Saturday, 31 October 2015

Firsts - Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Mercedes wants to help the male population make their girlfriends happy. How? Well she offers to sleep with them so she can tell them how to improve and make their girlfriends first time perfect. Mercedes keeps a book documenting exactly what she thought of each person that she has send with which reminded me a little of the Burn Book from Mean Girls. Somehow all Mercedes cares about is the guys making their girlfriends happy but of course things don't always run as planned.

When I read the synopsis of Firsts I thought I'd hate Mercedes. I mean on paper a character that sleeps with as many virgins who are in relationships as she can find? That doesn't sound like someone you'd like. However, when you read the book she is surprisingly really likeable and although I think what she's doing with guys is mental and I don't agree with it at all, she does have her reasons for doing it. It only dawned on my just how much I started to like her when, as I kept on reading and the closer Mercedes got to her secret being revealed the bigger the knot that appeared in my stomach got. At times I did want to go and shout at her to think about what she was doing but as the book progressed I genuinely wanted things to be ok for her.

My favourite thing about Firsts is the friendships. Mercedes discovers along the way exactly who she can trust and when she discovers that the people who stand by her really do have her back. I won't spoil the book for anyone who wants to read but two characters in particular stick by her and are a delight to read about particular when times get quite bad for Mercedes. 

I was pleasantly surprised by Firsts and I think you will be too if you read it. I thought when I picked up Firsts that I would enjoy it but didn’t expect to like the lead character at all so I was surprised at just how much I did end up enjoying it and I think you will too. Firsts is the authors debut novel so I'll be eagerly waiting to see what she writes next. To be honest, I don’t think the synopsis does the book justice at all, it is so much better than I anticipated and I definitely think you should pick this book up next.

Synopsis -

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The New Year's Wish - Dani Lyn Alexander

The New Year's Wish by Dani-Lyn Alexander tells the story of Olivia Calloway.  If you look up clumsy and scatter brain in a dictionary you'd probably find Olivia's name next to those words. After a number of failed attempts at becoming self employed, Olivia finally accepts that she needs to get a job. Of course on the way to the interview things don't go to planned and everything that could go wrong, does. Including managing to spill coffee all over her interviewer and Vice President of the company, Garrett Emerson. Garrett finds her charming and can't deny the instant attraction to feels towards her and immediately decides to hire her to be his assistant.

It's that time of year when I love nothing more than settling down with a book that makes me look forward to the festive holidays and this book has definitely left me with that warm, fuzzy Christmassy feeling. I found Olivia to be an easy to read character and her clumsy ways were a delight to read as I'm sure we've all done similar things. I've read a few books which involves a employee/manager relationship and with it being somewhat a taboo relationship some of them I've read just haven't been great to read. However, reading about Olivia and Garrett's friendship and how it blossomed over time was wonderful. The book moved at a quick pace but not once did it feel rushed which I loved. 

I was a little early this morning so I went to go and sit in a coffee shop for a while, before I knew it i was running late and I had finished reading The New Year's Wish in one session. I just couldn't put it down and time really did fly by whilst I was reading which is only the sign of a really good book in my opinion.

If you're looking for a book to get you into the festive spirit then this book more certainly fits the bill. Even the book cover is delightful and magical, making you want to step straight into the scene portrayed. I absolutely enjoyed every second of reading this book and I'm so happy with how everything turned out. Considering I read it so quickly I got very invested in the characters and you're constantly routing for Olivia. Personally I loved The New Year's Wish and would highly recommend that you pick it up as the next book that you read.

Synopsis -

Typing out memos is anything but torturous when your boss is this hot! Dani-Lyn Alexander’s irresistible new yuletide romance is a lighthearted office romp that will make you long for the company holiday party.

Olivia Calloway isn’t cut out for the nine-to-five life. She’s a born entrepreneur. She just has to figure out her soul’s true calling—and she’s given herself until the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve to do it. With her trust fund dwindling and only two and a half months to go, she takes an assistant position at prestigious law firm Harris & Harris. The problem is, Olivia’s a terrible employee—incessantly late, forgetful, and clumsy. Not that her gorgeous new boss Garrett Emerson seems to mind. Beautiful, charming Olivia has been on his mind ever since she ran into him, literally, sprinting to the interview. But Olivia’s first big assignment—to plan an elaborate last minute New Year’s Eve party for the entire company—could make or break her job entirely. With Ms. Harris herself demanding perfection, a jealous office rival rooting for Olivia to lose, and even Garrett dreading the affair, can Olivia finally prove herself—or will an unforeseen complication send her back to the drawing board? All she wants for the holidays is to be her own boss—and to ignite the flirtatious sparks between her and Garrett…so she can file their relationship under love. 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Becoming Famous - Natalie Scott

I've been reading Becoming Famous for a couple of weeks but I now feel like it is a good time to write my review because truthfully although I'm 80% of the way through, I just don't think I'm going to finish reading it.

Becoming Famous tells the story of Bebe. When she was younger she wanted nothing more to be a champion horse rider which she looked set to do until she had an accident. Since then her life has been abit of a whirlwind. She just can't seem to settle anywhere, one minute she's living in New York the next minute after the death of a friend she decides to spontaneously move to LA. Can Bebe ever find happiness?

The synopsis of Becoming Famous sounded just like my kind of book but unfortunately it failed to impressed. It's worth mentioning that in the copy that I was very kindly given to review, the text is a little all over the shop making it very difficult to read. Perhaps I may have enjoyed reading it much more if the text was as it should've been. 

I didn't like the main character at all. I just couldn't relate to her and I found the actions that she made to be slightly erratic which leads to the plot leaping around. You definitely need to be fully concentrated on reading this book or else you'll struggle to keep up with the insanely quick pace of Bebe's life. 

Unfortunately I just didn't enjoy reading Becoming Famous. Despite saying this I think that it will appeal to a lot of people as the plot idea is good. The book is actually a sequel, although I read it as a standalone with no issues. I would assume if you loved book number one that you will love this book too. However for me, it just fell a little short to my expectations from the synopsis. 

Synopsis -

Bebe Barkley has never released a sex tape. She’s not America’s Next Top Model. She didn’t get pregnant at 16, and has never auditioned for American Idol. In fact, she’s holed up in a hotel room at the Waldorf in New York City, totally depressed. But even though she doesn’t know it yet, she’s about to become famous. A former equestrian rider, Bebe had a bright future until a tragic accident changed everything. Now she’s unable to return to her old life, yet incapable of moving forward.

Follow her as she ventures from New York to LA, the City of Broken Dreams, where she will find everything she’s ever wanted, only to risk losing the things she truly loves. Join Bebe in her heart-stopping journey in Becoming Famous.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Anchored - Brigitte Quinn

Barbara King is currently the anchor at her local news station in Phoenix, however she dreams of being promoted to a prime time show so she can be the next household news anchor. Barbara is happy at work, she has a husband and a child at home and everything seems to be going ok for her until Jack Stone is brought to the station to be her co-anchor. They have an undeniable chemistry and despite them both being married it doesn’t take long before co-workers start gossiping about what exactly is going on between them. 
I had a real love hate relationship whilst reading Anchored. When I started reading it, I just couldn’t get into the book at all. Some evenings I had to really push myself to pick up my kindle and read another chapter. Then at some point around 50% - 70% of the way through the book I started to really love reading it. I couldn’t put it down then before I knew it, it was the end of the book and I was complaining to anyone who would half listen to me that I needed a sequel to this book already. The way it ends certainly is crying out for a sequel to be written.
The descriptions about what life inside the Phoenix Network seems so realistic. So much so it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that the author once worked as a television anchor herself. Its a fascinating insight in what goes on inside a network station. I’m quite intrigued as to how much is made up and how much is perhaps exaggerated from the truth. If you’re interesting in working as an anchor I feel like this book, although being fiction, would be an interesting insight.
Personally I didn’t really gel with the characters. I completely understand Barbara’s ambitions to be anchor but she and her husband don’t spend much time together, thanks to their busy lives. So of course when Jack comes along I didn’t really care if she left her husband or not to be with him. Perhaps if more was wrote out Barbara’s husband and home life I may have been more interested in what happened to them. 
Anchored hasn’t been my favourite book I’ve read but it did manage to grip me towards the end. Life on the newsroom is fascinating to read and you really feel like you’re actually working with these people and experiencing the same dilemmas as Barbara at times. Truthfully I can really see Anchored working well as a film or a television series one day – a fact I’m sure Barbara (if she were real!) would be most happy about.   
Synopsis –
How do you stay anchored when you’re attracted to your co-anchor? 
Barbara King’s dream is to become the next Barbara Walters. But for now, she’s anchoring at the fledgling Phoenix news channel, covering car chases and interviewing drunken showbiz has-beens. If she can just out-fox the conniving anchors at her cable channel and move up to its prime-time line-up, she’ll be able to fly the coop and ascend to a real news network. 
Enter Jack Stone, Barbara’s dynamic, witty—and did she mention sexy?—new co-anchor. Another potential competitor, Jack’s attitude is chilly toward Barbara at first, but it’s not long before a genuine friendship forms. Soon they find themselves finishing each other’s sentences, discovering all they have in common and, ultimately, attempting to ignore how wildly attracted they are to each other. Meanwhile, on the set, under television’s bright lights, they sit just inches apart, their chemistry even apparent to the quirky cast of characters in the gossiping newsroom. 
Will Barbara give in to her attraction to Jack and betray her husband, Ben, her sweet-souled moral compass? When a life-altering news event propels the Phoenix to the #1 news channel in the nation, will Barbara sell her soul to become a prime time star? 
How do you stay true to yourself when you’re being seduced by stardom—and your co-star? 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Dream A Little Christmas Dream - Giovanna Fletcher

If like me when you read Dream A Little Dream a few months ago you almost threw your kindle/book out the window in a strop over how it ended then you must read Dream A Little Christmas Dream. If you've not read Dream A Little Dream yet I'll put the link to my review at the bottom of this post, I would highly suggest reading that book prior to this one. Dream A Little Christmas Dream is a short story that follows where Dream A Little Dream left off. It is still following the story of Sarah and her boyfriend Brett who she once dreamt about. Life seems be going perfectly for them both, that is until Brett starts acting strangely around Sarah. Sarah has a dream that Brett breaks up with her so it's no wonder that when he starts working late and hanging out with friends she'd never heard of, alarm bells start ringing in her head. 

Giovanna Fletcher has such a wonderful writing style and her books never fail to capture my attention. Sarah and Brett are such likeable characters and it's so great to have closure to their story in this book. I still absolutely love the way that Sarah's dreams are mixed with the telling of her real life. I think it's an absolutely brilliant idea for a book and it works so well.

Dream A Little Christmas Dream is the sequel I'd been dying to read since the moment I finished Dream A Little Dream and it doesn't disappoint. I read this book in an hour so it's a fast read but it leaves you with warm and fuzzy feelings and I can guarantee it'll put you in the festive mood. Personally Dream A Little Dream is my favourite book by Fletcher so I can highly recommend picking up a copy of both the original novel Dream A Little Christmas Dream.

Synopsis -

Sarah's doing great. Okay, her dreams might still be totally bananas but real life is definitely back on track. She's got a fantastic job, amazing friends and plans to spend all Christmas wrapped up with Brett, her handsome boyfriend. 
But after another night of increasingly bizarre dreams, Sarah wakes to find her housemate suddenly announcing she's moving out. And later that day Brett begins to act strangely. He's clearly hiding something - but what? 

Soon Sarah can't help but wonder if she's living in a festive nightmare. Will any of her dreams come true for Christmas?

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Coronation Street The Tour

I'm pretty sure that if you live in the UK you'll have heard of the very popular Manchester based British soap opera, Coronation Street. Since the show moved over to new premises over at MediaCity back in 2013, the shows old filming location at Granada Studio's have been open for the public to visit. Personally, I've never actually seen a full episode of Coronation Street so this post is coming from someone who knows the bare minimum about the show.

The tour begins in the actors green room. This is the place in the studios which the cast members were able to socialise and relax between takes. Its a nice sneak peak at how actors days would begin before you're led down a corridor of dressing rooms then onto the wardrobe and make up room just like an actor in the soap would have done on their working day. The wardrobe room is full of iconic costumes from the shows history. Our guide also filled us in with information about how the characters get the clothes. For example how the younger characters clothes are mainly from high street stores whereas a character like Roy's come largely from eBay and charity shops.

From there you're moved into Studio One where filming took place and shown a short film showing some of the highs and lows of Coronation Street from over the years. It is from here where fans of the show will be in their element as you walk around sets from the show including Carla's flat and the Platt's living room. Although I didn’t recognise any of the sets, you're told secrets of the sets which is fascinating to hear as although I don't watch the show it was interesting to discover how and why certain things are done which interests even people who don’t know the set. The highlight of this section of the tour without a shadow of the doubt it getting to sit inside the Rovers Return pub. It is here that you're able to pretend to pull a pint behind the bar and get a souvenir photo taken. The photos are then available to buy for £7.50 or two for £10 later in the tour but it really is no obligation at all to buy your photo so it's worth doing regardless.

The next and final section of the tour isn’t guided so you are free to spend as long as you like roaming around and take as many photos as you want. It is the section when you are let loose onto the Coronation Street cobbles. It’s surprisingly smaller than expected and it’s fascinating that this was the actual street that they once filmed the show on. You can overhear many people on the tour pointing out the houses that their favourite characters live in or even excitedly explaining a scene that happened in a certain spot.

Although I am not a fan of Coronation Street in the slightest I still found the tour highly enjoyable. However, if you’re a fan of the show this tour is definitely a must visit for you. It’s situated just a 10 minute walk from Manchester town centre and a free bus runs from Piccadilly Station so it is highly accessible for visitors. For more information about how to visit the tour before it permanently shuts in December click here.