Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Book review: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? by Claudia Carroll

What happens when two people decide to give themselves the year off...from each other? 
Annie and Dan were the perfect couple. But now the not-so-newly-weds feel more like flatmates than soul mates and wonder where all the fun and fireworks went...
When Annie lands her big break in a smash-hit show that's heading for the bright lights of Broadway, she's over the moon. Goodbye remote Irish village, hello fabulous Big Apple! But with their relationship already on the rocks, how will Annie and Dan survive the distance? 
They're hitting the pause button on their marriage. One year off from each other- no strings attached- except a date to meet at the Rockefeller Centre to decide their fate. Will they  both turn up? Or is it too  late for love?
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? is the first book by Claudia Carroll that I have read. In the main I really enjoyed the book but I did have a few minor quibbles too.
Annie and Dan were childhood sweethearts, they met at 15 and married early. Now at 28, their relationship is already under strain. They left their life in Dublin and Annie's career as an actress to move back to the village of Stickens and Dan's family veterinary practice after Dan's father died. Annie is desperately unhappy, Dan is working ridiculous hours, she can't stand her mother-in-law and her acting career seems like a long-distance memory. So when Annie's agent calls and tells her she has an audition for the new Jack Gordon play, she jumps at the chance. The play is a dream and to be directed by Jack Gordon is a huge opportunity so when she is offered the part, she feels that she can't say no. The only problem is that the play is moving to New York for a whole year, on one hand how can Annie leave Dan for a year and on the other hand how can she turn down the chance to perform on Broadway?
Dan knows that this is Annie's dream and she has given up so much for him already. He knows that she is majorly unhappy in Stickens so her tells her to go to New York. They will put their marriage on hold for 1 year and arrange to meet at the Rockefeller centre in 12 months which is where they got engaged.
Annie loves New York and the play, she misses Dan but she also thinks he probably hasn't even really noticed her absence.
New York is full of temptations, Jack Gordon being the  biggest one; he has his sights firmly set on Annie and a small matter like a husband in the UK is not going to deter him. Annie can't even  contemplate Jack at first but when she hears that Dan has allowed his friend Lisa Ledbetter and her kids move in as she is having marital problems, she doesn't know what to think. Lisa has always had a thing for Dan and now that Annie is away she is obviously making her move.
Annie focuses on her and Dan's agreed date in December but will he even turn up and if he does, does she want to return to her old life?
Sorry for the lengthy description but quite a lot happens in this book. I identified with Annie as I met my husband when we were very young and we're already married with a baby on the way at 28. However, my reservation with the book was the idea of Annie going away for a year. This is something I would never contemplate. I understand that Claudia Carroll really plays on the fact that Dan works all hours as a vet and doesn't always put Annie first but I too have first-hand experience of this due to being married to a junior doctor but I wouldn't run off for a year! It's a shame as on  the whole I liked Annie and I'm all for people following their dreams but she was a little tinged for me as in my opinion she was being a little selfish.
I still enjoyed the book though, in particular the New York setting and all of the characters involved in the play. I shall try the author's other books, I just struggled with the idea in this one.

Many thanks to the lovely Charlotte at Avon for sending me a copy of the book to review, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? is out now.

Dot Scribbles rating 3.5/5

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Book Review: Watching Willow Watts by Talli Roland

For twenty-five year old Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop; nights watching fuzzy telly whilst the elderly residents of Britain's Ugliest Village bed down for yet another early night. But everything changes when Willow's especially embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation is uploaded to YouTube. A canny viewer spots Marilyn's ghostly image hidden in the film and Willow becomes an international sensation. Her dire little town is suddenly overrun with fans proclaiming her to the the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by the villagers- whose shops and businesses are cashing in- Willow eagerly embraces her new identity, dying her hair platinum and scoffing cakes to achieve Marilyn's legendary curves. But when the only man she has ever truly loved returns; seeking the old Willow, it's decision time. Should she risk stardom and the village's new-found fortune on love? Or is being Marilyn Willow's real ticket to happiness?
I found Talli Roland's last book The Hating Game very entertaining and I was not disappointed with her latest book, Watching Willow Watts which in my humble opinion is even better.
I love Talli Roland's ability to come up with a really quirky idea and then to create a great story and characters around it. In this case we have the lovely Willow Watts who had been living in London and enjoying her dream occupation as a florist and a relationship with the gorgeous Alex. However, when Willow's mum died, she decided to move back home to look after her dad. As if things aren't bad enough, Willow discovers that her dad's antiques business is in serious debt so she sets about trying to pay it off without her father knowing as she doesn't want him to have any more stress.
It is Willow's best mate Paula who gets her to dress up as Marilyn at the village fete and before she knows it a video has been uploaded to YouTube and she is an Internet sensation. People seem to believe that she has been chosen by the real Marilyn Monroe to continue her legacy and people start travelling hundreds of miles to catch just a glimpse of Willow or Marilyn as they believe her to be.
Initially Willow is mortified but when Jay turns up in the village offering to be her agent and talking about all the money she could earn, Willow begins to think that this could be the answer to all of her problems. Soon Jay is completely in charge, he dyes Willow's hair, force feeds her sausage rolls and has her constantly pretending to be Marilyn. At first Willow focuses solely on the money but soon she begins to wonder about where the real Willow has gone, does she really want to be Marilyn forever and is Jay really looking out for her or is he exploiting her new-found fame for his own wallet? When Alex turns up, Willow can't help but look to the past, how does she get back to her old life, will Alex want her back and what about the contract that she signed with Jay?
I read Watching Willow Watts in one weekend, the story flows really easily and I was completely taken with the character of Willow. She is just trying to do the right thing and look after her dad; I think that Talli Roland really showed how the fame game often takes advantage of people. The story was really entertaining and i was willing Willow to find the happiness that she clearly deserved. As I said, I think this book is even better than Talli Roland's first so I can't wait to see what she does next!

Many thanks to Talli for sending me a review copy of her fabulous book, it is published on September 14th.

If you want to know more then check out Talli's blog here or follow her on Twitter where she is @talliroland

Dot Scribbles rating 4/5

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Book Review: Until Thy Wrath Be Past by Asa Larsson PLUS GIVEAWAY!!

In the first thaw of spring the body of a young woman surfaces in the River Thorne in the far north of Sweden. Rebecka Martinsson is working as a prosecutor in nearby Kiruna. Her sleep has been disturbed by haunting visions of a shadowy, accusing figure. Could the body belong to the ghost in her dreams? 
Joining forces with Police Inspector Anna-Maria Mella, Martinsson is drawn into an investigation that focuses on old rumours about the disappearance of a plane carrying supplies for the Wehrmacht in 1943. Shame and secrecy shroud the locals' memories of the war, with Sweden's early collaboration with the Germans still a raw wound. And on the windswept shore of a frozen  lake lurks a killer who will kill again to keep the past buried for ever beneath half a century's ice and snow.
This book was so good! A lot of Swedish crime books carry the comparison of being as good as Henning Mankell and many of them simply aren't. However, I actually thought that this was better than Mankell's books and I am very excited to have found another new crime writer to enjoy.
Until Thy Wrath Be Past focuses on the disappearance of Wilma and Simon, a young  couple who went diving and never returned until Wilma's body is discovered in the water. Prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson is involved from the very beginning and she just knows that the deaths were not accidental but who would want to kill two young, innocent people? Anna-Maria Mella is the detective in charge and she too is convinced that she is dealing with a double murder.
There are many mysteries and secrets surrounding Wilma and Simon's disappearance and Rebecka and Mella have to battle to get anyone to talk as it seems they are afraid to divulge anything. Both women are persistent though and pieces of the puzzle start fitting together. Neither woman thought that this investigation would lead them back to the Second World War but people did all kinds of things during that time, events from the past that they would do anything to keep hidden.
Asa Larsson weaves an extremely intricate plot and we view the actions directly from several different characters including the deceased Wilma. This allows the plot and mystery to build up gradually but even then I wasn't expecting the twists and turns at the very end. I think that Until Thy Wrath Be Past is a particularly clever book, I made several assumptions about characters and was proved wrong on several occasions. I felt like I was continually trying to work it all out which is so much better than some crime novels where the end is easily predicted about half way through. There are three previous books in this series which I shall certainly be adding to my wish list.

Many thanks to Quercus for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Dot Scribbles Rating: 5/5

The lovely people at Quercus have sent me a hardback copy of the book as well as a proof so if you would like to win the hardback then just leave a comment on this post and include your email address. This competition is only open to people in the UK and entries will only be entered into the draw if an email address has been included. Entries will be included up until midnight on Tuesday, August 30th. Good luck!! 


Thursday, 18 August 2011

New to Dot Scribbles Shelves

Well I have had some lovely books delivered in the past two weeks so I thought that I would share them with you!

Wrapped Up In You by Carole Matthews (Sphere, 27th October, 2011) Thirty-something hairdresser Janie Johnson's single status is a constant source of gossip for her friends and clients. So after too many nights in with her cat, a blind date disaster and news that her ex is getting married, Janie realises it's time to do something dramatic with her life. It's time for an adventure! Leaving winter behind, Janie takes the plunge and books an exotic trip to Africa. Her friends think she's mad and Janie thinks they may very well be right... but then she falls head over heels for her tour guide- and fully fledged Maasai Warrior- Dominic. But can Janie now face spending a snowy Christmas back home without him?
I have fallen in love with the cover for this book, no doubt it will be another excellent offering from the lovely Carole Matthews! 

What You Don't Know by Lizzie Enfield (Headline Review, 18th August) You've been together for fifteen years. You've got two gorgeous kids and a great career. All the boxes are ticked. You wouldn't be tempted by a plain, slightly balding man called Graham... Would you? When Graham Parks walks into Helen Collins' life, the last thing she expects is to fall for him. He's nothing like her handsome, successful husband, Alex. But fifteen years is a long time and Helen can't help wondering what it would be like to sleep with someone else. Has Alex secretly been thinking the same thing? As harmless flirtation develops into something far more complicated, Helen's perfect world begins to look shaky.
Again, I love the cover for this one and it is Lizzie Enfield's first book so we shall give it a go!

The Importance of Being Myrtle by Ulrika Jonsson ( Michael Jospeph, 1st September, 2011) When Myrtle's husband, Austin, dies on the bus one morning, her own life also seems to stop in a heartbeat. But in reality Myrtle had never really begun to live, having been locked into an emotionless marriage for forty years. So if the barriers have been lifted, why does she still feel trapped? Her daughters are a mystery to her- one prickly and defensive, the other with a closely guarded secret. And thanks to Austin's cold presence, friends are a rarity, her garden her only comfort. How is a widow supposed to find herself when she's alone and unconfident of her place in the world? Hope might rest with Gianni, the kind stranger in whose arms Austin died. And when nosy neighbour Dorothy discovers Myrtle's sad news, she also refuses to let her wallow. But Myrtle will never move on until she's dealt with her past and the reason for her devotion to Austin. The truth must out, even though the consequences might prove devastating for Myrtle and her daughters...
I am completely intrigued by this book and the fact that Ulrika Jonsson wrote it, I am going to keep an open mind though as it does sound very interesting.

The First Wife by Emily Barr (Headline Review, 15th September, 2011) After the death of her grandparents, Lily Button is left without a home or family in the quiet corner of Cornwall where she grew up. When she's offered some cleaning work for a local celebrity couple the Summers she is thrilled when the glamorous pair take her under their wing. With her stunning house and dazzling husband Harry, Sarah Summers appears to have the perfect life. So why, on holiday in Barcelona, does she slip away from her sleeping husband and throw herself into the sea? After Sarah's death, Lily finds herself inextricably drawn to the grieving Harry. But as she falls deeper under his spell. she realises that nothing is really as it seems...
I really like the sound of this one and the cover is really eye catching with the red dress.

Velvet by Mary Hooper (Bloomsbury, 5th September, 2011) Velvet is an orphan. She struggles to make ends meet by working in a steam laundry, where the work is back-breaking and exhausting. So when she attracts the attention of the glamorous clairvoyant Madame Savoya, she cannot believe her good fortune. Raised to the status of a lady's maid, Velvet is given elegant clothes to wear and is brought to live in a grand house in London. But the longer she works for Madame Savoya, the more she discovers about the mysterious world of a spiritual medium. Velvet soon realises that her employer is not quite what she seems and that this knowledge could put her very life in danger...
I thought that Mary Hooper's last book Fallen Grace was excellent and this looks like it is going to be another great read from the YA author. 

Stolen By Susan Lewis (Arrow Books) Lucy Winters' parents have always been there for her. Loving, gentle and kind, they have given her everything she could have wished for. Now, estranged from her husband, Lucy has moved to the country to take over their thriving auction business. From the moment she begins to prepare for her first sale she knows she's made the right decision. And she dares to hope that at least she's living the life she has always dreamed of. But then, quite suddenly her world is thrown into turmoil. She discovers a shocking truth, one that forces her to question everything she has ever known. And it becomes frighteningly possible that the very people who should have protected her are the ones who have betrayed her in the most devastating of ways. Can she ever forgive them? Can they ever forgive themselves?
Susan Lewis has written 25 other books but this will be the first that I have read, it sounds like gripping stuff! 


Have you read any of these or heard anything about them, let me know!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Book Review: Working It Out by Nicola May

Ruby Matthews has a plan. Twelve jobs in twelve moths, until she finds the one of her dreams...
After an unexpected redundancy, Ruby begins to question her priorities. Inspired by a quote from Kahil Gibran about loving your work, she launches her mission to find the ideal job.
Her year of gainful (and sometimes painful) employment includes nannying for clients in the South of France; dealing with embarrassing ailments in a Harley Street clinic; waiting tables in a buzzy Soho cafe; and meeting the celebs of years gone by in a home for retired actors. And even though love is no longer top of her list, relationships just seem to start happening along the way which sees her handing out some P45s of her own!
But will any of the jobs, or the men she meets see her dreams come true? Or will Ruby just end up back where she started?
Nicola May has written a really fun book, Working It Out had me entertained from start to finish. As someone who has tried many different jobs, I could completely identify with Ruby's desire to find her dream occupation. So Ruby's plan is to try a different job every month for 12 months. I loved reading on to find out what she would be doing next and it was certainly varied; from undertaker to sexual health clinic receptionist. She enters each job with enthusiasm and an open mind and the results are often surprising.
Whilst Ruby has a clear plan for her career, she doesn't seem so organised when it comes to her love life. There's gorgeous George, her neighbour who she could spend all day flirting with and Bentley the millionaire who is fun but not for the long term and several more men that she meets along the way. What's a girl to do when presented with so many decisions?
I really enjoyed Nicola May's writing style and I think the idea behind the book is very clever as there is so much that can be written about with each new job which makes the book really entertaining. I think the biggest strength of Working It Out is the characters created by the author; each one brings something different to the book and they were not perfect, especially Ruby which always makes them more believable.
I think a lot of readers will identify with this book and enjoy reading about Ruby's quest to find that perfect job. Nicola May's writing is fun and entertaining and I look forward to seeing what she does next.

If you want to find out more about Nicola May then check out her website here or you can follow her on Twitter where she is @nicolamay1

Dot Scribbles Rating 4/5

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Book Review: Heaven Scent by Sasha Wagstaff

When Cat Hayes impulsively married a handsome, penniless French waiter in St Tropez, she didn't realise she'd be widowed in just a few weeks. Neither did she know that her late husband was actually Olivier Ducasse, heir to the Ducasse perfume empire.
Invited by the Ducasse family to their glamorous French mansion, Cat finds the family in chaos. What's more, she's regarded with suspicion and hostility, especially by Olivier's playboy cousin Xavier. Will she run for the hills as her high heels can carry her? Or will she realise that she's exactly what this mixed-up family truly needs?
I knew that I was in for a treat when this  book arrived as I really enjoyed Sasha Wagstaff's last book Wicked Games. I think that Heaven Scent is even better and each page was a pleasure to read.
Cat Hayes has been widowed after only a few weeks of marriage; she thought she had married a penniless waiter but in fact had tied the knot with Olivier Ducasse who was heir to a huge perfume empire. The Ducasse family want to meet Cat, however, they have no intention of welcoming her to the family, instead they want to ward off any claim she may have on Olivier's part of the business.
Stranded at the beautiful Ducasse chateau in France after her passport disappears, Cat has never felt more unwelcome or stupid. Why did Olivier lie about his identity and how naive must she have been to fall in love with such a man?
The actual Ducasse family were my favourite part of the book. The author gives each individual member their own story line but she expertly links them so that the plot flows effortlessly. Delphine Ducasse is the matriarch of the family and is not interested in getting to know Cat, business comes before everything for this woman but at what cost? Guy is Delphine's son and is in charge of the company, he lost his beloved wife two years ago and is now struggling with his grief plus raising his twin teenagers Max and Seraphina who seem determined to get into as much trouble as possible. Xavier is Guy's oldest son and is well known as a playboy. He used to be the 'nose' of the business but events in the past have meant that Xavier has  not created a new scent for years; it seems that nothing will convince him to work for the Ducasse empire. Leoni Ducasse is Olivier's sister and one of the most diligent and hard working members of the family; it's just a shame that nobody takes her seriously or appreciates all she does. Leoni can't even bear to be around Cat; who is this woman her brother apparently loved enough to marry?
So as you see Cat has a lot on her hands with this ambitious, powerful family. However unwelcoming they have been, it is in Cat's nature to try and help those in need. She is soon helping the twins deal with the loss of their mother, offering ideas to the business which could do with a fresh perspective and unwittingly reigniting Xavier's passion to create a much needed new scent.
I found the relationships that Cat formed with each family member very interesting, especially those between her and Xavier. Was she wrong to view him purely as a spoilt playboy and how can she possibly have feelings for the cousin of her dead husband?
Heaven Scent is my favourite read of the summer so far. It is glamorous and fast paced with believable characters who you quickly become attached to. It was fascinating to read about the world of perfume and the intricate way in which a scent is created, Sasha Wagstaff's research into this shines throughout the book. Heaven Scent had me gripped from start to finish, I can't wait to read what Sasha Wagstaff writes next.

Many thanks to Headline for sending me a copy of this book to review, it is out now. You can follow the lovely Sasha Wagstaff on Twitter, she is @SashaWagstaff.

Dot Scribbles rating: 5/5


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Head on over to Book Chick City

I'm guest reviewing over at Book Chick City today as the lovely Carolyn is on her holidays! Click here to read my review of Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Book Review: Long Gone by Alafair Burke

After months of unemployment, Alice Humphrey lands her dream job managing a Manhattan art gallery in the trendy Meatpacking district. According to recruiter Drew Campbell, the gallery is a passion of its anonymous owner, who remains uninvolved in it's daily operations. 
When Alice arrives one morning, she walks into a nightmare: the gallery is empty, except for the dead body of Drew. Before she knows it, Alice finds herself at the centre of the police investigation.
With every thread of the investigation leading back to Alice, she knows she has been set up. But who is out to get her? 
I'm a little undecided about this book as it took me so long to get into. I really struggled at the beginning as it seemed like there were three totally separate story lines and a lot of different characters, I found myself confused as to how they were related and which character went with which story.
However, I loved the central idea that Alice has been set up as Drew's murderer. I liked Alice and really felt for her as the whole situation was like a bad nightmare that you just want to wake up from.
This is Alafair Burke's seventh book and her first stand alone novel. I would be interested to try one of her other books as I did like the plot and the characters she created.
Don't let my review put you off, some readers like multiple plot lines. I just found the beginning of the book frustrating as I couldn't see how everything was linked. But Alafair Burke is certainly very good at keeping you guessing.

Many thanks to Avon for sending me the book to review, it is available to buy now.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Dot Scribbles Knits!

I have completed my first knitting project for the baby! A little white cardigan, it's not perfect but I am pretty pleased with it as up until now all I could knit was squares and scarves! We've been getting a little more organised, we ordered the pram last week which I am really pleased with and we have started looking at cots. The time seems to be flying by and I have a lot of knitting to catch up on as my mother-in-law is already on her third cardigan!

It's been pretty busy round here lately, we have had weddings and birthday parties galore! My lovely sister opened her brand new cupcake shop last week where she will be teaching baking and decorating classes, if you are ever in the Midlands and want to learn how to make the perfect icing then check her out! 
Dr S starts his first job as a doctor today so things were a little tense in the Scribbles household this morning, I know that he will be fine but any first day of a new job is pretty scary isn't it!

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