A Wedding at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry / Blog Tour

A Wedding at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry

 

Publisher: Orion 53548894._sy475_

Publishing Date: 28th May 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

You are invited to the wedding of the year . . .

Robyn Moss just wants a simple wedding. A quiet ceremony; a picnic on the beach; dancing barefoot on the sand until the sun goes down. But first, Robyn has one very important thing to do – before embracing her future, she needs to uncover her past. As she sets out to find her birth mother, a tangled thread of love, loss and betrayal that ties together three generations of women begins to emerge.

As her wedding day approaches, Robyn discovers that where there is heartbreak, there is hope – and that in the end, love will always win.

Escape to the beach with Veronica Henry’s captivating new story of three women, three summers, and a wedding that changes everything. The must-read novel of summer 2020!

Rating: four-stars

 

Robyn and Jake are newly engaged and are expecting their first child. Robyn has always known that she’s adopted but it never kept her awake at night. However, as she’s pregnant and about to get married, she starts to feel the need to know her true history, to find out who she really is. She’s torn, as she really loves her adoptive parents and sister, and she doesn’t want to hurt them, but the need to know is strong. Deciding not to tell them and confessing only to her friend Gwen, Robyn starts to search for her birth mother and her life is about to change. But not only her life – the future is going to bring challenges, second chances, new beginnings to all those around Robyn, as they are also hiding secrets.

Robyn was a lovely character, complex and really well developed, and the author has given her a truly distinctive voice. She knew what she wants and if she wasn’t sure, she wasn’t afraid to risk, but she never wanted to hurt other people, so this is why some of the decisions were so hard for her. She was also hard – working and caring, and her relationship with Jake was strong and certain. But there were things in her life that lately started to bother her. I adored what Veronica Henry has done here, with Robyn searching for the truth – there was no time wasted on searching here and searching there, there was no will she/won’t she and it was so refreshing, guys, I really liked that instead we got things straight out – it simply worked brilliantly in this story. I also loved with how much empathy and gentleness the author has written those parts, taking all Robyn’s feeling under consideration, and not only Robyn’s but also other characters’ involved, without judging them but giving them a chance to tell things how they really were.

There is also a great bunch of supporting characters in this story, though I’m not sure if we should call them “supporting” at all, as they truly felt like the main characters, with their stories as important as those of Robyn and Jake. They are stories with depth, full of ups and downs, the characters are facing so many challenges in their lives, they all struggle and have issues and that makes them feel so down – to – earth and realistic. I liked that, for a change, they were wise but not patronising, and they really wanted good things for each other, they were supportive and simply kind people.

There were many subplots running through the story, it was not only Robyn and her journey, but I have never felt overwhelmed, stuffed with too much information or confused. The author has taken her time introducing all the characters and their background stories to us, there was nothing rushed and this is why it was so seamless and so smooth to read.

The writing style is so very Veronica Henry – flows effortlessly, it’s lyrical, almost poetic, it’s beautiful but also chatty and engaging, and the descriptions are vivid, bringing the places and characters to life. And of course the setting is gorgeous, Everdene on the coast is so well and evocative described, the author has a real way with words.

“A Wedding at the Beach Hut” is a thought – provoking story filled with family dynamics, unconditional love, friendship and all the trials and tribulations that come with them. It is such a gentle, relaxed read, with enough twists and without too much drama, a truly perfect read for a nice, tranquil afternoon as it is so easy to lose yourself in this story, it captures your attention immediately and envelopes you, with every turned page taking you with on the characters’ journey. I’d say that perhaps there were moments that it was too relaxed, too peaceful, too slow but somehow the pace simply corresponded with the plot. It is a great piece of contemporary fiction, emotionally engaging escapism, true to life and realistic and I highly recommend it!

 

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The Staycation by Michele Gorman / Blog Tour

The Staycation by Michele Gorman

 

Publisher: Trapeze 53126367._sy475_

Publishing Date: 1st June 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 336

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 23.07.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

An uplifting, hilarious read about a cancelled holiday… and how love, laughter and fun can always be found close to home. For fans of The Holiday, Lindsey Kelk and Sarah Morgan.

Two families. One cancelled flight. And a last minute house swap…

Things get desperate for strangers Harriet and Sophie when they become stranded with their families in Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Each woman has her own reason for really really really needing the family holiday they’ve anticipated for months. But an unruly volcano has other plans for them. When their flights are cancelled, the families swap houses and discover that sometimes the best things in life happen close to home.

This ash cloud has a silver lining, even if no one can quite see it yet.

Rating: four-stars

 

Sophie and Harriet don’t know each other but they’re going to become acquainted soon – as soon as their flights that were supposed to take them on the much needed holidays in Italy are cancelled because of a volcanic ash cloud. Well, they already got chatting to each other, right, so why not swap houses? Harriet will get her city break in London and Sophie her spa treatments on a small goat farm in a very rural Gloucestershire – it’s a win – win, right? Because what could possibly go wrong?

It quickly became clear that both characters have some secrets and troubles. Sophie’s were more plain to see for us but not so for Sophie, and Harriet’s were a bit more hidden and she allowed us to unpeel layer after layer of her problems. At the beginning I had huge problems to distinguish who is who and to whom they belong, to be honest, and I’m not sure whose fault it is, probably mine, as I absolutely wasn’t in the mood, so apologies book.

The friendship between Harriet and Sophie blossomed somehow suddenly and unexpectedly, at least for me, once they were only swapping their houses and then, after few phone calls, they were calling each other “friend” – did I miss something here? It happened completely out of blue to be honest. But whatever. I liked both of them, Harriet and Sophie, and I think Harriet even more, because under the shell there was a brilliant, funny and clever woman hiding. They were both so very different but this is what made them so interesting. While Harriet is a successful solicitor, Sophie is a stay – at – home mum. While Harriet is über – organized, Sophie is much more laid – back, following the rule there’s luck in leisure. While Harriet is brisk and efficient, Sophie is chaotic and very accommodating. Absolutely brilliant to have such different characters. Both their husbands are very much focused on their jobs, James as a goat farmer and Dan as a solicitor, but while James was much more laid – back, the more we got to know Dan, the more we were able to see that there is something wrong, that he’s treating Sophie and their two children like another thing on his to – do list, all the time expecting gratefulness. He was absolutely controlling, to the point of booking all Sophie’s spa treatments, without informing her what she’s going to have, and making all the other decisions in a way that his family might have thought they have made them, but it was him, in fact, pulling all the strings. The more I read about him, the more I disliked him. It was not Harriet’s over – efficiency and planning that annoyed me, it was not Sophie with her whatever – attitude, it was Dan that grated on me, such irritating and annoying he was. However, they all, with all their ups and downs and unexpected announcements felt authentic and realistic. And what’s more lovely is the fact that the women were slowly starting to find that their attitudes change and that they started to do something, according to those changes.

But it’s not only the contrast between the characters and their life – styles, it is also the contrast between the settings that is also brilliantly captured, and the author could truly put into words why it is that Harriet struggles at the goat farm, and why Sophie feels out of her depth in London and everything that Dan work brings with it.

The author put the characters through trials and tribulations, challenges and surprises that they both had to overcome. The plot was engaging and simply the idea of the swap has worked in this book brilliantly, and I loved the contrasting settings, the hustle and bustle of London and the peace and lovely community of the countryside – I may be biased, as I myself live in such a rural place, but as much as I appreciated both places, I’d choose the goat farm. Anytime. The author’s writing is fluent, seamless and chatty.

“The Staycation” is a great summery read with much, much more depth than you could expect at the beginning, light but it also dealt with some heavier topics and issues and I really liked the way how skilfully the author has interwoven and integrated them in the plot. There is fun but there is also seriousness, perfectly blended with each other. It’s a story about growing – up, about finding yourself and your own luck and place, packed with laughter, family relationships, and some drama. A great summery read that I truly recommend!

 

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The Staycation

 

Like a House on Fire by Caroline Hulse

Like a House on Fire by Caroline Hulse

 

Publisher: Orion 52721171._sx318_sy475_

Publishing Date: 14th May 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback | Paperback (out on 03.09.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

George and Stella’s marriage is over. They can’t decide exactly when that happened (Was it the coke can? Or that comment about Jurassic Park?), but they both agree that it has.

A couple of months after the separation, Stella’s mother, Margaret “The Force of Nature” Foy sends out invites for her murder mystery anniversary party – with George on the invite list. Stella hasn’t told her parents about the divorce, she couldn’t bring herself to. And with her father’s business shutting down, Margaret’s recent cancer diagnosis, and some very odd behaviour from her older sister Helen, now is clearly not a good time.

All they have to do is make it through the day without their secret being discovered. And in doing so, they may find each other again – or see their past and future both go up in flames…

Rating: five-stars

 

Stella and George have just separated, and it’s really not nice between them at the moment. They’re about to tell Stella’s family about the forthcoming divorce but they’ve just been invited to Stella’s parents to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Margaret, who is hosting the party, has written a murder mystery and there is no option of not coming, especially as she was diagnosed with cancer and everybody knows that it’s, in fact, a farewell party for her. So no way Stella and George can tell them about the separation – they simply have to go and pretend nothing is wrong. But as it turns out, there are many things that are more than wrong, not only in Stella and George’s relationship. It quickly becomes clear that the whole family has been hiding secrets and truths are being held back… But we all know that the truth always comes out, at the least appropriate moment…

I absolutely adore this author’s approach to family and family dynamics – she sees things how they really are and finds the most absurd elements, presenting us with a brilliant, take – no – prisoners drama/comedy with endearing characters that are sharply written and brilliantly developed. The characters were really written in a great way and I quickly found myself totally immersed in their lives, laughed at their jokes, rolled my eyes at their quirks and them behaving in a way that was, yes, sometimes irritating and childish – shortly, I fell for them even if they fed me up to my back teeth.
I was prepared for it to be a Stella and George story but it turned out that they have a huge family – but the more, the merrier! Margaret is hosting the party to celebrate the anniversary with her husband Tommy, and she’s the one who has written the play. Tommy is obsessed with his shop that he has handed over to his son – in – law. Stella and George are on the verge of divorce and Helen is on the verge of a nervous breakdown – the story is told through their points of view and it quickly becomes clear that there is so much more to them all, and that they all have their own secrets which they’re guarding, hiding and protecting. The characters’ voices are distinctive, strong and different and they are all so vivid and so full of life, and it’s really easy to picture them all.

It was a hugely entertaining read filled with complex and complicated relationships and very sharp observed. I absolutely loved the circle the book did, beginning and winding down with the same characters, and also the meeting in the supermarket has given the story a kind of a wrap – up, giving me my dream conclusion, leaving me totally satisfied. And I love the chosen title – when you read the book you will so appreciate it!

The banter between characters is good, guys, it’s so good in fact that it is incredibly easy to visualise the scene, to hear the characters talking to each other. And it was really easy to relate to the characters, to feel what they’re going through and it quickly becomes crystal clear that there is so much more to every single one of them than you can think at first. Caroline Hulse has a great way with words, her writing style immediately catches your attention and draws you into the story. Her words are sharp, honest and genuine and she can perfectly well capture family dynamics and all kinds of relationships. But she doesn’t exaggerate in her descriptions, and even the most crazy things that happen in the book still seem believable, like things that could happen to you and your family.

The idea of the family murder mystery dinner party was absolutely my cup of tea, I had a pleasure to attend such a dinner (though not a family party!) once and it was such a great fun, and really, you can learn TONS about other people during such party. I was maybe hoping for a real murder in this story to be honest, I think Ms Hulse is able to pull something like this off, but with all the other drama I could live without real corpse – there was enough of other events and little fires everywhere to keep me glued to the pages.

I loved Caroline Hulse’s debut novel, “The Adults”, and “Like a House on Fire” was one of my most anticipated books this year – I literally couldn’t wait to get this book in my hands and to start reading, and let me tell you, the book doesn’t disappoint. It’s as good as the author’s first novel and already full of Ms Hulse’s trademark sharp, astute and straight on point observations and down – to – earth approach to reality. It is a perfect blend between fun and serious and the underlying themes of sadness and seriousness are injected with the most perfect dry and dark humour. It was an addictive, entertaining and thought – provoking read and Caroline Hulse is already at the top of my auto – buy authors.

I Made a Mistake by Jane Corry / Blog Tour

I Made a Mistake by Jane Corry

 

Publisher: Penguin 49469673._sy475_

Publishing Date: 28th May 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 464

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 28.05.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

YOU DIDN’T MEAN TO DO IT.
IT WAS ONLY ONCE.
BUT NOW HE’S DEAD, AND SOMEONE HAS TO PAY . . .

The darkly addictive new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of I Looked Away, Blood Sisters and My Husband’s Wife.
In Poppy Page’s mind, there are two types of women in this world: those who are faithful to their husbands, and those who are not. Until now, Poppy has never questioned which she was.

But when handsome, charming Matthew Gordon walks back into her life after almost two decades, that changes. Poppy makes a single mistake – and that mistake will be far more dangerous than she could imagine.

Someone is going to pay for it with their life . . .

Rating: four-stars

 

Poppy Page has been an aspiring actress once but now she runs a successful extras agency. Married to Stuart, who is a dentist, they have two daughters, Melissa and Daisy and since recently they all live together with Stuart’s mother Betty, who has moved in with them to help with the girls. At a party Poppy meets an ex – boyfriend Matthew Gordon – she was head over heels in love with him many years ago but he has broken her heart and married another woman. After this meeting, Poppy’s life changes dramatically and she seems to be making a mistake after a mistake. And then someone’s is murdered. Who? And why? Did Poppy make one mistake too many?

There was enough depth to the characters and they were drawn and portrayed well enough, and they were either easy to like or to dislike. The story is told by Poppy and Betty, interspersed with scenes at the Central Criminal Court. I must admit that it was Betty’s narration that had me hooked most and it was her story that was the most interesting for me. The more I read, the more sympathy I felt to her and the more I understood her, though I was also all the time wondering why we are getting those glimpses into her past, what this has to do with Poppy’s situation. Betty’ history and background of her courtship and marriage to Jock in the 60’s and 70’s was fascinating to me, it was a subplot that had a strong backbone and it was so easy to fell for Betty, even with her naivety and subordination, but we all know that life used to be a bit different than it is now for women. But there was a moment that she really shown she’s a strong woman, a moment that I wanted to give her a standing ovation.
Poppy, on the other hand, seemed a bit pale in comparison to Betty and, to be honest, I couldn’t help thinking that she brought a huge part of the damage upon herself. I mean, she didn’t deserve the huge fallout and I personally wanted to do something very bad and painful to Matthew but sometimes she simply behaved like a child lost in fog and her decisions were strange and inappropriate.

It is a well written, full of substance book with the right pacing and some twists and turns thrown at us at the right moments. However, I have a little problem with Jane Corry’s writing style because for me it seems so unattached, you know, as if the author was observing her characters but not engaging with them, keeping a cool head and not letting them to take over the plot – it simply sometimes lacks in spontaneity and sparkles. I think that the weakest points of this novel are the scenes set in the criminal Court – I’m sorry, but they weren’t believable. Sure, they add another layer to the plot and they keep us in suspense but they simply seemed too unrealistic. Also, I think that such kind of book would profit even more with a different ending – don’t want to tell more as don’t want to spoil the reading for you but in my humble opinion life is not always a bed of roses and I’m not going to write more because if I won’t stop I feel a huge spoiler coming here.

I enjoyed “I Made a Mistake”, though I can’t say that it was Jane Corry’s best one, however, despite all the weaker points, I still think it was an emotionally charged roller – coaster journey full of twists and turns. It’s not only a thriller but it’s also a family drama, telling about the characters’ mistakes and regrets, and it made me feel sad that it’s only women that see their lives through committed mistakes, that it’s only Poppy and Betty that have regrets and want to change something, and not their husbands or the men in their lives. But it’s also about this incredible woman’s strength to forget and forgive, about woman’s solidarity, about being able to sacrifice everything for another woman to protect the family. It’s a read that pulls at the heart – strings, is thought – provoking and poignant. Recommended!

 

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He Started It by Samantha Downing / Blog Tour

He Started It by Samantha Downing

 

Publisher: Penguin 45035333._sy475_

Publishing Date: 30th April 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback (out on 01.10.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.

It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory—a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.

my-review

 

In “He Started It” three estranged Morgan siblings meet again after their grandfather’s death for a road trip in order to become their inheritance. And it’s not A road trip, it’s THE road trip, duplicating the one with their Grandpa when they were children, the one they will probably never forget. There are also some stipulations in the will that they must fulfil, for example that nobody is allowed to end in jail – sounds already promising, no? As all three of them, Beth, Portia and Eddie need the money, and it’s a great amount of money, they of course agree to do it, even though they’re not too excited about it, because they know that everything can happen, they only don’t know how bad it can be… And so they take us on an adventure full of betrayals, secrets, lies and imploding relationships.

This book was filled with characters that were, actually, impossible to like but, as I’ve already learnt, you don’t have to like the characters to enjoy the book – it is more challenging for the reader, I think, to persevere, but this time it fully paid off, as the story was full of twists and turns and it was getting more and more bonkers. I’m not sure if it was believable to me, certainly it was not relatable but maybe this is the strength of this story, so simply make yourself comfortable and go on this roller – coaster journey together with the characters.

I can’t stop thinking that perhaps telling the story, instead of making Beth a narrator, would be a better idea, because we only got her point of view. And she was not the most relatable or the most interesting narrator, let’s be honest. On the other hand, I enjoyed the fact that she was not relatable, her humour and sarcasm, and yes, she admits she’s not perfect, that she’s a cheater – she really kept playing with my mind, and I quickly learnt that I can’t be sure if she’s telling the truth. She was wild, edgy and brutally honest in her opinions. Through her eyes we also learn about her family history and really, the more I read, the more shocked I was. Because the family described in “He Started It” could win a jackpot in the most dysfunctional family of the year contest. Really, guys, the more I read and the more I got to know the whole family, I couldn’t believe how dysfunctional they are and was actually scared to see what more information can wait around the corner. The relationships between the family members, the hate, mistrust and false loyalties… urgh, I tell you, it was not nice, not nice at all.

There were moments that the story dragged on too much, it felt as if the book plodded along, and after many long moments of not many things happening, the author started to throw twist after twist after twist, totally taking me by surprise. But there were also moments that made me roll my eyes. Yes. I know it’s fiction, I know it’s supposed to be a thriller but I still need a certain amount of believability in the book.
And I don’t know, I’m not sure about the end. I’ve finished this book some time ago and still don’t know what to think about it. Isn’t it a bit too… ambiguous?

It was original and refreshing, more bonkers and crazy than a thriller to be honest. However, because of this bonkers and crazy I think it was hard to me to connect with the story. I loved the writing style, it was sharp and fast and filled with sarcastic humour, and the descriptions of the places were brilliant, the author truly brings them all to life. It was full of lies, secrets and twists that kept coming and coming and the characters turn out to be totally different to what we could have thought about them. It’s about siblings rivalry, betrayals, lies and, altogether, dysfunction. It was clever and sharp – observed, oddly addictive and something totally different to what I have expected and I really like the surprise effect it had on me.

 

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We Just Clicked by Anna Bell

We Just Clicked by Anna Bell

 

Publisher: HQ 41gjkvdeiul

Publishing Date: 16th April 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 06.08.2020)

 

Synopsis:

A fabulously funny, feel-good novel that will make you laugh until you cry, for anyone who’s ever presented a perfectly-filtered life online to hide the unglamorous reality.

Izzy Brown has always dreamed of being an Instagram influencer. So when her colleague and fellow Instagrammer Luke suggests they ‘fake date’ to boost their profiles, Izzy says yes – against her better judgement.

Now Izzy’s profile tells the story of a confident, glamorous thirty-something with the perfect boyfriend, and her follower numbers are shooting upwards. So what if Izzy can’t stop bickering with Luke, his habit of checking his quiff in every single mirror is driving her insane, and behind the scenes she’s hiding a secret heartache? Everyone tells a few fibs on social media, right?

But when Izzy runs into Aidan, the mysterious stranger who saved her the day her world fell apart two years ago, major sparks start to fly between them. Izzy’s sure she can have the online success she’s always dreamed of, whilst continuing to fall in love – and heal her heart – in real life. After all, Aidan doesn’t use social media… what could possibly go wrong?

If you loved Sophie Kinsella’s My Not-So Perfect Life, Laura Jane Williams’ Our Stop or Sophie Ranald’s Sorry Not Sorry, you will fall head over heels for this touching and hilarious new novel from Anna Bell, the bestselling author of The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart.

Rating: four-stars

 

Izzy has been dreaming of becoming an Instagram influencer for a long time. She confides in her brother and he encourages her to go for it, to follow her dream. Sadly, it was their last conversation, as Ben then passes away in his sleep from an undiagnosed heart condition. Izzy rushes home, but overwhelmed by grief she panics, and only a random stranger and his kindness bring her safely home on this day.
Fast forward two years and Izzy is still in her boring job, but still trying it with Instagram. The number of her followers is growing, and maybe, just maybe, there can be a proposition that could bring her the dreamed – of status of being an influencer but it’s nothing sure. But then, a chance interaction makes her to team up with a fellow instagrammer and a fake relationship start, giving Izzy and Luke the first taste of Instagram stardom.
And then Izzy meets Aiden again – the kind man who has helped her on the day Ben died – and Izzy starts to feel unsure. Can she have it all? Fame and love? Is it possible to lead two lives: the fake one on social media and a real one?

The story introduces us to a great bunch of characters and some of the most hilarious scenes. Our main character, Izzy, pretends to wear Louboutins and creates outfits of the day but really she runs around in her Converses and brings the clothes back to the shop. She is funny and, actually, honest – however strange it sounds, as she was faking almost everything in her life, but she was honest with herself, I think, she realised that she can’t go on like this for long, and while I may not understand her decisions I still can understand where she was coming from. She has her flaws, she’s not perfect but what I liked is the fact that she realised it and it, in the end, made her feel more realistic and genuine.
Also, as I mostly wanted to shake Izzy and slap Luke, it means that I was invested in the story, so that’s really good. At the beginning the fake relationship was funny and light as it was not hurting other people and I’m not going to go deep into lying, secrets and so on, absolutely not. The behind – the – scenes moments of trying to create the most romantic or interesting background for the perfect photo for their Instagram were hilarious, funny and sometimes even embarrassing. But then, when we started to get to know Aidan, who – let’s be honest – is absolutely perfect without being too meh, I started to feel so bad about Izzy letting Luke go that far. It was crystal clear what’s going to happen, and Izzy knew it to and yet she wasn’t able to stop the charade, digging her own grave actually, and it – the fake relationship and above all Luke – started to drive me insane and desperate.

It took me some time to get into the book and to let the character grow on me, and it’s because a) I’ve read a book with very, very similar plot lately and b) I am probably one of the few people in the world who really, truly don’t get the whole influencer thing. So there, I’ve said this, sue me but well, people, just get up and go to work. And this is why I couldn’t get Izzy as quickly as I’d like, her dreams of becoming Instagram star were simply alien to me. However, the author has hit the spot on the use of social media and maybe we simply need more such books, light – heartedly showing that sometimes we become so wrapped up in our social media bubble that the “likes” start to be our real life, that we forget to look from above our computer screens and realise that another important life moment has just passed without us realising.

The writing style is lovely and easy to follow, full of lightness and humour and some of the scenes were really hilarious. Anna Bell has for sure way with words and she’s a great and funny story – teller.

It is an easy, light – hearted and relaxing read that from the moment the male character enters the scenes, so from the very beginning, screams: you know how I’m going to end and what’s going to happen. Yes, I know the idea of women’s literature, of rom – coms etc and I know the heroine is not going to end with an alien from Mars but with the super sexy and easygoing character that we know she simply has to end with – and it’s OK, no problems here, but I think I’d expected more freshness from Anna Bell, more uniqueness. However, do not get me wrong, pretty please, it was a great and funny story with deeper themes running through it, showing and highlighting the difference between real life and life prepared for the audience, filtered, highlighted, perfect and – let’s be honest – fake. I’ll take my imperfect life any time. The story also touches upon grief and the author has really well captured all the feelings and emotions here, how hard it is and how much it’s connected with bad feelings and guilty conscience. So even though it was not completely my kind of read, I enjoyed it and I’ll recommend it to you anytime you’re looking for a feel – good, uplifting story.

Sing Me a Secret by Julie Houston / Blog Tour

Sing Me a Secret by Julie Houston

 

Publisher: Aria cover184307-medium

Publishing Date: 7th May 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 333

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The four Sutherland sisters have all had very different paths in life, but one secret and a slighty tense production of Jesus Christ Superstar are about to bring them all back together again…

When the news that pop-superstar Lexia Sutherland is returning to Westenbury, not everyone is thrilled by the news – including Lexia. There are too many memories she doesn’t need to face – or need re-surfacing.

Meanwhile, Juno Sutherland just wants a little peace and quiet. As the local village doctor, she’s got her priorities in order; kids, job, husband, tenacious pony, a role in the village musical… So when the sexy new locum turns up – and steals her office – the last thing she needed was to be hit with rising temperatures and an over-active imagination.

Will these sisters be able to uncover the past, deal with the future and put on the performance of a lifetime?

Return to Westenbury this spring and find out.

my-review

 

The four Sutherland sisters, Juno, Ariadne, Pandora and Lexia, live their own lives. They’re together yet they are also estranged – just like it feels in real life, right? Juno is a doctor at the village practice, working part – time but now she finds herself moved to another room as the surgery needs another, full – time doctor, who turns out to be the handsome Aussie Scott Butler. Juno can’t forget that she’s very married, even though her husband is working one year abroad but Scott seems to be everywhere Juno is, not only at the practice but saving her from her own bathroom or appearing at her sister’s party.
What the sisters have in common is they can sing. Really well. So well that Lexia has won a competition once, a competitions that catapulted her to the first places in all music charts but also estranged her from her family. Now she’s about to come back to Westenbury but not without a fight.
Nevertheless, there is going to be a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and all of them will take part in it! But will the sisters be able to forget about the past and move forward? To start again?

The author brilliantly captured the dynamics between the characters and their relationships. I did wish a bit more depth to the characters, to be honest, because, with them being rather a few, they felt not finished and I had a feeling that I don’t now them all as well as I’d like. It took some of them some time to grow on me, to be honest and I think it’s because for a long time I wasn’t sure what and who is important in this story. Nevertheless, the sisters came truly alive in this book, with all their ups and downs, mistakes that they made, troubles and problems but also with their funny moments. They were full of emotions and they shared a strong bond. I liked getting to know them, learning that all of them had their own reasons for feeling unhappy. And, let’s be honest, like in every family, there are always secrets and misunderstandings, and it’s the same with the Sutherlands, all four sisters had something to hide and it was intriguing to be able to unravel all those secrets. The dynamics between them seemed real and genuine, sometimes too far – fetched and overdone but still they felt vaguely familiar.

It is a second book in a series and at the beginning I was a bit worried that perhaps I should have read the first book before I start this one, but it turned out that no, no worries, you can read it as a stand – alone.

As much as this was a lovely book, I think it could be a bit shorter, because let’s be honest, at 40% I still wasn’t sure what it’s about and on whom it’s actually focusing. I was thinking it is a story about Juno but there was also so much about other characters, and Lexia’s subplot could fill a book by itself. There were many, many descriptions, and as much as I appreciated their beauty and vividness, I wanted to beg the book, just come to the point, pretty please. Before the characters came to a conclusion, it took them three of four pages of inner monologue, and I am more of an action reader – just keep the plot going!

Altogether, “Sing Me a Secret” was a story full of secrets and real relationships, written in a descriptive and evocative way, filled with humour and also touching upon heavier issues. It was about overcoming the past, about unconditional sisterly love that is able to survive even the most darkest moments. It covered so many topics, starting with family relationships and dramas, infidelity, blackmail, a bit of romance and we can’t forget, a musical production, this all set among community where everyone knows everyone else’s business, but not in a negative way. Light and with feel – good factor, a great read for a sunny afternoon.

 

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