When Kerry Barrett emailed me and asked if I'd like to review her Halloween chick lit release Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, I thought it sounded...moreWhen Kerry Barrett emailed me and asked if I'd like to review her Halloween chick lit release Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, I thought it sounded really interesting and I gratefully accepted. With Halloween just around the corner, it was the perfect time to read the book and it was such a wonderful read!
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered is such a lovely little book! If you're going to enjoy it then you will have to like witches and magic and all that kind of stuff and luckily I do! It's not my go to genre. But every now and then I love it, especially since I grew up watching Sabrina The Teenage Witch and later Harry Potter and Wizards of Waverly Place. This is a really great novel, and I liked the family connection to the novel. How despite the fact Esme really didn't want to go back home to Claddach, she did because it's her family and she couldn't say no! That was so sweet, and I loved how her family in Claddach were all really close to each other. That's how family should be!
With the family being so close it meant any threats that appeared were dealt with trebly. There's Suky's illness, which was so sad - what a shame witches can't magic stuff like that better, and then there was the fact everyone in town was trying to run Esme's family out by spreading horrible lies. I really enjoyed the book, I enjoyed how Esme dealt with things compared to her cousin Harry, they were opposites but they shared a common goal when it came to sticking up for their family and their reputation.
The only thing I didn't like in the novel was the infidelity. At the beginning of the novel Esme is seeing a married man and that never sits right with me. Thankfully it wasn't in your face or anything so it wasn't a major issue. Apart from that I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. It was just lovely! I loved the plot, I loved the spells and the magic, I loved the characters and I loved the writing. Kerry Barrett is a talented writer and I'm so pleased I got the chance to review her debut novel and here's hoping there will be many more! This review was originally posted on Girls Love To Read(less)
Cathy Woodman's Talyton St George series is one of my favourite book series! Mostly because it features lots, and lots of animals and I just don't thi...moreCathy Woodman's Talyton St George series is one of my favourite book series! Mostly because it features lots, and lots of animals and I just don't think you can go wrong with books that feature animals. You already have my approval. There are 8 novels in the series so far (well, there will be when book 8 is released in April), as well as a digital novella and I have to be honest, I was suprised to discover that fact! I truly wasn't aware there were already 8 novels. I had read the first 5, but hadn't managed to get around to 6 or 7, you know what it's like when books just pile up and you discover books ages after and wonder why you hadn't already read it, but with book 8 around the corner, I thought it was very much time to catch up on the fantastic series, so I started with Vets In Love!
Vets In Love is book 6 in the series, and as with all the later books, introduces us to entirely new characters (at least I think they are - from what I can remember, we haven't already met Nicci or Matt before, and if we have it would only have been briefly) and, sadly, there is no Maz in sight. I do miss Maz. But, I also like being introduced to the newer residents of Talyton St George - and it seems there is no shortage of fantastic new characters for us to meet! Nicci is the newest GP in town, who also moonlights as a horse eventer (is that the right word? I have no idea), with her horse, Willow. When Matt comes into Nicci's surgery with a busted shoulder, it's love at first shoulder, or it would be if they weren't bound by client/patient rules, and there wasn't a pesky ex on the scene, desperate to stick her oar in where it isn't welcome. But despite all the issues, the two keep finding themselves drawn to each other, until they can deny their feelings any longer. But things just keep getting in the way - mostly work, but also Nicci's training for the competition she's entering as well as Nicci's wayward sister Cheska and her kids. Can Nicci and Matt make it work or is there just too much pressure on their relationship too soon?
I very much enjoyed Vets In Love. As I say in most of my Cathy Woodman reviews, reading one of her books is like slipping into my comfy duvet, they're such warm, lovely books and I just know that what I see, is what I get. Although I do personally think the official Amazon summary probably gives a bit too much away about the book! Most of the stuff in the synopsis doesn't actually occur til really late in the book. The first chunk of the book is devoted to getting to know Nicci, to learn about her work as a GP (more fascinating than I thought), learning about her life with horses (which all went over my head, to be honest, but I loved reading about the relationship between Nicci and Willow, it was super sweet) and seeing Nicci and Matt do that dance. The dance that shows you two people could not be more perfect for each other, and it was so frustrating every time something popped up that prevented them from simply spending time together! It drove me mad! What with one thing or another, they just couldn't seem to go on many dates, or anything at all! I was frustrated on their behalves, especially because their scenes lit up the book! They were very flirty with each other and it was lovely to be able to see that!
Vets In Love is yet another brilliant addition to the Talyton St George series! I raced through it, and the only real sticking point for me was Nicci's feckless sister Cheska, who drove me to the brink of insanity. If somebody came into my house the way Cheska did, and used my house the way Cheska did and left it in a perpetual state of untidiness she would have been out on her ear. I loved her two kids, Sage and Gabriel, but Cheska was like a child who had never grown up and I wanted Nicci to tell her to grow up. But apart from that (and Matt's ex-girlfriend Mel who hung around like a bad smell) I thought it was a lovely novel. It was so nice to see characters who are always on the fringes of the books, like Frances and FiFi. I can't wait to get stuck into books 7 and 8 as soon as possible because reading Vets In Love made me realise how much I'd missed reading about the folks of Talyton St George. I very much want to move there as soon as I can, and I wish it was a real place, because it definitely is the most romantic place in Britain, and it also sounds like the most wonderful place to live!
Last year I read and enjoyed my first ever Amanda Prowse novel, A Little Love. It was a delightful read, and I just loved the book cover! Amanda Prows...moreLast year I read and enjoyed my first ever Amanda Prowse novel, A Little Love. It was a delightful read, and I just loved the book cover! Amanda Prowse is a very lucky lady when it comes to her book covers - they are delightful! So when I spotted her new book cover on Amazon I was delighted! It was even better than the cover for A Little Love, would you believe? It's the twinkly stars that get me. I love twinkly stars, especially when they're bright, in a purple-blue sky. When I got the email asking me if I'd like to review the novel, I was delighted. I haven't read Poppy Day, the prequel to this book, but from reading this book it doesn't really seem to be a necessary endeavour (I like when books stand alone).
I was quite surprised when I learned Amanda Prowse had brought back one of her very first heroines - from the sounds of Poppy Day, Poppy has had quite the adventure, so it's always somewhat of a shock when an author brings back their characters for another go round, especially when they intend to make them ill. Gravely ill. It just made me so sad whilst reading the book - that Poppy, a young mum with two kids, and her husband just returned from Afghanistan are going through yet more trauma. It was quite tough to take; hadn't life already thrown them so much? Didn't they deserve to live out their days, happy as larry? But that was not to be, sadly, and we get to see Poppy start a whole different kind of fight, one that isn't always winnable. What surprised me most was the deterioration. I know cancer is awful, but it just seemed to progress so quickly for Poppy.
One of the brightest parts of the novel is most definitely Poppy and Mart's daughter, Peg. She's cute as a button, brighter and more perceptive than most adults, and wants nothing more than to be register monitor in her class. She's full of questions, desperate to know everything, and she lit the book up. In such hard times, it's nice to have a bit of relief, nice to see some innocence still shining and Peg fit that role perfectly. There's a lot that occurs, in such a short period of time in Will You Remember Me? and it's not all great - I wasn't a fan of Poppy keeping her illness a secret, nor that her husband would be so ignorant as to not pick up on some of the signs of illness, even if he didn't guess what it actually was. We're meant to believe Poppy and Mart have this fabulous relationship, so why wouldn't she tell him about her illness? To have someone to lean on? I didn't get that. It baffled me.
There's one more twist to the novel that I didn't care for, involving Poppy's friend Jo. It seemed as if it had been chucked in, and I hated it. Absolutely hated it. Considering what Poppy's going through, I didn't think she needed that extra hurt. JUST NO. I wish I could have scrubbed those pages from my memory. But, apart from all that, it was a really interesting read - I don't dare say it was 'great' because it wasn't, let's be honest. Poppy goes through something so terrible, so hard to watch, and it was hard to watch her be so ill. I just wanted to close my eyes, and pretend it wasn't happening, and I shed a tear or two towards the end of the novel. But the novel had its bright spots - I quite liked the Epilogue, it was SO cheesy (last chapter of the Deathly Hallows cheesy) but it was quite sweet, too. And I liked the St Lucia link, which was surprising and unexpected, but actually quite awesome. Will You Remember Me? is a sad, but ultimately quite uplifting tale, but tissues will be required, I can promise you that.
Over the past year I've come to very much enjoy Victoria Dahl's novels. They're more romance-y than I usually read and a lot steamier, but I enjoy her...moreOver the past year I've come to very much enjoy Victoria Dahl's novels. They're more romance-y than I usually read and a lot steamier, but I enjoy her brand of romance and I adore her love stories. Her writing flows so naturally and I love her Jackson series. So I was very excited to download her new novella Fanning The Flames from Netgalley, which is a nice little filler novella before her next release, Looking For Trouble (which I'll be reading REALLY soon).
Fanning The Flames is a very quick, thirty-minute read telling the hot, hot, hot story of Lauren and Jake. Lauren works at the library, and Jake works at the firehouse right next door and after years of marriage on Lauren's end (and an 8 year single period) and widowhood on Jake's end, they're both feeling ready to start again... But it's kinda awkward since Jake knew Lauren's husband and Lauren knew just how sweet Jake's dearly departed wife, Ruth, was.... But their chemistry is hot, and they can barely deny their attraction to each other, but will it be more than just chemistry that keeps them together?
I thoroughly enjoyed Fanning The Flames, it was quick, it was cute, and the chemistry between Lauren and Jake was sky-high, something Dahl more than excells at with her novels. It leads very nicely into Lauren's best friend Sophie's story in Looking For Trouble, and I'm hoping (FINGERS CROSSED) we'll see more of Lauren and Jake in Looking For Trouble, even just a little mention of them would be awesome! I just loved this little novella and I imagined Jake as an older Taylor Kinney just because Kinney plays a firefighter in Chicago Fire and Jake, too, is a firefighter. (I'm terrible, aren't I?) Dahl fans will devour this, it was fabulous!
If you follow the site regularly and keep up with my reviews, you'll have read my review of a novel called Deeper back in March, which was Robin York'...moreIf you follow the site regularly and keep up with my reviews, you'll have read my review of a novel called Deeper back in March, which was Robin York's first New Adult novel, and which I LOVED. It was such a wonderful story, and Caroline and West really spoke to me. I was absolutely gutted that I had to wait until July for the sequel, but you guys, July has arrived (well, June has arrived as this is when I'm writing my review) and it's arrived quicker than expected (where has this year gone?!) and I was super excited to be asked to take part in Robin's blog tour for Harder! It wasn't even a question, let's be honest. I did a bit of a happy dance when I received my bound proof and I could not wait to get stuck in!
Harder picks up a little while after Deeper ended, when West left Caroline to go back to Silt, his home-town to take care of his sister, Frankie. It was very heroic, but very devastating for me because I just adored those two as a couple, so it brought me much joy to see Caroline heading to Silt, after a frantic phone call from West informing her of his dad's demise. But, sadly, West keeps Caroline at arms length, and the tension is super high. We're back to Deeper, and me desperately screaming at the two of them to just kiss each other, damn it. But West has gone off the deep end, and doesn't want her there in Silt, and does something awful (my poor eyes) and pushes Caroline away for good, until West realises Caroline takes a helluva lot of sense, and that if he doesn't get himself and Frankie away from Silt, neither will become anything at all, period, so off to Putnam we go and the whole crazy rollercoaster between Caroline & West starts again.
I have to be honest, what West did to push Caroline away when she was in Silt was icky. ICKY. I wish it could be wiped from my mind, and I didn't really know whether they'd come back from that. But West and Caroline are this once-in-a-lifetime couple, perfect for each other, so even though West did a really icky thing, I was quite pleased that Caroline didn't just give up on him for ever, because well, that would be quite a depressing book. Instead, I liked how Caroline wormed her way back into West's life, whether he liked it or not. He was being a jerk, and he needed to see that. I liked how Caroline and West weren't the same people we met in Deeper. They'd grown, hardened, but that spark was always there, and I will always enjoy their easy banter, about anything and everything and nothing. It takes a special kind of writer to write a relationship like that and it's the kind of relationship you dream about - you want someone you can just talk to and listen to and have listen to you, and Caroline and West have that. Sure, they're not the same people on the outside, but on the inside they are and they just melted my heart all over again.
Harder was such a great sequel, and the addition of young Frankie was genius - I adored her in the first book, so to have her literally in the action this time around was ace. I felt so sad for her about everything she'd witnessed and everything she went through and she was such a little fighter and her relationship with Caroline was the sweetest thing I've ever witnessed. I just adore the little bubble that Caroline and West seem to inhabit. No matter how hard West pulled away, Caroline would never give up and I admired her spirit and determination. That's one touch chick. She's my kinda girl. It was a fantastic sequel, and a sequel that more than lived up to its predecessor. I liked that it didn't end on a cliff-hanger and I suspect we are done with the lives of Caroline and West, which I'm surprisingly okay about - I think they've been through the mill, and they have endured tough times and come out the other side.... I'm still hankering after a Bridget/Krishna book so there's definitely reason to stick around Putnam for York's next New Adult adventure, and I'll be there will bells on.
After months of putting it off, I finally read Beautiful Disaster - the novel that every New Adult fan raves about and I LOVED it! It was beautiful an...moreAfter months of putting it off, I finally read Beautiful Disaster - the novel that every New Adult fan raves about and I LOVED it! It was beautiful and hot and romantic and everything I love about New Adult, so I was super excited when Jamie McGuire announced she was writing books about the entire Maddox clan!!! Oh the joy! The excitement! More Maddoxes. Sigh. Awesome. Beautiful Oblivion is the first Maddox Brother story, and we get to meet Trent and Cami, who I am reliably informed do appear in BD! I couldn't wait to get stuck in and I bloody loved it!
At first I was a bit discombobulated with Beautiful Oblivion - it's not explicitly stated if Beautiful Oblivion is set before/after/at the same time as Beautiful Disaster so I was kinda confused early on when we saw Travis getting it on with someone who was NOT Abby! But it seems all the books in this series are, so far, set in the same time frame of Beautiful Disaster. Which is clever, actually, but confusing. Dates would have helped or clarification or something! Because ya know I was totes concerned for a mo about my fave couple!
Much like Abby and Travis, Cami and Trent have the same sort of friendship turned relationship and that's always a hit with me - I think friends before becoming more is always a sure fire hit, although it was totes awkward on Cami's behalf since she has a boyfriend, TJ! But ya know he travels a lot, is rarely in the same place as Cami and you just have to be available, especially when a tatted up gorgeous Maddox comes a-calling, with the sweeeeeeetest little girl in the world in a bid to get you to go out with him. Truth be told, Trent wouldn't need a sweet little girl for me to say yes to him! ;)
McGuire knows how to build the best relationships - I love her romantic writing and her tension building, man can she make me desperate for kissing action! Jeez, you could cut the chemistry with a knife! But I liked the build up because the payoff is then always so much better! I dunno why, it just is! And with two characters like Cami and Trent you knew it was inevitable they'd fall in love and have babies and all that other mushy stuff, if they can get all the other stuff outta the way obvs.
There's a big secret that sort of hangs over Cami and Trent, the mysterious TJ, which actually wasn't all that mysterious and which I guessed because it wasn't that bloody hard, and I could just see the two of then heading for a crash because Cami was too afraid to tell the truth. But I loved that Trent signed up for whatever it was without hearing it - that's super sweet and sort of sums up Trent nicely. Yeah he's a bad boy fighter all tatted up, but he's sweet and he takes care of a little girl who can't pronounce her r's and lost her bro.
Beautiful Oblivion just made me feel all the feels. I loved Cami, I loved Trent, I loved seeing Abby and Travis's relationship from another angle! I loved Cami's BFF Reagan and I looooved seeing Cami go from non tattooed girl to tattooed girl! I adore my tattoo chicks, being one myself. There's loads to love about this book and I loved it all. I can't wait to meet the next Maddox bro, to he honest i'd take any if them no questions asked but Trent beats out his little bro for me. Just sayin'. I loved being back in the Maddox world again, and let's hope I'll get to go there again soon!
Last year I read and enjoyed Hannah Jayne's Sourcebooks debut Truly, Madly, Deadly, it was one of my first tastes of a young adult thriller and I was...moreLast year I read and enjoyed Hannah Jayne's Sourcebooks debut Truly, Madly, Deadly, it was one of my first tastes of a young adult thriller and I was very impressed! So when I spotted The Dare up for request on Netgalley, I requested it and was very pleased to be accepted! It sounds just as thrilling, just as spooky as Truly, Madly, Deadly, and I actually think The Dare was even spookier, because I truly had no idea what was happening to Brynna - she goes through such a lot, and she's recovering from all sorts of addictions that you're never entirely sure if she's reliable as a character, or not, and whether everything she's experiencing is reality or in her head.
I very rarely read books with characters I don't feel I can trust - how can you enjoy a novel if you're aren't entirely sure the character isn't crazy? I feel really bad for wondering it, but there was just a part of me through the entire time I was reading The Dare that was concerned Brynna had just completely lost her grip in reality - and it's proven, time and time again, that she simply MUST be going crazy, because whenever an incident occurs - seeing Erica going into a coffee shop, hearing voice mails that aren't possible, almost drowning in a pool when there's no one there holding you under, I felt a lot of suspicion about Brynna. I was wary of her, never sure what was going to happen next, much like her parents, and it was strange to feel that way about a character, but it was also hugely interesting, because it made me question her and her motives and everything that happens.
I liked how The Dare threw suspicion over everyone, because although I did question Brynna, I was also curious who could be doing it because I hoped I was wrong and I hoped it was someone doing it to her, rather than it being of her own imaginings. It wasn't helped by the fact Brynna didn't tell a SOUL about the Tweets, weird movements, phone calls, etc, she was quite secretive when it came down to it and it just threw her under more suspicion. The flashbacks to the night of the dare were really great, I very much enjoyed unfurling Brynna's story and to see what happened to Erica, and there was a lot right with the book, but unfortunately there were also some issues. The book lags quite a bit - it has theses moments of heart-pounding tension, followed by dress shopping, or nonsense that I really wasn't interested in. I wanted the tension to ride through the entire novel, keeping me hooked, but I was a bit bored at times. There's hints all isn't well with Brynna's insta-friends at her new school, and I never really got the whole Teddy/Brynna thing - they were almost incidental extras and they weren't explored as well as they should have been - why did Darcy give off creepy vibes? Why was Teddy literally EVERYWHERE? Weird.
I thought The Dare lost out with the ending. It had this really great scene, that rolled into a few other scenes and then it just ended. No explanations, no recriminations, no apologies, nothing. It just ended with some nonsense of friends always being there for each other, which I didn't take in the greatest of ways because it felt like who said it was having a dig at Brynna about Erica. I probably would have amended that last line. And I certainly would have thrown in an Epilogue, to see what had happened a few weeks or so down the line. I hate open endings, I don't think they work and this is another to add to the "didn't work/open ending's suck" column. Everything leading up to that was interesting, and mostly kept me reading. It wasn't as spectacular as I would have liked, but it was a solid enough novel and I can't wait to see what Hannah Jayne writes next, she's an interesting author and The Dare was a twisty, enjoyable read.
An interesting read. I don't read many memoirs, only because it's quite difficult to review something that's somebody's life, but Me After You sounded...moreAn interesting read. I don't read many memoirs, only because it's quite difficult to review something that's somebody's life, but Me After You sounded interesting, and it was a very interesting look into Lucie's life after her husband, Mark's, sudden death.
I wasn't a massive fan of the words "He", "His", etc, being capitalised throughout sentences - it's a very religious thing, that you see whenever God or Jesus is mentioned, and it sort of made me think Mark was in that category too. I always knew who Lucy was talking about, so there was no need for the capitalisation.
I'm very glad I read it, it was a very sad, but interesting read, and very thought-provoking, and I love that Lucie is a Geordie. Geordie's are few and far between in the book world, real or fictional! (less)
Gil McNeil is an author I have always enjoyed! I count The Only Boy For Me as one of my favourite Chick Lit reads of all time, and I've always enjoyed...moreGil McNeil is an author I have always enjoyed! I count The Only Boy For Me as one of my favourite Chick Lit reads of all time, and I've always enjoyed her work. So I was super pleased to see her new novel A Good Year For The Roses on Netgalley - I wasn't sure Gil was writing books any more, so it was a very nice surprise to see she was! I was pre-approved for the title (always a joy to not have that anxious will I be approved or not? wait) so downloaded it to my Kindle straight away and I couldn't wait to get stuck in!
Some of my favourite plots in novels is the whole "starting over" theme, I like the idea of going somewhere new and starting again, somewhere fresh and unknown, and that's the theme of A Good Year For The Roses. Molly Taylor is divorced, isn't a big fan of her job as a teacher, and finds she's having to sell the home she lives in with her three sons, so when her beloved Aunt Helena passes away, and leaves Harrington Hall to Molly, she sees it as the perfect opportunity to start again, in the country! The hall is in need of desperate renovation to get it back to its best, but Molly is more than up for the job, and along with her eccentric Uncle Bertie, and Ivy and Dennis, the couple who tend to the house, Molly soon finds she's got her hands full, and she's not entirely sure she's going to be able to manage it all, but Molly Taylor does not give up on a challenge, and Harrington Hall is more than worthy of that challenge...
Gil McNeil has a very distinctive writing style - her chapters are long (like thirty minutes long) and her dialogue between character lacks the usual "he said, she said" approach, which is actually quite refreshing. We don't really NEED to be told who's speaking at any one time, especially when the dialogue itself lets us know, without any additional knowledge. But, I could have done with shorter chapters. It's hard to take a book to work, to read during your lunch hour when the chapters are so blimming long! There are natural breaks in the chapters, but I felt the chapters could have been shorter, but that's Gil's way! I really enjoyed A Good Year For The Roses, Gil is such a great writer and she manages to make you laugh and be serious, all at the same time. Her novels ALWAYS give me a chuckle, and in this case, the rather amazing Betty, the parrot, provided a lot of laughs and light relief. Bless her. She was a rude parrot, make no mistake, but she was funny. I liked the idea of her learning the ring tone to the telephone and chirping it out at all hours of the day.
A Good Year For The Roses is filled with typically warm, enjoyable characters. I feel Gil McNeil really excels with her character writing, she always makes you care, and I loved Molly, and her kids. As well as all the surrounding characters - Bertie, Ivy and Dennis, they all brought Harrington to life and it was so lovely to see the Hall restored to its former glory, and brought back to life by Molly and everyone. It was such a wonderful, warm read and it's so great to see Gil McNeil writing novels again! I've always enjoyed her novels, and here's hoping for many more in the future! A Good Year For The Roses was such an enjoyable read, and Gil's many fans will love it just as much as I did!
As soon as I heard about Tracy Buchanan's debut novel The Atlas Of Us, I was desperate to read it! I thought it sounded like one of the most wonderful...moreAs soon as I heard about Tracy Buchanan's debut novel The Atlas Of Us, I was desperate to read it! I thought it sounded like one of the most wonderful sounding novels, set during a time that's pretty hard to forget - the Boxing Day Tsunami in Thailand in 2004. I was super excited to take part in the cover reveal a couple of months ago - a rather stunning affair, which I presume must be an image of Thailand itself, featuring a boat, and tea lights floating in the sea and lots of different colours contrasting the darkening sky. There's a really inspiring letter in the front of the novel, from the Editorial Director of Avon, who have published the book and it promises a lot from the novel! There's a lot of build-up, a lot of promise that this is going to be a MASSIVE release in 2014, and I couldn't wait to dive in and see for myself if that was correct.
The Atlas Of Us is one of those multi-layered novels that surprises you the more you read - the premise itself sounds simple enough - a girl, Louise, heads out to Thailand days after the Tsunami hoping to find her mum, but what she finds instead is a dead body, said to be that of a journalist called Claire Shreve, but which seems to hold Louise's mum Nora's passport, along with a book named The Atlas of Us, filled with notes, and pictures, and drawings. Louise has no idea why this woman had her mum's bag, or why her mum had Claire's atlas, and she sets off on a mission around to Thailand to uncover her mum's last few days, before the tsunami struck, and to hopefully find her mum in the process. Whilst simultaneously, we learn the story of Claire, back in the late 90s and early 2000s, as she deals with learning she's infertile, and the impact that has on her marriage, along with her career as a travel journalist, which brings the mysterious Milo James into her life, he of the James clan, who people say are just a little bit mad... As we learn more of Claire's story, and as Louise's search for her mother continues, will we find out just what bound Nora and Claire together, and why they each had the other's belongings...
Going into The Atlas of Us, I expected just a simple enough story of a girl trying to find her mum, I did not expect the addition of Claire's story, which was a really, really great addition, and really added a whole other experience to the story! It was magnificent, I completely lapped up the whole book in one sitting, finding it to be one of the most fascinating, gripping books I've read so far this year! It was WAY more complicated that I expected, but in the best possible way, like I was unwrapping the most delicious story ever, and just when I thought I had it all figured out, bam!, out popped another strand, another secret, another lie exposed. It all weaved into one delicious story, and it's just my favourite type of book! I absolutely adore books where two separate storylines seem to be so far apart from each other, but as you read on, you realise perhaps they are linked, and it all just becomes one big race to discover the truth. These types of stories make my heart sing, because I love the coming together aspect of two stories, merging into one. Louise's story is a fairly simple one, and we don't spend as much time with her as I thought we would (I thought she would narrate the whole thing, actually) but it was nice to go back to her time and again to see how she was getting on in her search, along with Sam, her helper!
It's actually Claire's story that's the crux of the matter here - the one with the payoff, with the secrets and lies, and the one that needs unravelling. It's super, super interesting. At first I thought it a simple story where Claire meets Milo and they live happily ever after, but there's soooooo much more to it than that, and you'll have to read the book for all the heartbreaking deliciousness of Claire's story. What I liked best of all whilst reading The Atlas of Us was all the amazing sights! Thailand, which sounds like such a beautiful place to visit, destroyed by a wave; war-torn Serbia; snow-filled Finland; Dubai; Australia; San Francisco... Claire's a travel journalist and her life has always been about the travel, and she's spent time in some pretty amazing places, and I lapped up all the delightful journies! At times, I felt I was right there along with Claire, and Milo and Holly at times, Milo and Holly are two of the greatest charactes I think I've ever read - both so complicated, and haunted. The novel is filled with wonderful characters from Filipe in Finland, to Sam in Thailand, they all added a little something, and but it's definitely Claire and Louise who push the novel forward, each and every time.
My absolute favourite part of the novel was probably Claire's atlas. I love the idea, of an atlas filled with all your memories from travelling the globe. It's so whimsical, so fun, and it was such a thoughtful gift for Milo to give Claire, and Milo was such a hard character to read, and it was at times like that when you just wanted to sigh and forgive him everything. I would love something similar, like a book atlas (but not an atlas) to keep mementoes on my book journey! The Atlas of Us promised me the world and it very much delivered. I was sucked into Claire and Louise's journey, and I was desperately flipping the pages, because I just wanted to see how it would all turn out in the end. I can see why this book is being raved about at Avon, they have picked a star, and Buchanan is a massively talented writer, she knows what she's writing about, her travel writing is beautiful and she easily flits from first-person to third-person narrative with ease. The letter at the front of the book very much does it justice - it is warm, captivating, hard to put down, and sad and happy all at the same time and I could not recommend it more. I loved it, and I hope that if you read it, you love it, too!
Didn't really like this. I loved Big Girl Panties, and loved Chase & Amanda but it's always awkward to go backwards and learn someone's story when...moreDidn't really like this. I loved Big Girl Panties, and loved Chase & Amanda but it's always awkward to go backwards and learn someone's story when you see them as this perfect couple. It was like opening a can of worms you didn't really want to see in to.
I couldn't get in to it at all, and I didn't like the 50-Shades inspired twist, either.
When I was offered the opportunity to take part in Andrew Clover's blog tour for his second novel, I said yes! It seemed like a vastly different novel...moreWhen I was offered the opportunity to take part in Andrew Clover's blog tour for his second novel, I said yes! It seemed like a vastly different novel to his debut, which I couldn't for the life of me get in to, so I was quite interested to see how he handled a novel that would see his main character have a car crash and wake up back in her university days. I love novels like that - they're super interesting, they allow for changes to be made, and the potential for life in the future to be altered, and I was ever so curious about the comparisons to JoJo Moyes, whom I adore. It was an interesting novel, but not one I would rave about, I must admit.
What I liked about The Things I'd Miss was the fact that, at the beginning, we're introduced to Lucy, and her husband and her kids, and we can see that her life isn't perhaps how she had planned it to be - 5am wake-up calls (that would end in MURDER in my house, fyi), fights about anything and everything, and kids who barely give you the peace and quiet Lucy so craves. Then, when the accident occurs, the novel hops around, from place to place - Lucy in Uni, Lucy as a kid, back and forth we go, with no linear storytelling, until a mystical being appears, and Lucy ends up back as a kid, and works her way back to her Uni days, and back to Hugh, whom she professes to love. If I'm honest, I preferred the hopping back and forth, to times in Lucy's life that seemed to define her as a person, I liked the zig-zag pulled from one place to another feel, because once the story settled into its Hugh/Lucy love-fest, I didn't find it as compelling.
Lucy's Uni days are certainly interesting, and I loved getting to know Hugh, Simon, Lucy herself, and her best friend Gemma, but what I couldn't understand was why, if Lucy liked Hugh as much as she says she does, why she didn't say anything! Wouldn't you just have told him, all those years ago? It's clear there's mutual feelings between the two of them, but for some reason or another, neither of them confessed to it, until Lucy ended up revisiting her memories after her crash. If you're going to write a novel about a great, Romeo-and-Juliet-type romance, there needs to be solid ground, and while I felt their connection, it seemed entirely pointless considering the fact they'd both stayed completely silent, and they were just friends for as long as they knew each other. I wanted more honesty! But, of course, if there had been honesty, and they had confessed their feelings, there would have, perhaps, been no book.
Overall, it was an interesting read. I wouldn't go so far as to compare it to a JoJo Moyes read, especially as, at times, I found the narrative quite jarring - too many exclamation marks and italicised writing, Lucy's mum talks to 5-year-old Lucy in the most awful, excruciating way, and 5-year-old Lucy talks and thinks like, well, not a 5-year-old. I also STRONGLY oppose the fact Clover made Kipper the dog go in the car with Lucy, when she crashed. That's just plain mean. But the pace wasn't too bad, and the novel skipped along quite well, it wasn't the perfect read, but it was enjoyable and I actually liked seeing Simon's progression the most - he's rather left out, when it comes to Hugh and Lucy, and yet he's always there, always present, and he's a sneaky bugger, which I liked. The Things I'd Miss is definitely a thinker, and there was a lot I liked about the novel and I do love a good going-back-in-time novel!
WIN! To win yourself a copy of The Things I'd miss, see the Rafflecopter giveaway below! :)
Interesting novel, interesting subject, but a bit too slow for my liking. Glad I read it, for the pulse-pounding ending, but the build up to it was to...moreInteresting novel, interesting subject, but a bit too slow for my liking. Glad I read it, for the pulse-pounding ending, but the build up to it was too slow and I guessed what was going on before it was officially announced. With more pace I would have liked it, but I only finished it to see what happened...(less)