Wednesday, 28 January 2015

A Place for Us by Harriet Evans

 The house has soft, purple wisteria twining around the door. You step inside.

The hall is cool after the hot summer's day. The welcome is kind, and always warm.

Yet something makes you suspect life here can't be as perfect as it seems.

After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret.

But wouldn't you pay any price to have a glorious place like this?

Welcome to Winterfold.

Martha Winter's family is finally coming home.

I took a while to get into this story as each chapter is about a different member of the family and I had to keep going back to remind myself who was who.
Martha and David have three grown up children, Bill, Daisy, and Florence. They have also brought up Cat who is Daisy's daughter,their other grandchild is Lucy, Bill's daughter.
Bill is the only one of their family they see regularly as he is the local GP. Florence lives in Italy and Daisy is in Africa, they haven't seen her for years.
Martha and David seem quite sweet and it makes you wonder how they could have given birth to such dysfunctional people. Daisy is a horror all during her childhood bullying poor Florence in such ways that any other mother would have dragged Daisy to the doctor to find out what was wrong with her but Martha swept in all under the carpet and told Florence it was her imagination or to just get on with it. That's when I began to dislike Martha.

David, Martha's husband is an artist who is famous for drawing cartoons of Daisy as a little girl and her dog. he is also called Southpaw which I found quite confusing at times. David had a traumatic childhood  and I enjoyed it when the story returned to his childhood,I wish that part had been longer.
There is a lot going on in this book but once I got to know the characters I enjoyed it.
Florence is a strange woman, highly intelligent but unable to form a healthy relationship. Daisy as I said is a horror and didn't seem to change as she aged. Bill is so easy going he's about to loose his wife,I could have given him a good shake. The only normal member of the family seems to be Lucy.
Martha reveals her secret at a dinner party which she tells all her family they have to attend. David is against this and doesn't want it revealed. As usual Martha does exactly what she wants with terrible consequences.
A local chef Jo Thorne becomes embroiled in the family. I liked him a lot he was a kind but misunderstood man. As in life people change and that's what has to happen to this family to move them forward.
I loved the epilogue it had me in tears.

A Place For Us ..Amazon for kindle £2.99


Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

Hallie has a secret. She's in love. He's perfect for her in every way, but he's seriously out of bounds. And her friends aren't going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie doesn't have long to live. Time is running out...

Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won't be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends - let alone anything more.

Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she's afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.

Twenty eight year old Hallie has Cystic Fibrosis and at the start of the book she has receives a phone call  from the lung transplant team saying that lungs have been found for her. She leaves a message on her blog Three Amazing Things About You where under a pseudonym Hallie sorts out other people's problems. Her message tells everyone who she is.
I warmed to Hallie from the start and I wanted all to go well for her but we don't find out until the end of the book as her story unfolds. She is in love with someone she shouldn't be in love with and although her friends are wonderful and include her in everything Hallie still feels isolated because of her illness.

Flo works in a care home and loves her job but the death of a friend brings news that some people find hard to come to terms with. When Flo develops feelings for someone she knows it's going to cause big problems. 

We also meet Tasha,unlucky in love but has she finally found the man of her dreams in the unlikeliest of places?
The three woman are obviously linked with each other in some way. I loved each of their stories and although I had an inkling of what was going to happen the outcome still had some surprises.

This was a very easy book to read. The story was well rounded, full of happy, sad and funny. Once I had started I couldn't put it down. I thought the research that went into how Hallie felt coped with her Cystic Fibrosis was spot on and having the same disease myself I think I can say that. 
I don't think I have read Jill Mansell before but after enjoying this book I must have a look at some others.

Three Amazing Things About You for kindle

I always like to tell my readers the truth and at £6.02 for a kindle download I feel that's a bit pricey but the paperback will hit the shops on 18th June hopefully at a more affordable price.
Thank goes to the publishers who provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman

The Curvy Girls Club is a hilarious and heart-warming story about learning to love yourself, written by best-selling author Michele Gorman.
Pixie, Ellie, Katie and Jane have been best friends since meeting at Slimming Zone. Tired of being judged by the number of calories they consume, they decide to form a different kind of club. The fun evenings they spend together, not worrying about their size, make them happier than they’ve been for years.

But the club doesn’t stop real life from getting in the way and together the girls have to address some much bigger issues than just their weight…

Published today,The Curvy Girl's Club is the first book I have read by Michele Gorman so I really didn't know what to expect. The book had lots of laughs and some moments that made you stop and think about how we feel about ourselves and how we treat other people.

The four girls meet each week at a slimming club and become firm friends but like many dieters they loose weight and gain it again and become stuck the slimming treadmill.
Pixie decides she's had enough of slimming and likes her curves just as they are. The other girls don't want to stop going to the slimming club as they enjoy each others company. They soon realise they can still meet up but without the pressure of having to eat rabbit food and loose a few pounds.
The Curvy Girl's Club is formed and at first it is only the four of them but word soon gets around and everyone wants to join.  Katie is busy organising theatre trips and cinema trips as well as trying to hold onto a job that wants to let her go.
When one of the girls suddenly starts loosing weight without trying she finds she may no longer be welcome as a Curvy Girl's member.  
Love lives, family lives,weight issues, health issues and friendship problems are all knitted together in this book. A dash of humour, a splash of sentiment and a few tears for good measure and you have a cracking good read.

I felt disappointed in a few of the girls with the lack of support they gave to others who had supported them. I laughed at some of their exploits and I cried when bad things happened to good people.
As the Curvy Girl's Club shows signs of becoming a full time business will the girls stay friends or will making money get in the way? 
If you enjoy Chick Lit whether you're curvy or slim I see no reason why you shouldn't enjoy this book.
We can all relate to having those fat days where nothing fits and the,"Don't give a dam days" where we eat half our body weight in snacks and suffer for it later.  There is so much pressure in the media to stay slim and healthy but mentally it might be better just to be happy with the curves and enjoy life.
I enjoyed reading this book and getting to know each of the characters. A good book either has to make me laugh or cry or make me want a sequel and this book had all three.

I'm going to have a look at the other books by this author as they seem to be lighthearted and we could all do with that kind of book now and then. 
only 99p for kindle  Amazon uk