Book review: Cheryl: My Story by Cheryl Cole


Goodreads synopsis
For the first time Cheryl tells her full story, her way. Revealing the truth behind the headlines, this is the only official autobiography, giving the fans the true story they’ve been waiting for. Includes exclusive, personal photos.

The nation’s sweetheart, Cheryl has achieved unrivalled success with Girls Aloud, as a solo artist, a judge on the X Factor, a fashion icon and as the face of L’Oreal. However, the path to fame is rarely easy and for Cheryl it has been a colourful journey.

From happy but humble beginnings growing up on a tough Newcastle estate, Cheryl saw firsthand the damage that drugs and alcohol can do. But this feisty Geordie never gave up on her dreams of being on stage.

With success came a level of fame no one could prepare for. As Cheryl’s career went from strength to strength her personal heartache was played out in the national media. From her divorce to her battles with malaria, Cheryl’s every move was captured by paparazzi. There was nowhere for Cheryl to hide. However, a true fighter, Cheryl emerged from every challenge stronger.

Now it’s Cheryl’s turn to set the record straight. In this heartfelt account, she opens up about all of the incredible ups and downs of her life. Told with searing honesty this is Cheryl as you’ve never seen her before.

My verdict: this is the review submitted on the Goodreads website
I’ve been a big fan of Cheryl’s since she auditioned for Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. I voted for her each week, and I was so excited when she won a place in Girls Aloud. I’ve seen Girls Aloud live in concert and I loved her on the X Factor, so I couldn’t wait to read her book, My Story. I wasn’t disappointed! I loved hearing her side of the story on so many subjects: her marriage to Ashley, what happened in that nightclub toilet when she was accused of assault, when she was ‘fired’ from the X Factor US; when she had malaria, all of it. I liked her even more after I’d read the book, as the media had spun so many things in their favour against her and I hadn’t realised just how stressful her life has been. I would recommend this to any Cheryl fan, it was a really interesting and eye-opening read.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Book review: Another Man’s War: The Story of a Burma Boy in Britain’s Forgotten African Army by Barnaby Phillips

Goodreads Synopsis
At age 16 Isaac Fadoyebo ran away from his West African village to join the British Army. The Second World War was raging, and Nigeria’s colonial masters were desperate to find men to defend India and the Empire. He was taking breakfast deep in the Burmese jungle when the Japanese ambushed his unit and left him for dead. With the help of a Muslim family he survived, but in every other way Isaac was forgotten, all the more so as Nigeria struggled to come to terms with its newfound independence. Yet Isaac could not forget the debt he owed to the Burmese family, now trapped in a simmering sectarian conflict. In Another Man’s War, veteran foreign correspondent Barnaby Phillips shares the gripping, unforgettable story of a Burma Boy in the Second World War and the legacy of colonial rule.

My verdict: this is the review submitted on the Goodreads website
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

I entered this giveaway on behalf of my husband Michael, and I was lucky enough to win. The below review has come from Michael:

I, like so many people in Britain, know very little (if anything at all) about the situations of Burma/Myanmar and Nigeria in the second world war and post-war period. This book certainly goes some way to begin filling in those gaps in knowledge. Quite some time ago, I had gotten to a stage where watching historical films and documentaries, and even reading books about the second world war, had ceased to tell me anything that I didn’t already know something about, but this book gave me much information that I had previously had no idea of at all. More than the story of one soldier, or even the West African divisions that fought for Britain in the Indian theatre of the war (something totally glossed over by many of the mainstream histories of the period), this book goes some way to describe the post-war realities of the places that it mentions.

Exceedingly well written and even in the slow parts, never dull, I would say that this book is a must-read for anybody interested in the British Empire, West Africa, Nigeria, India, Burma/Myanmar and the second world war. I had originally intended to give this book a 4 out of 5 stars rating, as it left so many more questions than it had answers for, but then I remembered that it’s not one author’s job to spoonfeed me information. This book is a 5 star book, and anything less would be an insult.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Short story review: Like and Subscribe by Jay Bell

Amazon synopsis
Remember that hunky guy on YouTube who caught your eye? The one with the awesome pecs and killer smile? I bet you couldn’t stop watching his videos. Just imagine if you had a chance to meet him and all your fantasies started coming true. There’s only one catch: Between you and your dream guy is his less-than-pleased boyfriend. They say that love conquers all, but can love conquer love? Like and Subscribe is a new short story by Jay Bell, the author of Something Like Summer.

My verdict
This is the first story I’ve read by Jay Bell, and after reading Like and Subscribe, I’m looking forward to reading more of his work. Like and Subscribe was well written, easy to read, funny and the characters were really likeable. I’ve found myself addicted to watching specific YouTube characters in the past, so I fully get where Evan is coming from with his interest in Tony. Highly recommended 🙂

The story is currently free on Amazon, so rush to get it!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Short story review: Breakfast In Paris by Graeme Cameron


Amazon synopsis

At a sidewalk café on a bustling Parisian avenue, a man awaits a rendezvous with the woman of his dreams. But as anticipation turns to dread, is he about to wake with a start?

My verdict
I have recently started reading short stories, and this is the shortest so far! It being short wasn’t an issue; it was well-written, entertaining and certainly left me wanting more from this author.

The book is currently free on Amazon 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Book review: The Debt and The Doormat by Laura Barnard

Goodreads synopsis
Poppy and Jazz have been best friends from the first week of university. Whenever these two get together trouble isn’t far away and things haven’t changed much. When Jazz gets herself into financial trouble Poppy, being a good friend, offers to help. She instead ends up being talked into swapping lives, with Jazz insisting it will be good and help her get over her broken heart.
Poppy is thrown into a new life, full of crazy housemates. There’s fitness freak Izzy, horrendously beautiful bitch Grace and the slightly gorgeous, if not incredibly grumpy Ryan.
Quickly, with the help of Jazz, her life is thrown upside down. Madness ensues and her need to please everyone gets her in more trouble than she could ever imagine.
Before she knows it she’s got a fake boyfriend and is hiding so many secrets she’s scared they’ll spill out any minute. With a bullying boss, a sex crazed colleague, a mental mother and three brothers each with their own dramas, life has gotten pretty difficult for Poppy. And all of this would be much easier, if she could just stop falling over.
Will she get her life back to normal before her brother’s upcoming wedding? And will she want to?

My verdict
It’s been ages since I read a chick lit book that I couldn’t put down; I found myself making time to read The Debt and The Doormat! For a book with 451 pages, it seemed to pass really quickly while I was reading it.

The main character Poppy was likeable, and I really liked her friendship with Jazz. I’ve been rubbish with money in the past, so I really empathise with how Jazz got herself into the mess that she did!

Laura Barnard has a real flair for creating characters that you can relate to and I found myself thinking about the characters when I was away from the book, as if they were friends of mine. It was easy to become absorbed in the book and was really easy to read. There are some real laugh out loud moments, which got me some funny looks in the office when I was reading the book at lunchtime! I know that other people have mentioned in their reviews that the book is ‘crude’ in parts, but I’m not shy at saying that I have a crude sense of humour, hence me laughing out loud in the office! I would highly recommend it!

The book is currently free on Amazon, so rush to get it!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Book review: Harry Webb in ‘A Potato With Her Name On’ by Jason Pinnington

It’s been ages since I read a book I couldn’t put down, and so I was so excited (and annoyed when life got in the way!) when I started reading Harry Webb in A Potato With Her Name On. This is the Goodreads synopsis:

The name’s Webb, Harry Webb, spider and private detective. Most people find what I do exciting, chases, shootouts, chases, fist fights, chases, escapes – you get the idea, there’s a lot of chases. Not me, I prefer the stakeout, hours sitting on some Liverpool street watching, waiting, eating, drinking coffee… minimal fees, minimal risk.

Then a job lands at my feet, a job I can’t refuse because it’s the only way out of a hole I’m in. A high profile job for a high profile client, with secrets that need to stay secret. A job that’s tougher than an overcooked steak and keeps me looking over my shoulder at every turn.

As I start drawing up a list of suspects and motives, making more enemies than friends, I realise that my job isn’t the only thing at stake here… there’s my life…

Below is the review I left on Goodreads:

Now, I did come to this book thinking that it was simply going to be a children’s book (which I don’t tend to read), but I enjoyed it just as much as if it had been written for adults. The characters, especially Harry, are likeable and life-like and you really care what happens to them. It’s well written and is really funny, though some of the lines did make me groan, but in a good way.

Harry talks to you throughout the book, and I admit that I did hear his voice as one of the characters from Bugsy Malone (one of my favourite films!) which made me smile.

Highly recommended 🙂

I know that Jason will be at the upcoming MerseyCon in Liverpool on Saturday 30th May, and in view of this, Harry Webb will be free to download as a Kindle title from Amazon on this day only, and will be available to buy in in paperback in person from him at the comic con for £5.

Book review: Ellie Campbell – Looking For La La


Ellie Campbell, AKA The Chicklit Sisters are Lorraine and Pam. They are sisters who live a fair distance apart, with Lorraine living in Boulder, Colorado (USA) and Pam living in Reigate, Surrey (UK). They have just released their fifth novel, Million Dollar Question, and that fact reminded me that I had read their book, Looking For La La a while ago (back in July 2013!), but that I was very naughty and hadn’t posted my book review on this website.

As well as Looking For La La, Lorraine and Pam have written How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go BadTo Catch A Creeper and Million Dollar Question.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
In a recent survey 65% of mothers admitted feeling undervalued, over-criticised and constantly tired.

Cathy is no exception. Her dull, uneventful days as a stay at home, mother of two, are radically transformed however with the arrival of a heavily lipsticked postcard addressed to husband, Declan. Who is the mysterious La La? Could Declan really be having an affair? And is Cathy actually being stalked?

Whatever – it will definitely prove riveting gossip for the Tuesday Twice Monthlies, Cathy’s ‘Mothers Restaurant Research’ group where scandal flows as recklessly as the wine. But what starts as a light-hearted investigation with best friend Raz, soon turns into something much more sinister.

With a possible murderer on the scene, a sexy admirer igniting long-forgotten sparks, and all her friends hiding secrets, it’s not only Cathy’s marriage that’s in jeopardy. Add in the scheming antics of Declan’s new assistant, the stress of organising the school Save The Toilet’s dance and the stage is set for a dangerous showdown and some very unsettling, possibly deadly, revelations.

My review
I read the Kindle version and I really enjoyed it. The characters were really likeable and it was a nice, relaxed, easy read. It really made me smile. My favourite character was Raz, as she reminds me of a friend of a mine. I’m looking forward to reading more by Ellie Campbell in the future 🙂

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

You can download Looking For La La on Kindle via Amazon