you are going to have a fresh start why not make it as good as possible .

Ruthie is brave and a strong female character and has to be resilient  when she manages to ruffle a few feathers upon her arrival in Italy .

Through hard work and sheer determination she manages to give her new life a go but its not a without a few bumps along the way and even a headstrong female in the form of a goat !

Very well written and a beautiful story all set in a gorgeous location .

Ruthie proves dreams can come true just sometimes not how you planned and sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith .