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The Little Bookshop By Nina George

The Little Paris Bookshop‘The Little Paris Bookshop’ is Nina George’s debut novel.

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.

This story is a story that reads as beautifully as the books cover which is presented with a pretty illustration and swirly font. It follows on the life of Jean Perdu who never recovered from his lover Manon leaving him. Heartbroken, he dedicates his life to his barge bookshop called the Literary Apothecary, where people from all over come to look for the perfect book. But Jean isn’t any ordinary bookseller, he doesn’t try to fob people off with the latest bestseller, instead he observes them and their situations before suggesting the perfect book that will help their lives.

But when Catherine, a new neighbour moves into his shared apartment, Jean feels his heart shift and he begins to think of Catherine in a new light but first he must fully get over Manon, the woman who broke his heart many years ago and he finally plucks up the courage to open the letter he received from her over 20 years ago.

And it’s with opening up this letter and discovering its contents, that Jean suddenly packs up his book barge and travels to Provence to finally get closure. With no money or supplies, Jean sells his books along with his travelling companion, Max Jordan. A young bestselling author who is struggling to write his second book and hopes the adventure will inspire him and write the brilliant follow up book that everyone is expecting.

A story spanning over many towns and rivers, this book is a beautifully written tale about friendship, love and self discovery, it makes for heartwarming reading, as the two men bond a strong paternal friendship and are there for one another when realisations are made. Although the story is mainly seen from the perspective of Jean, there are he inclusion of diary entries from Manon and this gives us a wonderful insight into the woman who broke Jean’s heart over 20 years ago.

Filled with intriguing characters, that will make you giggle and smile along the way, ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’ is a tender and quirky story that like the Literary Apothecary, flows at lovely, gentle pace that will have you gripped along the way.

You can pre-order The Little Paris Bookshop from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 23rd April 2015.

The A -Z Of You And Me By James Hannah

The A -Z Of You‘The A-Z Of You And Me’ is James Hannah’s debut novel.

Ivo fell for her. He fell for a girl he can’t get back. Now he’s hoping for something. While he waits he plays a game: He chooses a body part and tells us its link to the past he threw away. He tells us the story of how she found him, and how he lost her. But he doesn’t have long. And he still has one thing left to do …

So far, 2015 has been a year filled with tremendously good books. Books that made me giggle, gasp at the intrigue and ‘The A – Z Of You And Me’ was the book that made me quietly sob one Sunday evening when I should have been getting ready for the following day.

The story is seen from the perspective of Ivo, a man who is spending his last days in a hospice. To pass the day, his nurse, bubbly and kind-hearted Sheila suggests that he should play the A-Z game, coming up with parts of the body with the alphabet. It’s with this game, that Ivo finds himself travelling down memory lane, remembering happier times and he was surrounded by people that he loved. The story is written in both the present and in flashbacks and from the very beginning, this book broke my heart.

Ivo is a destructive lead, after dabbling in drink and drugs, he finds himself diagnosed with diabetes and he doesn’t look properly after himself, much to my frustration and was more interested in hanging out with his friends who were a bad influence and are the reason why Ivo has so much sadness in his life.

The only time Ivo is properly happy is when he meets Mia, who he refers to as ‘You’ in the story, from the mention of the body parts to a memory that it brings, the book is filled with many tender and sweet moments as Ivo reminisces on a life that might have been better from his hospital bed.

This book is a beautifully written and emotional story that literally left me in pieces. With a charismatic lead, a caring nurse and just the right amount of humour and love ‘The A-Z Of You And Me’ is a stunning debut that stayed with me long after I finished the final page.

You can pre-order The A to Z of You and Me and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 12th March 2015.

Soho 4AM By Nuala Casey

SOHO 4AM‘Soho 4A.M’ is the first book by Nuala Casey.

Dreams, drugs, debauchery, Soho is London’s red light district, where any desire can be satisfied in an blink of an eye. But behind it all there is a permanent community of residents whose own sins are concealed by the partying excess. Zoe, an aspiring model looking for her big break, will discover the sinister world behind the bright lights, artist Seb is hoping he can forget the past drinking himself into oblivion while his friend Ade is about to take extreme measures to save his livelihood and relationship. Meanwhile, Stella, Ade’s girlfriend wonders if this is the night to escape.

For the last couple of days, I have been embroiled in the sordid, messy and miserable lives of four individuals, gripped by their problems in busy area of Soho. The story follows the lives of these people, on the momentous day when when Great Britain was announced as the hosting city of the 2012 Olympics and excitement turned to terror when the city is suddenly under attack.

The four main characters are Stella, a young singer who is unhappy with her life, harbouring secrets behind every corner, she regularly thinks about the life that she thought she could have had and love that got away and that she never got over. Unknown to her jazz musician boyfriend Ade, who after years of struggling to be a established character in the music industry that tonight is the night that his talents will finally be recognised and will be able to give Stella the security and comfort that he thinks she secretly longs for. Zoe has come to the bright lights of London with the intention of becoming a glamour model after years of being lusted after at home in Middlesborough, she comes to the big city, but rapidly finds out she is just another pretty face and it isn’t going to be as easy as she thought. Struggling to find the confidence and courage to stand out and adjust to the fast-paced life of the city, Zoe adds an element of innocence to this dark tale. Finally there is Seb, a talented artist with a drink problem. Trying to block out his misery and heartache of a past life that he longs to return to, he regularly finds solace in alcohol to help him through the day.

The story is intelligently written, flowing from character to character with great ease, that you settle comfortably into this intense story and rapidly get caught up in the complex lives of the characters. A gritty story from the very start, ‘Soho 4A.M’ is a grippingly intense book about the day when London was at its most highest and then tragically brought down to its most lowest. A wonderful debut and a unique new voice, Nuala Casey is definitely an author I will be looking out for again.

You can buy Soho, 4 a.m. from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Claire Garber’s Debut Book – Love Is A Thief

Love Is A ThiefBased in London and France, ‘Love is a Thief’ is Claire Garber’s first novel.

The story of ‘Love Is A Thief’ is –

Since splitting up from the love of her life and moving back to the UK from their home in France, Kate winters’ is ready to face the fact that she may have missed the love boat.

As an undervalued writer on True Love magazine, she decides to pitch a piece ‘Love’s Stolen Dreams’ – a quest that will see her meeting other women who have let their dreams roll by the wayside for love.

From the smallest of goals to the biggest of dreams, Kate soon learns that she’s not alone in having made a sacrifice for love and as she works through the lost hopes of others she is able to close the door on her broken heart to make way for new friends and new experiences. But has she healed enough to welcome in a new love interest?

Sounds like a good book and has a lovely vibrant cover.

You can pre-order Love is a Thief on Amazon and is available to buy from 5th July 2013.

Two For Joy By Helen Chandler

Two For Joy‘Two For Joy’ is Helen Chandler’s debut novel.

Julia has it all, a job that she loves, great friends and a cute house of her own in Walthamstow. But there’s one thing missing. Julia longs to meet the right man and more than anything, to have a baby. When will Mr Right Show his face? Julia and Toby have been best friends since university, but apart from a few drunken kiss they’ve never been more than friends. But when Toby announces that he’s planning on asking Ruby, his young, gorgeous dancer girlfriend of less than six months to marry him. Julia feels a sensation that is deeper than envy. And when the proposal culminates in a dramatic break-up of, both Julia and Toby, realise that what they want has been there all along in each other. A romantic weekend in Brighton confirms it: Julia and Toby are meant to be. Then Ruby doubts a bombshell, she’s pregnant and although Toby loves Julia and wants to be with her, he feels that it’s only right to stick by Ruby for the baby’s sick. Devastated Julia is left to move on and turns to her best friend, Rose for support but Rose has problems of her own, despite their comfy lifestyle, and gorgeous baby, her husband Graeme doesn’t seem very interested in her anymore.

I really enjoyed ‘Two For Joy’ and thought it was a wonderful first novel from newcomer, Helen Chandler.

Seen from the perspectives of best friends Julia and Toby and occasionally through the eyes of unsettled and immature Ruby through the twists and turns of their lives, we see how easily love can blossom from friendship and just how far from glamorous and difficult the possibility of being a single mother can be. The different sides of the story give a nice mixture of entertainment as the three main characters battle with new and unwanted feelings and scenarios. I enjoyed Julia immensely I thought that she settled beautifully into the maternal role, as caring and nursing are part of her sweet nature and there are occasional moments when she has a freak out and realises just how far from perfect her life is and those scenes can make for tender reading as she fights with family and friends over her mixed emotions. Toby, as the male lead of the story, makes an unfortunate, sweet and attractive character, delighted that he has eventually found his happy ever after in the shape of his best friend, he can only look on in horror as his dream life is rapidly pulled from his grip.

‘Two For Joy’ is a wonderfully written debut from Helen. Written in a lovely laid back style that quickly absorbs the readers attention and provides witty, warmhearted reading, with regular giggles and loads of fun, the story explores the complexity of relationships, misunderstandings and drama of first babies and second chances.

You can pre-order Two for Joy on Amazon and is available from good bookshops from 6th June 2013.