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Book Review: Godmersham Park By Gill Hornby

Plot:

On 21 January 1804, Anne Sharpe arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent to take up the position of governess. At 31 years old, she has no previous experience of either teaching or fine country houses. Her mother has died, and she has nowhere else to go. Anne is left with no choice. For her new charge – twelve-year-old Fanny Austen – Anne’s arrival is all novelty and excitement.

The governess role is a uniquely awkward one. Anne is neither one of the servants, nor one of the family, and to balance a position between the ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ members of the household is a diplomatic chess game. One wrong move may result in instant dismissal. Anne knows that she must never let down her guard.

When Mr Edward Austen’s family comes to stay, Anne forms an immediate attachment to Jane. They write plays together, and enjoy long discussions. However, in the process, Anne reveals herself as not merely pretty, charming and competent; she is clever too. Even her sleepy, complacent mistress can hardly fail to notice.

Meanwhile Jane’s brother, Henry, begins to take an unusually strong interest in the lovely young governess . . .

And from now on, Anne’s days at Godmersham Park are numbered

Review:

I never realised this was Jane Austen’s friend until I read another review. So what I gathered is that this is loosely based on Jane’s acquaintances when I originally thought it was just Austen vibes.

Thank you to the publishers for this reading. The plot was interesting and very understandable for a classic type of novel in terms of getting into that era.

The novel focuses on Anne being a Governess to a teenager named Fanny Austen, who’s aunt is Jane Austen. Jane has a brother called Henry and that is when Anne becomes a little careless. The conversations she has with Jane are intriguing and feminist type of way.

The novel itself is well paced for the era it is portraying which is slower than today. It was a bit of an effort for me to read at times for this reason however the plot and writing style (and the cover too because it is just so elegant let us take a moment to appreciate this) it is a cozy read in this way.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: November 9 By Colleen Hoover

Plot:

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

Review:

Be aware this review is part rant and part spoiler.

Fallon used to be a small-role actor with an ass of a father. This random guy Ben pretends to be her boyfriend and so since then they have this magical ‘connection’ from just one day of kind of spending time together. So from here onwards they spend each year on this day together. The 2nd year is when things get steamy and she promises things when things get passionate then she has the cheek to take it all back and then:

‘It’s not something we planned’

Oh shut up Ben! He uses this as an excuse to go ahead and sleep with his dead brother’s wife.

Communicate you stupid man. He seems to think Fallon was not hurt at all last year. She was putting Herself first. You do not put a man first let alone some man you barely know! And yet, Ben uses this as an excuse to go ahead and do that? Why doesn’t he try to communicate how he feels towards her? What an idiot.

Both of these children do not know how to indicate and yet he is to be a father like figure?

SOME PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO LOOK AFTER CHILDREN! Just because one person does it doesn’t mean you can too,k some people are just stronger than others so stop trying to copy you imbecile sleeping with your dead brother’s wife, gross.

“There was no one there to tell me I would regret it some day”

Uhm how about yourself? Stop blaming other people and both take responsibility for your own actions!

Is Fallon really that silly? When she comes to find Ben’s script she becomes unsure and thinks he made up things when clearly he hasn’t.

Suicide. No one is responsible for making someone kill themselves. It’s the person themself that is selfish. Usually they are aware of the help around them however they do not care who they hurt as they only want to console themselves. How dare Ben even blame some asshole for his mother doing that to herself.

Overall, this novel’s plot is a little screwed up. I mean, immature boy sets fire to man’s house then he purposely seeks the man out and falls in love with the girl and helps her out of his guilt for nearly ending her life and then makes her promise to meet him every year? It is a little controlling.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: Note To Self By Anna Bell

Plot:

It’s never too late to follow your heart.

One summer’s day seventeen years ago Edie and Joel meet.
Their connection is instant and a friendship is born, although Edie can’t help but wish for more. But just as she builds up the courage to lay her heart on the line, one night changes everything…

Edie’s moved on from the heartbreak of years ago. So the last thing she expects to receive on her thirty-fifth birthday is an email… from her eighteen-year-old self. As more emails arrive, she starts to remember what – or rather who – she left behind.

Following her own advice, Edie heads back to the place where it all began, and finds her path unexpectedly crossing with Joel’s once more. Could this finally be their chance at love? Or are some things better left in the past?

Review:

I felt like this novel is full of life lessons. As you get older, even so little as a year you do tend to reflect on your behaviour, actions and so forth and question some decisions.

Edie finds herself in her thirties with an on-paper “successful life”. One day, she receives an email from the 18 year old version of herself.

Imagine having that actually happen to you, it really is like a movie and to reflect upon every stage of a great summer you had right before things took a difficult turn. How would it make you feel? Especially in this day and age where we went through a few years of the most toughness in terms of mainly everyone’s mental health at hand. We tend to reflect on the past and on great memories or sad memories of people that are no longer alive and so forth. But to constantly replay those moments means you will never be happy. So instead you focus on how your life came to be as it is today and what it can become.

One quote I really enjoyed:

“Looking back on the past and what might have been will only ever lead to heartbreak”

Even though this is a fictional book, the main character in a way is questioning her life and philosophy very lightly which I did really like in this novel.

“You shouldn’t talk yourself out of doing something just because it seems scary”

It was interesting to go on this journey and life lesson with Edie although it did reach a point where I am taking forever to finish a novel so if the details where a bit less it would have been an ultimate favourite as it was written in a way where I really enjoyed the life lessons she learned from young-adult version her.

Thank you to the publishers for sending me this in exchange for my honest review.

4/5 Stars

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Dessert: Banoffee Pie

Ingredients:

  • 250g Digestive biscuits
  • 100g / 1 cup Coconut Oil
  • 200g Dulce De Leche / Caramel (sometimes sold as caramel) (HALF a tin! Learned the difficult way do not use a full tin)
  • 2 bananas peeled and sliced
  • 300m whipping cream, whipped until soft peaks form
  • 3 table spoons of grated dark chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Place the biscuits into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the melted butter, mixing well to combine.
  2. Place the mixture into a lightly greased 20cm/8in loose-bottomed cake tin and press down into the base and up along the sides. Place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Spoon the dulce de leche over the biscuit base, and then cover with a layer of sliced bananas. Spoon the whipped cream on top and decorate with grated chocolate.
  4. Slice into wedges and serve.
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Book Review: The Boyfriend By Michelle Frances

Plot:

Amy is fiercely independent, with a high-powered career, a flat of her own and tight-knit friendships. But as she approaches her thirtieth birthday, she can’t help but rue the one thing she doesn’t have – a relationship.

When Amy comes round following a serious fall, she doesn’t remember anything from the last six months. Not even the week skiing at her aunt’s luxurious chalet in Val D’Isere with her mum and best friends to celebrate her birthday. And she certainly doesn’t remember being swept off her feet by the handsome Dr Jack Stewart . . .

Jack is the full package – charming, caring and devoted to Amy. Everyone is smitten with him, but as the week goes on, Amy begins to find Jack’s presence chilling. Is her broken mind playing tricks? Or is the perfect boyfriend really too good to be true?

Review:

Don’t bother reading if you want a real suspenseful novel. Why try for a mystery if isn’t going to be a good one? 

A bit unbelievable but full of suspense.
Amy wakes after an accident with amnesia and can`t remember the last six months not even her boyfriend Jack Stewart.
Her 30th birthday is due and her plan is to spend it with friends and her mam at her aunts ski lodge in Val d`Isere, unfortunately Jack can`t make it, but then he turns up at the lodge and things don`t seem right to Amy.

Lots of things that doesn`t make sense with Amy just after having a head injury, but the suspense keeps you reading.

It makes you wonder, why would you make up a fake boyfriend and carry on the charade and keeping track of all your lies like what is the point? Just be honest or get on with it.

Technically she did get what she deserved and Jack did teach her a lesson therefore I didn’t feel sorry for her in that aspect. I did feel sorry for Amy when her friends and mum wouldn’t listen to her at all without any proof. They would rather listen to a handsome stranger instead of someone they actually know.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: Lucie Yi Is Not A Romantic By Lauren Ho

Plot:

An ambitious career woman signs up for a co-parenting website only to find a match she never expected, in this unflinchingly funny and honest novel from the author of Last Tang Standing.

Management consultant Lucie Yi is done waiting for Mr. Right. After a harrowing breakup foiled her plans for children—and drove her to a meltdown in a Tribeca baby store—she’s ready to take matters into her own hands. She signs up for an elective co-parenting website to find a suitable partner with whom to procreate—as platonic as family planning can be.

Collin Read checks all of Lucie’s boxes; he shares a similar cultural background, he’s honest, and most important, he’s ready to become a father. When they match, it doesn’t take long for Lucie to take a leap of faith for her future. So what if her conservative family might not approve? When Lucie becomes pregnant, the pair return to Singapore and, sure enough, her parents refuse to look on the bright side. Even more complicated, Lucie’s ex-fiancé reappears, sparking unresolved feelings and compounding work pressures and the baffling ways her body is changing. Suddenly her straightforward arrangement is falling apart before her very eyes, and Lucie will have to decide how to juggle the demands of the people she loves while pursuing the life she really wants.

Review:

As usual an over hyped book does indeed do the opposite of its intention: It did disappoint. Although, one quote I 100% agree on:

“We definitely want our freedom. Just because we’re parents doesn’t mean our world should revolve around our kids… We don’t stop being who we were before parenthood”

Lucie Yi rambles on so much. She’s the type of soon-to-be-mum that makes me want to gag, roll my eyes and scream ‘YOU’RE A STUPID IDIOT’!

As a newly mum myself, you really do not need to bother with reading baby books. I read a few and boy where they a yawn and a waste of time. Instead of glamorising your fatness; enjoy your freedom instead of being a sad girl obsessing over two guys. Why did she even get into this arrangement with a rando she only just met when they never even tried living together etc. and the ONLY THING THEY HAVE IN COMMON IS THAT HE PUT A BABY IN HER !! She’s clearly still have feelings for her cheating and disgusting ex so from the start you can see how this novel is going to go. 

She claims she’s career driven. She wants the career however she didn’t choose one that suits a lifestyle, but I must say at least she has a job instead of being a lazy benefit person claiming working people’s money.

But, I will say that Collin does have some interesting points on how the foetus should be raised. And Lucie doesn’t seem to see the common sense in things. Is it a woman thing? Am I just so logical and women typically are stupid when they purposely get knocked up and then consider getting rid of it? Why would she get into this arrangement with Collin without talking about how they are raising it? Wasn’t that the purpose of this entire Co-Parenting thing from the site they met on? To talk about this stuff before she actually does go into this arrangement.

At least Lucie was considerate and aware of both her friends children situations she at least has a brain to ask her so called friends how they are doing with their new triplets. Some women do not even have such consideration once they are carrying a foetus as it’s all attention seeking. Seriously Lucie, get a grip and don’t be having a baby just because your old (late 30’s) and the others have one just to use as an attention seeking prop, she clearly values her career more when she is seeking to advance her career to be like Diana as she is hiding the whole pregnancy in the first place. By trying to help run an important business when she is pregnant does she not realise she is taking on a lot as she calls finishing at 8pm at work an early night. How does she expect to raise the baby with nannies yet at the same time doesn’t want it raised by them?  

Babies are for life, and if you don’t check in on those that already have one, you’re going to be going through a very tough time as you weren’t there for others during the toughest time it’s called fairness selfish being. 

This story was too predictable. Some catchy references however it was predictable and Lucie annoyed me so very much because of her silly ness. If the main character is intolerable it makes for a bad experience.

I received this novel in exchange for my honest review.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Guard By Kiera Cass

Plot:

Before America Singer met Prince Maxon . . .
Before she entered the Selection . . .
She was in love with a boy named Aspen Leger.

Don’t miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection trilogy. This brand new 64-page story begins just after the group of Selected girls is narrowed down to the Elite and is told from Aspen’s point of view. The Guard also features a teaser to The One, the thrilling conclusion to The Selection trilogy.

Review:

Review originally written in 2014. 

This is from the selection series (book 2.5)

I loved hearing from Aspen’s point of view. I don’t get why everyone is so against him. Him and America are each other’s first love and I appreciate the fact that they still love each other since they are each others first love. 

I just wished this novella was a bit longer.

4/5 stars

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Book Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Plot:

The Selection began with thirty-five girls. Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Review:

Review originally written in 2014. 

This is from the section series. I quite enjoyed this book however, I really felt heartbroken at times between the characters choices and I’m just waiting to find out what happens next in the next book! I still can not figure out which team I’m rooting for, at times I’d choose Aspin, at times it would be prince Maxon, I just can’t choose. However, I think we all know who she ends up with. Overall, good read.

3/5 stars.

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Book Review: The Bookshop On The Shore By Jenny Colgan

Plot:

A grand baronial house on Loch Ness, a quirky small-town bookseller, and a single mom looking for a fresh start all come together in this witty and warm-hearted novel by New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan.

Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her son Hari. She can barely afford the crammed studio apartment on a busy street where honking horns and shouting football fans keep them awake all night. If she doesn’t find a way out soon, Zoe knows it’s just a matter of time before she has a complete meltdown. On a whim, she answers an ad for a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands, which is about as far away from the urban crush of London as possible. It sounds heavenly!

The job description asks for someone capable of caring for three “gifted children”, two of which behave like feral wolverines. The children’s widowed father is a wreck, and the kids run wild in a huge tumbledown castle on the heather-strewn banks of Loch Ness. Still, the peaceful, picturesque location is everything London is not—and Zoe rises to the challenges of the job.

With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family—and her own…?

Review:

This novel centres around Zoe who is a single mum with no money living in London. Although I feel like she should have been more careful about who she sleeps with as he did come across as a inconsistent mess of a guy at least she has came a long way on her own. She doesn’t have a comfortable living situation so she takes her 4 year old son Hari who has never spoken a word, to Scotland.

Zoe works as a nanny in this mysterious castle type of home and the children are troublesome and the whole thing seems a bit odd.

However, I did think the novel was a bit long and the writing font should have been smaller as it made for slow reading which took away the nice feeling this novel had to offer.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Plot:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Review:

Review written originally in April 2014:

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book under a day as fast as this. I was hooked from the beginning and I absolutely loved it and cannot wait to read the second one in this trilogy which will probably be very soon! I fell in love with all the characters. However, the reason it’s not 5 stars is because at the beginning I found it a bit slow, was too eager for it to get to the main plot! I was partly upset with some of the prince’s actions in this selection but as it is a competition and that’s how it’s supposed to go. I really loved this book and I definitely recommend those who this kind of story it would interest to read it!

4/5 stars

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Book Review: Worst Idea Ever By Jane Fallon

Plot:

Georgia and Lydia are so close, they’re practically sisters.

So when Lydia starts an online business that struggles, Georgia wants to help her – but Lydia’s not the kind to accept a handout. Setting up a fake Twitter account, Georgia hopes to give her friend some anonymous moral support by posing as a potential customer.

But then Lydia starts confiding in her new internet buddy and Georgia discovers she doesn’t know her quite as well as she thought. Georgia knows she should reveal the truth – especially when Lydia starts talking about her – but she just can’t help herself.

Until Lydia reveals a secret that could not only end their friendship, but also blow-up Georgia’s marriage . . .

Georgia’s in too deep.

Review:

To sum up this novel: DO NOT HAVE A JEALOUS COW OF A BEST FRIEND – Only genuine ones!

Lydia is properly obsessed with Georgia’s husband secretly. Ignorant sad cow. Georgia and Lydia both do design stuff however Georgia is more lucky in life as she has everything, the family, the perfect-ish husband and a lifestyle of happiness that she WORKED HARD to have and maintain. So when she sees her best friend Lydia is still not really taking off in life, no boyfriends, no children and a shitty job but still, at least She has a job, whilst working on her sideline business so at least she is motivated. Lydia has the perfect single life type of Instagram whilst being very two faced to her friend.

Georgia sees Lydia is having a hard time and she has to CONSTANTLY DOWN PLAY her success to Lydia so she doesn’t get jealous. If you’re successful you shouldn’t need to lower yourself just because your so called ‘friend’ has always been so jealous of you when all you have tried to do was help her. It’s not Georgia’s fault that naturally better things happen to her and not much happens with Lydia.

“They are that rare breed; friends that are genuinely happy when things go well for you”

Lydia is trying to create a mess of Georgia’s life because she’s a jealous cow. Georgia was trying to help Lydia and that is what she gives in return? DISGUSTING. What a horrible friend Lydia was. This is why I am not friends with women much, too jealous and I am NOT for down playing MY success, I’d rather be successful than a lazy bitch with unsatisfactory silly excuses that are transparent.

I LOVED how this was written though, so relatable although I am smart enough unlike Georgia to see through bitches.

When you show your success or lifestyle, that is when you can see a person’s true colours. Not many are actually genuine, but it’s good when people appear out of your life randomly to be genuine people.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Briefly, A Delicious Life By Nell Stevens

Plot:

In 1473, fourteen-year-old Blanca dies in a hilltop monastery in Mallorca. Nearly four hundred years later, when George Sand, her two children, and her lover Frederic Chopin arrive in the village, Blanca is still there: a spirited, funny, righteous ghost, she’s been hanging around the monastery since her accidental death, spying on the monks and the townspeople and keeping track of her descendants.

Blanca is enchanted the moment she sees George, and the magical novel unfolds as a story of deeply felt, unrequited longing—the impossible love of a teenage ghost for a woman who can’t see her and doesn’t know she exists. As George and Chopin, who wear their unconventionality, in George’s case, literally on their sleeves, find themselves in deepening trouble with the provincial, 19th-century villagers, Blanca watches helplessly and reflects on the circumstances of her own death (which involves an ill-advised love affair with a monk-in-training).

Charming, original, and emotionally moving, this is a surprisingly touching story about romantic fixation and a powerful meditation on creativity.

Review:

The writing style was good, interesting chapter names as this was a unique element of this novel.

We are taken to Mallorca where this ghost has been stuck for so many years watching the lives of those that has came and gone. Has literally ‘entered’ their body to feel what they feel. The setting of this novel was unique although it did feel a bit creepy at times. There is a lot of potential with the family in where I think this novel could have explored more instead of being stuck in the same frame. Yet, at the same time the consistency was a bit wish-washy.

Usually a novel has a beginning, middle and an end. The middle is supposed to have the whole build up of something that needs to overcome however there really isn’t much going on.

The main story line the ghost follows in this novel is of this boy dressed looking woman named George who I really wasn’t interested in at all, her children and Chopin who I think is her friend? He is dying and composes music and the plot just seemed to drag so much.

Overall I need a novel that is actually moving forward as a novel is supposed to be. Plus, characters usually develop and grow however in this one nothing really happens.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts By Annie Darling

Plot:

A quaint old bookshop, where happy ever after is only a page away…

Once upon a time in a crumbling bookshop, Posy Morland hid in the pages of romantic novels.

So when Bookend’s eccentric owner, Lavinia, dies and leaves the shop to Posy, she must put down her books and join the real world. Because Posy hasn’t just inherited an ailing business, but also the attentions of Lavinia’s grandson, Sebastian, AKA The Rudest Man In London™.

Posy has six months to transform Bookends into the shop of her dreams but as Posy and her friends fight to save the bookshop, she’s drawn into a battle of wills with Sebastian, about whom she’s started to have some rather feverish fantasies…

Review:

Review written in January 2017:

First book I’ve read in a long time that I found just so perfect. I must admit I didn’t find this book as I normally find my books (via browsing on the internet)

I stopped by a bookstore and noticed the beautiful cover and it did entice me in. I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover but it is a good marketing strategy for it to be this pretty. Not only was the book ascetically pleasing but the plot seemed so perfect. 

A book lover that’s awkward inherits a cute little bookshop. In London but has the best of both living in a city but village like vibe where it was set!? Yes please. I loved all of the characters quirky ness and the humour they had. I just loved this book a lot and it’s not often I give books 5 stars. Check it out because you really won’t regret it. Also, if the author ever reads this, keep up the work.

5/5 stars

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Book Review: The GetAway Girls By Dee MacDonald

Plot:

Connie McColl is finally free to make her own decisions for the first time in decades. And when she meets glamorous Gill and downtrodden Maggie, at a rather dull flower arranging class, it seems that she’s not the only one dreaming of adventure. The three very different women all agree it’s about time they had a holiday to remember.

So they make a pact for this summer to be their best yet – and drive off into the sunset together…

As they meander their way along the beautiful beaches of France and onto the glorious delights of Italy in their luxury campervan, the new friends have plenty of fun and frolics in the sunshine. But the vacation isn’t quite what they expected…

Gill will do anything to have one last holiday romance, Connie has a surprise inheritance awaiting her in Italy, and Maggie has a secret that is going to catch up with them all…

In the end, all three women discover that the journey they thought would be their last really is just the beginning…

Review:

An unexpected tale of friendship, love and a new life start as each woman takes on this adventure without knowing each other much and coming at the end of summer with a new friendship and love for each other without any sort of jealously (don’t you just hate that when people are not truly happy for you and are completely envious of your life you worked hard to have? It’s called strategic living).

These elderly ladies have had their children and grandchildren and so forth. They unexpected meet at a floral arranging class when one of them needs to go on a trip to find more about her ancestors in Italy.

This novel it turns out is a follow up which you so wouldn’t know. In this novel we learn from three wonderful women that life does not end after a particular age. Connie goes ahead and purchases a camper van for this journey as she has a fear of planes.

The idea of this plot and its execution was very well done. As they travel through France we, the reader are taken on their road trip as well. With a lot of laugh out loud moments unexpected backgrounds from each of ladies this makes for an interesting novel that will have you wanting to be apart of it as well!

One thing I will say is just read it if you are wanting to be apart of an honest friendship journey as these ladies get to know each other whilst travelling. They truly have each other’s backs!

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender

Plot:

Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents’ marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude. When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.

Alexis wants to think that it’s all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening–to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she’s the only person who can stop Kasey — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore? 

Review:

Review originally written in 2014:

Bad Girls Don’t Die has this totally creepy cover, I love it! From the first time I saw it, I was intrigued. 

I think I had high expectations for this book. I wanted it to be creepy and super scary. I mean, antique dolls? – I was expecting doll heads twisting around, dolls walking and talking but I didn’t get any of that. I didn’t even get the creepy feeling I look forward to when reading these books. It could be that I read most of this book while laying at the beach, not the ideal place to read this type of book – I know. But even the occasional nights I did read some, I wasn’t freaked out or all that convinced that I was reading a “scary” book.

I do love the idea of a girl who collects dolls, then gets possessed by one – it’s neat and has potential to be great but unfortunately it wasn’t executed well in Bad Girls Don’t Die, in my opinion. I think the first few chapters were the best, if I’m being nice, but then the author seemed like she wanted to add a love interest to the story then almost forgot to take it anywhere, but the thought kept popping into the story. I found it a little all over the place to be honest. The writing was alright, I didn’t have enough to paint the story or see the characters (or dolls) come to life in my head.

Overall, the foundation of Bad Girls Don’t Die is there, but I think it needed to be built up a LOT more. Maybe I’m too old for these types of terrible immature writing for younger people? I mean I am seventeen and this book seems to be written for twelve year olds.

1/5 stars

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Book Review: A Little Something Different By Sandy Hall

Plot:

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….

Review:

Review originally written in 2014:

A Little Something Different was indeed something different. I enjoyed the 14 different view points for the majority of the book. The reason why I didn’t enjoy them entirely was because secondary objects and animals (particularly the squirrel) were used to tell parts of Lea and Gabe’s love story… I totally understand why those perspectives are there, but that doesn’t mean that I enjoyed reading unnecessary perspectives. I actually enjoyed connecting with Gabe and Lea’s friends and family more than reading about their love story. Especially the creative writing teacher. I also liked how a lot of the aspects of the story were on the cover, and how I could identify them while reading. Overall, this book was cute, short, and pretty swoon worthy.

1/5 stars.

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Book Review: Stargazer By Laurie Petrou

Plot:

Summer 1995. Diana and Aurelle are inseparable, living together in Diana’s parents’ cottage on the edge of the Rocky Barrens University campus, about to start freshman year. The strength of their bond is undeniable, if unexpected: Diana is a highly ambitious, socially awkward art student while Aurelle is a more likeable, more fragile literature student and the daughter of famous artist Marianne Taylor. Plus, despite having lived next door to each other their whole lives, the girls have only grown close in the last twelve months.

As the college year progresses, their relationship becomes increasingly unstable, as do the girls themselves, threatening to unravel due to the intense feelings and complicated circumstances that underlie their bond. Yet, the biggest threat is posed by a secret one girl is keeping…

The lines between love, envy and obsession blur in Laurie Petrou’s utterly enthralling, unceasingly tense second novel. A darkly compelling coming-of-age thriller, perfect for fans of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, or Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies.

Review:

Again, I liked the idea of this plot however it didn’t turn out to be as good as it was hyped up to be. This novel is about obsession, envy and friendship and beyond creepy at times. Claiming that Diana and Aurelle are the same person, sleeping and cuddling each other I was confused at if this was an obsession or lesbian attraction. I did feel like it dragged out a lot at times with the descriptions and so forth.

Why compare this to The Secret History? All the characters did was complain a lot and seemed to unhealthy need each other too much.

Although in this novel it has a dream style vibe- with the drugs and the highly privileged thing going on, like a female version of Bret Easton Ellis in my opinion if you are going to make any comparisons.

Stargazer is an enjoyable read that uses a dark vibes to explore the darker sides of female friendship and how such bonds can be toxic. Fans of this type of feeling will enjoy this kind of book more.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: Confess By Colleen Hoover

Plot:

Auburn Reed is determined to rebuild her shattered life and she has no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to become deeply attracted to the studio’s enigmatic artist, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is hiding a huge secret. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything Auburn loves most, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it—but can she do it?

Review:

Auburn Reed feels like she is a complete failure in life. Looking for a job, she runs into an Art Studio called “Confess.” There is a small box with the word “Confess.” This is where complete strangers can write their confessions in life, whether it is good or bad as anonymous. The artist, Owen Gentry, works at this studio and uses the confessions as inspiration to paint his paintings. He paints his paintings and sells them every month. Lucky for Auburn, Owen is in desperate need for a new worker to work at his studio…

One of the main reasons of why I liked this book was because of the confessions. It was so interesting because all the confessions were different. Everyone had a different problem or confession that the wanted to share. Sometimes, when people see their confession as a painting, they want to buy it, I mean who wouldn’t? Some of the confessions make me cringe while the others make me jump in excitement.

I liked Auburn but sometimes, I was really frustrated by her decisions. She didn’t follow her heart, she forced herself to do things she didn’t want to do. Plus, she was very naive. She trusted Trey even though she clearly had no feelings so this in itself is confusing to read or listen to. Owen, Emory and AJ are very colourful characters which make listening to Auburn a bit better.

Note about the audiobook: Saying Harrision is ‘Irish’ yet the accent in this audiobook came out as Scottish and NOTHING at all resembling an Irish accent is very embarrassing and annoying to listen to. Get your voice accents correct first.

The writing style was nicely paced. The plot was decent and completely different. I never saw things coming so I was really shocked when I finished the book. Listening to peoples confessions was the best part. although, if you want a realistic romance this book isn’t for you. I mean some of the things that Owen comes out with is cringe-worthy. No person would be that sappy to come out with those embarrassing words. Especially when you are in the middle of intimate matters.

That’s another thing, the intimate moments in this novel I really enjoyed how it was written. A lot of romance novels go into too much detail however in this novel it was nicely done.

3.5/5 Stars

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Book Review: One Way Ticket to Paris By Emma Robinson

Plot:

When I was a kid and I’d lost something, my dad always said ‘Go back to the place you last had it’. The problem is that what I’ve lost is… me.

Kate loves her family more than anything, but recently she has started to feel invisible. Lying awake at three a.m. as her husband snores, panicking about shopping lists, birthday parties, and the school bake sale…

She finds herself in the kitchen, gulping water, staring at a postcard of the Eiffel Tower from Shannon, her best friend.

Paris, with its red wine, slippery cobbles and curly lampposts. Where the scent of freshly-baked croissants hangs in the air, and Kate last remembers feeling like herself.

The postcard is a year old. It has just one line on it: When are you coming?

An inspiring, feel-good tale of friendship, love, and what happens when running away is the only way you can find your way home. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green and Marian Keyes.

Review:

Woman having a mid-life crisis of the same routine on repeat with a husband that doesn’t seem to understand she needs a break however she has not communicated this.

I listened to this audiobook last week and let me say this:

If you are going to have accents in a book why not do that particular person’s Thoughts in that accent as well?

There is 3 women’s situations mentioned in this and one of them is American. Every time she speaks out loud she is American however her thoughts are in an English accent which derails from this novel

These women never stop complaining and don’t seem to know how to open their big mouths! They have a lot of thoughts however they do not seem to understand you need to communicate.

The writing style is in a middle aged whiny voice for all of the characters.

At times I did find it funny and entertaining and it was realistic which I appreciate in a novel.

I don’t get why the main character  complains about not working when she’s the lazy b*tch that chose to have children so she didn’t need to get a job, well she uses that as an excuse and then she wonders why she complains so much. STOP BEING SO LAZY AND GET OFF YOUR BUTT. If you aren’t going to be a good mum then just shh. No excuse to not have any sort of job.

By the end there are happy ever afters in all of their mid-life situations. I do not want to give much away as it can be predictable from then onwards.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon

Plot:

A year ago, Bronte left Sydney for a wedding in England, where she met newly single Alex. After one amazing night together they parted ways.

Now working on the picture desk for a glossy magazine in London, Bronte is about to meet a new colleague – who turns out to be all too familiar. Alex is now engaged, but the memory of the spark they felt when they met hasn’t died. As Alex’s wedding day looms, it is clear that he and Bronte have unfinished business…

Review:

Review originally written in December 2018:

I found myself getting bored with this Paige Toon novel. I felt as if it did drag for the first two thirds of the novel. It felt a bit been there done that, it did not grasp my attention as much despite it’s lovely but bland plot. 

It is interesting though, how I can love one book of Toon’s and be completely bored by the next. For a writer her novels can be … a bit all the same. 

Bronte, the main character was very naïve and selfish, I did not enjoy that she lead characters on. There was no build up in this novel as one is supposed to have properly. 

Lachie, a character that flirts with everything that moves barely an inch. Trying to build chemistry that was clearly not there. 

Alex, well he is engaged to someone else, that says it all. 

Writers usually are more creative and inventive however a good chunk of Toon’s novels are the exact same recipes with a new icing flavour as a new novel; some are good, some are a hit and miss. The main character was too conflicted throughout the novel to make a decision. It gets boring after a short while. But for majority of the book? Not the best.  

2/5 stars

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Sunday Breakfast

Sunday Breakfast
  • Pancakes made from scratch using 2 Eggs, 100g Flour 200ml Almond Milk (Unsweatened) and a dash of Salt
  • Boiling 1 egg for approximately 20 minutes on medium
  • Fresh strawberries and banana chopped
  • some baking equipment to cut the pancakes into shapes
  • Dash of cinnamon and decimated coconut flakes

Voila!

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Book Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Plot:

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more — though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was — lovely and amazing and deeply flawed — can she begin to discover her own path in this stunning debut from Ava Dellaira, Love Letters to the Dead.

Review:

Review originally written in 2014:

This book I loved as it reminded me of the perks of being a wallflower. Yes I know they are not the same however they have similar qualities. 

Love Letters to the Dead is a book written in the form of letters that the protagonist Laurel has to write to dead people as part of her school assignment. This format is easy and so much fun to read because it is something different and makes the reading experience very interesting and refreshing. Author Ava Dellaira does a smashing job with the writing. It is so clean and poetic. What adds to the beauty of it is lines borrowed from various poems and an absolutely beautiful original poem that marks the end of a story which is exactly how I like my stories to be- disturbing, sad and simply astounding. If that isn’t enough, most of the letters are addressed to famous musicians that practically the entire world has heard of which makes music, in a very hidden and somber way, an integral part of the book. 

From a few incidents that Laurel narrates to the people she writes her letters to, I could make out what the issue with her was and I was right about it and that contributes in making the story predictable. But the way in which the story was executed and presented was simply gorgeous. Besides, Laurel’s issues weren’t the only focus. The people around her- her dad, her mom, her sister, her friends, her love interest- each one had some issue or the other and it was the sense of togetherness that they shared, in sadness and in happy days, that made the story so touching. I have avoided speaking of the story and I really don’t wish to change my mind at this point. But for me- and this is for the reader to find out how and why- the book is not just about Laurel, it’s about her sister May and her friends Hannah and Natalie. 

There were some aspects to it, like the predictability of the story, the importance given to characters whose absence wouldn’t had made much of a difference, the focus on how things should be rather than how they actually are and a natural submission of women to male domination, what makes this book so interesting is how real it is. And reality, as cruel as it might be, is reality and it hits straight in the face. The fact that it had just been a really long time since I actually read a great book made me put aside these minute negatives and made me admire Love Letters to the Dead a lot and I’m glad I read it. It wasn’t extraornidary, yes, but it has definitely and undoubtedly made it to the list of the few books that I actually liked reading so far in 2014.

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Book Review: Say Her Name by James Dawson

Plot:

Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of ‘Bloody Mary’: say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear… But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror… five days… but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before… A truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from shortlisted ‘Queen of Teen’ author James Dawson.

Review:

Review originally written in 2014:

First off I thought this would be an excellent book from the reviews and the plot. I disliked the characters immediately. It was a fairly quick read.

When I read horror, I want two things – either genuinely scary, scares-the-canolli-out-of-me stories or something plain gory and fun. Unfortunately, Say Her Name was neither. Instead of being a fun slasher which I was expecting, it was a complete snooze fest. And the writing style was pretty lack-luster and it was written in an immature style for when it comes to horror books which made my attention drift. If I could in would give this zero stars.

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Book Review: Friend Request By Laura Marshall

Plot:

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria – or whoever’s pretending to be her – is known to all.

Review:

Overall, it was okay but I did find it a bit repetitive and depressing.

What really attracted me about this novel was the social media element. Although I felt the main character did go on a bit too much. I mean, someone from the dead is adding you now 20 or so years later, obviously it’s spam but she properly obsessed over it. I felt compared to other suspense and thriller type novels that I have read that this one in comparison did not do it for me. It’s meant to give you that feeling of ‘Oooh I must find out more’ but sadly this did not do that for me.

I agree with others that this novel did have promise with the social media element however the plot compared to the entire novel did not love up to it for me.

I found it to be very sad the things these ‘children’ did when they were almost adults. I get it, you go with the flow but I wish she had more since than that.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: Walking Back to Happiness By Lucy Dillon

Plot:

A delightful new novel from the author of “Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts.”

Juliet’s hiding from her feelings about the recent loss of Ben, the love of her life. If it weren’t for having to walk Ben’s loyal dog, Minton, she’d never leave their half-finished house. Then her mother asks her to take her elderly lab, Coco, along. One dog leads to another, and soon Juliet’s the unofficial town pet-sitter. And when she takes on a lonely spaniel, and gets to know its attractive owner, she realizes that her emotions aren’t as easy to handle as her canine charges..

Review:

I like how both sisters think – how Lucy has portrayed their similarities with their thinking process of ‘should I? Yes let’s do it’ 

I love how Juliet refers to her pet sitting as a ‘lending library of pets’. 

The book is portraying the grievance of Juliet’s late husband therefore it comes across as she is always very sad and has her routine of not really wanting to leave the house.

Her mother Diane tries to push her slightly. Her neighbours realise what she is going through and they try chatting to her. I find all the characters so thoughtful and caring towards Juliet. 

I find that Juliet isn’t appreciative. I wish she would see that her sister does want to make amends, and that she isn’t out to boost especially during a time like this. 

I love the theme of dogs and animals and I love how their portrayed in this novel! It’s the first novel I’ve read by Dillon and I’ve only heard great things involving dogs with all of Lucy’s novels! 

I love the character development of both sisters, Diane, Loucan, Emer, Mark/Michael and seeing how they affect Juliet’s life and everyone’s growing together and on their own. I love how referring to their dogs is how they get on a date. 

This book has not been a let down. However, towards the end I didn’t like the build up to the plot it was leading to. As well as the last 100 pages felt rambled. Just my opinion.

4/5 stars

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Book Review: The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

Plot:

Caught between loyalties, the mother of the Tudors must choose between the red rose and the white.

When Henry Tudor picks up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth field, he knows he must marry the princess of the enemy house—Elizabeth of York—to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades.

But his bride is still in love with his slain enemy, Richard III—and her mother and half of England dream of a missing heir, sent into the unknown by the White Queen. While the new monarchy can win power, it cannot win hearts in an England that plots for the triumphant return of the House of York.

Henry’s greatest fear is that somewhere a prince is waiting to invade and reclaim the throne. When a young man who would be king leads his army and invades England, Elizabeth has to choose between the new husband she is coming to love and the boy who claims to be her beloved lost brother: the rose of York come home at last.

Review:

Review originally written in October 2014:

A majority of this novel focuses on the Warbeck rebellion and the author can’t even decide what to call him. This leaves the reader inundated with references to “the boy”, incessantly, until it will seep into your nightmares. Just call him Richard or Perkin for heaven’s sake! Besides the fact that this “boy” is well beyond what is considered an age of majority and the age that his alleged father was king and battle seasoned warrior. I almost stopped reading, but forced myself to persevere for dear Elizabeth’s sake until she met her end.

I had hoped for better, had longed for somebody to do poor Elizabeth some justice. No characterization of her that I have read has honored this woman who bridged the gap between the Plantagenet and Tudor dynasties. 

Near the beginning of this book, Elizabeth thinks, “I am, like England itself, part of the spoils of war.” I loved this line and its simple, sad truth. It got my hopes up that the rest of the novel would be as beautifully written, that Gregory would surprise me. She didn’t.

Before turning too many pages I was sick of hearing Richard III referred to as “my lover.” I don’t even mind that PG decided to make EofY and RIII lovers. Fine, it’s fiction. Whatever. But she’s a writer, right? Exercise that vocabulary a little!

If only that was the only example of repetitious, eye-roll inducing, make-me-want-to-throw-this-book-out-the-window vocabulary. Perkin/Richard is always “the boy”, RIII is always “my lover”, everyone keeps asking “what d’you think/mean”, and Elizabeth’s answer to every question is always “I don’t know”. Seriously, I have no idea why this is told from her point of view because the girl never knows anything. To emphasize the fact that she is as slow as her cousin, Edward, she frequently repeats what people tell her in the form of a question, creating some of the least compelling dialog that I have ever read. Dialog is repeated, thoughts are repeated, everything is repeated. The novel could be 100 pages shorter if the author wasn’t so condescending to the reader.

1/5 stars. 

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The Girl On the 88 Bus By Freya Sampson

Plot:

When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, broken-hearted and with her life in tatters, the first person she meets on the bus is elderly pensioner Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 he met a girl on the number 88 bus with beautiful red hair just like her own. They made plans for a date at the National Gallery, but Frank lost the ticket with her number written on it.

For the past sixty years, he’s ridden the same bus trying to find her. Libby is inspired by the story and, with the help of an unlikely companion, she makes it her mission to help Frank’s search. As she begins to open her guarded heart to strangers and new connections, Libby’s tightly controlled world expands.

But with Frank’s dementia progressing quickly, their chance of finding the girl on the number 88 bus is slipping away. More than anything, Libby wants Frank to see his lost love one more time. But their quest also shows Libby just how important it is to embrace her own chances for happiness – before it’s too late.

A beautifully uplifting novel about how one chance meeting can change the course of your life.

Review:

Who knew a small idea from passing conversation would lead to a fantastic read?

From the beginning of this novel we are taken to 1962 where this man Frank at the age of 22 meets this vibrant woman. He was to meet her but he has lost his ticket. Of course he moves on with life however he always goes back to riding that bus in the hopes of finding her. When one day he bumps into this woman that looked like her, Libby. He retells this story of how this beautiful young lady had helped change the course of his life and he would love to thank her for it.

Libby, having a not so good time of life as it is herself has decided to help him find her and we get to be lucky enough to go along with them in this journey!

The beginning of this novel had automatically captured my attention. Not only is the plot unique, cute and interesting but the writing style is so warm and easy to read and follow where you would want to read it all day if you could.

Libby comes across a range of diverse characters, her sister Rebecca develops as a person, slightly that is. And the others she meets (I don’t want to give too much away) but it’s no surprise the way situations unfold to make life that extra bit complicated for Libby. This novel did have my eyes water in particular scenes towards the end. I really could not stop reading this. Hearing Peggy’s story and her narrative as well in the odd random chapter was that extra bit of colourful ness you love to have in a novel. They where so close and I thought this novel was going to be 100% predicable however it had a nice twist.

When it comes to giving birth I swear I must think in the traditional / correct way because from my experience it actually is 110% spot on. This quote in this novel:

“You yougers these days are so used to planning and controlling everything, and you approach giving birth in the same way, with your books and birth plans and all that malarkey. It’s nonsense (LOL proved to be very true! Thank god I never bothered with much of that)

Well, you can forget all that right now. A baby’s gonna come the way a baby wants to come, and there’s not much you can do besides lie back and let Mother Nature do her work”

Praise be indeed. Spot on advice.

I enjoyed this novel immensely with the way it is written, even the annoying characters such as Simon as it does help Libby to grow throughout this novel. A realistic novel with a realistic heart felt novel that will keep you wanting to know more!

Thank you to the publishers for sending me this novel in exchange for my honest review.

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Plot:

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

Review:

Review originally written in October 2014:

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a fantastic book that I read in about one sitting. I just did not want to put the book down and was so intrigued by how different it was. I’m really into YA Contemporary books and this was incredibly enjoyable! I never would have thought a book about a teen dying from cancer could actually manage to be funny but… it did. Pretty dark humour at times but it certainly made me laugh out loud which is a serious accomplishment, I love any book that can actually make me laugh.

The first half of this novel was really funny like proper funny I really was laughing out loud. I care for the characters and I don’t think I have read a book that’s made me laugh so much. And Greg. Unusual character but I loved him his personality was so unique and makes me wish he was my best friend. 

I wanted to know more about him! What I loved most was how he was just honest. He doesn’t sugar coat his thoughts. He just tells it like it is and I loved him for it. Greg is definitely not a popular kid and really only has his one friend, Earl, for company. He’s pretty much just trying to get through high school without drawing any attention to himself.

Rachel has cancer. Greg’s mom decides Rachel needs a friend so Greg is pushed into hanging out with her. He’s reluctant and not afraid to say it. He’s not really friends with Rachel but feels an obligation now since she’s so sick. I liked that Greg was honest about how he just didn’t want to do this (who would? it’s a sad situation to put yourself in!) but he still went in open minded and definitely learned a thing or two.

Greg’s just hilarious. He’s honest and raw and tells his tale (and Rachel’s) so well. Some parts were just so sad! Greg tried to stay detached from the situation but you could tell it was killing him too. He talks about how he just hates talking about this. Greg has a no-nonsense attitude towards life and makes some pretty funny observations. This isn’t your regular YA book about dying kids and I liked that. It focused far more on Rachel as a person than on her disease. Most YA books seem to have female protagonists so this was a refreshing novel told through the eyes of a witty guy just trying to make a girl happy. I highly recommend it.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Great Alone By Kristin Hannah

Plot:

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

Review:

I found this novel a bit difficult to read throughout the majority of it. I wondered how would women actually tolerate these sort of men that abuse them. But I did try so hard to understand as the year was 1974. Thank god I did because this novel turned out to make my eyes water towards the end. It was so well written. Even though at times I thought how stupid the women where or some of the decisions they made throughout.

So, the actual story itself involves this wife Cora, husband Ernt and their 13 year old daughter Leni. They head to Alaska because Ernt came back from the War and hasn’t been right since. Yeah, that’s the only reason, sure. Anyway, he goes shit-crazy and doesn’t seem to have any logic or reasoning at all and seems to think they need to live in cave like days for the rest of their lives. Why make your life more difficult than it has to be? When a friend they made, Tom Walker starts to change things for the better that is when the shit hits the fan as the saying goes. He properly goes crazy by locking the girls in their homes trying to trap them there forever. We get it, you’ve been to war but don’t abuse women or anyone for that matter and become so controlling!

Then life progresses for all of them and eventually they grow to develop their more logical reasoning and begin to see their mistakes. I did enjoy the friendships made in Alaska and how friendly they all where it was the best element of this novel I feel.

By the end, Leni has somehow grew up and survived living with a mentally de-ranged father and a mother who was incapable of protecting her child, or herself. She wasn’t a good role model accepting that sort of behaviour so of course Leni the more reasonable one here did not and could not ever leave her mother behind. Some of the scenes between these two (I listened to the audiobook) proper made me go ‘aww’ or my eyes start to water a good bit as they both realise their mistakes and their sorrows are spoken about.

This is a story of hardship and overcoming it along with the love that can be received in friendships and those around that have become more. Even though I did not like the characters decisions, by the end I have come to really enjoy it.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Club By Ellery Lloyd

Plot:

Everyone’s Dying to Join . . .

The Home Group is a glamorous collection of celebrity members’ clubs dotted across the globe, where the rich and famous can party hard and then crash out in its five-star suites, far from the prying eyes of fans and the media.

The most spectacular of all is Island Home—a closely-guarded, ultraluxurious resort, just off the English coast—and its three-day launch party is easily the most coveted A-list invite of the decade.

But behind the scenes, tensions are at breaking point: the ambitious and expensive project has pushed the Home Group’s CEO and his long-suffering team to their absolute limits. All of them have something to hide—and that’s before the beautiful people with their own ugly secrets even set foot on the island.

As tempers fray and behavior worsens, as things get more sinister by the hour and the body count piles up, some of Island Home’s members will begin to wish they’d never made the guest list.

Because at this club, if your name’s on the list, you’re not getting out

Review:

About 40 pages in is when this novel actually begins. Until then, it’s employees thoughts on the island which can be confusing as there’s no structure how how they interrelate for it to link together.

One thing I will say is that I would so want taken off the VIP list for The Club Home. It went into a lot of ramblings about everyone’s point of view and it just made you eye-roll. The pace of the plot didn’t really move much and I felt the characters of those that worked at the club, in particular Annie was over written. Everyone just judged everyone and put on a false face. Bitchiness is not my kind of novel. I did enjoy the mystic element of the novel to begin with however that novelty wore off as soon as we dived into it.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Murder On The Links By Agatha Christie

Plot:

When Hercule Poirot and his associate Arthur Hastings arrive in the French village of Merlinville-sur-Mer to meet their client Paul Renauld, they learn from the police that he has been found that morning stabbed in the back with a letter opener and left in a newly-dug grave adjacent to a local golf course.

Among the plausible suspects are Renauld’s wife Eloise, his son Jack, Renauld’s immediate neighbor Madame Daubreuil, the mysterious “Cinderella” of Hasting’s recent acquaintance, and some unknown visitor of the previous day–all of whom Poirot has reason to suspect. Poirot’s powers of investigation ultimately triumph over the wiles of an assailant whose misdirection and motives are nearly–but not quite–impossible to spot.

Review:

In this particular Agatha Christie novel, it focuses on the millionaire Mr Renauld who writes to Hercule Poirot for assistance as he fears for his life. Poirot automatically travels to him however Mr. Renauld is already dead; stabbed in the back, literally.

Poirot delivers yet again. He begins to use his ‘grey cells’ to solve the murder and detests anyone who does not follow order and method. Hastings is not as silly in this novel when it comes to his theory’s therefore he’s slightly improved although not by much.

I did enjoy it and appreciate that Poirot did not put down Hastings as much in this. Although at times it did ramble on with theories but by the end it was much enjoyed as it finally crapped up.

This would have gotten 5 stars from myself if it wasn’t for the fact that Hastings and his ‘love’. Just give over, anyone that goes on about ‘love’ too much is clearly for show or infatuation and cough cough IT JUST WON’T LAST, IDIOTS LOL.

It was very annoying how this element was played out. Why bring love into this mystery novel? It was fine as it was without this annoying element which did not suit this particular novel.

Other than that, everything else about this novel was very well written and kept me turning the page.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Weather Girl By Rachel Lynn Solomon

Plot:

Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.

In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.

Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

Review:

This novel for the most part was a decent read. After 80% that is when it went downhill so lets start with the positives. Ari is a Jew, and feels the need to mention this throughout. I found this interesting because it was different sure. She tells the weather, reads from a script on what the weather is going to be like, that is it in a nutshell, if you like talking about the weather so be it but don’t act like your higher above everyone else. Her boss is Torrance and lately she’s been a bitch. Also, she was obsessed with Torrance when she was younger as she clearly has mummy issues and keeps trying to see everyone as her desired mum. Anyway, Torrance and Seth where married and recently broke up so the work environment has been hell. Somehow Ari and the Sports guy Russell come together to literally do the ‘parent trap movie’ on them. They become closer and so do the other two in this process.

When Ari discovers Russell has a kid she becomes so selfish as she is like what am I supposed to do I’ve never been around someone with one can I even do this and so forth. It’s not hers so stop making it a big issue jeez. Then, she starts to want a kid herself and thinks about it and everything – YOU HAVE TO BE IN A STABLE RELATIONSHIP FIRST GIRL! She becomes so obsessed with the idea of wanting her own when she was only either single or going out with Russell for a few weeks.

At least the sex scenes weren’t as graphic as other books though.

When Ari says about depression ‘I can’t control it’

Making it all about her when every person on earth has some form of mental “disability” as it’s classified as. I did understand and appreciate her to begin with although towards the last 2 hours of this audiobook she really began to annoy me as she made it all about her and the behaviour that came across was the whole “poor me I have depression you can’t handle that” and she isn’t even giving Russel a chance as she made it all about her and getting too paranoid instead of calming down. It’s as if she’s purposely trying to self sabotage on purpose by letting her mouth continue to ramble on about negative crap. Like towards the end she is going insane by blurting her negativity out. It’s called control. You do not let the rambling negative thoughts out or let them get you down. I used to be like this however as you begin to age and gain maturity you usually know better.

But to act as if it is all about you especially when you have had your own upbringing let me tell you something ; everyone has their hardships one way or another so stop making it all about yourself!

Russell has a kid and She doesn’t know if she can handle going out with a guy that has a kid? Seriously? It’s not as if she can do it! Everyone has frigging depression so stop being so selfish and learn to control elements of it! It’s life. It doesn’t make One person in particular special. You experience All Emotions of Every sort at some points in daily life or throughout your life and it is literally about accepting it and letting each emotion pass as any councillor would tell you. You have to accept your moods and know that they will eventually pass.

Yes! Exactly the councillor was on point as I listened to the rest of the recording. I felt myself going Yes! On point with her as she was being a selfish idiot.

Is Ari that stupid she expected Russell to message her after that silly argument? Why would one go and continue to annoy an angry dog if it was angry when you last dealt with it? Your reaction if you want to have peace that is, would naturally be to stay away and give it space until it’s calm again.

Overall, this book was nothing too special. It was a warm-ish read for the most part until I realised that Ari is very selfish and thinks the world revolves around her. We get it, your needs are important but stop shoving it down everyone’s throat. Also, as an author their books are their children yes as they created this entire world so you do not need to keep on mentioning how special it is to you as great and more famous authors don’t go on and on about their many novels.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: Strictly Business By Ruth Cardello

Plot:

I just found out I have an identical twin. Wasn’t looking for one. Would have preferred to not have one, but here we are. We have nothing in common. I was adopted by a successful businessman who raised me to see life as a game and gave me the skills to win it. Him? He is about to lose his family’s farm. You heard me—farm.

Lucky for him, I’m a firm believer that when it comes to family, no one goes to battle alone. I’m in. I’ve switched lives with him and will use every business trick I know to save his farm.

However, my initial plan did not take into account a drop-dead gorgeous oil rep or the secrets I uncover about my brother. And worst of all, I’m starting to like the farm and all its inhabitants. I can’t stop thinking about that oil rep. This will definitely take longer to resolve than anticipated.

Review:

The main character does indeed come across as an ass with how he behaves and treats animals as he did not seem to know much or care much about them.

Like others, I did not see what the entire logic is in this lustful meeting when Jesse switches places with Scott in order to get rid of the oil rep who actually used his niece to do it for him. She appears to be ‘hot’ but she acts like a nerd so you can see how the plot from a glance sounds interesting however I found there to be no logic, not much thought was written in this as you are just left kind of confused at their first encounters for them to feel that way towards each other. It is as if the author has presumed we should already know when in reality authors need to take the reader through each step in how they got so lustful towards each other. I mean, is that not the best part, the journey of how they even became attracted to each other? Yet this novel just skips out on it which is disappointing.

I did try to enjoy this, I just can’t lie about a poorly written piece of work.

Thank you to the publishers for this novel in exchange for my honest thoughts.

1/5 Stars

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Book Review: Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

Plot:

Nora’s life is about to get a rewrite…

Nora Hamilton knows the formula for love better than anyone. As a romance channel screenwriter, it’s her job. But when her too-good-to work husband leaves her and their two kids, Nora turns her marriage’s collapse into cash and writes the best script of her life. No one is more surprised than her when it’s picked up for the big screen and set to film on location at her 100-year-old-home. When former Sexiest Man Alive, Leo Vance, is cast as her ne’er do well husband Nora’s life will never be the same.

The morning after shooting wraps and the crew leaves, Nora finds Leo on her porch with a half-empty bottle of tequila and a proposition. He’ll pay a thousand dollars a day to stay for a week. The extra seven grand would give Nora breathing room, but it’s the need in his eyes that makes her say yes. Seven days: it’s the blink of an eye or an eternity depending on how you look at it. Enough time to fall in love. Enough time to break your heart.

Filled with warmth, wit, and wisdom, Nora Goes Off Script is the best kind of love story–the real kind where love is complicated by work, kids, and the emotional baggage that comes with life. For Nora and Leo, this kind of love is bigger than the big screen.

Review:

First, what is with the purposely incorrect emphasis on words? Such as “sur-prised”? At first I thought this was for emphasis but then it just started happening in random places throughout the novel.

Nora writes movie scripts for the tacky romance channel. It’s like the Christmas movies the ones with the same annoying plot that play over and over again. So this movie she wrote is based on her husband leaving her and she had no reaction at all as she found them drifting apart.

Why would you be with a man who is a LEECH? Living off his wife’s income and then divorcing and doesn’t want to see his own children. Why would you be with a man that complains about his children having extra circular activities? Especially when it’s with your money that you earned? And paying for his luxury lifestyle? Literally you’d have to be an idiot or a mug that was just desperate to hold onto anything that breathed. And then to have no reaction when you broke up.

Is Nora even human? Does she have any emotions?

The emphasis thing got very annoying. I mean writing “Manhat-tan” do you have a pronouncation error? As this is not mentioned in her character at all which makes for poor reading.

Anyway, Leo a film star lives with her for a week because that is SO realistic. Right after they finished filming in her house.

Also, another unrealistic point is that if you’re making a film and using only one location to film the entire thing, and the novel did state that these films are two hour films – you cannot possibly make a decent film within less than 7 days. It takes over 12 hours to make only a few scenes for a decent film I should know, doing acting and everything. Also, this novel claims to be ‘real love’ hardly real and not very realistic which is a fact.

This novel was very unrealistic and too fairy tale like with a non-emotional main character who loved to judge people and with the emphasis on the writing it was a bit meh for me. Considering my knowledge and my need for good grammar written novels, this was not my cup of tea despite the plot seeming interesting at first glance.

The publishers have sent me this novel in exchange for my honest review.

1/5 Stars

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Book Review: The House In The Cerulean Sea By TJ Klune

Plot:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Review:

At the start of this novel I got Lemony Snicket vibes. I think this was a TikTok book? It came up under a recommendation list and for once they actually had a book I enjoyed so much.

As I listened to this audio book (RECOMMEND SO MUCH, the voices of all the characters are just perfectly done. I’ve laughed out loud, my eyes have watered, I went aww so many times throughout this.

The characters are all so unique so this definitely needs to be a movie it really does have all the features to be one.

The little children have been through so much and to have Author and Zoe looking after them now was just heartwarming.

I wasn’t sure about this novel initially as it was classified as a ‘contemporary fantasy’.

This novel is written in a way where it would suit a younger reader as in teenagers I think however it also read in a way where you would be able to enjoy it at any age.

All of the children were so unique and funny. They had so much personality and mature views of life for their age. This book had some life philosophy lessons throughout as well, in particular one of the many quotes I enjoyed:

“Why can’t life work whatever way we want it to? What’s the point of living if you only do it as others want you to”

I was not bored or annoyed with any aspect of the writing style and such hence my rating. The only annoying things would have been of course the people that where against these little children. They are children, it does not matter what they are they are the innocent. It’s the adults that shape them and are a result of the adults parenting styles. For example, at times they were not allowed in shops and I was thinking seriously? That is like saying you are refusing to serve a black, gay, disabled, the list goes on. It was discrimination and against children. Just because they had extreme powers to do harm does not mean they are going to use them. It is like they are brainwashed (the idiots that is) to going with the flock without actually seeing the logic or common sense in it. You would literally have to be an idiot to not serve particular people.

The writing style of these unique and young children where so well-written, so Thank You TJ for creating a novel for all ages to enjoy. Plus, it mentions different sexual orientations which of course is appreciated especially when it hasn’t been too focused on in a novel (things like this that are over focused I find annoying). Every topic within this novel was written well and had enough focus within it.

Everyone that I’ve seen read this has been right where the novel leaves you wanting to find out more to continue living in this unique island. In particular all of the children are very cute and interesting. Lucy and Chauncey where just adorable in their personalities and views. Oh, the things they have said would definitely make you laugh out loud.

I really hope this gets turned into a movie and gets even more recognition than it currently already has. The author T.J Kline definitely makes this novel shine and I love the imagination and effort he has put into this.

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: Pride and Prejudice By Jane Austen

Plot:

Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work “her own darling child” and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.” The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen’s radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.

Review:

Finally done reading this. It was well-written don’t get me wrong but it was SO LONG! And the pace was very slow that not much happens. Why is this over-rated?

When it comes to classic books it does not matter if you are familiar with the language it will still take forever to read compared to reading for example, this review where everything is written simply and direct whereas classic language like to sugar coat everything as that’s how much they had back in those particular days.

So lets get to it. Great social commentary diving into the economic positions of women back in the 19th century of mums such as Mrs Bennett who is very desperate to get the best possible men for all of her children especially the older children. Jane is the perfect goddess daughter, we get it, don’t need to repeat it so much.

The ramblings of Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy and their bitchy sisters where very tiresome as it wasted a lot of my time reading it. Funny at times though.

Don’t be so naive is my point in this read. ‘Love’ does not need to be big gestures. Or, in today’s day and age writing ‘Love you’ or tacky posts of couples on Social Media is cringy. Why do you need to declare it if this is the real case? Social Media is fake therefore by casting your personal relations 24/7 it is actually not showing love, it is in-fact showing that you feel as if you have a point to show something that isn’t there compared to simply living contently within the middle. It is actual vomit at cases where they need to be declared like this or anything to do with any sorts of personal relations.

Elizabeth can be seen as picky and too choosy by her mother. However she doesn’t actually say why she doesn’t want or seek particular men, she does not actually seem to comprehend the fact of what lays ahead of her based on her decisions therefore in that case that makes her silly. She isn’t independent or anything like that especially in that century where you literally had to depend on a man otherwise you will be living in the gutter.

As for Darcy, he is an ass. Why is everyone obsessed with him? Not very good at communicating and I felt she did like him however she loved to bitch about him which made me eye roll so much.

Overall, it’s overrated. So I’ll give the other reads of Austen a try to see if she rambles less.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: Family Of Liars By E. Lockhart

Plot:

The prequel to We Were Liars takes readers back to the story of another summer, another generation, and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come.

A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts.
A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow.
A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy.
A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.

Welcome back to the Sinclair family.
They were always liars.

Review:

I was excited to read this as I read the original (We Were Liars) back when it was first released in 2014 wow you would not think it’s been almost a decade! I loved the first novel when I was younger however upon re-reading it perhaps as an adult that’s why my thoughts have changed.

The second novel followed in a similar manner to the first therefore to get the full overview – even though this is like a prequel you still have to read the first novel released first in order to understand it.

I was excited to see how the Liars parents grew up as the elders / previous generations always have a more scandalous past than their children.

So this novel takes a step back in telling a story that is mesmerising in its own unique world. The language and how it is written is due to the nature of the Sinclair family and how they were raised (Mainly by Tipper and his values and beliefs)

This novel takes a step back to when Carrie Sinclair (Mother of Johnny, one of the side characters in We Were Liars) spends her summers on Beechwood, particularly when she was 17 when the main events happen.

The story begins to pick up when ‘The Boys’ came to the island. If you are looking for a read of holiday vibes thats plot doesn’t move too much or much happens then this is the perfect read. I am at a phase where I need a more interesting plot at a faster pace. I think this suits younger adults / teenagers more. However I DID ENJOY IT! I loved the fact we finally got to see more of the Liars. I just wished this was released a few years ago based on my age of when I had originally read it therefore it does not take away from the novels itself.

Read this if you are prepared to enter not a dystopian world but a family of being set in their unique ways and at the same time summer vibes.

Thank you so much to the publishers for sending me this greatly written novel in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Spanish Love Deception By Elena Armas

Plot:

A wedding in Spain. The most infuriating man. Three days to convince your family you’re actually in love. . .

Catalina Martín desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. Especially when her little white lie about her American boyfriend has spiralled out of control. Now everyone she knows – including her ex-boyfriend and his fiancée – will be there.

She only has four weeks to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic for her and aid in her deception. NYC to Spain is no short flight and her family won’t be easy to fool. . . But even then, when Aaron Blackford – the 6’4″, blue-eyed pain in the arse – offers to step in, she’s not tempted even for a second. Never has there been a more aggravating, blood-boiling and insufferable man.

But Catalina is desperate and as the wedding gets closer the more desirable an option Aaron Blackford becomes. . .

Review:

Great first novel, finally got around to reading / listening to it, a bit lengthy!

Some negative points to get out of the way;

I found Catalina did ramble on a little bit. FYI THERE ARE EROTIC SCENES AT THE END! Which was a bit much for me. It came out of nowhere during the last 2 hours of this audio recording and I found myself skipping over it. I found it so cringy.

Oh, another cringy thing, who else has some turn off words or nicknames? ‘Baby’ Really? SOOOO CRINGY! Barf worthy in my opinion I hate that word. Anything cringy such as posts being all lovey covey – like that is between two people not for the whole world why would you make people so uncomfortable ???

⁃ Babe, baby, hun, the list goes on

The above is just barf for me. Keep erotic scenes to the image toon, I do not spend time listening or reading romance novels for porn scenes so can you just not? K Thanks.

The pace of the novel was mostly okay as it was indeed a slow paced romance where you know where the end goal will be. This is not a love-hate relationship.

Basically the annoying Catalina held a grudge (what is with women and holding grudges against men?) because he didn’t accept her gift on the first day or something as silly as that. Ever since, she has had a hating vendetta against Aaron.

What is with this recording it pronounces the name Aaron as ‘Erin’ and the name Daniel as ‘Danielle’ a woman’s name.

I did enjoy the Spanish phrases at times though and the TV/Film references. Catalina has very long monologues but she isn’t too immature about it. The novel is OVER-RATED but it is a decent book that will keep you hooked.

Usually a novel that obsesses over a man bores me as it becomes repetitive however this novel was written in a way where it kept me hooked however it was not heart-warming as other novels would be as this novel does go on about her Exes and only a little bit about career. I did enjoy the direction at the start of the novel where she began talking about her goals and such.

‘Aaron’ is fictional and a lot of reviewers on social media are obsessed with him which is a bit much in the ways they have been based on how his character is written which is a bit far-fetched. If the novel was a bit more realistic in terms of what they say and think because the chances of a man having feminine qualities whilst being a manly type of man is not very realistic.

If a man is manly that is it – he would not be too feminine and as thoughtful as a woman. Men that tend to be on the feminine side (gay) tend to have a small build, not being judgemental but a man with this much care is not as manly built. I like my men masculine, but they do not be thoughtful, that literally is a difference in hormones.

Overall, written well. But a bit unrealistic. But i cannot wait to read Elena’s next novel.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: Glitterati By Oliver K. Langmead

Plot:

Simone is one of the Glitterati, the elite living lives of luxury and leisure. Slave to the ever-changing tides – and brutal judgements – of fashion, he is immaculate. To be anything else is to be unfashionable, and no one wants to be unfashionable, or even worse, ugly…

When Simone accidentally starts a new fashion with a nosebleed at a party, another Glitterati takes the credit. Soon their rivalry threatens to raze their opulent utopia to the ground, as no one knows how to be vicious like the beautiful ones.

Enter a world of the most fantastic costumes, grand palaces in the sky, the grandest parties known to mankind and the unbreakable rules of how to eat ice cream. A fabulous dystopian fable about fashion, family and the feckless billionaire class.

Review:

A very dystopian novel indeed.

I found it so hilarious at Simone’s reaction of what a child was and what to do with It LOL.

This novel is so far over the top and absurd. I found it to be interesting. Although it was a little long.

The world in this novel is run by the rich who are obsessed with fashion. They even remove memories of giving birth. It appears as if this novel is based on so much bitchy-ness on upstaging each other and taking each other’s idea and so on. It does come across as very immature for a world of adults. I felt as if it was going in circles of what to wear and what not to wear and who dared to wear whichever outfit. At times Simone was referred to as a she and then a he? Is this a grammar error?

I did enjoy the plot to an extent so I am being polite in my rating today.

3/5 stars

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Book Review: Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van By Ali McNarma

Plot:

When Ana inherits a broken-down camper van from her best friend, she takes the chance for a quick trip to Cornwall – some sea air and fish and chips on the beach is just the tonic she needs.

But St Felix has bigger plans for Ana. She discovers a series of unsent postcards, dating back to the 1950s, hidden in the upholstery of the van. Ana knows that it’s a sign: she’ll make sure that the messages reach the person that they were meant for. And as the broken-down van is restored to gleaming health, so Ana begins to find her way back to happiness.

Review:

What a great read!

The story starts with a sad start as Ana inherits a Camper Van from her late best friend. She has zero interest in this van and cannot believe her friend did this to her however at the same time she is determined to follow her friend’s wishes so she makes the journey down to St. Felix in Cornwall (YAY! If you know me, you’ll know about my love of Cornwall lately).

She has no idea what state the Van is in and imagines it will only be a few days and back to London she goes. However it needs completely restored and this guy Malachi is looking after this mechanics place. So she has to stay in St Felix for longer than she expected. If you have read any of Ali’s other novels you will know this little town and appreciate it so much. We get to see bits of Daisy’s life (from one of the other novels) so it’s nice to see how her and Amber are getting on.

Ana is also getting to know Noah, owner of an Antiques shop. I loved that this novel mainly involves her getting to know Noah as well as Malachi as you would not expect the outcome of this heart-warming novel.

Anyway, the camper van is discovered to have a bunch of old postcards stuffed inside the cushions and tyres of the van and leads them all to have many adventures in the few weeks leading to all over the country in order to firstly retrieve them all and then to find their rightful owners! Then, once we find the owners it is surprising who they are and how this story ended up.

This novel overall had me wanting to know what will happen yet at the same time I did not want to put it down. It such a great sunny day read as I read this in spring and definitely motivated my reading. I love when a great novel does that. Always to be expected from any Ali McNarma novel.

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Manager By A. K. Wilson

Plot:

In the City of London, the scent of money and power lingers in the corridors of the shiny office buildings and clings to the suits of the men who work in them. Chasing that scent is the only thing that matters.

But not to Katy Daly. She has spent her life working in the City, but wealth and power are things granted to other people. Her childhood was shattered by the pursuit of them, and since then she’s coasted along on a course of risk-avoidance and underachieving.

Then Katy starts working for Riley Daniels, the beautiful and charismatic CEO of Byrsa, one of the most successful yet secretive tech companies in the world. Katy can’t help but be fascinated by this clever, fiercely ambitious woman making it in a man’s world. Riley has a way of making her wonder if there could be more to life than letting other people shape your destiny.

But power comes at a cost. As Katy is drawn deeper into Riley’s intoxicating world, she is forced to confront who she is, who she has become, and how far she will go to protect Riley’s secrets – and her own.

Review:

The main character Katy originally works in London City as a PA to Giles. Giles decides to move on and has no use for her so she needs to look for another job. During her thought process you can see she doesn’t have much confidence in herself as she only wants the kind of role where she can just blend into the background and not actually use her initiative and enjoys to blame the fact that men are holding back her opportunities when in fact it is her mindset. It isn’t until she meets with Riley CEO of Byrsa she becomes mesmerised by the fact that she has her own company, and how she goes on and so forth. It later becomes an obsession where she is falling for her.

I thought this novel was going to explain the differences between falling in love with someone and admiring a person for being good at getting what they want.

This novel didn’t really grip me as it was not that clear. I dislike novels that just obsess over a person instead of showing there is more to it.

Thank you for the book in exchange for an honest review.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: Beautiful World, Where Are You By Sally Rooney

Plot:

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

Review:

Cough cough… BORING! Why mention religion as well? If someone is catholic and goes to confession why does Simon has sex with multiple women and doesn’t intend to marry them? Don’t bring religion into a book if they aren’t actually following their religion rules, end of. Hypocrite.

Oh, I want Simon because all these younger women are sleeping with him but at the same time I don’t want him to sleep with anyone else but I also don’t want to be in a relationship with him.

Oh sweet Lord get over yourselves Eileen and Alice.

Now onto Alice the life of the ‘writer’ she is such a hypocrite slandering writers for writing contemporary books (my favourite) and how she acts as if she knows what all contemporary writers are like.

The emails Alice sends are so full-of-herself. She has all these opinions using snobbery language and acting as if shes in a philosophy class. SO FRIGGING BORING!

Found myself going in circles listening to this cringy Irish voice sounding novel. I am Irish myself so I can say that but oh my god it was such a drag!

These women think they are so much better than everyone. It is literally a story about nothing. Four people who make 2 couples. Who cares about their boring views on life.

And what is with the writing style? “He asked her what she wanted to drink and then went to the bar to order… he ordered this… she looked outside now at the sunset as if it were of interest to her even though she did not pay attention to it before. When the man returned and put the drinks down” seriously?

Also, the inappropriate sex language in this, you would not expect it at all or in much detail but there was plenty and it was not pleasant.

Overall, DO NOT READ!

0/5 Stars

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Book Review: Reminders Of Him By Colleen Hoover

Plot:

After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

Review:

I am very grateful for this month’s book club’s reads. This is a second novel by Hoover I have read in a book club.

This novel is the road to forgiveness. A couple of mistakes has lead to a multitude of consequences. Once she has left jail Kenna has one aim, to reunite with the daughter she’s never even so much as held. She quietly hopes for forgiveness from the grandparents on Scott’s side. No-one seems to understand why she did what she did back when he died. Throughout the novel I was frustrated at the annoying people for not understanding what she had done. And for Kenna herself for not speaking up at her trial but I did understand her actions and theirs at the same time so I had mixed feelings.

The small actions from people like Mary-Anne and Roman (Scott’s friend Ledger’s new best friend) have had big impacts in Kenna’s life to where it is by the end.

I found this to be a quick read that strings at your emotions. I couldn’t put this novel down as I really needed to find out what happens, when will be the chapter when things start to progress for Kenna.

By the end, it was a great novel but I wished people would have sympathised more with Kenna to begin with. I did enjoy the banter between them when Ledger actually hires her to work in his bar.

This is my second proper read at Colleen Hoovers novels. One of them I need to re-read as I must have been in an annoyed mood because these two novels I’ve recently read by her have kept my attention enough to enjoy these novels.

4/5 stars

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Book Review: The Mysterious Affair at Styles By Agatha Christie

Plot:

Agatha Christie’s debut novel was also the first to feature Hercule Poirot, her famously eccentric Belgian detective.

A refugee of the Great War, Poirot has settled in England near Styles Court, the country estate of his wealthy benefactor, the elderly Emily Inglethorp. When Emily is poisoned and the authorities are baffled, Poirot puts his prodigious sleuthing skills to work. Suspects are plentiful, including the victim’s much younger husband, her resentful stepsons, her longtime hired companion, a young family friend working as a nurse, and a London specialist on poisons who just happens to be visiting the nearby village.

All of them have secrets they are desperate to keep, but none can outwit Poirot as he navigates the ingenious red herrings and plot twists that contribute to Agatha Christie’s well-deserved reputation as the queen of mystery.

Librarian’s note: the first 5 Christie mysteries featuring Poirot are: 1) The Mysterious Affair at Styles, 1920; 2) The Murder on the Links, 1923; 3) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, 1926; 4) The Big Four, 1927; and 5) The Mystery of the Blue Train, 1928. There are many short stories and a collection featuring Poirot in this period as well. Each novel and short story has its own entry on Goodreads.

Review:

Trying to keep all this information straight when you’re reading this can be difficult. This is the first novel with the world famous Hercule Poirot and his friend Hastings. Hastings from what I have gathered jumps to the wrong conclusion so many times.

The first section of the novel is a little slow which is to be expected in order to try to get to know all the characters even then it can be a bit confusing. It is as if everyone is being accused in this. I feel it drags out a bit longer. I had known who it was from the beginning because one of these movies had the exact same suspects. Yes I used a plural on purpose. You have to read hard enough to know what you are looking for. I did enjoy how he blamed everyone for it though even if it did drag.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: No-one Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday

Plot:

Never has a late-night stand led to such chaos!

Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other ever again after they end up in bed together following a school re-union.

So all is forgotten…until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy’s baby. Oblivious to the mayhem unfolding, Matthews highly strung wife frets over giving birth to twins and Katy’s much younger boyfriend refuses to take fatherhood seriously.

Love and life are messy but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot.

How will they navigate their way through this almighty pick-up?

Review:

36 year old woman Kate has ‘accidentally’ ended up pregnant, has a one-night stand with an old flame whilst she is in a relationship with what appears to be a tosser at the start of the novel. How do you ‘accidentally’ not wear a thing called a condom if you are going to even cheat? This idiotic bitch got herself into this mess and complains about it and literally is the most unprepared person ever for the baby, even I was more prepared. But the fact she would even let it get this far when she clearly didn’t want it. If you don’t want the baby don’t have it and stop lying when you are both in antenatal classes with your one-night stand. Kate is a stupid bitch but Daniel (Gay best friend) was hilarious I swear he’s the reason this novel is getting a good rating. The way he handled his friend’s super long labour journey. Seriously don’t know how people would be able to push out a massive or normal sized baby never mind having a long labour of pain. In my opinion, no pain relief is the best. The rest makes you sick. Your body will know what to do but Kate clearly had a long labour. Pushing a baby out is not a pleasant experience for any bullshitting reading articles it is sore, especially the bigger the baby’s head.

Anyway, this novel was funny because of Daniel. Kate is stupid. The two guys she sleeps with, Ben the dopey boyfriend that’s a flake, he’s stupid as well being obsessed with games as a grown adult. If he’s a teacher why does he come across so idiotic? Matthew (ex) they refer to him as a stuck-up annoying person when in reality he’s a bit annoying yes, but he was trying to be practical about the situation.

Kate does not seem to comprehend the fact that the most DIFFICULT bit is the POST-NATAL. Being pregnant you’re just a big lump carrying a human so it feels shit for your body to be so fat. But the actual baby itself and the mental tolerance it brings to keep yourself in check is the most important part. If someone doesn’t even have the audacity to check in on you AT ALL that is just plain ignorant as that’s the most difficult challenge. Not the pregnant bit …

The audio recording I listened to should have been a younger voice, sounded like an old woman which is not very appropriate.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Again, Rachel By Marian Keyes

Plot:

Back in the long ago nineties, Rachel Walsh was a mess.

But a spell in rehab transformed everything. Life became very good, very quickly. These days, Rachel has love, family, a great job as an addiction counsellor, she even gardens. Her only bad habit is a fondness for expensive trainers.

But with the sudden reappearance of a man she’d once loved, her life wobbles.

She’d thought she was settled. Fixed forever. Is she about to discover that no matter what our age, everything can change?

Is it time to think again, Rachel?

Review:

First time reading this author, again, one of those things where it does not live up to the hype. I blame marketing for getting them where they are, it is a misrepresentation.

The rehab stories where a bit eh and didn’t interest me. Rachel kept going on about her feelings of Luke and Quin, like we get it, stop repeating yourself you are boring the reader. There was a lot of characters so the little family tree was handy to have to navigate through the novel with all of this in mind. There was a lot of crap written in-between good bits of writing that was about it.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Jane Austen Society By Natalie Jenner

Plot:

Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

Review:

I loved the idea of this novel at the start, however I felt it was a bit repetitive and not enough to distract me (as I was reading this along with other reads during a time when my new-born has been in and out of hospital ((poor baby CC)) when I am still recovering as a new-mum post-natal and all that since that’s the most KEY important stage. After all, a lot of young mothers sometimes end their own lives during this time and you don’t think to even ask how someone so young could have died. Yet, as Austen found solace within her environment I could see why the characters in this novel where enchanted by one writer. Although after a point I felt we are starting to hear from too many characters by 100 pages in, move on with the plot.

I was very much excited about the plot of this novel. The fact that it was to be an entire society about Jane Austen based in the small village of Chawton where she once resided and wrote, by an oddly associated group connected by their love for her novels.

I began the novel enjoying it as I liked the main characters even though they were very different from each other. All connected by their surprising love of Austens novels. It goes back and forth between all the characters so it can take longer than usual to get used to this switch and remembering each persons story and their reasons since their all so different. It took a while to get used to. However the fact that Austen managed to pull these people out of slumps and seems to be the thing that keeps them going.

It was a comforting read however it was a bit slow. If you are reading it for ages it will take you forever to finish it as it can be a bit repetitive but it is a feel-good read.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: Heart Bones

Plot:

Life and a dismal last name are the only two things Beyah’s parents ever gave her. After carving her path all on her own, Beyah is well on her way to bigger and better things, thanks to no one but herself. With only two short months separating her from the future she’s built and the past she desperately wants to leave behind, an unexpected death leaves Beyah with no place to go during the interim.

Forced to reach out to her last resort, Beyah has to spend the remainder of her summer on a peninsula in Texas with a father she barely knows. Beyah’s plan is to keep her head down and let the summer slip by seamlessly, but her new neighbor Samson throws a wrench in that plan.

Samson and Beyah have nothing in common on the surface.
She comes from a life of poverty and neglect; he comes from a family of wealth and privilege. But one thing they do have in common is that they’re both drawn to sad things. Which means they’re drawn to each other.

With an almost immediate connection too intense for them to continue denying, Beyah and Samson agree to stay in the shallow end of a summer fling. What Beyah doesn’t realize is that a rip current is coming, and it’s about to drag her heart out to sea.

Review:

This month’s first BookClub reads I have no words for it. I just enjoyed this book so much. One thing I will point out is that, Sara is someone you would want as your sister / best friend.

One quote I really enjoyed:

“I didn’t realise what seeing the ocean would mean to me…it should be a basic human right, a necessity it’s like years of therapy rolled up into a view”

The main character Beyah has had a tough upbringing. With a crappy mum who had an addiction with drugs and a father that was not really there. I so wished both the daughter and father had of communicated better so she had what she has now, throughout her childhood.

Not long in the novel her mother passes away of course due to an overdose and so this is her opportunity to escape sooner rather than later. Beyah phones her dad who she hasn’t really spoken to much throughout her life and decides to spend the summer with him. Throughout most of the novel she does not tell him about her mum. As it turns out he didn’t know much about her addiction issues.

Beyah is somewhat very judgemental however as the novel progresses she develops more as a person. She was very judgemental of how she expected her step-sister to be like. Oh how wrong she was.

Sara is so nice and caring as a person and then towards her sister before they had even met. This summer, it’s the two sister’s, Sara’s boyfriend Marco and his friend Sean Samson, who apparently lives next door. Sara tries to set the two up and of course it succeeds to an extent.

Both Beyah and and Samson have an end date set as they are to part on their journeys towards the end of summer as they agree to keep their relations in the ‘shallow end’.

Colleen Hoover reels you in to make you think you have figured out the novel but the plot thickens as it twists to something you didn’t completely expect.

The way this novel ended or shall I say progressed was very well done as it wasn’t expected for these type of reads so of course I enjoyed it as it was well written.

I listened to this novel whilst I go about my busy days and I still managed to follow it as there was a sufficient amount of characters and a plot to actually keep you more than interested, it keeps you wanting more!

I loved how the novel’s plot develops and you can see what happens a few years later and where the four of them all are with their lives by then and how they intertwine.

Overall, this is a must-read. I, as a fussy reader would know when a novel is good and this is definitely a must read. I found zero faults with this whatsoever. The plot is gripping at a steady pace, with some plot twists to keep you wanting more with a reasonable amount of characters and it is easy to follow so what are you waiting for?

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: Summer At Tiffany By Marjorie Hart

Plot:

Do you remember the best summer of your life?

New York City, 1945. Marjorie Jacobson and her best friend, Marty Garrett, arrive fresh from the Kappa house at the University of Iowa hoping to find summer positions as shopgirls. Turned away from the top department stores, they miraculously find jobs as pages at Tiffany & Co., becoming the first women to ever work on the sales floor–a diamond-filled day job replete with Tiffany blue shirtwaist dresses from Bonwit Teller’s–and the envy of all their friends.

Hart takes us back to the magical time when she and Marty rubbed elbows with the rich and famous; pinched pennies to eat at the Automat; experienced nightlife at La Martinique; and danced away their weekends with dashing midshipmen. Between being dazzled by Judy Garland’s honeymoon visit to Tiffany, celebrating VJ Day in Times Square, and mingling with Cafe society, she fell in love, learned unforgettable lessons, made important decisions that would change her future, and created the remarkable memories she now shares with all of us.

Review:

Love Love Love!

What’s not to love about this sweetly written novel, written by an 82-year-old woman who is reminiscing about her summer from 1945 as a Page at Tiffany’s? She was one of the first females they hired and at only 5 years old business that had already well established itself.

Marjorie and Marty are college girls from Iowa on an adventure in New York City to find a job whilst living it up. I really wish that I could be in this set time to see it all happening. It is so lovely written it makes you want to experience it with them and reminds YOU of your college/university days and desires.

We get to hear the author’s experience and during a time when things are a lot more innocent for their age group compared to these days, this novel was just perfect. From going to Balls to learning about work and gaining experiences and seeing which option would be best and having no regrets it is clear to see that Marjorie enjoyed the most of her younger days. I loved the fact there are drawings and images at the back, really capturing mainly Marjorie’s life and learning more about this wonderful woman who appears to have no regrets and has had so many great and positive experiences.

Plus, the fact she managed to have the time of her life and to think happily whilst there was major events going on in America at that time and letting us, generations later know what it was like for someone of that age back then when everything was going on.

This is a story that recaptures the spirit of youth during the best summer of a person’s life. It makes me wonder what things I could have done. It has been a bit of a difficult time for people of my age at university or just past that age during these COVID times when it was at it’s most restricted when we would be having the times of our lives.

Summer at Tiffany is definitely a feel-good novel to re-read when you want to day dream and think of the most perfect summer. I definitely savoured every moment of this novel.

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Woman On The Pier By B.P. Walter

Plot:

Two strangers meet on the pier
Only one walks away…

Screenwriter Caroline Byrne is desperate to know why her daughter Jessica died, murdered in Stratford when she was supposed to be at a friend’s in Somerset.

When Caroline discovers the messages Jessica had been sending a boy named Michael, she realises it’s because of him. Because he failed to meet her that day.

He’s the reason why her daughter is dead.

And so she makes a choice. He’s the one who’s going to pay.

That is her promise. Her price.

Set between Essex, Kent, and Australia, The Pier is a dark suspense thriller brimming with secrets and lies seeping across three generations. A must-read for fans of Lucy Foley and Rosamund Lupton

Review:

Grief happens however that does not mean you take another persons life and blame them, very immature behaviour for an old person. Sorry, middle-age. You don’t see the main characters husband doing illegal things like that, okay he does cheat but he doesn’t murder innocent children!

This novel is about a mentally disturbed mother who stayed in a unhappy marriage oh and she is such a snob! Even proper people are at least aware of the different types of situations in council areas however this lady seems to be so shocked, she really annoyed me at her ignorance and flaunting money about.

Oh, and the going back and forth between different characters and moments in time was confusing, I listened to this novel however it was all over the place.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: Out Of Her Depth By Lizzy Barber

Plot:

There are summers that could change your life.
There are summers that could end it.

Meet Rachel.
An unassuming young woman from a quiet London suburb.

Picture the scene:
A summer job at the beautiful Villa Medici in the Tuscan hills.
A group of glamorous teenagers, used to a life of privilege.
Lavish parties, heady sun-soaked days, backstabbing and bedhopping.

Until someone goes too far.
And nothing will ever be the same.

Review:

I really enjoyed the story. The main character Rachel can be annoying sometimes (older Rachel) as she looks back on time. There is chapters on the ‘Then’ and ‘Before’. I preferred to hear about the current story about the past so it would make more sense that the novel would focus more on the past instead of a split even amount.

Older Rachel obsesses over a thing that happened in the past. Younger Rachel is obsessed with getting this guy Sebastian to like her even though he is clearly not into her that way (no spoiler as it is very obvious). It doesn’t seem that she has grown up at all in this way which I found annoying. I don’t know why it is being compared to We were Liars as it isn’t a group of friends that knew each other previously – it is just a few kids who happen to meet when Rachel is on holidays.

A summer read with an interesting plot. Wasn’t too mysterious for me to keep reading at a grips pace though.

Thank you to the publishers for sending me this in exchange for a fair review.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: Imaginary Friend By Stephen Chbosky

Plot:

Christopher is seven years old.
Christopher is the new kid in town.
Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six long days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Review:

I did not realise this novel would be a thriller / horror type of novel considering how cute I found The Perks Of Being A Wallflower so I was not sure what to expect in this.

As you are reading this, you’re taken to a weird world where a young boy seems to hold a lot of power. After fleeing a state, Christopher and his mom Kate end up in a new area. Between his struggles wit words and money situation, he finds himself exploring the woods and is not found for six days which we do not know what has actually happened to him. The only thing we know is that the ‘nice man’ has helped to guide him home. But, the weird thing is that when he comes back home all his learning difficulties cease to exist.

Christopher begins to hear voices from a plastic bag to build a treehouse so he asks his friends to help. They end up digging a Skelton thanks to these voices he hears which I found to be very confusing and spooky. Throughout the novel every time he hears these voices he has headaches and seems to behave in a similar way as his dad and this David guy did before he was found buried alive in the woods.

More ridiculous events drives Christopher to the woods as the ‘nice man’ tells him to and warns him about the scary woman which is also known as the wind I think?

This novel I found to be very long. There are some descriptions that are not necessary in order to tell the story. I prefer Stephen’s other novel however this was also an interesting read.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: Summer At The French Cafe By Sue Moorcroft

Plot:

As soon as Kat Jenson set foot in the idyllic French village of Kirchhoffen, she knew she’d found her home. Now she has a dreamy boyfriend, a delightful dog and the perfect job managing a bustling book café in the vibrant Parc Lemmel.

But when she learns her boyfriend isn’t all he seems, it’s the start of a difficult summer for Kat. Vindictive troublemakers, work woes and family heartache follow, and the clear blue sky that was her life suddenly seems full of clouds.

Then she gets to know the mysterious Noah, and her sun begins to shine brighter than ever. But Noah has problems of his own – ones that could scupper their new-found happiness. Together, can they overcome their many obstacles, and find love again?

Review:

Perfect summer read! I really enjoyed this novel. I found it warm and cosy to read out on a sunny day even though we have just entered spring.

As you start off the novel we are in a French town called Kirchhoffen. The main character Kat is basically running the book cafe. Books and snacks, what a great combination for a cute store set up. It doesn’t take long before you are welcomed with all the characters getting yourself familiar with them. A main character would you believe is a dog.

Kat and Angelique definitely encounter their fair share of drama. I really did not like some of the male characters in this novel straight away you could tell they were not good people and for some, were hiding something.

Some twists and turns throughout this novel in some aspects that you would not believe would happen to Kat. I enjoy how her relationship with her family including her brother Solly does improve. I loved how karma finally won with people getting what they truly deserved especially those that are controlling that shouldn’t expect to control others.

Overall, this summer romance is easy to get into, you begin to know the characters without it being complicated making it the perfect summer read as there is enough drama in a light way to make it a read that you must finish whilst being a warm read for the summer!

Thank you to the publishers for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: One True Loves By Taylor Jenkins Reid

Plot:

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure. On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness. That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiance, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants while trying to protect the ones she loves. But who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Review:

I think Taylor Jenkins Reid is fastly becoming a favourite author of mine. Nothing will ever be Evelyn Hugo but this one is special in its own way.

The entire novel’s plot is very intriguing. Three years after her husbands disappearance he comes back. I knew who I wanted Emma to end up with and I am glad she did. I enjoyed her reasoning and how she thinks about it when she reminisces.

Both men in the novel are likeable in their own way and like everything in life you either grow and change with each other as you age or you don’t evolve with each other. Sometimes you outgrow people. Everyone is brought into our lives for a reason at that particular time in our timelines which helps us evolve into the people we are supposed to become and be with.

Emma has a very tough decision, she is not spoilt however I did think she moved on a bit quick in terms of changing her name and so forth a little too quickly. I mean, it was only a few months before she changed her name, for something that lasted over a decade she did move on in that way very quick.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and the thought process throughout it. Emma was left with a very difficult decision and by the end her reasoning was well justified.

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: Billy Summers By Stephen King

Plot:

Billy Summers is a killer for hire. He’s among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet who can blend into any neighbourhood and disappear after the shot is taken. But he’ll only agree to a contract if the target is a truly bad guy.

Now Billy wants out. But first he’s offered one final job – an offer which is just too big to refuse.

As the days count down to the hit, Billy senses something is wrong. He doesn’t yet know just how wrong, or about the woman who will help him try to set things right.

Part thriller, part war story, part lyrical portrait of small-town America, Billy Summers is about a good man in a bad job, with one last shot at redemption.

Review:

I have not read much of King’s novels however that is about to change! This novel was just amazing, both in plot and in how it was written. I know he is known for his horror genre novels however this novel did not seem quite as daunting.

King managed to depict people, places, politics and relationships. He can somehow manage to write in a way that shows the different types of twisted people yet can find qualities that you can relate to despite their traditionally immoral ways.

One quality I really enjoyed within this particular novel was the main character, when he was playing his first alias as Dave Lockridge as a ‘writer’ he begins writing his own story within the novel and it shows the inspiration you can take and put to paper which I was inspired by throughout this novel. I feel like I want to write more stories now in that way (obviously not in the topics mentioned in the novel).

The plot itself, involved a contract killer named Billy who is on his last mission for 2.5 million. He finds it suspicious and he is not far wrong as the story unfolds and other characters become apart of the plot and as part of Billy’s new life on the run. During all these alias’s, Billy comes across some very kind people that shows he has developed friendships of some sorts with them including their children which I really enjoyed the human aspect as he always calls himself a ‘bad guy’.

I really enjoyed the simple things of hearing about his day and what he is watching.

Overall, I really enjoyed this read, cannot fault it at all. I kept wanting to find out what happens next and it does not involve horror. I can see why Stephen King is a number 1 best seller and most mentioned.

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Setup By Lizzy Dent

Plot:

She has a plan. Fate has other ideas.

The last place very average thirty-one-year-old Mara Williams thought she’d be is on a solo vacation impersonating her fortune teller when she finally meets the one. Josef, a gorgeous Austrian cellist, sits down for a reading and before she knows it, she’s telling him his destiny will be sitting in a pub in the English seaside town of Broadgate on the last Friday of August. And her name is Mara.

Enter Project Mara: three months to turn herself into the stylish, confident woman she’s always hoped to be. Meanwhile, the crumbling, formerly glamorous beachside pool club where she works is under threat and her eccentric colleagues enlist her help to save it, just as a handsome new housemate casts doubts on her ideas about “the one.” Can Mara pull off the transformation of a lifetime? And by summer’s end, will she know who is her destiny?

Review:

Straight away the main character is what I would call ‘ditsy’ which would translate to being something like an airhead. She believes in fortune tellers even though she is telling them the information they need to feed off to give you the reading you want. Uhm, have you not seen the film Nightmare Alley? It basically describes how they can suss you out. The fact is, is that the main character gave the fortune teller information with her naivety in how she reacted. Then she goes ahead and pretends to be the fortune teller when a “tall man” walks in and she tells him where to meet this woman she’s describing which is actually herself. Becomes obsessed with him and tells everyone at work when she returns from her travels that she has met “the one” and becomes proper obsessed with him. She builds up this obsession with a man she does not know – IT WAS A BRIEF ENCOUNTER, GET OVER IT!!

After about 10% in the novel became too predictable as a man named Ash moves in and he’s tall – you can see where I’m going with this.

It was difficult to continue reading this novel as I could not get into it. Mara is quite gullible and annoying, the only positives is that her friends tell her how stupid she is. Mara is very immature and does not see how her friends are just looking out for her. She thinks she can make a particular man her Mr. Right. It was poorly done and could not keep me entertained as other books that do it right can grab my attention.

I enjoyed the cover, it’s summery. If believing in fortune tellers 100% and astrology is your thing, you will enjoy this probably however as a person with a logical point of view completely now at this point in my life it is complete and utter bullshit based on your reactions as we all fall into a category which makes it simple for them to guess things about you. Sorry not sorry for the truth.

Thank you for the copy in exchange for an honest review to the publishers.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: One Last Letter From Greece By Emma Cowell

Plot:

Devastated by her mother’s death, Sophie longs to get away from an empty house full of memories and a life that hasn’t quite turned out as she had imagined.

So when a chance discovery among her mother’s belongings hints at a past Sophie knows nothing of, she jumps at the opportunity for escape and a chance to heal. The magical, idyllic Greek town of Methoni awaits…

But Sophie – determined to uncover her mother’s secrets – is about to discover so much more. Among the tranquil waters and cosy tavernas, Methoni’s locals offer Sophie the answers she craves, along with unexpected romance and, if she’ll take it, a chance at her own happiness…

Review:

I knew straight away within the first chapter this was going to be a great read. These are the type of novels I love.

This novel revolves around Sophie who has lost her mum which I cannot possibly imagine. What better way to help ease the situation than a sunny country and feeling closer to your mum? Her mum loved Greece so much so that she travels there each summer for work. Sophie feels that her mum tried to separate her and her love of Greece. Maybe not, she just wants a break to have that part of her that makes her herself without the child part. That much I do understand.

Sophie is in search of a missing painting her mum had. There’s 5 paintings as a set that have been mysterious since their existence and now Sophie is on a quest to find them. Perhaps finding them means she will be closer to her mum.

I enjoyed hearing about Soph and Tasha’s friendship over the years.

As Sophie is in Greece she comes across some interesting people and I find it to be a fun adventure exploring with her as she begins to suss out people on her adventure to find her mum’s paintings and those that are not as nice. It’s a funny thing how our instincts keeps us in check. Towards the end of the novel it becomes predictable.

I love the front cover! If you are making a list of summer reads, this should be included. This novel is written in a way where it is as if you are sipping coffee with your friends over a catch-up. Instantly likeable and heart-warming this novel takes you on a sunny adventure.

Thanks to the Publishers for sending myself this novel in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Gone With The Wind By Margaret Mitchell

Plot:

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell’s magnificent historical epic is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and a people forever changed. Above all, it is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett O’Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

Review:

Scarlett is a wanna-be snob. Her hill-billy mother somehow taught her to speak and behave properly and I don’t see how given the way she speaks.

Then, Scarlett is proper obsessed with this man Ashley. She thinks she “loves” him when she hates everything he enjoys so how the heck is that “love”? Is she that stupid? The majority of the novel goes on about her love for Ashley even though she has nothing in common with him and she does not seem to understand why she is infatuated by him. Did she just see him one day and think I must have this man?

Scarlett gets married just so she can spite another woman from having him and finds herself the attention of many men which she prefers. If a man is interested in a woman she must get rid of this man’s feelings even if she has no intentions of the other men. She is so very self-centred and she does not care about her first child. She’s very heartless, caring more about her clothes than the men dying not too far away. Very easy to hate this bitch. Since I’ve just recently read To Kill A Mocking Bird and that was based on the south, this reminds me of that theme.

People would say this book is more than just Scarlett and how it’s about the civil war and so forth but really, if that’s the case why did this novel ramble on for 1,000 pages about a jealous attention seeking bitch?

Loved reading about it though and seeing how stupid she is amongst all the troubles that was going in in America at the time. I cannot wait to see the movie as it would make for good film material more so.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Just Another Liar By Mandy Byatt

Plot:

Denise, Petra, and Anna all have their reasons for being alone.
But they’re not ready to share them.

David is the answer to all their problems.
But they’ve only met him online.

Each woman wants her happy ending.
But only one of them can get it.

One of these women will end up dead.
But which one? And will you ever work out who killed them?

Review:

Tinder Swindler vibes from the beginning. These women are so silly.

We meet Anna to begin with who seems like an obsessive person with the guy she moved cities for and moved jobs for. She is a teacher and has yet to get over her long-term boyfriends leaving her for good yet knows where he goes and what time he goes at and usually stalks him in her free time.

Denise has to look after her mother. She is a bit disgusting when she does things she knows is morally wrong.

Petra is married to a man, Sam and had a miscarriage recently and is dealing with it by going on a dating site.

All of these women join a dating site and it appears that David Kingfisher is the only decent man on there. He is a surgeon, I could tell he was watching the people and must have an old picture or something as his online profile if he was able to see what the women looked like in person and so forth. There was little hints that I kept looking out for to see who he was. I didn’t understand why he was doing what he was doing. These women have their difficulties and relied on this man. Yet, at the same time the women shouldn’t have put so much energy and even money into a complete stranger they never met, snap chatted or anything!

I have to admit though that this novel had me wondering who is the real ‘David’ and is it a man or women or child. Once the ending is told it all comes together but let me just say this. The person it is is screwed up. Like get over it, that’s life and you must get on with it instead of seeking revenge. That much is all I shall say as I hate spoilers and that is what the motivation is for these type of novels.

Overall, it is a gripping page turner. Even though I found the women to be silly and naive for believing an online person – like who voluntarily gives money to a stranger they barely even known or have been messaging for less than 90 days? It was interesting to see it being played out.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

Plot:

A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition.

Review:

I have not seen a review yet about this novel that actually starts from the beginning of the entire novel so here goes.

This novel was set in a time where Black people where treated very differently to today to sum what this novel is about.

It is narrated by Scout who is about 6 years old. It begins with a boy named Dill. That is when this story starts who questions the Boo Radley house. Straight away you can see the assumptions they make on the man and the stories they make up. So judgemental. When Scout’s teacher tells her off for her ‘father’ teaching her how to read ‘improperly’ uhm, if a parent wants to teach their child they can! It isn’t their child now is it.

Then the main plot of this novel, the case of Tom Robinson is in court and Scout’s father Atticus Finch is Tom’s defence lawyer. Tom is a black man accused of raping a young white woman. This is a time where colour still matters too much. Attics describes it as the ‘most enduring fictional image of racial heroism’ as he describes it to Scout so she can grow up to see that all people should be treated equally.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it”

It is really interesting to see her point of view of how she views people and their behaviour. There is an innocence to it as she is young so she sees it for what it is, honest and simple.

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for”

I enjoyed the fact Calpurnia is black and she’s their house keeper and the fact that she took Scout and her brother Jem to a coloured church.

As the plot thickens as a reader I became excited when the court case set in (around after 100 pages) as the reader you can feel the rise in tension and excitement. The narrative changes mainly to focus on Jem and Atticus as they are more aware of the risks and importance of the case.

The last third of the novel as it comes to an end it shows the aftermath and the effects it had on each class and race. It is brave and difficult to stand up for what you believe in especially in today’s day and age.

Atticus has many qualities as a man he’s patient, clever, a gentlemen but not the standard typical masculine qualities as he is not physically strong, hates violence and does not use strong language. However in contrast his sister Alexandra is very traditional for a woman as she tries to get Scout to behave more like a lady.

Overall, this novel is well known and recommended for many good reasons and has such a range of diverse characters. I may have originally read this in school however I did not remember much of the detail until I recently read this to give my full perspective. I really enjoyed the way Atticus was giving life advise to his children and the things they have learned along the way.

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: Duckling By Eve Ainsworth

Plot:

Duckling’s a nickname Lucy has never been able to shake off.
And, if she’s honest, maybe it suits her.
She just isn’t the type to socialise with other people.
You might say she’s reluctant to leave her nest.

Lucy’s life is small, but safe. She’s got a good routine. But all that’s about to change…

When Lucy’s neighbour asks her to look after her little girl for a couple of hours – and then doesn’t come back – Lucy is suddenly responsible for someone other than herself.

It takes courage to let the outside world in, and Lucy’s about to learn there’s much more to life – but only if she’s brave enough to spread her wings…

Review:

This tells the story of a 30 year old woman, Lucy. She is a very quiet and sheltered woman as she is happiest when she is in her simple and minimal home along with her cat named Boris (yes, like the prime minister) and loves her routine.

Lucy has a difficult relationship with her father and does not seem to see the need for socialisation as she’s never really had much of it. This all changes when her new neighbour Cassie asks Lucy to babysit her daughter last minute and from the moment she is left alone with the 7 year old she is so beyond stressed out. What originally was supposed to be a couple hours turns out to be a very long journey. I found Cassie to be rude, doing this to her when she must obviously see that Lucy has some issues and therefore she should not take advantage of her.

I enjoyed that this novel tackles being an introvert and the difficulties in social situations as Lucy finds herself looking after Rubi and uses her love of detective shows to solve how to find Cassie. Lucy grows as a person in this novel and we can also see how Rubi is a very smart child. Lucy learns a little late on the things she should have done if only her and her dad had communicated in the earlier years and everyone around Lucy comes to her rescue to help with the situation.

The main character does not seem to realise how many people care about her when she has called herself alone all these years.

This is a heart-warming and uplifting story of an introvert learning to go from a Duckling to learning how to fly.

Thank you to the publishers for this in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Mad About You By Mhairi McFarlane

Plot:

Harriet Hatley is running away from everything.

Getting married.
Her boyfriend’s family.
Her past.

A dream house-share seems like the perfect place to hide, but her unlikely housemate Cal is no stranger to running away himself. And he’s also hiding secrets of his own . . .

Can these two take a crazy risk, face the past and finally find a reason to stay?

Review:

Loved!

This novel’s plot is misleading as it makes you think it is about Harriet and Cal moving in as the main story however it’s not, it is about her disastrous ex’s which are interesting to read about in this journey.

Harriet’s life is ironic. For someone that hates weddings and is completely cyclical she works as a wedding photographer and is in a relationship with a snob who’s family is all about doing things “right”. She makes some questionable decisions as her character does make me roll my eyes with her cynicism.

When she finally dumps Jon I started laughing out loud. She became very relatable so fast. In terms of ridiculous psychopaths as exes and their mothers on top of that.

I found Harriet to be so relatable with the whole crazy exes and the lengths they go to to make YOU seem like you’re the one with the problems. When we hear about Scott – talk about toxic-ness because he is just ugh. Words cannot describe this douche.

I enjoyed how the novel unfolded and how they came to the final ending. It teaches Harriet who her true friends are and the reasons behind most peoples reasoning that we come across.

Friendships are made, friendships are lost however life lessons are made whilst having a great time in doing so within this novel. I loved this author’s writing style from the get-go.

Hilarious and entertaining. I would love it if this was a movie to see it come to life.

Thank you to the publishers for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Memory Of Her By Bianca Schwarz

Plot:

Eliza Broad has overcome trauma and loss to become the confident woman and spy she is today, much in thanks to the care and attention of Sir Henry March, spy to the Crown. Fellow spy and good friend to Sir Henry, Allen Strathem has loved Eliza from the moment he first set eyes on her. But out of respect, he never told her and left England for a mission on the Crimea with his secret buried deeply. But the memory of Eliza kept him sane during the relentless horrors of his captivity.

When he returns, Eliza is tasked with helping Allen recover, and she dedicates herself to restoring the sparkle in his eyes and banishing the specters of his Russian captivity.

As Allen recuperates, and they realize danger has followed him back to England, Eliza is elated that Allen not only accepts her help, but respects her skill. Together they set a trap and defeat the man who tortured Allen, only to discover something far more dangerous afoot. With danger and intrigue around every corner, Eliza and Allen rely on and trust each other, and soon their once-buried love for each other becomes a driving force. The dangerous adventure they both share and thrive on binds them together, but will that be enough to protect them from those who wish to see them dead?

Review:

We are first introduced to Allen. He appears to be held captive and his career is as a spy. I haven’t read the previous books in what’s obviously seen as a series whether you know this or not, you can kind of tell from the writing style at first glance.

I wasn’t too keen on the gruesome torture the poor guy had to go through. I’m not sure what he did to be captured like this. It’s difficult to follow the plot or the main intention for this novel before it begins to settle and we can see she is on a mission to help Allen who has always loved Eliza.

I would recommend starting with the first novel in this series as most of their interactions are based on previous books to expand on it.

At times the novel is gripping and makes me want to find out what happens next so it did capture my attention and it was intriguing. It’s difficult to say much without giving away the entire plot and spoiling it. Definitely read the first book and read these in order to understand it better. Gripping thriller.

I received this in exchange for an honest review.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Art Of Travelling Strangers By Zoe Disigny

Plot:

It’s the 1980s, and art historian Claire Markham reels from a series of heartbreaking losses. Desperate to escape her shattered reality, she becomes an art guide in Europe for quirky stranger Viv Chancey and embarks on a life-changing journey through the art-filled cities of Milan, Venice, Ravenna, Florence, Siena, Rome, and Paris.

Once abroad, Claire tries to hide her woes by focusing on Viv’s art education, but Viv—who is not who she seems—has a different learning experience in mind. Frustrated and wanting to reimagine her life, Claire embraces the idea of reality as illusion and finds herself slipping into the tales of art and history.

When threatened with one more crushing loss, Claire must learn from the spirit of her eccentric companion and the lessons from the art they encounter to take charge of her life or lose the most precious thing in it.

The Art of Traveling Strangers is a journey of self-discovery and personal empowerment inspired by the great art masterpieces of Italy and France. It’s a tale of female bonding and the amazing powers of perception. After all, reality, like art, is just an illusion.

Review:

We first meet Claire who seems to have sacrificed her career for her wifely and motherly duties, now it’s time for her to enhance her career however her husband seems to disagree even though it seems as if they always do things his way. Never once, that we see have they done what she wants to do, but – has she actually said this to him, have they actually communicated properly? So many relationships fail due to poor communication so it is difficult to see here if this is really the case.

We meet Viv and my automatic reaction is that she is too chatty and literally says every single thing to pop into her head. Her character annoys me straight away, bubbly and fun yes but also very annoying. This was my first impressions of Viv.

As the novel finally progresses (about 20 or so percent to get to the main point), we see how Claire got to where she is now. Although for someone that did ‘ruin’ her own life I would love to know why that particular element was not mentioned when she ‘ruined’ her life at that point in the novel? Instead she was just left with heartbreak but it was not mentioned. If you’ve read this you would know what I am referring to.

When she contemplates doing this Art Tour she made it sound like it’s a big decision, uhm what other choices did she have with her summer? To be alone, bored with no work over the summer or go and travel. Hello? Easy answer there. Claire complains so much, what she doesn’t realise is that a lot of her downfalls are her own fault. If she wasn’t so mopey and negative maybe things would have been better for her.

When we finally reach the main plot Viv becomes this bubbly person whereas Claire suspects shes out to sabotage this Art Tour. Claire needs to lighten up because she kept getting annoyed when she was rambling on about Art mumble jumble whilst Viv wanted to take in Italy not just the art stuff. She kept getting annoyed at Viv even though this is Viv’s trip so she can do as she frigging pleases. And Claire needs to get the stick out of her ass with her negative attitude. Maybe Viv wanted company to go to Italy to see only some elements of art. Italy is known for Fashion too you know, Claire so lighten up!

Why did this novel need to be set in the 1980’s? There wasn’t much reference to this time period as other novels would usually have this when you set a novel in a time period. It is just an American book (given Viv’s language in how it’s written).

The main character is not a likeable person, she’s a downer and makes terrible decisions. She might grow slightly but Viv is what made me keep reading this book.

I enjoyed Viv’s bubbly and exciting personality. I enjoyed travelling however I did feel this book was more artsy than travel. It was an interesting read.

I received this read in exchange for an honest review.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Notebook By Nicholas Sparks

Plot:

Noah Calhoun has returned from war and, in an attempt to escape the ghosts of battle, he sets his mind and his body to restoring an old plantation home to its former beauty.

But he is haunted by memories of the beautiful girl he met there years before. A girl who stole his heart at the funfair, whose parents didn’t approve, a girl he wrote to every day for a year.

When Allie Hamilton shows up on his doorstep, exactly as he has held her in his memory for all these years, Noah has one last chance to win her back. Only this time, it’s not just her parents in the way – Allie is engaged and she’s not a woman to go back on her promises.

The Notebook is the love story to end all love stories – it will break your heart, heal it back up and break it all over again.

Review:

Usually novels have an interesting plot or some inevitable thing that needs to be conquered. This novel may not have that however I enjoy how it is written.

This novel decides to focus on the simple things that make up life which is love. It is the retelling of how the main character met the one he loved in life. Based in North Carolina in the 1940’s, it shows us the tale of two lovers as they move on with their life within their stands in society. The novel is different compared to the movie of course as there is much more of a background. I liked that we get to see the girl’s point of view as well even though she may not remember it now, she certainly did when she was much younger. Knowing that she had to marry someone else, her parents disapproval and everything, she knew how she felt and back then it was much different to what it is now to be free in choosing the person you love and desire.

When she has this feeling to visit Noah even though she is engaged to another man she goes with her instinct. She discovers she has feelings for him. The version of himself he is at this moment in time – not just the younger teenager version of him.

Later on she has to make tough decisions as it can be difficult. You can love many times or a few at once but in different ways and ultimately one person entirely.

Noah is of a calm nature. He enjoys the simple things including a lot of outdoor work which not many men do Allie realises. She had always assumed she needs to be with a money-driven man however has come to realise that is not what life is about. It’s about the simple things that makes our hearts and souls feel warm.

Although, I was very annoyed with Allie. If you know someone is the one and pulls on your heart strings more than another man, go with him! (Noah that is) instead of wasting years thinking about it.

Overall, this is a great heart-string novel that makes you believe in love and cherish every single moment. It is about the simple things of nature.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Painter’s Girl By Helen Fripp

Plot:

Paris, 1860s. For Mimi Bisset, survival is everything on the cobbled streets of the Paris slums. She tries to forget the pain of losing her daughter Colette: born out of wedlock and forcibly given away to a rich family. But Mimi’s world turns upside down after a chance encounter with handsome artist Édouard Manet. Boldly posing for portraits on Manet’s chaise longue, Mimi feels a wild freedom – and as Manet teaches her how to layer the vivid paints on canvas herself, a passion grows between them that breaks all the rules…

At Manet’s side, Mimi is caught up in his world. They dance all night at Paris’s new can-can clubs and drink absinthe at masked balls. But one day, strolling by the Seine on her lover’s arm, Mimi catches a glimpse of familiar green eyes… it’s Colette, with a family who Manet knew all along.

Although she’s reeling that the man she loved kept such a secret from her, Mimi is filled with hope she’ll finally get her daughter back. But when a terrible rumour begins to circulate about Mimi, the only place she has to go is back to the slums. Destitute, hungry and alone, can Mimi clear her name? Or will her heart shatter all over again when she loses her daughter for a second, final time?

Review:

This novel is set in Paris 1860. To read books based in foreign countries with intrigue are always of interest to me.

The main character Mimi grows up in the rough parts of Paris with dreams and aspirations of having more in life. We see shes interested in the Circus at the start of the novel and pictures drawing the things she sees. I am not sure what age she is at the beginning of the novel which would have been preferred to at least be aware of this as this young girl has a few jobs and shes thankful for the fact that her mother has not made her sell herself which we would see as a rare thing, or maybe not.

She works in a circus it appears. This should have been mentioned in the plot as this element of the novel dragged a lot for me as I was looking forward to reading about Paris not a frigging circus. There was too many characters and overall this novel did not keep my interest. Looks are deceiving it seems as the cover doesn’t seem as if this novel would be a drag for me. I really did want to love this novel based on the plot.

I received this novel in exchange for an honest review.

2/5 stars

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Book Review: The Christie Affair By Nina De Gramont

Plot:

In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance.
I’m no Hercule Poirot.
I’m her husband’s mistress.

Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.

Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.

After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.

Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to . . .

Review:

This novel is a fantasy reimagining of Agatha Christie’s famous 11-day disappearance, adding a murder mystery worthy of the dame herself.

The bare facts are here just as they happened. In December 1926, having announced his intention to divorce her so he could marry his mistress, Christie’s husband took off to spend a weekend in the country.

Sometime that night, Agatha left home, abandoning her car beside a nearby chalk quarry with a suitcase full of clothes inside. Eleven days later, after an internationally publicised manhunt, she turned up at a spa hotel in Harrogate, having signed in under the name of her husband’s lover. Upon that frame of fact, de Gramont weaves brilliantly imagined storylines for both the mistress and the writer, converging at the spa hotel, where not one but two guests promptly turn up dead. The novel is narrated by the mistress, here called Nan O’Dea, a complicated woman with many secrets. As she announces in the first line of the novel, “A long time ago in another country, I nearly killed a woman.” Nan is looking back at a time when she had larceny in mind, and it was Agatha’s husband she was aiming to steal, though one has to wonder why.

Archie comes across as a whiny baby of a man who has this to say about his plan to dump his devoted wife: “There’s no making everybody happy….Somebody has got to be unhappy and I’m tired of it being me.” Archie aside, de Gramont has a gift for creating dreamy male characters: Both a “rumpled” police inspector called Chilton, who’s sent to the Harrogate area to look for the missing author, and a blue-eyed Irishman named Finbarr, who has a connection to Nan, are irresistible, and only more so due to the tragic toll taken on each by the war. Agatha—who walks away from her disabled vehicle forgetting her suitcase but not her typewriter—is also easy to love.

The story unfolds in a series of carefully placed vignettes you may find yourself reading and rereading, partly to get the details straight, partly to fully savor the well-turned phrases and the dry humor, partly so the book won’t have to end, damn it.

Although I did find it quite repetitive at times. Overall, elegantly composed and structured—simply splendid.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: One Italian Summer By Rebecca Serle

Plot:

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mum, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, the mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and – of course – delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears, healthy and sun-tanned… and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how – all she can focus on is that somehow, impossibly, she has her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman who came before.

But can we ever truly know our parents? Soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

Review:

I was a bit apprehensive about reading this at first given the nature of losing your mother. However, as with Serle’s previous works it tears at your heart strings in the most perfect way.

With the Gilmore Girls quote at the start I knew this was going to be a fantastic worthy read. I really enjoyed the mother daughter bonding Katy and Carol had.

I really enjoyed exploring Italy’s town of Positano so much. I felt like I was going along with them on all of their adventures and it was a lovely experience to do so. This was supposed to be a mother-daughter trip which the daughter, Katy had to go alone. Where she somehow discovers or entered a past version of this experience but with her mother. A younger version of her mother back when she did visit. This is where Katy gets to enjoy bonding with her mum in a new way and discovers more about herself as well as what her mother was like years ago.

Definite vacation vibes and a heart warming read that makes you appreciate your relationship with your mother and knowing that we are all people, young at heart.

Thank you to the publishers for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Mammy Banter, The Secret Life Of An Uncool Mum By Serena Terry

Plot:

Tara Gallagher is knackered. She used to dream of being Beyoncé but suddenly she’s thirty-six – with three kids, a loving husband, a very boring job – and instead of headlining Glastonbury, she’s in her pyjamas on a Friday night, watching Gogglebox.

It’s time for a mammy makeover. She’s going to show her teenage daughter she’s still cool. She’s going to show her husband she’s still an absolute ride. She’s going to show her colleagues she’s still a Boss Bish.

But most of all, she’s going to prove to herself that she can still be a mum, still work full time, and still be Beyoncé…

Review:

The famous Tik-toker writes a novel. I was eager to read this as the author is from the same city as myself and I’ve seen her videos and she really does crack me up. So when she writes a novel of course I wanted to check it out.

Tara Gallagher is the main character who seems to think her daughter does not think she is cool as she reaches her teenage years. Tara is trying to manage it all with 3 children. She is very funny in how she describes things and you find yourself laughing along with her and cheering her own.

One of the parts I really enjoyed about her life philosophy:

“Life changed, you know. That’s part of the deal when we become parents. You put your own needs to one side and focus on what’s important,which is putting those wains of yours front and centre”

We go along with Tara on her journey to discover who she is as she needs reaffirmation and a life adjustment as she has her ‘mid-life crisis’ from spin bikes to hair changes it was definitely hilarious if not a bit over the top sometimes. Of course you stick with the slang where you are from however as always I find it a little bit much. I think the audio version of this read would have been more enjoyable to hear the author herself saying it as I read this I pictured her voice saying everything.

I found myself reminiscing quite frequently throughout.

Some of the most enjoyable parts of this novel was when Tara stood up for herself in work after events occur she manages to get her own back. I feel that Tara should have more faith in herself, she doubted her self-worth quite often and her family should appreciate her more. Tara does quite a lot and deserves some me-time as with all parents, some more than others.

Overall, this is one of those novels where you want to keep reading, it makes you smile, laugh, and reminisce about the good ol’ times. A definite book to make your day or week even better.

Thank you Harper Collins for sending me this edition in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo By Taylor Jenkins Reid

Plot:

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Review:

First off to the publisher or writer: CHOOSE A BIGGER FONT!!! The writing was so small you would need a magnifying glass so just have it in normal font size I do not see why not. The smaller font is not pleasing to the eye just saying.

I loved this novel. I cannot believe the author made this entire story, this world and everything about it.

We meet Monique – a nobody journalist who is chosen to write about this goddess celebrity that had her time of it in Hollywood – little does she know that she will be writing her biography with a catch – it is only to be published when shes dead but more on that later.

Unlike the author’s other book. I loved this one’s plot so much! I found it very captivating and elegant in terms of the idea of the plot.

We learn how Evelyn Hugo became exactly her. From basically changing her entire looks, how she got her first major roles, from husband to husband and how Hollywood is not quite all what it may seem. Evelyn had to learn the hard way.

Alongside this, we learn about Monique and her upbringing as a mixed person during a bad time in the world where it had not quite evolved just yet.

It tells the story of Evelyn, who wants to be famous, who learns early on in life that to get what she wants she has to play the part in every sense of the word. Now in her seventies Evelyn wants to share her life story with journalist Monique who has been personally picked by Evelyn. A tell all memoir about her life and her rise to fame. The glitz and glam of old Hollywood, the manipulation, the scandal, Hollywood cover ups, having to conform to society norms of the time and what it meant to be gay/bisexual during that time period.

It felt like non fiction. Like I was reading about Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor. Everything was so detailed. All the characters felt so real. Evelyn is flawed, ambitious and strong. A completely unapologetic character, manipulative and selfish who I loved! There are times she will frustrate you as a reader, but she is compelling and unforgettable! And with each husband she captivated me more with her spell.

The real reason for Evelyn picking Monique is intriguing and kept me hooked in the present day story telling. Evelyn’s rollercoaster life flows chronologically over the years and covers topics such as LGBTQ+ rights, diversity, female empowerment, sexuality, found family, motherhood and love. It is as much a story about Evelyn as it is about Harry and Celia’s life too. These two characters completely had my heart. I went on as much of an emotional journey with them as I did with Evelyn.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is without a doubt, a fantastic story teller. The way she writes her characters and their lives is addictive and very special.

Enough of my gushing. Remember. Life is short. Life is precious. Live life without regret. Hold loved ones tightly. Love who you love. Make memories to last a life time. Laugh. But most of all be unapologetically you! Always!

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: Lady Of Galway Manor By Jennifer Deibel

Plot:

In 1920, Annabeth De Lacy’s father is appointed landlord of Galway Parish in Ireland. Bored without all the trappings of the British Court, Annabeth convinces her father to arrange an apprenticeship for her with the Jennings family–descendants of the creator of the famed Claddagh Ring.

Stephen Jennings longs to do anything other than run his family’s jewelry shop. Having had his heart broken, he no longer believes in love and is weary of peddling the “lies” the Claddagh Ring promises.

Meanwhile, as the war for Irish independence gains strength, many locals resent the De Lacys and decide to take things into their own hands to display their displeasure. As events take a dangerous turn for Annabeth and her family, she and Stephen begin to see that perhaps the “other side” isn’t quite as barbaric and uncultured as they’d been led to believe–and that the bonds of friendship, love, and loyalty are only made stronger when put through the refiner’s fire.

Travel to the Emerald Isle for another poignant and romantic story from the enchanted pen of Jennifer Deibel.

Review:

We are first introduced to Stephen Jennings who appears to be working in a jewellery shop. It’s clear to see how much he detests love as he encounters couples. Shortly after we meet Lady Annabeth who seems to be of a different religion. Back in the older days before the troubles and such occurred in Ireland this would have been an incredible deal. I’m not too sure of our country’s history but I presume a lot has happened in the early 1920’s before real change occurred.

It’s interesting to see how Anna a British person of that day and age interact with the Irish as her parents told her their assumptions of Irish based on one type of people. As with any country, there are your stereotypes. I just cannot believe that people of a particular level of smartness would presume people of religions must all behave a certain way. That there is only one fixed personality for countries and people and so forth.

Anyway, Anna and Stephen’s relationship develops as she begins to learn new but simple things such as what fish n’ chips are like. She wants to see the Real Ireland and Stephen cannot quite believe her to be real. He’s very guarded with any English people whilst she feels as if she’s been stuck in a box and not having seen or known anything else and wants to explore.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between the two and the other characters both good and bad and how it intertwined by the end. I loved getting to explore Galway through the author’s descriptions of things in the 1900’s. As a person from this country but in a different element and setting I can say that it is a good warming read to explore Ireland within a novel. Also, what a beautiful cover this novel has it honestly is so pretty.

Thank you for the book in exchange for an honest review to the publishers.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? By Dr. Julie Smith

Plot:

Drawing on years of experience as a clinical psychologist, online sensation Dr Julie Smith shares all the skills you need to get through life’s ups and downs.

Filled with secrets from a therapist’s toolkit, this is a must-have handbook for optimising your mental health. Dr Julie’s simple but expert advice and powerful coping techniques will help you stay resilient no matter what life throws your way.

Written in short, bite-sized entries, you can turn straight to the section you need depending on the challenge you’re facing – and immediately find the appropriate tools to help with . . .

– Managing anxiety
– Dealing with criticism
– Battling low mood
– Building self-confidence
– Finding motivation
– Learning to forgive yourself

Review:

Over the last few years we have had our challenges but Dr Julie has been by the proverbial side through different forums and the book is the cherry on the top.

While reading this book you can feel a sense of warmth around you making you feel that you are not alone or not to be ashamed of our vulnerabilities. It is out emotions that define us and we should embrace them. The book guides you in a concise and empathetic manner sitting proudly beside me wherever I am / should I need to refer to it. You can target each topic as and when you need.

It is more than a book for me, it is a symbol of hope that we all have our place in the world and there are good people out there caring and supporting us raising mental health awareness. My only wish was that Dr Julie and the book were there when I was younger in my darkest times but I am glad she, and the book is by my side now when my thoughts started to wonder in a negative zone or feeling low. I would go as far to the book is inspiring and life-saving, I genuinely mean that.

Mental health is no laughing matter or makes me a lesser person. I am grateful for everything Dr Julie does and will continue to spread her good work to friends and family.

Dr Julie comes across as someone an absolute expert in her field with a genuine care, the world could really learn a lot from her. My final comment is “WHY HASN’T NOBODY TOLD ME THIS BEFORE!”

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Kiss Or Dare by Charlie Lane

Plot:

A new year and a new Season means a new Lillian Clarke. She’s transformed herself from wallflower to incomparable. But she’s no Cinderella. She’s washed her hands of love and of Lord Devon, her own charming prince who barely knew she existed. She’d rather be the fairy godmother, helping invisible debutantes gain the attention they deserve on the marriage mart. But even though she’s booted Lord Devon from her heart, he’s not done with her. His sudden appearance at her home and inexplicable teasing threaten to distract her from her debutante dreams.

Lord Devon, the second son of duke, has put self-pity and scandal behind him and found a new purpose. He’ll invent a machine that improves coffee, buy a coffeehouse, and be a self-made man. He’s determined to be more than the heir’s spare, privileged but kept in case of emergency. Unfortunately, he needs the assistance of Miss Clarke’s brilliant father. And he hates Lillian Clarke for speaking the truth about him. The delectable woman thinks she’s better than him. He’ll teach her she’s not. If he can ignore the way her courage makes him smile.

When sparks in the workshop fly, Lillian and Devon invent a passion that’s more than they bargained for and complicate their paths to happily ever after.

Review:

I’ve not read the previous books in this series so my point of view comes treats this novel as a fresh stand-alone type of reader.

We are first introduced to Lord Devon, straight away you can see his sassy personality, some would call him other unpleasant adjectives. For a novel that is based upon the 1800’s I could follow this more easily with what you can tell as modern ease of writing and speaking – not sure what it was exactly like back then but anyway. Miss Lillian Clarke can be quite shy, a wallflower as such however for situations involving other females she does know how to clarify situations with others which I appreciate as her growing as a person.

Situations begin to unfold and I will just use this quote as I enjoyed it a lot: “ When Lillian needs books, she gets books “.

Both main characters can be surprising and Lord Devon’s bad reputation is not all what he seems to be as it’s shown that he is a hard worker who wants to make his own money as he does not see his families money as his own which you got to respect and appreciate a man in that day having that kind of attitude.

I really enjoyed the banter between the two just as the title of the novel comes to show how it got its name. Lillian begins to open up a bit more as the situation between the two changes and Devon grows as a person compared to the title he’s most known by previously.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this novel and going along with Lillian on her adventure. I enjoyed the fairy tale elements and Lillian’s attitude to help wallflowers become more noticed and to help them grow. It was a heart-warming and enjoyable read. Definitely recommend.

Side note: Thank you to the publisher as I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Librarian by Allie Morgan

Plot:

I’m a librarian. Every day I encounter people. I serve the regulars, the crime enthusiastics, the bookworms, the homeless, the eccentrics, the jobless, the teenagers, the toddlers, the aged. I know my community well. And they know me.

The library is a sanctuary for some, a place for warmth for others and, on many occassions, an internet cafe. It’s not always the books that bring us together. That’s why you might be surprised to hear that I’ve been a witness to an attempted murder, a target for a drugs gang and the last hope for people in desperate poverty. The quirks of library life. But what I didn’t expect was for a simple part-time job to become a passionate battle for survivial, both for me and for the library.

I’m sharing stories from my daily life to show you that being a librarian isn’t what you think it is. Libraries are falling apart at the seams and we need to start caring before its too late. So this is my eye-opening account of the strange and wonderful library that saved me and why I’m on a mission to save yours.

Review:

This is a must-read for those curious about what really goes on in libraries! Allie I feel seems to have a unique point of view as she has worked in a few different branches over the years which means she has witnessed some dangerous situations which you would not expect to ever occur whilst your working a job like this. I have learned a lot of what is within this job role and I have a new found respect for library workers especially those in particular types of areas.

Allie successfully transitions from Twitter to print in her frank observations about libraries and the people who use them, from society’s most vulnerable to the people who just love to read. I was delighted to see her quirky and loveable personality seen on Twitter was present throughout the book.
Allie shines a spotlight on parts of our society who are normally forgotten about in normal times, let alone our current difficult times (well, those of mainly 2020 and 2021 so far) I enjoyed how she has discussed the difficulties. We can all recognise the management described in this work. The ones totally out of their depth or just completely out of touch with normal life. It really does make you angrily think, where is my tax money going if not on these vital services?
However the book is not just about library’s. Allie adds her own mental health issues throughout and shared her struggles and coping mechanisms in her own unique way.
This is delightful book. A real eye opener and a must read.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Little Flower Shop By The Sea By Ali McNamara

Plot:

The blossom is out in the little Cornish harbour town of St Felix.
But Poppy Carmichael’s spirits aren’t lifted by the pretty West Country spring. Inheriting her grandmother’s flower shop has forced her to return to Cornwall, a place that holds too many memories.

Poppy is determined to do her best for the sake of her adored grandmother, but she struggles with the responsibility of the more-shabby-than-chic shop. And with the added complication of Jake, the gruff but gorgeous local flower grower, Poppy is very tempted to run away…

The pretty little town has a few surprises in store for Poppy. With new friends to help her and romance blooming, it’s time for Poppy to open her heart to St Felix and to the special magic of a little flower shop by the sea!

Review:

Poppy has inherited her grandmothers flower shop in St. Felix and she dresses mainly in black and behaves a lot younger than her actual age, this should go well shouldn’t it? Her grandmother seemed to know what will happen for everyone when you begin to hear the stories the people in the small village have to say about her. With characters such as Jake and Amber being introduced along with the many others we hear about – it is great to see that the novel actually introduces them in a way where you can follow along. A lot of novels in my experience tend to write about several characters all over the place which would make for poor reading which is something I really enjoy in this author’s books – she writes in a way where you can follow all the characters being mentioned. It just has that sense of personality in each of the characters like they are well established.

The author not only created characters who were described so well, I felt I was in the sidelines watching Poppy slowly coming to terms with her own heartache while she breathed so much life back into St Felix by simply handing out the gift of friendship and being there for those in need. While she was doing this her new friend Amber is showing Poppy that it is OK for her to be happy while weaving her own version of magic in a very special way.


This was a great story and one I would happily recommend. The storyline is entertaining, at times heartbreaking but the magic of flowers will show Poppy her way in the most unexpected of ways.
A great book which I am happy to recommend.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Anything Could Happen By Lucy Diamond

Plot:

For Lara and her daughter Eliza, it has always been just the two of them. But when Eliza turns eighteen and wants to connect with her father, Lara is forced to admit a secret that she has been keeping from her daughter her whole life.

Eliza needs answers – and so does Lara. Their journey to the truth will take them on a road trip across England and eventually to New York, where it all began. Dreams might have been broken and opportunities missed, but there are still surprises in store…

Review:

Anything Could Happen is a hugely relatable story about what-ifs, missed opportunities and the roads that, for one reason or another, our lives never followed. Brit Lara Spencer was a twenty-six-year-old fashion journalist in New York when she conceived Eliza after meeting Ben McManus, a man whom she expected to spend her future with. Their connection was undeniable but the arranged second date never happened and Lara returned to live in Scarborough with Ben unaware that he was destined to be a father. Fast-forward nineteen years and daughter Eliza is an eighteen-year-old with university on the horizon and furious that the man she was led to believe was her father and left when she was three, actually isn’t. Eliza wants answers and when Lara finally discloses what happened she is determined to track her real father down and introduce herself. Ben is not only flabbergasted to discover that he has a daughter but soon finds himself desperately scrambling to save his marriage to betrayed wife, Kirsten. As Eliza gets to know Ben and they start to bond, she can’t help but wonder what would happen if her parents hadn’t gone their separate ways and if there could be a second chance for them.

Revisiting her past and remembering the young woman she once was provides Lara with the perfect opportunity to take stock of her life and the ambitions that she set aside when she discovered she was pregnant.

Lara’s personality seems to have dulled as she’s gotten older, as she later admits herself, she has let herself go. It is as if she’s forgotten that she has a life too.

As for Eliza, I found her to be very immature even for an 18 year old. Some of her actions from the start makes you want to shake some sense into her.

How Ben reconsiders how his future turned on the death of his father and how he settled for a life that he could never have imagined. What I appreciated about this book was how Lucy Diamond considered the repercussions of these events on all three main parties with all the complications that real life entails. This was my first read of one of her books and I certainly understand why her style is so popular as this was such an easy book to read with a definite heart-warming and feel-good vibe.

Whilst it doesn’t require a huge level of engagement to follow, the characters have enough depth to feel realistic and the plot isn’t all sunshine and smiles. The story certainly has enough moments of reality (and things not going perfectly) that ensured the book never strayed into twee territory despite the reader feeling safe in the knowledge of things always turning out ok in the end. Gently humorous and largely predictable escapism with my main complaint being how needlessly drawn out the entire second half felt.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: My Favourite Half-Night Stand

Plot:

Millie has always been one of the guys. A professor at a respected university, she’s great at witty backchat but terrible at getting personal. Like her four best male friends, she’s perma-single. So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, they all make a pact to join an online dating service and find plus-ones.

There’s just one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and her best friend Reid secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, before deciding the friendship is better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with dream dates, Millie’s profile attracts nothing but creeps. So she invents an alter ego in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. But when Reid and her alter ego hit it off, Millie finds herself struggling to resist temptation – both online and off. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear – intimacy – or risk losing her best friend for ever.

Review:

The very beginning of this novel gave me an absolute headache. It was way too American and immaturely written and the plot has been meh. The characters lacked personality and seem to make up for it with lame jokes.

This is a short and light friends-to-lovers romance. For me it wasn’t very well fleshed out, with the plot a little unsatisfying and the characters lacking sufficient depth. I did not particularly like the serial-killer obsessed Millie. Although she was ‘supposed to be’ a college professor, she was quite immature and lacking in self-knowledge.

2/5 Stars

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Birthday Reflections

As I physically become another year older I realise that age does not make you an adult. Having a business or a pet or fancy cars and so forth does not make you a proper and responsible adult. The thing that makes you an adult is having children. It’s so different from all the other things. Because unless your a carer (for someone you love, not as an actual paid job) or you have children, if you have anyone you are responsible for that is the one thing that makes you a real adult. Not travelling the world and having freedom. Having freedom just means you’re avoiding becoming an adult, you’re just a childish adult refusing to grow up.

When you have real responsibility’s like this it makes you realise there is more to life – not the cliche but it is true. Watching a mini-human version of you grow. Or if you are looking after an elderly person, watching them become comfortable and rely on you is a feeling you simply cannot put into words. Making sure they are at ease and their needs are met is a big thing and it is quite rewarding. That is what makes you a real adult living in the real world. Oh, and having a life-time partner to do it with who you are compatible with in every way possible. The only one that has ever made you feel such real feelings. Anything else in the past was childish practice with no-real-feelings.

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Book Review Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

Plot:

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.

A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

Review:

Nina’s personality can be summed up as: Tired with life, complains too much, miss-know-it-all, weird for having a too-close relationship with her long-term ex, and overall, a wanna-be snob.

Don’t get me wrong this novel has its funny moments but she is very judgemental. She is spot on though when it comes to women that are married or getting there, with children, compared to the singles. It is true those with partners and so forth look upon their single friends when you luckily reach that stage in life.

The main problem was that it wasn’t conclusive or pacy enough to be good commercial women’s fiction, but wasn’t perceptive enough to be literary fiction. It therefore occupies an uncomfortable middle ground which doesn’t satisfy. The characters, other than the protagonist, were somewhat flat – even though they were theoretically interesting, they didn’t come to life. In particular, Max never really came off the page. I felt the author had good stuff to say about internet dating culture and its transactional nature in general, but those observations seemed detached from the narrative and didn’t develop with the storyline. Nina is clearly conflicted – on the one hand she sneers at mundane domesticity, on the other she craves it- but the fact that she doesn’t recognise those contradictions or reconcile them is frustrating. Especially for someone that is supposed to ‘know-it-all’

Overall, meh with some funny bits.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Red Address Book

Plot:

Within the pages of 96-year-old Doris’s red address book are the names of all those she has loved and lost, telling the story of a colourful life. Living alone in Stockholm, she is comforted by the weekly calls of her grand-niece Jenny, who is haunted by a painful childhood.

Finally, Doris decides to put pen to paper, using her address book to recall the memories of a life well-lived – from 1930s Paris runways to narrow New York escapes during World War Two – and what she and Jenny discover may well change their lives forever…

Review:

This is a work of fiction that sounds so real as it’s based on the author’s story. It is the beautiful, heart-warming, emotional but also quite sad and nostalgic story of a lovely, talented and quick-witted old lady and the many memories that have shaped her long life.

Doris is just a few short years of being a centenarian, but even if she’s frail and riddled with pains brought on by her old age, she still has her wits about her and remarkably, she still manages to live alone in a small apartment in Stockholm. Apart from the caregivers who visit her everyday, Doris’s only contact with the outside world is with her great-niece Jenny who lives in America, through Skype on her laptop. Yes, Doris didn’t let social media and technology intimidate her. Sadly, she has no other relatives living close by.

“Once upon a time I was very beautiful.”

Among Doris’s most precious possessions is an old address book. Over the years, in this book, Doris has recorded the name of every single person she had come across throughout her long life. Now, sadly, almost all names are crossed out and marked ‘Dead’.

“There are certain memories you just can’t forget. They linger and fester, occasionally bursting like a boil and causing pain, such terrible pain.”

Doris doesn’t want to take all her memories to the grave with her. She wants Jenny to know about all her many wonderful and painful experiences. So she starts to pick names from the address book and write down the many memories associated with those particular names.

Through her writing, Doris gives life again to the people that have left an impression on her in one way or another. With her, we relive Doris’s life, her ordeals and heartbreaks, anguish and pains, but also her passion and love and happy times. From the time she was a young girl forced out of her home to start working, to the time she became the most beautiful, wanted model in Paris, then on to the time she escaped war and went to the States and then back again to her country, Sweden.

Since all my grandparents passed away before or just a few years after I was born, I have always been curious as to how life was back then, what they went through in their lives, how they managed to survive both wars. So, as I was reading this book, I imagined Doris was my grandmother telling me about her life, what she went through so many years ago, in her childhood and youth. About the heartache and suffering she had endured, about the all-consuming love she experienced. About the many people that have crossed paths with her throughout the years.

This book was originally written in Swedish, but it has been perfectly translated to English. It is not a fast read and thank goodness for that as I wanted to read it slowly so as to savour all Doris’s adventures, both at glamorous and trying periods of her life. Each chapter starts in the present day with what Doris is doing and what happens to her presently. (This part made me feel so sorry for Doris as she tries to deal with the many challenges an old body presents). Then each chapter continues with a chunk of Doris’s musings about some particular character from her past. I found myself laughing with Doris, feeling happy and sad with her, wondering what if… with her, and yes, by the end I ended up with my emotions all over the place, with a lump in my throat and with tears in my eyes. Tears of joy and sadness mixed together. Doris will stay with me for quite some time now.

The author has succeeded in transporting me back in time, to glamorous places such as pre-WW II Paris and to New York where Doris spent some years. The author’s exquisite writing and vivid descriptions made me feel as if I was there and could clearly visualise everything.

Being a lover of historical fiction, I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Bookshop Of Forgotten Dreams

Plot:

Sarah and Max should never have met. She’s a shy bookworm who’s barely ever left her little village; he’s a bad boy actor with the world at his feet. But when Max crosses one line too many, he’s faced with community service in Sarah’s bookshop.

With an unruly theatre group to run and a gorgeous, tattooed stranger under her roof, Sarah’s about to discover that real life is more complicated than anything she’s ever read in her beloved books…

Review:

Max is a French film actor with anger management issues. When his temper takes him too far, his friend offers a solution: to do community service under house arrest at a friends bookshop in his tiny hometown. It’s either that or prison, so he doesn’t have much choice. At first he is angry and resentful toward bookshop owner Sarah. She is extremely shy and nervous to be sharing her home with tattooed and angry Max, but she needs help with repairs to the shop to keep her business afloat. As time goes on and she sees that his attitude is more to keep people away, she grows more attracted to him. But how can a relationship work when her whole life and livelihood is in this tiny town and he needs to be in Paris for his film career?

It seemed as if he was analysing her in every way possible in order to seduce Sarah that’s how it seemed like it was a game for him and then for him to suddenly change.
This book was just an ok read for me. Translated from French, I think some things just didn’t translate well. The idea that someone that shy and nervous would accept living in close quarters with a complete stranger, friend of a friend or not, seems implausible to me. I did love Sarah’s love of books, stuffing her cozy bookshop to the rafters and beyond. It really seems like someplace I’d really love to visit.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Thursday Murder Club

Plot:

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Review:

Disadvantages of this novel:

– Over-rated, overhyped

– Too many characters

– Padded with too many diary entries

– Difficult to finally finish

– Cops do nothing

– A bunch of elderly people solving cases is the only amusing thing

– Slow pace to read, clear that it is mainly a rambling book to fill up pages

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: Hot Desk

Plot:

Alice loves her job and wants to keep it – whatever the price. But then she’s told the company is switching to flexible working and hot desking…Alice’s desk might look a mess, but she knows exactly where everything is. Or she did. Until she found out she’s going to share it with the most annoying guy in the office.

Jamie can work from anywhere. He’s quite happy to sweep his work life into a box at the end of the working day. But can sharing a desk with Alice be as much fun as teasing her in person?

With no option but to try it and see, will their relationship turn into open warfare or will it ever progress beyond a post-it note?

Review:

After working from home during the lockdown, Alice returns to the office she and her colleagues learn that they are switching to flexible working and hot desking. From now on she will be sharing a desk with Jamie. Alice likes to decorate her desk with personal items whereas Jamie is quite happy to sweep his work life into a box at the end of the day. Alice is obsessed with her desk as it is the only space in her life where she has her own stuff. If you can be stubborn in work, why not use that assertiveness in your home-life?

Jamie also enjoys teasing Alice though she is rather confused about how she feels about him. So, they begin communicating via post-it-note.

A sweet romantic comedy that developed along predictable lines; though it does explore Alice’s insecurities and her bonds with her sisters along the way. There’s also Dave, her on-and-off boyfriend, who is a real piece of work. Like seriously the first point of call is phoning the police with the way he goes on.

Alice rambles so much it’s literally her every single thought crammed in this which was annoying mostly. Also, if you’re mentioning lockdown within a novel. Mention hand sanitising. That is the biggest thing from the start of this whole thing. No reference in the slightest to it, so why mention the whole lockdown or working from home in the first place? It defeats the purpose.

Overall, a pleasant enough romance that was quite heartwarming.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Kiss Quotient

Plot:

It’s high time for Stella Lane to settle down and find a husband – or so her mother tells her. This is no easy task for a wealthy, successful woman like Stella, who also happens to have Asperger’s. Analyzing data is easy; handling the awkwardness of one-on-one dates is hard. To overcome her lack of dating experience, Stella decides to hire a male escort to teach her how to be a good girlfriend.

Faced with mounting bills, Michael decides to use his good looks and charm to make extra cash on the side. He has a very firm no repeat customer policy, but he’s tempted to bend that rule when Stella approaches him with an unconventional proposal.

The more time they spend together, the harder Michael falls for this disarming woman with a beautiful mind, and Stella discovers that love defies logic.

Review:

The Kiss Quotient’ is a sweet romance which, refreshingly, stars an academically brilliant 30 year old woman who happens to be on the ASD spectrum and hires a male escort to help her feel more comfortable and confident with sex.

The main characters are likeable and easy to relate to/empathise with. Some of the secondary characters are a real bonus (members of Michael’s family mainly). The story is nicely written and constructed. This is an enjoyable read.

Yet, despite the difficulties of ASD and the family difficulties woven through the tale…..somehow something irked me about the way both Stella and Michael are depicted as so perfect. Not perfect for each other, or perfect personalities as such, but the way they have their difficulties and issues but how Stella in particular is described in a physical sense. Yes, as stated above, it is refreshing to find a romance about someone like Stella – incredibly intelligent and successful yet socially and sexually awkward and uncomfortable – but, give her a less than ‘perfect’ body too? Apparently that’s a step too far – unless her having small breasts is her ‘imperfection’ (though not to Michael)? Perhaps this is something that most will find acceptable, but it niggled at the back of my brain enough to mention in review.

In conclusion though, this novel is a warm and fuzzy romantic comedy that is bound to be well loved. I can certainly see why it’s been picked up for a film.

3/5 Stars

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Book Review: On A Night Like This

Plot:

Within days of wishing she could change her life, Fran Cooper is acting assistant to a celebrity, on a yacht in the Mediterranean, and en route to a tiny Italian island and the glittering Crystal Ball, along with the world’s rich and famous.

When she – quite literally – bumps into a handsome American called Evan, a man able to keep his cool in the face of chaos, the magic really begins.

Evan makes her a promise: no last names, no life stories, just one unforgettable night. Yet Evan belongs at the Crystal Ball and Fran is a gatecrasher. They may be soulmates, but their homes are an ocean apart, and their lives a world apart. They’ll never meet again – unless, on a night like this, everything can change forever…

Review:

This is like a contemporary version of Cinderella, a light, warm and fun delight of a novel. 32 year old Francesca Cooper is engaged, she has been with boyfriend Stew for 12 years since university, leaving behind her beloved London to move with him to Sheffield when he inherited his nanna’s house. Fran is a temp out of choice, she prides herself on being an efficient assistant, but in the run up to Christmas she is out of work and feeling anxious. When best friend Jess tells her to think out of the box, she gets in touch with an old contact who tells there is an assistant job that will last 5 days, a job that Fran would be perfect for, but she has to sign an NDA agreement prior to the London interview. Despite having promised Stew she would not take jobs that took her away from home, Fran jumps at the opportunity, and finds herself working for the famous celebrity singer, Juliette.

To her surprise she is making her way to Italy and then boarding a billionaire’s yacht, The Songbird, making its way to the island of Panarea in the Mediterranean. Juliette is set to perform at the exclusive Crystal Ball, and it’s Fran’s job to make sure that nothing derails this purpose. This turns out to be easier said than done, Juliette turns out to be nothing like Fran expected, she is friendly and not the difficult diva that she has a reputation for being. However, for the first time Fran struggles to fulfill her responsibilities as she fails to stop Juliette’s drinking. After a drunken night in which she gets completely plastered with Juliette, she wakes up to find an unco-operative Juliette declaring that she has no intention of honouring her obligation to sing at the Ball. Stranded on Panarea, Fran uncharacteristally gatecrashes the Crystal Ball in a beautiful designer gown and trainers, experiencing a night to remember when she meets the unforgettably charming Evan.

What is with chic-lit novels and their first boyfriends they mention, there’s just something about them, their all the same, assholes that the main character somehow forgives and lets their behaviour slide. The romance elements of the novel play a minor role in this entertaining modern day fairytale, this is more about the self effacing Fran, with a talent for fading into the background, sacrificing who she is and her needs, to support Stew and others around her. With input from Juliette and Evan, Fran’s world, as she knows it, begins to painfully collapse around her as she faces up to the hard and testing challenges in her path. She can no longer ignore the holes in her relationship with Stew, but as she readjusts her life so that it reflects who she is, she is blessed to be supported by the irrepressible Jess, and has gained a job that makes her happy as she gears up to the first Christmas celebrations in a long time that bring joy into her life. This is a feel good read to pick up when you want a much needed lift in your life.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a Fuck

Plot:

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be positive all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F*ck positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f*cked, and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is – a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mind-set that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed by both academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited – “not everybody can be extraordinary; there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault”. Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f*ck about, so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

Review:

If you’re a loser you will most likely always be one. If you’re a winner, you’ll have better luck than the losers. That pretty much sums up Mark Manson’s views which is quite arrogant however it is majorly true. But I do not agree with his opinions of those that where positive and had hope and so forth.

I was disappointed by the book. The author has wrapped up rather basic behavioral sciences theories and combined it with anecdotes from his own life. He claims to break new grounds, but that is very hard to see. Adding to that, he uses a language that is supposed to be informal, but is mostly annoying.

Most interesting was the author’s writing about finding the pain you can stand rather than just dreaming on what you want to become. But those glimpses of interesting thoughts were scarce in between, and got scarcer throughout the book.

There are so many behavioral sciences books that deserve being read instead of this one. It still had some good points although it did become very repetitive.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: Step Back In Time

Plot:

How many lifetimes would you travel to find a love that lasts for ever?

When single career girl Jo-Jo steps onto a zebra crossing and gets hit by a car, she awakes to find herself in 1963. The fashion, the music, her job, even her romantic life: everything is different. And then it happens three more times, and Jo-Jo finds herself living a completely new life in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. The only people she can rely on are Harry and Ellie, two companions from 2013, and George, the owner of a second-hand record store.

If she’s ever to return from her travels, Jo-Jo must work out why she’s jumping through time like this. And if she does make it back, will her old life ever be the same again?

Review:

First of all, Rom-Com movie references to the best ones, to cute light house feel good reads, and now Beatle references? Is Ali reading my mind with her novels? Each novel has been perfect and this one is no exception.

In 2013 Jo-Jo McKenzie is an accountant, although she seems to have no real friends or life outside work. It appears she has spent most of her working life building up her business and is consequently a majorly successful career girl in London at the age of only 29 (how stereotypical for chick lit books!) and there is no time, or life, left over for her. Who is she, as a person? We don’t find much out about that, and I am not sure Jo-Jo herself even knows. Working on the books for Groovy Records, a retro record shop on the Kings Road, Jo-Jo likes the personal touch so takes the books back herself to chat with George, the owner, who she is very friendly with. Now, from page 15 I knew exactly how this story would end. But getting there could be a lot of fun…

Stepping outside, Jo-Jo is knocked down by a car on a zebra crossing right outside the Worlds’ End pub and here we get into Life on Mars territory. She wakes up in 1963 and lives an alternative life there with three people she has met in her 2013 life, in very different personas, along with some genuine 1960s music industry people who have a real influence on the future. She seems to really embrace 60s life and have a good time, which she doesn’t have any time for in her real 2013 existence. The one link to the time travel aspect – George, the record shop manager – knows what is going on, but doesn’t tell her why, other than giving her somewhat cryptic explanations. Jo-Jo has no sooner got into her new life than she gets whacked by a car again – waking up in 1977. She hasn’t done all she needed to in 1963 – which was not what she thought (attempting to prevent JFK getting shot) but rather to help people move on in life and make the most of their talents.

It is clear that Jo-Jo is back in time to learn a lesson, but what lesson, really? She seems to have led a very straight, ordered, planned and uneventful life so far, with no real mistakes to put right. This purpose, the whole core of the story, is never fully explained or explored. We also gallop through each retro segment very quickly without really leaving time to catch breath; the 1985 and 1994 elements seemed particularly rushed. Although Jo-Jo learns bite-sized lessons about the personalities of the different characters she meets in the various time periods, I am not clear how she puts this into practice in real life. My favourite time periods were the 60s in particular was superb.

The Beatles references, whilst fun, were overdone; however my major criticism is there are too many unforgiveable irregularities with dates – throughout the decades, actually. Jo-Jo and her friends are 16 in 1977 and Ellie dresses in tartan as homage to the Bay City Rollers, who were no longer making Top 10 singles by then. No 1977 teenage girl would have Donny Osmond on the wall for the same reasons – and surely silver platform boots went out in 1973? Jo-Jo and Harry go to see Star Wars just before the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in June. Except they wouldn’t have, as Star Wars wasn’t released in the UK until Christmas 1977. Ellie meets Neil Tennant just before Live Aid, although we had never heard of the Pet Shop Boys until the very end of 1985 when the remixed West End Girls charted. Nobody would have watched Friends in September 1994 as it didn’t air in the UK until April 1995. I have clearly learned something from my younger days and a bit of research! I would have expected more thorough research or at least a good editor to sort this out. This is a real shame. I think in many books with time travel themes the authors feel almost obliged to cram in as many retro and pop culture references as possible.

I really did enjoy this book. I love all things retro and vintage and have always fancied the idea of going back in time so it played to all my passions. As with most good chick lit books, it all comes together in the end, Jo-Jo gets some much needed “me” time, though I couldn’t help feeling that the ending was bittersweet, and I also felt it was rushed. Altogether, however, an exciting, fun, rollercoaster read that has cultural references that everyone 30 and above will recognise mainly, I’m under 30 and I recognise a good few of these. Highly recommended as always from this author.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: From Notting Hill to New York Actually

Plot:

Scarlett O’Brien, utterly addicted to romantic films, has found her leading man. She’s convinced Sean is Mr Right, but the day-to-day reality of a relationship isn’t quite like the movies. With Sean constantly away on business, Scarlett and her new best friend Oscar decide to head to New York for the holiday of a lifetime.

From one famous landmark to the next, Scarlett and Oscar make many new friends during their adventure – including sailors in town for Fleet Week, a famous film star, and Jamie & Max, a TV reporter and cameraman. Scarlett finds herself strangely drawn to Jamie, they appear to have much in common: a love of films and Jamie’s search for a parent he never knew. But Scarlett has to ask herself why she is reacting like this to another man when she’s so in love with Sean . . .

Review:

Having only just recently read the predecessor to this book I had second book anxiety. There was no way that I was going to love this book more than the first one. How wrong can a girl be? Ali McNamara nailed it with this sequel. If anything, it is a much more accomplished novel than From Notting Hill with Love…Actually.

Scarlett is such a determined character yet it is often her dogged determination that gets her into all of these scrapes yet somehow she manages to turn things around and make them work for her.

Oscar made a bigger appearance in this novel and I really did laugh out loud with this one thanks to him and his Sex and the City references!

I did start to get a little angry with our heroine midway through the novel as I thought that one of her decisions was running the risk of ruining her relationship with Sean and I really like the character of Sean but as I said earlier Scarlett manages to somehow make things work out for her.

I think what made this book superior to the first one (which by the way was pretty darn fantastic) is that Scarlett has a change in her character in the fact that she is so much more selfless. Her actions in the first book without being selfish were self motivated. In From Notting Hill to New York…Actually we see her as so much more pure and altruistic.

It is this fact and once again this series of wacky misadventures that make the Actually books so entertaining. I cannot wait to read more of Ali’s reads, one of the only authors so far I’ve came across that I genuinely enjoy each novel I read of hers. There’s just something about her writing. Warm and feel good reads in new ways in each novel.

Also, what a coincidence it was as I went to see a Bradley Cooper film at the weekend (Nightmare Alley) whilst I was reading this when I didn’t know he was going to be in it!

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Perfect Life

Plot:

Vanessa has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape.

That’s how it started: looking round houses she couldn’t possibly afford. Harmless fun really. Until it wasn’t.

Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead.

And everyone thinks Vanessa killed him…

Review:

I disagree with the main character A-LOT however given how this was written, I did quite enjoy it!

Vanessa Adams is a 32-year-old singleton with a good job at beauty company Luna London. She shares a flat with Lottie, her best friend from university. They live a carefree life though when Vanessa meets Conor, changes are soon on the horizon.

Some Icks with their relationship:

⁃ Using the words ‘baby’ ‘making love’ just ew.

⁃ Not using your eyes of right in front of you when someone is clearly trying to manipulate you.

⁃ Falling for the littlest things of mind control such as the obsessions and moving in so fast.

⁃ IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TOO FAST LIKE RELATIONSHIPS that MOVE WAY TOO FAST then run, male or female just run because there are clearly red flags if you or the other person moves too fast in an early relationship…

When things become stressful in her life Vanessa copes by pretending to be someone else. Recently as cracks begin to show in her relationship with Conor (which of course they did, else this novel would be a fluffy romance), she’s started looking around houses that are way out of her price range. It seems like harmless fun – until it wasn’t. She went a bit extreme with the whole range of identities and different personas.

When she sees a listing for the home of children’s author, Geoffrey Rivers, whose books were important to her childhood, she feels compelled to view it. Yet then there’s a body and Vanessa is the police’s prime suspect!

No further details to avoid spoilers but will say that it was deliciously twisty. The chapters are divided between ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ and a picture develops of the stresses underlying Vanessa’s relationships in the past and present.

Overall, ‘The Perfect Life’ proved a very readable psychological thriller, the kind that once started was very hard to put down. Great for audio listening when doing errands or tedious tasks at work in the background to keep you interested.

4/5 stars

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Book Review: The Book of Forgotten Authors

Plot:

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you’re dead.

So begins Christopher Fowler’s foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from our shelves.

Whether male or female, domestic or international, flash-in-the-pan or prolific, mega-seller or prize-winner – no author, it seems, can ever be fully immune from the fate of being forgotten. And Fowler, as well as remembering their careers, lifts the lid on their lives, and why they often stopped writing or disappeared from the public eye.

These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favourites: including the now-vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and the women who introduced us to psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world.

This is a book about books and their authors. It is for book lovers, and is written by one who could not be a more enthusiastic, enlightening and entertaining guide.

Book Review:

A few words to sum up this novel would be: sexist and narrow minded.

It’s clear to see that within this novel the author is quite sexist when it comes to finding women novelists as there is a very select few and of those women, their writing styles all fall into the same category. Now, at the start of this novel the author had stated how he gathered opinions and carried out severe research by having a bunch of different peoples opinions for the final authors to be mentioned within it. If that was really the case then there would be a various range of authors over many genres.

To begin with, the novel introduces a great selection of authors however after 50 pages or so that is when he begins to slack and become lazy at researching authors.

Fowler has very judgemental opinions as well if you read it as he critics these authors with their lifestyles and such. Another issue I had is that his facts are most definitely not up-to-date. For example, Georgette Heyer is supposedly a forgotten author? Uhm, what rock has he been living under? She is one of the go-to authors in the historic romance genre whenever you go to search for this category. She is still widely discussed amongst the online social media world, have a look on Twitter if you do not think this is the case Christopher Fowler.

1/5 Stars

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Book Review: From Notting Hill with Love Actually

Plot:

She was just a girl, standing in front of a boy . . . wishing he looked more like Hugh Grant.

Scarlett loves the movies. But does she love sensible fiancé David just as much? With a big white wedding on the horizon, Scarlett really should have decided by now . . .

When she has the chance to house-sit in Notting Hill – the setting of one of her favourite movies – Scarlett jumps at the chance. But living life like a movie is trickier than it seems, especially when her new neighbour Sean is so irritating. And so irritatingly handsome, too.

Scarlett soon finds herself starring in a romantic comedy of her very own: but who will end up as the leading man?

Review:

Boy am I reading a lot faster these days with the aid of audio books whilst I am busy having a few new full-time jobs. It is amazing how much you can get done when you prioritise your time instead of being lazy using all sorts of excuses!

Let’s start off by saying I am a little biased when it comes to this author. She writes so well. Currently on a spree to read novels on my ‘Want’ on GoodReads and this was on the top or shall I say beginning of my list.

When Ali writes a novel there is just something about it that has that warm, feel good feeling that takes you away even for just a moment or a few hours that takes you into this far-away-world.

This novel was based so much on films. At the start, Scarlett annoyed me as she did come across a tad immature. However, as the novel progresses so does she. It is like, why should she be critiqued for enjoying movies as her escape? For many of us we use something in our hobbies as an escape including reading.

When I first met Scarlett she had just arrived in London where she was pretty much expecting to walk into a scene from her favourite movie Notting Hill. Her excitement at seeing buildings and roads that she recognised from the film really made me smile. It wasn’t long before she bumped into a grumpy Londoner and an absolutely fabulous character called Oscar who I liked instantly.

I loved the clever way in which Ali described the events that led to Scarlett going to London, the tale was beautifully woven into the storyline in a conversational manner that captivated me as much as it did Oscar! I must admit that Scarlett’s fiance David wasn’t painted in the best light and I really struggled to like him even if I did feel a bit sorry for him sometimes.

Scarlett was a lovely character, I’m a bit of a daydreamer myself so I could definitely relate to that side of her personality. During her quest to live out some of her favourite movie scenes she somehow got thrown together with her London neighbour Sean. I loved the irritation that sparked between them to begin with and even though their friendship was a little predictable at times I still found myself surprised by some of the moments in between.

There were some wonderful scenes in France, my favourite being Scarlett’s time in Disneyland Paris because it brought back so many memories of my own trip there. The author successfully teased my imagination with her descriptive writing so that I could almost imagine I was there alongside Scarlett!

I laughed out loud a fair few times whilst reading this book but towards the end I also found my eyes filling with tears as the storyline became sentimental and touching. The final pages were incredible and so much better than I had expected, I can’t wait to read the sequel From Notting Hill to New York… Actually which is currently sat on my bookshelf waiting for its turn to be read.

This was a fabulous read – romantic escapism at its very best!

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Mrs Dalloway

Plot:

Society hostess, Clarissa Dalloway is giving a party. Her thoughts and sensations on that one day, and the interior monologues of others whose lives are interwoven with hers gradually reveal the characters of the central protagonists. Clarissa’s life is touched by tragedy as the events in her day run parallel to those of Septimus Warren Smith, whose madness escalates as his life draws toward inevitable suicide.

Review:

You’d think with someone’s rambling thoughts you’d get bored reading them right? For some reason, not in this instance to begin with.

Reading this novel was like sitting in a coffee shop watching people go about their day whilst you’re sitting there wondering what each person passing by is up to, or as some would say; never getting off the carousel.

We just go from one thought to the next on this day-dream train of thoughts of Mrs. D.

The way everything is captured beautifully such as that feeling you get when your mind is in that state of confusion and hasn’t yet taken the time to process that thought:

“ But-but-why did she suddenly feel, for no reason that she could discover, desperately unhappy? As a person who has dropped some grain of pearl or diamond into the grass and parts the two blades very carefully, this way and that, and searches here and there vainly, and at last spies it there at the roots, so she went through one thing and another; no, it was not Sally Seton saying that Richard would never be in the Cabinet because he had a second-class brain (it came back to her); no, she did not mind that; nor was it to do with Elizabeth… it was a feeling, some unpleasant feeling earlier in the day; perhaps something that Peter had said, combined with some depression of her own, in her bedroom, taking off her hat; and what Richard had said had added to it, but what had he said? There were his roses. Her parties! That was it! Her parties! Both of them criticised her very unfairly l, laughed at her very unjustly.

The passage I think also uncovers something interesting about Clarissa, why do Peter’s comments about her being the perfect hostess bother her so much? She often claims to be so fortunate to marry a man that lets her be independent and so forth. But I feel like she is rationalising herself.

Nicely written, in a day-dream however no real sense of purpose.

2/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Switch

Plot:

Leena is too young to feel stuck.
Eileen is too old to start over.
It’s time for The Switch…

After blowing a big presentation at work, Leena takes a two-month sabbatical and escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen . . . A life swap seems the perfect solution.

But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the distractingly handsome local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. In London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?

Review:

The Switch, Beth O’Leary’s follow up to The Flatshare, did not disappoint. Again, it’s a story from two perspectives – a granddaughter and a grandmother.

Leena, a 20 something high achiever in London, has struggled with her mental health and at work after the death of her sister, Carla. Leena’s manager directs her to take two months leave. She finds herself at a loose end.

Seventy nine year old Eileen, Leena’s grandmother, is in Leeds, Yorkshire. She’s had a tough few years – her husband left her for another woman, her granddaughter died, and she’s been looking after her daughter who has also struggled since Carla’s death.

Leena and Eileen are close – talking on the phone regularly. Eileen suggests the two of them swap places in life. Eileen went to stay at Leena’s London apartment with her flatmates, and Leena went to Eileen’s cottage in Yorkshire. They even swapped phones, and Eileen borrowed a Leena’s high heels.

They fit in to each other’s lifestyles well – making friends and building communities. They try new things – Eileen tried online dating (and helps Leena’s friend with her dating), and ales a tried her hand at event planning. Oh my, you would not believe the things an older lady can get up to! Let’s just say that age does not stop a woman from being attracted to a man.

Throw in a gaslighting, cheating boyfriend – Ethan; a casual affair – Todd, an actor from the west end; and a new flame – Jackson – and there’s the romance, diverse relationships and so forth.

There are some funny scenes – especially involving Eileen and her well meaning meddling. While Eileen and Leena don’t speak as much during their life swap, they always have each other’s back. I wasn’t close to my grandmother, and I do wish I had the strong bond Eileen and Leena have.

This is a book about intergenerational friendships and unexpected happiness through a change of scenery.

“I couldn’t have figured myself out if I’d not been someone else”, Leena said. A poignant line in a really lovely book. Thanks Beth.

I listened to the audiobook and loved the narrators. It was a quick read, but I didn’t want it to end.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Secrets of Sunshine

Plot:

Only his daughter Poppy knows that behind his prickly exterior, Mitchell Fisher is deeply lonely. He may have sworn off romance, relishing his job cutting off the padlocks that couples fasten to his hometown’s famous ‘love story’ bridge… but underneath it all, he’s still grieving the loss of Poppy’s mum.

Then one hot summer’s day, everything changes when Mitchell bravely rescues a woman who falls from the bridge into the river. He’s surprised to feel an unexpected connection to her, but then she disappears. Desperate to find the mysterious woman, Mitchell teams up with her spirited sister Liza to see if she’s left any clues behind. There’s just one – a secret message on the padlock she left on love story bridge…

Review:

“I think that true love is simply your way of being together, in a way that makes you both happy. “

This novel was a nice read. A man is grieving for his girlfriend and mother of his child. He’s consumed by guilt and is stuck on the past. As the novel develops theres a seemingly confusing mixture as his feelings for someone not expected to form. He rekindles friendships with those he used to be close with and all of the characters progress. Although, the last 50 pages was the predictable and a little bit of a drag. It’s a difficult topic to write about and I did enjoy reading it.

3/5 stars

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Book Review: The Winter Garden

Plot:

Freya Fuller is living her dream, working as a live-in gardener on a beautiful Suffolk estate. But when the owner dies, Freya finds herself forced out of her job and her home with nowhere to go. However, with luck on her side, she’s soon moving to Nightingale Square and helping to create a beautiful winter garden that will be open to the public in time for Christmas.

There’s a warm welcome from all in Nightingale Square, except from local artist Finn. No matter how hard the pair try, they just can’t get along, and working together to bring the winter garden to life quickly becomes a struggle for them both.

Will Freya and Finn be able to put their differences aside in time for Christmas? Or will the arrival of a face from Freya’s past send them all spiralling?

Review:

Freya recently had to deal with grieving for her employer and friend Eloise. When her relative Jackson arrives he decides to sell the place. I love a garden read! It’s what helped me get back into reading. There’s just something about reading about those using nature as a relaxing method, not that I garden myself.

Soon she finds herself in Norwich around a community of people. It was so obvious she was going to take this job but I didn’t like that she took so long to see that this was the next best opportunity for her. I enjoyed watching Freya flourish as a person. Of course, any novel with a dog is an added bonus.

It’s a good read however the main character can annoy me at times especially as she still frequently chats to her ex like it is casual especially when she is getting things on with a new man I found to be odd.

Overall, I enjoyed the community aspect of the novel and a sense of fullness during the winter season especially as the focus. Having judgemental parents can be very relatable so I enjoyed seeing how some characters deal with it. I loved how Freya judged Chloe at the start and the way the novel shifts dynamics as it progresses. It was very interesting to watch her grow in a new town and to be apart of the community. It was a very warm cosy feel good type of read and I will definitely be adding Swain to my authors list to look at her other pieces of work after I attempt my TBR pile!

It’s not often I give 5 star reviews so here’s to a good 2022!

5/5 Stars

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Book Review: The Twelve Dates of Christmas

Plot:

On the first day of Christmas, a dating app offered me
Twelve tailored chances for perfect harmony . . .

Kate Turner is happily single – a bit too happily, in fact. Since returning to her hometown, the sleepy village of Blexford, love hasn’t really had a look in.

But Kate does love Christmas. So when her best friend insists she signs up to the Twelve Dates of Christmas, a brand new dating app service, she doesn’t need too much persuading. Twelve perfect festive dates with the area’s most eligible men – who could say no?

Amongst the twinkling lights and falling snow, over hot chocolates and glasses of red wine, romance is easy to find. But with each date, Kate learns more about the men, and even more about herself.

As the big day approaches, Kate’s left wondering – is it really the season for true love, or will this Christmas be the coldest yet?

Review:

“Life has a way of tipping the seemingly unimaginable on its head”

We get a background story of the Kate, her best friends (Lauren and Matt) as well as an insight into her family background to begin with.

Each of Kate’s dates seem to be the talk of the town. Upon each date something of course has to go wrong or take a turn in a different way which you would not expect. Throughout this I kept thinking oh, if the love of her life is right under her nose then it must be Matt and I keep looking for signs even though he is dating Sarah.

Although towards the half way point of the novel it begins to drag and I could not believe it was not completed yet as some descriptions did go on and on.

I did enjoy the book to begin with however the descriptions where a bit long for me.

Overall, the novel and descriptions where a bit long however I did enjoy the random dates and adventures Kate went on, it is an entertaining read.

4/5 Stars

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Sunday Thoughts – New Years Goal

Instead of New Years resolution, why not create a goal board of things you currently do but want to improve upon and maintain?

I saved a bunch of images as a collage as my screensaver so this year my goals would include (as I want to be brief on here as I have a few crazy exes that still stalk me over half a decade later):

– Improving my fitness to an even better standard than what it was (I’ve just had a baby, I am told I look extremely well however you know how it is if you’re a mom)

– Worry and care less

– Self care more. Do not be afraid to put you first within reason.

– Continue to be the best mom and partner that I can be

– Read more, last year was a confusing more

– Hopefully achieve some career sideline goals and within that, get noticed and make money

– With the above, confidence grows, be happy and shine.

– Every moment is a fresh beginning

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Book Review: Influenced Love

Plot:

A beauty influencer polls her followers to pick her date and ends up fake dating a fellow influencer, but real sparks fly when she begins to fall for the man behind his image.

After a scandal threatens her reputation, popular beauty influencer, Alivia Fae, attempts to distract her followers by polling them to pick her date. When they pair her up with a fellow influencer, Moe Gava, he takes notice and asks her out. Unfortunately, she soon realizes he’s not as desirable as he seems online.

Despite her disinterest, when it’s suggested that she and Moe start a fake dating relationship, to keep up engagement with their fans, she begrudgingly agrees. As the plan unfolds, she begins to grow closer to his low-key assistant, Travis. Leading her to re-evaluate what she truly wants to influence her life—love.

Review:

I received this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Alivia is a social media beauty influencer. When it was her male best friend’s wedding you know how that kind of thing goes where a simple look can be seen as much more by the paparazzi. So Alivia has a poll set up on her stories to draw the attention away so the poll is on who she should date. Looks can be deceiving is all I can say. This ‘Moe’ is less than what meets the eye. His assistant Travis totally has a crush on her immediately. At time as the story is a bit of a drag with the dialogue between the two. With tensions rising between Donna and Dan (the newly married couple) it’s clear to see based on the writing what’s is going on with Dan’s thinking process.

The novel for me begins to drag as there’s not an interesting plot that continues to flow. It seems like it is on pause for a good chunk of the novel to pass the time.

It took me a while and some determination in order to complete it.

2/5 stars

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Thoughts on Social Media

A little thing I wrote about my thoughts on Social Media over a year ago that I forgot to share:

In this day and age, Social Media has a great effect on our mental health. I personally agree as it is a part of our daily lives in today’s society. Nearly everyone is using the internet all the time. The internet does have its benefits as its knowledge at our finger tip, in a glimpse of second. It offers businesses and entrepreneurs a great way to advertise your business, and for some, even a career.

However as with everything in life there are some downfalls. Due to Social Media, people use it as a mask to bully people online that is showing any form of success, this results in some rare situations that is becoming more common each year including suicide.

With the internet, people want to feel recognised, apart of this special club online where if you are seen engaging with peoples’ posts and images you are liked. You are then seen as a ‘friend’. Hence, the term ‘fake friends’ seem to be all you have online for the majority. Another example, is when those are using Facebook and adding people they do not know to increase their friends’ list to look like they know a variety of people.

With Instagram and Twitter, people follow those they do not know, because they like their newsfeed, or to get them to follow them back. It can be a vicious cycle as you watch your number and notifications increase, or not change at all. Which is something that affects mainly women in this modern generation.

People love gossip. Some know how to keep their private life private. However, some love attention and will always complain, seeking attention from others. Usually this type of information is easy to find. They think this will help them cope with life however it makes matters worse as it will not really solve their issues. As well, it invites strangers who knows someone through another, and gain all this information about this person they have not met. The dangers of this alone can be frightening.

People use this opportunity to gain information about others for their own benefit, to use behind their backs with any intention they want. Manipulating or using the information for their joy.

Not getting enough attention or likes can be disheartening for some, that rely on it to validate themselves. Some can take drastic action if they only get 99 likes instead of 100 likes. It’s crazy to think that we have come to this in 2019 whereas in 2008 it was about messaging and keeping up with friends using MSN. Sharing cartoon images, a way to instantly connect with close ones. To a world where we rely on validation from something as simple as tap on a screen.

The internet can be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends who travel and live all over the world. Or if you are not able to get out, to keep in touch with friends. To get to know people you’ve just met even more, as it can bring you closer together.

Overall, the internet is a great new aspect of life, within moderation. Everything in life has an affect on our mental health, it’s only natural. It is about using it for good, improving our mindset, setting limits and enjoying the happy moments that social media can bring, reducing the level of negativity with social media is how you can improve usage with social media today.

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Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere

Plot:

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principal is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

Review:

Finally a book who’s authors writing I can follow and writes the characters well!

When you attempt to write about multiple people within one novel lately I’ve noticed it has been such a clash when trying to write it and keep the readers involved and not bored or confused.

This novel, captured my attention from the beginning and it was easy to see there was a pattern with how the author was introducing each character and their thinking process. I loved the way it was done because I could follow it.

The way Mia, Pearl’s mother had spent time with Izzy and getting her to open up, and learning why Mrs Richardson had treated her youngest daughter and how she was brought up was interesting. I enjoyed the bond between the two and I am still getting my head around how Izzy’s thinking process works because at times I agree with some of the actions she had done but at times I am frustrated with her because she doesn’t seem to think of the consequences.

I did not appreciate Mrs Richardson’s nosiness into Mia’s past however discovering the story had my wanting to find out more.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book I definitely recommend it if you would love a great read that has you begging to know what happens next.

4/5 Stars