Priceless – Nicole Richie

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Take two for a Nicole Richie novel. Whilst her first priceless
book was semi-autobiographical, this one is pure fiction.

Whilst there was no great thinking required and some parts may have been somewhat predictable, it was still an easy and pleasant read. A ‘beach read’ some would say.

Going with the write-what-you-know theory this story is about rich and privileged socialite Charlotte who has just arrived home after some time abroad. Accustomed to living the good life with little to no consequences, her world is rocked when her father is arrested on fraud charges.

Having no other family and less than loyal friends, Charlotte struggles to deal with the repercussions of her father’s scandle. Suddenly poor, alone and dealing with anonymous death threats she flees the media and head to New Orleans to stay with her childhood nanny.

Enjoying the simpler life and making some new genuine friends, she feels ‘free’ for the first time in her life. However this new feeling is short-lived. A hateful website about her surfaces and she is followed by the paparazzi & the earlier threats on her life.

Getting caught up in a whirl-wind romance and a potential new singing career she is left wondering if she can ever leave her past and fathers mistakes behind.

Let me know what you think…

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The Chase – Christopher Kremmer

With a lot of large pauses in between it took me the-chase
a long time to get through this book. I just
couldn’t get in to that zone where you are really
absorbed in the story.

A few pages here, a couple of chapters there and a bit of back-tracking due to forgetting what I had previously read.

It wasn’t necessarily a bad story, I just found it hard to get involved in the way it was told. I did find the writing a little dry and some parts dragged on slightly longer than they needed to.

The story revolves in most part around three characters; Jean Campbell, a young scientist struggling to make it in a mans world. Howard Carter, privileged, extremely forthcoming and also Jean’s boss and Frank Little, a underprivelaged stable hand trying to make his way to the top.

Set between 1940-1954 our characters all exist in the midst of the corrupt world of horseracing. Hearing of new job opportunities at a lab working on cleaning out horse doping Jean jumps at her chance to make a difference. Fighting all the odds, and the male candidates, Jean gets the job and starts fighting a constant up hill battle. Not only struggling in a professional capacity, she also has to struggle about her developing feelings for her new boss Howard Carter. Charming and smooth and fond of the older ladies,  Carter is very hard for anyone to pin down.

Frank Little came from the wrong side of the tracks. Living in rough conditions at the stables he works hard for few dollars and even fewer hours of sleep. Fist fights and measly meals is all in a days work for Frank. Until he finally gets a chance to ride. An un-due loyalty to his boss almost gets him in to a few scrapes, then eventually he goes too far…

Let me know what you think…

 

 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

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alice-in-wonderlandWell, there’s a reason that classics are classics right?

I purchased a bunch of vintage classics a while back and this was next on the shelf. I can’t remember the last time I got to read a book that had illustrations!

Funnily enough I was reading this while my mum was up visiting me. Sitting next to her and reading the Alice stories, it seemed my age had dropped a few significant years.

This book included both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. The last time I read either of these stories I was only teeny tiny and from what a different perspective you read them when you are older.

They are such great books for kids, showing the amazing power of imagination. The huge array of crazy characters and fun riddles – my favorite is The Walrus and The Carpenter about the oysters – is really enjoyable.

Skipping from madness to madness throughout the books made my adult brain feel semi-tipsy at times haha but, that’s probably just due to it slowing down in my older age.

There isn’t much else I can say. A classic is a classic is a classic. Have you indulged in these fun little tales? Let me know what you thought…

Molly’s Millions – Victoria Connelly

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mollysmillionsAnother light-hearted easy read. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, it’s perfect for laying by the pool with a nice cold drink.

The story centers around Molly Bailey. We are introduced to Molly while she struggles with paying her grocery bill, embarrassingly having to hand things back over the counter due to lack of funds. She has never been a good saver despite being raised by the penny pinching Bailey men.

After a regular customer comes in to her florist talking about sporadically buying a lottery ticket, Molly decided to borrow some money from her till and do the same. Just imagine winning the jackpot! However, she does not have to imagine for long. Faced with the reality of going from barely scraping by to millionaire, she makes a quick decision to take herself on a trip and share her good fortune with others.

Tom Mackenzie, bored and struggling journalist, is going about his daily routine when he overhears a shopkeeper on the phone. After a quick chat he learns the shopkeepers friend found $5,000 sitting in his farms honest box earlier that morning. Who would leave such a large amount of money – along with a yellow gerbera – to a stranger? This may be the big break he is looking for.

On a long chase around the country Molly, along with her new dog Fizz, tries to stay one step ahead of not only Tom Mackenzie but the clan of Bailey men who are also attempting to catch Molly and claim the money they believe is theres.

With many interesting characters for her to meet, and public interested growing by the day, she must push forward and complete her project with a bang. Is it possible for everyone to have a happy ending?

Let me know what you think…

Down The Rabbit Hole – Holly Madison

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Ha ha I know, but I couldn’t help myself! Holly-Madison-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole-Cover-467

A true undercover reality tv addict, I watched every episode of Girls Next Door (and may own them on DVD). So when this book came out I had no choice but to read it.

It was really a little interesting. It certainly puts a very different spin on how things come across when watching the tv series. It breaks down all the glossy facades and speaks some ugly truths.

Madison talks about her homely beginnings of never feeling beautiful, getting her first boob job and being considered the ‘ugly’ one of the then-7-girlfriends of Hugh Hefner.

She tells her story of being continually bullied by the other mansion girls before their eventual exit and the ongoing snide comments and mental abuse from Hefner himself.

When watching the show it does seem hard to believe, seeing the ever-smiling girls seemingly having the time of their lives but after reading the book there are little clues and things she points out that if you re-watch you can’t help but deny are there.

For example, in one chapter in particular she tells of how in the episode of her and Hefs anniversary she starts crying as he reads aloud a sentimental card she has written him. To the audience it would appear she is overcome with emotion on this special day, however, she explains she simply became overwhelmed with how fake her life had become & knowing this information it is then evident in her facial expression.

She goes on to detail the circumstances of her ending her relationship and leaving the mansion and her struggles to separate her name from Playboy.

In the end it is an honest tell-all about reinventing yourself as a person and the struggles that you sometimes must go to, to find the greener pastures.

Let me know what you think….

The Mystery of Mercy Close – Marian Keyes

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Mercy-USFinally the cold indoor movie-watching weather is gone. Hello Spring time! I am welcoming the poolside book-reading weather with a huge smile and open arms. How I have missed you!

Nothing like a good mystery to start of the season. These are always the stories I get through the quickest. I get obsessed with getting to the end and learning the answers.

Marian Keyes has a very easy-reading style of writing. Great flow with no need for re-reading pages or passages.

This book is set over the short period of 6 days; Thursday-Wednesday. It follows the journey of a PI case being worked on by Helen Walsh. Recently going through a spout of bad luck driven by the financial crisis she has found that the need for private investigators has started to dry up. Leaving her short on money she finds her electricity cut off and – after a startling visit from some repo men – must soon move back in to her parents home.

A previous sufferer of depression and with some attempted suicides under her belt, she begins to worry that this may be a slippery slope back in to her old ways. The brightest light in her tunnel – boyfriend Artie – not always being accessible due to the time he spends with his 3 children.

Out of the blue Helen receives a visit from ex-boyfriend Jay Parker asking her to look in to a matter for him. While being around Jay again is not ideal, the offer of multiplied pay is too hard to pass up. Former boy band Laddz are well in to rehearsals for their giant reunion gig however, Wayne Diffney has stopped showing up. House vacant and not being able to contact him, Jay and the other Laddz are at a loss. With less than a week til the first show panic is starting to gather.

Focusing her attention on the case, Helen must push out her old demons and concentrate on finding Wayne. With no obvious leads and very little information being handed over she must continue to dig to unravel this mystery. Who could have wanted Wayne out of the picture? Could abrupt and pushy Laddz member John Joseph be behind it? Perhaps a crazed ex-fan gone to far? Or did Wayne simply run away from it all and visit his family for a break?

All Helen knows is that they key lies with Gloria. Once she can identify Gloria, Wayne’s whereabouts would be uncovered..

Let me know what you thought…

The Year of the Unexpected – Erica Bauermeister

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yearoftheunexpectedThis one is a nice uplifting by-the-pool read.

The story starts with Kate a single mum, who is being thrown a victory party for beating her cancer. Her daughter and group of very close friends gathering to finally unwind after the rough experience of chemo and other treatments.

As Robin, Kate’s daughter, tells them all of the Grand Canyon rapids adventure she wants to go on this Summer, the women encourage her mother to join her.

After much refusal, Kate finally agrees to attend the trip as long as each of the other women also do something scary or hard for them.. And Kate gets to choose the deeds.

Caroline, a divorced book lover must rid her house of her ex-husbands books. Daria, an excentric left-of centre free spirit, must learn how to make bread – something she could never bond with her mother over as a child. Sara, devoted wife and mother must make a trip overseas without her family. Hadley, a young widower must tame her garden which she has hidden behind for so long. Marion, Daria’s much more sensible sister has to finally take the plunge and get the tattoo she has always wanted. Last of all Ava, Kate’s oldest friend, must return home to her friend and complete the sixty mile Breast Cancer Walk.

Each chapter is dedicated to one of the women, her background and their struggles to complete the task given to them. All driven by friendship and leaving their challenge stronger and more aware of themselves as a person.

The last chapter takes you along Kate’s journey with her daughter, their bonding and the happiness that she finally finds with her second lease on life.

An easy read, this book will be sure to bring a smile to your face. Let me know what you think…

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile – Enid Shomer

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Wow – I can’t believe the last time I finished a book was 3 months ago.41yYT6LZ6EL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it is not one that you can just fit in here and there. You definitely need good one or two-hour blocks to sit down and dive right in to it. Being a pretty large book, this is why it has taken me so long to get through it.

The story is told from the view of the two main characters through alternating chapters – Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert.

While Nightingale and Flaubert did travel Egypt at the same time, in real life they never met. This book is Shomers tale of what if.

Flaubert, travelling with his companion Max, is journeying the Nile for work purposes. The crude talking pair, happy in their own company, make their way in less than pristine conditions stopping in at any brothels they can find along the way.

Further along the river, complete with her ladies maid, Nightingale has escaped the confines of her family home for an adventure holiday with close family friends.

Meeting by chance when Florence voices her disapproval at some of the mens actions, the pair form an unlikely friendship.

Bonding over the hidden daemons they both posses, they provided for each other what the other is lacking. Florence begins to develop a curiosity for scandalous acts that she never considered a part of her future and Gustave – to his distaste – starts to discover a more caring and sensitive side to himself.

On a stolen trip away from her chaperones, Flo finds herself in the roughest of Egypt. With intimacy ever building between the two, a kidnapped maid, bouts of sickness and a severe lack of water push the two companions dangerously close to each other.

After sharing an almost irreversible intimate night together, the pair struggle to imagine how their new friendship can survive outside the throws of the foreign land.

Let me know what you thought…

About A Boy – Nick Hornby

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about-a-boyI must confess I never knew that the movie About A Boy came from a book. So having seen it a hundred times I really could not read this book without Hugh Grants voice in my head the whole time. As I love Hugh Grant, to me this was not a bad thing.

Despite having the characters already formed in my head and knowing the basic story plot, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

Even though it is touching on serious subjects like bullying and suicide, it reads in such a light and funny way that you can’t help but have a little chuckle to yourself along the way.

The book skips between the story of Will, an almost-40 man living off the royalties of his fathers hit Christmas song and Marcus, an pre-teen boy who screams social awkwardness. The two could not be more opposite. However, with each lacking what the other possesses the unlikely pair become dysfunctional friends. Much to Will’s displeasure at first.

Will – a lone soldier – who is quite happy moving from partner to partner, discovers the great convenience that are single mums. Through meeting Suzie at a single parents group he is introduced and thrown in to Marcus’ world when he drops the two of them home and discovers that Marcus’ mum has tried to commit suicide.

After Marcus attaches himself to Will, Will is torn between his new-found conscience and his desire to be rid of this odd family. However he soon realizes that he and Marcus are able to help the other better themselves.

It really is a nice little story, written very well by Mr Hornby, who gets the balance exactly right between drama and comedy. A good one to sit and read out by the pool.

Let me know what you think….

Almost French – Sarah Turnbull

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Happy New Year!almost-french

I can’t believe I haven’t done a post in 2 months. The holiday season is definitely not the relaxing break for me as it is for some people. As a hospitality worker it is time to work, work, work.. With some sleep thrown in there somewhere. It certainly does not allow for much down time to pick up a book.

Slowly winding down now, I’ve finally added another notch to my reading post.

Surprise, surprise, another book about France. As are my favorite, this is a true story. Sarah Turnbull tells her story of a travelling writer who drops everything and visits France to meet up with a Frenchman she has recently met.

What was intended to be a 2 week stay quickly expands in to a stay with no foreseeable end. Moving in with Frederic and looking for work as a freelance reporter she begins to set herself up in this new life in France.

Finding the women hard to get along with and hitting some language barriers, it is not the smoothest start. However some compromises to the suburb they live in and an eventual pick up in her career she slowly begins to adjust to this new Parisienne lifestyle.

The details in the stories of family, location and new experiences really draw you in to this book. The scenes are set and you are in the country side or walking through Paris alongside Ms Turnbull.

Best advice I could give for this book? Make sure you have some appropriate snacks next to you once you reach chapter 18. Based mostly around food, it will make your stomach ache with hunger – I went with blue cheese and some dark chocolate.

Let me know what you think…