Availability of domain names. Test links of a page. Websites on the same IP. Extract links on a page. Checking a link. Locating IP. PageRank Tool. Get the header. Alexa traffic data. Load speed. The first is that of Mars; the second Mercury; the third Venus; the fourth that of the Sun; the fifth Mars; the sixth Jupiter; the seventh Saturn; the eighth that of the fixed stars; the ninth being imperceptible to the senses except for its anomalous motion mentioned above, and which many call the Crystalline sphere, that is one which is diaphanous or completely transparent.
Moreover, beyond these, the Catholics place the Empyrean, which is to say the heaven of flame, or luminous heaven; and they consider it to be unmoving, because it holds within itself, that which its matter in every part desires. This is why the Primum Mobile has the swiftest motion. Because of the fervent desire that every part of the ninth heaven has to be united with every part of that tranquil and divine heaven, with which it is contiguous, it revolves within it with such desire that its speed is almost incomprehensible. Stillness and peace are the qualities of that region of Supreme Deity, who alone beholds himself entire.
It is the region of the blessed spirits, according to the will of Holy Church, who cannot speak a lie: and Aristotle appears to agree, to those who rightly understand him, in the first book of On Heaven and Earth. This is the outermost framework of the universe within which all the world is enclosed, and beyond which is nothing; it is not itself in space but was formed solely in the Primal Mind, which the Greeks call Protonoe. It should be known that each sphere beneath the Crystalline has two fixed poles, fixed in respect of itself; and they are firm and fixed in the ninth, and immutable in every way.
Each one, the ninth included, sweeps out a circle which may be called the equator of its proper sphere and is equidistant from the poles in its revolution, as can be seen from experience by spinning an apple or other round object. In each sphere this equatorial circle moves more swiftly than any other part of the heaven, as can be seen upon careful consideration.
Every region of the sphere has a swifter movement the nearer it is to the equator, and a slower the further it is away and the nearer it is to the poles, because its turning circle is smaller there, yet must of necessity be completed in the same period of time as the larger. I say, also, that the closer a region is to the equatorial circle the nobler it is compared to the poles, because it has greater motion, actuality, life and form, and approaches the characteristics of the sphere which encloses it and in consequence possesses more virtue.
Thus the stars of the Starry Heaven possess more virtue, one with another, the nearer they are to this circle. In the sphere of Venus, which we are currently discussing, on the outer edge of this equatorial circle, there is a small sphere which revolves of itself in that heaven, whose circle the astrologers call an epicycle. And just as the great sphere revolves about two poles, so does this smaller one; and it possesses its own equatorial circle, and its regions are nobler the nearer they are to this equator; and on the arc or outer edge of this circle is fixed the brightest planet Venus.
Although we have said that strictly there are only ten heavens, this number does not comprise them all; for the one just mentioned, namely, the epicycle on which the planet is fixed, is a heaven or sphere in its own right, and is not at one with that which bears it, although it shares its nature more than that of others, and both are spoken of as if there was one heaven, named after the planet. The structure of the other heavens with their other stars and planets is not my subject at present; let what truth has been told of the third heaven with which I am at present concerned be sufficient, about which all that is needful at present has been fully explained.
Now that I have shown in the preceding chapter the nature of the third heaven and how it is structured, it remains for me to explain who it is that moves it. We must firstly know that its movers are of substance other than matter, namely Intelligences, whom the common people call Angels. Various people have held various opinions about these creatures just as they have about the heavens, though the truth is now known. There are certain philosophers, among whom it would appear is Aristotle in his Metaphysics , though in his first book On Heaven he seems, in passing, to think otherwise, who believed that there were just as many of these beings as there are circular motions in the heavens, and no more, saying that any others would have been idle for all eternity, lacking any activity, which would be impossible since their being consists of activity.
There are others like the eminent Plato who maintain that not only are there as many Intelligences as there are spheres in heaven, but also as many as there are species of things, for example one for men, another for gold, another for dimension, and so on. He held that just as the heavenly Intelligences each brought their sphere into being, so other Intelligences brought into being all other things and exemplars, each in its own species; and Plato called them Ideas , that is to say universal forms and natures.
The pagans called them God and Goddesses, though they did not conceive of them in a philosophical sense as Plato does, and they worshipped images of them, and built vast temples to them, for example to Juno whom they called goddess of might, Pallas or Minerva goddess of wisdom, Vulcan the god of fire, and Ceres goddess of harvest. These things and these beliefs are evident from the testimony of poets, who variously describe pagan customs, their sacrifices and their creeds, and they are also evident in the many surviving ancient names for places and buildings, as anyone can easily discover if they will.
Though the beliefs mentioned above were products of human reason and copious observation, the pagans nevertheless failed to perceive the truth, though inadequate reasoning and a lack of knowledge; for by reason alone it can be seen that the creatures mentioned above are more numerous than the effects men can apprehend. Here is one reason: no one, whether philosopher, pagan, Jew, Christian, or a member of some sect, doubts the blessedness of these Intelligences, all or the majority of them, or that they are in the most perfect state of being.
Consequently, since human nature is blessed not only in one way but in two, namely in the active and the contemplative life, it would be illogical for such beings to be blessed with an active life, that is the civil governance of the world, and not a contemplative one, more excellent and divine.
Since those who are blessed with governing, cannot also be contemplative, since their intellect is everlastingly one, there must be others who live by contemplation alone. And since this contemplative life of theirs is more divine, and the more divine a thing is the more it is like God, it is clear that such a life is more beloved of God; and if it is more beloved, the more is its blessedness made bountiful; and if it is more bountiful the more living beings are committed to it than to the active life. From this we conclude that the number of these creatures is much greater than the effects reveal.
This is not opposed to what Aristotle appears to say in the tenth book of the Ethics , that the contemplative life alone befits souls without bodies separate substances. Though the contemplative life alone befits them, the circular motion of the heavens, which governs the world, is allotted to the contemplative life of a specific number of them, and is a kind of active civil order conceived within the contemplation of its movers.
Another reason is that no effect is greater than its cause, because the cause cannot generate what it does not already possess; consequently, since the divine intellect is the cause of everything, above all the human intellect, it follows that the human intellect cannot transcend the divine, but is transcended by it, out of all proportion. So, if from these reasons and many others we see that God could have created innumerable spiritual creatures, it is obvious that he has created this greater number of them.
Many other reasons can be provided, but let this suffice for the present. No one should be surprised if such reasons have not been fully demonstrated; nevertheless we should admire the excellence of these creatures, an excellence which transcends the human mind, as Aristotle says in the second book of the Metaphysics , and we should affirm their existence.
For though we cannot perceive them with the senses, which are the source of our knowledge, some light from their living being shines within our intellect, inasmuch as we understand the arguments above and many others, just as someone whose eyes are closed can assert that the air is filled with light, because some speck of radiance, or whole ray of light, such as passes through the eyes of a bat, reaches him: for the eyes of our intellect are closed in just such a way, as long as the soul is bound and imprisoned within the organs of our body.
But we have been told this by him who came from Him, by him who created them, by him who preserves them, that is the Emperor of the Universe, who is Christ, son of the sovereign God and son of the Virgin Mary, a woman in truth, and daughter of Joachim and Adam: by him, a man in truth, who was crucified by us, through which means he brought us to life. The first thing, the first secret, he revealed to us was one of the creatures previously mentioned, his great ambassador who came to Mary, a thirteen-year old girl, on behalf of the Heavenly Healer.
Our Saviour said, with his own lips, that the Father provided him with many legions of angels; when he was told the Father had ordered the angels to minister to him and serve him, he did not deny its truth. And she divides them into three hierarchies, that is to say three holy or divine principalities, each hierarchy composed of three orders, so that the Church holds and affirms that there are nine orders of spiritual creatures. The first is that of the Angels, the second Archangels, the third Thrones; and these three orders make up the first hierarchy: not first in order of nobility or creation, for the others were nobler and created together, but first in order of ascent from us to their degree of elevation.
Then come Dominations, Virtues and Principalities, forming the second hierarchy. Above these are the Powers and the Cherubim, and above all are the Seraphim, these last three orders forming the third hierarchy. The numerical position in which the hierarchies and orders reside determines the principal object of their contemplation. Since the Divine majesty exists in three persons with one substance, it is possible to contemplate them in a threefold way. The supreme power of the father can be contemplated, on which the first hierarchy gazes which is first in nobility, and which we count highest.
Then the supreme wisdom of the Son can be contemplated, on which the second hierarchy gazes. And finally the supreme and most fervent love of the Holy Spirit can be contemplated, on which the last hierarchy gazes which is nearest to us and bestows the gifts it receives on us. Since each person of the threefold Trinity can be considered in a threefold manner, the three orders in each hierarchy contemplate their principal object in different ways. The Father can be considered in regard to Himself alone, and this contemplation the Seraphim perform, who perceive more of the First Cause than any other angelic beings.
The Father can also be considered in relation to the Son that is in his separation from Himself and his union with Himself, and this contemplation the Cherubim perform. Finally the Father can be considered in respect of how the Holy Spirit emanates from Him, and in respect of its separation and union with Him, and this contemplation the Powers perform. In a similar manner the Son and the Holy Spirit can be contemplated in three different ways, and thus there are nine types of contemplative spirits, to gaze on the Light that only its own self can behold completely.
One thing must not be left unsaid. A certain number, perhaps a tenth, of all these orders fell soon after they were created, for the restoration of which number human nature was afterwards created. The Thrones, assigned to governing this sphere, are not great in number, though the philosophers and astrologers have estimated it variously depending on their estimate of its rotations, though all are agreed on this point: that there are as many of them as there are independent motions of the sphere. According to the best estimate of the astrologers, summarised in the book of the Constellations of Stars , these movements are threefold: one by which the planet moves in its epicycle; a second by which the epicycle moves with the whole sphere, equally with that of the Sun; a third by which the whole sphere moves, following the movement of the starry heaven, from west to east, one degree every hundred years.
So corresponding with these three movements, there are three movers. Then, the whole of this sphere moves and revolves with its epicycle from east to west once a day. Whether this movement derives from some intelligence or the pull of the Primum Mobile , only God knows; it would seem presumptuous to judge on this point. The movers generate the rotation of that which they each move, by intellect alone.
That most noble form, the heavenly sphere, which contains within itself the principle of natural passivity, revolves at the touch of the motive force which comprehends it; and by touch I mean contact, though not in a physical sense, with the power that is directed towards it. Such are the movers to whom my speech in the canzone is addressed, and of whom I make my request. As was said in the third chapter above, it was necessary to speak of the spheres and those who move them, in order to understand fully the first section of the canzone before us, and this has been done in the preceding three chapters.
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I say then, in the first section, to those whom I have shown to be the movers of the sphere of Venus: You whose intellect , that is whose intellect alone, as was said above, moves the third sphere, hear now the debate ; and I do not say hear as if they perceived sound, for they lack sense perception, but so that they may listen with what hearing they do have, which is intellectual perception. I say: Hear the debate within my heart , within, that is, because it has not yet appeared beyond.
And it should be known that throughout this entire canzone , the heart is to be taken, in all senses, as the private space within, and not as a specific part of mind and body. After I have summoned them to hear what I wish to say, I give two reasons why it is appropriate for me to speak to them. One is the newness of my state, which, not having been experienced previously by other men, could not be understood by them as well as by those beings who understand the effects of their operations; and this I touch on when I say: That seems so new I cannot speak to others.
The other reason is when someone receives a benefit or an injury he should first relate it to whoever caused it, if possible, rather than to others; thus he who receives a benefit should show his gratitude to his benefactor, and if he receives an injury should move the wrongdoer to noble pity with gentle words. I touch on this reason when I say: The heaven that is driven by your power, oh, noble creatures that you are, led me to this state where I now find me , that is to say, your operations, that is your revolutions, have led me to my present state.
Thus I end by stating that my speech must be directed at them, as has been said; and I say this in the words: Hence these words about the life I live, should rightly be said, it seems, to you. After giving this justification, I ask them to listen to me: And so I pray that you will hear me.
But, because the speaker in any kind of discourse should be intent above all on persuading, that is charming, his audience to listen, since this is the means to all other kinds of persuasion, according to the rhetoricians, and since the most effective way of rendering the listener attentive is to promise to tell new and momentous things, I set this after my petition for a hearing, by announcing my intention to them to speak of something new, that is the division in my spirit, and something momentous, that is the influence of their planet. And I say this in the final words of the first section: I will speak of the new thing in my heart, how the sad soul weeps therein, and how a spirit disputes with it, descending with the rays from your star.
To explain fully the meaning of these words, this new spirit is none other than the oft-repeated thought of praise for and adornment of the new lady; and the sad soul is the thought, accompanied by assent, which, opposing the former, praises and adorns the memory of that glorious Beatrice. And since the ultimate judgement of my mind, its assent, was still attached to this thought my memory reinforced, I call the one soul and the other spirit, just as we call those who hold a place the city , and not those who attack it, even if both are its citizens.
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Further, I say that this spirit descends with the rays from the star, because the rays from each sphere are the paths along which their influence descends on things here below. Since rays are none other than the passage of light through the air from the light-source to the thing illuminated, and since the light comes only from the body of the star, as the rest of the sphere is diaphanous, that is transparent, I say that the spirit, that is the thought, comes not from the sphere as a whole but from the star.
This planet, due to the nobility of its movers, is so powerful that it has a vast influence over our spirits, and all things appertaining to us, notwithstanding that its distance to us at perigee is times and more the radius of the earth, which is miles. This ends the literal explanation of the first section of the canzone. The literal meaning of the first section of the canzone can be understood from the above, so the second may now be treated, revealing the conflict I felt within. And this section is further sub-divided. In its first stanza I relate the nature of the conflicting thoughts within me to their source; then I relate what each conflicting thought said; beginning with the second stanza, and what the defeated thought said.
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To clarify then the meaning of this initial sub-division, we first observe that things should be denoted by their highest nobility of form, for example Mankind by reason and not the senses, or anything less noble. So, when we say that a man lives, we understand this to mean that he employs his reason which is his individual life and the actualisation of his noblest faculty.
Thus, I say that the life of my heart, my inner life, was once a sweet thought sweet in the sense of charming, gentle, pleasing and delightful , a thought which would rise to the feet of the Lord of those beings I address, namely God; in other words, I contemplated the kingdom of the blessed, in thought. So I swiftly tell the primal cause of my ascent there in thought, saying: Where it saw a lady bright with glory , so as to have it understood that it was because I was certain, and am certain, through her gracious revelation, that she is in heaven.
Thus I often travelled there, in thought, to the extent of my powers, as if I had been rapt. To be clear, what ascended to behold that blessed one is here termed thought and not soul , because it was a thought unique to that action. By soul I mean, as I said in the previous chapter, generalised thinking with assent. Then I explain the root of the second conflicting thought, saying: Now one appears who makes it flee , saying that as the thought, described above, was once my life, now another appears which drives away the first.
I say flee to show that the second thought opposes the first, since one contrary of its nature flees another, while the one that flees reveals that it does so through lack of strength to resist. And I say that this new thought has the power to seize me and overcome my whole soul, saying moreover that it rules me in such a way that my heart, my inner self, trembles, and my outward self displays it visibly in a fresh seeming. It is a fine stroke of rhetoric to make a thing seem lacking in external beauty while making it inwardly truly beautiful.
Now I have shown how and why love is born, and the conflict I experienced, it is appropriate to reveal the meaning of the stanza where conflicting thoughts war within me. Since I wish to say more about what those beings I addressed do, than what they undo, it is rational to discuss that which was being destroyed before discussing that which was being brought to birth. Here, however, a doubt is born, which cannot be passed over without comment.
But despite this, readers looking for a satisfying way to spend a few hours shouldn't go past a Sarra Manning novel. When New York news reporter Veronica gets a shot at anchoring the morning news program, she isn't exactly enthusiastic. Those breakfast shows need a perky presenter, not a hard-nose journalist like herself. And fuhgedd about all those inhumane 2am wake-up calls!
But with the carrot of becoming night news anchor dangled in front of her and a chance to work with her good friend Scott, Veronica reluctantly accepts. Lack of sleep means she's more snarky than perky but the audience still laps it all up. Then Veronica is cast on a celebrity dance show, after clashing with its hunky British judge Dexter. The chemistry between Veronica and Dexter is as fiery as her red hair, although the clash between their cultures does get a little grating at times do Americans really not understand all those English terms?
Tatano - one of chick lit's best finds of the past year - is an entertaining writer, penning snappy, witty dialogue and throwing in sub-plots at just the right times to keep the narrative bubbling along. But then the video of her break-up with boyfriend Justin goes viral and she becomes known in the media as the girl who got jilted.
As a PR assistant she is more used to trying to scrounge media coverage for her clients' hard-to-sell products ranging from constipation aids to headband boppers for clearing auras. But she's helped over the trauma by her two single friends Poppet, who is obsessed with Matt Damon, and Nic, a ball-busting, jetsetting executive. Then Lizzy encounters obnoxious business journalist Elliot Anderson, who not only looks down on her industry and is completely out of her league, he's also engaged to a gorgeous fashion designer.
But they soon strike up an unlikely friendship. This is funny, classic chick lit, with an adorable heroine, great supporting cast and a leading man who'll grow on you. Very much liking this new direction by Jo Carnegie. In Burnaby village, three women are discovering that it's all fair in love, politics and business.
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She suspects the new owner Milo Jones is up to no good but at least he has a very attractive son, Sam. Her best friend Paige Brady is a councillor who is contesting the next general election. But a newspaper smear campaign and family matters may put her out of the race. Kate Bowan is a shoe shop assistant who runs a dummy dating service at night. She gets more than she bargained for with one of her clients.
In the third and final book of the Weddings by Bella series, several weddings are taking place and there are engagements galore. The story focuses on the marriage of Laz and Rosa who finally after many years of debate and stubbornness over who was better - Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra - have put their views aside and are ready to commit to one another. Bella and her family couldn't be more over the moon, however this wouldn't be a Weddings By Bella book if trouble didn't arise in more than one way. With Bella trying to organise two weddings, she really needs an extra pair of hands but when her best friend disappears, Bella is left to try to organise everything in time for the perfect day.
When Laz's best man, former mobster Sal Lucci, turns up always putting in his two cents worth, will he tear the happy couple apart? And will Bella be able to pull off not only one perfect wedding but two? This is the perfect finish to a wonderful series. Evie Dexter is determined to change her career and become a tour guide in Paris.
Unfortunately she has no experience nor does she even know much about France. With her witty humour and her skill in bluffing her way through her interview, she lands a job at Insignia Tours guiding up to 50 people to tour Paris for the weekend. But her first day doesn't get off to a good start when she forgets her passport and her much-needed supplies of make-up. Upon arriving at the train she meets Rob, the tour bus driver, and he helps guide her through Paris so she doesn't lose her job.
Evie may find that this is the job of her dreams which comes with the man of her dreams. This is a hilarious tale about self-discovery and learning more about your strengths and weaknesses. Evie shows us how to have the drive and determination to make something work for you - even if you know nothing about it, whether that be a job, place or even man.
It's a great debut from Molly Hopkins and I'm looking forward to the next one based in Venice. Evie Dexter is happy to be back with her fiance Rob who cheated on her once but promises to never do it again. She is lucky to have a job as a tour guide which takes her to amazing destinations such as Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and Venice as well as a totally drop-dead gorgeous and rock-solid friend Nikki, who is kind enough to give her a part-time job at his bar but cruel enough to make her work long hours.
Rob wants her to quit her jobs, sell her flat and move in with him so they can spend more time together. She is not happy with the idea of giving up as a tour guide but she does want to move in with Rob and take things to another level. Just when she is considering the idea of putting her flat up for sale, she comes face to face with a lie Rob has told her.
Devastated, she runs to mega tycoon John Jackson, who's not only her client but also a man who listened to her drunken confession when Rob cheated on her. John not only tries to talk her out of her post-break-up trauma but much to her delight showers her with expensive designer gifts and posh dinners.
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Evie is not sure if she can ever stop loving Rob and is toying with John's idea of getting him out of her system for good when her friends Tina and Nikki make a plan to keep her busy so that she gets no time to even think about forgiving him. This sequel to It Happened in Paris is packed with drama and beautiful locations. The writing is smart, funny and quirky.
The protagonist may not come across as a particularly strong girl but she will still make you laugh, cry and totally love her. Nell became estranged from her family after her boyfriend Jeremy ditched her for her sister five years ago. Now she is about to venture on a summer that will change her and others' lives forever. Nell, a single mother of a four-year-old daughter, decides to take a chance when she is invited back to her family home in Cornwall. However, she is about to discover that she wasn't the only one invited and her mother, Valerie, has an ulterior motive.
Jeremy and her sister Heather are about to get married and Valerie hasn't got long to live. This is an engaging novel about strained family ties and explosive secrets. Sidney Sinclair's last relationship ended when she was confronted by the women her fiance was sleeping with. Sidney is now done with commitment-phobic playboys and has a list of thirty-four required items for a potential boyfriend. Special agent Vaughn Roberts is exactly the kind of man Sidney is avoiding.
When Vaughn tries his best lines on Sidney at a local coffee shop, he is surprised that she quickly denies his advances and calls out his playboy ways. Minutes later, Sidney and Vaughn meet again at a restaurant only to learn that Sidney's sister is marrying Vaughn's brother. As best man and maid of honour, this unlikely duo are thrown together to help plan the wedding.
Sidney is determined to stick to her list of thirty-four requirements and Vaughn is equally determined to win Sidney over. Fantastic dialogue and strong witty characters will entertain readers. Fans of the author will also be happy with updates of characters from past novels. Angela has always loved the festive season and this year she's looking forward to spending a quiet one with her husband Alex.
But when her boss informs her that she's going on a three-month sabbatical and Angela will be new interim editor, her plans for a calm, relaxing Christmas suddenly go out the window. And that's not all, her parents have decided to spend Christmas with Angela and Alex and have booked their flights, then Louise and her daughter, Grace, turn up unannounced too. When best friend Jenny brings up her baby plans, Angela has to face Alex's own baby questions and it's the last thing she's ready for. Riotous fun, awkward situations, rowdy friends, true romance, all wrapped up with a festive bow, this is pure chick lit gold.
Back in , Welsh teenager Petra was a mad-keen David Cassidy fan. But, of course, The Partridge Family star and singer didn't have anything to do with the magazine. Instead his missives to the fans were penned by Bill, a frustrated music journalist. Twenty-four years later, Petra discovers that she had won the magazine's ultimate fan quiz and should have received tickets to meet her heart-throb on the set of his TV show. So she goes to belatedly claim her prize but will the moment live up to expectations?
This will appeal to anyone who's lusted after a celebrity - no matter what generation your pin-up comes from. It's a funny but poignant story that was well worth the wait. And the book ends with an interview the author did with her own teen hero, and answers that most vital of questions: is brown really Cassidy's favourite colour? Photographer Sarah is all set to marry her older fiance, lord of a Scottish manor Mackenzie, on Christmas Eve. But when she overhears him talking about his late wife, she realises she can't go through with the wedding.
Taking off in the middle of the night, Sarah heads to Redstone, a village on the Irish west coast where her parents once lived. There she gets caught up in the troubled lives of her new friends Miriam, Gemma and Aurora and even falls for a new man Ethan, who has his own shameful past. A heartwarming tale which contrasts nicely with its wintery setting. Gabrielle Breedlove is convinced she is being stalked by a hunky man. At the park one day she attacks her stalker with a can of hairspray. It turns out her "stalker" is actually Joe Shanahan, an undercover cop investigating a stolen Monet painting.
The police suspect Gabrielle's business partner, Kevin Carter, the co-owner of a curio shop. The cops threaten Gabrielle that if she doesn't cooperate with them, they will convict her of assaulting a police officer. Gabrielle reluctantly agrees to allow Joe to pose as her boyfriend and do some handyman work in the curio shop to find evidence of the stolen Monet. Gabrielle is convinced of Kevin's innocence and finds the whole scenario ridiculous. She is a new-age hippie who would never date a straight-laced, yet totally irresistible, cop.
A few fake kisses to convince Kevin of their relationship leave both Joe and Gabrielle breathless and fighting their mutual attraction. This is a predictable read with cute characters that will entertain you for a few hours. Thea's parents, Anna and Mike, have decided to get divorced after many happy years of marriage but they want to have one more big happy family Christmas before everything changes.
For this occasion, they have rented a big holiday home in Cornwall where all family members are expected to spend the holidays. While her siblings Emily and Jimi will bring their partners and children, Thea knows she will be going alone after her long-time boyfriend decided it wasn't working out between the two of them. Thea wants to do anything to keep her mind off her broken heart, and with the new partners of her parents unexpectedly arriving in Cornwall, combined with the visits of handsome holiday home owner Sean, there is more than enough to keep her distracted What's not to love about this novel?
There's an interesting storyline, a great cast of characters, and I personally fell head over heels in love with the setting, the holiday home in Cornwall. Judy Astley managed to make it sound like such an incredible place; the beautiful home near the sea, the snow, and combined with that magical Christmas feeling it seemed just perfect. Thea was a great protagonist who is easy to warm to. Her family members are all entertaining characters as well, and I also specifically liked Sean, the owner of the holiday home the family is staying at.
He's an amazing guy, and in my opinion a Christmas novel is never complete without a touch of romance! Judy Astley's writing style is well-paced and detailed; she's a great storyteller and I will definitely pick up more of her works in the future. It Must Have Been the Mistletoe is a wonderfully festive read that is all about family and being with the ones you love and a novel that definitely has that magic touch of Christmas.
When Emma's irresponsible but loveable boyfriend Leo turns up to her 30th birthday dinner very late and awfully drunk, she can't help wishing that he was different. And after realising she'll never change him, she tells him that the magic is gone and so begins the next phase of her life without him. That night Leo runs into the mysterious Isobel and falls under her spell. As this fairy girlfriend waves her wand and sprinkles her fairy dust around, Leo starts becoming more like the man Emma wished he was.
Even if you don't like books with magical themes, read it for the hilarious cardboard box scene. Alexa has done wonders to transform Hers, an overs magazine, from near-bankruptcy to a profitable enterprise. Now Senate Media would like her to do the same on another of their titles, Banter. The problem is that Banter is a lads mag, and Alexa is unsure if she morally approves of such a magazine.
Despite her reservations and the disapproval of her friends and family, she takes the job, but she doesn't fully comprehend the adversity she will face as the female boss in a predominately male environment.
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And when her plans for a mobile and tablet application receive media attention, she finds herself the target of a human rights organisation who oppose the sexual objectification of women. What she has achieved at Banter has made the company millions but at what price? Is Alexa really cut out to work in such a man's world? This is a wonderfully written book that deals with some very serious issues. Alexa is faced with some very difficult choices and it really makes you think about where you stand on the issue of lads mags and the effect they have on society.
A heavy read in some ways but I really enjoyed it. Is there ever such a thing as the perfect relationship? That's the question Annie Delaney is facing. All she's ever wanted is her happy-ever-after, encompassing the ideal man, the fantasy "big day out" and the dream home. It's a shame then that her boyfriend is less a dream than a nightmare, and as for the sexy and hairy man currently in her bed - well, that's a whole other disaster in the making.
With her life heading into a tailspin, Annie realises she has to rethink her blueprint for happiness - a task that isn't helped by her best friend Fionn's imminent zoom towards the altar with her own Mr Right, or her sister Darcy's strong relationship with her partner. Everyone around her is happy - or are they? When Annie begins to discover the truth about her best friend and her sister's relationships, she's forced to ask herself if the perfect relationship is an attainable goal after all The cover of It's Got To Be Perfect describes it as 'a hug in a book', and that is a wonderfully accurate reflection of just what I felt as I read the book.
Claire Allan's writing is warm and empathetic, and you cannot fail to fall in love with her characters. I adored Annie and despite her flaws and sometimes erratic behaviour, my sympathy for her never waned - and she made me laugh on many an occasion too. The relationship between Annie and Darcy is touching and realistic, and the author nails the depiction of the ups and downs of friendship through Annie and Fionn's relationship.
As always, Claire Allan has delivered a book that will make you feel like you're sitting down with your best friend. This novel is a really interesting and in-depth look into the modern dating scene. Haley Hill has a lot of knowledge in this area; she set up the UK's largest matchmaking agency which enabled her to experience all kinds of interesting things in the dating scene! While she claims in the beginning of the book that all characters and scenarios are fictitious, you are almost positive that she has drawn on some of the things she learnt during her time as a matchmaker to create the eclectic cast of characters.
The protagonist of this novel, Ellie, is engaged to Robert but is distraught when she finds out he's been cheating on her. Deciding she doesn't need a man like him in her life, she hurls the engagement ring into the gutter, picks herself up, dusts herself off and begins the quest to find real, true love. However, the road to true love isn't very clear and she begins to realise she's not the only one struggling to find love.
Ellie takes it upon herself to help match other singles and sets up her own matchmaking agency. Five years later, Ellie is in charge of a huge empire and with so many successful matches under her wing, those around her are trying to help Ellie improve her own love life. Ellie has to face the question of whether everything really does have to be perfect I enjoyed reading this from the first page and was drawn into the crazy world of Ellie and her friends. Whilst her friends played an important role in the novel, I was far more interested and focused on Ellie's journey; although I did enjoy meeting Steve, Victoria and Mr Marbella along the way.
It felt like it was non-fiction at times as the situations the characters found themselves in were so believable, it could have easily been real. Haley's writing is really sharp and clever plus it's easy to read which is my favourite kind of writing.
The only small problem I had were the character names. There were so many characters mentioned in the book that at times I was confused as to who was who. Aside from that, I really enjoyed this book and think a lot of other people will too. It's an interesting look at the modern dating scene that would be a great read for a single woman but also would be enjoyed by someone who already has found the love of their life.
Delia Moss' life is turned upside down when she discovers her boyfriend is sleeping with someone else. Absolutely shocked, she thinks she is to blame, but they've been together for so long and they loved each other, didn't they? She actually proposed to him, thinking they were so solid and they were perfect for each other! In an attempt to give herself some time to figure things out, she moves to London for an extended visit to see her best friend. Delia finds a job, and slowly starts building a life for herself that doesn't revolve around Paul and slowly starts picking up the pieces of her shattered heart and finds herself in a most unlikely pickle with her new boss.
Complications also abound when a reporter starts to seemingly turn up everywhere he's not wanted. This was a long book but I was hooked from the get-go and it was so worth it. Delia was suitably a very confused character, and what can I say but I've lived a piece of Delia's life to some degree, so to me, and maybe lots of others, this book would be very relatable.
The author does a great job of painting a very vivid picture of the emotions and thoughts that anyone on the receiving end of infidelity would face. The most unlikely character slowly became my favourite, maybe sometimes more than Delia. This is my first read from Mhairi McFarlane and it definitely won't be my last - I like her style.
Charlie is at the airport leaving for a trip to Europe when she hears over the announcement system a name from her past - Jasper Ash. It's her former flatmate, a songwriter who has gone on to great things as Zamiel in supergroup Spawn. The last time she saw him was when they nearly slept together - until he backed away at the last moment proclaiming 'it's not you, it's me'. When Jas joins her on a bus tour to Oktoberfest in Munich even though Charlie hates beer , they slip straight back into their easy banter. But That Night looms over them as an undiscussed topic.
Both seem at a crossroad in their lives - why is Jas ignoring all his phone calls and why has Charlie still not finished uni or got stuck into creating her sculptures? Not just a light frothy read. You'll also get some great survival tips in case you ever find yourself at Oktoberfest with a group of Australians from a Beer-drinking Society.
Annie and Lauren are twins in need of a change. On the night of their older sister Chelsea's 40th birthday they make a pact that they will change their boring lives. Annie intends to go on a Peru trip that her office is doing for a team-building charity event. But once she starts to raise money for the adventure, her husband isn't keen on the idea of her going abroad and leaving him behind. Lauren, who has been in a relationship with a married man for five years, says that this is the year he will leave his wife and be with her.
This is a great read about finally changing your life when you're not happy with it. You will laugh out loud at the crazy things these sisters do in order to shake things up. This is a story of three women, who work really hard and love their men more than anything else. But their world is turned upside down when they realise that their men don't love them that much in return.
May is in love with a liar. Lara has fallen head over heels for someone who sees her as the full-time caretaker of his children. And Claire is with a man who loves his job more than their relationship. The three friends make plans to escape on a luxurious holiday, spending time at a fabulous spa and taking a break from their men. But destiny comes into play when their booking gets messed up and they end up in the small, mysterious village Ren Dulhem, which strangely has scores of male residents but few women.
The women are determined to enjoy their days in the dullest village on earth - and slowly they start to fall in love with the most unlikely men in this village which has a secret no one talks about. This book is full of drama and I liked Milly's swift storytelling skills.
Her way of putting twists and turns and mystery into the story when you least expect is fantastic. If you are looking for a lazy summer read, then this one is perfect. Amy is a hair salon owner who loves dressing like a 50s movie star. Ben is a British comedian who is avoiding a media storm at home involving his former celebrity girlfriend.
When the pair meet, they fall hard for one another. But Amy is hiding a few secrets and Ben is using Amy's quirky lifestyle as fodder for his newspaper column. Set in my hometown, this story pretty much revolves about Ben and Amy's relationship. Amy is a delightful and memorable character, from her cute outfits and immaculate make-up to her leaky outhouse and slobbering dog.
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Her abusive past and close relationship with her sister adds a more serious element. Meanwhile Ben is cocky, quick-witted and will have readers falling for him too. It all adds up to an entertaining story full of spicy romance and witty dialogue. According to the summary, It Started at Sunset Cottage tells the story of Kate, a writer whose husband passed away a few years ago. She has been coping with that tragedy in her own way, living a simple, quiet life surrounded by her best friend Sarah, Sarah's daughter Amy, and her late husband's brother Andy. However, when her book is optioned for a film, Kate is invited to work on the screenplay at a cottage where she meets the film's leading man, Tim, who draws Kate out of her comfort zone.
I was surprised that Sarah played such a major role in this book, given that the summary focuses so much on Kate. Truth be told, I found Sarah was the more compelling character, and her story was more interesting what with her ex-husband causing so much drama. I also thought that the development of Tim and Kate's relationship was drawn out and I never truly got a sense of any chemistry between them.
On the other hand, while Sarah and Andy's relationship was predictable, it was also a lot more believable and I had more interest in it. It's close to Christmas and Romily Parker feels the need to tell her best friend, Charlie, that she is in love with him. What better time than the present? But, the result is not at all what she expected. The bad part: He doesn't feel the same. The good part: His rejection sends her inadvertently into the arms of a handsome stranger who kisses her and then dashes off never to be seen again.
And this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime kiss is what starts Romily on a quest that will change her life in many ways. After feeling as though the stranger is The One for her, Romily embarks on a year-long quest to find the mystery man whom she and her friends begin to call "PK", short for "Phantom Kisser". The quest, however, takes on a life of its own after she starts a blog about it. With the help of her aunt and uncle and her band the Pinstripes, Romily seems to have more support than ever to find the man of her dreams. But can she do it? And will she still feel the same if she sees him again?
This is a wonderful Christmas read that will captivate you right from the start. Romily is likeable, sweet and following her heart - which is something we could all learn from. The ending is by far the best part because just as you think it's over and Romily has found her happy ending, something happens that will make her realise she shouldn't just settle for what is presented to her and needs to do what she believes is right, no matter what anyone else thinks. You don't want to miss it! Friday Jones is blindsided when her husband, Liam, decides he wants to take a break from their marriage.
Although he still keeps in contact with their two teenage daughters, the radio producer moves in with his bachelor brother Brad, and pursues his stand-up comedy dream. When Friday, a naturopath, heads off to regroup at a spa retreat, she certainly isn't expecting to find herself attracted to someone else. And with her friend, Rosie, signing her up for a dating website, soon Friday has more men on her plate than she can handle.
This continues Heidke's tradition of writing about women reaching a crossroads in their lives and provides a snapshot of a couple in crisis - caused by the wear and tear of domestic life. Fairly entertaining, fairly predictable. It's been several years since Dan and Sally, and their friend Chloe, survived the Boxing Day tsunami. Dan and Sally now have a little boy, Marcus, conceived in the disaster's aftermath - Dan is a stay-at-home dad while Sally is rarely home as she spends long hours working as a divorce lawyer. Chloe, who followed her father's footsteps into his medical practice, is single - after her long-term boyfriend dumped her when they returned from their life-changing experience in Phuket.
When she meets Seth, everyone including Chloe is hoping he may be The One. But there's something Seth hasn't been upfront about. And Sally is going to get caught up in an act of deception. Holly Collins is stuck in a telesales job she hates and it seems that nothing better is ever going to come along. That is until she is selected to appear on a reality show searching for the next modelling star. The show offers her the chance to really make something of her life but her boyfriend, James, isn't convinced by the whole reality TV spectacle and even Holly couldn't have predicted the direction her life would take off the back of the show.
I was looking forward to reading this book but it wasn't as I had expected. Firstly, only around a third of the novel is set in the New York of the title and it's not really as integral to the story as it would suggest. Secondly, I felt the modelling story was rather rushed and undeveloped. In essence, I felt that the two parts of the story - the modelling show and the New York story - could probably each command their own novels and as such both felt limited.
I also found Holly a hugely frustrating character and was never convinced by the question of James' betrayal. Having said all that, this is an easy, girly read, suitable if you're after something light and escapist. But for me there were too many gaps in the narrative. Poppy has lost her fiance Magnus' engagement ring - an heirloom that has been in his family for generations. Despite being a physiotherapist, she already feels considerably dim around his family of academics the reason you'll find footnotes in this book and now she has to avoid showing them her left hand until she can figure out a way to get the ring back.
To make matters worse, her phone - and lifeline - has been stolen. So when Poppy spots an abandoned phone, she borrows it. Discovering it belongs to businessman Sam, Poppy convinces him to let her keep the phone for a bit, promising to send on any messages to him.