Me & You by Claudia Carroll
Reviews / 31st March 2016

What the publisher says: Heartbreaking and uplifting, Me and You is a story about how hard it is to leave our old selves behind, the tough choices we sometimes have to make and how love and friendship can heal the most damaged of hearts. “I’m fine. I’m sorry. Please take care of him for me. And maybe one day I’ll get to explain.” Angie knows a lot about her best friend Kitty. She knows Kitty is mad and wild and loves to wear clashing colours. She knows she’s incredibly funny and generous but also very unreliable. And she knows that there is a perfect explanation for Kitty standing her up on her birthday. She thinks she knows everything about Kitty, except she doesn’t. Kitty knows that she is the happiest she has ever been. She knows she’s so lucky to have a lovely boyfriend, Simon and a best friend like Angie. But what she doesn’t know is that on this night, her past is finally going to catch up with her and change everything. If you love Marian Keyes and Melissa Hill you’ll adore Claudia Carroll’s Me and You. What I say: I wasn’t sure what to expect from this…

The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan
Reviews / 31st March 2016

What the publisher says: Five amateur bakers compete in a baking competition and discover that the vision of perfect domesticity they aspire to may not be the whole truth. For book club readers everywhere whose tastes range from The Help, One Dayand The Other Hand to Katie Fforde and Gill Hornby. There are many reasons to bake: to feed; to create; to impress; to nourish; to define ourselves; and, sometimes, it has to be said, to perfect. But often we bake to fill a hunger that would be better filled by a simple gesture from a dear one. We bake to love and be loved. In 1966, Kathleen Eaden, cookery writer and wife of a supermarket magnate, published The Art of Baking, her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes. Now, five amateur bakers are competing to become the New Mrs Eaden. There’s Jenny, facing an empty nest now her family has flown; Claire, who has sacrificed her dreams for her daughter; Mike, trying to parent his two kids after his wife’s death; Vicki, who has dropped everything to be at home with her baby boy; and Karen, perfect Karen, who knows what it’s like to have nothing…

Precocious by Joanna Barnard
Reviews / 31st March 2016

What the publisher says: ‘Can there be a more unreliable narrator than a teenage girl?’ Fiona Palmer is (un)happily married when a chance meeting with her former teacher plunges her headlong into an affair. Intercut with the realities of their adult relationship, Fiona remembers first meeting the enigmatic Henry Morgan as a precocious and lonely fourteen-year-old. Her schoolgirl crush developed into an intense relationship, but it was always one which she controlled. Or did she? What I say: I have to admit that I didn’t buy this book as it is not the normal kind of thing I would read but I won it by retweeting the author on publication day.  I was however intrigued to see what made an award winning novel.  I found this book hard work, not necessarily because of the content as it does not really become disturbing until half way through the book but more because of the style of writing.  The book is written in the form of a letter but also jumps backwards and forwards in time to cover various events.  At times this made it hard to follow for me.  Fiona, the main character appears to be a reliable narrator but towards…

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan
Reviews / 31st March 2016

What the publisher says: Sunday Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan returns with an hilarious, heartwarming, happy-ever-after as Nina follows her heart – and her dreams – to a new life in the countryside. Given a back-room computer job when the beloved Birmingham library she works in turns into a downsized retail complex, Nina misses her old role terribly – dealing with people, greeting her regulars, making sure everyone gets the right books for their needs. Then a new business nobody else wants catches her eye: owning a tiny little bookshop bus up in the Scottish highlands. No computers. Shortages. Out all hours in the freezing cold; driving with a tiny stock of books… not to mention how the little community is going to take to her, particularly when she stalls the bus on a level crossing…   What I say: I have to admit I am a fan of Jenny Colgan and own several of her books already. When I saw this new paperback release reduced to £1 in the clearance section of my local WHSmiths I knew I had to buy it even though I hadn’t previously seen any reviews of it. I was not disappointed.  I devoured this book in…

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella
Reviews / 31st March 2016

What the publisher says: To Las Vegas . . . and beyond! Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) is on a major rescue mission! Hollywood was full of surprises, and now she’s on a road trip to Las Vegas to help her friends and family. She’s determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has mysteriously disappeared, help her best friend Suze and even bond with long-time enemy Alicia Bitch Long-legs (maybe…). As Becky discovers just how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with her biggest, boldest, most brilliant plan yet! So can she save the day just when they need her most? What I Say: I have to say I was looking forward to this book, having read all the other books in the Shopaholic series at some point.  I expected a book that was easy to read with some moments to make me laugh out loud.  I was disappointed on one of these counts.  The book took an afternoon to read as I had bought it as a treat to myself whilst  I was feeling grotty and needed something to make me take it easy.

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