The Radio

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A comedy so black that you’d have to eat a lot of carrots to know whether George’s adventures are actually visible. The Radio centres around the decline of the lovable, yet hapless George Poppleton, a middle-aged, henpecked father and husband who stumbles across an old transistor radio in his loft. His obsession with listening to the radio drives him on an unexpected journey, fuelled by the painful memories of the suicide of his only son many years before. Whilst his only daughter, Sam, and wife, Sheila, plan perhaps the most ill-fated wedding ever conceived, the radio transports George further and further away from reality. When a garlic baguette is used as a lethal weapon and the hogs finally take a stand and turn on the farmer who is about to roast them, nothing is likely to go as smoothly as the family may have hoped. The accidental return of Sam’s ex-fiance, David, coupled with the endlessly drunk Auntie Lesley ensures that an almighty farce is just around the corner. The Radio ends with an unimaginable twist, when the family realise that things are not at all how they seemed. It is a story of what it means to be a family, the perception of loving and being loved, and what it means to be sane. It will appeal to anyone who enjoys family-based modern contemporary fiction with both poignancy and humour. Jonathan has been inspired by a number of novels, including Alex Garland’s The Beach, and his writing is comparable to Mark Haddon, Nick Hornby and Joseph Connolly.

My review: I was expecting good things from this book when I started it, but never expected it to be as good as it was!

We meet George who is a loveable father figure who is just a little eccentric, and his wife Shelia and daughter Sam. They are a fairly typical family with their fair share of dysfunctional attributes! George, the downtrodden husband finds an old radio that he starts tinkering around with while his wife and daughter go out and have fun while he looks after his grand daughter. The tinkering becomes a bit more than that when he and the radio become inseparable and it becomes the most important thing in his life.

Some parts of the book had me laughing out loud, most had me chuckling, but some bits were desperately sad. The book was fabulously written and it was a real pleasure to read. It’s easy going style and good pace kept me gripped and I finished the whole thing in a day. I’d love to read more about George and his family, and a little birdie had told me that there is more to come.

A fantastic book which is comparable to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Lost and Found. You should all go and buy it now!!

I was sent a copy of The Radio by the author in exchange for an honest review

My rating: A very well deserved 5 stars!

Country Loving

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Successful city accountant Stevie receives two surprises in one week. A proposal of marriage from her boyfriend and a phone call begging her to return to the family farm in Talyton St George.

But what she thought would be a weekend visit turns into much longer as she struggles to bring order to her father’s rundown farm. Finally, she decides to give up her job – and her boyfriend – and stay permanently. Even though the locals are up in arms about her plans for the farm, Stevie loves being back in the country – and having to work so closely with local vet Leo is an added bonus.

Until a life-changing complication throws all her plans into disarray, and destroys her growing romance with Leo…

My opinion: The first thing I have to say is that I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s title! When I requested this book from netgalley I was expecting a potentially raunchy romance because of the title. That is very far from what I did get, and I was very pleased with what was there!

At the beginning of this book we meet Stevie and her city boy boyfriend Nick, who has just proposed to her. She gets a phone call from a family friend back in the Devonshire countryside which changes her life path forever. She moves back to the family farm to start the fight to keep their home and business.

This book is really well written with some really vivid characters. I really enjoyed this book and have already downloaded the other five books in the series! I would describe this as a cosy romance. It is no doubt a romantic book, but is rather innocent as it very cleverly manages to avoid any sexy detail whilst still implying that these things were happening. I have to say I really liked this approach. A bit like a cosy mystery. I’m not against a sex scene in a book, but sometimes they can be gratuitous. This was like a breath of fresh air!

A fab book and a look forward to reading more from Cathy Woodman.

I received this book from netgalley in return for an honest review

My rating: A big four stars!

Billy and Me

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Sophie May has a secret.

One that she’s successfully kept for years. It’s meant that she’s had to
give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay
in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop.

But then she meets the gorgeous Billy – an actor with ambitions to make
it to the top. And when they fall in love, Sophie is whisked away from the
comfort of her life into Billy’s glamorous – but ruthless – world.

Their relationship throws Sophie right into the spotlight after years of
shying away from attention. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that
comes with being with Billy? And most of all, is she ready for her secret
heartbreak to be discovered and shared with the nation?

My opinion: It has taken me a few days to write this review as I have had a major book hangover from reading Billy and Me. I wasn’t sure if I would like it when I downloaded it, but had seen so many great things about it on Twitter, that I just had to give it a go!

I started reading sat in the sun in my back garden and instantly got hooked reading about Sophie. The intro to the book sounded so similar to my life, just mine happened in a slightly different order. I felt an instant connection with the character and was eager to read on.

Sophie works in a local tea shop for the wonderful matriarch, Molly. When a film crew comes to town to film a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, she meets a very good looking young man, who just happens to be the star of the film and a-lister, Billy Buskin. Not that she knows who he is at first. A love story ensues and Sophie and Billy attempt to make a life together in London.

The story is so well written, it could have been written by any of the great chick lit writers, but it has come from debut author Giovanna Fletcher. The story is generally fast paced, but I felt it start to slow a bit when Sophie moved to London. I feel that this is more of a reflection of how tedious her life becomes rather than the writer, but was my least favourite part of the book.

I really enjoyed this book and flew through it. It is a lovely, romantic story. But be warned, parts are heart breaking, so keep the tissues handy and expect some funny looks if reading on the bus or on a sun lounger. You will cry! I would like to read more about Sophie and Billy and eagerly await Giovanna’s next book.

My rating: A fab four stars!

Party Games

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Although the countryside town of Beeversham looks picture-perfect, nothing is quite as it seems. Behind closed doors, three women are struggling to lead the lives they want.

Vanessa seems like she simply must have it all – she’s beautiful, rich and married to gorgeous actor, Conrad. But beneath the glitz, she is asking herself whether this really is the life she wants to lead – when she has so much, why does she feel so empty?

Meanwhile, Fleur is trying desperately to save the farm that her family have lived on for hundreds of years, when playboy Beau makes her an offer she can’t refuse.

And Catherine has given up the high-flying career she thought she always wanted, and is trying to build a wonderful new life in the country. But finding rural bliss is harder than it looks.

Hopes and dreams, loves and losses – and lots and lots of secrets – let Jo Carnegie take you behind the scenes of one very special town.

My opinion: This book is the latest offering from the wonderful Jo Carnegie, and her first book about the town of Beeversham.

Everything is not quite as it seems in this country town, and behind the picturesque exterior, a very different world is lurking. In this book we get to see what goes on behind closed doors for a number of residents, including celebrities, farmers and politicians.

The story is fun, fast paced and sexy, but still manages to touch on some serious issues, without being maudlin. I was glued to the page from beginning to end, and read huge hunks of the book each time I picked it up!

I loved all of the Churchminster books, and this one is just as good. I hope we get to know a lot more about Beeversham’s residents, and really enjoyed the few cheeky references to Churchminster!

A fantastic book which will make a brilliant holiday read this summer!

Party Games is published by Random House on 4 July

My rating: A massive five stars!

I received this book as an advance review copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review