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!

All Fall Down

All Fall Down

How did I get it?:
It was a present!

Synopsis:

Allison Weiss is a typical working mother, trying to balance a business, ageing parents, a demanding daughter and a marriage. But when the website she develops becomes a huge success, she finds herself challenged to the point of being completely overwhelmed. As she struggles to hold her life together and meet the needs of all the people around her, Allison finds that the painkillers she was prescribed for a back injury help her deal with more than just physical discomfort – they make her feel calm and get her through the increasingly hectic days. Sure, she worries that the bottles seem to empty a bit faster each week, but it’s not like she’s some Hollywood starlet partying all night. It’s not as if she has an actual problem. Until she ends up in a world she never thought she’d experience outside of a movie theatre: rehab. And as Allison struggles to get her life back on track, she learns a few life lessons along the way.

Thoughts:

I have to admit, that I have heard a lot about Jennifer Weiner’s books before, but I had never read any of them. My mum bought me this book about 18 months ago and I’m only got around to reading it recently. I don’t think it’s one of the best books I’ve read in the genre, but it was enjoyable enough and I would consider reading more of her work in the future. I also have to admit, I expected this book to be really chick litty (not a criticism!) but it wasn’t. It deals with serious issues.

All Fall Down centres around Allison who outsiders may believe has it all. She’s got a successful career, a husband, a beautiful home and an adorable daughter. However, Allison has demons. She’s dealing with a marriage that seems to be failing, her father is suffering from Alzheimers which her mother isn’t coping with. The only thing that makes Allison feel better and feel like she can cope is taking prescription drugs. Allison’s life spirals out of control and All Fall Down deals with a woman’s story of addiction and the road to recovery.

Allison isn’t the most likeable character. It took me a while to get used to her. She’s incredibly selfish and comes across as particularly cold. There were moments of the story that I found to be a little bit unbelievable and some of the pacing was a little bit fast, particularly towards the end, but I enjoyed the story nonetheless!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

An intriguing read!

A Sudden Crush

A Sudden Crush

How did I get it?:
I received a copy from the author Camilla Isley, for review consideration. This hasn’t affected my opinion of the book.

Previously reviewed by the same author:
I Wish For You

Synopsis:

Joanna Price is a city girl with the perfect life. She loves her job as a book editor, she just married Liam, high profile bestselling author and the man of her dreams, and she’s headed to the Caribbean to enjoy two weeks of paradise for her luxurious honeymoon.

Connor Duffield is a gruff, grumpy rancher from the Midwest. He is a country boy who has a no-nonsense approach to life, more scars than he’d like to admit, and he hates city girls.

So it’s just a misfortune they have to sit next to each other for a six hour plane ride. Even more so when their flight is caught in the perfect storm and Joanna wakes up stranded on a desert island with Connor, the very man she hoped she would never have to see again.

Why are they alone on this forsaken island? What happened to Joanna’s husband?

When her dream honeymoon turns into a hilarious tropical nightmare, Joanna’s first thought is survival. However, she and Connor will quickly discover just how boring paradise can be. As the days turn to weeks, and then months, this mismatched pair will have to learn how to coexist and how to resist the sparkles of an attraction they weren’t prepared to feel.

When they are finally rescued will Joanna’s marriage be saved as well, or will the life she knew and loved be in ruins?

Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed Camilla Isley’s debut novel I Wish For You, so when she approached me to read her second book I jumped at the chance. I used to be such a big fan of the chick-lit/women’s fiction genre. Although I read more widely now, I often feel like good books in the genre feel like coming home. They’re comforting and relaxing. That’s exactly how I felt whilst reading A Sudden Crush. This book might be a little bit unbelievable, but sometimes it’s nice to suspend disbelief and just go with it, enjoying the story for what it is.

The story centres around Joanna, who is a successful editor recently married to the highly successful writer Liam. On their journey to their honeymoon destination, the plane gets into trouble and ends up crashing. Joanna finds herself stranded on an island. She’s not alone though, amongst the animals, the grumpy man named Connor who was sitting next to Joanna on the plane is on the island too. It’s certainly not the honeymoon Joanna was hoping for. Joanna and Connor have to learn how to live with one another as they try to exist side by side, waiting to be rescued, by Joanna’s new husband who she is sure will come to rescue her. Eventually, Joanna and Connor are rescued, by life can never be the same for them!

I think this book is perfect for fans of the genre. It certainly would be a great holiday read. I easily devoured it and could have done so in one sitting if I had more time to read. There are some unbelievable moments, sure, and I don’t think it’s the most surprising read, but it’s a wonderful, warm, funny read which is totally worth checking out.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Perfect for chick-lit fans. Camilla Isley is one to watch!

Dream A Little Christmas Dream

Dream a Little Christmas Dream

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

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

Synopsis:

Sarah’s doing great. Okay, her dreams might still be totally bananas but real life is definitely back on track. She’s got a fantastic job, amazing friends and plans to spend all Christmas wrapped up with Brett, her handsome boyfriend.

But after another night of increasingly bizarre dreams, Sarah wakes to find her housemate suddenly announcing she’s moving out. And later that day Brett begins to act strangely. He’s clearly hiding something – but what?

Soon Sarah can’t help but wonder if she’s living in a festive nightmare. Will any of her dreams come true for Christmas?

Thoughts:

Dream A Little Christmas Dream is a really cute novella. If you haven’t read Dream A Little Dream, it doesn’t matter. Giovanna gives a little recap of the story, so it can be enjoyed as a standalone story. I love this, as it makes it much more appealing to read to many!

Giovanna’s Christmas novellas really get me in the Christmas spirit. They’re cute, so festive and adorable. It also allows the readers that have read the full length book to catch up with characters! Sarah and Brett are an adorable couple.

I did think the ending was slightly predictable, but this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story!

Would I recommend it?
Of course!

Giovanna Fletcher is a fabulous writer, especially of festive novellas!

The Happy Home For Broken Hearts

The Happy Home for Broken Hearts

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Memory Book
We Are All Made Of Stars

Synopsis:

Ellen Woods spends her days immersed in the escapist pages of the romantic novels she lovingly edits. But her reality is somewhat less rose-tinted. Once upon a time, Ellen had her ‘happily ever after’ moment when she married her beloved Nick, but fifteen years later her husband’s tragic death leaves her alone with their soon-to-become-a-teenager son, faced with a mountain of debt, and on the verge of losing the family home.

On the brink of bankruptcy, Ellen finally succumbs to her sister’s well-meant bullying and decides to rent out some rooms. And all too soon the indomitable Allegra with her love for all things lavender, Sabine on secondment from Berlin and estranged from her two-timing husband, and unreconstructed lads’ mag aficionado Matt enter her ordered but fragile existence – each with their own messy life in tow. And Ellen finds herself forced to step out of the pages of the romantic novels she hides behind, and learn to live – and love – again.

Maybe a new chapter is about to begin for them all…

Thoughts:

I really enjoy Rowan Coleman’s writing style, so when I saw a book from her back catalogue available, I just had to request it. I thought The Happy Home For Broken Hearts was a good read, if a little predictable in places.

The Happy Home For Broken Hearts centres around Ellen and her son Charlie. Ellen’s husband Nick, died in a car crash and her world has been turned upside down. Ellen is trying to move forward with her life, but with debt looming over her, she finally accepts her sister’s help and decides to take in lodgers to help her out with her money situation. Ellen takes in three lodgers, all very different. There’s Sabine, a woman that’s dealing with her husband’s affair, Allegra- an older lady who writes steamy romances and Matt, who writes a column for a lad’s magazine. Each lodger has their own fair share of problems. Ellen finds herself making friends and moving on. She doesn’t expect them to support her as much as they do, as secrets from the past are revealed.

Ellen is the main protagonist and very easy to warm to. She is dealing with grief, yet trying to sort things out financially for her family. Ellen has completely lost who she is, she hasn’t left the house since her husband’s funeral. We see Ellen trying to make life normal for her son, but at the same time, she can’t leave the house and panics when her son is out of the house. Ellen’s son, Charlie is such a sweet character. It’s hard not to feel sorry for him. He can clearly see his mum is having trouble with her grief, and as well as grieving for his dad, he’s desperately wishing his mum could be happy once more. I adored the lodgers as they definitely had more to them than met the eye.

This book was hard to put down. It was so easy to read and although I could predict what was going to happen, it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story. This book isn’t the happiest of reads, but there are moments of hope and humour and that’s exactly what I enjoy in books like this.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars.

A decent read from Rowan Coleman. Perfect for fans of women’s fiction!