Summer's just begun but I've already found a book that will go on my TOP 5 summer reads list! OMG Sue Watson hasOriginally posted on This Chick Reads
Summer's just begun but I've already found a book that will go on my TOP 5 summer reads list! OMG Sue Watson has done it again! Once again she proves she creates the yummiest and funniest books. As someone who's read all of her books and has been devotedly following her work for years, I can say (without a single doubt) this is definitely the best she's written! I have so much love for this book I honestly don't know even where to start with my review. I just feel like screaming from the rooftop, JUST READ THE BOOK! But I know that won't please you and if you're here, you're obviously looking for at least few coherent sentences to tell you what the book is about. So...I will try, I'll really do my best but know from start that my review won't do it justice.
First off, this is THE PERFECT summer book! Not just because there's tons of ice creams flavours mentioned (OK, that's a big bonus), or even because it's set in a beautiful, picturesque place by the sea, Appledore. In my opinion, what makes this book the perfect summer read is that strong feel good factor that oozes through the pages and that effortless humour which is undoubtedly Sue's forte. It's definitely one of the wittiest and most fun books I've ever read and though I already loved every single book Sue's written, this one was sheer brilliance. It's actually the book I wish I had written (Ha! IF only I had Sue's talent).
'Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice-Cream' is the second installment in The Ice Cream series, and while I really enjoyed the first one and could feel this will be a terrific series, this book simply exceeded all my expectations. Once again we're back in beautiful Appledore where we also meet some of the characters from the first book (Ella and her cousin Gina, who own Caprioni's Ice-Cream Cafe and amazing Sue is there too). I loved reading about Ella and seeing how life turned out for her. However, the main character in this book is Dani, the assistant manager at Caprioni's. Dani is simply brilliant! Think of Jemima J approaching her 40s. She's the ultimate chick lit heroine, upbeat, single and with such zest for life (and ice creams). She's a big foodie, always has been. Chips, chocolate, doughnuts, and of course ice cream is on her daily menu. She's always been on the plus size, however there's a big reason why she's so much into comfort food. Now she's approaching 40 and wants to finally solve this problem. 40 is the new 20 (or so they say) and is there a better way to reclaim the power in your life (and get your revenge for the broken heart) than by becoming an attractive and stylish adult?
Each of the chapters is named after a diet she's tried in her life (and boy, she's tried so many of them!) and starts with a Diary entry which will make you laugh out loud. As in all of Sue's books, there's a message for every woman out there, a message that will warm your hearts. As we follow Dani's story, from one failed diet to the next, one gym injury to the next, through tears and laughter we get to realize (once again) that there's more to life than having the 'perfect' body. And what's a perfect body anyway? We all definite it differently, right?
Yet as light as this book is, it still speaks about many important subjects such as self love (or the lack of it) and body shaming (which we see so often in today's society). Everywhere we go we're bombarded by these skinny and unhealthy girls looking at us from the cover of those glossy magazines and our culture demands we follow their example. Many times those who don't follow this trend are mocked and bullied in such horrific ways it scars their personality for life. Through Dani, Sue speaks on behalf of many women out there, women who just want to be accepted. This is why I think many women will be able to connect to Dani on so many levels and cheer for her from the start. She's such a lovable character and definitely one of my fave book heroines.
This is also one of these rare books where I liked all the characters (except for Jude) and all of them were so interesting. I really wish I get to see more of Karla, she's Dani's BFF and one fantastic lady. She's always there for Dani and has been her biggest support for the last two decades. I absolutely loved their bond, how strong it is and how much they accept each other's differences.
If you were wondering if there's any romance, oh yes there is. It's Classic Sue Watson so the romance is gradually built and will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. But there will be some drama too, so I won't say anything more to spoil it for you.
This is one hell of a gorgeous summer book and if you're looking for something light and easy, yet a book that will make you feel so so soooo good, this is definitely the one. Sue really sets the bar high this time and I can't wait to see what will be happening in Appledore next. While I was extremely sad to say bye to Dani, I have fingers crossed tightly she makes another appearance in some of Sue's other books. Yup, she totally got under my skin! Witty, delicious yet absolutely calorie-free, this is definitely Sue's best book yet. Even if you haven't read the first part in the series, you can easily jump into this one. I promise, you're going to love it....more
'The Woman in the Wood' is Lesley Pearse's new book and one I've been SO excited about reading. Firstly, it's Les Originally posted on This Chick Reads
'The Woman in the Wood' is Lesley Pearse's new book and one I've been SO excited about reading. Firstly, it's Lesley Pearse!!! How am I not supposed to be excited? And secondly it's her 25th book which adds another dimension and makes it even more special both for her and her fans who have been following her work devotedly for years. Her books have been No1 bestsellers and have sold in more than 10 million copies to date! One would expect that after so many books and such a long writing career she'd be out of inspiration or publish less. Well, not Lesley. Just in May this year (a month ago) she published her 24th novel Dead to Me. WOW talk about super productivity and talent. I am seriously in awe of her talent and never ending inspiration and how after so many books she keeps them fresh and interesting.
Being a huge fan of Lesley and having read most of her books naturally I had high hopes for this one too. But the thing with reading so many books from an author...it gives you certain comfort and after so many read books (all of them great) you not only know what you're expecting but you expect magical hours being completely immersed in their book. What always happens to me when I read Lesley's books, happened again. I was completely absorbed in The Woman in the Wood and forgot all about my chores (oops) or even my needs (skipped both dinner & lunch so I can finish it, but my diet is very grateful for this). Once I started reading it, it was so bloody hard to put it down.
The story involves 15 year old twins, Maisy and Duncan who are sent to their grandmother's house (posh house called Nightingales in the New Forest) after their mother's been admitted to asylum. They haven't seen much affection or care, both from their mother and their father. Their father is strict and uptight, cold and mostly out of home. Their mother on the other hand they rarely see as she's in her room for years, blaming a horse accident for shutting down and not willing to participate in their lives. One evening their father decides to take their mum to the asylum not giving the kids any explanation or address of where she's staying, as well as if/when she's coming out. They are to live with their even colder grandmother, whom they haven't seen for almost a decade and have no good memories of her (mildly said). Old Mrs Mitcham is so distant, she hardly sees them, talks to them or shows any interest in them whatsoever. But at least they have Janice, who's been in Nightingales for years and who's like the mother they never had. Between classes with their private teacher and the long hours in the house, the twins find a new favourite pastime. Which involves observing the weird woman that lives in the woods, an outcast or even a witch as the rumors say. But comes August and the twins' lives will forever be changed. Duncan goes missing and Maisy is all by herself. However on a mission to find her brother...and even find him alive.
Woohoo, this has been such a fantastic book, I don't know where to start. Should I start with the great story that keeps you glued to the pages? I absolutely adored the pace and the building up of the characters, it gave me enough time to really get to know them and create this firm bond. The book is set in England in the 1960s, so we get a good feel of that time, post war England, the family relationships, how parents behaved and we really get to see how much times have changed since then. Reading about the twins' parents and grandmother, I was feeling such deep sorrow because of how neglected they were by the adults. No kid should be treated this way, as there's no money, no estate, no education that can substitute affection and care. In many ways, this is a sad story and if you're anything like me, there will be times when you'll be really angry at the adults.
However, despite everything, the kids have each other and their bond really melted my heart. I loved their banter, how connected and close they are. Maybe they haven't been dealt the best cards, however they don't feel like victims but are true little warriors. I loved how courageous and determined Maisy was to find her brother and there were some scenes that brought tears to my eyes.
Grace Deville, the woman who lives in the wood, is one mysterious lady and I absolutely loved that whole mystery veil around her. Who is she? Why is she like that? Why is she living alone? All of these questions kept me turning the pages. I won't say more as it's all very connected to the story and I don't want to spoil it for you. However, what I can tell you is that there are few stories perfectly intertwined, loads of mystery, some romance and one very difficult topic connected with the missing boy. I seriously applaud to Lesley for making all these matter equally and keeping me equally interested in Duncan's missing, Maisy's life and Grace's story. But then again, it's classic Lesley, perfect research and profound knowledge in the human psyche.
I really could go on and on, talk for days about this book. Which brings me to this, it's the perfect Book Club read and if you're a member of one, I definitely advise adding it to your reading lists as there are just so many things to discuss and I bet there will be tons of different opinions. The Woman in the Wood is the perfect blend of drama and mystery and has that Agatha Christie feel to it. It's a beautiful, layered story with equally wonderful characters you won't be able to forget. Do I recommend this book? Oh you bet I do! Not only that, I urge you to read it as soon as possible so we can all discuss it. Enjoy! ...more
'Practice Makes Perfect' is the second book from Peeny Parkes and it's part of a series based around a large mediOriginally posted on This Chick Reads
'Practice Makes Perfect' is the second book from Peeny Parkes and it's part of a series based around a large medical practice. Last year Penny published her debut and the first part in the series, 'Out of Practice' which was winner of the RoNA for a Romantic Comedy of the year. Naturally, I had high hopes for this book too and it was high up on my summer TBR list. Now that I've read it, I can say I definitely enjoyed it and once again, Penny didn't disappoint.
As I said, 'Practice Makes Perfect' is the follow up of 'Out of Practice' and I believe you'll get into the story easier and enjoy it more if you've read the first part. It picks up where the first book left, following the lives of 4 doctors and the busy practice at Larkford. Holly's life is finally looking better now she's in a relationship with her colleague, Taffy who's such a sweet and caring guy. After the hard divorce, she and her twins seem to finally feel what life is all about. Dan and Julia are the other two doctors who're also in a relationship but are facing some difficulties which are mostly because of the change of lifestyle and the practice becoming so popular. After their practice has been nominated as a NHS Model Surgery and a film crew steps into their lives to film the reality show 'Doctor in the House' things get very complicated and loads of drama starts happening.
As you see, this is a really fun and easy book. Even if you're not fans of shows or books about Doctors I'm sure you're going to enjoy it. It features some amazing, believable characters and after reading it you'll have the biggest smile on your face. I absolutely love Holly and could connect to her so easy. One of my favourite characters is Elsie, who also appears in the first part of the series, and who's one of the most loved and wisest member of the Larkford community. While Taffy and Holly's relationship seems to blossom, Dan and Julia's changes and becomes more stressful.
What I enjoyed most about this book is the easy writing style and the characters. While there were some parts (scenes) which I don't think added much to the plot, and could easily be left out, I still enjoyed the book. That's my only complaint, the book could've been shorter which would undoubtedly add a bit to the the pace.
Still, I'm absolutely thrilled I got the chance to read this book and I wonder what Penny has in store for us next. This is a gorgeous summer book and if you're off on a holiday soon, I advise you to pack a copy of it. If you're looking for a warm story with a strong feel good factor, this is the book for you! Perfect for some chillaxing at the beach (or by the pool) and forgetting all about your every day problems....more
'Do Not Become Alarmed' is one of 2017 books I've been most excited about reading. The blurb sOriginally posted on This Chick Reads
Actual rating 3.5/5
'Do Not Become Alarmed' is one of 2017 books I've been most excited about reading. The blurb sounds fantastic and truly intriguing and I did have high expectations. Now that I've actually read it, I have to say there were some truly excellent parts and some confusing things about this book.
But first, just a few words about the plot. Two couples go on a cruise together. Liv and Nora are cousins and their families have a great respect for each other. The cousins like each other a lot and have been there for each other in some truly hard times. Their kids get along nicely, and despite even having a celebrity in their family, they are pretty much normal couples. However, one day when they decide to go on a bit of adventure in Central America, something goes terribly wrong. The kids go missing and none of the parents or the guide were there when the bad thing happened.
The interesting thing about this book is that all along you actually know how the kids go missing, but the fascinating thing is how this impacts the parents, especially the mothers who were with them at the beach. This is not the fastest thriller, actually in my opinion the story is actually kind of slow (which was a surprise, as I expected something faster from the blurb). However, again, in my opinion, what makes this book interesting is the whole drama around the missing kids. Seeing the parents start blaming each other and slowly fall apart...that's what made the book so fascinating.
There were times I wanted to give Liv and Nora a good shake and actually wondered HOW COULD THEY LET ALL OF THIS HAPPEN? What happened is actually something that we see it in the world all the time, sometimes we think the other one is watching and taking care while actually the kid is on their own. Scary yet it happens. I was truly trying not to judge just so I could see characters perspective more clearly, but the book did get me mad sometimes (actually Liv and Nora).
Speaking of the characters, as I said it was really hard not to get mad at the parents, at least for me. But I applaud to the author for making me feel such intense feelings for these characters, despite the fact not all of them were good. Being a parent myself I was truly horrified with what happened. However, the kids were great! I loved how composed they were (most of the times), how smart and ready to survive they were. So, now that I think about it, I enjoyed their interaction and those scenes involving them, than the parents and their search.
However, this book does get something really important out there, sort of a message for every parent. At least I got it that way. Every reader will take away from the book what they want or feel, but for me, this book seemed like a small reminder of the role parents play and how serious of a job parenting is. From this point of view, it adds a new, deeper perspective.
While I don't think there were many twists and I feel it's more of a drama than thriller, it's still a gripping read. The thing that bothered me slightly and is the reason why I can't rate it higher than this, is that there's another story which should have added more to the plot, however in my opinion it didn't. Naomi's story was (for me) not that interesting and in my opinion irrelevant to the missing kids story. It felt like it was burdening the plot cause I tried to remember all these situations and names, and there wasn't a reason for that.
But overall, I'm pleased I read it and actually read it cover to cover in one day, which obviously means there were tons of stuff that I liked. The writing style is easy which makes the book very readable. If you're not a fan of hard core, fast paced thrillers, but more of a fan of psychological ones and dramas, this is definitely a book to put on your lists. Especially if you're looking for a thought provoking one, then you've found the right book for you....more