Tuesday, 28 October 2014

An Irish Promise by Isabella Connor

"A promise is a promise…
Art historian, Rachel Ford has returned to the Irish village of Kilbrook intent on keeping her promise to take revenge on the school bullies who ruined her childhood and destroyed her family.
Australian actor, Finn MacKenzie sets hearts fluttering when he turns up in sleepy Kilbrook to help his aunt with a school production. He seems to have a charmed life, yet his confident fa├žade hides heartbreak and tragedy. Although Finn isn’t looking for love, when he meets the mysterious Rachel, there’s a definite spark between them.
Rachel is torn between her desire for revenge and this new love affair. She doesn’t want to deceive Finn, but can she trust him to keep her real identity a secret? And will he understand why she must keep her promise, no matter the cost?"
An Irish Promise is, not surprisingly, set in Ireland, however, I have to admit it did not feel overly Irish.  As a girl with Irish family myself, from a dialogue point of view, I felt it could have just as easily have been set in England, although there are some lovely desriptions of Ireland in it and I particularly liked the reference to the Claddagh (symbolising love, loyalty and friendship).  I was therefore not surprised to learn that this did not come from an Irish author; Isabella Connor is the pen name for Liv Thomas (who was born and raised in the South of England) and Valerie Olteanu (who grew up in Scotland).  However, this does not detract from the book being a wonderful masterpiece.
This is Isabella Connor's second 'Emerald Isle' book, but the first that I have read.  Having just finished An Irish Promise I can't wait to get my hands on the first book, Beneath an Irish Sky.
An Irish Promise is a story packed full of warmth and love, set against a backdrop of bullying and the quest for revenge.  The book made me smile until my jaw ached but it also made me cry (in public, very embarassing!!).  The book reveals both sides of the coin; the feelings of the bully and the victim (both then and years later) and the authors do a good job of portraying this.  Of course, as with all ChocLit books, romance can't help but creep in!
About 150 pages in, a revelation was revealed that changed everything and I can honestly say made me gasp!  Later in the book, another (similar) revelation was revealed that I also did not see coming and even made me turn back to the early parts of the book to see whether I should have known!  This book was full of twists and turns, and the suspense at the end left me with the book inches from my face and I could not stop my eyes from darting down the page to try and work out whether Ella and Finn get their happy every after.
An Irish Promise is quite a long book at just under 400 pages, but every part is perfectly woven together to create a fabulous book that I do not hesitate to recommend.  Despite its length, I flew through the book and having finished it, I now wonder whether I should have savoured it for a bit longer.  The author makes you love the characters who you should and detest the characters who do not deserve your adoration.
You can read some more about An Irish Promise and the authors comments on it on ChocLit's blog.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Each and Every One by Rachael English

"Your family are always there for you...aren't they?

For Tara, Vee, Niall and Damian, the children of the Shine family, their parents have seen them through thick and thin. In fact, Gus and Joan's lifetime of hard work has given their children the luxuries they never had when they were growing up - a comfortable home in a leafy Dublin neighbourhood, gap years that never seem to end and an open chequebook for life's little emergencies. Unfortunately, although the children have grown up, they have got a little too comfortable with the well-feathered nest: now it's time to learn a few home truths.

When a twist of fate means the bank of Mum and Dad can no longer bail out the younger generation, suddenly the whole family must find out who they really are - but sometimes the truth isn't easy to face. Uncovering the secrets they all hide will show them a different side to the city they call home and mean finding allies in the most unlikely places.

Warm, wise and witty, Each and Every One is a novel about the lessons we learn in life - and the ones we never do."

Each & Every One is a fabulously unique idea and extremely well delivered by Rachael English.  There is a huge amount of storyline packed into this book, and each and every one of the characters goes on a life-changing journey in modern day recession-hit Ireland. 

Each & Every One is full of both warmth and sadness, and there are some great interactions between siblings and parents.  I also particularly enjoyed Tara's relationship with Ben (and Carmel & Jenelle), which added a further dimension to the story. 

I personally did not see the twist coming, which brings further turmoil to the Shine family.  Although I have to admit, my mum (who has also read the book) did guess it.

This book cannot be described as chick-lit but is true fiction, packed full of emotion, love and strength with a full cast of wonderful characters and a life lesson to deliver to each & every one of us.  People believe that money can buy you happiness, but can it?

Saturday, 25 October 2014

COMPETITION: Saving Grace by Jane Green

This week a copy of Saving Grace by Jane Green arrived in my post box.....and once I have read it, you will be able to find my review on this blog!

Jane Green is the bestselling author or over fifteen novels, and this is her latest beauty, about a shattered marriage and a devastating betrayal.  To celebrate, Macmillan are collating as many tips for a long and happy relationship as they can.  Whether you're married or not, tell them what you think keeps love alive, long term by visiting their website here.

In addition, Macmillan have also offered readers of Book-Love-Bug, some fabulous prizes.  There will be four winners in total and the available prizes consist of:
  • 3 hardback copies of Saving Grace by Jane Green; AND
  • 1 scented candle (the perfume of which was personally created by Jane Green herself). 

Entering is simple, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below.... a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some Veil Did Fall by Kirsty Ferry

"What if you recalled memories from a life that wasn’t yours, from a life before....?
When Becky steps into Jonathon Nelson’s atmospheric photography studio in Whitby, she is simply a freelance journalist in search of a story. But as soon as she puts on the beautiful Victorian dress and poses for a photograph, she becomes somebody quite different …
From that moment on, Becky is overcome with visions and flashbacks from a life that isn’t her own – some disturbing and filled with fear.
As she and Jon begin to unravel the tragic mystery behind her strange experiences, the natural affinity they have for each other continues to grow and leads them to question … have they met somewhere before? Perhaps not just in this life but in another?"

I opened this book not fully knowing what to expect as the cover has a hot pink girly feel to it, but the description of the book seemed slightly more mysterious.  I felt an instant connection to Becky and the storyline; there was absolutely no warming up required. 

As the story evolved, it brought back fond memories of The Secret Kiss of Darkness by Christina Courtenay (which you can read my review of here).  If you enjoyed that book, you will also love this one. 

The story is told in three parts; the first in the present day, the second in 1865 and the third reverting back to the present day.  Kirsty Ferry does a fabulous job of the three distinct, yet interlinked parts.  I couldn't get enough of the story, and found myself racing through the book.

The only 'fault' with this book is towards the end, at the climax, when all is revealed to Becky.  She discovered the full story, but I felt that Jon should have discovered Adam's part of the story as it was an element Ella could not have known given the circumstances.  You might see what I mean when you get there, but I don't want to give too much away.  This was a very minor point, but just something that jumped out at me at the time.

An outstanding paranormal romance that will captivate you from the first page.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

I like my Kindle....but do I love my Kindle?

I like my Kindle.  

It's light and therefore great for travelling with, it's easy to read even in bright sunlight but it still doesn't have quite the same hold as a paperback.  There is something that feels irreplaceable about an actual book - the smell of the paper and the feel of turning an actual page.  

As I sat on a train recently next to a woman reading a kindle who every few minutes laughed out loud at whatever she was reading, it dawned on me that one of the key things you miss out on with an e-book is the cover.  I, being a nosy bookworm, wanted to know what she was reading that made her laugh so often.  The alternatives were ask her or go without knowing.  Had she been reading an actual book, I would have known what she was reading instantly, whether I had wanted to or not.  You can't help but notice things like this.  I realised that publishers are losing out on the most amazing free source of advertising - people reading in public!  Whilst you're told not to judge a book by its cover,  let's face it, we all do. When you think back to a book you loved, you can see the characters, feel their emotions but you can also recall the cover. You miss this with an e-book.

It is sad to think that, one day, the paperback will probably not exist.  I therefore find myself clinging to the present and try to read the physical book whenever I can.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the ebook v physicial book debate....please do comment below :)

The Sarah Midnight Trilogy - Dreams, Tide and Spirit by Daniela Sacerdoti

"You’d never think it could happen to you. You’d never think that one day you’ll stand in a graveyard, rain tapping on a sea of black umbrellas, watching your parents being lowered into the earth, never to come back. It’s happening to me. They said it was an accident. Only I know the truth. My parents were hunters, like their parents and grandparents before them, hundreds of years back, scores of ancestors behind me, fulfilling the same call. I must follow in their footsteps. I am the only one left to keep the promise. I can never give up the fight, this fight that has been handed down to me, thrust upon my unwilling shoulders. I’d rather be buried with my parents, my brave, fierce father and mother, who lived and died by the Midnight motto: Don’t Let Them Roam.’
Ever since her thirteenth birthday, seventeen-year-old Sarah Midnight’s dreams have been plagued by demons – but unlike most people’s nightmares, Sarah’s come true. Her dreams guide her parents’ hunt as Sarah remains in bed, terrified but safe, sheltered from the true horrors of the Midnight legacy. But all this is about to change. After the murder of her parents, she is cruelly thrust into a secret world of unimaginable danger as she is forced to take up their mission. Alone and unprepared for the fight that lies before her, Sarah must learn how to use the powers she’s inherited and decide whom to trust before it’s too late…"

"Sarah Midnight is no ordinary teenager. She is a demon hunter, caught up in one of the deadliest wars unknown to man. Orphaned at the age of sixteen, Sarah learned the family trade of hunting without her parents to guide her but under the watchful eye of her ‘cousin’, who was revealed to be Sean Hannay, no relative at all, but a dear friend of the real Harry Midnight.
Now, in the exciting sequel to Dreams, the fight continues. Sarah and Sean may have defeated the Scottish Valaya, but the rest of the war still rages on, and Sarah, Sean, Nicholas and their companions must unearth the identity and location of the Enemy – the leader of the demons – before the world plunges into the Time of Demons once more. Their quest leads them to Sarah’s family home, the Midnight mansion in Islay, and there they discover horrible truths about the demon ruler, his plans, and Sarah’s own personal history.
Along the way, Sarah must battle not only the demons but her hurt toward Sean and her feelings for the enigmatic Nicholas, who has plans of his own."

"This is the gripping conclusion to the Sarah Midnight trilogy. The identity and location of the Enemy - the King of Shadows- have been revealed and Sarah has fully embraced the Midnight legacy and her own powers. Sarah and her friends travel to the ancient forests of Poland to find the portal between their world and the Enemy's in order to destroy him. Two Secret Heirs join them on the journey, but are all members of Sarah's company really loyal to their cause? Nicholas, the son of the King of Shadows, holds the key, but is he still serving his father? As they enter the Shadow World and battle demons they didn't know existed, will Sarah and Sean finally come together? Or will Elodie's vision of the death of Sarah Midnight be realised? A final sacrifice may be necessary to free humanity from the King of Shadows. Follow Sarah and her friends into the Shadow world, and to the heart wrenching, exciting, surprising end of Sarah Midnight Trilogy."

I am a massive fan of Daniela Sacerdoti, having read her absolutely incredible debut novel Watch Over Me and also more recently Take Me Home - to see what I thought of them both, click on the links to see my previous reviews.  My review of Watch Over Me also appears on Daniela's website as one of her favourite reviews (I feel very honoured by this!!!)

In contrast to her other books that I have read, this trilogy is a Young Adult trilogy, and I have to admit, I didn't totally fall in love with the trilogy in the way I loved The Hunger Games or Host.  I liked Sarah Midnight, I liked Harry/Sean and I liked their chemistry but there was something missing for me.  I did not find myself entirely captivated, unable to tear myself away, although I should stress that I did enjoy the books as a whole and would not go as far as saying that I do not recommend them.  

The Sarah Midnight Trilogy is packed full of demons, friendship, betrayal and love.  Sarah (and others) find themselves in all sorts of horrific situations, and I think this was the source of the main downfall for me; I just found it too unrealistic and could not understand how people could continue to survive an onslaught of such awful encounters.  

Don't get me wrong, the writing is good and you will not find yourself bored. Daniela does well to link the three books without being repetitive, keeps the momentum going, and each book contains a distinct element to the storyline. For those YA's who enjoy this type of book, definitely worth a look.

Perhaps my feelings are purely because I can no longer call myself a young adult!  I continue to look forward to Daniela Sacerdoti's next Glen Avich magic book; Inary's Silence.