Sunday, 28 August 2011

Review of Wrapped up in You by Carole Matthews

Wrapped up in You is Carole Matthews’ nineteenth novel and the first with her new publishers. I was instantly excited about reading this novel, as it revolves around two of my favourite things; Christmas and Africa.

The novel focuses on the life of Janie Johnson; a single hairdresser from Buckingham who lives with her cat in a quiet village. Having been dumped by her long term boyfriend, Janie is subject to blind dates arranged by her best friend Nina and dubious advice offered by many of her clients at the salon. After one disastrous date too many, Janie follows the advice of one of her older, wealthier clients and books a last minute holiday to Kenya. Here, her heart is stolen not only by the stunning landscape and animals, but also by Dominic, a maasai Warrior based at the camp. A holiday romance blossoms, but can love between two such different people really last long term and can Janie manage a cold, dreary English winter without Dominic?

This is a fantastic story that made me laugh out loud, particularly during Janie’s blind date escapade. The novel surprised me in that it is a Christmas novel, but not as you may imagine and instead is based partly in Africa. The setting in Kenya was one of my favourite parts of the book and made me want to go back to Africa! Matthews has described the sheer beauty of African landscape to absolute perfection.

I loved the idea of Dominic, the Maasai warrior, as hero of this book. Dominic is caring,
trustworthy and seems to really look after Janie; it is also a refreshing change to have a different style of hero to read about. I also cannot write a review without mentioning the lovely Mike who is Janie’s neighbour, I felt so sorry for him at various stages in the novel, but thought that he was definitely a heroic figure as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Wrapped up in You, it is like a modern day fairy tale and is a must read for this Christmas. The ending was not as I expected and is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time, it is the perfect book to snuggle up with on a cold winters evening.
I cannot finish this review without mentioning the gorgeous cover of this book, I loved it straight away and it made me feel very Christmassy!

Wrapped up in You is released in paperback on the 27th October 2011

Thank you to Sphere for sending me a proof copy to review.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Review of The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark

The Sandalwood Tree is a powerful story of love and scandal spanning almost one hundred years.

The story unfolds from two perspectives; that of Evie Mitchell who has arrived in India in 1947 just before the end of the Raj and through the letters and journals of two Victorian ladies living in the same bungalow in Masoorla in the 1850s.
Evie’s husband Martin Mitchell returns from the horrors of the second World War a changed man and when he is offered a Fulbright Scholarship to document the end of the Raj, Evie jumps at the chance of moving to India with their young son hoping that a new setting may reignite their marriage.

Moving to their small bungalow near to Simla, Evie unexpectedly finds some letters hidden behind a loose brick in the kitchen. While her marriage appears to deteriorate, she buries herself in the mystery of deciphering the letters and the identity of the authors.

The plot then moves between 1947 and the 1850’s following Felicity and Adela in England and India. Although, we only hear from felicity and Adela in the third person I felt as if I knew them and really liked Felicity’s character. In her desperation and loneliness Evie becomes obsessed with their story and their fate and it is here that the book excels by managing to intertwine these two different eras together perfectly.

The ending was fantastic and really put everything into place. I enjoyed this book very much; it was so evocative and mesmerizing that I really felt I was there in India smelling the spices and perfumes at the bazaar and hearing the jangling of the bracelets as people walked around. I will definitely be looking out for other works by Elle Newmark.

I read this book as part of the Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Giveaway: Win a copy of Idol by Carrie Duffy

For your chance to win a copy of Idol by Carrie Duffy follow my blog and follow me on twitter. Leave a comment below with your twitter name to let me know you have entered. The giveaway closes on Friday 19th August at 5pm and the winner will be contacted by Monday 22nd August.
Idol is published on the 18th August and is Carrie Duffy's debut novel.
Read my review a couple of posts below to find out more about this fantastic read!
Good luck x
Thank you to Harper Collins for sending me a copy of Idol for this giveaway.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Chick Lit Plus Reading Challenge 2011

I have just joined the Chick Lit Plus Reading Challenge of 2011.

I will read twelve chicklit novels including two by debut authors who have released their first book in 2011.

I will be putting each book on this page as I read them. If you have any recommendations let me know.

1. Idol by Carrie Duffy

Friday, 5 August 2011

Wrapped up in You by Carole Matthews

I was very excited to receive a proof copy of Wrapped up in You by Carole Matthews this morning. Look out for my review in the next couple of weeks.