The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright by Beth Miller

The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright by Beth Miller

 

Publisher: Bookouture 48589660._sy475_

Publishing Date: 9th January 2020

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

Number of pages: 327

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

You’ve met Mrs Bright. She’s that nice woman who lives three doors down and always smiles at you in the mornings. She’s planning her thirtieth wedding anniversary with her husband. She wants to travel, read endless books and take beautiful pictures. She’s been waiting for this forever.

For the past twenty-nine years, Kay Bright’s days have had a familiar rhythm: she works in her husband’s stationery shop, cooks for her family, tries to remember to practice yoga, and every other month she writes to her best friend, Ursula, and Ursula replies. Kay could set her calendar by their letters: her heart lifts when the blue airmail envelope, addressed in Ursula’s slanting handwriting, falls gently onto the mat.

Ursula is the only one who knows Kay’s deepest secret, something that happened decades ago that could tear Kay’s life apart today. Ursula has always been the person Kay relies on. Knowing she will hear from Ursula is like being sure the sun will rise tomorrow.

And now Ursula has stopped writing. Three missing letters doesn’t sound like a lot, but Kay gets out her shoebox of notes from her best friend, in case there’s something she overlooked. Ursula seems fine, but the further back she goes, the more Kay begins to question every choice she has made in her life. Which might be why, at ten o’clock one morning, Kay walks out of her yellow front door with a just a rucksack, leaving her wedding ring on the table…

An emotional and heart-warming novel for anyone who knows it’s never too late to look for happiness. Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, A Man Called Ove and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will fall in love with this feel-good and moving story that shows you that the best friendships truly last forever.

Rating: four-stars

 

Kay Bright has been married for 29 years. She’s in her early 50s, has two children and is working together with her husband in their family business.
Kay Bright is unhappy.
When her best friend Ursula (called Bear – no idea why, to be honest) moved to Australia 30 years ago, they both promised to write to each other, at least once a month. And they kept their word. However, now, Kay hasn’t heard from Bear for three months in a row and she’s getting worried. She doesn’t want to call – they said that they’re going to use a telephone only when it’s a matter of life and death, so she decides to head to Australia. Which means that she’s going to leave her stagnant life, together with husband, behind. She can’t put into words reasons for her need to leave, but she knows that she can’t live like this any longer, and so she decides to be egoistic this once, and goes. Will she find happiness? Will she find out what’s happening with Ursula? Will her closest ones accept her decisions?

Even though the story is told through mostly Kay and Stella’s points of view, we get to know the other characters as well and we get to see all the different reactions to Kay’s decision to leave her husband of almost thirty years. I liked Kay – she has eventually found the courage to be herself, to start doing things she has always wanted to do but never had a chance to do. Those both subplots, even though revolving around two different women, were actually about the same thing – finding happiness, trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives – and telling them in this way added a lot of depth, I think, the different perspectives of two different generations were absorbing and interesting. However, Stella’s story, or rather her character’s arc, was not my favourite one, not sure why. I know, she was a young person, discovering herself, and there were truly great moments in her subplot, but she as a person, as a character, was simply not clicking with me. Maybe I felt like this towards Stella because, well, she was an adult, right, yet she behaved around her mother like a little girl, not accepting that Kay is allowed to make up her own decisions, even if they seem to be egoistic. Kay has sacrificed everything for her family, and it’s not a wonder that eventually she wanted something back – she wanted her happiness and the feeling of independence back. And Stella didn’t want to give it to her mother, making her feel guilty. And I didn’t like it. Though, of course, her narration has added a breath of fresh air, another perspective to Kay’s story.
There is also, of course, the worry and mystery around Bear, though I relatively quickly guessed what it is, and to be absolutely honest I was not so found of Bear, I didn’t feel I know her well enough to root for her, and while I felt sorry for her it didn’t make a huge impact on me.

In the end, everything was perfectly wrapped up, maybe a bit too tidy? Also, the emotions and feelings, while present on almost every single page and handled with care, were not as deeply captured as I’d like them, they were a bit too two – dimensional. And there were a few moments that felt too forced, not so smooth compared to the rest of the story, or simply things that I could really live without them being put in this book.

This book is really well written, can I say that it’s, I don’t know, so easily readable? It’s chatty, and the pace is just right, flowing well and making it a quick read. The writing style is so vivid, bringing the characters to life, but also the different settings simply came alive through the author’s words.

But altogether, I haven’t expected “The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright” to be so captivating and moving. I really liked the way it was written, interlacing two perspectives, two points of view, giving us a wider view at the same situations and events. It was filled with dry and clever humour and spot – on observations. It dealt with many more topics, going deeper than I expected, which was a rather nice surprise, as it was well worked and coherent. It was a lovely, heart – warming tale about friendship, families, starting anew, second chances, showing us it’s never too late to be brave. Recommended!

The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper / Blog Tour

The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper

 

Publisher: Headline 45166792

Publishing Date: 9th January 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 448

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of The Songs of Us. Fans of Jojo Moyes and Lucy Dillon will love The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper.

Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin.
Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes.
If found, please return to Sophie Williams.

Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey.
Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight.

When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be.
But fate has other ideas.

Now they have lost each other and can’t see a way back.
But they’ve already changed each other’s lives in more ways
than they could have predicted…

Rating:  five-stars

but-i-needmy-girls

 

“The First Time I Saw You” introduces us to Sophie, at the first sight a career – driven young woman who knows what she wants. And to Samuel, an Irish living in America, working in IT. They both meet when Sophie is on business in Washington, in the middle of a thunderstorm, and they’re completely smitten with each other. They spent a wonderful week together and then the things get complicated.
Even though there is this wonderful sparkle between them, even though they can’t live without each other, they can’t be together. Or can they? Finding each other again is not easy…

I loved Emma Cooper’s debut novel but guys! I might have loved “The First Time I Saw You” even more! It is always with trepidation that I start reading the authors’ second book after their debut was so great, fearing that the new book won’t live up to my expectations, but it’s not the case with this novel. It blew my socks off, it left me in pieces and it left me feeling that there is always hope. So oh my word, please send help, because how to write a review that will do this book justice? Mission impossible, I’d say. Because this book was beautiful. It was everything. It has broken my heart, to mend it again, to break it again. It made me laugh out so loud and it made me sob – literally.

I can’t even start to explain how fantastic the characters were. I immediately fell in love with all of them, with Sophie and Samuel at the beginning and then with the rest, steadily being introduced to us.
Sophie was not, as we can think at the first sight, the raw and sharp businesswoman – she hides much, much more inside her, and the more I got to know her and her background, the more I found myself pinning for her. I don’t think that she has changed throughout the story – she was like this all the time, she only tried to hide this vulnerable side of herself from the world, she tried to forget about it herself, but the more life has been challenging her and her decisions, the more softer she looked for us. The events that have shaped her and made her close inside herself were truly riveting and heart – breaking.
Samuel was one and only, and his story was both tragic and uplifting but who stole the story completely were his parents, the fabulous Mrs and Mr McLaughlin – please let’s give them a standing ovation! Samuel’s father, with his kind heart and understanding and the best sense of humour in the world is every girl’s dream father – in – law, some of the things he said made me really cry with laughter, and some of the things he said and done made me simply cry, bringing lump to my throat. Actually, his whole family was the perfect, chaotic and absolutely accepting family you could wish for. It was moving to see how they tried to support Samuel, to encourage him to get on with life.
And please don’t forget Michael! Michael, that Samuel grows to rely on most of all. How can a thing make you smile so much, even in such dramatic circumstances!

The author has such a way with words! She writes about love at first sight and lost love but she also doesn’t forget to put all kinds of relationships into the heart of her story. We have a romantic affair, but we also have sibling love, parental love, friendship, relationships that are complicated but at the end of the day they are everything, they’re important and life is easier with people looking after each other.

Emma Cooper’s writing style is absolutely perfect. Yes, the book started in a rather slow way, and in the first few chapters the same events were repeated from the characters’ point of view, and I thought, oh – oh, what now? But then… But then it was like an avalanche, starting with a small snowball and gaining speed. I started to feel so invested in the story that I didn’t want to put it down for a single second. It had a huge impact on me, I lived and breathed together with the characters.

Emma has perfectly balanced the poignant, incredibly sad and heart – wrenching moments with laugh – out – loud, extremely funny moments, so really, don’t be surprised when you find yourself laughing through tears. Yes, altogether the story is actually not funny, it is full of misunderstanding, lost chances and opportunities, near – misses that I couldn’t believe seeing, thinking, oh no, how close have they been! It is deep, moving and complex, a real emotional rollercoaster but filled with a great and fantastic dose of – especially Irish – humour.

The magic of the writing is that the author took me on every trial together with the characters. I lived through them and I felt every single feeling – their disappointments, hope, setbacks and steps forwards. I was willing them and feeling for them, I care for them as if they were real people, and believe me, it doesn’t happen often, it’s a rare gift to be able to write the characters in such a way, to make them so alive.

It was a beautiful, heartfelt and emotional story, superbly written, vividly describing emotions and feelings in a way that I didn’t know you could describe. The characters were more than brilliantly developed and their stories were complex, multi – layered and coherent, not too sugary but also not too wishy – washy. It was a moving and inspiring tale, touching upon lost love, missed opportunities, relationships, friendships and unappreciated power of family, with sensitivity and lightness. It is full of kindness and the feeling that even when you think there is no hope, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel, you only have to believe it. 10 out of 5 stars and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

 

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The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen by Juliet Ashton / Blog Tour

The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen by Juliet Ashton

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 48997438._sy475_

Publishing Date: 26th December 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 480

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

This is a novel about community, love, laughter and healing. Think Cold Feet meets David Nicholls, with a dash of the joy of Jill Mansell added for good measure.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but Cherry Blossom Mews is a miraculous place. It’s somewhere that finds you, rather than the other way around.

Sadie McQueen has leased a double fronted space in this small cul de sac in a culturally diverse corner of central London. The cobbles muffle the noise of double-deckers roaring past the arched gates. Turn right and you are in a futuristic maze of corporate glass monoliths. Turn left and you see a wide street with many different houses. Towering above the mews are the degenerating tower blocks of an infamous estate. The old folks home and the nearby school are both in need of TLC; the private members’ club that set up shop in a listed Georgian building has been discreetly refurbished at huge expense.

Into this confusion comes Sadie. She fell in love with the street the moment she first twisted her ankle on its cobbles. Her double-fronted unit is now a spa. She has sunk all her money into the lease and refurbishment. She’s sunk all her hope into the carefully designed treatment rooms, the calm white reception space, the bijou flat carved out of the floor above.

Sadie has a mission to connect. To heal herself from tragedy. Sadie has wrapped the mews around her like a warm blanket, after unimaginable loss and unimaginable guilt. Her hard-won peace is threatened, not only by the prospect of the mews going under but by a man aptly named Hero who wakes up her comatose heart.
Sadie has a lot to give, and a lot to learn, not least that some ghosts aren’t ghosts at all.

Rating:  five-stars

but-i-needmy-girls

 

Sadie McQueen lives on Cherry Blossom Mews, in a community that – you quickly start to learn – is made up of people that are in troubles, have problems, tragic pasts, feel no hope, and even if they don’t realise this, the landlord of the mews has realised it and amassed all those lost souls together. The residents meet regularly at their association meetings where they are supposed to have an “agenda” but the meetings always end with gossip and exchanging news. They support each other incredibly, even if they do this without knowing this.
The little community means everything to Sadie. It is a place where she can heal her heart and start her life again after a tragic event in the past. She sets up Sakura, a spa, where she employs the incredibly honest and mouthy Fi and, even if she isn’t sure if it’s a good move, Cher, a sister to the local mafia – twins. And then U – Turn, a therapy centre for addicted moves to the mews, even with some opposition from the neighbours, and there is Hero, and Sadie has a chance to move with him, to come out of her shell, maybe even find love, but can she forgive herself for what has happened in the past?

It is really, really hard to write review for this book, I actually put it off for the last moment, a day or two before my stop on the blog tour, and the reason for this is very obvious – this book is so wonderful, this book is everything, this book is a gem of a read – what more can I say? I loved it from the beginning to the end, lived and breathed with the characters and yes, it left me in pieces but also feeling so positive.

Juliet Ashton can for sure write her characters, giving them incredibly huge personalities. The banter and interactions between them feel so real, raw and genuine. There is a whole eclectic bunch of them, all so different and with different personalities but all with strong, distinctive voices and you can’t help but immediately fell in love with all of them. Amber and her Yummy Mummy Cafe and Party Emporium, serving all things vegan and showing her perfect live on Instagram. Bob and Mrs. Bob with their cafe, Mary with the dogs, slowly learning about her family betrayal and regaining hope, running officially MOBuk charity shop and, unofficially, another charity that you’re going to learn about when you read the book, Hero with his broken marriage and privileged background, Cher and her notorious criminal twins, Michael with Qwerty bookshop, Fi, feisty, quirky and strong on the outside but so vulnerable inside. And there are some other characters, that I won’t mention but that are so important and significant to the plot – all of them were endearing, all of them broken, all of them needing each other and , deliberately or not, healing each other through their acceptance, friendship and compassion.
And Sadie, who is at the heart of this book, so brave and strong. The more I read, the more I loved this woman, my heart went to her. There were things in the past she’d rather forget, and honestly, if I were Sadie, I’m not sure I’d have enough strength and determination to get back up and try again. She, on the other hand, lost herself to find herself afresh, went where nobody knew her to build a new life for herself. I wished all the best for her, and seeing her coming across every new obstacle that life has been throwing her way, I wanted to give her a standing ovation. Learning about the horrors of her past and her losses helped to understand her wanting to be anonymous, not being able to open to new love, her terrible guilt but also it made me wish desperately that she’s going to find the highly deserved peace.

Each chapter starts with the invitation to the weekly Cherry Blossom Mews Residents Association meeting, and the more you read, the more you start to appreciate them, as they brilliantly capture the nature of the hosts. The meetings themselves are incredibly entertaining, fabulous parts of the book, where more gossip was shared than actual work done but there was so much heart in those meetings! And they actually tell the real stories of the characters, sharing their illnesses, betrayal, deaths, addictions and hopes, while dealt with empathy and understanding from the other residents, showing that also a community of generally strangers can be closer to you than your family. But of course, there are also things happening between the meetings, things that will make you smile, laugh, cry and start to believe that there is hope.

The book is full of poignant moments that are brilliantly written with humour added to them. It’s not too saccharine, not all sugar, and there isn’t always a happy end, and the balance between sad and funny, happy and heartbreak is absolutely perfectly measured. Sure, there were things that were too coincidental, and some that didn’t ring so true to me – though I don’t want to tell you what exactly it was, as I’m immediately going to spoil one of the biggest turns in the story – but really, everything happens for a reason, right, and it did work in this story perfectly well, as the plot was solid, thoughtful, well concocted and believable, even with the little hiccups.

“The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen” was a heart – breaking and heart – mending beautiful story about small community, about friendship, hope, love, loss and grief, filled with secrets, lies and misunderstandings, about finding support and friendship that is stronger than any other bonds. The author, as usual, touches upon many serious issues, she writes about alcoholism, abuse, addictions, social media but she writes with tons of understanding, without judging, giving us a wider spectrum. It’s a gorgeously written book and the characters were full of life, feelings and sentiments, being able to speak about emotions in a way I wasn’t even sure is possible. It shows life how it is, raw and brutal, full of surprises and twists that don’t always lead to happy ends. The book, the characters are going to stay with me for a long time, I will be recommending this book left and right – it’s a MUST read that deserves to be shouted about from the rooftops.

 

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The Choice by Claire Wade / Blog Tour

The Choice by Claire Wade

 

Publisher: Orion 41121395._sy475_

Publishing Date: 26th December 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

‘Eat the best, leave the rest! Remember Mother knows best.’

Olivia Pritchard lives in constant fear since Mother Mason came into power. Everything from healthy eating to exercise is controlled by the government, all in the name of health and happiness. Olivia hates being dictated to, but to protect her family she must follow the rules or face a stay in the Shame Box – a perspex box, placed in a public place for everyone to judge.

After Olivia witnesses an innocent woman being violently arrested, she is no longer able to ignore the injustice. The underground rebellion ‘Cut The Apron Strings’ is gaining momentum and for the first time in years Olivia has a choice: keep her head down or join the fray…

Rating: four-stars

 

“The Choice” introduces us to near – future England, led by Mother Mason elected as Prime Minister. Mother Mason, a woman obsessed by healthy living, determined to create a healthy and fit population, has banned all the non – healthy food. You won’t find sugar, chocolate, fat milk, cream, cakes or other fatty products, and baking is now perceived as crime. To make sure everybody obeys the new regulations, everything, the whole nation, are being constantly watched and monitored, and moreover, because of fear everybody is also watching and monitoring – the others. Food is being rationed, fitness club membership is an obligation and weight is recorded on every single occasion.
Olivia Pritchard is struggling with this new reality. She used to be a baker, baked wonderful cakes, so her career no longer exists and her own parents abnegated any knowledge of her and her family. She lives in fear of doing something wrong, something that would hazard her family as Mother Mason seems to know everything. But what choice do you have but to comply? Or maybe there is still a chance to get the old lives back?

“The Choice” is not my usual read but every now and again I more than gladly reach for something that is more out of my comfort zones, and when this book was pitched to me I immediately felt that I want to read it. It turned out to be a dystopian piece of a great work, a story that you immediately feel is going to blow you away, and it certainly did it to me. I found myself almost immediately invested in the characters’ lives, I lived and breathed with them, more than once I found myself wanting to bring Mother Mason down by myself – and it is always a sign of a great read.

I don’t think that the future described in the book is our future, however it nevertheless hits close to home, as the present governments try hard to control us in every possible ways. They’re maybe not as tyrannical and big – brotherly as the one described in the book (yet!) but I think that we slowly start to feel as if we’re monitored much too much. In “The Choice”, Mother Mason has been voted to run the government and she takes this to another level – the health – obsessed woman decides about everything by herself and UK turns to sugar – free, fat – free, diseases – free but also luck – and happiness free country. Everything is rationed, you can’t go shopping without being weighted and measured and without your ID card that stores every single info about you.
Olivia, as a main character, is very well crafted. She’ realistic in all the things she does and says, and she’s not only likeable but also more than often annoying. She used to be creative and loved her life previously, enjoyed her career as a baker, and now she simply can’t come to terms with the new regime, retreating into herself, becoming almost depressed, which is absolutely not a wonder! She’s flawed but also strong and determined, even though this determination of hers made me want to shake her once or twice and tell her to step back, please, as she was making to many silly mistakes.
The other characters are well written as well. There is a relatively huge group of them but you quickly know who is who and to whom they belong. They have their own personalities, more or less well developed, are strong individuals with their own opinions and distinctive voices and are full of secrets. The feeling of tension and of not being able to trust each other was there on the pages, visible and palpable, as neighbours and friends were becoming a threat, and it was brilliantly captured by the author.
I would love a little bit more background on Mother Mason. What has driven her? What has motivated her? Sure, she appears vindictive and I absolutely wanted her down – actually, I was as scared as the characters themselves, really. She was not there but she was also there, an invisible – but also visible – threat. It was a brilliant idea and great use of a character but I’d really love to know what has made her tick this way.

The writing style is addictive, chatty and it quickly draws you in, and the book is written in such a way that after putting it down you really need to look around and check if your chocolate is where it should be. The language used is direct and even though it is vivid and reach, it doesn’t use descriptions as a tool to fill the pages, which was great, as it only added even more sense of fear and distrust. The narration is very descriptive, vividly describing the fictional world that is truly brilliantly created – everything is considered and airtight, starting with the small town of Bunham, its residents, through the markets, Shame – Boxes, the re – education centres and prisons. Yes, there were moments that simply seemed too unrealistic, even for a dystopian novel, things that happened too casually and conveniently that bothered me a bit, but altogether I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would devour it in one sitting if it wasn’t for life getting in the way.

Altogether, “The Choice” was an excellent debut novel, not too overdone, ambitious and unique, much better than some of the debut novels in the same genre so highly advertised last year – well, I personally think this book doesn’t need to be pushy advertised because it’s great and it will simply fly from the shelves.
It was a compulsive, addictive and disturbing read, thought – provoking and realistic, exploring morality, freedom of choice, showing that we always have the Choice, no matter what – we only need to find the courage. It is insightful and controversial and the author explores so many possible scenarios, giving us a great view of “what if”. It shows the strength and importance of family and friends and asks how much the society is able to withstand and where are the limits of oppression, how far is too far. And it is probably more realistic than we may initially think! Hugely recommended!

 

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Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton / Blog Tour

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

 

Publisher: Viking 43812076

Publishing Date: 9th January 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Suspense

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The extraordinary new novel everyone is talking about from the Sunday Times best-selling author of Sister

Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.

It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.

It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.

It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.

Rating:  four-stars

 

Somerset in November. It’s snowing. A rural school – a school that prides itself on being tolerant and accepting, and really being like this – surrounded by woods, and cliffs on the other side, school with theatre and pottery building, with happy children and great teachers, is under siege. There is a masked gunman on the premise who has shoot the Headmaster Matthew Marr. Some of the students dragged him into the library where they’ve barricaded themselves. Others are in their classrooms. Others in the theatre. Others in the pottery room. Police and emergency services are struggling in the snowstorm. Panicked parents arrive as the school finds itself in the lockdown. Who is responsible for the shooting? Who keeps the terrified children and staff hostages?

We are immediately dropped in the middle of action and filled with terror at the events developing in front of our eyes, and the book continues like that. There are very few flat moments, and the pace is quick and full of tension. The author for sure is not shy of raising issues that we should be aware of, that are happening for real, tackling them with gentleness and fairness.

The characters in this book were incredible, so different to what I usually read. There were many of them, so it was impossible to give the background of all of them but I still had a feeling I know them completely, the author has given us enough info, and I loved how courageous they were, both the teachers and the students. Rafi, the refugee from Aleppo, is the one who has recognised an explosion in the woods and informed the Head, ready to sacrifice everything to save his little brother Basi and his girlfriend Hannah. While Hannah is in the library, doing her best to care for the Headmaster, Basi is gone – he’s not with the younger children being evacuated from the beach. The teachers – Jacintha, who’s reading poetry with her class, Daphne – dress – rehearsing “Mackbeth”, and the one looking after the youngest children in the pottery class that is, in fact, the most vulnerable place to be right now, with a gunman pointing his gun at the children, try to preserve a degree of normalcy and my heart went to them on every single occasion, totally in awe of their bravery and them being so selfless.
It’s my first book by Rosamund Lupton and I am absolutely thrilled how well she has portrayed the characters, giving them personalities, making them human, filling them with real and genuine feelings and emotions in times that are so testing for everybody. The stories of the main characters are complex and told with fascination.

So, and now I’m not so sure if it’s really good, or maybe not, but often, quite often, I wanted to skip some of the passages simply to see what’s going to happen next. I have to admit, I skim – read the parts describing the experiences of Rafi and Basi – I know they were there to add more dramatic tension, to give the story depth, but I personally could easily live without those parts.

“Three Hours” is an addictive book, heard to put down, with a tension growing and the overwhelming feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen. The fact that the timeline for this story is so short makes it even more chilling, you can’t help but count the minutes for yourself, hoping that the police knows what to do. Because of this fact, it was really fast paced and really, guys, I hold my breath more than once and sometimes I was afraid to turn the page – you won’t be able not to feel involved in everything that’s happening. It explores all the possible feelings and emotions, is full of claustrophobic feeling, is raw and genuine and powerfully described – a tale of courage, showing how selfless and brave people can be in moments of fear and angst. Highly recommended!

 

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No, We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald

No, We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald

 

Publisher: Bookouture 48525288._sy475_

Publishing Date: 10th January 2020

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

Number of pages: 295

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Everyone knows a girl like Sloane. She was always The Single One. She never brought a plus-one to weddings. She was the woman you’d set up with your single cousin. She joined ballroom dancing classes to meet men and was the queen of online dating.

But then she met Myles. Perfect Myles, with denim-blue eyes and a dazzling smile that melted her insides. She’d finally found The One.

Except she didn’t imagine that Myles’s idea of Happy Ever After would include Sloane battling an overflowing laundry basket, buying birthday cards for his family, and ironing his Calvin Klein underpants.

Then Sloane finds out that Myles has a secret.

The fairy tale is well and truly over. Her heart is blown to smithereens. Eating her weight in Ben & Jerry’s and large Meat Feast pizzas can only get Sloane so far before she has to make a decision… Can she learn to love herself more than she loved the love of her life?

No, We Can’t Be Friends is a brilliantly relatable, hilarious and feel-good novel that every woman with a waste-of-space ex HAS to read! If you’re a fan of romantic comedies by Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk, and TV shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin, pick up this laugh-out-loud book – you won’t regret it.

Rating: three-stars

 

Sloane and Myles are married, both happy in their jobs and with their lives. They’re currently renovating a house and trying for a baby. But then something happens, something that makes Sloane wonder if her husband is cheating on her and when it’s confirmed her whole world flips upside down – she didn’t sign for this. She still loves him, and hopes for the best but can she really trust him? Was the whole relationship based on lies? Did Myles love her at all? And what is now with her wish of becoming a mother?

Guys, help me here, pretty please. Is it just me or did I read a different book to everyone else? I feel cheated, to be honest, especially because of the huge promise on the cover that the book is “a totally laugh – out – loud romantic comedy” – erm, what? It is probably everything BUT a totally laugh – out – loud romantic comedy, I haven’t laughed once to be honest. It turned out to be sad, pretty depressing and tedious and I was like, where is the humour? Where is the romance? Hello?????

I didn’t warm to the characters. I hated Sloane and Myles’s toxic relationship, and I absolutely, totally disliked Myles, which is obvious, I think. I couldn’t believe my eyes how he reacted to Sloane’s confronting him, and I couldn’t believe that Sloane was still willing to be with him after everything he said and done. Yes, she wanted to be a mother desperately, and I could understand this, but not at any cost, not with such a character. I felt desperate and frustrated with Sloane at how long it took her to finally open her eyes.
I didn’t feel invested in the characters’ lives, to be honest. There was something in them that made me not care about them. Yes, I sympathized with Sloane but on the other hand I simply wanted to shake her and tell her to see things how they really are. I think I can say she really annoyed me half of the time. I couldn’t get her completely, she was whiny and needy and on the next page she was able to get her act together, just like that. Also, because of the fact that the relationship with Myles wasn’t described to us, I really didn’t know where she was coming from and why she’s having such a hard time to simply show him the door. To be honest I couldn’t understand what Sloane has seen in him, this arrogant and egoistic piece of work. There was given really little info on their past and the relationship lacked in depth.
Fortunately, after she opened her eyes, she was determined to re – build her life, even though it took her a lot of time, but it made me glad.

I can imagine that for some it can be a realistic, relatable story, as it thoroughly describes all the ups and downs (are there ups at all?) of relationship falling apart, of divorce and how hard it can be. But it also may be uplifting and full of hope, showing that in the end there is always a way out, there are people that matter.

The pace was on the slow side, and nothing significant really happened. There was a tiny bit of romance towards the end but it felt too rushed and forced.

If the book was differently advertised I’d probably enjoy it more, knowing what I’m getting into. But I can’t blame my feelings on the synopsis only, it simply didn’t work for me, we didn’t click with the story and the characters. It’s a story of a relationship breaking apart and all the feelings and emotions that are connected to this fact, showing how hard it is to deal with them, when the world around you breaks in thousands little pieces, especially when you were not expecting it. It was telling us a realistic version of love and relationship, and it’s not a bad book, it’s well written, the writing style is chatty and sassy but it just didn’t live up to my expectations. The story strongly focuses on the bad things in life, to be honest. It deals with miscarriages, betrayal, death, loss, grief and disappointment. Not this what I was expecting and not a book that’s going to stay with me for a long time. Sadly.

Make Do and Mend a Broken Heart by Katey Lovell

Make do and Mend a Broken Heart by Katey Lovell

 

Publisher: Quercus 48360470

Publishing Date: 9th January 2020

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

Number of pages: 260

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

When you know how, you can make anything from scratch, including a new life after love…
When Leanne and Richard bought a dilapidated old seaside cottage to renovate together as their forever home, their future was full of hope and promise.

But heartbreak was just around the corner: fast forward a few months and Richard is gone. With his death, Leanne finds herself stony broke, faced with an uninhabitable home and lacking even the basic skills to do it up herself.

With the help of the friendly woman who runs the library and the reluctant assistance of the man who works in the local hardware shop, the cottage is lovingly restored. But broken hearts aren’t so easy to fix… are they?

Rating: three-stars

 

Leanne and her husband are about to move in their dream house – but then something really horrible happens and Leanne is suddenly on her own, facing challenges she has no idea she’s strong enough to tackle by herself. The house needs a lot of tender loving care, not to mention tons of work and repairs, and the money is short – what is she supposed to do now? Abandon her dream of her having a house? Give up?

It was really a story about renovations and how they work, so if you’re planning a house move or renovation, you can easily be inspired by some of the ideas in this book.

The beginning took me totally by surprise, this what has happened and resulted in Leanne moving to her dream house alone was so shocking and sad, and I fell for her immediately. She took a lot of time to find herself afresh, and there were many moments that she felt so insecure but it was understandable, and usually such heroine would annoy me but Leanne was written with so much heart and feeling and it was impossible not to feel sympathy for her. I really enjoyed going on this journey with her, seeing her coming out of her comfort zones, and I truly wanted to give her a standing ovation for daring to do things that I – probably – wouldn’t dare by myself. So it turned out that she was brave and strong, even though she had so many weaker moments she didn’t wallow in self – pity, oh no, she still, after having a cry or two, rolled up her sleeves, recovered and continued – to live, hope and … yes, renovate!

I always love a story with a great community in it, and it was like this in the book, however it has also taken the community feeling to another level, a little too overdone. Except for one woman, who in the end of course improved herself, everybody loved each other and supported each other at every turn. I mean, nice, of course, but sometimes less is more? It doesn’t mean, of course, that I didn’t enjoy getting to know the characters, along with Leanne.

Sometimes the narration and the banter felt too woody, too forced, especially some of the dialogues, and there were really tons of descriptions of renovations, tools, sanding, painting and whatever you have to do to make your place beautiful. Some of the things happened very conveniently and altogether, things run very smoothly and are solved quickly and without any really big and life changing twists, and I’d love to see this plot a bit more ambitious.

As much as it is an entertaining story, there is this feeling of sadness and nostalgia to “Make Do and Mend a Broken Heart”, but they’re lovely and lovingly combined with hope and joy. It was a cosy, warm story, perfect for a winter evening in front of the fireplace that make you feel comfortable. It was an easy read, with straight – forward plot, so it’s not going to stay with me for long, nevertheless it was heart-warming and engaging book about community coming together, about friendships, trust and finding yourself.