Synopsis

A satirical (if not frighteningly accurate) look at the scientific developments that have the potential to shape our future.

Review

I will never claim to be one of life’s great thinkers. I hold a fair level of intelligence and I can hold my own in topical debate. However, the dirge of my academic life has always been science (closely followed by maths). I just never took to it as a subject. In actual fact I failed my GCSE exam in it but shrugged it off in a “That’s life” sort of way.

As I have gotten older I admit my curiosity has peaked (not enough to re-sit my science GCSE – this was recently offered to me by my former science teacher who is now my colleague in my place of employment) and I take a more active interest in how science shapes our lives.

This inquisitiveness led me to The Shape of Shit to Come. I must say that this is a brilliant book – not just because of the fascinating topics that it covers (robotics, space travel and jellyfish to name but a few) but also because it is damn hilarious. The chapters are peppered with funny little intrusions from the authors and quite frankly their ludicrous interludes provide comic relief to, what comes across as, some seriously scary science.

I still wouldn’t say that I am totally clued up about all the recent advances in science but I know I won’t be put off by books about these contentious issues either. If science is your passion then this is definitely a book for you. If, like me, you have a growing scientific curiosity then give this a try. What you may lack in smarts when it comes to understanding the technical stuff you can more than find amusement in the writing style.

The Shape of Shit to Come by Alan McArthur and Steve Lowe is available now.

The Shape of Shit to Come

Synopsis

When Leah Harvey catches her fiancé Doug having sex with her bridesmaid the day before the wedding she flees in anger. Things continue to go pear shaped when the car she steals (from her now ex-fiancé) breaks down. In the middle of rural Scotland. During a freak blizzard. Whilst she is still wearing her wedding dress and heels. Deciding that there is no other option but to walk to the light flickering in the distance, Leah braves the storm and heads towards a lonely cottage in the middle of a field.

In said cottage is Rob, American but from Italian descent, he has come to Scotland for the chance to be alone. To wallow in self pity. To drink himself silly on whisky and hide away from all the Christmas cheer. That is until a half frozen bride turns up on his doorstep, passes out and ultimately turns his world upside down.

Review

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson has to be classed as one of the better Christmas based novels that I have read as part of my #Festive Feature. This is not to say that the others were not good, some of them were brilliant but Cold Feet at Christmas just had so much warmth and heart to its story.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with Rob and Leah. However, as much as I loved them I wanted to bang their heads together for both being so similar, so stubborn and so damn argumentative. Yet this is what is great about this romance novel. The build up to their union was so delicious. We can see how much they are meant to be together; their sexual trysts provided the proof of that but like all good writers Debbie Johnson left us wanting more with each chapter until the tension reached its sparkling crescendo.

This book did truly leave me satisfied as a reader of the romance genre. I finished reading it feeling the frisson of magic, the warm and fuzzies through the love and with a smile on my face that comes with the comforting knowledge that the writer hasn’t left you with anything ambiguous to darken your day.

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson is available now.

You can follow Debbie Johnson (@debbiemjohnson) on Twitter.

Cold Feet at Christmas

Title: Skating at Somerset House

Author: Nikki Moore

Pages: 40 pages

Synopsis

They say that opposites attract but with Holly and Noel it would almost seem their differences are too intense for them to ever find a common ground. Holly is vivacious, a lover of Christmas and tries to find the good in every situation. Whereas Noel is a bit of a Christmas curmudgeon; he scowls, hates anything to do with the festive period and would rather it be summer.

However, they both come with emotional baggage and slowly we see a friendship blossom between the two. Can they put their differences aside to take advantage of their mutual feelings?

Review

I really enjoyed this short story. It is the first in the #LoveLondon series and I genuinely cannot wait to read the rest. What I loved most about it is that it did not feel like a short story. I didn’t feel robbed or let down. I was given what I wanted. The love story blossomed nicely with the classic will-they-won’t-they drama; the misunderstandings and the soft gentle changes made by both Holly and Noel; both of them giving just a little bit more of themselves with each page and bending their views and opinions to allow themselves to experience something great.

This was a warm hearted winter tale that had me engaged from the very beginning. Part of me hopes that the story of Holly and Noel will continue in a fully fledged novel, however, if it doesn’t (boo hiss) I will be more than ok with this being the only story about them because it gave me everything (and more) that I need in a good winter warmer.

Well done, Nikki Moore.

Skating at Somerset House by Nikki Moore is available from the 4th December 2014.

You can follow Nikki Moore (@NikkiMoore_auth) on Twitter and follow the series of short stories with the hashtag #LoveLondon

skating at somerset House

 

The Rumba

For actress Julia Cooper, reviving her fledging acting career is the sole purpose that she took part in Britain’s second most popular dance program – Who Dares Dances. Well that and helping raise money for a good cause. Little does she expect to fall – and fall hard – for fellow contestant, children’s TV presenter, Harri Morgan. Yet when he spurns her advances she is confused; he acts like he likes her but then doesn’t make a move. Yet when they are paired to dance together in the celebrity challenge they are forced to dance the Rumba…the most sexual of all dances. With all this heat burning up the dance floor Julia is bound to find out once and for all if Harri has feelings for her.

The Waltz

For writer Lucy Everett, taking part in Who Dares Dances is a massive challenge. Not because of the difficult routines, although they are a worry but because until just a few years ago Lucy suffered with agoraphobia. It has taken years of therapy to get her out of the house but Lucy feels if she can do this then she can do anything. Well, that is until she starts to have feelings for one of her fellow contestants.

Olympic swimmer Max Parry has caught Lucy’s attention. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depends on how you look at it) Max appears to be interested in Lucy’s dance partner Daniel. However, Lucy cannot shake these feelings that she has for him. Will it hinder her chances in the competition?

The Charleston

Life is difficult for struggling comedienne Meredith Denning. Her career is going nowhere and she is on a deadline that has been imposed by her parents. By the time she reaches 26 she has to give up her dreams of working the comedy circuit and get a “real job.” With the help of her aunt Venetia she gets drafted into the latest series of Who Dares Dances and is paired with professional dancer Daniel Cunningham.

However, the lecherous TV producer Bob Landry keeps making lascivious passes at Meredith and when she makes it clear that she wants nothing to do with him he sets out on a personal vendetta to sabotage her chances. Can Meredith keep her eyes on the prize? Or are they set to wander to her beautiful dance partner?

Review

It is that time of the year again when that magical feeling is in the air. Yes Christmas but also it is the time of the year when the best reality show is shown on television: Strictly Come Dancing. Personally, I cannot resist the glitz, the glamour and the glitterball.

So, for that reason alone, I was very excited to read a collection of stories that centred around the world of dance. The three short stories – all titled with dances that suited the theme of the book – were pleasant reads. Initially, I was put off by the love story featured. For me, it felt like the love blossomed far too quickly but then I had to re-align my thinking because essentially it is a collection of three short stories. Of course it is going to happen suddenly! Once I got over that I began to really enjoy the stories.

Each couple had stumbling blocks that they had to overcome but they were not obvious, grating or frivolous. It made the characters seem a lot more three-dimensional.

I liked the constant character threads that ran through each three stories. The self referential style was enjoyable and it was nice revisiting the previous characters stories. In particular how Daniel Cunningham was the quiet constant until he got his moment in the final book as the hero.

The dances provided a sexy background without being too oppressive and domineering to the storyline, so if you are a fan of chick-lit but not really of dancing then these stories won’t overwhelm you with confusing terminology and detail. I think I personally would have liked to have read more detail on the dances but I also understand how that would be hard (and probably tedious) to weave into the narrative.

Overall, these short stories are a fun read. They aren’t too taxing but Georgia Hill still manages to make you root for the characters, their flaws and essentially for their love stories

Say it with Sequins: The Complete Collection by Georgia Hill is available now.

 

Synopsis

The end of the year is vastly approaching and Molly Mackenzie only has one more of her resolutions to complete; she wants one night of passion with Jake, the best friend of her older brother Tim.

Since their cheeky kiss at the previous year’s New Years Eve party Molly hasn’t been able to get Jake off her mind – moving two hundred miles away from her home in Liverpool to the nation’s capital did nothing to assuage her feelings. This year he is determined to finish what they both started.

Review

Of all the Christmas themed books that I have read as part of my “Festive Feature” The Kiss Before Midnight has to be my favourite. I absolutely bloody loved it….with Christmas balls on top.

I loved the set up for the whole story, to act upon a resolution, to fulfil a Christmas wish and to do it at one of the most romantic times of the year. What I really liked about it though was the fact that the story is age appropriate. The protagonist, Molly, is 23 and her life mission isn’t to find a husband, settle down, have babies, get a mortgage – her main goal is to have a night of sexy-time fun with a lad that he fancies. As someone who doesn’t have (nor do I necessarily want) the aforementioned list of responsibilities I appreciated this story all the more. It was fun, frisky and raised a frisson of excitement when I read it.

Furthermore, the fact that the story was set in my hometown of Liverpool made it all the more titillating.

In all seriousness though, The Kiss Before Midnight should be on your to be read pile. Besides being a good story it is well written, has loveable characters and Sophie Pembroke really makes you care for her characters. She is an author whose work I shall be seeking out in future.

The Kiss Before Midnight by Sophie Pembroke is available now.

You can follow Sophie Pembroke on Twitter @Sophie_Pembroke

The Kiss Before Midnight