I have read a lot of great books this last year, but I sifted through and picked my favourite ten. They aren't in any order (that's just TOO hard a job), but if you haven't read them then I would highly recommend them.
Don't Want To Miss A Thing - Jill Mansell
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Swetshop of Dreams - Jenny Colgan
Synopsis: 'Don't wait for the storm to pass; learn to dance in the rain…' Laura has been married to the man of her dreams for seven months. But a week before the wedding, Matthew made a terrible mistake. Escaping the humiliation that is now her marriage, Laura is whisked off to Florida's Key West by her best friend Marty. A carefree holiday full of cocktails and fun, surrounded by gorgeous, tanned men, is exactly what the doctor ordered. Distraction comes in the form of sexy Cuban scuba diver Leo. Laura's instant attraction to him knocks her flying, and she falls hard. As the end of the holiday approaches, Laura doesn't want to go home. Is it time to face the music? Or is there more to Key West than a holiday romance?
My Review: Laura and Matthew have been happily married for 7 months until Laura learns that Matthew made a terrible mistake a week before the wedding. To help Laura deal with her marriage crisis her friend Marty takes her along on her holiday to Miami. I am actually travelling to Miami later in the year and am very excited, so figured what better way to prepare myself than by reading Paige Toon's new release. Ever since reading Jonny Be Good by Toon I have read quite a few more of hers and was really looking forward to this one.
As soon as I started reading and realised just what Laura was escaping from I couldn't help but feel for her. A trip to Miami seems like a good idea and as soon as Laura, Marty and another friend Bridget start their journey it seems like Matthew is out of the picture. Paige Toon does a smashing job in describing the Miami Keys and I found myself wishing my holiday would come sooner. Distraction for Laura comes in the form of Leo who helps the scuba diving courses in the Keys. Laura's instantly attracted to him but is in complete turmoil as she is there to give herself space, not to fall for another man!
What I liked about this story from start to finish was that it really wasn't very clear what Laura was going to do. It didn't feel so cut and dried as some books do and you really feel for Laura as she struggles to make the right decision for both her and her marriage. It was very easy to get completely wrapped up in this book and if it's one you plan to take on holiday, don't plan to move from your sun lounger for too long. There wasn't any part of the book that I didn't enjoy with one small exception. Towards the end when I was still reeling from Laura's initial decision, another major event takes place. What niggled me was that this happened literally a few chapters from the end and before I knew it I was reading the epilogue. Don't get me wrong it certainly didn't spoil the book but I couldn't help feeling it was a bit rushed.
I know that there were some small references to characters from other books, but I have yet to read some of her older work so wouldn't have noticed the link as I'm reading her books out of sequence. Overall, I think this was an absolutely brilliant book and would really recommend it to people. When you are making your holiday packing list, don't forget to include The Longest Holiday at the end!
I only discovered Paige Toon a few months ago and read Johnny Be Good and Baby be mine within a matter of weeks. Following on from that I made sure I had a few more of her back catalogue to read in the future. Her new release One Perfect Summer was released on the 10th May 2012 and I was looking forward to reading it.
Alice is 18 and takes a summer trip with her parents down to Dorset. She happens to meet a young man Joe who steals her heart. However, after reading the first few chapters it becomes clear that Joe's life is not that idyllic and Alice realises that although she has fallen for him, things will not be easy. Joe is an absolute sweetheart of a character and I adored him and him and Alice's relationship. However, before long things go wrong and Alice ends up leaving Dorset to make her way to Cambridge to start University. The one thing that is different is the fact that she leaves broken hearted and without Joe.
We see her life move on to the next phase and although I was disappointed that we do not see Joe Alice grows on me and we see her settle into University life with her friends. Some of the other characters we meet are fun and very readable such as Jessie. Before long Alice meets Lukas a German student who is studying at a nearby university. Lukas is a rich boy who sweeps Alice off her feet to a certain degree.
The second half of the book is spent watching Alice move on with her life and what happens to her next. Lukas is not a nice character and I spent half of the time asking myself what Alice was playing at. But as the story continues you can see the predicament she has got herself into and things start to become if not clearer certainly a lot more understandable. As usual with a Paige Toon book she draws you in with her easy writing style and knack of telling a story that is sometimes bittersweet.
The best part of the book for me was without a doubt the ending. Paige Toon has done once again what she managed to do with the book Johnny Be Good, which is leave the reader on a slight cliff-hanger with a big question mark. I can only hope that there is a follow up to this, otherwise it's an unnecessarily cruel ending for us fans. This book will certainly keep you reading, and at the end you will certainly be left wanting more.
** NOTE - IF YOU HAVE NOT READ `JOHNNY BE GOOD' THIS REVIEW WILL INEVITABLY CONTAIN SPOILERS**
I only read my first Paige Toon book a few weeks ago which happened to be `Johnny Be Good'. I was so impatient for the sequel that this one suddenly shot straight to the top of my `to read' pile.
In the book Johnny Be Good we met Meg Stiles working as a PA to the hottest rock star on the planet Johnny Jefferson. She has a turbulent relationship with her boss Johnny and although she is madly in love with him we see her finish the story having got together with Johnny's friend Christian.
For those that have already read that book you will know that it ended with Meg realising that her pregnancy was more than likely the result of her one night fling with Johnny and not her current live in boyfriend Christian. I admit, I was crushed when I realised it was an ending like that, but thankfully for me as I only recently picked Paige's books up I didn't have long to wait. We catch up with Meg and Christian who now live in the South of France with their son Barney. Except Meg is the only one that Barney is not in fact Christian's, but her ex-boss and one time love Johnny Jefferson.
In the last book, I loved Meg and Christian but wasn't that much of a fan on Johnny. This new book changes my opinion slightly, but not entirely! Strangely, although Johnny is a naughty so and so that doesn't appear to keep out of trouble I found myself warming to him anyway.
As usual Paige takes us on the messy and sometimes laugh out loud funny journey of Meg's revelation to both Christian and Johnny. The turbulent times ahead for her drag us along as a reader and I found myself completely immersed in their world. Paige Toon also has an uncanny knack for making you feel like you are sitting on the couch of their home with them, or looking out over the fabulous view of Los Angeles, she has that knack to take you wherever they go.
As I made my way to well over the halfway point, I wasn't sure if I was going to entirely like the ending and as predicted I'm still not to sure, but think that is entirely down to personal preference and not the writing. As ever I finished the book feeling strangely satisfied, but craving more Toon!
Thankfully for me I have lots of books of hers I have yet to read so I can get my next fix when I need to. I can honestly say that I think Paige Toon fans will be grateful for this sequel and I would highly recommend her books, but suggest starting with the earlier ones and working your way through them.
I am not sure how, but to date I have never read any of Paige Toon's books. Having seen this in a charity shop a few months ago I picked it up and promptly forgot about it, as it became consumed in my ever growing to read pile. Wanting something new I picked this up recently and decided to give it a go, and boy am I glad I did.
The moment you start reading you realise that this is Chick Lit for the dreamers amongst us. Can you imagine working as a PA to the hottest rock star on the planet? Err, when I was 15 maybe? Having said that I adore books like this which manage to transport you right back to your dreams and wishes! Although the story itself is based on the less realistic scale of `things that could actually happen', the characters aren't. We meet Meg who is on her way to become a PA to Johnny Jefferson, who just happens to be a sexy Rock God. It took me less than two chapters to immerse myself in this outlandish fairytale story.
Although the fairytale seems to come true for Meg as she arrives at Johnny's plush pad in LA, it soon starts to become a little more difficult than she first though. Johnny himself was what you would expect from a rockstar; difficult, impatient and constantly surrounded by booze and women. I can honestly say that although I wasn't overly keen on Johnny, the story made total and utter sense. Meg is a great girl who is in a position many can only dream of. What makes the story great is the fact that Meg is a normal girl, living and working in an unusual place. Johnny's best friend Christian is also a main focal point of the story as he is along for the ride whilst writing Johnny's biography.
There were some funny moments in the book too and I found myself reading quicker and quicker. I loved the fact that you are submerged into the crazy world of Johnny and his ever increasing demands. The story towards the end was looking a little predictable, but that didn't faze me as that was where I wanted it to go. One thing I was NOT prepared for was the ending, which left me screaming "no" with frustration. Thankfully, for once leaving a book too long has worked in my favour. The follow up to this book entitled "Baby Be Mine" was released a little under two months ago (yay), and has already been ordered!
This certainly wasn't a challenging book (just how I like it), but the story and characters flowed easily. It is a perfect beach read and I literally cannot wait to read the follow up, I'm just sad that I waited this long to read it!