Review – Letters to Zell

FullSizeRenderTitle: Letters to Zell
Author: Camille Griep
Genre: Fairy-Tale Retellings / Fantasy
Everything is going according to story for CeCi (Cinderella), Bianca (Snow White), and Rory (Sleeping Beauty)—until the day that Zell (Rapunzel) decides to leave Grimmland and pursue her life. Now, Zell’s best friends are left to wonder whether their own passions are worth risking their predetermined “happily ever afters,” regardless of the consequences. CeCi wonders whether she should become a professional chef, sharp-tongued and quick-witted Bianca wants to escape an engagement to her platonic friend, and Rory will do anything to make her boorish husband love her. But as Bianca’s wedding approaches, can they escape their fates—and is there enough wine in all of the Realm to help them?

This is Camille Greip’s debut and my first fairytale re-telling (that is a mouthful isn’t it?)

I wasn’t sure what to expect having not read a re-telling before, however always keen to read something different, i gave it a try and I’m glad I did as I really enjoyed it!
Letters to Zell focuses on the princesses as adults after their “story” as we know it ends, as such we get taken on quite the adventure. The book is written entirely in letter format to Zell (Rapunzel) although not written as a genuine letter would be due to the dialogue that is included; this didn’t put me off  and I was soon hooked!

The book opens with the princesses finding out that Zell has left Grimmland for good, to open a unicorn sanctuary (how amazing does that sound!?) which leaves the other princesses feeling a little put out.  How could she leave them and her “Happy Ever After”? Each princess takes Zell’s leaving differently it sparks all kind of feelings for them and for CeCi (Cinderella) especially makes her realise she would like to pursue her own dream. This book explores friendship, love and self discovery. It was great to read that these princesses had ambitions and dreams to follow. I particularly enjoyed it when the three of them went “outside” and visited Disney Land. Rory (Sleeping Beauty) was not impressed with how her story was portrayed, this made me laugh! We get to follow all four of the princesses and see what they get up to. Can I just say I Loved Bianca (Snow White) her potty mouth made for entertaining reading, a princess swearing FAB!  She knows what she wants is it determined to go ahead circumstanced be dammed. Poor Rory has to deal with a lot, she is very naive when it comes to matter of her own heart. I was fully rooting for them all to continue their happily ever afters…

Letters to Zell was a super fun read that I read over a wet weekend and I pretty much smiled the whole way through. Princesses that swear AND drink what’s not to love?

My Rating: 3.5*



Review – Remember Me

Title: Remember Me
Author: Lesley Pearse
Pages: 560FullSizeRender
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blurb: She made a mistake and now she’ll never see home again . . .
Mary, a Cornish mariner’s daughter, makes the biggest mistake of her short life when she steals a silk hat. Convicted and sentenced to be transported to Australia, she endures horrific conditions aboard ship before landing in a brutal and barbaric country. It will take all her courage just to survive.
But Mary is also determined to make something of herself in this rugged man’s world. And she dreams that one day she will find a way of crossing the cruel seas that lie between her and home . . .

Based on a true story, Remember Me brings Mary Broad vividly to life in this moving story of a woman triumphing against overwhelming odds.

*NOTE* I read this book back in January.

This is my 6th Lesley Pearse, I went into this book not knowing what it was about. I try not to read the blurb of a book, especially if I have previously read another book by the same author. Once I started this book I was pleasantly surprised about the content. I started this book on Australia Day weekend which marks the anniversary of the arrival, of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson New South Wales in 1788. This coincidently was what this book was based on!

The book opens with Mary being sentenced for committing highway Robbery the punishment is being hanged! Mary is sent to prison to await trial and will be stuck in a grotty cell to wait out her fate. The conditions of the prison in which Mary arrives are despicable and Pearse does a great job of describing them, as at times it made my skin crawl! Before she gets to trial however Mary soon discovers that she has been pardoned and will be sent with a select few to a new prison colony in Australia New South Wales (NSW) While Mary should be delighted as she gets to live, she finds herself unsure. Although she is being pardoned it means she will never be able to return home, she decides that she will never speak to her family again as she feels it would bring shame to their door. We join Mary on her trip to NSW I must admit that the conditions of the transportation ships shocked me and I would say they were worse than the prison. It is no wonder so many didn’t make it!  They are starving, lying in their own and everyone else’s I might add filth, riddled with lice and overrun with rats. Just imagine having to be on a ship for as long as it would take from the UK to NSW let alone with these appalling conditions. Not only does she have to deal with these poor conditions most of the officers on board are downright nasty. They really do not care what happens to the prisoners only one guard had any shed of human decency because of this I became a little in love with Officer Tench the way he treated the prisoners and wasn’t such a brute really made him a proper gentleman. Mary. What. A. Women as the book progresses I became more and more in awe of this her and the fact this is based on a true story makes it hit home more too. When they finally arrive they soon find out it isn’t quite what they expected and their fight for survival had only just begun. We ourselves are taken on a journey of what it must be like to arrive in a foreign country with pretty much the clothes (if you have any left!) on your back. Pearse writes with great compassion you find yourself cheering Mary on as the story continues.

Remember me, was a thought provoking, sad, but wonderful book that had even more impact with me due to when I read it. I am slowly working my way through Pearse’s back catalogue of which there is quite a lot!

 My Rating: 4.5*
L x

Review – YOU

youTitle: YOU
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Blurb: Love hurts… When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe works, he’s instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: She’s gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and as sexy as his wildest dreams. Beck doesn’t know it yet, but she’s perfect for him, and soon she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes, and much more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade. Their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences . . .

This is my first Caroline Kepnes book and I was beyond excited to read it, it sounded so twisted and right up my street I love a bit of weird!

Most of the reviews I’ve seen have either loved it or hated it but I’m a little in the middle, and as such I’ve struggled to finalise this post since finishing the book. Although I didn’t love it, I still think about it now it’s one that sticks in your mind for a while after finishing for sure….

YOU is written entirely in second person, which I have to say is a first for me and it took me a while to get used to the style of writing. That said once I did being inside of Joes head was great in a strange but wonderful way!!

It all begins when Joe meets Beck, he works in a bookshop and she is a customer. That’s it, he becomes obsessed! He starts following her everywhere, he manages to find out where she lives and stares at her through her apartment window, she has no curtains and he revels in this fact and takes every opportunity to watch her. He slowly works his way into her life bags himself a date, at the end of which he steals her phone! From then on he can gain access to her messages and emails. With access to her phone he manages to get more information about her sort of boyfriend and takes it upon himself that he needs to be sorted as he is just using his sweet Beck for sex! As the book progresses Joe becomes certain that Beck is crazy for him and his behaviour becomes even stranger.The suspense of YOU is great and I was always left wondering how far Joe would go to win Beck over. Beck isn’t 100% sane in my opinion either, and has her own issues as does her best friend. Everyone in this book is just not normal, and it makes for interesting reading throughout! Its hard to write much more without giving anything else away.

I found YOU to be a disturbing and addictive read. One that I didn’t love, but you just might, go give it a whirl!

My Rating: 3.5*


…I’ve also just found out there is a sequel, more Joe! I don’t know if I’m ready.

Review – The Great Christmas Knit Off

Title: The Great Christmas Knit Off FullSizeRender
Author: Alexandra Brown
Pages: 400
Genre: Chic-Lit
Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century at work, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to the picturesque village of Tindledale.  There, Sybil discovers Hettie’s House of Haberdashery, an emporium dedicated to the world of knitting and needle craft. But Hettie, the outspoken octogenarian owner, is struggling and now the shop is due for closure. And when Hettie decides that Sybil’s wonderfully wacky Christmas jumpers are just the thing to add a bit of excitement to her window display, something miraculous starts to happen…

This is my 4th Alexandra Brown book. After reading and loving her Carrington series I was super excited to read The Great Christmas Knit Off, which is set to be another series. Yay!

I got stuck into The Great Christmas Knit off and straight away I was hooked I finished it within two days. I do love a good Christmas book and reading about all the snow was a delight having lived in Sydney for the last two Christmas’ it’s been bloody lovely to read about the cold and snow I have always associated with Christmas.

We are introduced to poor Sybil who was jilted at the altar. Heartbroken Sybil throws herself into her knitting, which she enjoys and finds comfort in. However with her mind being elsewhere, especially so, while she is working she finds herself hardly focusing on her job. She soon discovers she may have caused a major cock-up one that could cost her, her job! On the spur of the moment she decides to take her dearest friend up on the offer of letting her stay with her for a few days in Tindledale, at the new pub she has bought. She jumps on the train without a thought with just her dog basil for company and soon arrives to a picture perfect village, albeit an empty pitch black one due to a power cut. While there she soon discovers Hetties House of Haberdashery a shop dedicated to knitting and all things craft, Sybil is in heaven! Hettie and Sybil get off to a frosty start but soon become firm friends and once Sybil discovers that the shop may have to close down she takes it upon herself to help in any way she can to keep it open. As well as Hettie we get to meet a few other residents of Tindledale, we soon learn to love them all. A favourite of mine, being Ruby. Tindledale was such a lovely little village and whilst reading you felt like part of the family, they all rallied around to help one another. If only you had neighbours you could count on like this in real life! I also think that Tindledale could quite possibly be the most luscious setting for a Christmas book.

The Great Christmas Knit Off is heart-warming and Christmassy full of love and I can’t wait for the next book in the series and finding out what happens to Sybil and the rest of Tindledale next.

My Rating: 4.5*


Review – Beneath the Moon and the Stars

Title: Beneath the Moon and the StarsFullSizeRender
Author: Amelia Thorne
Blurb: Home, sweet home…
Joy Cartier has been to some of the most beautiful places in the world – but none of them have ever felt like home. So moving into a tiny cottage in the idyllic village of Bramble Hill, walking distance from her childhood home, seems like the perfect plan.
That is, until she gets there. The surly inhabitants of Britain’s Friendliest Village are anything but welcoming. Even her neighbour, reclusive Hollywood star Finn Mackenzie, takes one look at her and walks in the other direction.
But when the village animosity steps up a gear, it is the infuriatingly brooding Finn who keeps coming to her rescue. Slowly Joy begins to realise that maybe a happy home isn’t about where you live, but who you’re with…

Beneath the Moon and the Stars is Amelia Thornes debut. Picking up a book by a new author is a mixed bag for me. What if it you don’t like it? With picking up a new book from an old friend you just know you going to love it. However the unknown is kind of exciting. You could end up with a brand new favourite book…Luckily this time round I found a fab new author and a great book!

Joy Cartier moves to Bramble Hill full of hope to find her perfect home. What she doesn’t get is the welcome she was expecting. Bramble Hill known as “Britain’s friendliest village” is anything but. However, Joy by name joy by nature is not easily put off, even when her fellow villagers are being utterly vile for no reason other than, she is new to their village. She still continues to live her life with nothing but smiles and optimism, no matter what gets thrown at her. The book opens with Joy hiding from the police with us having no idea why… with clues being your way you want to find out what is going on and what is she hiding?
As well as Joy we are introduced to her neighbours. While she doesn’t get off to the best start with her moody neighbour Finn, he comes to her rescue albeit reluctantly more than once. Zach on the other hand, her other neighbour sets his sights on Joy early on and he clearly wants to be more than her friend. We also have his brother Casey who doesn’t live in the village but is Finns best friend, he on the other hand seems to become Joy’s friend instantly, as we move through the book we discover not only does Joy have a secret but Casey does too. I really loved Casey, he was a great friend to Joy when she needed him, and I also really loved Joy’s brother, what a guy!
I totally enjoyed reading about the inhabitants of Bramble hill, and I suppose when you think of little villages, you just assume they are quiet and quaint and your fellow villagers are always there to lend a hand or a cup of sugar should you so need it, however the village life of Bramble Hill was anything but idyllic but it sure made for good reading!

Beneath the Moon and the Stars was such a delightful read that will have you devouring the pages. It is full of romance, a little mystery and a moody fella to grow to love!
I can’t wait for Thornes next release.

My Rating: 4*

L x

Review – Siege

Title: SiegeSiege
Author: Simon Kernick
Pages: 386
Genre: Crime / Thriller
16.00 A normal afternoon.
THE MANAGER -Newly engaged Elena Serenko has just made the life-changing decision to quit her job and start a new life in Australia
THE GUESTS -Upstairs, a young woman waits for her lover; a visiting family prepare for an evening out; and a sick man contemplates his own mortality.
THE ASSASSIN -High up amongst the penthouse suites, a skilled and dangerous killer is hunting a quarry who’s eluded him for far too long.
THE SIEGE – What none of them know is that a group of ruthless gunmen are about to burst into the Stanhope, shooting indiscriminately, and seizing hostages. As darkness falls and the gunmen become increasingly violent, only one thing matters. Who will survive?

I’ve read a fair few of Simon Kernicks books, as I have always really enjoyed them I am currently (albeit slowly) working my way through his back catalogue.

As with all of Kernicks book Siege is fast paced and action packed! With a murder on the very first page you know from here on, it’s only going to give us more blood and action. Short chapters and with most of them ending in cliff hangers make for a real quick read and page turner. The chapters are from different characters perspectives, from the terrorists themselves to some of the hostages. This does mean that we are introduced to a quite a few different characters throughout the book however it doesn’t get confusing and is easy to follow. The majority of the book takes place at a fictional hotel in London and all in the space of one day! We do have sub plots added in I didn’t therefore I didn’t find this hard going as I think I would have the whole book been based at the hotel. I really hated all of the terrorists, which is what Kernick had in mind I’m sure, and was rooting for the safety of many of the hostages as many they tend to grab at your emotion, it’s a scary situation that you can imagine happening today! I was especially hoping that Elena got out! I liked Scope A LOT and (I hope) think we are going to get more on him in different books that I’ll look out for. With the many twists and turns, subplots, add in the numerous characters and you get a great book that as you continue to read you can neatly slot all the pieces together.

Siege is an exhilarating read that has you turning the pages hating on the terrorist and rooting for the safety of the guests trapped. It leaves you wanting to just hurry up and get to the end to find out… who will survive?! I’ll be reading another Kernick soon for sure.

My Rating: 4*

L x

Review – The Rosie Project

TRPTitle: The Rosie Project
Author: Graeme Simison
Pages: 295
Genre: Contemporary / Romance
Blurb: Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arrive. Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

I was a little sceptical about reading Graeme Simsions debut novel, The Rosie Project. I had heard nothing but good reviews and a few friends had recommended it, still I wasn’t sure it was going to be my thing. I struggle reading books with a lot of hype surrounding them, as my expectations are always extremely high! However when it saw it on offer I bit the bullet and bought it, who doesn’t love a bargain?  I’m so glad I did it was excellent!

Don Tillman, a professor of genetics, a slightly socially awkward man who seems to be unlucky in love. When told he would make a wonderful husband, he balks at the idea but then he relents, statistically it is probable that he will find someone. He comes up with a brilliant solution to this, The Wife Project! A very long questionnaire set to find his perfect match. Enter Rosie.  She couldn’t be more wrong for Don, she fails on most of his important criteria set for the Wife Project, he has her written off after their very first date. Regardless she whirlwinds her way into Dons life and he embarks on a new project. They end up spending a lot of time together during the father project. They have some fun together; a lot of awkwardness on Dons part, some upset gets caused… Rosie, despite being Dons polar opposite brings out the best in him. His once organised life including his standardised meal system (I could not cope with this!!) gets completely thrown and he ends up being ok with it!

The Rosie Project is a truly wonderful book, that I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy, but so did! It is funny and heart warming in equal parts, also I love Don Tillman there I said it. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book!

My Rating 4*

L x