Review | The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul

Title | The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul 

Author | Deborah Rodriguez 

Publisher | Little Brown, Sphere 

Publication Date | 11th April 2013 

Source | Review Copy 

Rating | 4/5 

In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together.
SUNNY, the proud proprietor, who needs an ingenious plan - and fast - to keep her café and customers safe.
YAZMINA, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul's violent streets.
CANDACE, a wealthy American who has finally left her husband for her Afghan lover, the enigmatic Wakil.
ISABEL, a determined journalist with a secret that might keep her from the biggest story of her life.
And HALAJAN, the sixty-year-old den mother, whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules.
As these five women discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will for ever change their lives and the lives of many others.
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is the heart-warming and life-affirming fiction debut from the author of the bestselling memoir The Kabul Beauty School.

I have to admit, this is one book that I saw in the bookshops and kept meaning to read it but never got around to it. I heard good things about it and it seemed to be always on show when ever I was in a book shop. I was thrilled when Little Brown offered me the chance to read it along with the new book that follows on Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul

It took me a while to get into the book but once I did I couldn't put it down. I think i'm one of those readers that struggles to get into a book for the first half and then zoom through the last half of the book utterly gripped! 

The characters were instantly likeable, and although a couple made me feel wary of them, it was utterly beautiful how it all played out in the end. I was also made so aware of just how awful life in Afghanistan can be, especially for women. I think it's only natural that in this day and age where we've had to accept terrorism as more normal than it should be, it really made me think just how I can sometimes misjudge people and fear them for no reason.

I love how brave Deborah was with the content of her story, she really brought the life in Kabul alive in the pages, shying away from nothing and revealing all. From the customs and traditions expected and obeyed to the disgusting treatment of women, this book also beautifully captures the friendship and bonds between multi-cultural women and men that centre around the Little Coffee Shop.

Whilst the book does encroach on aspects of romance and forbidden love, I particularly enjoyed how it didn't focus so much on romance, literally teased us with enough information for the romance to be captured beautifully. This book has opened my eyes and my heart to the possibilities and daily life in Kabul.

A wonderful and heartening read that will stay with me forever, I'm looking forward to reading the following book; Return to the Little Coffee Shop in Kabul, and also Deborah's other books. 

Blog Tour | The Missing

Title | The Missing 

Author | C.L. Taylor 

Publisher | Avon

Publication Date | 7th April 2016 

Source | Review Copy 

Rating | 4/5 

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them.

But should you…?
When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She's not the only one. There isn't a single member of Billy's family that doesn't feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn't until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother's instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

Books by Cally Taylor are ones that grab your attention from the off - and that's just by looking at the cover! The Missing is the first of her books that I have read, with her previous titles, The Accident and The Lie resting on my bookcase, so I was unsure what to expect.

The Missing, instantly grabs you when you read the opening chapters as you discover yourself in the middle of a families turmoil six months on after their teenage son first went missing. The parents are naturally still very much in shock but desperately clinging to hope, and the other son is battling his own demons that have resulted in his brother going missing.

The book is far too captivating for me to divulge any detailed information about the book other than throughout every page, Cally takes us deeper into the hidden depths of just what goes on when a family is trying to cope with a missing child.

I really liked how the storyline involves a teenager rather than a young child going missing because this touches upon a very different aspect of missing people and children. Throughout the book I found myself grappling with my own suspicions of what happened to Billy Wilkinson, what led to his disappearance, and wondering what the outcome could be. Although Cally's storyline was far better than what I imagined in my scenarios. 

The twists and turns in this plot had me on the edge of my seat, reading easily 100 pages in a single sitting (there are 469 in total!), and I am still in the state of post-book scenario hangover here as I try to fully comprehend what happened. I feel as though I was living with that family through their turmoil, and felt huge empathy for the characters. The Missing is one of those books you finish reading and struggle to put back on the shelf because then you have to accept that the book is "done". 

I'm already hugely anticipating Cally's next novel, but in the meantime I will be diving into her previous works. 

Review | The Woman who Upped and Left

Title | The Woman who Upped and Left 

Author | Fiona Gibson

Publisher | HarperCollins, Avon 

Publication Date | 25th February 2016

Source | Review Copy 

Rating | 3/5

**The laugh-out-loud bestseller is back with the only book to buy this Mother’s Day. Perfect for fans of ‘Outnumbered’ and Carole Matthews, Fiona writes about life as it really is.** 
Forget about having it all. Sometimes you just want to leave it all behind.

Audrey is often seized by the urge to walk out of her house without looking back – but she can’t possibly do that.

She is a single parent. She is needed. She has a job, a home, responsibilities…and a slothful teenage son’s pants to pick up.

But no one likes being taken for granted – Audrey least of all – so the time has come for drastic action. And no one’s going to stand in her way…

I heard great things about this book and I was really drawn to the title because it sounded so fun! The cover is gorgeous!

Audrey has one of the most annoying teenage sons I have ever read about! He really grated on me and I just wanted to shout at him so much! He is the stereotypical lazy, self centred teenage boy ever!
However, saying that, The boy came good in the end - thankfully.

Audrey is a school dinner lady, and she has won the Dinner Lady of the Year award which gives her a prize that has options. Should she take the £5000 cash (her son would LOVE that!), or should she go away for a week and learn how to cook french cuisine with a celebrity chef?

Well, after some oohing and aahing (and getting a list of "things I need" in her birthday card from her son) she decides to go for the latter option. She meets some really interesting characters, gets flirted with the by chef and even gets herself tied to the bed posts much to her alarm!

The trip away gives Audrey food for thought and she questions her life and whether it's going in the direction that she actually wants it to. And with the right people.

There were a few aspects to the story that really grated on me, but I can see how they would be funny and highly entertaining - I was just I guess feeling so much empathy for Audrey that I didn't find much of it funny - at the time. I've already mentioned her son and his lazy ways. Well that gets worse. But she is also dating a guy who arranges to meet her on Motorway Service Station motels for a fumble. Its the only dates they really have. She discovers her has a notebook in his car with details of Junctions and Motorway numbers and initials next to it - Her son explained it to her because she found it confusing **Shocked face & combined eye roll**. Next on my list is that her son gives her the list of things he needs in HER birthday card, and whilst she decides to go for the week away rather than the cash, it really bugged me that she felt the need to leave cash on the table for her lazy son, and go out and do the food shop for him. And whilst she's driving there she wonders if he'll be OK and should she go back and be with him. I wanted to shake Audrey so hard!

OK so his girlfriend finds out she's pregnant whilst she's away BUT.... still. He can look after himself! I won't even mention the fact that this is the same son who microwaved his t-shirt to dry it!!

The book has a whole load more twists and turns in it and if I were to fully divulge it all I would spoil it for you. I already feel I've given far too much away, but I haven't. I promise. There is still the guy at her other part time job - the gardener, the old lady she cares for, the guy she meets on the cookery course, the BHS jewellery, and so much more!

I think you would really enjoy reading this book, even if you get as infuriated as I did, it was still a really good read and I would definitely read more of Fiona's work having never read any of her books before this one.

The thing with book reviews, it's all about the readers perspective, so whilst parts of it annoyed me, you might find yourself crying with laughter! So all I can say, is that if what I've written intrigues you, then go grab yourself a copy and enjoy!

Cover Reveal | Strangers by Paul Finch

You’ve heard of Paul Finch. You know his name, you’ve seen his books.

But you’ve never seen him like this before.

In September, prepare to be truly chilled. Because these strangers are out to get you.

Unknown, alone, and fearing for your life.
As PC Lucy Clayburn is about to find out, going undercover is the most dangerous work there is.

But, on the trail of a prolific female serial killer, there's no other option – and these murders are as brutal as they come.

Lucy must step into the line of fire – a stranger in a criminal underworld that butchers anyone who crosses the line.

And, unknown to Lucy, she's already treading it…

Always gripping. Always gruesome. Discover a new side to Paul Finch... And don’t look behind you.

Publishes: 8th September 2016

Review | Mirror Work

Hi Guys & Gals,
I make no attempt in hiding the fact that an area in my life that I have to do a hell of a lot of “Self Help in the City” on is learning to love myself. I struggle daily. I’m human and just because I’m a qualified life coach and wellness blogger, does not exclude me and make me immune to human conditions. Thankfully.
There are days when I can’t stand looking at myself in the mirror, and there are day when I find it easier, I even smile and tell myself “Wow, you really are beautiful – just look at you!”. So when Hay House sent me Mirror Work by Louise Hay (one of my ultimate favourite authors) to review I was so thankful and it felt like a prayer of mine had been answered. cover78628-medium
It’s a 21 day “prescription” where you have mirror work daily – where you look into the mirror frequently and say something – either mentally or verbally – out loud that is positive about yourself. Examples include; “I love you, I really really love you.” or “I approve of myself, I love you and I approve of you. You are are perfect just the way you are.”
You also get a daily mantra such as “It is safe for me to approve of myself” and a daily meditation which with the right code (found in the book at the front) you can download the audio. I usually do this as I drift off to sleep at night. There are also journalling tasks which I’ll be honest, I have missed a couple of days, but they are very much a healing method to help you really understand why you struggle to love yourself.
I should mention that “loving yourself” is not the same as eyeing yourself up and massaging that ego of yours thinking you are IT!. Yes you are fabulous, but so is everyone else. We’re all equal in this!
I’ve just started week 2 of this program, so I’m on day 8 of 21 and already there has been gradual improvements in my confidence and self esteem. I still have bad days, but what I’ve noticed is that I am bouncing back much quicker than before. I think this book will help me when I no longer have CBT therapy sessions, and it’s one that  I am going to repeat straight after I’ve completed the 21 days, because it’s so beneficial.

I easily award this book for it’s powerful therapeutic benefit 5/5 stars

Blog Tour | Nobody But You

Hello Guys!

Today I am so excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis. Jill has become one of my favourite authors ever so today is pretty special for me.

You have the pleasure of reading an excerpt of Nobody But You, right here on A Page of Love, but first let's shine a little spotlight on Nobody But You and find out what it's all about.
When Jacob was injured in the war, it changed him for life. Now all he wants to do is come home to Cedar Ridge, settle in at his lakeside cabin and get some much-needed peace and quiet. But there's no peace to be had when he finds a spitfire of a woman camping out on his property. Half the time he's not sure whether he wants to spank her or kiss--or maybe both. He's in a dark place and a dark mood, and here's this wildly hot woman who is also funny and light and may be the balm be needs to soothe his aching soul. 
Sophie Marren is pretty much penniless after leaving her abusive husband. She doesn't have the money to pay rent or the slip fees for docking the boat where she's been sleeping. She was getting along just perfectly until the good-looking, brooding, I'm-too-sexy-for-myself guy moves into the lake cabin that the slip belongs to. Sure he's hot as the noon sun with those dark lens and even darker 'tude, but god forbid she tie herself to another man who's always telling her what to do. But the more she gets to know Jacob, the more she sees how willing he is to battle for her wounded heart...a battle she might just let him win.

As always, Jill's books sound fabulous, and it is part of the Cedar Ridge series which is just brilliant. So do you fancy reading a little snippet of it? Yep, thought so, here we go lovelies!

She eyed the bench a long beat but did eventually sit, perching primly as far from him as she could get and yet still be close enough to grab the bottle.  Smart woman.  She took the Scotch and drank. 

Her eyes watered and she coughed as she handed it to him. With a sigh, she leaned back to study the night sky. Her bared throat was slim and creamy smooth. An unexpected temptation.

Remembering the flash of pain and vulnerability she’d unwittingly revealed, and that for whatever reason he’d somehow added to it, he spoke. “I’m sorry.” 

She glanced at him as if she’d never heard a man apologize before in her life. “For…breathing?” she asked. “Having a penis? What?” 

“You were upset because you didn’t know I was a Kincaid.” 

She sighed. “That was just me looking for a reason to be mad at you so I wouldn’t…”  

She bit her lower lip, clearly not wanting to go on. 

But now he had to know. “So you wouldn’t what?” 

“Nothing,” she said. “It’s just that I’m trying to make better choices.” 

“Of which I wouldn’t be one.” 

“It’s not necessarily your fault,” she said. “It’s that you’re a man.” 

“Guilty as charged.” 

“And I’m off men right now.” 

“And on…women?” he asked with admittedly more than a little fascination. 

She rolled her eyes. “I’m on no one, but thank you for proving my point on men.” 

“I get that,” he said. “But being off men doesn’t seem to be making you very happy, or sound like a whole lot of fun.” 

“Maybe I don’t need fun.” 

He understood that. He’d felt the same way since Brett died. “What do you need?” he asked, honestly wanting to know more about her. 

Instead of answering, she reached for the bottle. He waited until she met his gaze before letting go. 

“Nothing,” she said a little too quickly. “Everything’s…perfect.” 

“And your glass is half full,” he said. “So you’ve said.” 

But he didn’t believe her. “How about a game?” 

“I don’t play games.” 

Now, that wasn’t exactly true. Whether she knew it or not, she’d been playing with his head since he’d first laid eyes on her. 

“Three truths and a lie,” he said. 

She stared at him. “As in you tell me three truths and a lie, and I pick out the lie?” 


She considered this. “What do I get if I win?” 

“What do you want?” 

For the briefest of beats, her gaze dropped to his mouth. 

Oh, hell yeah, he thought. Want me… 

“My first boyfriend taught me that game,” she said. 

“What did the winner get?” 

“A kiss.” 

Definitely still playing with his head… 

“Is that what you want, Sophie? A kiss?” 

 Again she stared at his mouth before dropping eye contact and wrapping that eye-stopping pink robe tighter around her body. 

“Do you?” she asked. 

“Hell yes.” 

Her gaze flew to his. 

“Problem is,” he said conversationally, “if I kissed you, I don’t think I’d be able to stop.” 

Her mouth literally fell open. The pulse at the base of her throat jumped. And she seemed to lose her words. 

He went on. “But you should know, I don’t lose. That means you’ll have to tell me three truths and a lie.” 

And he’d hopefully get to know more about her. 

She closed her mouth to bite her lower lip in what could’ve been indecision or excitement. Obviously he was hoping for the latter. 

“But hey, if you’re not sure you can handle losing, we can just forget about it,” he said. 

The challenge lifted her chin and put sparks in her eyes. 

That’s it, babe. Show me what you’ve got. 

“Bring it,” she said.

Woah!!! Cold shower!!! Can you feel the chemistry between these two???? And how many of you want to go and play this game with your significant other? 

*Raises hand* 

As I've said many times, Jill's work is outstanding and her books never fail to reel me in and leave me breathless at the end. Jill is amazing, and so is this book. So go ahead and buy your copy now! 

And if you're in the UK 

About Jill Shalvis
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Jill’s Social Media:
T: @jillshalvis
IG: @jillshalvis

Lifestyle | My Gardening Haul of Basic Supplies

Hi Everyone! 

One thing I wanted to do more of this year on A Page of Love is blog about more than just books. Lately I've been planning somewhat of a clear up on social media, mainly to mainstream and neaten up my presence and help it to become somewhat less chaotic.

I'm approaching my 30s now (I'm 27!) , and whilst I adore having fun with a girly blog about books, I'm just not feeling it all that much anymore. So to keep my interest alive and allow my blog to grow with me and my life I am adding more Lifestyle features to it.

There is so much more to me than books. I really enjoy gardening, home decor, fashion (A little!), crochet, crafting, planning with my filofax, and being a generally all round "Housewife in Training!". So because I LOVE those things too, I'm going to share them with you.

To kick off these style of posts, today I'm going to share with you my gardening haul. It's really cheap and a basic supply, so it's perfect if you want to kind of see if you have green fingers (nail varnish not compulsory - but kinda looks cute!), or just want to spend less than £10 to kick start your 2016 garden.

First on my "go-to" places for great cheap garden accessories is Poundland. Now, granted, not everything they stock would fit in with the Chelsea Flower Show, but, BUT, the important thing is that you allow yourself to see beyond the price tag, and ask yourself whether or not they would fit in with your garden scheme.

For me, a few of their products do, like the bird feeders, garden twine (useful for tying up floppy plant stems, scented citronella candles in the summer etc.

But this week I picked up some bulbs and seeds. Pretty basic supplies for the garden, and gives you the chance and responsibility to grow something beautiful in your garden. 

As you can seen, all these cost me less than £10 (£7 exactly) and I have over 100 bulbs, and 24 varieties of seeds. My collection includes scented flowers such as night scented stock (they are my favourite!), sweet peas which always look gorgeous, morning glories, and plenty of climbing/creeper varieties to trail up walls, fencing and even the shed! 

Mum had one of the chinese lantern plants when I was really young and it looked so beautiful. We have quite a big garden (100ft x 20ft) so we have lots of room to cater for all these flowers. We're very lucky. 

Next up is hanging baskets. Don't you just adore pretty flowers in a hanging basket? especially with trailing lobelia, fuchsias, geraniums and such in them? I've grown up watching my mum create the most spectacular displays in her hanging baskets that I've grown to love the process of making up the baskets and watching them grow. 

There are two types of basket I purchased. There are the quite large square baskets that I got from Asda - both of them together cost less than £10. They were £3 each which is UNBELIEVABLE but it's true. In fact I really would like to get some more as they are so good - fingers crossed they still have them on the shelves next time I go (purchase here - 12 inch square hanging baskets) . The cream baskets are half circular ones, that will look pretty on my shed either side of the windows. These were from a bargain store too (can't recall the name SORRY!!!) but they were £1 each. I know that places like Poundstretcher do them also, and although they might not be cream in colour - a simple lick of paint on a bright warm sunny day will get yours looks gorgeously creamy soon enough. 

Lastly, I made a trip into Wilko and picked up some shed paint. Last year I covered a 8x6 shed with 2 tins of 750ml paint. I had two tins because I used two colours. So this year, I picked up 1 tin of 1 litre paint for the shed, as I want to paint it one colour with a slight accent with a different colour (future post will discuss and show this!). The paint cost me £7.50 which is a bargain!! I haven't tried the paint just yet but weather permitting and also after checking in with the family to see if they need me the weekend (haha) I will try, hopefully to test it out on the weekend!

One thing I really wish Wilko would do again (and I say this on begging knee position - my knee hurts like this so this is how much I really wish this!!!) I really wish they would do their catalogues again that feature homeware and garden bits and bobs! I know it's cheaper to run on the internet, but I really do prefer browsing a catalogue, and taking it down the garden with me and visually seeing the product out there before I purchase!  

Anyway, that is all I have for you right now, but I will be back really soon with more Gardening posts because I've really loved writing this and sharing with you something in my life that I love. I hope you have enjoyed reading this and please feel free to leave a comment below, i'll get back to you ASAP.