Share this page on

red Status red (Level 5/10)



No member profile available. The person you are looking for is no longer a Ciao member.

Reviews written

since 05/01/2009


Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? - Claudia Carroll 10/05/2012

Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? - Claudia Carroll Annie and Dan are the perfect couple. Or so everyone around them thinks. They were childhood sweethearts and married young but things aren't quite as rosy as they seem to the outside world. Dan is a vet and works all hours. With him rushing off to see clients at their every whim and them never seeming to spend any time together (never mind quality time!), it's little wonder that Annie feels like she's way down at the bottom of his list of priorities. It doesn't help that their home is an isolated Irish village named Stickens and Annie is cut off from her friends in Dublin, whereas Dan is surrounded by family there. To cut a long story short, Annie isn't entirely happy with her lot. When she gets the chance to take on a dream job in New York, she's torn. Saying yes will mean spending a year apart and she's not at all sure that their marriage can take the strain. She makes a difficult decision though: they will put the pause button on their marriage while she's away and resolve to meet up in a year's time. Will absence make the heart grow fonder? I really liked the plot and the idea that Annie and Dan would meet up again twelve months down the line. I suppose it appealed to the romantic in me. It's easy to understand why Annie is so keen to escape her life in Stickens. She's effectively given up her social life and possibility of getting her acting career onto the next level in favour of being with Dan and in return, she never sees him because he's constantly working and ...

Camellia - Lesley Pearse 02/01/2012

Camellia - Lesley Pearse

Camellia - Lesley Pearse Camellia is devestated when her mother, Bonnie, is found drowned in a river but it's far from being the only shock to come. As Camellia delves deeper into the past, she realises that life with Bonnie was built on lies and runs away. Will Camellia ever discover Bonnie's secret? I was hooked from the first few pages and loved Camellia's character. She goes on a huge journey (both emotionally and to a latter extent, physically) in her quest to uncover Bonnie's secret and without giving too much away, it's also an emotional ending but not for the reasons that you'd expect. Events in this book loosely follow on from the ending of another of Lesley Pearse's book - Ellie. Despite having read the aforementioned book, it took me a good while to piece together that this was in fact the case and having remembered how that book ended, I was able to guess how that secret would pan out. That doesn't make the book any less enjoyable though and you don't necessarily need to be read the earlier book to read this one as there are enough details included to make sense of things. I do feel however that having read Ellie, I was more able to appreciate the context of the secret, although as that isn't from Camellia's viewpoint it isn't strictly necessary for reading this book but it does help to put Bonnie (and another female character) into context more. As seems to be quite typical with the Lesley Pearse books that I have read so far, there are scenes containing violence and sex, which ...

Love Always - Harriet Evans 08/12/2011

Don't judge this book by the cover!

Love Always - Harriet Evans Having recently separated from her husband and seen her business plunge into difficulty, Natasha isn't in the best of moods when she travels to her grandmother's funeral, and it doesn't help that there are some long-standing issues within the family that are bound to come to a head when they're all in the same place. Natasha's aunt, Cecily, died as a teenager and there has always been some mystery surrounding her death. When Natasha comes across the first part of the diary that Cecily wrote during the summer leading up to her death, she starts to build up a better picture of the aunt that she never knew. Can she get hold of the second part of the diary that contains the truth about what happened that day? Back in London, can she get her marriage and business back on track? I must admit that when I initially bought this book, I had it down as a chick lit offering and the cover doesn't help that much. In actual fact, it goes a fair bit deeper than your average chick lit. Natasha's family is very much multi-cultural, with her grandfather having come over from India and as she starts to read Cecily's diary, the reality of being so 'exotic' in 1960s Britain becomes very much apparent and issues like racism come to the fore. This is quite a key part of the book in both the past and present sections of the book. We obviously meet Natasha in the present day as she's preparing for the funeral but on discovery of the diary, we're transported into Cecily's world directly through the ...

Simple Eye Make-Up Corrector Pen 28/11/2011

Love this eye make-up corrector!

Simple Eye Make-Up Corrector Pen I'm not the best at putting on my eye make-up, especially when I'm in a rush and more often than not I will end up smudging it and looking a mess. Until recently, the follow-up correction job would have to involve eye make-up remover and some of the eye shadows that I like to use don't go on very well after this has been used, especially if the eye make-up remover is oil-based. When time is of the essence, I simply don't have chance to go to the bathroom and wash off the eye make-up remover so that I can put my second attempt on more easily! You can imagine my delight when I received this through the post around six months ago along with an invitation to test it out as I have been moaning for years about why this type of product wasn't invented years ago! WHAT IT IS As you've probably guessed from the name, this make-up corrector looks very much like a felt tip pen, both on the inside and outside and indeed, when the lid is taken off, a pen-type nib is visible. The idea is that if you accidentally go a bit wrong with your mascara or eye-shadow application, the fineness of the tip will allow you to nip in and correct the mistake, rather than you having to take the whole lot off and start again. It's a fabulous idea and one that I have been waiting for a long time. USING IT I am forever going wrong with my mascara and smudging it below my lower lashes (and to a lesser extent on my eyelids) and I usually find that this corrector pen quickly and easily removes it and I can ...

My Favourite Goodbye - Sheila O'Flanagan 27/11/2011

My Favourite Goodbye - Sheila O'Flanagan

My Favourite Goodbye - Sheila O'Flanagan I picked up this book as a bit of a bargain a few weeks ago and it has been serving as my bath time reading since then as I only like to read my own books (rather than library books) for this purpose in case the book inadvertently takes a dunking. I almost always enjoy Sheila O'Flanagan books and this was no exception. THE PLOT Ash makes her living as a freelance chef, which suits her perfectly as she prefers not to be tied down too much. This outlook extends to her love life and it's fair to say that she's not good with commitment thanks to things that happened in the past. Having drifted from relationship to relationship for most of her adult life, can she ever be persuaded to ditch the single life and settle down? Dan works at a company for which Ash frequently does business lunches and the two regularly cross paths and become friends. He's besotted with the ambitious Cordelia and plans to marry her. He knows exactly how we wants his life to be and this makes Ash wonder whether her chosen path is the best one after all? OVERALL VERDICT As is quite typical of Sheila O'Flanagan's work, the plot may appear paper thin but her strength is in the characterisation. Both Ash and Dan are likeable characters who I could take to immediately and while it's not the most thought-provoking of books, it's perfect for dipping in and out of for a relaxing read. Having read some much darker books by Lesley Pearse in my lunch hour and on the bus in the last few weeks, I enjoyed being ...

Belle - Lesley Pearse 18/11/2011

Belle - Lesley Pearse

Belle - Lesley Pearse It's 1910, and young Belle has grown up in a brothel run by her mother but she has led a sheltered and innocent life until one night changes everything. After being in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnessing the murder of one of the girls at the hands of a brutal client, she is abducted and sold into prostitution abroad. Terrified and alone, Belle wonders if she will ever be able to return home and escape the sex trade. Right from the very start, this book is dark. From my brief synopsis, you can tell that it covers some grim subjects. Belle has grown up surrounded by prostitution but is surprisingly naive about what is really involved. That is, until she's snatched from the street and forced into this world herself at just fifteen into her new role of satisfying the desires of men who are often much older. Her experiences are not pretty and it's an uncomfortable read at times. Always at the back of Belle's mind is the hope that she can ultimately get together enough money to return home but there are so many twists and turns along the way and it's not nearly as easy as she had originally hoped. As is typical of Lesley Pearse's heroines, Belle is a strong female. Throughout the book, the author does a fantastic job of drawing you into Belle's story and the sordid world in which she now finds herself. It's obvious that a lot of research has been done to capture each location in such detail and create some realistic and larger-than-life characters. I was gripped ...

Stolen - Lesley Pearse 02/11/2011

Where did she come from?

Stolen - Lesley Pearse David is walking along the beach when he comes across a young woman who has been washed up on the beach. At first, he assumes that she is dead but in actual fact, she is alive - just. As an investigation into the identity of the girl begins, beautician Dale suspects that she is Lotte, a hairdresser whom she worked alongside on a cruise ship before Lotte seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. Is this Lotte, and if so, what has happened to her since Dale last saw her? I have now read quite a few books by Lesley Pearse and in comparison to those, this has more of a thriller feel to it in the beginning. When we are first introduced to the girl on the beach, it's not clear who she is and even as her identity is discovered, it's still not obvious how she came to be there. This is obviously explained as the plot unfolds and it's not pretty. There are some difficult issues tackled in the book and it's certainly not a light-hearted read as is quite typical of Lesley Pearse's work. Her books are always of the gritty variety and this is no exception but I won't go into any more details as I don't want to spoil the plot. I will say though that the mystery element is cleared up relatively quickly and then the story of how everything unfolded takes over as the main plot thrust. There are a lot of twists and it's an engaging enough story, if a bit unbelievable and far-fetched. As I've already mentioned, it's quite a dark book and there are some rather violent scenes but if ...

The Queen of New Beginnings - Erica James 08/10/2011

The Queen of New Beginnings

The Queen of New Beginnings - Erica James Comedy author Clayton is having a tough time at the moment, having seen his writing partner and friend, Barry, run off with his girlfriend Stacey. As his personal and professional life spirals out of control, his agent sets him up in a remote country house where he can hide out until the dust settles. Here, he meets Alice, a voiceover actress who has been running away from troubles of her own. They form a bond until Clayton betrays Alice. The above synopsis probably sounds incredibly basic but that's because a large chunk of the narrative takes place in the past, telling how both Alice and Clayton came to arrive at this point in their lives. With much of the 'plot' taking place around this, it was difficult for me to sum it up in a way that makes the book sound like it's worth reading but the flashbacks into the past are actually quite interesting, especially the rather topsy-turvy childhood that Alice experienced. If you're familiar with Erica James' work, you'll know that she always weaves a good story together, often off the back of not a huge amount of plot and this has a lot to do with her excellent characterisation. In this book, the characters from both the past and present are what I'd call 'real' - they're by no means one-dimensional and all have some kind of flaw or are open to this kind of interpretation but for me, that only serves to make them more interesting. Aside from Alice and Clayton, there are also good characters in the form of George (who Alice has ...

To The Moon And Back - Jill Mansell 24/09/2011

To the Moon and Back - Jill Mansell

To The Moon And Back - Jill Mansell Having had some hit-and-miss experiences with Jill Mansell books in the past, I was in two minds about whether to buy this one as while I've enjoyed some of her work, I've found others boring or tedious. As it happens, I was in Sainsburys trying to take advantage of a 2 for £7 offer and having found one book that I definitely wanted to buy, I was scouring the limited selection on the shelves for another to complete the offer as that book would have worked out quite expensive on its own. Needless to say, this was the only book that I felt I might enjoy so into the basket it went and I crossed my fingers that it would turn out to be one of her better books. PLOT Ellie and Jamie are the perfect couple and Ellie is blissfully happy in their marriage. That is, until tragedy strikes and she's forced to confront life without him. Faced with the need to move house and start life afresh, will Ellie be able to start again? Zach thinks that he's found the girl of his dreams but is she as out of reach as she seems? MY THOUGHTS As you can probably tell from my very short synopsis in the previous paragraph, there's not a lot of plot to speak of. Jamie's death happens very early on in the plot but we don't actually follow Ellie through the grieving process as you might have expected would happen in a plot like this. Instead, we meet both Ellie and Jamie before the tragedy happens but after his death is confirmed, the story skips forward by quite some margin and although Ellie is ...

Boots No.7 Stay Perfect Eye Mousse 19/09/2011

More cream than mousse but I still like it!

Boots No.7 Stay Perfect Eye Mousse I tend to stay clear of No 7 products due to the fact that they're usually quite expensive. I have owned a few No 7 products (an eyeshadow, a lipstick and a mascara) courtesy of the free gift sets that you receive when you spend over a certain amount on things in the range, and I've been generally rather pleased with them (just reluctant to dip into my pocket!). This eye mousse was another component of a free gift set and was passed onto me after Mum decided that the colour wasn't to her liking. APPLICATION I'd say that this particular item isn't too dissimilar to cream eyeshadow rather than mousse, despite the name. My Mum has a mousse blusher and this doesn't seem the same consistency as that so I'd describe it more as eye cream than eye mousse as it's just that bit heavier and wetter. Applying the mousse is just a matter of spreading it across your eyelids and it doesn't take much blending, except in the corners where I had to spend a bit longer ironing out the creases and making sure that the mousse wasn't too "bunched" in one place. I initially used my fingers for this and it was quite messy so I've since switched to using a brush. HOW IT LOOKS Once applied, it's a solid block of colour so I can imagine that the brighter and more eye-catching shades in the range (for example, the sky blue) would look stunning for evening wear. Being more "luminous" (the packaging's words, not mine!), it catches the light more than an eyeshadow would so it's that little bit more ...

10 Reasons Not To Fall In Love - Linda Green 15/09/2011

10 Reasons Not to Fall in Love - Linda Green

10 Reasons Not To Fall In Love - Linda Green Now a single mum after the abrupt disappearance of her partner, Richard, who walked out on her and their son Alfie in the middle of the night, Jo is determined not to give her heart away again so that neither she nor Alfie will get hurt again. As a frazzled single parent, the past year or so hasn't presented her with a wealth of opportunities to meet a new man so this has been an easy promise to stick to ... until she and Alfie meet children's entertainer, Dan. Suddenly, Jo is finding that it's not so simple to control your feelings. Jo was a character that I took to straight away. Her world has been turned upside down after Richard leaves her for a younger colleague and she's left holding the baby - quite literally! We meet her a while after this actually happened but it's easy to see how the situation has affected her. Keen to protect Alfie from the possibility that any other man will walk out on them further down the line, she vows never to let another man into their lives. This is all very well until Alfie takes a strong interest in Dan, who they meet by chance on one of their trips out. Dan isn't at all put off by Alfie and her other excess baggage and seems determined to get to know them. Will Jo be able to let her guard down, or will her reluctance to open her heart again mean that she misses out on a second chance of love? As you might expect given her circumstances, Jo is a pretty strong character and one that is also extremely down-to-earth and likeable. Dan is ...

The Near Misses - Jenny Colgan 10/09/2011

I wish it had been like the back cover blurb!

The Near Misses - Jenny Colgan I've read a couple of books by Jenny Colgan and while they've not been awful, I can't say that I found them particularly riveting either. When I came across this book in the local library, I was in two minds about whether to bother with it but I liked the blurb on the book cover and decided to give it a go. Posy should be over the moon when boyfriend Matt proposes to her - on the top of a mountain no less - but she seems less than thrilled despite accepting. In fact, she embarks on a bizarre quest to track down her ex-boyfriends to make sure that Matt really is the one. Had I read this on the book on the cover, I probably would have given the book a miss, for the blurb is actually quite misleading and makes it seem as though Posy only decides to start this mission after Matt has second thoughts about the engagement when in actual fact, Posy decides to do this pretty much out the blue and Matt's backing out occurs when he discovers what she's up to. Even at this relatively early stage of the book, Posy was starting to annoy me. Maybe it's just me but choosing to track down your ex-boyfriends straight after getting engaged to a man who is supposed to be the love of your life seems a bit odd - if Posy has such big doubts about the relationship and whether Matt is right for her, she surely shouldn't have jumped in and accepted the proposal so quickly?! On top of that, she ploughed on with her quest once Matt had discovered her secret, knowing that it would do precious little ...

Charity - Lesley Pearse 03/09/2011

Often emotional but always brilliant!

Charity - Lesley Pearse When Charity's parents are killed in a house fire, things don't look good for the Stratton children. As the eldest child, she fights to try to keep what's left of her family together but fate isn't on her side and she finds herself separated from Toby, Pru and James. Determined to be able to provide financially for her siblings so that they can be reunited, Charity finds herself a job. Through this she meets Hugh and is horrified when she discovers that she's pregnant and alone. Unable to support a baby as well as herself, Charity has some difficult decisions to make. Will she give up her baby so that it can have a better life? Will she ever be properly reunited with her siblings? As is the case in all of the Lesley Pearse books that I've read so far, Charity is a strong protagonist and she has to be, given her background. We don't see that much of Charity's parents as the fire happens within the first few chapters of the book, but it's enough to make obvious that she hasn't had the best start in life. From there, things rarely get better as we follow her through her efforts to stop the family being split up and sent to distant relatives, her relationship with Hugh and subsequent pregnancy and arrival in London as a pregnant, isolated and desperate teenager. Through all of the ups and downs, her determination to rescue her siblings never wavers, which is incredibly endearing. As someone who hasn't lived through the time period in which the book is set, Pearse does a great ...

The Body Shop Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask 19/08/2011

The Body Shop Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask

The Body Shop Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask On a recent trip to the Body Shop, I'd only intended to stock up on some Tea Tree night lotion and have a look at their blemish stick from the same range but for some inexplicable reason, I also ended up buying this face mask despite having only just bought a much cheaper face mask tube from Superdrug. I'd heard good things about the seaweed range but never got round to trying it until now. THE MASK The mask is a greyish shade and from first glance, you can immediately see the presence of the clay. That said, it's not particularly thick and seems less so than the Tea Tree mask that I was previously using. RESULTS I decided not to buy another tub of the Tea Tree face mask as I didn't feel it was doing anything particularly positive for my skin but I've been really impressed with this mask so far. While it doesn't make any wild claims to improve spot-prone skin, I've noticed a definite improvement in that department and whether it was coincidence or not, my skin started to suffer when I didn't use it for the best part of a week (having previously used it twice a week). Having used it again last night, the spots that reappeared look less intense and overall, my skin looks brighter and clearer after I use this. REMOVING IT I often find that face masks can take some getting off and this was certainly true of the Tea Tree mask. While this isn't as stubborn as that, it doesn't wash off particularly easily once it's fully dried. After various trial attempts, it works best for ...

Stand By Me - Sheila O'Flanagan 12/08/2011

Stand by Me - Sheila O'Flanagan

Stand By Me - Sheila O'Flanagan Dominique is only a teenager when she's swept off her feet by dashing businessman, Brendan Delahaye. When she discover she's pregnant, they rush to marry and vow to make things work. Fast forward twenty years, and the Delahayes are riding high. Brendan's business has took off in fine style and Dominique, now known to the world by her nickname 'Domino', is the darling of the Irish social scene. Together, they adorn magazines and newspapers right, left and centre and make an envious couple. Domino is stunned when Brendan suddenly disappears, leaving her and their daughter, Kelly, to pick up the pieces and deal with the mess that was unfolding behind the scenes of their seemingly perfect lives. Left to her own devices, Domino begins to rebuild her life and discovers a strength she didn't know she had. What's happened to Brendan and will he ever return? And if he does, is there any room for him in Domino's new life? I absolutely loved this book, as is almost always the case with Sheila O'Flanagan's books. Despite the back cover synopsis making Brendan's disappearance seem like a major part of the plot, it doesn't actually happen until a good way into the book. Up until this point, we learn a lot about the Delahayes' marriage from their first meeting right the way through. By the time Brendan does his disappearing act and Domino is left to pick up her shattered life, we've already lived through both good and bad times with her so it's almost impossible not to take her side when ...
See more reviews Back to top