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


The last 5 books I added to my Goodreads ‘to read’ list

One of the most excellent things about blogs and the internet is finding out about books that are out there that I haven’t read yet. These are the last five books I added to my ever expanding ‘to read’ list on Goodreads!

Click on the book cover to go directly to the Goodreads page. Each synopsis is taken from the relevant Goodreads page. Enjoy!

Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith
Sam Morneau is Melissa Parker’s best friend. He’s also a member of The Kind of September, basically the hottest boy band on the planet.

After two and a half years, Mel is all too familiar with the day-to-day occurrences that come with being a member of the band’s inner circle, including hectic schedules, passionate fans, and gossip-mongering celebrity girlfriends.

Now, with the release of the group’s third album just weeks away, their lives have never been crazier and Mel is doing everything she can to keep up, all the while trying to cope with the ridiculous rumors that follow the band everywhere they go and pretending that she isn’t harboring a secret and hopeless crush on Sam.

It’s weird enough being in love with your best friend. It’s even weirder when the rest of the world is in love with him, too.

The Story of My Tits by Jennifer Hayden
A landmark work of graphic memoir and a cancer narrative that pulls no punches.

When Jennifer Hayden was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43, she realized that her tits told a story. Across a lifetime, they’d held so many meanings: hope and fear, pride and embarrassment, life and death. And then they were gone. Now, their story has become a way of understanding her story. Growing up flat-chested and highly aware of her inadequacies… heading off to college, where she “bloomed” in more ways than one… navigating adulthood between her mother’s mastectomy, her father’s mistress, and her musician boyfriend’s problems of his own—not to mention his sprawling family. Then the kids come along… As cancer strikes three different lives, some relationships crumble while others emerge even stronger, and this sarcastic child of the ‘70s finally finds a goddess she can believe in.

For everyone who’s faced cancer personally, or watched a loved one fight that battle, Hayden’s story is a much-needed breath of fresh air, an irresistible blend of sweetness and skepticism. Rich with both symbolism & humor, The Story of My Tits will leave you laughing, weeping, and feeling grateful for every day.

Waterski Girl Wonder by Shellie Blum
Escaping instantaneous death and paralysis from a hangman’s broken neck, and shattered right jaw endured in a horrific watersking accident is only part of this unbelievable life story.

Follow Shellie on her journey from the Ozarks to Egypt and even the back alleys of Hollywood streets as she perseveres through more than her share of grueling set backs.

You don’t have to be a waterskier to enjoy this inspiring true story told by the first female freestyle waterskier ramp jumper in the world!

Delayed by Daniela Reyes
One delayed flight can change everything.

Olivia doesn’t like airports. To make matters worse, she’s forced to spend her forgotten birthday waiting for a flight that will whisk her away to the start of a miserable summer. Everything seems to be going to schedule, until she runs into a crying boy at her gate.

Nick thought he would spend one of the saddest days of his life alone in an airport, waiting for a flight he never wants to board. Then he crosses paths with a strange girl named Olivia.

A delayed flight brings them together for a day, and the two teens find solace in one another. They go their separate ways, thinking they’ll never see each other. Until, two years later, a delayed flight brings them together again. And the randomness of their first meeting, unravels into something much greater than either one of them could ever imagine.

Set over the course of ten years, this is the story of two strangers falling in love, and the journey they face in trying to find their way back to each other.

The KD Shindig by Philip Musson
The novel opens with the wedding of Kristin Nicol and Darren Maundeville in a small, historic cathedral in Northern Ireland. The guests returning to England, the author follows this toxic soup of friends and relatives for a year, opening a window onto the peaks and troughs of their lives: Maggie and Richard Dearlove, a reasonably happily married couple; Joanna Centofani, a self-adoring actress; the green-eyed Rosemary Icthus; the steely Mr. Cameron Scattergood and his antithetic wife, Ruth; the love-loathe duo Johnny Nicol and Charity B. as well as various other interrelated characters. The reader will sympathise, agonise and be antagonised!

The dark humour is evident throughout the novel – and although there are some characters who have only one scene within the book, sometimes these are drawn with more verve and wit than many of the others. The timescale is not linear either, sometimes jumping back and dealing with different characters to keep the reader’s interest. Plus the underlying story of spying, double-dealing and outright underhandedness definitely makes this story worth a second read.

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

New webshop on its way!

New webshop coming soon!
I currently have the week off work, which enables me to catch up with my admin surrounding our books. Yesterday, I had the fun task of completing our tax return for 2014/2015, but I’m glad that it’s done now. I know that it’s not due until January 2016, but I like to tick tasks off lists 😀

This week I have also been working on a new webshop to enable people to buy the paperback books. We’ve tried various webshops in the past, with varying degrees of success, but I really like the one I’m building now, and it seems really easy to use. I will let you all know when it’s live, so that you can marvel over my handiwork, and buy books if you like 😀

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