Monday, 16 September 2013

My top 5 books read this Summer

This week I've decided to run another feature week on the blog and the theme I decided on was to do a review of books that myself, other bloggers and authors have enjoyed reading over the Summer months.

I've been lucky to have been sent so many fantastic books to read, some that I probably would not have read otherwise, so it was extremely difficult to narrow it down to just 5 books but in the end this was the selection I came up with.

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

North Carolina, 1960. Newlywed Jane Forrester, fresh out of university, is seeking what most other women have shunned: a career. But life as a social worker is far from what she expected. Out amongst the rural Tobacco fields of Grace County, Jane encounters a world of extreme poverty that is far removed from the middle-class life she has grown up with. But worse is still to come. Working with the Hart family and their fifteen-year-old daughter Ivy, it’s not long before Jane uncovers a shocking secret, and is thrust into a moral dilemma that puts her career on the line, threatens to dissolve her marriage, and ultimately, determines the fate of Ivy and her family forever. Soon Jane is forced to take drastic action, and before long, there is no turning back.

My first pick was easy as Diane Chamberlain has become one of my favourite authors in recent years and Necessary Lies didn't disappoint.  I've recommended this book to many friends and family and it's certainly prompted some interesting discussions afterwards as to the ethics of the topic that this book is about!

Killer Queens by Rebecca Chance

Every little girl grows up dreaming of marrying a prince - but what if the fairytale turns into a right royal nightmare?

Lori is a beautiful, blonde, all-American athlete. When the charismatic ruler of a small, filthy rich European state asks for her hand, she thinks she's snagged Prince Charming. But she soon realizes that all that glitters is not gold...

Belinda was once the most recognized and loved princess in the world. Forced to stage her own death, she lives incognito abroad with her adoring royal lover. Now, she is determined to return to England to see her son Hugo wed, even if it means risking her own life.

Chloe, Prince Hugo's fiancee, is the archetypal English rose. But it's a long road to becoming a princess, even when you're dating the heir to the throne. Perhaps the fairy-tale ending isn't all it was cracked up to be...  

Killer queens, scheming kings, murder plots and lashings of steamy sex - find out what REALLY goes on behind closed palace doors...

I read this book during an extremely busy work at week and it was the perfect escapism read I needed when I got home to take away all the stresses of the day.  Once again Rebecca Chance has given us a sizzling saucy read.

Take a trip around the world with 44 of the hottest writers in Women's Fiction!

This bumper collection of sun-kissed short stories will have you boarding a millionaire's yacht in St Tropez, exploring a sheik's palace in Dubai, swimming with dolphins in Australia, partying in Ibiza, surfing in Hawaii, roaming ancient ruins in Turkey and sipping Limoncello in Italy!

Whether you read it on your favourite beach (Sunlounger features golden sands from Greece to Mauritius) or on your daily commute or coffee break you will be spirited away on a variety of adventures - some will make you chuckle with delight, some will make your heart pang, others will inspire you to live your life to the max!

I'd been excited about this collection of short stories ever since I first heard about it earlier this year so downloaded a copy as soon as it was available.  I liked the idea that some of our favourite chicklit authors had come together to each write a story to whisk us off on our travels across the globe especially if, like me, you've not been away this year.... 

By My Side by Alice Peterson
One step can change everything... 

Cass Brooks loves her job, her boyfriend Sean, her life. Until, leaving home one morning, distracted and hungover, she steps into the path of a truck.

When she wakes up, she can’t walk. And suddenly all her hopes and dreams, the plans she’d made with Sean, the future she thought she’d have, seem out of her reach.

But then fate intervenes again. Cass meets Ticket, a loyal golden Labrador who refuses to leave her side. And on a flight to Colorado, she sits next to Charlie, who believes he can show her a life full of possibilities, if only she’ll let him.

Cass wants her life back the way it was. Charlie knows this cannot be. Yet a future beckons all the same...

When I read the blurb for this book I just knew it was going to be one of those stories that hit me hard but I didn't realise how much of an impact it would have on me... I cried the odd tear or two (which wasn't good when reading during my lunch hour at work!), I laughed and just loved seeing the relationship develop between Cass and Ticket.  This was one of those books that stays with you long after you have finished reading it. 

Rose Harbor in Bloom by Debbie Macomber

Welcome to the Rose Harbor Inn, where every room has an inspiring new view, and every guest finds a second chance...

Jo Marie has started to feel at home running the Rose Harbor Inn. Now it's springtime, and in memory of her late husband, Paul, Jo Marie has designed a beautiful rose garden for the property and enlisted handyman Mark Taylor to help make it happen. Jo Marie and Mark don't always see eye-to-eye but deep down, she finds great comfort in his company. And while she still seeks a sense of closure, she welcomes her latest guests, who are on their own journeys.

Annie arrives in town to organise her grandparents' fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration. But she's struggling to move on from her broken engagement, and her grandparents themselves seem to be having trouble getting along. But all the best parties end with a surprise, and Annie is in for the biggest one of all.

Mary has achieved incredible success in business, yet serious illness has led her to face her sole regret in life. Almost nineteen years ago, she ended her relationship with her true love, George, and now she has returned to Cedar Cove to make amends.

Together, the women discover that sometimes you have to travel far from home to find the place where you really belong.

I love reading book series as it gives us a chance to see how characters develop throughout the books. One of the series I've enjoyed reading over the last ten years or so is Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series so when I heard that her new Rose Harbor series was also going to be set in Cedar Cove I couldn't wait to read these too.  

This new series is based around a young widow setting up and running a B&B in this coastal town and the many different guests who come to stay who fall under the spell of Cedar Cove.  Although this new series introduces us to a whole new host of characters one or two familiar Cedar Cove characters do make appearances.  

Would any of these books have made it into your top 5 books read throughout the summer?  Check back tomorrow to see which books bestselling author Carole Matthews has chosen...


  1. Necessary Lies has to be my favourite book this whole year.
    Debbie Macomber is a relatively new author for me, but I did read the first six in the Cedar Cove series one after the other, and am now hooked.

  2. I have Sunlounger and Necessary Lies on my kindle waiting for me to read. By My Side was a truly delightful book - I thoroughly enjoyed reading that, definitely one of my favourites this year. The other two I shall have to add to my list : ) Love hearing about your favourite reads : )

  3. You have some great books listed! =) Im a big fan of Debbie Macombers books and really enjoyed "Rose Harbor in Bloom"!