Hiss and Hers

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The bossy, vain and irresistible Agatha is back in her 23rd adventure!

Agatha has fallen in love – again. This time it’s the local gardener, George Marston, she has her eye on. But competition for his attention abounds. With her shameless determination Agatha will do anything to get her man, including footing the bill for a charity ball in town just for the chance to dance with him.

But when George is a no-show Agatha goes looking for him – and finds he has been murdered, having been bitten by a poisonous snake and buried in a compost heap. Agatha and the rest of her crew plunge into an investigation and discover that George had quite a complicated love life.

If Agatha now can’t have George, at least she can have the satisfaction of confronting the women who did,and finding a murderer in the process!

My opinion: I am a big fan of Agatha Raisin and find the formulaic books about her adventures comforting and relaxing. This is the 23rd book in the series.

Once again Agatha has got her sights set on the latest eligible bachelor to move to Carsely. Unfortunately George doesn’t seem to reciprocate her attention, but a little thing like that won’t stop a woman like Agatha! Only when George is murdered does Agatha find out the truth about the man she held in such high regard!

This latest adventure was enjoyable and we met a lot of familiar faces again in the book. I did find it a little annoying that the same old setting of a scorching summer with hosepipe bans was used again, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment.

Another good addition to the series, but I hope the next one takes place in a different setting so that we can get a bit more variety.

My rating: Three stars

Save the Date

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Family weddings can be hell.

…and, marooned in Italy for her cousin’s nuptials, Ailsa can be forgiven for thinking that this one is worse than most. With the bride and groom at loggerheads and the guests in uproar, it is a million miles away from the rest and relaxation she’d been hoping for.

And then suddenly, in the middle of the mayhem, she comes face-to-face with Nick, the man she walked out on just a few months earlier.

How can Ailsa help get the wedding back on track when she and Nick can’t stop arguing? But if they do, she might remember why she fell in love with him in the first place – and then there really would be trouble.

My opinion: I was a little unsure of this book when I started it, both because Allie Spencer is a new author to me, and I was worried it might be a bit too frothy for me. I needn’t have worried and will seek to read more of her books in future.

We meet the main character, Ailsa, who is a newly single, slightly accident prone female who is going to Italy to attend her cousin’s wedding, despite the fact that their mothers fell out years ago.

When in Italy she bumps into her ex who just happens to be staying next door in the hotel. This throws up confusion about her own feelings, which on top of trying to help sort out the mess of the wedding, keeps Ailsa very busy!

I really enjoyed this book. It was fast paced, well written and funny with lots going on. I felt that it contained just the right number of characters so that there were a number of story lines without getting confused about who was who. I was really able to imagine the characters and the location, and loved sitting in the garden reading this one.

I will definitely read more by Allie Spencer and would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fun holiday read.

My rating: Four fabulous stars

I was sent this book as an advance review copy by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review

Book Cover Reveal: Not Pretty Enough

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Not Pretty Enough by Jaimie Admans
Publication date: 1 August 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis:
“New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Lloyd Layton will know I exist. He once said three whole words to me, so this is obviously progress. If I don’t get a proper conversation out of him soon, then I’ll take my top off and streak through the cafeteria, because nobody could fail to notice these boobs.
2. I will not get expelled for streaking through the cafeteria.”

Those are the words that begin her mission.
Chessie is fourteen, not pretty enough, and very much in love. Lloyd Layton is hot, popular, and unaware of Chessie’s existence.
Her goal is clear: to get Lloyd to love her as much as she loves him, and she has exactly one year to do it.
As Chessie’s obsession with Lloyd reaches boiling point and she starts to spin a web of lies that spiral out of control, Lloyd turns out to be not quite the prince she thought he was. Can Chessie avoid the gathering storm before things go too far?

Not Pretty Enough is a contemporary young adult comedy suitable for ages thirteen and over.

Book two in the series will be released early 2014.

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18142578-not-pretty-enough?ac=1

I have also read and loved two of Jaimie’s other books. You can find my reviews and more information by clicking on the links below.

Kismetology

Afterlife Academy

The Universe versus Alex Woods

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A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn’t had the easiest childhood.

But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.

So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing …
Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and the unexpected connections that form our world.

My opinion: I’d wanted this book since it was first published and treated myself to a copy in a sale a few months ago. I finally got around to reading it recently.

The book is written in a way that is easy to follow, and as it unfolds we find out more and more about the extraordinary Alex and his relationships with those around him.

The book has a very serious undertone to it, which I found unexpected and only really became apparent to me over halfway in. This turn in the book is heartbreaking when it happens, but is in no way depressing. Extence should be applauded for the handling of such a contentious subject in a factual, yet sensitive way.

I enjoyed this book and would like to read more about how Alex gets on in life. The only downside to this book was that I didn’t feel “gripped” by it in the way I’d hoped that I would have been.

My rating: Three stars

Road to Rouen

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Ben Hatch is on the road again. Commissioned to write a guidebook about France (despite not speaking any French) he sets off with visions of relaxing chateaux and refined dining. Ten thousand miles later his family’s been attacked by a donkey, had a run-in with a death-cult and, after a near drowning and a calamitous wedding experience involving a British spy, his own marriage is in jeopardy. A combination of obsessions about mosquitoes, French gravel and vegetable theme parks mean it’s a bumpy ride as Ben takes a stand against tyrannical French pool attendants, finds himself running with the bulls in Pamplona and almost starring in a snuff movie after a near fatal decision to climb into a millionaire’s Chevrolet Blazer.

Funny and poignant, Road to Rouen asks important questions about life, marriage and whether it’s ever acceptable to tape baguette to your children’s legs to smuggle lunch into Disneyland Paris.

My opinion: I have been looking forward to this book ever since I read Hatch’s first travelogue offering, Are We Nearly There Yet, last year. When this one came out I was in the middle of a book buying ban, but managed to convince myself that ebooks that are non-fiction and about France don’t count so downloaded it to my Kindle!

This book runs along vaguely the same lines as the last, the Hatch family driving around to tourist destinations and ending up in mad cap situations. But this time round, the children are older, the family has changed and is wiser and there are LOTS of cheese references!

We get to know Ben and Dinah a lot better in Road to Rouen, and become more understanding of their relationship and how they function as a couple. A few bits were in a bit too much detail, but I wouldn’t expect any less after the previous account of the toothbrush incident!

We also get to share in the Hatch kids growing up and their own quirks and hilarious moments. I feel like it is a privilege to be able to share in this and hope we can continue this in future. Ben’s writing makes me feel like part of the family and his children now feel a bit like the niece and nephew I’ve never had!

Another fantastic book laden with both hilarious and heart wrenching moments. I now can’t wait for the next instalment! How about the Hatch family do Route 66?

My rating: A fabulous four stars