Amber Green Takes Manhattan by Rosie Nixon

Amber Green Takes Manhattan by Rosie Nixon



35235874Publisher: HQ

Publishing Date: 29th June 2017

Series: Amber Green #2

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 427

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Novice stylist Amber Green is taking on the glittering celebrity world of Manhattan one fashion disaster and wardrobe malfunction at a time!

When her TV producer boyfriend Rob announces that he’s been offered a job in New York, filming with the infamous Angel Wear lingerie models, Amber knows its her perfect chance to take the New York fashion world by storm.

But Amber wasn’t counting on unruly toddler photo shoots, clandestine designer handbag scams and a Hollywood star who is determined to wear as little as possible on the red carpet. Until she meets a disgraced former designer who could turn her career around…or leave it all in tatters.

Fun, adventure, glamour and high-fashion make this is the perfect feel good women’s fiction read.

Rating: five-stars



Ah, guys, “Amber Green Takes Manhattan” was probably one of my most anticipated books this summer. I’ve read and adored “The Stylist” last year and really, I couldn’t be more excited for the sequel. After my review copy arrived I’ve immediately fell in love with the cover – it’s fabulous, with those lovely embossed letters and gorgeous colours (personally I think it is much, much nicer that the cover of the first book, but it’s just me, you know I am a sucker for such fairy – tale covers). But it was not only the cover that made me love this book so much – it was simply the brilliant story of Amber Green literally taking Manhattan! This book has it all, there was a lot of laugh, embarrassing moments, jumping to conclusions, some little drama and a happy end – just what the doctor ordered!

In this second part of Amber Green’s adventures in the big world, Amber and her boyfriend Rob travel to New York, where Rob’s new job is working on a documentary for a world – famous lingerie brand – think something like Victoria’s Secret here – and Amber… well, Amber is tagging along, she doesn’t want to let Rob travel alone as they’re together only for a short while, but she also has great dreams and hopes to make her name in the styling world. And knowing Amber, you can be sure she’s going to go high, with her ability to befriend the right people and to find herself in the most hilarious, unbelievable situations ever and yes, she soon manages to get her first job with a has been/to be child star. But taking Manhattan also means social media, and Amber’s start to take over her life – is the fresh relationship with Rob going to survive? How much damage is Amber going to produce with accidentally snapped photos? And finally, is Amber REALLY able to conquest New York?

Amber reminded me so much of the one and only Becky from the Shopaholic series – she’s exactly as absent – minded and she has the ability to find herself in embarrassing situations that more than often she herself creates, mostly unintentionally. She’s very accident – prone but also she has a heart in the right place and I think it is impossible not to like Amber. OK, yes, she annoyed me, as well as Rob, with her obsession with her Instagram account and collecting followers, but well, Rob also sometimes annoyed me, taking out his frustration on the poor Amber. Sometimes is bothered me that Amber was forgetting about the whole world and focused on her career only but on the other hand I could understand her, she was in a new place and she wanted to prove herself she can do it.

The story abounds in some hilarious situations and even though there were moments they felt a little too far – fetched I still bought them, just as they were described, and they made me smile or cringe in disbelief. If the fashion world really looks like Rosie Nixon describes it then it’s better that I am an absolute outsider to it, guys – and Ms Nixon brilliantly and spot – on captured the world of the models, designers and red carpets, with all the dramas, “bags dropping”, jealousy and night life. Even though it is not so much my kind of world I totally adored to read about it.

Truly, guys, I knew after reading “The Stylist” that the second book is also going to be pretty damn good, and it was! Let me tell you, it was this little bit better than the previous one – the writing style was so much more distinctive and bolder, the characters were strong, with their own personalities and voices, and the intrigue was not only clever but it also had a brilliant ending! There came a moment that I had my own “eureka” moment and I tied the facts and guessed who and why but it didn’t spoil the read for me, not at all. I liked that the author has made Amber life not so easy, and that she had to solve some problems, both in her private and professional life. I also liked that every situation was well – rounded with the gorgeous and sharp Rosie Nixon’s humour – it made the book’s reception lighter. She also hasn’t forgotten the star of the previous book – the mini pig Pinky, and guys, Amber’s tactic of looking for a babysitter for him while she and Rob were in New York was hilarious – especially the outcome, no, Nora? Really, there were so many situations that made me laugh out loud that it’s impossible to tell you about all of them but believe me, you’re going to smile, to laugh, to cringe with embarrassment when reading this story – and I like it so much when a novel invokes so many emotions in me, because it means that it’s brilliantly written.

This book is so fast – paced and there is all the time something happening, but you don’t have the feeling that it’s too pace-y, that it’s too forced or overwhelming. There are enough twists and turns and damp down emergencies involving dressing a celebrity for Coachella (or rather, un – dressing!) and A – listers or other babies, and I truly raced through this story wanting more, and more, and more. All the characters were so great and so easily brought to life by the author. You know, I am really impressed with the way Rosie Nixon has with words, it all flows so effortlessly and seamlessly and it’s just a great joy to read. The characters are not flawless, they make mistake but they pay for them and get a chance to rehabilitate themselves, which is great.

“Amber Green Takes Manhattan” was a hilarious, fast – paced rollercoaster ride in Manhattan, full of laugh, small dramas and celebrities. It was relaxing, it was funny, but what’s more important, it was not only about glitz and glamour. It was again about following your dream, about not feeling dispirited, about believing in yourself and your talents. Highly recommended for a holiday or for a lovely summer evening in the garden – I personally loved it!

19430095_10207168525211634_4268212315197150170_n

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Sunday! I am so, so thrilled and excited today to be a part of Kat French’s blog tour for her newest release “The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach”. I loved this book SO much and I really couldn’t wait to share my review of this sunny, summery story with you. The novel is already put as an ebook and out on 13th July in paperback, and I can guarantee that you are going to LOVE it! AND – I have an extract for you as well!

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French



34016826Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 13th July 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 336

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 13.07.2017)

 

Synopsis:

A gorgeous summer read to escape with this summer!

A Greek island solves all life’s problems…doesn’t it?

Winnie, Stella and Frankie have been best friends forever.
When their lives unexpectedly unravel, they spontaneously decide to buy a gorgeous B on a remote Greek island.
Drenched in hot sun, Villa Valentina is the perfect escape
from reality. But when Winnie meets Jesse, their brooding
neighbour, she finds that Greece is full of its own complications – not least how attractive he is…

Meanwhile, Frankie and Stella are discovering that Villa Valentina has its own secrets – starting with the large supply of gin in the cellar and the arrival of a famous rock band. A band with one very good-looking member who just might distract Frankie from thoughts of her husband…

Smart, sassy and sexy, this summer sizzler is perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jane Costello.

Rating: five-stars

Ah, guys, there is nothing better than a Kat French book, really. Yes, I somehow missed her last release but as soon as I’ve spotted The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach and then read the synopsis, there was nothing stopping me from reading this book. Literally nothing. And truly, one look at this gorgeous colourful cover made me fall in love with it, it just screams “summer, here we come”, don’t you think? And then the story itself, laugh – out – loud fun, relax and brilliant romance – absolutely brilliant.
So yes, guys, this book. I had a feeling that I can fall in love with it (as you have probably guessed) but I haven’t expected how much! It was such a lovely, light – hearted and uplifting read with this gorgeous feel – good vibe and the overwhelming summery feeling, and I really can’t stop thinking about me needing to immediately go on holidays or at least drinking G&T, or two. Already the cover is shouting holidays, here I come, but what is hidden between the covers is even better.
It was so easy to immediately fall in love with this gorgeous – unfortunately fictional – island of Skelidos and all of its specific inhabitants. Just imagine – not spoiled by the tourists, peaceful, with a donkey or two – a perfect place to spend your holidays, no? Or maybe to spend the rest of your life, even? Which happens to Winnie, Stella and Frankie who travel there to stay for a weekend only and end as the owners of the pink Villa Valentina.

I liked the book and the characters from the very beginning, and I also found myself liking it even more with every page turned! There was something magical in all of them, and in the writing, and I just didn’t want to put the book down. Heck, I didn’t want it to end! I could really read about the three friends and their adventures much, much longer. And they were really true friends, the three girls. You could see they like and respect each other, that they feel so good in their own company and it was lovely to see how they support each other. They weren’t afraid to say uncomfortable truths as well, they did it, they were not afraid to laugh at each other, but this is just what a real friendship is, right, and this one here felt so genuine and not at all forced. Winnie was running away from her abruptly ended marriage. Stella was a career woman, devoted to her job, but she was made redundant. Frankie was having the empty nest syndrome and when her twins left home, her marriage also came to an end – so they all really have their own reasons to risk everything, leave their old lives behind and try their luck on Skelidos. However, as you are absolutely right, things never run smooth and there are some troubles in paradise waiting for our lovely, likeable and believable girls, and it doesn’t only mean a stubborn donkey, underground gin distillery and not speaking a single word in Greek. And then there are of course all those hot men: hunky Australian Jesse, the Greek God Angelo and the member of a very popular band, Seth, but let’s not forget the husband Gav as well! And villagers worshipping a bush that grows only in the Villa’s garden – a recipe for disasters, no?

Kat French of course doesn’t forget about male characters, oh no, she doesn’t! And what great characters they were, guys! Jesse was so direct and outright that after my first jaw dropping moment I couldn’t stop to laugh at Winnie’s amusement, but I also wanted to cheer her on, high – five her and yell, you go girl, show him. I loved how he started to show her how to leave her comfort zones, how to appreciate herself – it was a gorgeous, beautiful subplot.

There were enough twists and turns to keep me glued to the pages, and I loved how the author surprised me every now and then. The unexpected visits, the way the story took its turn – it was all so surprising, and even for me not predictable, as the villa itself had also hidden treasures to discover! It was absolutely great and inspiring to see the three friends coming back to Skelidos to make the best of the villa, to just see how their lives are going to turn out, to just grab the life by the horns.

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French has really had it ALL. Incredibly gorgeous setting, enough G&T to keep you happy, all – knowing neighbours, villagers that adored their own traditions, brilliant, bouncy and quirky characters, romance in the air and some stumbling blocks as well, and I simply adored it. It was easy to read, light and full of sun and humour and poignant moments – a perfect escapism. Brilliant story about new beginnings, second chances and leaving your comfort zones, being courageous. It is filled with friendship and hilarious moments and it is a must have accessory for your summer bag – really, guys, you don’t have to thank me for the recommendation. I am sure you are going to fell in love with all elements and Villa Valentina.


EXTRACT:

[Extract 3 from Prologue pp. 11-13]

Ajax placed a tray of three tall, fine-stemmed fishbowl glasses on the beach-bar table in front of them an hour or so later.

‘You’ve built our expectations sky-high now, you know that, right?’ Frankie said, lifting her eyebrows at him. ‘If these cocktails don’t make us feel a million dollars we’re going to want our money back.’

‘Your first drink is always on the house anyways,’ Ajax said grandly. ‘Villa Valentina house secret mix, guaranteed to make you happy.’

‘Free drinks always make me happy,’ Stella sighed. ‘People used to give me free drinks all over town. Stella! Come in, have a glass of champagne! And another!’

‘Ah, get over yourself, superstar. This one’s still free and looks amazing.’ Frankie reached for one of the glasses and handed it to Stella.

‘What is it?’ Winnie lifted her sunnies and squinted up at Ajax hovering close by for their verdict.

He shrugged. ‘Gin and tonic.’

It wasn’t like any gin and tonic Winnie had ever seen before. Peering into the glass as she slid it towards her, she could see rich shades of honeyed nectarine red sparkling with ice and slices of rose-pink grapefruit.

‘Is this rosemary?’ Frankie asked, plucking a herb from her glass and sniffing it.

Ajax preened. ‘I grow it myself in the garden at the back of the villa.’

Frankie dunked it back into her cocktail, using it to swirl the ice cubes. All three women looked up as the guy they’d spotted earlier with Ajax wandered over and placed a platter of glistening halved figs scattered with walnuts down on their table.

‘Oh. My. God.’ Winnie groaned. ‘How good does that look? They’re the fattest figs I’ve ever seen in my life.’

‘Best in the world. I grow them myself in the garden behind the villa.’

‘I’m sensing a theme,’ Stella murmured, then took a sip of her drink and gasped. ‘Bloody hell! That’s amazing. You have to tell me how to make this before I leave.’

Ajax ignored the request, choosing instead to make introductions.

‘Ladies, this is my husband, Nikolas.’

Nikolas stuck out his hand. ‘Nik, please.’

‘Well, thank you, Nik, for this. It looks wonderful,’ Winnie said, nodding towards the plate. ‘I’m Winnie.’

The others jumped up in turn and shook his hand, and he just nodded politely and excused himself.

‘He likes actions, not words,’ Ajax sighed, watching his lover wistfully until he’d disappeared back into the villa.

‘My kind of man,’ Stella laughed, making Ajax scowl theatrically.

‘What is it that you English like to say?’ he said. ‘Not on your nelly.’

He winked and blew them a kiss before threading his way through the tables in the direction of his husband.

‘Happy couples make me want to vom right now,’ Winnie said, taking a good gulp of her drink and then almost choking on the rosemary stem.

Stella grabbed for the glass. ‘Christ, Winnie, it’s too good to splutter all over the floor!’

Frankie lifted her drink so that the sunlight shone through the liquid, bouncing pink crystal shimmers all around them.

‘Everything about this place is special,’ she said. ‘The villa, Ajax, the cocktails, that view . . . it’s all blissful.’

Winnie had recovered sufficiently to raise her glass and toast the others.

‘To forty-eight hours of secret recipe cocktails and unin­terrupted bliss.’

Stella clinked her glass against Winnie’s. ‘I’ll drink to that. And to friendship.’

Frankie nodded solemnly and touched her glass to the others. ‘To us.’

Ajax watched the three women carefully from an upstairs window of the villa, observing the way they laughed together, how they toasted each other, that they were relaxed in each other’s company.

Maybe.

With enough of his secret cocktails and a fractured kalei­doscope of sun-gilded images laid out to seduce them, just maybe.


FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

blog2btour2bbanner

Then. Now. Always by Isabelle Broom

Then. Now. Always by Isabella Broom


33842324Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 20th April 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 416

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Hannah can’t believe it when she’s offered a trip to sunny Spain with her best friend and dreamy boss . . . what’s the catch?

Twenty-eight year old Hannah is ready for an adventure. She and her colleagues are in Spain for a month to film a documentary, and it’s a dream come true. Not least because Hannah will get to spend long summer days with Theo, her boss (and crush). If only Tom (Hannah’s best friend and cameramen) and Claudette (the presenter) would stop getting in the way…

Then things become even more complicated when Nancy, Hannah’s half-sister arrives. What on earth is she doing here?

For once in her life, can’t Hannah just have one perfect summer, free of any drama?

Rating: three-stars


Oh my, mea culpa, it took me over two months to sit down and write this review. I think I know why it took me so long – “Then. Now. Always” by Isabelle Broom is getting raving reviews, and really guys, I started reading this book with so many expectations but quickly found myself almost in desperation wondering if I am reading the same book as other people, singing prizes. Don’t get me wrong – I adore Isabelle Broom, and her debut novel was absolutely brilliant, but I just couldn’t get this newest release, and it made me so sad, as I had so much hope and wanted to love this story so much. But – Isabelle Broom is the ultimate person to turn to when you need to get into holiday mode – she sets her books in the most gorgeous settings and she brings them easily and effortlessly to life. “Then. Now. Always” is set in Spain, in a beautiful, gorgeous town, full of sunshine, adventures and secret places.

So guys, between you and me, there was one thing that almost made the book totally kaput for me. And it was the main character – it is really hard to love a book when the main hero is driving you crazy. Hannah was at the beginning, and through almost the whole story, a pathetic, feeling sorry for herself person who didn’t know what she really want. She was unhappy with everything and everybody surrounding her. I admit, it was a risky move from the author to make her character fall in love with her boss but I am sure it was a very conscious move. We know about this crush immediately, so I tried to be patient with Hannah but there came a moment when I couldn’t stand wondering what Theo would say or if he’s thinking about her at the same moment she’s thinking about him, anymore. I liked how this played out however, it was not too cheesy, too fairy – tailish.
Then I couldn’t grasp how come people stick with Hannah for so long, with her being so needy and whinge-y and stubborn. She didn’t want to hear what other people have to say, and the way she was around Tom… well, she just him took for granted, the same as so many other things in her life. The bickering with her half – sister Nancy was annoying and her saying one thing and then doing the other as well. Hannah wanted to spend one summer without any dramas but let’s be honest, wasn’t she the one who has created all the problems? I just couldn’t get past the fact that the characters were supposed to be adults but behaved like children.

What saved the book for me was the ending. It was not obvious and it was not predictable and I really liked how it turned out. It was different to all the endings. I actually think that if it weren’t the weak characters, the book would be perfect. But OK, let’s stop with moaning and focus on the good things. It was a great story offering a huge piece of escapism. The events in this book were likeable and there were tricky situations aplenty to make this plot as twisty as the Spanish roads. The author so flawlessly handles the complex story that it was a real pleasure to read. I also appreciate the fact that Isabelle Broom tried to make out of a supposedly lightweight novel a much more emotional and complicated story. Right at the beginning we have this being in love with your own boss situation, which I could feel in my bones is going to end in tears, then she adds a bit of half – sibling rivalry, and while Hannah’s sister Nancy was very one – dimensional and predictable, and Hannah’s reactions were, in my opinion, much too exaggerated, and the two girls behaved like spoiled, immature teenagers, showing their shallow sides behaving in a really awkward way, this element added some depth and was well captured.

Altogether, this book gives you what you can expect: gorgeous setting of Mojocar, twists and turns, adventures and unconventional romance. It is quick – paced and there is enough of drama to keep you on your tenterhooks. There is this added bonus of Mojocar’s history and traditions, myths and legends that I enjoyed very much. A story about building bridges and forgiving and I am really sorry it didn’t work for me – I really, truly wanted it to work! However, I am already looking towards Isabelle’s next book, I’m sure it’s going to be (another) cracker!

The Mothers of Lovely Lane by Nadine Dorries / Blog Tour

Hi guys, happy Wednesday and welcome to my stop on Nadine Dorries blog tour. The Mothers of Lovely Lane is my first book by this author but for sure not the last – Nadine has incredible way with words and has created a beautiful, poignant novel and I am already looking forward to reading other books in this series. If you’re looking for a captivating historical fiction that you can lose yourself in, than The Mothers of Lovely Lane may be the perfect book for you!

The Mothers of Lovely Lane by Nadine Dorries



34862490Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publishing Date: 15th June 2017

Series: Lovely Lane #3

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 464

Genre:  Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 18.03.2018)

 

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of The Angels of Lovely Lane, The Four Streets and Ruby Flynn.

Noleen Delaney is one of an army of night cleaners at St Angelus hospital in Liverpool. Since her husband was injured in the war, she has supported her five children. With help from her eldest, Bryan – a porter’s lad – the family just about gets by.

When Finn, her youngest, passes the eleven plus exam, Noleen feels faint. Allowing Finn to attend the grammar will stretch her purse too far.

When Bryan steps in to help, the results rock the St Angelus community. As the nurses of Lovely Lane near their final exams, Noleen will find herself tested, and her heart broken. Just how far can a mother’s love stretch?

Rating: four-stars





The Mothers of Lovely Lane is a third book in The Lovely Lane series, but it was new to me. I haven’t read the two previous books and, as usually, when starting reading series not in the right order I was somehow anxious but now I can absolutely positively state that this book can be read as a stand – alone. Sure, there are some flashbacks and glimpses into the past but it didn’t make the story in any way confusing.

What made it confusing however, and I must add it right at the beginning, was the incredibly huge number of the characters and the way the story was told itself. I must admit that I almost gave up on identifying who is who, to whom they belong and what is their story as there were so many of them. And also, with it being a rather long book, the fact that sometimes we needed two or three chapters to come to an event that was mentioned as happening right now, it just made me feel the whole story was dragging on and honestly, there were moments that I was losing my patience and interest and I wanted to bang on the table and shout hurry up, please, let’s something happen, I want that ward to be opened eventually! But that’s just me. And actually I don’t have more things to whine about, so let’s start gushing now, right?

The story is set in a gritty area of Liverpool and mostly revolves around St. Angelus hospital, a place where people come for help when they are sick and injured, and it also links all the characters in this story: our main characters but also the doctors, other nurses and the St. Angelus mafia. Among the many characters we have Dessie, helping other families who have suffered in the war or who have lost beloved ones. There are Biddy and Elsie, those so much needed characters, the busybodies who knows everything about everyone but whose presence lightens the situations so often, and Noleen, who works as a cleaner then to go home to take care about her husband injured in the war and their children. She was an incredible character and I think that every heart will go to her, as she did her utmost to keep the family alive. This feeling of community spirit, of friendship and of sharing this something special that only people who were victims to wars can share is overwhelming and is so easily brought to life by the author. The characters were all hard working, yet they were the people who wore their hearts on their sleeves and supported each other in this incredible, non – egoistical way.

The author has incredible way with words. She is able to effortlessly transport you into the fictional word of her characters. She vividly shows the harsh reality of post – war times but she also creates world full of hope and balances it with beautiful, poignant moments. There is a lot of friendship, drama, heartbreak, compassion and love, about family bonds and relationships, about the determination to not only survive but also to help. It shows the true sense of being a part of community. It was so heart – breaking to see that all of the characters in this book were somehow touched by the war, that they all were victims to drama and that they were not spared any tragedy. They truly experienced a lot in their lives and I admired this side of them, because they were people who really have seen and experienced a lot in their lives and had something to tell. They have depth to them, they have complex personalities and distinctive voices.

Altogether, The Mothers of Lovely Lane was moving, lovely historical fiction about changes – and, as we know, changes can be good or not, and this story gives us a wide view without judging. It was about strength and determination and written in absolutely beautiful, vivid way. Nadine Dorries may be a new author to me but I will be looking to read more of her books. In the meantime, I can only recommend this epic historical novel to you.


FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR FOR MORE REVIEWS & EXTRACTS!

mothers-of-lovely-lane-blog-tour-1_2

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry / Blog Tour

Good morning! I am so, so THRILLED to start this Friday with a review of Jane Corry’s Blood Sister as a part of her new, epic blog tour. Having read Jane’s previous novel I couldn’t wait for her new release, and believe me, guys – this book is dark but not too dark, full of lies and secrets that are not too overwhelming – it is just a perfect book for one sitting. Why only one? Because when you start reading it, you won’t be able to put it down!

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

32874095Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 29th June 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 464

Genre:  Mystery/Psychological Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the Sunday Times bestseller MY HUSBAND’S WIFE

Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning.
Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.

But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day.
And only another life will do…

 

Rating: five-stars

Having read and absolutely loved Jane Corry’s previous novel, My Husband’s Wife, I was incredibly excited to read her new release, Blood Sisters. This book has completely drawn me in – I actually read it on one Sunday, forgetting about the world going around and reality. It was full of surprises, and I love when a book is able to surprise me in a way Blood Sisters did, with its complex plot, the unreliable narrators that you weren’t sure if you should trust, and playing games with our minds.

The story is a slow burner, so be prepared that the first part may feel a little too long or as if there is almost nothing happening there – and I’ve already started to panic, guys, it made me feel so, so scared! However, with the second part the story gains incredible tempo, there are many twists and turns on the way and really you won’t be able to put the book down. When you think that everything is clear already, that we know all we should know, the author throws another surprise and everything changes.

The story was told in two alternating perspectives by the half – sisters Alison and Kitty, taking us on a journey to their past and present. Alison is an art teacher, Kitty is living in a home as she’s severely disabled, with a brain damage and she doesn’t remember what happened to bring her to this home in the first place. The connection between Alison and Kitty is quickly explained and throughout the story we start to learn more about the secrets that bond them together.

Alison is an artist and a teacher, and she applies for a job in an open prison for art classes for the inmates. Alison was relatively hard to “breach” and to warm into, to be honest, as she was so very introvert, but I also could understand her, especially as more and more facts about her were unravelled. It just seemed as if Alison was all the time holding back and keeping something for her. On the other hand, her half – sister Kitty was like and open book, not holding her thoughts back from us. It was incredible how deeply the author has managed to get into Kitty’s head. She has so brilliantly and realistically captured Kitty’s frustrations when she couldn’t express herself, when the only thing that came out of her mouth, instead of words, were sounds and babbles. However, and I really don’t know if this makes me a really bad person, I couldn’t help the feeling that Kitty deserved what’s happened to her. There, I said it. Sure, I sympathized with her, I pitied her but still I couldn’t help thinking that she was asking for what’s happened – and I think she will never change. But of course, Kitty’s story was also heart – breaking and it was exceptionally emotional to see how frustrated she was, fighting to grab hold of her flyaway memories, to communicate with the outside world. Jane Corry has so well described how the brain damage affected Kitty and her behaviour, but also how it affected the closes to her.

The author has written the characters in such a great way. There was a depth to them and even though they were not all likeable, you still want that everything will turn well for them. You also never know who to trust, as they were all telling so many lies to protect themselves – it may sound scaring but believe me, this complex web of lies was superbly created and it just sucks you in, and you are desperate to know what actually has happened.

This book was perfectly written, with realistic and diverse characters, with sharp dialogues and the plot was complex and intriguing, panning out in a way that was totally unpredictable. It was fast – paced (even with the beginning being on the slow side – I know it sounds weird but well, it is so), there was not a single flat moment, it kept me all the time on my tenterhooks. Blood Sisters was an incredible tale of sibling rivalry, misunderstandings, abuse, lies and secrets. Jane Corry has also included a lot of her experience from working in a prison, as you really have a feeling that she truly knows what she’s writing about, that she knows the prison and its secrets inside out. It was fascinating to see how it all works there.

I liked that the chapters were short and dynamic, and they often ended on the cliffhanger, and I had to resist, more than often, to turn the next few pages only to see the first few sentences of the following chapter to see what is going to happen there. They are also guilty for me reading the book in one day only – I think you also know that syndrome of “only one more chapter” and then finishing the book on one breath almost. It really felt as if I were a witness to the events, as if they were happening next to me, so realistic and distinctive was the narration.

I loved how the whole story was created – it was complex and complicated but not in a way that would do your head in, when you don’t understand anything. There were many clues and tips at how the characters are connected and it was slowly untangling the whole web of secrets, discreetly and gently adding more and more of them – but I have never felt overwhelmed with them or confused. We are aware that things have happened in the past and the author takes us on a slow, but fast – paced, journey full of tension and questions that leads to a great grande – finale. It was really like taking one step forward and three steps back, getting answer to one questions and getting few new questions instead, and it was bloody, bloody brilliant! There is really so much more to this book than meet the eye! It is dark, it is disturbing but it is a great read about guilt and about what are we able to do to protect are closest ones, written in a very vivid way, effortlessly bringing all the small and big things to life. Highly recommended from me!

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

image3

My Sister’s Wedding by Vicky Pattison

My Sister’s Wedding by Vicky Pattison

 

33877159Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 15th June 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 384

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

For better or worse, two families are about to become one…

The Ashworth sisters couldn’t be more different. Becky is focused, driven and about to marry her lovely fiancé, Daniel Balfour. Lizzie, on the other hand, bounces from one temp job to another, keeps falling for the wrong man and is a whirlwind of chaos in Becky’s otherwise well-ordered life. But they love each other fiercely and the Ashworth way has always been family comes first.

As preparations for Becky and Daniel’s wedding get underway, it soon becomes clear that the Ashworth way is not the Balfour way. Daniel’s family have never thought Becky was good enough for him but he loves her and that’s always been enough for the happy couple. But when Lizzie gets caught in the crossfire between Becky and the Balfours, Becky and Lizzie find themselves drifting apart at a time when they need each other the most. Will they be able to repair the damage before Becky walks down the aisle?

Rating: five-stars

 

My Sister’s Wedding is the first story that I’ve read by Vicky Pattison, even though I have two of her other fiction books on my TBR pile. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect but nevertheless I had high hopes for this novel and in the end the book pleasantly surprised me. It was light – hearted, with some great characters and brilliant, quick writing and I was immediately immersed into the characters’ world.

The story is told from Becky and Lizzie’s points of view, occasionally also showing Nicole’s scheming. The characters really quickly grow on you and you feel as if you’ve known them for ages. Becky and Lizzie are sisters, extremely close, and it has a reason – their mother left the family when they were very young and Becky somehow adopted mum’s role, helping their father to bring the girl up. But now they are both adult and they couldn’t be more different – Becky is oasis of calm to Lizzie’s hurricane, Becky is the most responsible one, with a job and fiancé while Lizzie can’t stop moving around, keep one job and is sleeping at her best friend’s Jay. Becky is also about to get married – her long-time boyfriend Daniel has popped the question. Even though they are together nine long years, their families haven’t met yet – and there is also a reason to it, because they also couldn’t be more different. While Becky and Lizzie’s family consist of them and their lovely, down – to – earth father, Daniel’s is a very wealthy and snobbish one. Is the first meeting going to run smoothly?

Even though they were so different, I liked both of them: Lizzie and her free spirit and big mouth, and Becky’s calmness. Sure, they both were sometimes annoying and they had flaws, but who isn’t and who hasn’t them, right, so it all made them even more likeable. Lizzie may seem irresponsible but there are things she loves above all and she would do anything for her family. The girls balanced each other very well and I really liked this strong bond between them – even though this bong can be easily destroyed by a misunderstanding. Both of them struggled with the sense of belonging, as it seemed they lost it for a moment, and it was sad to see how they are drifting apart. I hated to see how they jump to conclusions, how they read (false) between the lines and how their perfect relationship suffers as a result.

The storyline was great and it was so fast paced. It was not plain sailing for the characters, there were some smaller storylines easily and effortlessly interspersed with the main one and the end result was a lovely, humorous story about family and changing dynamics. Yes, there were moments where the author focused so much on the clothes, labels, designer names, brands, cosmetics that I could do without but oh my, this is Vicky Pattison we are talking about, right, and I think we can turn the blind eye this time. It was also full of references for very modern and present social medias, and the language it was written with was totally realistic. With all this I had a feeling that the book is aimed to a rather younger audience than moi but still I did enjoy it and I spent some uncomplicated, relaxed hours following the story of Becky and Lizzie. There was warmth to the writing and I felt comfortable in their company, so what should I still wish for?

You know, the book was not the most complex one but there was such a great feeling to it. It was funny, dynamic, sharp and there was something in it that you didn’t want to put it down. It was an easy and engaging read, with many humorous and some poignant moments, and you felt immediately at home with the characters: you either loved them or loved to hate them. There was enough intrigue and a little drama and even though it was predictable it didn’t spoiled the book at all. It was fast paced and I didn’t have a feeling that it is dragging on. The Nicole’s subplot was needed for this story to make it more complicated and even though this part was a little too far – fetched for my liking, overall it added some needed action and fireworks to the storyline. So yes, maybe don’t expect anything life – changing in this book but still it made for a great, entertaining read with some ups and downs, with tons of funny moments but brilliantly mixed with some of the more poignant ones – and hey, does the book always have to be life changing? Thought so. I was fully glad with the twists and turns, with the way the author has complicated things for Lizzie and Becky and even with the tad predictable characters from Daniel’s family – this all was written in effortless, engaging way and I bought it as it was: fun and light – hearted, and I’ll be shamelessly recommending it to all of my friends!

19146089_10207063198098522_2385399334925312626_n

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

35126418Publisher: Scribner UK

Publishing Date: 1st June 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 208

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Ruth is thirty and her life is falling apart: she and her fiancé are moving house, but he’s moving out to live with another woman; her career is going nowhere; and then she learns that her father, a history professor beloved by his students, has Alzheimer’s. At Christmas, her mother begs her to stay on and help. For a year. Goodbye, Vitamin is the wry, beautifully observed story of a woman at a crossroads, as Ruth and her friends attempt to shore up her father’s career; she and her mother obsess over the ambiguous health benefits – in the absence of a cure – of dried jellyfish supplements and vitamin pills; and they all try to forge a new relationship with the brilliant, childlike, irascible man her father has become.

Rating: three-stars

“Goodbye, Vitamin” is very different to what I thought it’s going to be, but it doesn’t mean that it made reading worse. However, as there is such a great emphasis on Ruth’s father’s Alzheimer’s in the blurb I was prepared for the story to focus mostly on him and his medical condition – but there was also a lot about Ruth’s life and memories of the past, which – and I appreciate it – in a book about a character suffering from dementia is logical and foreseeable.

The characters are not perfect, all of them have their flaws but this make them more realistic and believable. Ruth is the main heroine in this story. She agrees to quit her job and leave her life behind to move back with her parents and look after her father while her mother is working. Ruth herself felt very normal, very casual. Overall I had a feeling that we don’t know too much about the characters, that they are mostly superficial. What I really liked when it comes to the characters is how well the author could describe the impact of Alzheimer’s on all of them – the affected and afflicted ones.

At the beginning it was hard for me to get into this story, and I am not sure why. Maybe because of the Ruth character herself, there was something in her that made me feel there is a distance between me and her, that she isn’t allowing me to get too close to her. I was also not sure about her choices and there were moments I really didn’t know what kind of point she’s making. There is not a lot happening in this story. Present is interwoven with past, we got to know about Ruth’s break – up and a little about her past but it mostly focuses on her relationship with her ex – boyfriend.

What confused me was not the fact that it was written in a diary format, this only made the reading quicker and easier, without going to deep into descriptions, but that it suddenly switched from telling Ruth’s story to keeping track of what her father was doing. It was as if the author has just recalled, wait, it is about Ruth’s dad, let’s write about him now. It felt too rushed and too forced for me, to be honest. I appreciate the idea – keeping this track is done in the same way as Ruth’s dad has written about her in a notebook he gave her to her birthday (one of the best moments in the book were the short notes Howard has written when she was a child. They are incredibly sweet and they brought smiles to my face but they also pull at the heartstrings, as they’re also such touching and they remind you of the farthest, cherished memories), but maybe it should have been done earlier? Or interwoven into the story?

Altogether, “Goodbye, Vitamin” is a melancholic story about family and how important it is to appreciate it, and every day we can spend with our closest ones. It is filled with funny and sad moments, with lovely memories that it is so nice to keep. A bitter – sweet and very sharp – observed novel about forgetting and forgiving and healing , and some of those observations may feel raw but I liked this rawness.