Monday, 9 May 2011

The Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen

If you are in the mood to snuggle up on the old, comfy sofa and read a book in one gulp, then choose 'The Sugar Queen' by Sarah Addison Allen. 'The Sugar Queen' is one of those books that you will just want to keep on reading and not put down until you have finished it, so brew a large pot of tea, put together a plate of doughnuts and chocolate cupcakes and dive right in!

'The Sugar Queen' is certainly a romance, but it is a romance with a difference, where the supernatural weaves gently with the mundane to form a satisfying whole. The story kicks off when lonely Josey Cirrini, who still lives with her mother at the age of 27 and secretly stores chocolate, cookies and fizzy pop in the back of her closet for lonely binges, comes home to find a strange women hiding in her closet. Much to Josey's consternation the woman, Della Lee Baker, seems to be in no hurry to leave and Josey cannot think of a way to get rid of her without her mother finding out about their uninvited guest.

With the arrival of Della Lee, Josey's previously well-ordered life starts to unravel, as she finds that she has to defy her mother and start building a life for herself outside her home. She makes her very first friend when she goes to buy a sandwich for Della Lee at Chloe Finley's coffee shop, and tries to help Chloe with the problems she is experiencing in her love life. For Chloe's handsome lawyer boyfriend Jake has admitted to cheating on her, and Chloe's life has fallen apart.

Josey also has a love secret, as she fell in love with their mailman, Adam, the first time that she laid eyes on him, but has never dared to tell him how she feels as all her life she has been told she is unattractive and believes that no man would ever be interested in her.

So can Josey find the strength to carve a new life for herself away from the confines of her home and her mother; to escape the shadow that her long-dead, but powerful and charismatic father still casts over the small town that he developed into a successful ski resort? Who is the enigmatic Julian and why is he so keen on telling Chloe the identity of the woman Jake cheated with on that one, fateful night? And who is the young woman who is found murdered in the river?

This is a book about long-buried secrets, and people who have to find out who they really are before they can move on to become the people that they were meant to be. A book where exactly the book that you need can magically appear on the counter, new homes can be found and old family wounds exposed to the air to heal. 'The Sugar Queen' will reaffirm your faith in love and that there is meaning and purpose in every life.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Summer Psychic - Jessica Adams

What would you do if you were interviewing a shaggy, Australian psychic who predicted the future by gazing into a bucket of seawater and one of the first things that he said was that the two of you would get married by the following summer? Local Brighton reporter Katie Pickard is sent to interview Jim Gabriel in his cubbyhole at the back of a crystal and psychic shop, when she is given this piece of news about her future, along with a whole raft of global predictions for the years to come.

Unfortunately for Katie, Jim Gabriel has never given these types of messages about future world events before, so how accurate are they?  Also, she soon discovers that the newspaper that she works for is in imminent danger of closing down, and so loses interest in the psychic story and Katie is put under pressure to come up with stories that will sell papers fast. Katie's woes are compounded when she discovers that Courtney Creely, the slightly sinister witch who works in the shop where Jim gazes into his bucket has a book of spells that includes one that promises an instant and unpleasant end for any woman who comes between her and Jim Gabriel.

But as Katie has just discovered that her old heart throb, the slightly disreputable but still glamorous rock musician Pete Oram, has just split up from his wife and she starts a relationship with him, she couldn't possibly be in any danger from Courtney's spells could she?  But as the scramble to save the newspaper goes on, Jim Gabriel starts confiding more and more in Katie, and Pete proves that the road to true love can indeed be rocky and not quite what she thought it would be, will Katie be able to keep her job, her sanity and ultimately find the true love that she deserves?

So as this is a seaside yarn, why not get some fish and chips still in the newspaper and a can of coke and sit back and find out how Katie deals with Courtney, when she manages to wangle a job with Katie's boss bringing her coven with her, supports Jim as his predictions make it into the media and eventually force him into retreat in Hastings, and navigates her troubled romance with the rock star on the rebound, Pete Oram. So will Jim Gabriel's predictions come true?