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Enjoying the lovely summer holidays with my girls!

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since 05/02/2006


The First Time I Saw Your Face - Hazel Osmond 01/09/2013

The first time I read this book!

The First Time I Saw Your Face - Hazel Osmond When Mack Stone meets Jennifer Roseby, he is pretending to be someone else. He is keeping up this pretence in order to find out everything he can about her glamorous Hollywood cousin. What he does not expect is to discover how fragile and lacking in self-confidence Jennifer is and how much he is attracted to her. Should he come clean and tell her the truth or will that ruin everything? He needs to make up his mind about what he should do though before she finds out what is going on from someone else. ************* Mack Stone used to be a journalist on a tabloid paper and was not averse to dishing the dirt on whoever he happened to be writing about. He has left that world behind though and is now attempting to work freelance and only write in a more ethical way. However, one day he receives a call from his old boss who has one last job for him to do. When Mack is not keen, he reveals that he has information about Mack's mother – a sordid little secret that he would have no qualms about publicising to the world if Mack does not agree. If Mack wants to protect his family, it seems that he has little choice but to agree. The job takes him north to Northumberland where he needs to get close to a woman called Jennifer Roseby who is the cousin of Cressida Chartwell, an up and coming movie star. Jennifer and Cressida are cousins and it is well known that Jennifer is the movie star's closest confidante. Under the guise of travel writer, Matt Harper, Mack moves into the small ...

The Saturday Supper Club - Amy Bratley 23/08/2013

As Time Goes By!

The Saturday Supper Club - Amy Bratley Ten Years On is the latest book from Alice Peterson and tells the story of Rebecca and Joe who, as the title might suggest, have not seen each other for ten years. A lot has happened in the intervening years and it is only because of a devastating turn of events that they meet up again. Rebecca and Joe did not part on the best of terms. They were at university together along with Rebecca's boyfriend Olly who she later married. They were an inseparable trio until one drunken evening, whilst Olly was ill in bed, Joe declared his true feelings of love for Rebecca. After spending the night together, she is racked with guilt and leaves. After a rocky time, she and Olly (who never knew about what happened) make a commitment to each other and get married. Blissfully happy, they sort of forget about Joe and life could not be better. That is until the fateful day when Rebecca receives a visit from the police who inform her that Olly has been killed in a motorcycle accident. This happens at the start of the story and leads to Rebecca, who also discovers that she is pregnant, moving back to her home time, where Joe is also running a wine bar. The two meet and the rest of the book chronicles how their fragile relationship starts to mend and grow as they get to know each other all over again. It's a wonderful story that had me hooked from the very first pages. Ten Years On is a book that really highlights the value of friendship and I found myself really warming to this theme ...

The Au Pair - Janey Fraser 21/08/2013

More trouble than they're worth?

The Au Pair - Janey Fraser Getting an au pair is supposed to make one’s life easier but is that always the case. In Janey Fraser’s latest book. The Au Pair, most seem to be more trouble than they are worth. This is especially true for Jilly who has just started running her own agency and who can’t quite decide who causes her the most headaches – the au pair or the family she places them with. It is all these problems that help to make this such and entertaining and enjoyable read and one that I would heartily recommend. When Jilly’s husband is demoted at work, she decides that she needs to do something to help with the family finances. After talking to her friend, Paula, she realises that there is a good market for trusty and dependable au pairs, especially in the town of Corrywood, where she lives. She sets out to run a local small agency where she can form personal relationships with the clients and their au pairs. After all, it couldn’t be that difficult, could it? As you can imagine though, it does not take long before Jilly realises that running the agency is full of problems. There are clients complaining about the girls that she has placed with them and an equal number of au pairs complaining about their families. The au pairs stay out late, neglect their small charges and hardly lift a finger about the homes. On the other hand there are complaints about being overworked and in one case, a father who walks about the house naked! Although most of the book is very funny, there are some more ...

Better Together - Sheila O'Flanagan 18/08/2013

An entertaining read

Better Together - Sheila O'Flanagan I’ve just finished reading Better Together, the latest book from Irish author, Sheila O’Flanagan and it has not disappointed in the least. It’s another wonderfully absorbing tale from this fabulous writer that had me hooked from the very first page. The story is enjoyable and intriguing and the main character is strong and likeable. This book has all the right ingredients for a great read. Better Together starts in Dublin where Sheridan Gray is a successful sports journalist on one of the city’s newspapers. Unfortunately, there is a recession and no one’s job is safe. It still comes as a complete body blow to Sheridan though, when she is made redundant. There seem to be very few job opportunities at this time though so she eventually compromises on her aspirations and takes a job with a small local newspaper in the little town of Ardbawn. In a strange twist of fate, this paper is owned by Paudie O’Malley who was the person responsible for her losing her Dublin job. Sheridan does not really expect to enjoy life in Ardbawn but before long she is getting to know the locals and finding working on a small newspaper strangely satisfying. She also gets to know the woman who runs the guesthouse she is staying in – Nina – who has troubles of her own. There’s also a strong whiff of romance so it’s hardly surprising that Sheridan stops hankering after her hectic city life. However, when the possibility of writing a sensationalist story arises that will obviously upset the people she ...

Stranded - Emily Barr 15/08/2013

Desert Island Distress!

Stranded - Emily Barr It must be many people's dream to be stranded on a desert island but what would it be like if it became reality? It would not take long for the dream to turn into a nightmare especially if you had to share the island with six strangers and very few provisions. This is what happens in Stranded, Emily Barr's latest novel, which is a fabulous read from start to finish. It is tense and thrilling and the sort of book that keeps you guessing all the way through. In Stranded, Esther has escaped to Malaysia to get over the end of her marriage. She is heading for the Perhentian Islands which she hopes will be as idyllic as it has been described to her and a place to refresh and clear her mind. Although she is travelling alone, most people are very friendly, especially Katy, another lone traveller. They decide, along with five others to take a boat trip to a remote island, but when Samad, their guide fails to return, they realise they are stranded. As days pass and there seems little hope of rescue, they have no alternative but to fend for themselves. As far at they no, there is no hope of rescue and they will have to spend the rest of their days on the island speculating about what may have happened to them. It's all very sinister though and if they are ever to be rescued, what will happen then? I think that Stranded is a brilliant book and is definitely Emily Barr at her best. The story builds gradually but in such a clever way that you have to keep reading more. I did wonder, ...

My Friend Nigel - J. C. Greenburg 09/08/2013

The quest for a pet!

My Friend Nigel - J. C. Greenburg Billy's home is a little bit crazy as both his parents insist on performing lots of magic tricks. Billy has no interest in their potions made from their strange supplies until he discovers a small snail that is waiting to become an ingredient. Billy immediately rescues the snail, christens him Nigel and makes him his new pet. However, his parents think that they can conjure up a much more exciting pet but is that what Billy really wants? +++++++++ Billy is a bit fed up of his parents constantly practising their magic especially when most of their spells go wrong. He is a little curious about all of their strange assortment of ingredients though: Jellied bugs and pickled flies, Bubbling potions, Lizard tails, And what was this? A little snail? It is the snail that appeals most of all and Billy quickly befriends him, naming him Nigel. His parents don't think that Nigel, being a snail, is a suitable pet though and when Billy doesn't tire of him, as they expect, they set out to use their magic to conjure up some more exciting pets. Whales, elephants and tigers magically appear before Billy's eyes but none appeal as much as his small friend, Nigel. Not only that, all of these new animals start causing mayhem and guess who comes to the rescue? Maybe snails do make the best pets after all! We thought this was a very enjoyable and funny book. It's bright and colourful with lots of amusing illustrations especially when all of the tricks start going wrong. We love the bemused ...

The Other Half of Me - Morgan McCarthy 06/08/2013

An intriguing tale about an unusual and dysfunctional family

The Other Half of Me - Morgan McCarthy The Other Half of Me, Morgan McCarthy, book reviewThe Other Half of Me is Morgan McCarthy’s first novel and it’s an intriguing tale about an unusual and dysfunctional family. Jonathan and his sister Theo have grown up in Wales in a large old house called Evendon, brought up by a series of housekeepers while their mother lives in her own little world. They are pretty much left to roam free but do not necessarily enjoy having so much freedom. When their grandmother, Eve, returns, she brings an order to their lives but also an air of mystery. There seem to be some dark secrets lurking from the past that neither Theo nor Jonathan can make sense of. The Other Half of Me follows Theo and Jonathan through from their younger days to early adulthood with the story moving between the past and the present. Because it is written like this, the reader is aware from early on that there has been some sort of tragedy and this is slowly revealed bit by bit. It certainly instils a sense of foreboding as one is reading as the mystery is pieced together a little at a time. I enjoyed reading about Theo and Jonathan’s childhood through their teenage years and onto early adulthood. Through these transitions, the strength of their relationship comes through, and this is really at the crux of the novel. It is a story about the bond between siblings especially when their wider family circumstances are far from ideal. There is a need for them to look out for each other which they certainly ...

Usborne Fairytale Sticker Stories: Rumplestiltskin - Heather Amery 05/08/2013

Once upon a time.....

Usborne Fairytale Sticker Stories: Rumplestiltskin - Heather Amery he Usborne Fairytale Sticker stories are fabulous little books for reinforcing some of those traditional tales that are loved so well, helping children to read and match pictures and also for sheer enjoyment. There are six fairy tale books that come together in a ziplock bag. When we first went to get the books out they did seem a bit jam packed in there and they do need to be taken out one at a time. I would think it would be very difficult for my three year old to successfully put the books back by herself - so much for encouraging tidying up! The six stories that you get in the pack are Cinderella, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty and the Three Little Pigs. Each of the six books all follow the same format making them all very enjoyable books. They are described as a storybook, a sticker book and a puzzle book all in one so there is a lot in any one book to keep your little one occupied. I'm just going to take the Red Riding Hood book as an example in order to give a flavour of what all the books are like. In Little Red Riding Hood the story is told over a number of pages. The story language used is quite straightforward and very accessible for young readers. There is not too much text on any of the pages and the words are not too difficult for children who have made a good start with their reading. Every page has a bright humourous picture accompanying the text. Because this story is so well known even very young ...

Hotpoint WMUD962P 05/08/2013

The ultimate washing experience!

Hotpoint WMUD962P After having put up with my old washing machine for more than fourteen years, using the new Hotpoint Ultima was like all my birthdays and Christmases coming up once. Good customer service meant that I was kept very well informed about when it was going to arrive and when it did, two helpful delivery men brought it in to the house, plumbed it in and even gave me a demonstration of how it worked. Nothing was too much trouble and I was impressed by this level of customer care from Hotpoint. The washing machine looks very sleek and smart with its digital display meaning there are no more awkward dials to turn. I like the fact that there are icons imprinted on the front of the machine and once you turn it on, all you have to do in order to select your programme is to select the digital image that matches the icon on the side. It is important to me that it is so easy to use because I'm not a great one for reading instruction manuals and my understanding of technology is limited to say the least. The first time that you use the machine, you have to run the auto clean cycle. After that you are ready to go and there are a number of different wash cycles that you can select depending on your needs. You do have to turn the machine on before you select though. Now this might sound obvious but I never needed to do that on my antiquated machine so I do sometimes find myself pressing buttons but feeling perplexed that nothing is happening! When you have switched on, the digital ...

I Don't Want to Wash My Hands - Tony Ross 04/08/2013

A lesson in hygiene?

I Don't Want to Wash My Hands - Tony Ross Everyone knows that it's very important to wash dirty hands. Everyone that is apart from the Little Princess who thinks that washing hands is a waste of time. It's only when she finds out why she needs to, that she decides that perhaps hand washing is a good idea after all. Not only is this book very funny but it's also extremely helpful in encouraging little ones to wash their own hands. +++++++++ The Little Princess is always getting her hands dirty whether it's by playing in the palace garden, stroking Scruff, the dog or going on her potty. Whenever she does any of these, there's always someone there to tell her to wash her hands. Now, as the Little Princess never likes being told what to do, she does not take kindly to this hand washing business and she demands to know why. However, when the level-headed maid, who never puts up with any of her nonsense, tells her about all the germs and nasties and horrible things that could make her ill, she is soon found rushing to the hand basin at every opportunity. Not only that, she starts insisting that everyone else always washes their hands too. This is a fabulous book in many ways. First and foremost, this is another great story featuring that much loved character, the Little Princess. Strong willed and forthright in what she says, she never fails to entertain and to amuse my daughters who must be some of her biggest fans. We love all of her interactions with her parents and the palace staff and how, more often than not, she ...

No Child of Mine - Susan Lewis 30/07/2013

Someone else's problem!

No Child of Mine - Susan Lewis No Child of Mine is the latest novel from Susan Lewis, and in my opinion, it is her best so far. It’s compulsive, addictive reading and is a book that is virtually impossible to put down. It is traumatic, at times as it explores the harrowing field of social work that deals with child abuse and neglect. As well as that though, it is a moving and powerful story that grips the reader from the very first page. Alex Lake, a social worker, is the central character and she is dedicated to her work. She also has a great deal to cope with in her private life, being an adopted child of parents that she has always felt did not love her quite as much as their natural daughter, Gabby. Both parents are now dead and Alex was not included in their will perhaps proving that how she felt about them was true. Luckily, she has her wonderful boyfriend, Jason, although he does come complete with three children who are most unwilling to accept the new woman in their father’s life. Her work fills her days but it’s hard not to become too involved with the children she works with. This is particularly true in the case of Ottolie, a cute but virtually silent little girl, who on the surface seems well cared for. However, Alex feels a great deal of unease about Ottolie’s obstructive father and her acutely depressed mother. She doesn’t want to think the unthinkable but she also cannot ignore all of the warning signs. Unfortunately, she needs to gather proof before she can act on Ottolie’s behalf, but ...

Chickens Can't See in the Dark - Kristyna Litten 29/07/2013

Or can they??

Chickens Can't See in the Dark - Kristyna Litten Can chickens see in the dark or can't they? That is the question that a small chick called Pippa wants to find the answer to. Having been told that they can't, she sets off on a mission to disprove this fact even though all of the other chicks are laughing at her. This curious chick is very determined but will she be successful in her quest? When a little chick called Pippa hears her teacher, Mr Benedict, say: As sure as eggs is eggs, chickens can't see in the dark. she is extremely disappointed. She thinks that not being able to see in the dark is a terrible thing and desperately wants to prove her teacher wrong. There are a number of characters who might be able to help such as the wise Mr Owl or Miss Featherbrain who runs the library. The only problem is that they all laugh at Pippa and reinforces the notion that chickens can't see in the dark. Therefore, Pippa is on her own but luckily she discovers a book called Old Hens' tales and that leads her to a possible solution. All she needs to do is obtain a large amount of carrots and to eat them all. As they are a bit boring on their own, she cooks up a carrot banquet of delicious dishes like carrot cookies, crispy carrot crunchies, chewy carrot caramels and carrot curry. All these dishes sound so tempting that all the other chickens want to share her feast. They do and amazingly, as the sky grows dark, they all enjoy the wonderful sight of: twinkly stars, shimmery shadows, and the beautiful moon. We really enjoyed ...

The Jelly That Wouldn't Wobble - Angela Mitchell 28/07/2013

A very stubborn jelly!

The Jelly That Wouldn't Wobble - Angela Mitchell It's a very special occasion in the royal palace as it is Princess Lolly's 89th birthday. As part of the celebrations, the royal cook has prepared a special sumptuous jelly. It looks glorious but unfortunately it doesn't wobble. Furthermore, the jelly absolutely refuses to wobble despite everyone's best efforts. It starts to look like a complete stand-off; that is until one small boy comes up with a rather devious solution. ************ Everyone knows that jellies are supposed to wobble but what will happen when a particularly stubborn jelly refuses to do any such thing? To make matters worse, this is the jelly that has been specially prepared for Princess Lolly's 89th birthday party. As she is the sort of princess who likes to get her own way this poses a bit of a problem. So desperate is she for her jelly to wobble though, she offers a reward of a thousand and one chocolate sovereigns for anyone who can come up with a solution. Lots of suggestions are made including prodding it with a walking stick and scaring it. However, it is the youngest guest at the party who eventually comes up with an idea that works but I'll leave you to guess what it might be! This is a delightfully entertaining book that is bound to bring a smile and a giggle. It's a fun tale that uses wonderful descriptive language that make it a pleasure to read. This is particularly true when the jelly is described as: rocking this way and that, quivering and quaking, trembling and shaking. There's also ...

The Snuggle Sandwich - Malachy Doyle 23/07/2013

A huggly snuggly story book!

The Snuggle Sandwich - Malachy Doyle It's always busy in Annie's house first thing in the morning, with the rest of her family bustling about getting ready for work and school. Even so, there's always time for a snuggle sandwich when Annie and her teddy climb into bed with Mama and Papa. Later on though, when everyone is rushing, no one notices when Teddy goes missing. Will things ever calm down so that there will be time to find him? The day starts very peacefully as Annie wakes in her own bed and listens to the silence. She decides that it's the perfect time to creep into her parents' bed: They're a cosy snuggle sandwich. She's the jam and they're the bread! Mama then takes Annie and her teddy, Edward Bear, downstairs all ready for a comforting warm milk. It's really peaceful; that is up until the moment that Mama roars for the rest of the family to get up. At the same time, Annie drops Edward Bear out of her high chair and no one notices. Soon there's mayhem when Papa and Annie's brother and sister come downstairs rushing to get ready for work and school. Then suddenly they are all gone and peace and quiet exists again. Annie and Mama search for teddy and discover that he likes a big snuggle too! So eventually: There's only her and Mama. No more fuss and clutter! Now THEY'RE the snuggle sandwich, and TED's the peanut butter! This is a very appealing story that has a warm glow to it. We love the idea of Annie and her parents making their own snuggle sandwich and the analogy of Mama and Papa as the bread ...

Grandma Bendy - Izy Penguin 14/07/2013

Not your typical granny!!

Grandma Bendy - Izy Penguin Grandma Bendy is not a typical grey haired, sweet granny by anybody's standards. Firstly, she is incredibly bendy which can sometimes be a good thing but not always! Added to that, she has a bit of a shady past which has demonstrated her somewhat criminal tendencies. Is she still a bit of a villain or has she managed to mend her ways? Grandma Bendy is definitely not like other grannies: She is incredibly bendy. She had twisty, twizzly arms and super, stretchy legs. This makes her a very clever granny especially when she plays Hide-and-seek. However, in the not too distant past, Granny Bendy used her bendiness for a less honourable purpose than playing games with her grandchildren. In fact, she led a life of crime, breaking into people's houses as she was able to squeeze through the tiniest of spaces. Nobody's house was safe and she was a very proficient burglar who never stopped to think about her victims. All this changed one day though, when she returned home to discover that someone had burgled her home. This made her feel so ashamed that she immediately handed herself into the police and spent many years locked up in a bendy proof cell. When she was finally released, she was just as bendy as ever, but determined to put this unusual trait to much better use and, ultimately, to become everybody's hero by carrying out good deeds. This funny, engaging book was a big hit with my daughter. Although not a typical granny, Grandma Bendy is very appealing and we loved her ...
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