Louise Jensen made her debut in July 2016 and in a short span released her second novel, 'The Gift' making her Originally posted on This Chick Reads
Louise Jensen made her debut in July 2016 and in a short span released her second novel, 'The Gift' making her one of the most read Bookouture authors. I haven't read 'The Sister' however I do have it on my kindle, and after reading her second novel I'll make sure to clear my agenda and find the time to read her debut.
How did I approach this book? Frankly, I've heard a lot of people praise Louise's writing, but I tried approaching it with no expectations (as usually, I end up very disappointed whenever I have high hopes for a book). It took few short chapters to get me hooked on the story and read the whole book, cover to cover in just 3 hours. It's not that I'm a fast reader, but the book is rather fast paced and there's a lot going which really pulls you in.
I really knew nothing about what is at the core of this book. CMR - The Cellular Memory. To be frank, I love science and I try to keep up with it however I haven't read much articles on organ transplantation. But I'm completely new to the phenomenon of Cellular Memory, which basically is the collective energy field generated by individual cell memories. Organs remember and each of our body's cells contains info within itself, info that comes from all our life experience, genetic heritage and experiences of past generations who are connected to us. It's a very serious topic and I assume it took Louise a lot of time and energy to research this topic so thoroughly so she could implement it in her novel. Hats off to you, Louise!
The novel is centered around Jenna who narrates the book and all of the book is told from her perspective. I honestly wish we got to see different perspectives as I find these books with more narrators a bit more complex the different points of view give the book more depth. At least that's my opinion, feel free to disagree with me.
Jenna gets ill and what doctors think is sort of flu turns into viral myocarditis, leaving her heart severely damaged. A heart transplantation is the only chance for her to survive, but chances to find a heart in such a short time are close to slim. But a miracle happens (though in this case ones miracle is a disaster for another) and the hospital finds Jenna a heart and the operation goes well. There's always a chance things might go wrong and she's told not have kids, but she's young (only 30 years old) and leaves the hospital feeling like a new person. Literally! She has these dreams which don't make sense, she feels being chased, she has visions where she eats strawberries (and she doesn't even like strawberries)...overall, she feels like there's another person trapped within her and she can't help but feel lost.
Though she's forbidden to contact the donor's family and there's a good reason for this hospital policy, she feels she has to find out more about the person who died but helped her live. She sees the family and finds out a lot about her donor, Callie, a young, upbeat 20 something year old who died in a car accident. The thing is, Jenna feels there's more to the story and becomes fixated on finding out the mystery behind Callie's death. She gets into contact with Nathan, Callie's fiance and starts digging a bit about the last night Callie was seen.
I truly enjoyed 'The Gift' and found it a really gripping read. The whole phenomenon of Cellular Memory fascinated me and even got me researching the topic hours after I finished this book. While the story is fabulous and the characters felt real, I just wish there were more narrators. It would really be interesting to see their perspectives. Initially, I wasn't really impressed with Jenna, but she grew on me in time. I was more interested in Callie, I have to admit that. If you're a fan of psychological thrillers, I do recommend this book and am pretty sure you'll enjoy it. ...more
In January this year (2016) I had the pleasure to read Amanda Prowse's 'Another Love' and I loved every second of Originally posted on This Chick Reads
In January this year (2016) I had the pleasure to read Amanda Prowse's 'Another Love' and I loved every second of it. Though we're at the end of the year now and I've read so many good books through out this year, 'Another Love' is definitely one of my top 5 2016 releases. Naturally, loving Amanda's writing so much, I was very excited to read her latest book, 'The Food of Love'. This book is among the last I'll read this year (if not even the last), so I do like the symbolism, starting and ending 2016 with a book by one of my favourite authors.
Needless to say I had really high hopes for this book. I know this might seem like a terrible pressure for the authors, but it comes with the territory. No matter how much I try to have as little expectations as possible for a book, it's very hard to persist especially if it's from an author I love.
'The Food of Love' is definitely going to be a hard one to review as there were parts which I totally loved and some which I disliked strongly (mostly connected with the characters). If you've read Amanda's books (or at least some of them) you'd know that Amanda is not the kind of author who does fluff and all her books explore difficult topics. If there's one thing I admire most about her writing is that courage to dive into subjects which are so difficult to explore, creating characters the readers will not necessarily like or in the best case, which can be easily misunderstood.
As I previously said, I adored 'Another Love' which explores the subject of alcoholism and the impact it had on a whole family. I was reading that book with tears in my eyes and I felt such compassion for the main character I haven't felt for any other in a very long time. When I read the blurb of 'the Food of Love' and realised it's about another heavy topic, anorexia, I prepared myself emotionally as I knew what I'm in for. Now after I've read, I must say I was slightly disappointed. But not in the emotional effect it lacked, because I was deeply moved by the story and what the family goes through. However, I strongly disagree with some of the choices the characters made (by this I mean Freya, Lexi's mum).
But let me start from the beginning and how a solid, happy family was shattered to pieces. Freya is happily married and has two lovely daughters, Charlotte and Lexi. Lexi's always been the slightly chubby one, loving the food her mum made. And boy, does Freya love cooking. Writing articles on food, she's always in the kitchen preparing not only tasty but very healthy foods. However, at the age of 14 Lexi starts changing, eating less and less... literally starving herself. The most confusing thing for me was that Freya didn't really know or feel any of these changes, until one day she's called to Lexi's school hearing that her daughter might be having anorexia. She wasn't even familiar with these terms, anorexia, bulimia... she didn't even think her daughter had any issues of that sort. A mother always knows, e? WRONG! She was so wrong and soon, Lexi is on the verge of weighting just about 70 pounds and everything goes downhill. Lexi's health, the family's stability, Freya's marriage... everything goes to hell.
As you see, this is a hard book to read. No matter if you or anyone you know hasn't experienced these issues, it's still hard to read. Amanda's so descriptive when it comes to the state the whole family is in, there were times when I had to put the book down as I felt my stomach in knots. Still, this is a good thing, I could feel the pain Lexi was going through and all those desperate acts of her trying to deceive her parents and doctors. However, the thing which confused me was that I didn't really understand the emotional reasons for Lexi's anorexia. Maybe I've missed it in the book or it wasn't enough emphasized, but what were the reasons that made Lexi torture herself like this? I didn't find any strong reasons in the book, didn't read about any severe trauma, bullying of any sort... so why did she feel the way she did? I'm no expert on anorexia, but I've gone thorough some periods in my life when my diet was anything but healthy. I've been through periods when I would stuff myself with food or eat as little as 600 cals a day... and it ALWAYS were repressed emotions behind it. The control I was losing in situations, I would try to gain back by monitoring carefully my food intake. What are Lexi's deeper reasons for starving herself? If I'm on the wrong path here, please excuse me and I would be very grateful for other readers/reviewers to point out to me if I'm getting something wrong.
However, there are many things I liked too. My favourite character was Charlotte (and I see many reviewers feel the same) who's role isn't that big (deserves more space in my opinion, maybe in another book?) and who's the only character I could fully understand. While I wasn't that big a fan of Freya, my heart was breaking for her since as a mother I know she has the best intentions at heart. There's a part in the book, when Freya talks to Lexi while watching the sky and stars commenting how we are all made of stardust and what would the other do If someone decided to leave and 'see what's on the other side of the Universe'. Now that's a hard conversation for a mother (or anyone for that matter) to have and I burst into tears. Big, heavy, ugly tears.
Whether you like or dislike Freya, whether you agree or disagree with the choices she makes (which I won't reveal as not to spoil the book for you), one thing is for sure - this book will make you think a lot. Even more so if you're a parent. Do we really know our kids that well? What are the boundaries and until when should one tolerate someone's behavior? Teenagers might think they know it all, but there's a good reason they don't get their vote on many things. If you're like me, prepare yourself for an emotional ride and have those tissues ready. While 'Another Love' is still my favourite book by Amanda (read my review here), I'm most definitely looking forward to reading more books by her. As Amanda is one of the most prolific authors I've had the chance to read, I have no doubts there'll be a new book out very soon....more
*Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Now, before I start with my review let's just take a moment to admire this wonderful, uber cute cover that just SCREAMS 'Love Me'. I love you, beautiful cover! I've always had a soft spot for cute covers and is there anything cuter than a dog? And not just any dog but a pug! I remember my first reaction when I saw this cover...basically it all came to 'awwwww'.
But what's even more amazing is that the story isn't told by a human but by this little, cute pug named Percy. Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone! I don't know about you, but it felt a bit awkward and yet exciting to read a book told by a dog. But moving on. Percy's owners are leaving for home (Argentina) after 3 years working in London (visa expires) and agree they can't take Percy with them. They leave him at the dog shelter where little Percy-star meets some new dog friends and shares his experience on how he ended up in the shelter. He doesn't know what exactly went wrong and why his owner has decided to leave him behind. Didn't he love them enough? Wasn't he cute enough? Didn't he bark happily every time his owner was down, trying to lift his spirits? WHY did they leave him all alone? And the fear that no one will ever want to take him is unbearable, but thank god for friends who convince him everything will be OK and a family will appear to take care of him. This does bring certain comfort to Percy, yet the fear that he will never be loved again is constant. Until Gail appears. When they see each other for the first time it's love at first sight. Oh the joy of being loved again! (Humans and dogs aren't that different, e?) Gail is married and has a 12 year old daughter with severe heart condition. Seems Percy is the perfect addiction for Gail's little family, bringing some much needed joy. Did they save Percy, or will Percy save them?
I have to say this book is definitely stepping out of my comfort zones. I loved the story and how warm and comforting it is. Percy is a dog, but it really could be a human as well. We all have our insecurities, we all feel loved, lost, not loved enough...just like Percy. Despite this book being obviously told by a dog, I tried to get pass that in order to finish it. It's been years after I've read a longer children's book and couldn't help but feel a bit awkward while reading Percy's story. But I wanted to see the big picture, and did my best.
While it's certainly a warm, wonderful read full of hope I can't give it more than 3.5/5 due to my brain who was constantly screaming that I'm too old to read it. So yes, a part of me enjoyed it and applauds Fiona for making her debut in literature with an absolutely original book (at least in my experience) but a part of me wanted some more action and less predictability. I'm sure dog lovers will read it either way and I have the feeling the younger readers would really enjoy it. It brings some lovely messages, and if you can get past the whole dog narrator thing and dogs rapping to get a baby to sleep, then this is definitely the book for you. ...more
*Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell is one of my most anticipated autumn releases. I haven't had the chance to read any of Katey's novellas in The Meet Cute series, and was so excited when I was approved to read her new full length novel by her publishers.
Although I'm not single and I hardly even remember how singledom feels like, this cute novel refreshed my memory and made me think of those years. What immediately caught my eye were the gorgeous cover and super fun blurb. I'm a big sucker for a beautiful cover and books on friendship.
The Singalong Society for Singletons tells the story of few friends, all single who spend every Friday night devouring musicals and Disneys animated movies. Friday is the day when anything is possible, to cry about your life taking the wrong turn, laugh like crazy while singing to LET IT GO for the millionth time and even have a break through moments while chatting and deciding to take up a new career. You see, for Monique, Issy, Hope and Connie the singalong society is not just just a way to vent, but a place where you can share anything and not be judged. Monique has just been through a hard break with a man she was with since 11th grade. Justin leaves for a year and even though original plans are to make their relationship work even long distance, it seems Justin wants to focus on his career more. Mon is practically left without a say and finds herself single. Single but not alone, as she has her friends who will not only cheer her up but also change her life for the better. Issy's having her own problems, trying to figure out how to help her 17 year old pregnant sister. Connie is helping out her dad and seems she's settled for so little. She feels like her life is not what she wanted and that she forgot her dreams. But thank god for the singalong society and her friends who make her realise she needs to chase her dreams. Hope is Mon's sister and has just been dumped by her girlfriend. But all their troubles seem to vanish when they hear the tunes of their favourite musicals. When Ray and Liam join the group, things get a lot more interesting and fun.
The Singalong Society for Singletons is a cute, undemanding book. It's easy to read and perfect after a hard working day. However, it felt too light a read for my taste. The girls are an interesting bunch and despite going through a rough period, they are optimists (I love these type of characters in my chick lits), but I didn't feel them on a deeper level so I could make a decent connection with them.
I'm not the biggest fan of musicals but I do believe music heals. I've been there, singing Let it Go from the top of my lungs trying to forget how some person mistreated me. I was not familiar with some of the songs or musicals mentioned, but that didn't stop me from reading.
The thing I liked the most was the girls' friendship. The girls have this amazing bond between them and it made me think about friendships and how much one true friend means more than million 'so-called-friends'. But I expected more romance, especially at the beginning of the book when Mon and Justin break up. I wanted to feel a bit more of her grief, rage, whatever. I wanted her to persuade me she loved Justin so much in deeds, not just words. I couldn't help but think a crucial part of their story is missing, and this definitely affected my perception on Monique later on.
However, it's a super fast read and I think it took me less than 3 hours to finish it. If you're looking for a light chick lit to take your mind off your problems, this is the book for you. Who knows, you might even sing along to some songs or put that Frozen DVD on to watch for the millionth time. :)...more
I'm not new to Caroline Mitchell's writing, however I was still pretty amazed with what she's done here. Unlike Originally posted on This Chick Reads
I'm not new to Caroline Mitchell's writing, however I was still pretty amazed with what she's done here. Unlike her previous books (published with bookouture), this one (published by Thomas & Mercer) is REALLY a hard core thriller. While I did enjoy her previous books, I have to say I'm not the biggest fan of paranormal and was thrilled to hear she's writing a more realistic crime now.
Witness is not the easiest book to read, not because it's long or the writing is bad. On the contrary, the writing is great and pulls you in from the start. It's written from the POV of the 'witness' or Rebecca, and the most manipulative sociopath I had the chance to read about, Solomon. The story goes back to 2007 when Rebecca's life is changed forever, Solomon is sent to prison, and then back to present when he's released and back to destroy her.
But let me start from the beginning... the book opens with a scene where Rebecca, with blood on her hands, holds the body of her dead colleague. The police is here and she reports Solomon, her boyfriend who has such a nasty temper for the murder. Solomon's dad works for the police, and though Rebecca doubts the police will put Solomon in prison because of his father's connections, he ends up locked for 10 years. One would say, justice's been served! Fast forward 10 years and Rebecca has a new life, a husband who cares about her but doesn't know much about her past. When Solomon is back, he's still got his hands on her, manipulating her and making her witness and choose the victims he's about to kill. This is why I say this book is not easy to read, I felt my stomach in knots and even felt sick.
Solomon is one nasty mother f@cker and despite hating his guts I feel like applauding to Caroline for creating such a character. He seems so real, his manipulation knows no end and boundaries, he has no respect for anyone, not his father or mother, not Rebecca or the whole society. He's a real abuser, seeking domination over fragile women. He's a creepy man and you would want him FAR FAR AWAY from you.
While the pace is perfect and there's never a dull moment in the book, I wasn't really impressed with Rebecca. As this is a book which has as a main theme domestic violence, and we know tons of women in the world face this problem every day, I had absolute compassion for Rebecca. But I was somehow not convinced and some of her choices were too frustrating. I've never talked to a victim of domestic abuse in my life, and I'm thankful to god I've never experienced it, however Rebecca's reactions were sometimes really strange.
The book sends a powerful message and I bet Caroline had a tough task and felt a lot of pressure in writing on this topic. If you check Caroline's GR page (or website) you'll see she's a former police detective and has worked with high risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. That being said it's obvious she has a background and knows a lot about the psychology of both the abused and abusers and this book only proves it. If you're looking for a gripping thriller or you are a fan of dark, disturbing reads no need to look any further. This is definitely the book for you....more
*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
The Christmas Promise is the first book by Sue Originally posted on This Chick Reads
*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
The Christmas Promise is the first book by Sue Moorcroft I've read but it definitely won't be my last one. Being a big fan of chick lit/women's fiction/contemporary romance I honestly have no idea why I waited so long to read some of her books. My blogger friends, whom I dearly love and trust with all my heart, have nothing but praise for her books and now I finally see why.
First off, don't be fooled by the title! It's a festive read alright, but don't expect the usual fluff. On the contrary, expect a book that will draw you deep inside, a story that will speak to your heart and make you ponder on many serious topics (such as trust, friendship, social media etc).
Ava Blissham is a milliner. I swear a had no bloody idea what a milliner does, but here I am now after reading this book feeling a true expert on hats and their making. She's trying hard to make ends meet, lives with her best friend for years, Izz and is as single as it can get. She's an only child and her parents were really career focused, so the only memories of Christmas she has involve those moments spent with her Gran. But with her gran being gone for some years, she really sees no reason to be in a jolly Christmas mood. Christmas is approaching, she's got some hats she can't sell no matter how much she tries and fears she'll be forced to contact her parents for help. Something she hasn't done for years. She tags along with Izz to a party with Izz's colleagues from work and suddenly 'miracles' start to happen. After a weird encounter with Izz's boos, Sam (or the Big Important Man, as she calls him) she realizes this Christmas might just be the best Christmas in her life. While faux dating Sam she notices real genuine feelings starting to develop, but the situation with Sam and his mother, Wendy doesn't let her get her hopes up. And there's Harvey, the irritating bastard of ex who does EVERYTHING to make her life miserable. Harvey has some pictures he took while he was dating Ava (involving some nudity) and he's willing to use them against her simply because she doesn't want to be with him.
Oh boy, there's just so much stuff going on in this book, which was surprising because the first 50 pages felt too slow for my liking. I started fearing I won't enjoy this book, couldn't really feel Ava or her relationship with the other characters. But I really didn't have to worry as after those 50-ish pages things start really happening. I was completely immersed in the story, biting my nails, hoping for the best outcome for Ava. She started growing on me, more and more with each new page. The romance with Sam was absolutely amazing, gradually built and so realistic. Sam is brilliant! I'm telling you, when shit hits the fan you want to have someone like Sam in your life. He is one of the most amazing, supportive male characters I've ever read about and I have nothing but respect for him. Yes, of course they have few rows with Ava along, but he has best intentions at heart. While I liked Ava, I was absolutely blown away by Sam and I do hope Sue will bring him back in some other book. Caring, strong, not to mention dishy, Sam is the man!
As I mentioned earlier, don't expect the usual festive fluff. The book raises some serious question regarding loyalty, importance of family, trust, revenge... I totally loved this! One sentence that I will ALWAYS come back to in hard times (which I wrote down with big black marker on my notebook) is SUCCESS IS THE BEST REVENGE! Ha! SO amazing and so deep. Love it! Write it down, stick it somewhere where you can see it daily and LIVE BY IT! Next time your demanding boss, kids or partner piss you off just remember Sue's words.
What did feel strange a bit was Ava's friendship with Izz, but I won't go into details as I fear I'll spoil the book for you. And believe me, that's the last thing I want to do. On the contrary I want to encourage you to pick up this book, despite not yet being Christmas or whatever. Not a fan of chick lit/contemporary romance? Fear not! This book's got a substance enough to keep your mind busy even DAYS after you've read it.
I really could go on and on about all the cool messages contained in this book. But as I took enough of your time already (thank you for reading my review, guys!) I'm gonna end it now. Just read the book! Don't hesitate, don't over think... just go to amazon and order a copy. The e-book was released just a few days ago and the paperback (which is so bloody gorgeous) is out on 1st December. Whatever the format, just read the book. Promise me that? It's a true gem!...more
*Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Why are the books we love the most hardest to review? I guess I feel sort of a responsibility to put my feels for this book into most appropriate words. If my review could be summed up in just one sentence it would be 'BLOODY BRILLIANT!' But I know you want to hear more and I do owe that to the world.
I assume you've already heard of the genius mind that is Angela Marsons. If you haven't, have you been living under a rock all this time? Sorry, I don't mean to insult anyone but if you haven't heard of Kim Stone series, that can easily be fixed. Just head to amazon right away and download a copy. Start with 'Silent Scream' of course, the first one in the series introducing one of the most kick ass thriller heroines the world of literature has seen. 'Blood Lines' is the fifth installment in the DI Kim Stone series, but is some what connected to the second part, 'Evil Games'. You can definitely read the parts as stand alones, but if you want to get a better feel of the antagonist, Dr Alexandra Thorne, it's best if you read Evil Games first. Or just start at #1 in the series and move on, I can promise you you'll be able to finish all 5 books in just few days.
Blood Lines is so awesome, so amazing and gripping it totally exceeded all my expectations. And this says a lot, because as a huge fan of Ms Marsons' I have really REALLY high expectations. As in all her books, things happen fast, there's lots of suspense, twists you won't expect and characters you will love or hate from the bottom of your heart.
Kim thought she's past the whole situation with Dr Alex Thorne, the manipulative sociopath responsible for loads of crimes in the past. Alex is in prison where she belongs and can no longer harm anyone. But is it really that way? Kim works on a case, a 47 year old woman, Deanna Brightman is murdered and Kim and her team are asking everyone around looking for suspects. The murder seems rather 'clean', there's only one wound, very precise and sharp in the victim's abdomen. Seems the killer was detached completely, there aren't any evidence of hesitation in the form of small cuts. As they question Deanna's husband, sister and members of household, Kim can't help but feel that Deanna must have known the killer. And then another murder happens. Maxine Wakeman, a 22 year old woman with a drug addiction is found dead. One wound in the abdomen. Could it be that these are a work of the same killer? How are these women connected? There are no obvious signs of any connection, except the same, clean, single stab wound on their abdomens.
Blood Lines is a book that may result in heavy heart pounding, biting nails and adrenaline rush as you try to find the killer, the pattern of the murders, not to mention the depth of the 'bond' between Kim and her nemesis, Dr Alex. There were so many characters, so many things happening at once, new crimes, mentioning of old crimes, deep wounds come to surface...a lot to take in but a truly rewarding feeling. So when you close the book you can't help but send a signal to the universe to bring you #6 in the series as soon as possible. Honestly, this series is so addictive! But what's slightly different about Blood Lines is that Ms Marsons goes deeper and deeper in analyzing the human psyche, the dark and spooky parts, the strong emotions of grief and hate. She puts her characters in all sorts of situations, confronting them with their worst fears and their ugly pasts. I'm in awe of how well the author handles these situations, all her characters seem so believable and ...well, real!
What truly fascinated me was the contrast between Alex and Kim. Alex is one hell of a bitch, so manipulative and revenge driven. But despite being so evil, she's a character you'll be hooked on. She's the darkness to Kim's light and their 'bond' is really the driving force behind Blood Lines.
I have to say a part of me wanted Kim to make amends with her past and her mother, but I'm also aware her mother did a horrible thing in the past (murder of Kim's brother). And this also adds to the pace. Will she or won't she forgive her mum? After 2 decades of being in an institution, has her mother finally realized what she's done? Has she felt the deep remorse, has she changed? What would we do if we were in Kim's shoes? Could any of us forgive someone for such a horrible crime? Got me thinking, a lot. But still, I couldn't find an answer and I surely didn't judge Kim for her choices. But I felt more connected to Kim (which surprised me, as I thought I already knew what she's capable of). I also feel with each new book the reader is peeling a layer after layer, revealing more and more sides to her.
I could go and on about this book but I'm sure you get the point - JUST READ THE BOOK! As I've heard there'll be a total of 16 books in this series which is a truly daunting number as I've never followed a character in so many books. But when it comes to this series, I have no doubts Ms Marsons can keep us entertained and interested in her books for a very very long time. So 16 books? I say 160. Who counts when you enjoy something so so profoundly? Blood Lines is definitely one hell of a roller coaster and a book not to be missed! Grab a copy as soon as you can!...more
*Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Actual rating 4.5/5
'Destination Chile' is the third part in The Lonely Hearts Travel Club series by Katy Collins, one of Carina's rising stars and a fresh voice in the chick lit genre. What's amazing about this series is that it's based on the author's experience, jilted bride packs her stuff, leaves the life she knew so far behind and completely reinvents herself. It's pure alchemy what Ms Katy Colins did, rising from her ashes, turning such an unfortunate event into a mega success. Like a true alchemist, she's turned everything bad that's happened to her into words which inspire and will surely continue to inspire loads of young women around the globe.
If you're new to this series, it's probably the best if you start with the first part 'Destination Thailand', not because this part can't be read as a stand alone, but because you get to really feel the main character (Georgia) and everything she's been through. You need to understand her reasons for leaving everything behind, follow her passion which might even trigger a change in you too, cry with her, laugh with her and admire her for being such a courageous woman.
The other reason why you should probably read Destination Thailand first, is because a certain romance develops and it would be considered a major spoiler in this part. SO IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE FIRST PART IN THE SERIES, JUST STOP READING THIS REVIEW NOW!
Consider yourselves warned! Ok?
Georgia and Ben are not only sharing their business, 'The Lonely Hearts Travel Club' but they're also moving their relationship to a different level, by moving in together. After Thailand they've realised they are made for each other and everything in the past year lead to this step, it seemed totally natural to move in and who knows...maybe even get more serious. It's not like they've discussed marriage, but after certain events Georgia starts thinking Ben will surprise her very soon with a proposal. One of her friends hooks her up with a producer who is interested in getting Georgia and Ben on a show, Wanderlust Warriors, where they get to share their personal stories and how it feels like to be emotionally involved with your business partner. You know how they say, don't mix pleasure with business? Well, soon Ben and Georgia will discover the meaning of this. Their relationship might be going through a test, but the grand prize of 25 000 pounds seems very tempting. They're off to Chile and will try to beat 4 more couples in some very interesting challenges and get the grand prize to invest in their future. But as you can assume, some things won't be that easy.
I won't go much into details, but believe me there will be loads of interesting situations, from bike scavenger hunt, to sandboarding in the desert, all in a span of just two weeks. There's not a dull moment in this book, I can promise you that. I can also tell you, this series just gets better and better! It's obvious Katy has a zest for adventure and travel, and the reader can really feel how she enjoys traveling but not because of visiting cool places. On the contrary, travel heals her (Georgia too) and as the author puts it 'travel gives you a fresh perspective on things'. I've never been to Chile, or any part of America, but I could feel I'm walking the streets of Santiago, I could feel the sand beneath my feet, I feel imagine Pablo Neruda's spirit and all those cool things Chile represents. It's all down to Katy and her amazing writing skills, of that I'm absolutely positive.
To be completely frank, when I started reading this series I wasn't that big of a fan of Georgia. Besides, we've seen it before with Lindsey Kelk's I heart series, the whole backpacking and leaving everything behind. But the autobiographical elements were what really got me hooked on this series. One could feel how passionate Katy is about this, how she evolved together with her main character, how much effort she put to pour her soul on the pages. I'm telling you, it takes guts to do that! Georgia has come a long way, she's more mature now (which I liked so so much), she's stronger and believes in herself more. She's not one to pity, on the contrary she's very inspiring. I absolutely loved the fact I saw her transforming, from one part to another, growing into this amazing young woman who knows how to turn s*it into gold. I was very proud of her!
Ben seems nice but I wasn't blown away. I don't know, it's not that I didn't like him, but Georgia's spirit was oozing from the pages, it's like she overshadowed every other character in the book. At least for me. But that's not a bad thing, right?
Besides loving the new ballsy Georgia, what I loved the most is the strong feel good factor of this book. I enjoyed their challenges, everything is happening fast and gives the book a great dynamics. However, the only thing that bother me and is the reason for not giving this book the max 5 stars, is the fact some things by the end felt a bit too rushed. It was drama, drama, and more drama... which seemed a bit over the top for my taste.
But overall, this is one mega fun book! You don't need a passport or the cash, all you need to travel to Chile is just a copy of this book! Brace yourself, it's gonna be one hell of a ride! Super fun plot, great location, ballsy heroine, what's not to love? If you're a chick lit fan, you will definitely enjoy it! ...more
I found this book on a list of 15 best books to overcome anxiety while google-ing books on this topic, and I was so excited to read it. The site I found this book on a list of 15 best books to overcome anxiety while google-ing books on this topic, and I was so excited to read it. The site claimed it's a 'life savior' of a book for people who experience mild anxiety and rare panic attacks to those who've developed certain phobias in life. Also it was high in the top on that list and it didn't take me long to decide to read it.
I have to say that I found it OK. While I loved the first chapters which offer quite a bit of information on anxiety and anxiety disorders in all its forms, I got a bit bored after I passed half of the book. Bearing in mind I knew it's a workbook (as the title also reveals) I knew I was in for loads of pages on exercises and I'm telling you, I WAS prepared. However most of the exercises could be easily applied for many (if not all) anxiety disorders and I found it too repetitive. I get it, the author was trying to make things as simple as possible for each of us to apply (from panic attack who appears once in a blue moon, to phobia of public speaking (social anxiety)...however, I really don't think it was necessary to repeat all of the exercises in every chapter. I couldn't help but feel, 'OK man, I got this, now gimme something new!' But let's be clear, the exercises (breathing, meditation and positive self-talk just some of them) were definitely interesting and something I'll definitely apply.
But ending on a positive note, I love the fact I learned about all the types of anxiety disorders and the subtle differences between them. There are charts which can help you determine which one of these you've developed recently (or throughout the years), which I found very useful. However, I found Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy - David D. Burns much better when it comes to techniques to overcome anxiety. Now that's a book I wholeheartedly recommend....more
* Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
FOUND is the third and final novel in the Arielle Lockley series, however it's the first book by Elle I'm reading. While I'm glad I finally read something by this author, I have to admit I should have listened to my friends' advice and read these books in order. As I'm so behind on my TBR pile and have million stuff going on in my life now, I didn't have the time to start with book #1, or at least #2 (LOST, where you understand who Felicity is, which is VERY important for this book). This could be the reason whyI was slightly confused about the plot and it took me some time to understand who is who in the book.
But before I get to the characters, a bit about the plot. Arielle's fiancee is in hospital in New York and is just out of operation. Arielle is rushing from London totally freaked out (which is natural) and unaware another tragedy will follow. Right after seeing Piers is OK she hears the news Felicity is dead! And this is the part I racked my brains the most, WHO IS FELICITY? If you haven't read 'LOST' you will be slightly lost here (excuse the pun). But to make it easier on all those that might jump into this series like I did, Felicity is Arielle's business partner and a friend. However, there's a bit of mystery as police is investigating Etta (Felicity's goddaughter and a girl Arielle doesn't like much) for Felicity's death. Could it be a murder? A suicide? Why did pass away so suddenly?
Rather generously Felicity leaves her home to Matt, while Etta and Arielle get half of her shop and art gallery (of which no one seems to know) under one condition, they HAVE TO work together and can't sell out their halves in the next three years.
As you see, there's a lot going on in this book. Elle takes us to New York and though I've never been there, she does an amazing job in describing the city that never sleeps. I was immediately transported to one of the most beautiful cities, enjoying the sight and those magnificent buildings. As for the characters, it's obvious Elle Field is a brave author creating such an irritable character as Arielle. She's a bit like Becky Bloomwood (from Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series), obsessed with clothes, fashion and spending money (money she didn't earn, mind you). How are we as readers supposed to like or connect to such a character? To such a woman who calls herself 'kept' as her fiance is paying everything for her? As I could understand from the few bits thrown into the book (which were explained in more detail in the previous books in the series), Arielle has 'advanced' a bit, but still her immature behavior was sometimes irritable as hell! It's obvious Elle Field was focused on showing a transformation in her character, despite the risk of irritating some readers. Arielle certainly changes by the end of the book and gets her happily ever after, and even I warmed up to this little drama queen.
FOUND was definitely an interesting read. It's rather short so you can definitely read it in one go. However, make sure you read the other books in the series for full enjoyment. If you're into chick lit and are a fan of Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series, I think you'll enjoy the Arielle Lockley series too....more
* Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Oh god, THIS book! Just so many feels!
The Secret Wife is a book that made me realize two things:
1) I really should read more historical fiction, and
2) I MUST check Gill Paul's previous books as I TOTALLY loved this one!
The Secret Wife is one of these beautifully written, exceptional books you just don't know how to review. I love it so much I fear no matter what I say it won't do the book justice. But I'm willing to try anyway.
The Secret Wife is a wonderful historical novel with plot that spans for a bit over a century. Going back and forth, from 1914 to 2016, and traveling different locations (Russia to America) we follow two stories. The first story is about the famous family of Romanovs, their rise and fall on the night of 16/17 July 1917. Through the love story of Tatiana (the second of the duchesses) and Dmitri Malama (a Russian soldier) we follow the life of the Romanovs in a very turbulent Russia. Tatiana and Dmitri meet after he's been shot and brought to the hospital, where Tatiana and her older sister, Olga are helping out as nurses. From the moment they meet, they feel an instant chemistry between them. Now I have to say that after reading about 20% of the book I immediately had to check (advise google) about how much of the historical facts were interwoven in Gill's story. And you should have seen my surprise when I did find a picture of Tatiana and Malama online (wikipedia) which only made this story even more enjoyable and amazing.
Fast forward 100 years and we meet Kitty who's having a bit of a rough time in her relationship and finds out she's inherited a cabin on the shores of Lake Akanabee. The cabin seems like the perfect place to hide and heal and she's off from London to America on what will surely be a surprising adventure. What is the connection between Kitty and Tatiana or Dmitri? As you continue to read you'll see the link and feel the romance of Tatiana and Dmitri unfolding before your eyes.
There's so many things about this book which make it a must read. The past and present are beautifully blended, as well as fiction with the historical facts. To be honest, I haven't read that many books on one of the most famous Russian families, but this book did feel like a short course on that historical period. Gill's writing is so beautiful I was in awe of her talent and knack for keeping me totally engrossed in the story. As you can see, it's not a short book, on the contrary there's quite a bit of pages, but I swear I've never read a book faster.
In a way, The Secret Wife reminded me of the great Russian Classics, but not because of the topic it exploits. Strong feelings of undying love, that great love that inspires and doesn't leave you to rest, even feelings of melancholy, they're all perfectly blended making this book a true masterpiece.
As I was reading about Dmitri's numerous attempts to free Tatiana and his hope to one day be reunited, I couldn't help but feel goosebumps. I won't lie, there were parts that brought a tear to my eye and got me so emotional I had to put the book down and calm down. Yes, this is one of these books you'd be crazy not to read and it's also one of these books I can't imagine anyone not loving. It's that brilliant! Wonderful, emotional and exceptionally written, The Secret Wife is definitely one of the best books I've ever read and easiest 5* I've ever given. ...more