All That She Can See

All That She Can See

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

On The Other Side

Synopsis:

Feelings are part of life – feelings are life. If you take away what people feel, you take away anything meaningful. Wanting to diminish the evil in this world is a good cause, one I have fought for the majority of my life, but not like this . . . 

Cherry has a hidden talent. She can see things other people can’t and she decided a long time ago to use this skill to help others. As far as the rest of the town is concerned she’s simply the kind-hearted young woman who runs the local bakery, but in private she uses her gift to add something special to her cakes so that after just one mouthful the townspeople start to feel better about their lives. They don’t know why they’re drawn to Cherry’s bakery – they just know that they’re safe there and that’s how Cherry likes it. She can help them in secret and no one will ever need to know the truth behind her gift.

And then Chase arrives in town and threatens to undo all the good Cherry has done. Because it turns out she’s not the only one who can see what she sees . . . 

Thoughts:

Ooh. I find Carrie’s books incredibly hard to review. I don’t want to come across like I’m judging her because she has such an internet presence. It’s clear that Carrie works hard towards her goals. I sometimes feel annoyed that she gets judged because of who she is and not on her writing itself. Sure, her internet presence has to help in securing her book deals, but she did spend the time on her books. They’re not ghost written. So surely, we as reviewers, should give her a fair chance? That’s what I like to do with every author regardless of their ‘fame.’

All That She Can See has an interesting premise. It centres around Cherry who is a baker (I cringe a little at Cherry being a baker’s name) but she’s not just any baker. Cherry has a hidden talent. She can put her feelings into her creations and help others to erase their bad feelings. Once people have devoured Cherry’s creation, they start to feel better. People are always drawn back to Cherry’s shop, but they don’t know why. Cherry moves on to different towns when she feels she has done her job. Everything seems to be going well, until Chase appears on the scene. He threatens to undo all the good that Cherry has done.

At the start of reading this book, I was all for it. I was seeing 5 stars in its future. It was magical, whimsical and so easy to read. It reminded me of one of my favourites for magical realism, Cecelia Ahern. It was charming and a little silly but so easy to read. Then… the second half of the book just completely lost it for me. It felt like a different book entirely. I didn’t mind the story line in the second half, but it just seemed so different and disconnected than what came before. It didn’t fit and I found myself losing interest in the story which was a great shame as I was so invested at the start.

Carrie’s writing style won’t be for everyone, but I found it pleasant enough and easy to read. The book didn’t take me long to read at all. It’s engaging enough, even with my niggles about the plot line. I think once again, Carrie’s book is being billed as adult fiction, but to me it still screams YA. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, I’m a huge lover of YA.

To me, All That She Can See was a wonderful, imaginative idea, but the two different stories did not gel together. I would have preferred either one or the other not a mismatch of both. If one story had been focused on, then the characters and relationships could have been developed more and this book would definitely have been rated higher than I have done.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

I can see this book dividing a lot of readers. Carrie Hope Fletcher has a wonderful imagination, I just didn’t enjoy the execution of this particular book!

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Watching Edie

Watching Edie

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Beautiful, creative, a little wild… Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then—but it didn’t take long for her to learn that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

Now, at thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there’s no one to turn to…

But someone’s been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once again what a perfect friend she can be. It’s no coincidence that Heather shows up on Edie’s doorstep, just when Edie needs her the most. So much has passed between them—so much envy, longing, and betrayal. And Edie’s about to learn a new lesson: those who have hurt us deeply—or who we have hurt—never let us go, not entirely…

Thoughts:

I remember seeing this book in a bookshop in Bath a few years back. I finally got my hands on a copy. I was really expecting to be blown away by this book but for me, it was a decent read but not one that will stay with me for a long time.

Watching Edie is an interesting story using before and after to tell its tale. One tale is narrated by Edie and the other Heather. It opens with Edie answering the door to Heather. They were good friends in school, but a terrible event tore them apart. They hadn’t seen each other in years although Edie always had Heather on her mind. As soon as they reunite, you’re made to feel quite uncomfortable. There’s a lot of tension. Edie turns out to be pregnant and Heather steps in to help her when Edie suffers after the birth. All through the period of Heather ‘helping’ Edie, I felt uncomfortable. Edie begins to become suspicious of Heather. She’s not sure why she’s turned up after all this time and their past.

This is a tale of obsession and uncertainty. It makes you feel uncomfortable. The author cleverly makes you think one thing and then throws a curveball when you find out the truth. I don’t want to say anything more as I don’t want to ruin it for others. Let’s just say there’s more to this story than first meets the eye!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Not my favourite psychological thriller but a good read!

Wait For Me

Wait for Me

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.

Thoughts:

I have read so many books about World War II so I always get very excited when new books come out. Imagine my excitement when I heard about Wait For Me which was YA based. I do love YA and I’m not afraid to admit it!

Wait For Me centres around Lorna who lives on a farm in Scotland. It is 1945 and alongside going to school, Lorna is helping her father on the farm whilst her two brothers are fighting in the war. Life changes for Lorna and hr family when Paul, a German prisoner of war is sent to help at the farm. Lorna is very hesitant at first, but over time she learns more and more about Paul and finds herself falling for him. This is a dangerous relationship, but Lorna is completely drawn to Paul.

I absolutely devoured this book. I loved Lorna and thought she was such a great character. I loved her determination and her acceptance of Paul as he was. Paul is completely likeable as well. I loved how Caroline Leech portrayed his story and showed the reader his history. They were a likeable, believable romance. As well as Lorna and Paul, there were some more fabulous characters. I really liked Nellie, who helped them on the farm. I also enjoyed reading about Lorna’s dad.

This story is definitely more about the romance and not so heavy on the World War II content. It is there, but it’s more about the relationship developing between Lorna and Paul. So if you’re into romantic historical fiction then this book could be for you!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A sweet WWII romance. A fantastic debut!

Talking About ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’ with Bibliobeth

The Keeper of Lost Things

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.

Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.

CHRISSI: What were your first impressions of this book?

BETH: Generally, I thought that it was very easy to read and almost fairy tale like in its execution, particularly with the little short stories that we are told about the lost objects. Some I enjoyed more than others but overall, it seemed to be an intriguing little read.

BETH: How would you describe this book to someone who was interested in reading it?

CHRISSI: It’s a difficult one because it fits into so many genres, so you can’t exactly market it as in a specific genre. I think if I had to pick a word to describe this book it would be whimsical. It’s a story of two parts that meet together even if you don’t expect that they will.

CHRISSI: How does the story of Eunice and Bomber relate to Laura and Anthony’s story? Did you find the two plot strands difficult to juggle, perhaps too distracting? Or do the two tales enhance one another?

BETH: There is a reason for the inclusion of Eunice and Bomber’s story and I won’t go into it too much but it relates to the lost objects that Laura is looking after/trying to find homes for. I wasn’t sure at first how the two stories were connected and to be perfectly honest, preferred the current day story of Laura and Anthony to that of Eunice and Bomber. This is quite a departure for me as usually I much prefer a timeline set in the past compared to a contemporary one and I’m not sure why. Eunice irritated me slightly as a character so perhaps this put me off.

BETH: Which character did you connect with most in this novel and why?

CHRISSI: Ooh that’s hard because I really enjoyed two of the characters. I loved Laura and really felt for her at the beginning. She seemed incredibly broken and I really wanted a fix for her. I wanted her to be happy. A character that I really connected with was Sunshine. I thought she was an extraordinary character. I loved her insight. She easily understood things that others didn’t. I loved her view of the world.

CHRISSI: Did you connect with both Eunice and Bomber/Laura and Anthony?

BETH: Haha, I’ve managed to ramble right into the next question!! I didn’t really connect with Eunice as a character I have to say and Bomber was just a bit so-so for me. I found his sister, Portia to be a much more fascinating character to read about although there were some tender moments in the narrative involving these characters and their parents which I really appreciated. Laura and Anthony I liked more but the character who I enjoyed exploring the most was probably Sunshine who be-friends Laura quite near the beginning and becomes a very important part of the novel.

BETH: Did any of the stories about the objects stay with you and if so, which one and why?

CHRISSI: I wish I did have a story that stood out for me, but I really don’t. I thought all of the stories were intriguing in different ways. However,  there were so many of the stories that I couldn’t really focus in on one. There wasn’t one that immediately stuck with me. That’s not to say they weren’t well written. They were! Some were incredibly charming.

CHRISSI: How does this book compare with others in its genre?

BETH: I’m not quite sure where to place this book genre wise. Some parts of it are historical, others contemporary, others kind of magical and fantastical. As a fantasy novel I think there’s a place for it but it’s much more gentle and not as complex as other books in the genre. For me, this was a decent read that I enjoyed but I wasn’t completely blown away.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I would. I thought this was an impressive debut. It read like it was from a very established author.

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: Yes! 3.5 stars

CHRISSI: Yes!

Round Up of British Books Challenge 2017

The British Books Challenge is hosted by Michelle at Tales of Yesterday. Find out more about it HERE.

The British Book Challenge was set up to show support for British Authors. By signing up I promised to read at least 12 books by British Authors. I smashed it once again this year by reading 63 books by British Authors.

Here are 2017’s efforts!

  1. The One Memory of Flora Banks– Emily Barr
  2. Paper Butterflies– Lisa Heathfield
  3. We Come Apart– Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
  4. How Hard Can Love Be?– Holly Bourne
  5. Disclaimer– Renee Knight
  6. Margot & Me– Juno Dawson
  7. The Trouble With Goats and Sheep– Joanna Cannon
  8. The Witchfinder’s Sister– Beth Underdown
  9. London Belongs To Us– Sarra Manning
  10. The Cuckoo Sister– Vivian Alcock
  11. The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time– Mark Haddon
  12. The One– John Marrs
  13. Mad Girl– Bryony Gordon
  14. Lie With Me– Sabine Durrant
  15. Pilot Jane and The Runaway Plane– Caroline Baxter
  16. Fish Boy- Chloe Daykin
  17. Awful Auntie– David Walliams
  18. The Last Beginning- Lauren James
  19. Girlhood– Cat Clarke
  20. One Italian Summer- Keris Stainton
  21. Release- Patrick Ness
  22. Unboxed- Non Pratt
  23. Follow Me– Angela Clarke
  24. Watch Me– Angela Clarke
  25. Trust Me– Angela Clarke
  26. Truth Or Dare– Non Pratt
  27. I See You- Clare Mackintosh
  28. Blood Sisters– Jane Corry
  29. The Prime Minister’s Brain- Gillian Cross
  30. The Nearest Faraway Place– Hayley Long
  31. The Graces– Laure Eve
  32. Miss You– Kate Eberlen
  33. Damage– Eve Ainsworth
  34. Indigo Donut– Patrice Lawrence
  35. Gone Without A Trace– Mary Torjussen
  36. Her Husband’s Lover– Julia Crouch
  37. He Said/She Said– Erin Kelly
  38. Cartes Postales from Greece– Victoria Hislop
  39. Fortunately, The Milk– Neil Gaiman
  40. Good Me, Bad Me– Ali Land
  41. The Scarecrow Queen– Melinda Salisbury
  42. Charlotte Says– Alex Bell
  43. Close To Me– Amanda Reynolds
  44. Coraline- Neil Gaiman
  45. The House– Simon Lelic
  46. The Betrayals- Fiona Neill
  47. The Trophy Child– Paula Daly
  48. Saffy’s Angel– Hilary McKay
  49. Behind Closed Doors- B.A Paris
  50. No Virgin– Anne Cassidy
  51. No Shame– Anne Cassidy
  52. Then She Was Gone– Lisa Jewell
  53. The Treatment– C.L Taylor
  54. Letters From The Lighthouse– Emma Carroll
  55. Black Hearts In Battersea– Joan Aiken
  56. The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club- Alex Bell
  57. 13 Minutes– Sarah Pinborough
  58. The Hours Before Dawn– Celia Fremlin
  59. Noah Can’t Even– Simon James Green
  60. Witch Child- Celia Rees
  61. The Friend– Dorothy Koomson
  62. A Quiet Kind Of Thunder– Sara Barnard
  63. Finding Jennifer Jones– Anne Cassidy

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- Finding Jennifer Jones

Finding Jennifer Jones

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Kate Rickman seems just like any other nineteen-year-old girl. She goes to university, she dates nice, normal boys and she works in her local tourist office at the weekend. But Kate’s not really normal at all. ‘Kate’ is in fact a carefully constructed facade for a girl called Jennifer Jones – and it’s a facade that’s crumbling fast. Jennifer has spent the last nine years frantically trying to escape from her horrifying past. Increasingly desperate, Jennifer decides to do something drastic. She contacts the only other girl who might understand what she’s dealing with, breaking every rule of her parole along the way. Lucy Bussell is the last person Jennifer expects any sympathy from, but she’s also the last person she has left.

Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Looking For JJ when we read it last year, so I was intrigued to read the sequel. Looking For JJ was a dark and intriguing read. I wondered whether the sequel could possibly match it. I wasn’t disappointed though, even though for me, it didn’t quite match its predecessor!

The story takes place some time after Looking For JJ. JJ is living as Kate and attending University. She lives off campus, has a job and is attempting a normal life after the terrible events that have happened to her. However, Kate is not happy. She’s trying to move on with her life but things keep getting in the way. Nearby, a girl is found after drowning in the sea. Kate has a past and there are things that connect her to the suspected murder. Kate also reaches out to a childhood friend, Lucy, who was also involved in Kate’s past.

I loved reading about the difficulties Kate suffered. That sentence sounds wrong. I don’t like reading about misfortunes, but I appreciate when characters go through hardships after experiencing something awful as that’s real.

Finding Jennifer Jones tied up some loose ends and left me satisfied with how life was going to continue for our main character. I grew to love this character, despite some awful choices that she made. I really enjoy Anne Cassidy’s writing!

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog post HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Come back to Chrissi Reads on 2nd January 2018 to see the Kid Lit choices for 2018!

A Quiet Kind Of Thunder

A Quiet Kind of Thunder

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Beautiful Broken Things

Synopsis:

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it. 

Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Sara Banard’s debut novel so I was super excited to get to read A Quiet Kind Of Thunder. I always worry when I enjoy a debut so much because sometimes the next book can’t quite live up to it. However, A Quiet Kind Of Thunder was a stunning read which was both cute and moving at the same time.

It centres around Steffi who has been unable to talk to others that aren’t close to her. She is a selective mute. It doesn’t mean she chooses not to speak, she physically finds it difficult and can’t speak to others. No one has ever been able to put their finger on why Steffi can’t speak to others. There are a lot of things that have happened in Steffi’s young life, but the selective mutism came before some tragic events. Steffi is starting sixth form with the pressure of some new people and having to talk as her best friend has moved to college. Steffi knows staying at sixth form is easier, because others are aware of her difficulties. A new guy, Rhys, starts the sixth form. He is deaf and she is asked to be his guide because she knows sign language. Rhys and Steffi begin to build a beautiful friendship. He helps her learn more about sign language and Steffi helps him around sixth form. Gradually they grow closer and develop feelings for one another. They become very dependent on one another. It’s the sweetest thing!

This book won’t be for every reader as it is quite sickly sweet with the romance. However, I was fully on board with it. It was a cute, believable romance. It wasn’t just about that though. It was about Steffi’s journey to recovery. Life wasn’t easy for her just because she had found someone. I appreciated the representation of selective mutism and social anxiety. It wasn’t an easy fix and I adore that in a book. Give me more realistic mental health books! 🙂

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I highly recommend this sweet read!