Book of the Week, books, Chick lit, new releases, reviews

Book of the Week: Three Amazing Things About You

This was so nearly last week’s book of the week – except that it didn’t get finished in time – and I can’t write a BotW post on something that isn’t over – after all it could all have gone terribly wrong in the last 100 pages.  But it didn’t and it was still the best thing I read last week, even if I did finish it first thing on Monday (!) so here were are.

Such a pretty cover. I do love blue

Jill Mansell’s latest book tells the story of Hallie, Flo and Tasha.  At the start of the book we learn that Hallie has Cystic Fibrosis and is on the way to London for a possible transplant that could save her life.  Hallie runs a website where she answers people’s problems – like an agony aunt (but in a good way) – and her correspondents tell her three things about them before they tell her their dilemma.  As she travels to the hospital, she’s writing her three things –  an explanation – revealing her identity and her situation, in case she doesn’t make it.  Then we jump back to find out how we got to here…

The three stories intertwine in a way that I don’t really want to explain, except to say that it really works.  I loved all the characters in this book.  It made me laugh and it made me cry* and I think it may be my favourite of Jill Mansell’s books that I’ve read.  It’s definitely an evolution from her novels that I’ve read – and its a really good evolution.  I know I haven’t written a lot here – but I don’t want to give too much away.  But if you like smart, funny books with a heart, then this may well be for you.

Three Amazing Things About You is out now in hardback and ebook.  You can pick up a copy at all the usual place – and the supermarkets too – or if you can’t wait here are some links – Foyles, Waterstones, Kindle or my shop in My Independent Bookshop (which send money to my local indie)

* Luckily I have learnt from the Rabbit Hayes experience, and I did my crying on the sofa at home, not on the train!
Book of the Week, books, Chick lit, new releases, reviews

Book of the Week: The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes

What to say about this.  Really I should have been reading between Christmas and New Year – but as it had potential to be a weepy, I thought mixing it with nightshifts was a bad idea.  I had a meltdown over a relationship break-up at the start of a book during some nightshifts, so I thought I ought to avoid a book about a woman dying of cancer!  So, well rested and as emotionally stable as I ever get (that is to say, prone to tears when sad things happen or when people die in documentaries, even when I know it’s coming) I started in on this on commute to work.  And it nearly had me crying on the train not once, not twice, but three times.  On three separate train journeys.

Now I know what you’re saying: “Verity, why didn’t you stop reading the damn book on the train?” And the simple answer is that I couldn’t.  I had to know what happened next – how it all worked out for Rabbit and her family – and as I was on late shifts, the train was the only place where I was going to get a chance to do that.  But I did learn something – by the third train journey I’d scaled back the eyeliner and switched to waterproof mascara!

To go back to the beginning – The Plot.  Rabbit Hayes is dying.  She has cancer – it’s terminal – and the end is rushing towards her faster than anyone wants.  What will happen to her daughter Juliet? And to the rest of her tight-knit family?  But even though her mum and dad are still searching for a miracle, the reader always knows what’s going to happen to Rabbit.

Now I know that makes the book sound like a real downer – and like I said, I was in tears in places – but here’s the thing.  It’s not.  It’s funny and it’s rude and, most importantly, it’s life-affirming.  By the time it’s over, Rabbit may be gone – but you know that it’s ok and it’s going to be ok for everyone else too.  She was the glue that held her family together, but she’s helped them find a way to make it work without her.  And I don’t think that’s a spoiler.  You might cry for Rabbit – and be sad that it ended this way for her – but you’ll come away better for having known her.

I don’t usually do weepies.  The Boy is still borderline grumpy with me about the 2am crying fit that ensued at the end of The Fault in Our Stars after I insisted on staying up to read it to the end (Me: “I’ll have horrible dreams if I leave them like this” Him: “I don’t think reading til the end will make your dreams any more cheerful”).  There are a few books that I’ve studiously avoided reading because I know that they’re sad – and although I’ll read pretty much anything, I’d rather twiddle my thumbs than read anything from the “Tragic Lives” section of the bookshop. But this had such good reviews – and people whose books I love had raved about it – so I took the plunge, and I’m so glad I did.  Perhaps there are a few more books out there that I’ve been avoiding that I should be getting involved with. But maybe not on the train!

You can buy The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes everywhere.  It’s in Richard and Judy’s latest Book Club picks, so it’s in the Buy 1 get 1 for £1 promotion in W H Smith (or at least it was on Saturday), I’m expecting it to be all over the supermarkets and the high street book shops, but if you can’t wait or can’t be bothered to leave the house, you can buy it from Foyles or Waterstones or Amazon or Kindle or Kobo or my page on My Independent Bookshop (which gives money to my local Indie).

books, Chick lit, fiction, historical, reviews, romance

Christmas Short Story Round-up

As I mentioned in October, the Christmas themed books are stacking up.  Now the big day is approaching, I thought I’d start with my run down of the best of my Christmas reading so far.  And to ease myself into the festive mood, I’ve been reading short stories.  Some of these are new this year, some are from last year which I didn’t get around to until I was out of the Christmas mood and consequently held on to ready for this year! So as we hurtle towards December, here are my top picks of the Christmas novellas so far (in no particular order):

Now a popular theme this year has been the Christmas novella following on from a successful non-Christmas book.  I actually find I prefer these novellas to the full length Christmas themed sequels in quite a lot of cases – the shorter form means there’s (often) no need to break up a couple who you’ve really got invested in in the first book just to provide enough drama and plot for the novella. Sealed with a Christmas Kiss by Rachel Lucas is a good example of this.  I read Sealed with a Kiss a year or so ago before it was picked up with Pan and really enjoyed it.  So I was pleased to reacquaint myself with Kate and Roddy and to read about the latest developments in the plans to save the Island.  As always with these things, probably best to have read the original book first.

Unlike Christmas Kiss, I hadn’t read the book that preceded Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Sue Montaigne’s struggles to organise the Nativity Pageant in Poledore.  This novella is festive but without being cloying or sickly – which is always good.  One of my favourites of the Christmas themed reading so far – and I’ve gone and put one of the other Poledore books on my to-read list.

At the historical end of the Christmas market, The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation by Erica Ridley is another novella that’s Christmas themed without being too saccharine.  It’s a prequel to her Dukes of War series (the first book of which is waiting on my Kindle) and focusses on the organisation of a Christmas ball.  Standalone and fun, this is worth a look if you want a bit of Christmas themed historical romance.

Being a fool, I forgot that I’m several books behind in the Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander and managed to spoil a couple of plot developments for myself by reading Star of the East.  I still enjoyed it though – but suggest it’s only for people who are up to date with the series.

On to the non-novella but still Christmas and short section – and Trisha Ashley’s Christmas offering is a collection of her short stories – Footsteps in the Snow.  These are stories that have previously been published in various magazines and are definitely at the shorter end of the market, but they still display Ashley’s trade mark wit and flair and I would say are perfect for reading in the tube or on the bus.  I paid 99p for this and was perfectly content – but I wouldn’t want to pay overly much more than that – the back third of the book is a preview of her next novel.

Jill Mansell’s A – Z of Happiness is similarly short – but has the bonus of being free (or at least it was when I downloaded it and still was when I wrote this).  It’s not stories, it’s more musings with an author Q&A, but if you like Jill’s writing, it’s definitely worth a look – especially as it’s gratis.

So there you have the best of my Christmas short stories so far to ease you into the Festive Season.  Still to come, I’m planning a round-up of Christmas novels – ideal for curling up in front of the fire with once you’ve finished work for the holiday.

books, Chick lit, new releases, reviews

Review: The Woman Who Stole My Life

I have a strange relationship with Marian Keyes books.  As a person, I love her on Twitter and I could watch her all day on Strictly It Takes Two or Bake Off Extra Slice.  But when it comes to her books, and when I read them, I enjoy them but there are some times I pick one up and just don’t fancy it.  I don’t know if it’s because as well as the humour she deals with Serious Issues – and I’m not always in the market for Proper Problems with my chick lit.*  She is massively, massively popular though – and I know this is a book which is going to be on a lot of Christmas lists this year.

The Woman Who Stole My Life is about Stella Sweeney – who tries to do a good deed and ends up a car crash, the fall out from which will change her life.  The novel jumps backwards and forwards between the now – and various points in the past which explain how she got there.

Now once again, this summary seems short and cryptic, but I’m trying hard not to give too much away because I really enjoyed not knowing all the twists and turns. I will admit that I sometimes found it hard to keep track of when we where we were in the story on occasions – but that may have been down to the formatting in the proof e-copy that I was lucky enough to receive.

One thing that I really wanted to mention was how much I love the title.  Who is the Woman Who Stole My Life ?  I’ve tried writing a sentence to explain what I mean six times – and each time it’s given away too much of the plot.  But trust me when I say when you read it, you’ll understand what I mean.

I think that this may be my favourite of Marian Keyes’ novels.  I like Stella – her voice reminds me of the tone that you get from Marian’s Twitter feed (@MarianKeyes if you don’t already follow her).  I occasionally wanted to give Stella a bit of a talking to, but most of the time I was totally rooting for her as she bounced back from a life-changing experience and tried to figure out what she wanted in life with the assistance (or otherwise) of her family and friends.

And having enjoyed this so much – despite there being some serious issues in there – it’s inspired me to go back and read some of the Keyes backlist that I’ve missed out on.  In fact I think that there may be a Walsh Family book in my library book bag waiting to be read.  Serendipity indeed.

The Woman Who Stole My Life feels like a winter book, something you can curl up on the sofa with and eat Jaffa cakes like there’s no tomorrow – just like Stella does although I give you fair warning that if you do, you may end up in “lady chinos” – just like Stella!

My copy came from Netgalley in return for an honest review, but I’m expecting The Woman Who Stole My Life to be front and centre on the displays and promotions in all the major shops, but if you want to buy online here are some links – for kindle, at Foyles, it’s on my shelves at My Independent Bookshop – where it’ll give some money to one of my local indies or you can buy it through Hive and give money to one of your local indies.

*As the regular reader will be aware, my aversion to Bad Things leads me towards the romance novels and cozy crime and away from Literary Fiction and Prize Winning books.

Chick lit, fiction, new releases, reviews

Review: A Place for Us Parts 3 and 4

I have enjoyed this book so much – and contrary to my usual views about serialisations (and to my sleep-addled pleas after Part 1 of A Place For Us) I’ve really enjoyed having to wait for the next part, as it’s forced me to make the book last.  As a fast reader, when I find something I like, I gobble it up as quickly as possible – then it’s over.  As someone who finished each of the last 4 Harry Potter books by early afternoon the day that they came out, I can attest that this can leave you with a very long wait to find out what happened next and a sense of regret that it was over too soon.  But reading something spaced out over a period of time gives you a different perspective than eating it up in a big rush.  And this is a book that I would definitely have read in a hurry.  I was desperate to find out what happened next and how it was all going to work out.

The end of Part 2 left us with another major plot development.  Part 3 throws everything up in the air again – so that it falls down in different places and leaves the reader with some answers – but most of the characters are still in the dark.  Part 4 puts everything back together and by the end you can see the family walking forwards into a new future.

And I can’t say much more than that about the plot – because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone – particularly as part of the joy of this for me was not knowing where this was going and how everything was going to link up together.  Also because the book is going to be published as a proper book in early 2014, anything I say in this post is giving spoilers for the second half of the book – which I try not to do with books I’m reviewing.

This books has such a large cast of characters it is hard to pick a favourite.  Instead I’ll say that I liked the Grandchildren strands the best – if I was forced to pick – but it’s a really tough choice, because every part of the plot has something about it that makes me think that I like that one best.  Certainly the book wouldn’t be as good as it is if any one of them was missing.

This is a different sort of book from Harriet Evans I think.  I’ve read a couple of her books in the past (and as is standard for me, I have a couple waiting to be read as well) and although I enjoyed them and recommend them – I wouldn’t have lent them to my mum.  This one I would.  And that’s because she loves big family sagas spread across time – and even though this one is mostly set in the present so much of the story is because of what happened in the past.  I keep wanting to mention Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet Chronicles in connection with this book and I can’t quite pin down why – except that they are both books about extended families with secrets which switch between characters as the stories continue and where a house is almost a character in its own right.

Anyway, if you haven’t started reading A Place For Us, you should try it – and now all four parts are available you won’t have the agonising wait that I did between parts 1 to 3 (the holiday meant I got to part 3 a bit later than intended and was able to go straight on to Part 4).  If you want a proper book copy – it’s not out until January 15th next year, which is a shame as I probably have bought it for my sister for her Christmas book if I could have done.  Here are the links to the kindle versions of Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.  I got the first three parts through NetGalley (in return for an honest review) but bought myself Part 4 because I was so desperate to know how it all worked out.

books, Chick lit, Classics, cozy crime, Thriller

Scottish-set books

In honour of the referendum today (I’m very excited as I’m working on the coverage overnight – but think of my poor partner having to put up with my moodiness afterwards) I thought I’d put together some of my favourite Scottish set books.

We’ll start with a classic of its genre – The 39 Steps – which you can get for Free on your Kindle. If you haven’t read this adventure caper – where Richard Hannay attempts to escape spies – you really should.  It’s a bit like an Indiana Jones film but a book, set pre-World War One and in Scotland rather than than somewhere more exotic.  Definitely worth a look – and the play version in London is a hoot (if not at all the same feel!).

Moving on to cozy crime and M C Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series.  There are 30 novels about the perpetually single-but-romantic-yet-indecisive policeman and his flock in the village of Loch Dubh.  You don’t need to start at the beginning with Death of a Gossip (although it helps with keeping track of Hamish’s romantic entanglements) and they’re all fun (if increasingly formulaic) detective capers as murders crop up in lazy Hamish’s vicinity.

Falling in love with a Highlander (or being thrown together with one) is a popular theme historical romance.  It is, however, one that I struggle with.  I don’t know why, but they give me the giggles and the internal cringes if you know what I mean.  The men tend to be particularly thick headed and the women a bit shrill and irritating.  But then I haven’t read that many of them – I’m sure there are many excellent examples (leave your suggestions in the comments!) – as even reading the blurbs for some of them makes me embarrassed to read historical fiction.  So I’m offering you one recommendation – Julia Quinn’s When He Was Wicked – which to my memory includes no kilts, caber tossing or haggis, just a Scottish earl, who is in love with his cousin’s widow.  This was one of the very earliest of Quinn’s books that I read, and it is still one of my favourites.  A good blend of old school romance in the style of Georgette Heyer and the sexy bits that you never got from her!

And for a modern Scottish set romance, I give you Katie Fforde’s Highland Fling – about Virtual Assistant Jenny Porter who goes on a business trip to assess a failing Highland textile mill after a fight with her boyfriend.  Jenny manages to get thoroughly wrapped up in the village life – as her personal life gets more and more complicated.  A lovely read for a cold night in front of the fire – and yes, I know it’s not winter yet, but it’s definitely coat weather at the station at 4.15 in the morning now, so I’m including it!

It wouldn’t be a list from me if I didn’t get a bit of Lord Peter Wimsey into it, so I have to mention Five Red Herrings – which is the novel between Strong Poison and Have His Carcase and sees Peter on holiday to Scotland (one suspects to escape after the stress of the Vane case) and stumbles across a murder.  Its a complicated tale, involving artists and train timetables amongst many things – and if you’ve read Busman’s Honeymoon (I think, it’s a Harriet novel anyway) the source of the quote about “a murderer eating two breakfasts to lend verisimilitude to an otherwise unconvincing narrative.”

So there you are – some Scottish themed reading to add to your list.  On my list of Scottish-set books to read are: Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series (the first is Cross Stitch) which several friends have recommended and has just been turned into a TV series and Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street.

Chick lit, fiction, new releases, Uncategorized

Review: The Honeymoon Hotel

Today’s review is Hester Browne’s latest book The Honeymoon Hotel – which was out last week in the UK and I’m reviewing today because NetGalley was showing the US release date and I didn’t realise…

I’ll start by saying that Hester Browne creates the sort of characters and lives that I love.  I adored Melissa/Honey from the Little Lady Agency* and Evie from Vintage Girl (or Swept Off Her Feet depending on when you bought it) is a hoot.  Browne also creates worlds that I wish I could be a part of – a bit posh, filled with glamour and balls and parties but in a subtle, achievable way – you can believe that you too could be part of a world like that with a bit of luck and hard work (and better networking skills).

The Honeymoon Hotel is the story of Rosie, who at the start of the novel is unceremoniously left at the altar**, and her life as an events coordinator (mostly weddings) at a posh, glamorous, retro-in-a-Golden-Age-of-Hollywood way hotel in London.  She’s angling for a promotion, but her plans are thrown off track by the arrival of the owner’s son Joe to learn the business…

I *really* enjoyed The Honeymoon Hotel – once again, Browne has created a world that you believe in and characters that you buy into – I was rooting for Rosie all the way through and wanted it to turn out “right” for her.  I’m quite a shy person in real life and not good with crowds of strange people, but I found myself thinking “Oooh.  Hotel events planning, that sounds like so much fun” as I read about Rosie’s job at the hotel.  I loved the supporting characters as well, and although he gave me the pip at first, as I got to know him I really liked Joe.  I would liked to have find out more about his dad Lawrence (and what he was up to when he kept disappearing) and I wanted a little bit more comeuppance for one character who shall remain nameless in the interests of avoiding spoilers.

If you haven’t read any of Hester Browne’s books before, this might be an ideal place to start – a quirky and interesting set up, an engaging central character and a cast of characters that all seem perfectly real and plausible.  I could have read about them for twice as long – and could happily have coped with another chapter or an epilogue of what happened next.

My copy of The Honeymoon Hotel came from Netgalley in return for an honest review – although I’ll probably buy myself a copy of the paperback so that I can put it on an actual shelf next to her other books! You can buy Honeymoon Hotel from all the usual suspects like Foyles, Waterstones, on Kindle, if you’re in the US on or in a new twist, you can buy it through my page on My Independent Book Shop so a portion of the sale goes to an independent book shop near me – and where you can also buy other books that I’ve reviewed recently.  I’m hoping that Honeymoon Hotel will be widely available in the supermarkets as well and that it will do really well.


* It’s a measure of how much I love Hester Browne’s characters, voice and world that I’m still coming back despite my disappointment with the third Little Lady book.  Although I will say that the first book appeared at a time when I wanted a boyfriend who didn’t make me sleep in a tent for holidays or sneer at my theatre habits and in consequence I possibly over-identified and over-invested in the central relationship, and so the third book pushed me into a rant on the scale of certain elements of the True Blood fans at the end of that series.

**The regulars amongst you will notice that this is my second book in a week featuring a hotel with a worker who was jilted. You wait ages for a book about a hotel and then… etc

books, Chick lit, cozy crime, fiction

Bargain Book Deals

Now I know that not everyone is like me in having a to-read pile a mile high, so if you’re in the market for some more reading material – here are some of my favourite bargain deals around at the moment.

If you haven’t read Jane Lovering’s Please Don’t Stop The Music yet – where have you been?  It was the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year in 2012 and it’s only 99p on Kindle this month.

Christina Jones is another of my favourite authors – and the older parts of her back catalogue are being republished as e-books at the moment.  My backlog is such that I haven’t managed to read them all yet – but I did really enjoy Tickled Pink a few weeks back – £1.53 on the Kindle at the moment

Previously reviewed on the blog, Trisha Ashley’s Every Woman for Herself is currently £1.49 for Kindle – I loved it, if you haven’t read any of Trisha’s books before, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start (although my favourite is still A Winter’s Tale which is a fairly bargainous £1.99).  If you want a paperback Trisha fix, the paperback of Good Husband Material is available on sale for £2.99 on The Works’ site – which leads me nicely onto…

If you’re an M C Beaton fan, The Works have a selection of her books including Hamish Macbeth, Agatha Raisin and some of her historical romances for around £2 or £3  and a bundle of five Hamish books for £7.99 here.

Also on The Works website there are all three of Carola Dunn’s 1960s set Cornish mysteries for £2.99- ideal if you want a bit of cozy crime for your autumn nights – the first in the series is Manna from Hades.

I’m a big Lucy Dillon fan – and The Works have several of her books – not only A Hundred Pieces of Me – which I read and adored earlier in the year in the pre-blog era (you can see my rave review on Goodreads here) – but also Walking Back to Happiness and Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts – all for less than £3 each.

And the goodies just keep coming on the Works site (and they’re doing 6 for £10 so you can really splurge) with Laurie Graham’s A Humble Companion.  I love her books – although my favourite Gone with the Windsors is hard to get hold of – and this was her 2012 book which is an insider look at the Royal Household during the time of George III.  Well worth a look.

I’m hoping this list has something to tempt you – if you’re heading to the supermarket this weekend, I’m hoping some of the new releases I’ve reviewed recently will be in their deals – certainly Daisy Goodwin’s The Fortune Hunter should be.  I did try to find out what the deals were this week in WH Smith, but drew a blank.  If you spot any good bargains you think I might like – post them in the comments below!

Edited – I originally posted that Gone with the Windsors was out of print, I’ve since found some copies in some places – so I’ve upgraded it to hard to get hold of.  It’s definitely not on Kindle though, which is a big loss.

Chick lit, fiction, new releases, reviews

Review: A Place for Us by Harriet Evans (part 2)

We’re off schedule again people… But this time I’m properly rested and hopefully coherent (at least until nightshifts start again tonight).  It is, of course, because of the nights that we’re departing from the schedule – I didn’t realise that Part 2 was nearly here until I saw someone else review it…  Anyhow we left A Place for Us with me begging to find out what happened next in a slightly sleep deprived manner, after the end of Part 1 dropped a fairly major bombshell on the reader.

Well, what can I say.  In Part 2 the bombshell is unloaded onto the rest of the characters – along with a few other secrets – and then we’re left on another cliff hanger.  Honestly, this serialisation malarkey isn’t good for my blood pressure.  There.  That’s all I can say about the plot without giving too much away.  Except that we learn more about the characters – and in particular the absent Daisy.

I am desperate to know what happens next (again) and Harriet Evans has surprised me with some of the twists and turns we’ve had in this second part.  She’s also written a novel which (so far) seems to really lend itself to being broken up into chunks to torment the reader.  I think this part is shorter than part one – but it’s packed with character development, plot movement and surprises so you don’t notice.  I’m very excited about part three – because based on what’s happened so far, I’m fairly sure I have no idea what’s going to happen next.

A Place for Us Part 2 is here for Kindle and if you haven’t read Part 1 then you really should.  I’m off to make a note in my diary about the release date for part 3 (25 September).

books, Chick lit, new releases, reviews, romance

Review: Unfinished Symphony of You and Me

This post was Not In My Plan for this week.  My carefully constructed plan of what to post when, in a nice pattern, on a regular schedule, constructed (and written) around my current batch of nightshifts.  Then I started reading Unfinished Symphony of You and Me on my dinner break at 3.45am on Wednesday morning.  And I’ve just finished it (it’s Saturday afternoon at the moment, but it’ll be Sunday when this publishes, because I can’t let go of the plan so much I post twice on the same day!) and it was too good for me to just add it to the books read list this week and say how much I’d enjoyed it.

I really loved this. I laughed, I cried, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened – but I didn’t want it to be over at the same time.  I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner.

Lucy Robinson’s created a fabulous cast of characters and a heart-wrenchingly brilliant story that shows you the importance of living your life, taking control and following your dream and not waiting for someone* to sort it out for you.

I loved crazy, messed-up Sally’s journey to find herself as she takes her courage in her hands and faces her fears.  I was desperate to find out what had happened that summer in New York to turn her from the mousy wardrobe mistress into a student opera singer.  And I didn’t get too grumpy at the reveal being dragged out, once I finally found out what had happened and how totally ingenious it was.  There were a couple of points where I could see the car crash (metaphorically) coming and wanted to scream with frustration at Sally for being so stupid – but then it was so brilliantly done in the end that I Didn’t Mind**.

I don’t want to say too much else about the plot, because it’s another book where it would be all too easy for me to ruin it for everyone who hasn’t read this yet (go and buy it).  I will say though that Barry is my favourite mad housemate since Bing in Bernadette Strachan’s Reluctant Landlady.  And that’s saying something.

This is a perfect summer read.  Although if you read it at the beach, people may point at you when you start crying (I held out until nearly the end, which is surprising considering that post-nightshifts I get incredibly emotional).  And, of course, my idiocy means I’m reviewing it too late in August for many people who, unlike me, have already had their summer holiday.

Still, recapture that holiday reading feeling and go and buy yourself a copy of Unfinished Symphony of You and Me.  My copy came from Netgalley (in return for an honest review etc) but you can find it here, here, here and here (on Kindle) and I hope still in W H Smith and maybe even the supermarkets too.  So really you have no excuse.  I’m off book some tickets to the opera and to add everything else Lucy Robinson has written to my to-read list – and to try to resist the urge to Buy Them Now (because of that pesky backlog I’m trying to deal with). Go. Buy. Read. Enjoy.

Oh dear.  I think this may be another of my overly emotional crazy posts.  Like my moment over the first part of Harriet Evan’s new book.  This is why I plan things so I don’t have to be coherent on here during my nocturnal moments.

* A man

** And when you consider that I can barely read one of my formerly most read books any more because I’m so angry at the way that the third book in the series turned out, you’ll know that that’s a big deal.