Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

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Now before you read my thoughts about this new book, img_0055you must know that I am an EXTREME Harry Potter fan. Think mint condition book collections, Quidditch jerseys and even a Deathly Hallows tattoo.

When I heard that they had published this play, I was a little sceptical to read it. As much as I love the HP series & was sad when they ended, I’m under the belief that when it’s over it’s over. When series – or even one-offs – end so well, I think they should be left that way. Just think about how many terrible sequels are out there!

But it’s here… So I had to read it. How could I not?

In my personal opinion – and it is only an opinion because I’ve heard many different thoughts about this one – I don’t think it lent anything to the original stories. I didn’t feel that it read anything like the other books, almost even a little juvenile.

Whilst the books main characters are ones we have not experienced before, when it did jump to flashbacks and ‘familiar faces’ you didn’t really get the same sense of them as you did in books past.

Of course it was nice to get taken back in to Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic and other old spots of our favourite wizarding world. However, in future I think I will stick to re-reading the old classics to get my Harry Potter fix.

These thoughts aside, any HP fan should give this a read just for the fact that it’s there. Let me know what you thought…

 

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The Beach House – Mary Alice Monroe 

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This is definitely one of those rare stories that is so happy yet so sad  all at the same time.

Lovie Rutledge lives and breathes for the Summers spent at her beach house. Dedicated to her ‘Turtle Team’ who have helped the Loggerhead turtle nests hatch safely for countless years, she yearns for just one thing. A chance to reconcile her relationship with her daughter Cara.

Independent and longly seperate from her family, Cara is her own person. Distancing herself from her Southern routes she has formed her own career driven life in the city and never looked back. When she receives an unusual letter from her mother around the same time she is let go from her job unexpectedly, Cara makes a snap decision to pack her stuff and head to her childhood beach house.

Returning to a million memories & her strained relationship with her mother she soon notices someone else living in the house. A young girl – Toy – with a big attitude and even bigger pregnancy belly catches her off guard. Hostility flaring straight up, Cara spends the majority of her first week in bed trying to come to terms with the sudden upheaval in her life.

Soon she comes to realise that everything is not quite what it seems… Lovie is rapidly deteriorating from cancer. This will be her last Summer.

Between family feuds, a teenage pregnancy, summer romance & long lost secrets Cara must decide where her loyalties and future lies.

This is a no-brainer, light, easy read but in a great way. With the sand filled backgrounds & talk of sunburn and fresh seafood, it’s easy to get lost within the story.

Let me know what you think…

 

The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins 

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It has been a long time since I read a book that I could
not put down, but this is it! Had that annoying little thing called work not gotten in the way, I would have finished it in one sitting (…. Two, max!).

My favourite category to read has always been Thrillers, I love the feeling of them keeping you on the edge & denying yourself that bit of extra sleep just so you can read a few extra pages.

Rachel is a rather sad character. Depressed, alcohol dependant and always unsure & confused. A London train commuter, she is overly observant of the occupants of the houses she passes by every day. In particular ‘Jess and Jason’ who’s seemingly happy marriage she pines for, after her own has diminished.

Until one day she sees something that shocks her..

The next day ‘Jess’ – who we discover is actually named Megan Hipwell – is reported missing and Rachel just can’t let it go. Feeling that she knows (but has drunkenly forgotten) more to the story, she struggles to piece together her memories and have people take her seriously. The truth becomes very tangled between the characters and ends with an outcome that is an explosive shock.

Told between alternating perspectives of Rachel, Megan and Anna (the new wife of Rachel’s ex-husband), the structure of the book creates even more complexity of the characters.

I won’t say any more as you should experience this great read for yourself however I will say it is a must read. Let me know what you think…

 

Killer Heels – Rebecca Chance

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“The Devil Wears Prada” was all my brain was image
thinking for the first few chapters of this book. It was annoyingly similar to the point where I was reading just for the sake of it. The slave-driver boss who everyone is afraid of, the heavier less stylish girl who unexpectedly scores the vacant assistant position… Even down to the detail of staff not getting in to the elevator with Miranda.. Or in this case, Victoria.

However, no matter how much – or little – I am enjoying a book, once I start, I finish it.

The story started to steer away from TDWP once you got a little further in which made for a more easy-going read. Jodie (an unfashionable name which her new boss quickly changes to Coco) scores her dream job working for the editor of Style UK Victoria Glossop. Whilst over demanding and blatantly rude, there is nothing that Victoria delegates that Coco can’t achieve and when Victoria bullies herself in to the Style US editor position she takes Coco along for the ride.

Dedicated to not only her job, but also making herself a size 0 glamazon, it’s not long before Coco starts climbing the fashion magazine ladder. Her fast changing looks and English wit quickly catch the attention of her exceedingly weather CEO, Jacob  Dupleix. With sexual tension through the roof it takes but one dinner date for the pair to become an item.

Cue a secret lesbian affair, a three-way battle of dirty tricks to make it as alpha female, an unexpected proposal and a dramatic suicide leap – there’s not much in the drama category that this book is missing.

An easy read but not a stand-out for me. Let me know what you think….

The Briny Cafe – Susan Duncan

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Have you ever read a book that just makes you think ‘I wantthebrinycafe
to go there!’. This is definitely one of those books.

It has all of those elements that make you feel at home and really care about the story. A close community, heart-warming characters and locations that are as much a part of the family as any of the people.

The story resides in Cook’s Basin, a small offshore community where everybody knows each others name. At the heart of the town stands the Briny Cafe, a resident in its own right, owned and run by grumpy Bertie and his only helper Julie. A central spot where you will always see a familiar face, even if the coffee and food are rather questionable.

It is in the Briny that we meet the pillars that hold Cook’s Basin together. Sam, the straight forward but lovable guy who works on the barge and is forever saving out-of-towners from the waters. Fast Freddy, driver of the water taxi and Ettie, mother to all who is wondering if she has left it too late to start over from her un-fulfilling job as a cleaner.

Devastating news reaches the residents when they learn from Julie that Bertie’s health is on a rapid downwards spiral and is too ill to continue to run the Briny. Will it be closed down and demolished by a stranger who doesn’t know it’s importance to the locals? In an undeniable act of kindness Bertie offers Ettie the opportunity of her lifetime.

When newbie Kate moves in to town, almost everybody writes her off as another no-hoper on limited time. Everybody except for Ettie. Seeing a good heart and an immense amount of potential she quickly befriends the new girl and makes her a (questionable to others) offer. Would she like to go partners in the Briny Cafe?

With a quick refurb in desperate need and an undesirable neighbour moving in, everyone bands together to make things right. Bertie deserves to see the Briny in its full glory once more. A couple of new budding romances, a heartbreaking murder of a dog and a last-minute wedding keeps everyone on their toes.

A really nice story plus a couple of warming touches – the monthly community newsletter and some of Ettie’s very own recipes – really make you feel at home while you read it

Let me know what you think…

 

 

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…

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….