My Not So Perfect Life

My Not So Perfect Life

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Standalone-

Wedding Night

Finding Audrey

Shopaholic Series

Shopaholic To The Stars

Synopsis:

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle–from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet–not to mention a possible new romance–the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away–until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Thoughts:

Sophie Kinsella used to be one of my favourite authors that I loved to read as soon as she released a book. Then I started to read more widely and didn’t tend to read her books as soon as they were released (as you can see from this review!) I still enjoy Sophie’s writing, it’s so easy to read and it’s usually got characters that are incredibly relatable and easy to like.

If you’re into books like The Devil Wears Prada then I think you’d enjoy My Not So Perfect Life. It’s incredibly similar. Our main character Katie is working at an agency in London. It’s very trendy. From the outside, looking at Katie’s instagram feed, you’d think that she had the perfect life. In reality, she’s struggling with meeting the demands of London living and is constantly comparing her instagram posts to her friends. Her work isn’t as glamorous as it seems either. She’s always running errands for her boss Demeter. Demeter is the one with the perfect life… or so it seems. Katie ends up being fired and returns to the English countryside to help her family with a new glamping venture. Demeter ends up visiting the glamping site for a family holiday and Katie learns more about Demeter and realises she may have judged her too harshly.

This book is a great summer beach read. You don’t need to think too much about it. The plot mills along (although I think it could’ve benefited from being shorter!) and there are some great characters explore. It is a predictable read but that didn’t bother me. I don’t go into reading a book like this expecting intrigue and mystery.  It does what it sets out to do and that’s okay with me.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A good, light beach read, especially if you’re into this genre!

 

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All We Ever Wanted

All We Ever Wanted

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Random House UK

Synopsis:

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenage girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

Thoughts:

In my pre-blogging days, I read 2 of Emily Giffin’s books. When this popped up on NetGalley, I have to admit that I was very intrigued. It was lovely to read Emily’s writing again and I loved how this book didn’t solely focus on romance. Totally refreshing!

All We Ever Wanted centres around social media, the rich kids, racism and self-worth. All so very relevant to what’s going on in the world right now. Initially, I wasn’t sure whether Emily was taking on too much with these topics, but for me, it did work. In this story, an explicit photo was taken of a girl at a party, by a rich guy. It ends up circling around social media alongside a racist caption and all involved end up having to deal with the fall out. We end up wondering who is responsible for the photo being circulated and we wonder what really happened that night.

Nina, the mother of the boy that allegedly took the photo, finds herself questioning her son and his upbringing. Was giving him every single thing he ever wanted a bad choice? Nina also finds herself questioning her marriage. Her husband’s attitude has become increasingly frustrating to her. He thinks if he throws money at the situation it will disappear and their son will have no problem with his acceptance to Princeton.

Lyla’s dad is a single parent and incredibly overprotective. He is determined to not let this incident slide and get justice for Lyla’s own self-worth. I really liked Lyla. I think she was a typical in love, naive teenager who wanted to believe the best in people. I still think I’m like that now.

There are some fabulous characters within these pages and I certainly found this story so easy to read. I was desperate to find out what the repercussions were going to be. If you’re a fan of women’s fiction, then I think you’d find this book very enjoyable!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A decent read from Emily Giffin! 

Five Years From Now

Five Years From Now

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart.

Five years later, they find each other.  Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they must separate.
 
For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?
 
‘One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened…’

Thoughts:

As you might see from my previously reviewed by the same author section, I’m quite the fan of Paige Toon. I love her books because they’re not your typical chick-lit. There’s usually quite some depth involved within the story and that’s something that I really appreciate. Paige’s recent release did not let me down!

Five Years From Now centres around Nell and Vian. Their birthdays are two days apart. They first meet at 5 years old when family circumstances bring them together. After some resistance at first, they really start to get on with one another. Their friendship is so pure and beautiful to read about. Later on, at the age of 10 Nell and Vian get separated from one another. They end up living on opposite sides of the world, but still keeping contact with one another. Eventually they begin to develop feelings for one another, but their lives take different turns along the way. Through the story, we meet them every five years and see what has happened in their lives.

Something I really love about Paige Toon is that she doesn’t give her characters an easy ride. Both Nell and Vian have major things happening to them. It certainly isn’t an easy ride for them. I like the idea of the future helping you to reflect on the past. It is true, sometimes moments feel huge in the present moment but with some moments, your past can make sense years on.

The ending was not what I wanted, but I really do think it took some guts to write it the way that Paige did. I don’t want to spoil what happened, but if you have read this book, I’d be really intrigued to know if you liked the ending?

This book solidifies why I enjoy Paige Toon’s writing so much. It’s much more than your average chick-lit so please don’t be put off by the cover!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Another wonderful read from Paige Toon. I love her books!

The Last Piece Of My Heart

The Last Piece of My Heart

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Jessie Jefferson

Synopsis:

Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change …

Thoughts:

I’m a bit of a fan of Paige Toon if you hadn’t noticed already. Her books are always so easy to read and I feel like they have more depth than your average piece of women’s fiction/chick-lit. Paige’s books are often filled with amazing characters and very strong female leads. I can’t really ask for more in a book like this one.

As with all of Paige’s books, characters turn up that you meet in other books. This time, we learn more about Bridget. Bridget is a travel-writer and she’s used to travelling the world. Bridget’s focus at the moment is her blog, where she’s recounting stories of meeting up with her ex-boyfriends to get the pieces of her heart back that she left with them. Bridget is back together with her first love and she’s determined to give all of her heart to him. Her agent likes her writing style and says it’s similar to another writer, Nicole. Unfortunately, Nicole has recently passed away. They want Bridget to write Nicole’s sequel to her highly successful book. If Bridget is successful, it will open the doors to her own book being published.

Bridget travels to Cornwall to meet Nicole’s husband. Nicole’s husband Charlie shows her the notes that she wrote for her sequel. Through reading Nicola’s notes, Bridget learns more about how she wanted the sequel to go.
Bridget finds that there are lots of similarities between her and Nicola, including feelings towards her husband, Charlie…

I absolutely warmed to Paige’s characters straight away. Bridget was fun and adventurous and often made me smile. Charlie was sweet and adorable with his baby daughter, April. I grew to love them both. Paige Toon sure knows how to write beautiful male characters. Charlie’s determination to bring up April made my heart swell. He was clearly struggling with juggling childcare, work and his grief. His story touched my heart.

This book is a great beach read and perfect for fans of women’s fiction. It has light humour but also a lot of depth between its pages. Yes, parts of it were predictable, but that really didn’t affect my enjoyment.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Charlie and April stole my heart!

Some Kind Of Wonderful

Some Kind of Wonderful

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Lizzy and Ian have been a couple since their first day at university. Now, after celebrating a decade together, everyone thinks they’re about to get engaged. A romantic escape to Dubai is the perfect moment, but instead of the proposal Lizzy hopes for, Ian reveals he’s not sure he even wants her anymore.

Lizzy is heartbroken. But through the tears, she realises this is her chance to seize the opportunities she missed as Ian’s other half. But what does she want? How much of her is really Lizzy, and how much was Ian’s influence? Determined to discover who she is at heart, Lizzy sets out to rediscover the girl she was before – and in the meantime, have a little fun . . .

Thoughts:

This is a tricky one for me to review. I used to predominantly read this genre, but began to branch out a lot more when I started blogging. I still enjoy a book like this. It’s a comfort read often and it’s familiar. I’ve read a lot of Giovanna Fletcher’s books, as you can see in my previously read section. I’m usually onto a winner when I read one of hers. However, I felt like this one lacked a bit of sparkle that her books usually have, which was a shame. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still utterly readable, it’s just not her best in my opinion.

The story centres around Lizzie who is on a dream holiday with her boyfriend Ian. She’s been with him for many years and is sure this is going to be the holiday in which he proposes. However, Ian ends up breaking up with Lizzie throwing her life into turmoil. She moves back in with her mother and her mother’s partner. We learn more about Lizzie’s family (her crazy pregnant sister) and her Dad. Lizzie realises that being with Ian for so long, changed her life. She wants to rediscover who she really is with the help of her new friends and old friend Connie.

I liked Lizzie as a character. She was a little obsessed with marriage at the start of the book, but I feel like she grew so much over the course of the story. I also appreciated how this book didn’t seem to be that focused on the romance. It was more about self-love and I think that’s an interesting departure. Giovanna’s books usually have a beautiful love story all wrapped up, but this one left Lizzie’s love life quite wide open.

I think there are some amazing characters in this story that many readers will resonate with. It’s a great beach read and definitely one to read if you’re looking for a gentle read in this genre.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Not my favourite book by Giovanna but still an enjoyable read!

The Stranger In My Home

The Stranger In My Home

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from my sister, Beth!

Synopsis:

Alison is lucky and she knows it. She has the life she always craved, including a happy home with Jeff and their brilliant, vivacious teenage daughter, Katherine – the absolute centre of Alison’s world. Then a knock at the door ends life as they know it. Fifteen years ago, someone else took Alison’s baby from the hospital. And now Alison is facing the unthinkable.

The daughter she brought home doesn’t belong to her.

When you have everything you dreamed of, there is everything to lose.

Thoughts:

My sister, Beth thought I would enjoy this book, so she brought it over for me to read. I’ve read and enjoyed some Adele Parks prior to blogging, so I thought I’d give this book a go. I thought it was enjoyable, but it wasn’t what I expected it to be. I guess from the blurb, I envisaged a psychological thriller but it wasn’t. It was a story about family. Don’t get me wrong, I did still enjoy it, it just wasn’t the book that I’d anticipated.

The Stranger In My Home opens with a man named Tom, knocking on Alison’s door one day. It appears that there’s been a massive mix up years ago when Tom’s wife and Alison had their children. Olivia, Tom’s daughter, is actually Alison’s daughter and Alison’s daughter Katherine actually belongs to Tom, a recent widower. It’s come to light that Tom’s wife died of breast cancer and Katherine might have the gene. She needs to undergo tests to determine whether she has inherited the gene from her real mother.

The story then focuses on Alison and Jeff reacting to such terrible news. They were an incredibly happy family before the bombshell was dropped on them. There are so many questions to be asked and answered. Adele Parks slowly trickles information into a tightly weaved plot.  I had some ideas of what might be going on throughout, but I feel like there’s definitely enough to keep you guessing.

I enjoyed most of the characters. They certainly were in the most unusual and horrific situation. I didn’t envy them at all. They behaved in a realistic manner. However, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the main character, Alison. I found her to be slightly irritating and I couldn’t connect with her, despite feeling sorry for her and the situation she had found herself in.

I thought there was definitely enough in this story to capture your attention. So many secrets and lies to be discovered. There was a lot to get your head around and become fully immersed in.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A good read, but I struggled with the likeability of one of the main characters!

Still Me (Me Before You #3)

Still Me (Me Before You, #3)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world. 

Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

Thoughts:

This book is going to be incredibly tough to review. I make no secret of the fact that Me Before You is one of my favourite books of all time. I wasn’t sure about it having a sequel. I really wasn’t. I missed Will desperately even though I knew he couldn’t be a main character. Then when I heard there was going to be a third book, I really didn’t think I’d read it. I have though. I wanted to finish Louisa’s story. I’m pleased I read it, but I’m still not a fan of the series as a whole. I just wish Me Before You was a standalone.

Louisa moves to New York to assist a wealthy socialite named Agnes. Agnes isn’t very well liked in her social circles because her husband was once married to the friend of the other socialites. Agnes is a younger woman and not as well respected as her husband’s ex-wife. Louisa finds herself running around New York and attending fancy events. Her life couldn’t be more different. However, Louisa wants to maintain her relationship with boyfriend, Sam. He’s incredibly busy as a paramedic. The insecurities between them grow more and more over time. Louisa meets Josh who looks scarily similar to Will. Over Louisa’s year in New York she experiences new friendships, new challenges and both funny and sad situations.

I liked how there were references to Will in this book. He hasn’t been written out of Louisa’s life because he was clearly a massive part of it. I liked how Louisa gained strength from things that Will had said to her. That itself warmed my heart. I loved how Louisa was desperately trying to find herself. It was interesting to follow her journey after Will. Is it still bad that I’m pining after him?

As for Jojo’s writing, I can’t really fault it, she is a wonderful writer. I think I was personally satisfied (although devastated) at the end of Me Before You. It’s nice to see Louisa move on, I’m just not sure her story was engaging enough for me. She stood out in Me Before You and in my opinion, could just be any character in women’s fiction in the next two books. That said, I do think there’s a lot to enjoy in this series, which is why I’d still recommend it, it’s just the follow ups just didn’t work for me.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

An easy to read book that continues Louisa’s story. It didn’t work as much as I wanted it to for me, but still lots to enjoy!