It Ends With Us

It Ends with Us

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Slammed series

Hopeless duology 

Standalones

Synopsis:

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

Thoughts:

As you can see, I’ve read a lot of Colleen Hoover’s books. I really enjoy her writing and find them easy to devour in no time at all. I was starting to think that Colleen’s books were getting a bit same-y (I still read them though!) so I was happy (seems the wrong word to use for this subject matter!) to read something a little different from Colleen. It Ends With Us contains some extremely heavy subject matter and some more adult characters.

I didn’t read a lot about It Ends With Us before I picked up the book. I tend to avoid reviews before I’ve read a book because I don’t want it to spoil the story. I don’t actually want to say much about the content of this book because I think it’s better not knowing about it before jumping in. If you do know, then I’d still urge you to read this book because I think it’s important. It certainly made an impact on me.

It Ends With Us begins with Lily Bloom meeting the highly attractive, if a little arrogant Ryle. Lily has an immediate attraction to him, but doesn’t think she’ll see him again. Lily is still very much thinking of Atlas, a homeless boy from her past. Through Lily’s letters to Ellen DeGeneres (that were never sent) we find out about Atlas and also secrets from Lily’s past.

It Ends With Us is definitely darker than you might expect. It may look like a sweet love story, and sure, there are sweet moments, but it’s a much darker story than I ever anticipated. There were several moments throughout the story that I found it hard to keep reading. I found Lily frustrating, I found Ryle frustrating. I just wanted to reach into the book and tell the characters a few home truths. I love that I felt passionately about the characters. I felt such a range of emotions throughout this story. I didn’t know how it was going to end.

This book is totally different to Colleen Hoover’s other books. It does feel like a step in another direction. I found it to be a harrowing, but important read. I was swept away with the story and for once, didn’t find it predictable.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A raw, important story. Unexpected!

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Ugly Love

Ugly Love

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Slammed
Point of Retreat
This Girl
Hopeless
Losing Hope
Maybe Someday

Synopsis:

When Tate Collins finds airline pilot Miles Archer passed out in front of her apartment door, it is definitely not love at first sight. In fact, they wouldn’t even consider themselves friends. But what they do have is an undeniable mutual attraction.

He doesn’t want love and she doesn’t have time for a relationship, but their chemistry cannot be ignored. Once their desires are out in the open, they realise they have the perfect set-up, as long as Tate can stick to two rules – never ask about the past and don’t expect a future.

Tate convinces herslelf she’s ok with it, but soon realises that it’s harder than she thought. Will she be able to say no to her sexy pilot when he lives just next door?

Thoughts:

As you can see from my previously reviewed by the same author section, I’m quite the fan of Colleen Hoover’s writing. I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading Ugly Love. I had it preordered, but only read it in mid September this year! Crazy times. There’s just too many good books on my TBR. I’m slowly making my way through them though and I definitely need a catch up of Colleen’s releases after Ugly Love. I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of this book as I had heard both positive and negative reviews of it, but me being me, I wanted to form my own opinion of it.

This book centres around Tate and Miles. We hear from both of their perspectives. Tate in the present day and Miles six years ago. I don’t want to say too much about the story because it’s one that should be discovered as the story progresses.

I can see why some people really don’t like this book. It is full of insta-love. It’s almost ridiculous how quickly the attraction occurs on both strands of the story. Yet somehow I could get past my dislike for insta-love, because I was intrigued enough to see how it was going to end up. I was also curious about what had happened six years ago… that certainly kept me turning the pages. I also don’t think Miles is an easy to like love interest. He is obviously a messed up character, and I wanted to find out what had affected him so much. I never guessed what it was, I have to say. However, I really didn’t like the way he treated Tate. She came across as a bit of a doormat.

Something about Colleen Hoover’s writing makes me push past these niggles I had with Ugly Love. I really enjoy her writing style and the honesty and rawness that she writes with. Love isn’t always beautiful and I appreciate that she writes about this!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Not a perfect read, but I still found it highly enjoyable!

Talking About ‘The Tea Planter’s Wife’ with Bibliobeth

The Tea Planter's Wife

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper is newly married to a rich and charming widower, eager to join him on his tea plantation, determined to be the perfect wife and mother. But life in Ceylon is not what Gwen expected. The plantation workers are resentful, the neighbours treacherous. And there are clues to the past – a dusty trunk of dresses, an overgrown gravestone in the grounds – that her husband refuses to discuss. Just as Gwen finds her feet, disaster strikes. She faces a terrible choice, hiding the truth from almost everyone, but a secret this big can’t stay buried forever . . .

CHRISSI: Did you have any preconceptions of this book going into reading it?

BETH: Not really, this is the first novel that I have read by Dinah Jefferies so I was excited to see what her work would be like. On reading the synopsis, I was intrigued enough to want to start the story and her writing was so beautiful that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres to read and I was hoping for a storyline rich in information about what life was like in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the 1920’s and that is essentially what I got.

BETH: Whom was your favourite character in this novel and why?

CHRISSI: I really loved the character Navenna, who was the maid in the story. I know she’s not a main character, but she’s stayed with me. I loved her caring nature and how she would protect Gwen. I loved how the young Gwen had an ally in Navenna.

CHRISSI: Dinah Jefferies has created a great sense of time and place in this novel. Discuss how she has achieved this.

BETH: The author has definitely done her research for this novel, it shows in every moment when Ceylon is described, from the time when Gwendolyn first steps off the boat and the reader sees the new and foreign land through her eyes to later years when she is a bit older. Having slightly more experience with the land and the inhabitants of it gives her more confidence when she has to stand up for herself or make difficult decisions but she never loses her love or respect for it. As the reader, Gwen’s obvious feelings for the land where she becomes a woman is lovely to experience and, as a result, made me quite envious and curious to experience it myself. We not only see Gwen develop and grow as a person as the years go on, but we see the country change also which was very interesting to read about.

BETH: What did you make of the character of Laurence’s sister Verity?

CHRISSI: I initially felt very irritated by Verity. She seemed incredibly needy at the beginning and very reliant on her brother. She was quite a busy body really! I didn’t like the way she treated Gwen. As we delve deeper into Verity’s history, I started to feel a little bit of compassion for her. She really was a lonely lady.

CHRISSI: The keeping of secrets is a big part of this novel- discuss the decisions that the characters make and the affect these decisions have on their lives.

BETH: Ah yes. There are some BIG secrets in this novel but I’m very wary of spoilers so I’m going to try and be as vague as I can. Lets just say that Gwen is not the only person keeping secrets… and there are some whoppers of secrets kept by each individual. They are often kept as the person thinks that it is the best way to protect the other individual, however this may not necessarily be the case and it may in fact be more damaging. In one particular case, it may not affect one individual but a whole group of people and has the potential to be life-changing for all concerned.

BETH: There are quite a few surprises in this novel. Were you prepared for the events that unfolded?

CHRISSI: Definitely not. I thought I had this all sussed out. I remember thinking it was all a little bit predictable, but I have to hold my hands up and say that I was wrong! I love it when that happens. There were so many twists and turns along the way, which pleasantly surprised me. I was intrigued throughout and was wondering where the story was going to go next!

CHRISSI: How does this book compare to other love stories?

BETH: I was actually pleasantly surprised by the love story of Gwen and Laurence. I thought I had it all figured out and it was going to go the way of other stories I have read where a young woman goes to live with her older husband abroad but I was completely wrong. Gwen and Laurence have the kind of love that felt really authentic i.e. they have problems, they get annoyed with each other, they fight, they sulk then they make up! It was nice that they both had (normal) flaws in their characters and still loved each other enough that there was no real “baddie” in the relationship, despite the secrets that are kept.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I think I would! I really enjoyed this book, and I have to admit I wasn’t expecting to!

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: Of course!

CHRISSI: Of course!

Comparing ‘My True Love Gave To Me’ An Anthology

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If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

 

Click on the image to get to Luna's blog!

Thoughts before you started reading My True Love Gave To Me?

CHRISSI: It’s beautiful. Can I just stare it at for a while? Beautiful cover, just beautiful. I  was hoping it was just as beautiful inside!

LUNA: Those are some neon pink pages! 😀 Ok slightly more seriously I was thinking C’s = Cute, Cosy, Comfort reading.

What did you think of My True Love Gave To Me an anthology?

CHRISSI: I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I expected it to be a little cheesy. Some stories were. But mostly, I just got the warm fuzzy feeling when you read a very cute, festive, romantic story. Lovely! I think there was something for everyone within this anthology.

LUNA:  My True Love Gave To Me surprised me. I originally thought it was going to be all contemporary Christmas stories but there were other genres in there as well. I was also really happy to see there variety of characters, backgrounds, believes, etc.

There will always be some stories that you prefer more than others but My True Love Gave To Me has a really good collection. I’d be surprised if there isn’t at least one you really love, with a good few more you enjoy a lot.

Favourite story/stories?

CHRISSI: I really liked ‘Angels in the Snow’ by Matt De La Pena. An author I hadn’t heard much about, but I absolutely devoured the story. I also thought ‘Midnights’ by Rainbow Rowell was cute.

LUNA: ‘Angels in the Snow’ by Matt De La Pena was my favourite I think. Also loved: ‘The Lady and the Fox’ by Kelly Link, ‘It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown’ by Stephanie Perkins, ‘Welcome to Christmas, CA’ by Kiersten White and the quirkiness of ‘Krampuslauf’ by Holly Black.

Have you discovered any new authors because of My True Love Gave To Me?

CHRISSI: I’ve read quite a few of these authors, hence my interest in the anthology. I have to add Matt De La Pena to my list, although Luna has discovered he doesn’t have a UK publisher. Boo!

LUNA: I have actually read a fair few and do have books by quite a few others on top of that. Kelly Link’s ‘Pretty Monsters: Stories’ has moved quite a bit higher on my TBR pile and I’ve added Matt De La Pena to my Christmas wish list. He doesn’t seem to have a UK publisher though, which really sucks…

Any you didn’t enjoy?

CHRISSI: I didn’t really dislike any of the stories, but my least favourite was probably Jenny Han’s ‘Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me.’

LUNA: There weren’t any that I disliked as such but I was expecting to be blown away by David Levithan’s ‘Your Temporary Santa’ (because you know it’s David Levithan!) and I was also really excited about Jenny Han’s story but neither really connected.

Would you recommend it?

CHRISSI: Of course! An anthology full of talented authors. What’s not to like?

LUNA: Absolutely, with a hot drink and a cuddly blanket.

Prisoner of Night And Fog

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How did I get it?:
Bookbrigr- Massive thanks to Headline books and bookbridgr!

Synopsis:

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she’s ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

Thoughts:

This book popped through my letter box a few days ago, and I just had to read it straight away. I think the cover is beautiful and the synopsis pulled me in. I devoured Prisoner of Night And Fog, I tried to read it slowly, but I was too gripped.

Prisoner of Night and Fog is Anne Blankman’s debut novel. I couldn’t believe it when I read that. It was such a well written book that I thought the author had been publishing books for years. In Prisoner of Night and Fog there’s a slice of a few genres. Not something that always works, but Anne skilfully made it work. There’s historical fiction, a murder mystery, romance and some intriguing psychoanalysis.

Our main character Gretchen is such a well developed character. She feels incredibly real. The writing makes you feel like you’re living every moment through Gretchen’s eyes. It was heart-breaking to see how Gretchen had her eyes opened to what her Uncle Dolf (Hitler) was really like. She truly believed that he and her dad were wonderful men who had the right opinions and views. However, her views were challenged and it was emotional to see her accept her prejudices. Gretchen grew enough as a person to think for herself.

I thought it was going to be a case of insta-love when she met Daniel, the Jewish reporter. Their romance developed slowly though, in a very believable way. Gretchen’s interactions with Daniel really opened her eyes and made her realise that she had to look beyond the labels that had been brainwashed into her throughout her life.

I’m a massive fan of historical fiction, especially when it’s done as beautifully as this. I thought the story came together so well. The writing was incredibly evocative. I can’t wait to read the follow up to this book.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

This Is What Happy Looks Like

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight

The Geography Of You And Me

Synopsis:

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

It’s June – seventeen-year-old Ellie O’Neill’s least favourite time of year. Her tiny hometown is annually invaded by tourists, and this year there’s the added inconvenience of a film crew. Even the arrival of Hollywood heartthrob Graham Larkin can’t lift her mood.

But there is something making Ellie very happy. Ever since an email was accidentally sent to her a few months ago, she’s been corresponding with a mysterious stranger, the two of them sharing their hopes and fears. Their developing relationship is not without its secrets though – there’s the truth about Ellie’s past… and her pen pal’s real identity. When they finally meet in person, things are destined to get much more complicated. Can two people, worlds apart but brought together by chance, make it against all the odds?

Spanning one fateful summer, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel proves that life – and love – are full of unexpected connections and happy mistakes.

Thoughts:

I wanted to be blown away by this book, but unfortunately I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, This Is What Happy Looks Like, is a decent enough read, but it’s not spectacular. It’s a lot lighter than The Statistical Probability… but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I just think I connected more with Jennifer’s debut novel.

I thought the book was set in a beautiful place that I could imagine really well. The descriptions of it, were brilliant. I pictured such a lovely, quaint town where everyone knew everyone… (don’t we all know places like that?)

The characters in this book are cute. Ellie is easy to relate to, although she does come across as quite boring, she’s likeable enough. I think the stand out character of this book is Graham. He may be a movie star, but he hasn’t been sucked into the limelight. He actually shies away from it. He’s still level-headed, down to earth and completely normal. I thought he was a perfect love interest. The relationship between Ellie and Graham was sweet, but I would’ve loved to have read more emails between them. I really liked those sections of the books. They were modern, fresh and easy to read.

Although I wasn’t blown away, I think that many people will enjoy this cute, romantic read. I think my younger self would’ve devoured it!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

The Summer I Found You

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How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Albert Whitman & Company

Synopsis:

All they have in common is that they’re less than perfect. And all they’re looking for is the perfect distraction.

Kate’s dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she’s still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he’s a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?

Thoughts:

I have to be honest, what initially drew me to this book was the incredible pretty cover. Well done to whoever designed that cover. I’m sure you’ve pulled many readers in! I thought The Summer I Found You was a decent read, which didn’t take me long to read at all.

I thought The Summer I Found You was a brilliant idea. I’ve never come across a diabetic character in a teenage/young adult read before. I think it’s really important to address diabetes, because it is a disease that so many suffer from. I also thought it was great that the author used a veteran. This book might sound like it’s really bleak. It’s not. The characters have their issues, but they are finding their way through their problems through finding each other. If you’re looking for a deeper read, then this certainly isn’t it. But for something lighter and enjoyable, I think you’d enjoy it.

The characters Kate and Aidan share point of views. It gave the reader chance to get to know both of them. I connected with both of them, but I didn’t think their relationship was stand out or memorable. Don’t get me wrong. It was sweet, but I was more interested in the characters than the relationship. Some people might think that’s a bonus!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!