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!

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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!

The Friend

The Friend

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

What secrets would you kill to keep? 

After her husband’s big promotion, Cece Solarin arrives in Brighton with their three children, ready to start afresh. But their new neighbourhood has a deadly secret.

Three weeks earlier, Yvonne, a very popular parent, was almost murdered in the grounds of the local school – the same school where Cece has unwittingly enrolled her children.

Already anxious about making friends when the parents seem so cliquey, Cece is now also worried about her children’s safety. By chance she meets Maxie, Anaya and Hazel, three very different school mothers who make her feel welcome and reassure her about her new life.

That is until Cece discovers the police believe one of her new friends tried to kill Yvonne. Reluctant to spy on her friends but determined to discover the truth, Cece must uncover the potential murderer before they strike again . . .

Thoughts:

I am a long time fan of Dorothy Koomson’s books, way before my book blogging days. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her books. They do tend to be long, but with such complex characters and gripping plots. I know I can’t go wrong with a Dorothy Koomson book. Whilst her most recent release isn’t my favourite of hers, it is still deeply intriguing and quick to read.

It centres around Cece who has moved her family from London to Brighton to support her husband’s career. She has given up her job, her home and her friends. She has to build a new life surrounded by strangers. As a reader, we learn that there has been an attack at Cece’s children’s new school that leaves a parent in a coma. The police have no idea who could be responsible for the attack. Cece recognises there are some mothers acting very oddly. Cece is welcomed into their group but she soon finds out they’re all hiding information…

As expected with a Dorothy Koomson book, the storyline is fantastic. I kept thinking that I had a character all worked out and then something would be thrown into the mix and I’d start questioning myself once more. I thought the plot twists were so well thought out. Dorothy Koomson really is a master of story telling. I was captured by the story and didn’t want to put it down! It was a little slow to start with which is the only reason why I haven’t given it the full five star treatment!

Would I recommend it?
Of course!

A gripping read by one of my favourite authors!

Talking About ‘Miss You’ with Bibliobeth

Miss You

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Tess and Gus are meant to be. They just haven’t met properly yet. And perhaps they never will . . .

Today is the first day of the rest of your life is the motto on a plate in the kitchen at home, and Tess can’t get it out of her head, even though she’s in Florence for a final, idyllic holiday before university. Her life is about to change forever – but not in the way she expects.

Gus and his parents are also on holiday in Florence. Their lives have already changed suddenly and dramatically. Gus tries to be a dutiful son, but longs to escape and discover what sort of person he is going to be.

For one day, the paths of an eighteen-year-old girl and boy criss-cross before they each return to England.

Over the course of the next sixteen years, life and love will offer them very different challenges. Separated by distance and fate, there’s no way the two of them are ever going to meet each other properly . . . or is there?

CHRISSI: Did you judge this book by its cover? I can imagine it’s one you wouldn’t pick up if you saw it in the shop!

BETH: Do you think just because you’re my sister you know me? Haha, of course you’re right, I have to be honest. This cover would immediately make me scrunch up my face in the way that you know so well and I wouldn’t necessarily pick it up because of that. I’m not the biggest romance fan in the world and it has to be told in just the right sort of way to touch this cold, cold heart. No cheesiness here please! But, as you know, I have been completely wrong about covers in the past… Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is a classic example!

BETH: How do you think that this book compares with others in the genre?

CHRISSI: Interesting question! As you know, I have read quite a lot of this genre, so I feel like I’m well informed to answer this question. I think it fits nicely into the genre, but it’s not necessarily a book that I think stands out. Don’t get me wrong, it was easy to read and I enjoyed it, but it’s not one that will stay with me for a long time.

CHRISSI: Both Tess and Gus experience bereavement in this novel. Discuss how the different characters deal with this situation.

BETH: Both Tess and Gus have lost someone important in their lives. With Tess, it is her mother who died of cancer and with Gus it is his older brother who died in a horrific skiing accident on holiday. They both deal with their loss in very different ways and I think a lot of that is bound up with how close they were with their respective loved one. With Tess, it’s her mother so of course she feels the loss keenly but has to get on with things as she has a younger sister, Hope to bring up and look after. This completely ruins any plans she had for university but she is incredibly strong as a character and just gets through it. Gus on the other hand, feels constantly guilty for the loss of his brother, Ross. He feels he is in some way to blame for the accident as he “let” Ross go off on his own down a dangerous slope. Coupled with this is the fact that Ross has constantly bullied and belittled him throughout their lives prior to the accident so they didn’t have the best or most loving relationship which he also feels some residual guilt for.

BETH: Which character’s point of view did you enjoy reading about the most?

CHRISSI: My answer would have to be Tess. I really enjoyed reading about her story. I think the main reason for this is the relationship Tess has with her younger sister. I called Asperger’s before it mentioned it in the story. I have children with both low functioning autism and high functioning autism (Asperger’s) in my class and I could recognise the traits immediately. I loved how, even though Tess struggled with not following her dreams, she was there for her sister. I was rooting for Tess from the start and hoping she found some happiness for herself.

CHRISSI: Discuss how Kate Eberlen structured this novel.

BETH: I really enjoyed the structure of this novel. It’s told in dual perspectives so one chapter is Tess’ point of view and the next is from Gus. It also starts in the late nineties when they are both eighteen years old and ends in the present day. I really enjoyed this as I am a similar age to the characters and enjoyed the nostalgic feel that the author brought when talking about certain things in the nineties that I remember very clearly! I also loved how we got hints of the “tall man,” or “tall woman,” aka Gus/Tess when they almost met so many times during the narrative.

BETH: Do you believe that some things are just meant to be or is everything just chance?

CHRISSI: That’s a hard one for me to answer. I’d like to think that things happen for a reason, but then sometimes awful things happen and I can’t justify that with ‘things happen for a reason.’ So to answer, I think I believe in coincidences. But who knows? Ooh, look at you with such a tricksy question!

CHRISSI: Did your initial impressions of this book change by the ending?

BETH: I’m afraid it did and I’m sad to say, not in a good way 😞. I did love that what I expected to happen did happen which pleased me for the characters sake but unfortunately, it did feel slightly cheesy by the end and they were way too quick to say the “three magic words,” which made me believe in them and their relationship a little less. Apart from that though, I was really enjoying their story up to that point!

BETH: Would you read another novel by this author?

CHRISSI: I think I would. I did enjoy reading it and it didn’t take me long to read at all.

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: Yes! 3.5 stars

CHRISSI: Yes! 3.5 stars

 

Love Connection (First Comes Love #1)

Love Connection (First Comes Love, #1)

How did I get it?:
I received a copy from the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Have you ever wondered what might have been?

Gemma Dawson is at the airport, staring at two plane tickets to two different cities. Two different weddings. Two possible futures. She’s at a crossroads.

Be maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding or crash her ex’s?

Gemma’s decision, unknown to her, hinges on a delayed flight and a chance meeting. Now her life is about to go down two parallel tracks—will Gemma fly toward a life with her first love or a future with a man she’s not even met yet?

Love Connection is a feel good Romantic Comedy about one woman, life’s infinite possibilities, and the destiny that lies beyond two different choices.

Thoughts:

I have enjoyed reading Camilla Isley’s previous two books, so when Camilla got in touch about her newest release, I knew it would be something that I would want to read. I did enjoy reading Love Connection and think if you’re in the mood for a light women’s fiction read then this would be a great choice for you! It’s very Sliding Doors in nature as we follow parallel tracks and explore that ‘What if?’ dilemma!

This book will capture many as I think most of us, at some point, have wondered ‘What if…’ at points in our lives. I always like to read stories that explore the choices we make and the impact we have and Love Connection does this. We get to follow the main character Gemma and see how each path would turn out. Gemma can either attend her best friend’s wedding as a maid of honor, or she can make the choice to crash her ex boyfriend’s (who she is still madly in love with) wedding and express her feelings to him. It’s a story about fate and whether life takes us down a certain path no matter what our choices.

I liked reading about the characters in this story. Gemma is a fun character. I didn’t find her to be overly memorable, but during the story she’s certainly enjoyable to read about. I loved Gemma’s best friend Amelia and enjoyed reading about their friendship. It felt like a realistic friendship. The men in this story are great to read about and all have their good points, that’s for sure!

Love Connection is a decent, well written chick lit. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of the genre!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Another good book from Camilla Isley. Check it out if you’re looking for a light hearted read!

Always With Love (Billy and Me #2)

Always With Love

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Billy and Me
Christmas With Billy and Me
You’re The One That I Want
Dream A Little Dream
Dream A Little Christmas Dream

Synopsis:

Sophie’s got used to being the girlfriend of Billy Buskin, the biggest movie star in the world. Sort of.

But when she and Billy take a trip to visit his family in Los Angeles, she quickly discovers she’s totally unprepared for the chaos of Hollywood, the paparazzi and Billy’s controlling mother.

And when Billy extends his stay in LA, leaving Sophie to fly home to Rosefont Hill alone, it seems there’s more than just miles between them.

Now Sophie must decide if they can overcome their differences for good. Because not every love story lasts the distance . . .

Thoughts:

I automatically buy Giovanna Fletcher’s books because I enjoy her writing so much. I was excited to revisit Sophie and Billy again. If you haven’t read Billy and Me, you don’t necessarily need to. There’s enough information given to understand what’s going on. However, I think it would enhance your reading experience if you have read Giovanna’s debut.

Always With Love was as sweet as I expected. It continues to follow Sophie and Billy. Billy has taken on another movie role, despite initially being on a break from acting. Billy can’t pass on the opportunity, so his relationship with Sophie becomes a long distance thing.  Always With Love follows the highs and lows of Sophie and Billy’s relationship and questions whether it can stand the test of time and distance.

Sophie is such a relatable character. She is your average every day girl who is so down to earth. Sophie is so far away from the LA lifestyle and I loved how her ‘normal’ lifestyle ensured that Billy stayed grounded.I loved reading about her relationship with her mother and how that, to, contrasted with Billy’s family life.  I loved reading about Billy too. I wish there had been more of them together.

If I’m being honest, I would have preferred a bit more drama within the story. I was fully expecting something dramatic to happen, but it didn’t. The story had some conflict but it was resolved so quickly and easily that I was left wanting more. I wanted more tension and even though their relationship wasn’t plain sailing, it wasn’t as gripping as I wanted it to be.

That said, Always With Love is a decent, heart-warming, easy to read book which fans of the genre will really enjoy!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A great sequel to Billy and Me!