Sunday, 30 June 2013

Review of The Perfect Man - Sheila O'Flanagan

The bit on the back…

A luxury Caribbean cruise. Warm, tropical days. Hot, sultry nights.

It’s ideal for romance but for sisters Britt and Mia McDonagh it’s something else entirely. Because Britt is the Aphrodite’s guest speaker, on board to talk about her bestselling novel The Perfect Man. She’s billed as the expert on love, but since the break-up of her ill-fated marriage she’s certain that the perfect man is just a myth.

Single mum Mia does believe in soul mates. Still secretly in love with her old flame, she’s barely aware of other men, no matter how perfect they might be. As the two very different sisters spend more time together than they have in years, there’s a danger that interfering in each other’s lives will push them apart for ever. Or can the Caribbean work its magic even on families?

Back home, the last thing either woman expects is to encounter that elusive perfect man at last. Yet the time has come to put the past where it belongs and finally risk everything to change the future.

This is the first of Sheila’s novels that I have read. It’s been on my book shelf for a while (benched due to getting my kindle) but every time I looked at the shelf this one kept catching my eye. I read through this in about 3 days, even taking it to the office to read at lunch time, after finding that I couldn’t put it down which is testament to how good it actually is.

The story follows Mia and Britt as they embark on a Valentine’s cruise in the Caribbean on the Aphrodite ship. Both of the sisters are very different to each other, both in their personalities and their stories. The characterisation is done well in that it is easy to relate to both of the characters and to empathise with their individual situations. I also found it quite easy to like all of the characters, especially Mia and Britt.

Mia is the romantic one out of the two, with a flame still burning for a past love. She’s a single mum and all her thoughts and actions must consider her daughter. Britt is a high flying divorce lawyer, known for landing big settlements for her clients. She became a novelist by mistake and now has to make her readers believe she buys the whole flowers and romance scene although she is adamant that romance is for the weak. Although Mia and Britt are the main characters there is also Leo, another single passenger aboard Aphrodite. Leo also has had misfortune when it comes to love and is dubious himself as to whether the perfect woman exists, never mind the perfect man.

The story is written in the 3rd person and is mainly told from Mia, Britt or Leo’s perspective. Each of these characters has a past. Sheila alludes to each one throughout the start of the book but doesn’t go into detail until later on. This adds a bit of mystery which I found was one of the reasons this was so un-put-downable as I always wanted to keep reading to find out what the full story was behind each character. Emotion flows through the book as these 3 single passengers on a Valentine cruise are reminded about their pasts and find themselves facing up to them.

The story flicks between present and past as each other characters recount their situations and each of them think about what difference doing things differently would have made. The three main characters become entwined throughout the story, helping each other to face up to the past and decide on their futures.

For the most part the story is told while the characters are on the cruise itself. This really appealed to me as I am going on a cruise this year and have also been before so I really enjoyed this setting. However it is also set in Dublin and Spain. Sheila’s detailed description of the settings in this story adds further to the story but also to the characters as the settings appear to back up each of their thoughts on romance, which is a big theme in this story, and their personalities.

Overall I really enjoyed this book from the start finding that I couldn’t put it down and was always eager to find out what the story behind each character was. I could never tell what was going to happen next which I also thought was good as in some stories it is evident who is going to end up with whom and so on but not in this one. I would also say this was a good holiday read due to its fabulous setting on board the ship.
Erin x

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Review of Gold Diggers - Tasmina Perry

The bit on the back…


When New York billionaire Adam Gold moves to London every red-blooded woman wants to get in into bed – and down the aisle.


There’s Karen, London’s most glamorous socialite, Adam could be her perfect accessory. Molly, the fading Eighties supermodel with a burning desire to get back on top where she belongs. Summer, Molly’s beautiful daughter, a young woman desperate to get out of the shadows of her over-bearing mother, and finally there’s Erin, Adam’s PA, the bright romantic who wants to break away from her sheltered country life for good.


From Monte Carlo, to Lake Como, St Moritz to St Barts, Gold Diggers takes us on a heady journey through the social circuit of the super rich, plunging the reader into a world of sizzling passion, ruthless ambition and scorching betrayal.

There are four main characters, whose stories intertwine throughout the book – Karen, Erin, Molly and Summer. One of the things I found I most like when reading was that although the story is about these 4 women and how their lives cross, each of them have their own , separate, strong story line. Each of them is well written and believable, which I think is a key feature, particularly in a story with such a glamorous plot as this where readers may not be able to empathise as well. I also really enjoyed the chemistry between the four women and Adam, each of them have a different relationship with him which is good as it mixes it up.

Karen is re-launching herself onto the social scene after the accidental death of her late husband Sebastian. She has her eyes set on Adam from the beginning. Her swimwear business and philanthropic side line allow her to be a glamorous socialite with a powerful influence when it comes to the men, and women, in her life. She has a past though just like everyone else and endeavours to keep it hidden.

Erin is an aspiring author with writers block. She leaves for London to become PA for Adam Gold. She is introduced to the glitz and glamour of being in London’s elite crowd and also takes a plunge in the property game.

Molly is a social climber. She had success as a model in her younger years but now her looks are fading and she is looking for a sugar daddy to keep her in Mercedes and Gucci. Molly also has her sights on Adam Gold. The story follows what lengths she will go to get exactly what she wants.

Summer is Molly’s young, beautiful daughter. She is striving to have a glittering career and is desperate to be out from under her mother. The story follows how she falls for Adam and how her life takes an unexpected turn, testing both her and her mother.

The blurb contains three powerful words, “power”, “lust”, and “murder”. This very simply sums the book up. The bank balances read in billions, the social climbing and deceit is centred mainly around one man, Adam Gold, and the who doesn’t love a bit of murder investigation to spice things up.

The story is written in 3rd person and is written from each characters perspective. It suits the story here to have it from each characters point of view as each of them have such a strong story and input to the overall plot.

I first read Gold Diggers about 4 years ago. I’d seen it in the supermarket and was attracted both by the name and the cover. It was the first book by Tasmina Perry that I’d read and found that it has a bit more substance to it than your average chick lit novel. After reading this book I have read most of Tasmina’s other novels. One recurring theme throughout them all is the luxurious destinations, eloquently described in her books. Gold Digger is mainly set in London, something that really appealed to me as I love London; however the characters jet set all over the world to places such as Lake Como and St Barts. I’ve not been to either of these places but the descriptions of them both make me want to go.
Erin x

Monday, 24 June 2013

Review of Chasing Daisy - Paige Toon

The bit on the back…

If you fall too fast, you just might crash...
Daisy has been dumped, unceremoniously jilted. Not by any ordinary guy, no... Daisy has a secret in her past that she won't even tell her best friend, Holly. She's given up on men - and on her own family. But life still has to be lived and where better to recover than as far away from home as possible.

The story follows the outspoken American main character, Daisy Rogers. Daisy is a member of the catering team for a British Formula 1 racing team. You are thrown right into the glitz and glamour of the Grand Prix scene as they travel all over the world for the season. Daisy develops a relationship with Will, a driver with the team, which is easy to sink into allowing the reader to fall for him too. Their relationship is challenged by the other driver for the team, Luis; a roguish, bad boy Brazilian with a potty mouth to rival Daisy’s. When Will is involved in a crash on the track during the British leg of the tour the direction of the story completely changes. This in turn allows Daisy’s character to further develop, including the discovery of her alter ego and the past she doesn’t care to think about.

From the start, Daisy is a great character who is easy to empathise with and like. Her outspokenness is only emphasised by the sheer number of swear words she can use in different languages. The story develops nicely from the start and then unexpectedly twists – I couldn’t put it down and I certainly wasn’t expecting the twist. The story is written in 3rd person and only from Daisy’s point of view. I think that suits this story well due to how easy it is to imagine Daisy. The other characters, Holly, Will and Luis, are well written to support Daisy and have their own story running through the back ground of the main story.

One of the main features of this book is the glamorous destinations along the way during the Grand Prix season. Having been to a few of the locations myself it is really easy to imagine being back there which just confirms how well Paige has written them.

Although I have read it a few times it always gets me, it is definitely a tear jerker and a page turner, especially during Will’s crash and the aftermath. I really enjoyed how the story developed after the crash and the change in relationship between the characters, particularly between Daisy and Luis.

Chasing Daisy was the first of Paige Toon’s books that I read, and is a somewhat sequel to another of Paige’s books, Johnny Be Good. I hadn’t read Johnny Be Good first, and I don’t think that it mattered. One of the qualities of Paige’s writing is that characters are interlinked throughout her books –I discovered this after falling in love with Chasing Daisy and promptly devouring her other books that I could get my hands on.

A great, well written read by Paige which made me want to reach for more of her books. Hopefully you will too.

Erin x