Savannah, a British IT girl whose Daddy runs a rather successful casino in Las Vegas, is somewhat sick of being a boring socialite. She wants more, buSavannah, a British IT girl whose Daddy runs a rather successful casino in Las Vegas, is somewhat sick of being a boring socialite. She wants more, but she doesn’t want to be a good girl to get there. A horrible accident at home means Savannah is forced to take stock of her life, and re-evaluate a few things too. She’s sent to a remote island for rehab which her family hopes will bring Savannah back onto the straight and narrow. On the other side of the world, Lois, an ex FBI cop, is finding her feet working for some more casino bosses, and working out what exactly they want from her, and what she wants from her own life too. Just how are the paths of these women going to cross, and with what consequences?
This is the second novel from author Jo Rees, who first burst onto the chick lit market last summer with her fantastic summer blockbuster Platinum. I really loved that read, and consequently I’ve been very excited about being able to read this one too. I must admit that when I saw the original cover, I wasn’t too impressed as it seemed a bit garish and brash for my liking, but luckily the publishers have had a rethink and they’ve come up with the much nicer design pictured on the left! Anyway, you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover are you?! Either way, I eagerly started to read Forbidden Pleasures, and luckily it wasn’t a let down!
The book mainly tells the story of Savannah, a rich, spoilt IT girl who seems to think the world owes her a favour. Savannah doesn’t expect to work for her money, just that Daddy should supply it and consequently she’s not a very nice person. However, she gets a bit of a shock when she is party to an horrific accident that leaves her a changed person, and for the better it would seem. Even though Savannah wasn’t a very nice person at first, I still felt sorry for her as she seemed trapped in her life, and I enjoyed seeing the change in her as the book progressed.
The other main character in the book is Lois, a former cop turned security guard for one of the big casinos. For some reason, I really disliked Lois from the off, she just seemed to rub me up the wrong way and I just didn’t warm to her at all. As things move on in the story, I think I was supposed to feel sympathy for her but I just couldn’t bring myself to, I didn’t warm to her in the way I did to Savannah initially. Lois seems to work well in a man’s world, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I just found her to really cold and unlikeable. Her relationship with her estranged daughter is also quite odd, very different to the usual mother/daughter relationships you read in most books, but it made it slightly more interesting.
I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the story, and the different developments as it went on as well. I wondered when I began reading exactly where the book was going because it started with a rich girl doing what she liked, but the incident that happens turns the whole book on its head and sent it careering in a totally different direction which I loved. Savannah becomes a much nicer person, and I love how she starts to see how badly she behaved before and develops a conscience. It was great to read a character making a change like that and using it to her advantage.
The book picks up its edge again around 2/3 of the way in when the rivalry between Savannah and Lois hots up once more. The book takes another turn which again I thought was really good, as it kept my attention and keeps the story fresh and exciting. I was actually unsure how it was all going to end up because just as I thought I had guessed how things were panning out, something else happened which sent the story in another direction, and it was great how Rees kept my guessing the whole way through. The dramatic ending was a great finale for the book, and tied up all the loose ends of the book really well. Savannah was definitely the heroin of the book for me, conquering her past as she did and by the end, I had even warmed to Lois which was good too!
The book is a great blockbuster type read, so if you are a fan of the Bagshawe sisters, Sasha Wagstaff and Olivia Darling, I think you will love Jo Rees’ books. We were able to send out copies of this book to our competition winners for our first birthday a few months ago, and the response to it was extremely positive, so it looks like this is going to be a popular summer read. I would definitely recommend it to be one that you stick in your suitcase if you are off on your summer hols, and if not it’s the perfect escapist fiction for a late night read too! Set in the world of casino’s, it’s really glamorous, exciting and set in a lifestyle most of us would only be able to dream about! A great read!...more
Juliet is hiding away again. It wasn’t even a year ago that she lost her beloved husband Ben to a young and tragic death, and Juliet just wants to shuJuliet is hiding away again. It wasn’t even a year ago that she lost her beloved husband Ben to a young and tragic death, and Juliet just wants to shut the world out and go about her grieving in her own way. However, her mother Diane and sister Louise have different ideas about what Juliet needs, and manages to get her a job as the neighbourhood’s unofficial dog-walker. Reluctantly, Juliet agrees, and finds that the fresh air and dogs are all she needs to finally start coming out of her shell. She’s sure it doesn’t mean she is ready to start talking to people again, let alone about her lovely Ben, but she’s more open to getting out, and even speaking to her mad Irish next door neighbours Emer and Lorcan Will Juliet find her own way back to happiness or is her life destined to be one long, lonely road?
This is Lucy Dillon’s third novel, and she is certainly one author who seems to be getting better with every book. Her last title, Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts which I really enjoyed, won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year 2010, and while I think that was deserving, I would say that this book also deserves that title! The cover is absolutely gorgeous, and I think it certainly adds to the books appeal, especially at this wintery time of year. It seems that dogs are pretty important to Dillon as its her second book in a row to feature them, so canine book fans will undoubtedly be looking out for this one too.
The book begins with the character of Juliet grieving over the sudden death of her young husband Ben. Juliet therefore isn’t the happiest character, but you can understand why and I think it’s important for the reader to get that connection with her straight away as you are meant to sympathise with her story and also feel like you want everything to work out for her in the end too. You can feel her pain through Dillon’s writing, she really does put across Juliet’s raw emotion perfectly, and I really did feel for poor Juliet. It was nice to see her develop as the book progresses, you can see the change in her because of the people around her, and it shows what people can really do to help other people out when they need it.
However, whilst there is all this sorrow for Juliet going on, there is quite a bit of humour throughout the book which keeps the tone quite light and stops the book getting too bogged down. Juliet’s mother Diane is such a typically interfering mother, she means well of course but you see why Juliet gets annoyed with her! She’s very nosy in her daughter’s life and helps her become a dog walker. Diane’s scenes with her dog Coco are hilarious because she treats her like a little girl, not a dog, and it is funny to read. There are some pretty touching scenes with Juliet and her parents towards the end of the book, and these were a joy to read, I loved them and found them very tear-jerking and perfectly fitted in with the book.
As well as Juliet’s recovery story, we do have another serious storyline involving Juliet’s sister Louise. We can see everything isn’t perfect for the new mother who is struggling in her marriage to Peter, especially knowing that her sister lost her husband young, she feels more pressure to make her marriage work. There are more secrets that come out as the story moves on, some of which I didn’t see coming at all which was really good, I like that Dillon managed to keep these things from us because it kept the book fresh as I was reading, and it made me so curious to keep reading and find out what was happening. Louise’s story is quite emotional, and I am sure quite a lot of people will be able to relate to it, and I think Dillon handled the plot sensitively and with real tact.
The book is very emotional – it follows several people all determined to make a change for the better in their lives, and because of that it is a very uplifting book. I found myself smiling a lot as I read it, and there were a good few tear-jerking moments as well that had me welling up with emotion, but in a good way. The book was a joy to read from start to finish, and I really felt like I had been on a real journey with these characters, especially Juliet. Her budding friendship with the wonderful Lorcan was brilliant to read, and I was willing the pair of them to open their eyes to what was in front of them! The story handled loss, sorrow and moving on really well and is a truly uplifting and amazing read. I loved every single page....more
Miles and Grace Ashford, Sasha Sinclair and Alex Doyle were carefree teenagers when they holidayed at age 18 on the private island of Angel Cay. But wMiles and Grace Ashford, Sasha Sinclair and Alex Doyle were carefree teenagers when they holidayed at age 18 on the private island of Angel Cay. But when a shocking incident happens that leaves the four young people harbouring a secret between themselves, what repurcussions is it going to have on them?
When the four grow up in adults and begin in the world of work, is the dark secret going to affect their choices forever more? How will affect Sasha in her determination to be a successful model, and will it affect Alex’s chances of being a global musician? How about money-driven Miles and his shy sister Grace? Will the consequences of that one secret night on Angel Cay ruin the rest of their lives? And just what price will the four have to pay?
Someone I have never yet managed to pick up a copy of any of Tasmina Perry’s 5 novels, even though they actually look like the sort of thing I really enjoy to read – a proper blockbuster type novel. I really can’t pinpoint why this is so when I was offered the chance to review her latest book, Kiss Heaven Goodbye, I jumped at the chance. The gorgeous cover screamed summer at me, and I was really excited to get stuck in and find out whether it would live up to my expectations. It’s a huge chunk of a hardback book at well over 500 pages, but rest assured, it’s definitely one you’re going to want to make room in your suitcase for.
The book begins in the present day, introducing us to the rich and powerful Miles Ashford finding himself in trouble after many years over something that happened with his school friends. He brings up their names and then the book flies straight back to the 1980′s when Miles, Grace, Alex and Sasha were all 18 year olds and eager to go off to University after one last special holiday to the private island of Angel Cay. I didn’t expect this jump back nearly 30 years, so it was an intriguing way to start the book and I have to admit it really grabbed my attention right away.
In fact, the book doesn’t come back to 2010 until right at the end, and instead goes through the lives of Miles, Grace, Alex and Sasha as they grow up, and find out how the secret of Angel Cay affects all four of them. The book skips between just months, sometimes a year or two before it picks up again but I really loved this because I didn’t know what was going to be introduced at the start of each chapter when a new time period was introduced. The book chops and changes between the characters, but Perry is careful to keep all of the characters in the loop, even if it’s a mention from the other characters which is really interesting.
I really loved the way it was written, the flashbacks were fun because the reader is kept the dark for 95% of the book as to what happened at Angel Cay and I liked the mystery element of it. The characters were all really well written as well, with 2 clear likeable ones (Alex and Grace) and 2 despicable ones (Miles and Sasha). They all exist in their own worlds in the book yet Perry finds ways to keep them in touch with each other and I loved how the characters were all linked like this. I really loathed Miles but at the same time, he was brilliant for the book and his storylines were fun to read! Sasha is completely ruthless, but I found her growing on me as the time went on. Grace was lovely, probably the most realistic character of the bunch, and her friendship with rockstar Alex was touchingly written, and very different to the brashness of the rest of the book.
The setting of the book moves around a bit too. It starts on the paradise island of Angel Cay, which I imagine looks something like the gorgeous cover of this book, moves back to England where the characters initially start living, then separates to Spain, America, and several other places along the way too. I would love to know if Perry was lucky enough to visit all these places as she describes them so well, I especially loved her descriptions of Spain with Grace, I was able to imagine the places so well.
If you can’t tell already, I think this is a super summer read and would most definitely recommend it to fans of chick lit! After reading this book, I really don’t know why I haven’t read anything by Tasmina Perry before because she writes fantastic blockbusters which are extremely readable, with great characters and fantastic locations too. The beautiful cover will certainly attract attention, and don’t let the size of the book put you off because it is fast-paced and keeps your attention for every single page. I loved how it kept my interest, the mystery element was quite exciting and the characters were brilliant enough to keep the story moving and the reader into the book. Definitely recommended!...more
When Delilah Rafferty’s 50th birthday begins to loom, she decides that she is going to throw herself a huge birthday bash and invite lots of people toWhen Delilah Rafferty’s 50th birthday begins to loom, she decides that she is going to throw herself a huge birthday bash and invite lots of people to make it even more fun. However, Delilah doesn’t bank on the strife her family manages to get themselves into just before her birthday, and when it threatens to ruin her birthday altogether, Delilah realises she has had enough. Her husband Raf, an actor, has got his first acting job in 10 years but Delilah is sure it’s going to drive a wedge between them once more. Her daughter Coco is struggling with a secret problem with her job on a soap, youngest daughter Tyger is hiding a secret that is going to shock the Rafferty family to it’s core when it comes out and middle daughter Violet is a budding musician but is keeping a rather surprising romance secret from her family. How are the Rafferty’s going to heal their rifts, and will they do it before Delilah’s special birthday party?
I am a huge fan of Veronica Henry’s books, and her last book, The Beach Hut, which was a short story collection was one of my favourite reads by Henry of them all! Therefore, when I was sent this book to review, I was really excited to read it and hoped that it would live up to The Beach Hut which was just brilliant. The cover is really striking, I love the purple and pink images and it would certainly be a book I’d grab in a shop, so I think the cover designers have done a great job with this particular book. It is quite a thick book, but the story moves along at a good pace and there’s always something to keep your attention, so you don’t notice the pages flying by.
The book focuses on the Rafferty family, and they are a great bunch of characters who really entertain us for the duration of the book. Delilah is probably what I would define as the main character, because most of the action features around her, and of course the birthday party from the title of the book is in Delilah’s honour. She is a lovely character, a woman who is happy with her lot – she has a great career as a TV chef who has several cookbooks to her name, 3 lovely daughters and a doting husband too. But when her marriage is threatened by Raf’s career revival, Delilah suddenly feels unsure in her own shoes, and I think Henry writes her fear and nervousness really well, you can feel everything along with Delilah and I felt so sorry for her.
On the other hand, I couldn’t really warm to any of Delilah’s daughters at all because they are such selfish brats you just cannot like! Coco, the actress from the soap, is so self-pitying it verges on pathetic, and I found myself getting annoyed at her quite a bit as I read her scenes. Her solution to her nerves is a bit shocking but to be honest, the whole book is quite outrageous so it doesn’t feel too out of place! Violet is a singer determined to make it on her own and not use her family name to get any connections which is admirable, but I found her to be a bit of a user and not particularly likeable. The only one I even slightly liked was Tyger, a young girl determined to succeed with her lingerie business, and hiding her secret from her family too. They are 3 very different characters, all dislikeable in their own ways but they certainly make for some interesting reading.
What surprised me the most about this book was the rudeness! When I’ve picked up a Veronica Henry book in the past, I don’t expect to read graphic and quite rude sex scenes. Don’t get me wrong, they can be in the book but be quite tastefully done and not too in your face, but I found this book was far more graphic than I remembered in the past. Actually, it felt in parts like I was reading a totally different author because it felt like a whole different direction for Henry. Quite a few authors lately have seemed to be writing for a new audience and I wonder if Henry is one of those. That isn’t to say I didn’t like the book because I really did, but I’m not quite as comfortable sending this book to my mum after reading some of the things in it than I have been sending her these books in the past!
This is a great and absorbing read with a storyline that will certainly keep you hooked to the final page. Henry’s writing style is so easy to read, you find yourself getting brought into the story straight away, and I didn’t have any problems starting the book at all. The book is told in the third person tense, and this works well due to the amount of characters within. Despite the amount of characters, I didn’t struggle with working out who was who at all, and followed the individual stories with ease, something that shows off how good Henry’s writing is. There are some important issues covered in the book, and they work well with the more shocking aspects of the book. Overall, it’s a great read and one I would recommend to fans of Henry’s work, although do be aware of the sex scenes in the book! Recommended!...more
Lucy Streeter thought she had her life pretty sussed out. She runs a clothes shop, where she also gets to show off her own designs that she does in heLucy Streeter thought she had her life pretty sussed out. She runs a clothes shop, where she also gets to show off her own designs that she does in her own spare time, she’s mum to her grown up son Nat who is at University, and she gets on really well with the other occupants of Paradise Street, where their shops are based. However, Lucy decides to pay a visit to a fortune teller one day, and finds out a bit of shocking news… she has just days to live. Lucy is horrified that her time on Earth is nearly up, and makes some radical decision and changes that the old Lucy never would have done. Is Lucy going to be able to make the most of her last few days with her family and friends, or is it just too little, too late?
I have read quite a few of Annie Sanders’ novels in the past and really enjoyed them, so I was really looking forward to getting around to this one. I have to admit I wasn’t too keen on the cover when it was released but in real life, it doesn’t look quite as dull as the pictures online make it look. What I love about Annie Sanders’ novels are the realism – you can always count on characters that you recognise or can imagine being friends with, and that is exactly what I hoped I would get from this novel once more. So here’s my review!
The leading lady Lucy is a great character, and I liked her straight away. She’s a single mum to a grown up son who is at University, and seems at a bit of a loss as to what to do with herself now he’s grown up and flown the nest. Lucy is a talented designer but prefers to sell other people’s wares in her clothes shop, a point that did make me think “why would you not try and push your own designs?” but as the story progresses, we do see why. Lucy is a really normal woman, she’s certainly someone I can imagine liking and she seems like your average housewife which is nice. However, we soon see a new side to Lucy once she learns of her impending demise, and this is where the main bulk of the story comes in.
The character of Micah wasn’t one that I liked enormously if I am honest. I especially disliked him at the end when it all becomes clear about him and his predictions because I really don’t like that sort of things within books, and it seemed like Sanders was plugging into the magical element of books that has done well for authors such as Cecelia Ahern, but it seemed totally out of place in this book. It was a real shame because I had loved the book up until now, and thought it was a great story about someone reinventing themselves but the magical part really let it down for me and turned from a great book into something a bit silly and unbelievable which was a real pity.
The story of people reinventing themselves has been done before, but I really enjoyed the twist Sanders put on it that Lucy knew she was going to die, and therefore wanted to do everything she normally wouldn’t have the guts to do. It certainly makes you begin to think what would you get up to if you knew you only had a few days left on Earth, and you can sympathise with Lucy along the way too because you can see how much it is hurting her at the thought of leaving her son behind, but the things that come out of it are well worth reading about. What I really love was how it wasn’t just the physical things Lucy had to change, and it’s enjoyable to see this character come out of her shell.
Overall, this is a really enjoyable book and would definitely have been a superb one had they not brought in the silly ending that they did, which for me spoilt the rest of the tone of the book for me. I was actually guessing that Micah’s character was going to force the book to go one way, and it seemed so out of place in an otherwise brilliantly grounded read that it really spoilt the ending for me, and I was left quite disappointed. I don’t know why authors think that everyone wants something “magical” and “fantastical” in their books, because we don’t! We know which authors to go to when we want that and I just felt it out of place in an otherwise fantastic read....more