22 May 2011

Book Review - Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe
Number of Pages :  416

Publisher:   Razorbill

My Review:  10 out of 10

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming. 

Once again, I have picked a book that took me straight out of my reading comfort zone and I am glad I did.  I had heard a lot about this book before I decided to pick it up.  I was instantly hooked from the very first page and loved the way the characters interacted and the way the 'world' was developed.

I did not realise that this was going to be part of a series when I picked it up so I am very interested to know what happens next.....

For a more detailed review, please see below:

Best wishes

Continue reading Book Review - Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Book Review - Dancing Jax by Robin Jarvis

Dancing Jax
Number of Pages :  576

Publisher:  Harper Collins

My Review:  10 out of 10

A brilliant supernatural thriller with a modern twist, and a triumphant return from one of Britain's best-loved writers. At the end of a track, on the outskirts of an ordinary coastal town, lies a dilapidated house. Once, a group of amateur ghost hunters spent the night there. Two of them don't like to speak about the experience. The third can't speak about it. He went into the basement, you see, and afterwards he screamed so hard and so long he tore his vocal cords. Now, a group of teenagers have decided to hang out in the old haunted house. 

Dismissing the fears of the others, their leader Jezza goes down into the basement! and comes back up with a children's book, full of strange and colourful tales of a playing-card world, a fairytale world, full of Jacks, Queens and Kings, unicorns and wolves. But the book is no fairytale. Written by Austerly Fellows, a mysterious turn-of-the-century occultist, it just might be the gateway to something terrifying!and awfully final. As the children and teenagers of the town are swept up by its terrible power, swept into its seductive world, something has begun that could usher in hell on earth. 

Soon, the only people standing in its way are a young boy with a sci-fi obsession, and his dad -- an unassuming maths teacher called Martin! 

I enjoyed this book so much more than I was expecting.  I went into reading this book with an open mind because it sounded so very different from what I would usually read but it was fantastic.  The writing was well done and the plot was brilliant.  Such an amazing book, I really did not want to put it down.

For a more detailed review, please see below:

Best wishes

Continue reading Book Review - Dancing Jax by Robin Jarvis

21 May 2011

An Interview with Author Lucy Ashford

Hi guys!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a review of a story written by Lucy Ashford. I have had the great pleasure of asking her a few questions. A link to the book review is here:- http://debrasbookcafe.blogspot.com/2011/04/book-review-problem-with-josephine-by.html

So, on with the questions:

If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? Charles Dickens – a) because he's marvellous, and b) because he wrote his novels in instalments for periodicals, so he couldn't even go back to revise what he'd written – i.e. he got it right first time. Incredible! 

What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?   I've got my own study at the top of the house, with my desk facing the wall so I'm not tempted to stare out of the window. I write as often as I can, and the morning's a good time. When I'm in the middle of a book, my room is a mess. Papers and research books strewn everywhere. But I have a good tidy-up when the book is finished, honest! 

What is the hardest part of the art of writing for you?  Getting started. That first blank page is daunting. 
When and why did you first start writing?  I think I was about six, to be truthful – I've always written, and always read masses of novels and history. I studied English Lit at university. My first serious venture into writing was a Mills and Boon competition – they were looking for new writers. I was a runner-up, and that gave me the confidence to keep trying. 

How did you come up with the idea for the story 'The Problem with Josephine'?  I was working on my latest historical novel for Mills and Boon, 'The Return of Lord Conistone,' in which my hero is in the thick of it fighting the French. I needed to find out what Napoleon was doing at that time - spring 1810 – and the answer was that he was getting married for the second time, in Paris, a truly sumptuous affair. Intrigued, I read more, and discovered that Napoleon's first wife, Josephine, was causing rather a problem... 

The characters Sophie and Jacques play a key part in your story, are they based on any one you know?  Afraid not. Pure fantasy, especially Jacques.  

How much of your story is based on historic events, people and places?  All the strands in the story - for example, Napoleon's whirlwind courtship of his shy young bride, the celebrations in Paris, and the fact that the portraits of Josephine in the Louvre had to be removed or painted out - are true. 

How much research did you have to do for this story?  I'm always pretty meticulous about my research. The editors at Mills & Boon as well as our readers require this, and I can only write when I feel secure about the background detail, even though most of it won't appear in the story.   

You have also written longer historical novels under your real name Elizabeth Redfern, what was the motivation behind making the change to Mills & Boon?  I've always loved historical romances (Georgette Heyer was a huge favourite of mine when I was a teenager) so my first attempt at writing was the historical romance for Mills & Boon that I've already mentioned. I remember also going to an all-day writers' conference run by Mills & Boon and coming away quite inspired. (And also in possession of a Mills & Boon tea towel, which was our somewhat non-pc parting gift!) My two longer historical novels were thrillers, and rather dark. I might write another one some day, but in the meantime I'm very happy with the world of romance.  

Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?   I read masses of novels still, both old and new, because I think it's really important to keep up with publishing trends. I'm reading 'The Mathematics of Love' by Emma Darwin at the moment. 

Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?   Decide on a genre, because you have to be able to pitch your book as a thriller, romance, or whatever you've chosen. Read and study the best authors in that genre. When you think you've finished your book, then's the time to revise, and revise again. Be utterly ruthless with the boring bits. 

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?  'How does it feel to win the Booker Prize, Lucy?' 'Well, I'm absolutely thrilled...'
Only joking!

Continue reading An Interview with Author Lucy Ashford

18 May 2011

Book Review - The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

The Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel 
Number of Pages  - 257
Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton
My Review - 10 out of 10

Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, not only wishing to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also dreaming of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.

I always have to wonder how Sarah Addison Allen makes her books so magical.  Sometimes, its not actual magic that you are reading about but you could almost smell it in the air.  Everytime I sit down to read one of her books, I always feel like I have been swept away on a wave of mystical beauty and never actually released until the very last word.

I adore this book.  Firstly, I absolutely love the cover.  The copy that I have is hard back and does not have a dust jacket.  The illustrations are right on the cover and looks to incredably pretty.  The illustrations on the chapter headings and also on the back (to see these please see the video below) are so beautiful it draws you in immediately.  

This story had just the right dash of mystery and romance that I love to read all about.  I loved to read about the relationship between Emily and the grandfather she never knew she had but I do have to say that the most interesting for me was Julia, her 'bakery' and her past...

This was a truly magical story that I just could not put down....  If you would prefer to see my video review, please see below...

Best wishes


Continue reading Book Review - The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Book Review - Mr Commitment by Mike Gayle

Mr. CommitmentNumber of Pages - 322

Publisher - Hodder &; Stoughton

My Review - 8 out of 10

Straight from the bestseller lists in the UK comes a novel "full of belly laughs and painfully acute observations" (The Independent on Sunday), an excursion into the world of a modern male that "delivers its punch lines directly to the heart" (Birmingham Evening Mail). Like Helen Fielding's smash success Bridget Jones and Nick Hornby's classic High Fidelity , Mr. Commitment promises to make a big splash this side of the Atlantic as well.

Benjamin Duffy is a stand-up comic/temp who, like many men in their late twenties, is forced to face the eternal question: "To commit or not to commit?" After four years of biding her time, Benjamin's girlfriend has proposed, issuing an ultimatum that sets Benjamin's head spinning. He knows that Mel's the one for him, but should he swap his stellar record collection and fridge full of beer for dinner parties and trips to IKEA? Maybe if Benjamin could swap "till death do us part" with "renewable on a four-year basis" he'd be happy, but the choice-as far as Mel sees it-is all or nothing. Now or never. Mel or no Mel.

First off, I have to say that I absolutely love Mike Gayle's style of writing and the way he brings his characters together in a serious but funny way.  His chapter headings, for example, are not the normal Chapter One, Chapter Two etc but instead headed up with headings such as ''Anyone See That Lassie Film Last Night?' and 'Because if you are I will be forced to kill you while you're asleep and plead diminished responsibility', which I find so funny but also appropriate to the chapter I am about to read.

At the beginning when we see Mel and Duffy coming to the crossroads of will they won't they, I could really feel the frustration in Mel but also the hesitance of commitment from Duffy.  The way that the story progresses and follows mainly the character of Duffy as he struggles to come to terms with what he should do.

I have to be honest and say that there were a few chapters in the middle where I felt that there could have been more to the story but it soon picked back up again when we come to the far side of the story where we see what Duffy decides to do. 

A great read for all of you who love reading stories like Bridget Jones Diary...  If you would like to see the video review, please see below.

Best wishes

Continue reading Book Review - Mr Commitment by Mike Gayle

15 May 2011

10 May 2011

What's a romance book that every girl must read?

Well, this is a very easy question or me to answer. Since as far back as I can remember, I have been a huge romantic fiction fan. My favourite author is Nicholas Sparks although I do read other authors as well. I especially like romantic chick lit fiction as well. You know the ones, the ones that make you laugh out load with how funny the romantic drama is in the story is.

As for the one book that I would recommend to all you romantic fiction fans, that would have to be The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks. This was one of the first books that I bought written by Nicholas Sparks and it absolutely blew me away. The way the story built up and the way we see the relationships between the different characters was spellbinding.

I promise that I will not spoil the ending for you but with The Wedding, the ending definitely did not disappoint me and it was definitely one of those endings that I completely did not expect and it was absolutely 100% the perfect ending for a romantic drama fiction.

If you have not give this book a go and you love reading romance, I would strongly recommend this one....

Best wishes


Continue reading What's a romance book that every girl must read?

9 May 2011

4 May 2011

Book Review - Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Two-way Street
Number of Pages -  304

Publisher - Simon Pulse

My review - 10 out of 10
There are two sides to every breakup.
This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation. 

Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.

It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

Best wishes

Continue reading Book Review - Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Book Review - The Diary by Eileen Goudge

The Diary
Number of Pages - 272

Publisher - Vanguard Press

My Review - 8 out of 10

When two grown daughters discover their mother's diary in her attic, they are stunned to learn her true love was not their father. But is all as it seems? That's the mystery they must unravel as their mother lies near death in a nursing home.

Only the pages of her diary can provide the clues. In a richly detailed journey into the past, we see the young Elizabeth Marshall lose her heart to one man while remaining devoted to another.

The Diary is a love story. It's also the story of a family and the question that all adult children must ask themselves at some point: how well do you really know your parents? The answer just might surprise you.

Best wishes

Continue reading Book Review - The Diary by Eileen Goudge

2 May 2011