Skip to content

Jemima J By Jane Green

Jemima J ‘Jemima J’ is by Jane Green.

Jemima Jones is overweight. About seven stone overweight. Treated like a slave by her thin and bitchy flatmates, lorded over at the Kilburn Herald by the beautiful Geraldine (less talented, but better paid), her only consolation is food. What with that and her passion for her charming, sexy colleague Ben, she knows her life needs changing. But can Jemima reinvent herself? And should she?

‘Jemima J’ is a book that I read many years ago and fell in love with it. Recently I was thinking about the book and thought for the first time, I’d return to it and review it, as this was the first book that I read by Jane Green and started my love for the popular author.

The book is set in the early 90’s just as the Internet was launched and Jemima is a tips columnist for a small newspaper, she dreams for so much for life, then just providing tips for removing stains and unwanted hair. She’s overweight and completely in love with a colleague called Ben, who most women love including Jemima’s bitchy house mates Lisa and Sophie. So when Ben gets a new job and leaves Jemima, she decides to have a go at online dating and that’s when she meets Brad. A handsome gym owner from America who steals Jemima’s heart. After much pleading for a photograph of herself, Jemima sends through a fake photograph and Brad completely falls in love and this gives Jemima the boost and incentive to make a difference to her life before travelling to America to meet Brad.

After months of hard work and determination, Jemima becomes a shadow of her former self and becomes competition to her flatmates, who always pitied her for being overweight. Now slimmer and happier than she has ever been, Jemima travels to America to meet the love of her life. But, things take an unexpected turn in America that leaves Jemima unsure of what she is to do next.

For the second time, I fell in love with this book. Jane has such a lovely style of writing, writing from Jemima’s perspective as well as an observer watching Jemima’s life change, as well as those opinions and attitudes around her. Her writing is clever and warm, that had me giggling at the situations and people. Jemima, is such a sweetheart, quiet and strong willed. She really blossomed throughout the story and opened up to those around her. I particularly loved her friend Geraldine, who was initially just an acquaintance but they grow closer as Geraldine helps Jemima with the makeover. The story has many unexpected twists that made for delicious reading and as it’s set in a time when the internet was only starting out, it was refreshing to read a book that wasn’t heavily reliant on social media.

A story of love, determination and self-worth, ‘Jemima J’ is a deliciously tender and fun story that is well worth a second read.

You can buy Jemima J from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Book News – The Mother Of All Christmases By Milly Johnson

The Mother Of All ChristmasesI’m delighted to see that Milly Johnson is back in 2018 with a delicious new Christmas book called ‘The Mother Of All Christmases’ and it’s a lovely return to some of her old characters from ‘A Winter Flame’.

What the back cover says –

Eve Glace – co-owner of the theme park Winterworld – is having a baby and her due date is a perfectly timed 25th December. And she’s decided that she and her husband Jacques should renew their wedding vows with all the pomp that was missing the first time. But growing problems at Winterworld keep distracting them …

Annie Pandoro and her husband Joe own a small Christmas cracker factory, are well set up and happy together despite life never blessing them with a much-wanted child. But when Annie finds that the changes happening to her body aren’t typical of the menopause but pregnancy, her joy is uncontainable.

Palma Collins has agreed to act as a surrogate, hoping the money will get her out of the gutter in which she finds herself. But when the couple she is helping split up, is she going to be left carrying a baby she never intended to keep?

Annie, Palma and Eve all meet at the ‘Christmas Pudding Club’, a new directive started by a forward-thinking young doctor to help mums-to-be mingle and share their pregnancy journeys. Will this group help each other to find love, contentment and peace as Christmas approaches?

The brand new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Perfectly Imperfect Woman; a gorgeous read full of love, life, laughter – and crackers!

You can pre-order The Mother of All Christmases from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 15th November 2018.

Five Years From Now By Paige Toon

Five Years From Now‘Five Years From Now’ is the latest book by Paige Toon.

Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart. Five years later, they find each other. Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they have to separate. For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?

Paige Toon is back with another rollercoaster of a story that tugs at the heartstrings as one couple battle against all odds to be together.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of Nell, a young woman who reflects back on her life as her one big love called Van is constantly taken away from her.

Nell first met Van when their parents started dating and moved in together. As the years pass, they become close friends but when Van’s mother is tragically killed in a car accident, Van then moves to Australia to live with his father and so begins the couple’s turbulent relationship.

At fifteen, Van returns home and that’s when the couple’s feeling develop towards each other, moving from friends to potentially boyfriend and girlfriend, they struggle with guilt and secrecy, especially Nell as everyone thinks of the two of them like brother and sister.

As the story progresses, we regularly see the pair of them get close to the being a couple but with Van living in Australia and Nell living in the United Kingdom, there’s always so many complications and distance between the two of them.

I genuinely loved this story. Both Nell and Van are sweet and heartwarming characters, I really wanted them to get their happy ever afters and found it so frustrating that so many things stood between them and everytime they thought that they were getting somewhere, it would all be harshly snatched away. Their stolen moments together make for bittersweet reading, that it was hard not to also fall in love with the young couple

Like Paige’s previous novels, nothing is ever straight forward and there are many emotional rollercoasters along the way. Sweetly written and quite the heartbreaker of a story from the start, ‘Five Years From Now’ is a poignant and tender story about love, soulmates and the heartbreaking difficulties of finding love at the wrong time.

You can buy Five Years From Now from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

A Family Recipe Book Tour

A Family RecipeOn the book tour for Veronica Henry’s new book called ‘A Family Recipe’, Vervonica shares some of her own favourite recipes.

On my kitchen shelf is a tiny metal box full of index cards, stuffed with recipes from my grandmothers, my parents and me, that I now have in my care. I’ve used many of them throughout my life, as well as adding to the collection. Many of the recipes are reminiscent of important family occasions.

And that was where the idea for A FAMILY RECIPE came from: a little box that holds recipes that relate to the life-changing events of the residents of 11 Lark Hill in Bath, from the war to the present day. Laura finds the box at a difficult time in her life, and uses it to help her move forward.

For this blog tour I am sharing some of my favourite recipes from my own box.

CROQUEMBOUCHE

Birthday cakes have always been important to me – a demonstration of love, but also recognition of a person and what they represent.

When my children were small it was a labour of love to produce something spectacular that didn’t involve huge amounts of skill – I am not in the least bit artistic or crafty, so intricate icing was always going to be out. My eldest son’s first birthday cake was a big round chocolate cake covered in plastic zoo animals: I can still remember buying a bag full from the local toy shop and planting their feet in the sticky icing. I followed that method religiously for years afterwards: making the biggest cake I could manage, then topping it with Thomas the Tank Engine and all his friends, Biker Mice, Mutant Hero Turtles … Another favourite was a cake smothered in the contents of a huge bag of pick ‘n’ mix – lurid, additive-laden but a joy to a horde of small boys.

I used plain Victoria sponge, or the miracle that is Coca Cola cake – ruinously sweet but the most forgiving concoction that works every time and is light, fluffy and squidgy.

Now the boys are bigger they have rather grown out of statement birthday cakes. But I’ve had several friends with landmark birthdays recently, and have discovered the joy of a croquembouche. There is nothing guaranteed to bring a bigger gasp of admiration than these gravity-defying towers, and they are surprisingly easy to assemble.

Profiteroles themselves are quite easy to make – use a recipe from your preferred chef of choice (you can’t go wrong with Delia or Nigella) or you can buy them plain from most supermarkets. I like to fill mine with beaten double cream flavoured with Cointreau and a little icing sugar to thicken it up a bit – poke a hole in the bottom of each profiterole and pipe the cream in until its nearly full.

You can buy a croquembouche cone or make one from cardboard. I use melted white chocolate to stick each profiterole to the cone, starting from the bottom and building them up on top of each other in circles. The beauty of a croquembouche is that it doesn’t have to look perfect – a higgledy-piggedly-ness adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. Remember to make it on the plate or board you are going to serve it on – it’s very dangerous to try and move it after assembly! Stick it in the fridge to harden the chocolate and strengthen the structure.

Once the tower is complete you can customise them to your heart’s content, depending on whether you are understated and have the nerve to leave them quite plain with just a drizzling of caramel, or if like me you have to throw everything at it! Sugared almonds are a traditional decoration, inserted randomly into the gaps – either gold or silver, or the pretty pastel ones in pink, white and yellow. I dip random profiteroles in white chocolate and roll them in dried flowers, which looks very rustic and pretty – or you could try crushed raspberries. I also highlight the occasional profiterole with edible gold leaf which looks stunning. There are so many pretty edible decorations available – you can go as rococco and over the top as you like. Traditionally they are covered in a web of spun sugar, but I’m way too scared for that …. For birthdays I stick in half a dozen mini sparklers to mark the occasion, or a single one of those fountain candles would be suitably dramatic and showy.

You can pre-order A Family Recipe from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 17th May 2018.

Adele Parks Reveals New Book – I Invited Her In

I Invited Her InWonderful news as Adele Parks has revealed her second book of 2018 called ‘I Invited Her In’ which is her first book with her new publishers, HQ part of Harper Collins

What the back cover says –

‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’

When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.

Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.

Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from ‘Sunday Times’ bestseller Adele Parks.

You can pre-order I Invited Her In from Amazon and will be available to buy from 20th September 2018.