Title: Jill Mansell’s A-Z of Happiness

Author: Jill Mansell

Pages: 46 pages

The Blurb

In this delightful ebook, Jill Mansell gives readers an exclusive glimpse of her life as a writer. In Jill’s world there’s a bear (not a real one), lit up by fairy lights, with zillions of happy endings buzzing around, eating Chinese takeaway for breakfast, getting up late and tweeting A LOT. Oh, and there’s been an explosion in the glitter factory!

Recommended for all withdrawal symptoms from The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, and anticipation disorder for Three Amazing Things About You.

Includes A-Z of Happiness, A Day in the Life of an Easily Distracted Writer, Author Q&A- and the opening chapters of Three Amazing Things About You.

Not a novel – but a little happiness fix.

The Review

I’ve only ever read one of Jill Mansell’s books. It was called Rumour Has It and I remember reading it on a train coming home from my grandad’s house – the journey from Eastbourne to Liverpool is a long one. This may seem insignificant to you but I know a good book if I can remember where I was when I was reading it. And although I have only ever read one of Jill Mansell’s novels I do have a collection of her books which take up plenty of room on my bookshelves ready to be read one day.

I needed to read a book for the #ShortStorySaturday segment on my blog so I chose to read Jill Mansell’s A-Z of Happiness because let’s face it there is enough misery and dreariness in January so a book that guarantees happiness is already a winner in my eyes.

Jill Mansell’s A-Z of Happiness happens not to be a short story (I was fooled) but a non-fiction book of things that make Jill Mansell happy – sort of like Ronseal, it does what it says on the tin. And whilst it doesn’t quite fit the remit of ‘short story’ I am still going to include it here.

What I loved about this very little book (46 pages) is that it was utterly inspiring. I loved the section in which Jill Mansell describes her daily writing life and her Q and A was really entertaining. As an aspiring writer I enjoyed seeing how the other half (that being published writers) live.

Mansell’s A-Z of happiness has inspired a blog post (Wednesday, 4th February 2015) in which I will discuss my A-Z of happy things. It is so easy to slip into the moaning zone and grumbling about the bad things that go on daily. I choose the Jill Mansell way; I choose to find my happiness.

Jill Mansell’s A-Z of Happiness by Jill Mansell is available now.

You can follow Jill Mansell (@jillmansell) on Twitter.

Jill Mansell's A-Z of Happiness

The Blurb

A hilarious and refreshingly honest foray into modern dating, Age, Sex, Location is Bridget Jones’s Diary for HBO’s Girls generation.

The last thing twenty-eight-year-old Lauren is looking for is love, so why do the men she’s dating assume she’s searching for The One?

With men running for the hills, Lauren takes drastic action and turns her love life into an experiment, vowing to follow the advice of a different dating guide every month.

From releasing her inner siren to swearing off sex completely, Lauren will follow The Rules and play The Game, all with the help of her disapproving best friend and her newly loved-up housemate.

But as she searches for the holy grail of no-strings sex minus the heartache, Lauren soon realises that dating is more complicated than just swiping right – and that the things you run from tend to always catch up with you…

The Review

Firstly, I would like to thank Francesca Pearce from Penguin for sending me a copy of Age, Sex, Location to review. I am truly grateful.

If I had to describe Age, Sex, Location in one word it would be refreshing. The reason for that is most books which are from the chick lit rom com oeuvre tend to be all about finding your perfect partner and yes, as readers, we are sucked in and actively encourage the writer to make sure that the heroine gets her knight in shining armour by the end. This is all well and good and I would never be one to knock that style of book but with Age, Sex, Location our heroine wasn’t looking for Mr Right, she was looking for Mr Right Now-for-a-quick-bit-of-how’s-your-father – an expression I have never quite understood. However, it was great for someone who has been in the evil world of dating to see just how fun it could have been.

The concept of using dating guides was extremely funny and the escapades that Lauren got up to and the situations that she found herself in were laugh out loud funny – to the extent that I got funny looks from those around me. We could say that using the dated dating guides that Lauren did was a fruitless task but who among us hasn’t sat and read a dating advice article and tried some the techniques suggested or watched Sex and the City and thought “yep, I’ve been there.” Just those two actions alone validate Lauren’s actions and in turn Pimentel’s inspiration for writing the book.

What I loved about this book is that it had a no holds barred sense of conviction about it. The purpose of our protagonist Lauren was clear and she did not care who knew it. She wanted to have sex without the drama. Even in today’s enlightened society it is still a taboo topic for a woman to be promiscuous without being labelled a hussy (I could have gone for harsher words but kept it clean for those of a delicate disposition). However, Pimentel has created a brilliant leading character in Lauren who you can’t help but like without judgement. It is definitely the skill of Pimentel for writing the character with such confidence and assurance in what her goal was. It makes the audience root for Lauren, you end up championing her along and willing her to have some great commitment free sex.

This book is really funny and a must read for anyone who has traversed the muggy waters of dating and survived….and also for those still lost in that mire. Read this book and gain some perspective.

Age, Sex, Location by Melissa Pimentel is available now.

You can follow Melissa Pimentel (@melispim) on Twitter.

age sex location

The Blurb

Millie Bird is a seven year old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie’s mum leaves her alone in the Ginormous Women’s underwear rack in a department store, and doesn’t come back.

Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year old woman who hasn’t left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on her TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street.

Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife’s skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes.

Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie’s mum. Along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life.

The Review

I like it when I read a book that I have picked for no other reason than I liked the cover (sorry) and I am presented with a quirky, unusual but extremely loveable story. This is exactly what I got with Lost and Found.

The story of a young girl who has been abandoned by her mother but forms unusual friendships with two old age pensioners, who in a sense have been abandoned by life, is not one that is often told. The connection between the three characters is through their mutual sense of loss. Whether it be a husband, wife or parents. And the unlikely friendship between the three is strengthened by sharing the adventure that they are on together.

Brooke Davis has created a wonderful story with Lost and Found. Her characters charm you with their innocence, their anger and their gumption to change their world. You cannot help but root for their success. The book leaves you feeling hopeful and warm inside. The best feeling that only the best stories can give you. Well done, Brooke Davis.

Lost and Found by Brooke Davis is available on the 29th January 2015.

You can follow Brooke Davis (@thisisbrooked) on Twitter.

Lost and Found

Hello lovely people,

How have you all been? I am good. I know you didn’t ask but I am going to assume that you are all lovely polite people and that you are wondering about my well being.

So I’m not going to talk about the books that I have reviewed this week because all you really need to do is scroll down and you can see them.

I have a list of books that I plan to read and I am not veering from this list. I am sticking to it. Here they are.

Age Sex Location by Melissa Pimentel (Currently reading)

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Lillian on Life by Alison Jeean Lester

The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

My Boyfriend Wrote A Book About Me by Hilary Winston

Love Hurts by Malorie Blackman

So yep, no one is going to veer me from my course.

Wish me luck!

L x

Title: Hansel and Gretel

Author: Neil Gaiman

Pages: 49 pages

The Blurb

This all happened a long time ago, in your grandmother’s time, or in her grandfather’s. A long time ago. Back then, we all lived on the edge of a great forest.

The Review

Neil Gaiman is one of those authors whose work I know for definite that I do not appreciate enough. Having dipped my tentative toes into his short stories, his novels for children and young adults and also his texts for older audiences and I have never been anything but impressed with Gaiman’s style and readability. He manages to evoke atmosphere and forces you to become lost in his story. It is this very reason why I was curious to read his version of the classic fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel.

The story hadn’t changed much from the one I knew as a child. In fact I would struggle to recall any differences, however, it was fun to refresh my memory of the fairy tale and also to look at the spooky images that accompanied the story – provided by the hand of Lorezo Mattotti.

Hansel and Gretel is a classic fairy tale that Gaiman and Mattotti have brought to life once again. It is a lovely (and quick) read and should be added to all children’s bookshelves.

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman is available now.

You can follow Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) on Twitter

hansel and gretel