Love Songs for Sceptics by Christina Pishiris

Love Songs for Sceptics by Christina Pishiris

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster cover174102-medium

Publishing Date: 28th November 2019

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

Number of pages: 320

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 30.04.2020)

 

 

Synopsis:

My brother’s getting married in a few weeks and asked for help picking a song for his first dance. I suggested Kiss’s ‘Love’s a Slap in the Face’.

It didn’t go down well.

When she was a teenager, Zoë Frixos fell in love with Simon Baxter, her best friend and the boy next door. But his family moved to America before she could tell him how she felt and, like a scratched record, she’s never quite moved on. Now, almost twenty years later, Simon is heading back to London, newly single and as charming as ever . . .

But as obstacles continue to get in her way – Simon’s perfect ex-girlfriend, her brother’s big(ish) fat(ish) Greek wedding, and an obnoxious publicist determined to run Zoë – Zoë begins to wonder whether, after all these years, she and Simon just aren’t meant to be.

What if, despite what all the songs and movies say, you’re first love isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be? What if, instead Zoë and Simon are forever destined to shuffle around their feelings for each other, never quite getting the steps right . . .

With a smart, relatable central character and razor-sharp wit, Love Songs for Sceptics is perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lucy Vine and Lindsey Kelk. 

Rating: three-stars

 

Zoe is a music journalist and editor for a cool magazine Re – Sound. It may not be the best paying job, but she loves it and it gives her the opportunity to meet new, interesting and creative people. When Zoe was 13 years old, she fell in love with her best friend, Simon Baxter but she never told him what she feels. Now, in her thirties, her job is her life but then Simon comes back from the States, separated from his wife, so maybe now is the time for them?
In the meantime, the things at work are not running smoothly and the magazine may be closed down. The only salvage is an interview with someone special, and Zoe knows who that can be – her favourite music artist, Marcie Tyler, bit will she manage to get this interview? Namely, Marcie’s publicist Nick and Zoe are not the best friends.

The characters were developed well enough, although more than often I couldn’t understand their actions. The romance aspect was, I don’t know, somehow cold and not so heart – warming, I couldn’t warm to Simon at all and I really couldn’t see what Zoe sees in him – he was arrogant and, in my eyes, he used Zoe and took her for granted. Sure, they have a past and memories but as soon as they were together it all felt so unnatural for me. Actually, now I think about it, Zoe around men felt unnatural, she was also so tense around Nick and well, it spoiled the whole picture, made the reading difficult. Nevertheless, I still think that Zoe was the strongest link in this book. She is an interesting, complex character with fiery personality, who is passionate about her work and music, and I loved how the fate of the magazine was so important to her, and how much she cared about her co – workers. She is friendly and full of heart, so no wonder that she’s surrounded by friends, but she also can be stubborn and full of unexpected ideas when she wants something badly. What she doesn’t have, is luck with her love life – still holding torch for her childhood friend and not seeing what is around her.

It was a great idea to use the song titles for the chapters, they fitted perfectly, and the focus on music business, how it really is being inside it, how the music PR works, showing that it’s not only a bed full of roses, was a great idea. And the best parts of the book were for me the scenes about the big fat Greek wedding preparations and everything that regarded to it. Zoe’s future sister – in – law Alice was lovely and I really liked how Zoe allowed herself to relax in her company.

Altogether, “Love Songs for Sceptics” was a nice debut novel that had it moments but, sadly, it missed the wow – effect for me. I wasn’t completely engaged and couldn’t warm to the characters as much as I like to. The beginning, when Zoe is asked by her brother to help him choose a song for the first dance at his upcoming wedding and she chooses Kiss’s “Love’s a Slap in the Face” was absolutely brilliant and I was hoping that the book is going to stay with this humorous, witty tone but unfortunately it didn’t happen, it simply went downhill for me. I can’t put my finger exactly on what went wrong, and I can see that the story is accumulating raving reviews, so simply try this book and decide for yourself.

The Matchmaker by Catriona Innes

The Matchmaker by Catriona Innes

 

Publisher: Trapeze 44563587._sy475_

Publishing Date: 14th November 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

For Caitlin Carter, love means business.

She’s taken matchmaking back to basics. There is no swiping left. No creepy location tracker. Definitely no unsolicited pics of areas of the anatomy literally no one wants to see. She’s made dating great again: personal, patient… and profitable. Her startup is going from strength to strength, the brand her very own happy marriage (her wedding went viral), and now she even has celebrities wanting to use her services.

Caitlin is living the perfect life.

Except it’s all a perfect lie. And Caitlin doesn’t know how long she can keep it up.

In an era of social media and dating apps, when we have never been more connected yet more isolated, the matchmaker is a story about love, loss and loneliness, and learning to accept your reality.

This is an emotionally charged, funny and warm novel, perfect for fans of THE MAN WHO DIDN’T CALL by Rosie Walsh, SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL by Giovanna Fletcher and IT STARTED WITH A TWEET by Anna Bell.

Rating:  three-stars

 

Caitlin Carter is a matchmaker, and she’s perfect for this job, usually depending on her gut feeling when matching people together and usually having right! She simply wants to share love, happiness and joy that she herself shares with her husband Harry. But while everything is well on the job – front and it even attracts celebrities, Caitlin is, in fact, hiding the truth about her marriage, worrying about the reputation of her business.  

The characters were well written, however I couldn’t connect with them. Also, I couldn’t understand, for example, what was the point of adding the Instagram influencer subplot, she was so unsympathetic and in the end, well, it didn’t add much to the story, right?

Altogether, right from the beginning, there was something missing from the story for me. I think my main problem is that I was expecting something totally different – a light – hearted, lovely story with the promised humour. However, it turned out that the book is rather sad, sometimes even depressing and I didn’t get any of the positive vibes that I was hoping for. Also, I think that keeping the “secret” a secret for so long was not the best idea. Yes, I was wondering what has happened with Harry, has he left, betrayed, run away, went on a journey around the world on his bicycle, no idea, but eventually it started to feel too flat, you know? There was no tension, no interest more and Caitlyn’s actions and reactions stopped making some sense. Sure, I’ve guessed what has happened, and this time it turned out I was right but to be honest this revelation didn’t have any impact on me. On the other hand, after the secret becoming an open case, the book focused only on this part and it felt as if I was reading two different stories.

 “The Matchmaker” touches upon reality and the unfairness of life, not too light but also not too deep. I am really sad that it didn’t wow me, that it didn’t work for me as much as I hoped but it doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t work for you – I’ve seen also raving reviews of this book. Actually, I’ve notice people are in two minds about this story, while some says it was full of emotions and feelings the others state that it lacked in those features, and unfortunately I belong to the latter ones – but I mean it’s because of my own expectations and however clichéd it sounds, book – it’s not you, it’s me.

Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft

Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft

 

Publisher: Avon 44581165

Publishing Date: 26th September 2019

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

Number of pages: 378

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback  (out on 14.11.2019)

 

 

Synopsis:

This Christmas, the villagers of Middledip are off on a very Swiss adventure…

Family means everything to Lily and Zinnia Cortez and, growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.

So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’s always believed. She is in fact the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.

Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known – an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a Christmas market or two along the way…

Rating: three-stars

 

Lily Cortez and her sister Zinnia have been raised in a family with two mums, however Lily is shocked to discover that her father wasn’t – like Zinnia’s – an anonymous donor but her mum had an affair with a married man. She’s desperate to find her another family and it leads her to Middledip, where her half – brother Harrison Tubb is the owner of the village pub. She starts to work at the pub while also starting her own career as a designer of exhibition stands. She enjoy her life there, and getting to know her brother, even though she hasn’t found the courage to let him know they are family.
This is only one of the themes running through the story. Because of Tubb’s health scare, Lily finds herself working in the pub with a temporary boss Isaac, and almost immediately they’re attracted to each other but Isaac has a rule of not dating co – workers. There is also the Middledip choir which Lily is a part of and they’re travelling to Switzerland to sing at Christmas Fair there. And then there is also Lily’s family, falling apart. Puh.

I had a feeling that the book is repeating itself, over and over again. We were rambling about one and the same thing, the same event was told about again and again, and actually, for me, there was nothing happening. All the characters were too nice to be true, their actions didn’t feel realistic and spontaneous, and the dialogues sounded too wooden for my liking. The lack of action has been filled with descriptions of Switzerland, and as much as I love Switzerland in winter, it was too much, or with Doggo going in or out of his crate, and the main characters didn’t capture my attention. I’m sorry, but that’s the way I feel – but it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to love this book! I hope you will!

Lily and Isaac were nice characters, both with past, both with rules. However, Isaac was too perfect to be true, he always said and did all the right things, he was there when he was needed, he put his own needs aside and the only thing that he missed was probably a white horse. Zinnia was absolutely unlikeable character, already starting with the name, I mean, Zinnia? The way she treated her sister, blaming her for everything was horrible.

Nevertheless, “Let It Snow” was a lovely, steady winter read with a bit of romance and will they/won’t they, though it was not the most important part of the book. The most important part though, me thinks, were family bonds, acceptation, becoming a part of a group and I liked how Sue Moorcroft mixed lightness with the seriousness, and put a lot of care and love into her story. Because next to the whole drama there is turkey, snowballs, carols, a village pub and lots of snow.

The Lying Room by Nicci French

The Lying Room by Nicci French

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 44182513._sy475_

Publishing Date: 3rd October 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback (out on 02.04.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

*** THE BRAND NEW STANDALONE NOVEL FROM THE MASTER OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE ***

Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.
She doesn’t call the police.

‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’
A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.
She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all.
But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger.
She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves?
And who does she really know? And who can she trust?
A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?

Rating:   three-stars

 

Neve Connolly is a married graphic designer, household’s provider, as her husband does work from home but no money is coming in from him. Between this, work, her three children, lack of money, Neve injects some unexpected thrill into her life by having an affair with her boss. Once she receives a text from him, in which he asks her to meet in his flat. Only, she finds him dead on the floor, most likely killed with a hammer. In her panic to protect her family from the consequences of her infidelity, she cleans – up the flat to remove all traces of her. And then the waiting starts – was she able to eliminate the evidence? Did she forget something? Yes, she did! She left something in the flat but when she comes back, it’s gone – as well as the hammer!

It was a difficult book, I still – after a bit more than a week after finishing it – am not sure how I feel about it. It started really good and I was truly invested in Neve’s life that was a real drudgery and I felt for her and her situation, then the discovery of Saul’s body, but then the story went downhill, with monotonously describing every single detail of Neve’s life in a tad flat style. There was actually not a lot happening, and the whole atmosphere was one of depression and desperation, and the credibility of the story was… rather doubting. I mean, I think that police should really solve the case in a few hours. The characters were also not too likeable, I had troubles to warm to them and it didn’t happen, and I missed more about the whole thing with Mabel. Neve herself was supposed to be incredibly friendly and warm, everyone wanted to be her friend but I never got why – there was actually nothing in her indicating these attributes. The ending of the book, ie. finding the murderer, it also didn’t sit well with me, I don’t know, I had a feeling that the author has simply lost an idea and took this character, out of the blue, to be the killer. No, I didn’t guess who did it, but the final reveal made me go “erm, what? How come?”

I missed emotions in the writing style. It felt so polished and pedantic, with the author paying a great attention to all of the details, to the point that it was too monotonous, but without feelings, very object – focused. The plot development is immaculate and the tangled web of deceit, lies and revenge is neatly interwoven into it but it is simply to clinical.

It was a story full of lies and misunderstandings, with a few turns and twists but it missed the mark for me. This was my first book by Nicci French but I’ve heard so many great fantastic things about her books, and so I thought, here I am for a treat. And at the beginning it was like this – a shocking, captivating start but in the end there was too much that didn’t work me, sadly.

Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna

Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna

 

Publisher: Sphere 46281093._sy475_

Publishing Date: 24th September 2019

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

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback (out on 05.03.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

You are cordially invited to the wedding of the year, at the famously luxurious Serenity Spa & Resort on the Californian coast . . .

Ginger is an overworked, under-pampered mother of three who’s barely holding the family together when she learns a secret about her daughter that could ruin everything.

Lulu is a wealthy retiree with four ex-husbands, and a fifth on the way.

Emily harbours a dark secret, which she’s become expert at forgetting with the help of a bottle of wine.

Kate is a powerhouse lawyer with her life in order – except for one little problem that won’t go away.

Only twenty-four hours later a man is found murdered.

All Detective Ramone knows for certain is that these four women sit calmly across from him, offering four very different confessions, each insisting they acted alone.

Why would they confess to the same crime? Only they know the answer – and they’re not telling.

A sharp, twisty and utterly addictive suspense novel that is perfect for anyone who loved Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, I Invited Her In by Adele Parks and The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine

Rating:  three-stars

 

Three college friends meet up at a luxurious Serenity Spa and Resort in California for another friend’s wedding. Their friendship has mostly fallen apart but nevertheless, they’re making their way to the wedding celebrations that are supposed to take one whole week – Whitney is getting married in the right way, no?
However, it immediately becomes clear that a man has been killed at the resort and along with Lulu, related by marriage to the groom and befriended at the hotel, all the women claim to have killed him. Why? What has happened?

Each of the characters is different, they face different challenges and I liked this variety, even when I couldn’t connect with them as much as I’d like to. I mean, they were really interesting, normal characters, they kept supporting each other when it was needed, even with their friendship disintegrating over the years, but they simply felt too repetitive, and I think the author could have written them in a sharper way, instead of making them so unhappy with all their shortcomings in life.
Ginger is married to Frank, they have three children and their family life is rather exhausting, and money is also short supply. She has to do extra shifts at a hotel she’s working in to be able to attend the wedding, and her relationship with her teenage daughter Elsie is unravelling. Emily Brown is trying to come to terms with a dramatic past, has a drink problem and is the one to have sex with a man she has only met on the plane. Her friendship with Ginger has been jeopardized years ago, when something happened. Kate Cross is, on the surface, a happy, successful lawyer with no problems, a partner in a New York firm and has a great boyfriend. Under the surface though it looks totally different, her boyfriend Maximilian Banks dumps her right after arrival to the Resort, in reception, after years of trying for a baby he has enough. They all get to know Lulu at the hotel. Lulu, married for the fifth time, loves her husband with all her heart but she’s afraid he’s going to leave her for another woman. The truth is different.
All the women are different, but all have problems, troubles and keep secrets, trying to live up to the expectations and not wanting to admit to each other that their lives are not beds of roses.

I am a new reader of Gina LaManna, so I didn’t know what to except, though I was hoping for something Liane Moriarty – worthy (as stated in the premise and why I actually requested this book). And yes, the book started brilliantly, and I was incredibly intrigued how it’s going to develop, however it quickly went downhill. It started to be repetitive and there was actually nothing happening, it felt flat and as if the idea run out. Yes, there are similarities between these books but let’s be honest, “Big Little Lies” is on absolutely different level.

There were some moments that made me nod my head, as they were so relatable, and some that made me smile, especially the banter between Ginger and her daughter, and the interviews between the Detective and the characters – they were, I think, the best parts of the book, thanks to the characters and the way they approached them.

Nevertheless, it was a quick, entertaining read, a story filled with bigger and smaller dramas, lies, unconditional love, abuse, friendship and being ready to sacrifice a lot. The friendship is very honestly portrayed, with all the ups and downs, grudges and rivalries.

Motherwhelmed by Anniki Sommerville

Motherwhelmed by Anniki Sommerville

 

Publisher: One More Chapter 47194568._sy475_

Publishing Date: 5th September 2019

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

Number of pages: 395

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 02.04.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A laugh-out-loud funny and confident must-read novel that everyone will be talking about! For fans of Dawn O’Porter, Bryony Gordon and Daisy Buchanan.

Rebecca is 42, has a beautiful child and a wonderful husband. But she just hasn’t been feeling herself recently…

Rebecca thinks a great night out should involve a packet of Marlboro’s, six double vodkas and snogging a colleague. Not gormlessly drinking a zero-alcohol No-hito while Instagramming a vegan chicken wing.

Rebecca wants to ride on a Harley Davidson, to crowd surf till dawn, then collapse in a heap after swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels . . . not sit in a soul-destroying meeting surrounded by ‘blue sky thinking’ and men half her age who interrupt all the time.

She’s had enough of commuting to an office that is so cold people have to wear blankets all day. And she can’t help asking herself why her adorable daughter must spend all week in a containment zone for pre-schoolers.

Rebecca wants to feel that there’s MORE coming her way, rather than less . . .

In short – Rebecca wants out.

But where to?

Rating: three-stars

 

In “Motherwhelmed” we follow Rebecca through her daily life: jumping between job that drains the life out of her, feeling guilty of missing so much from her daughter’s life, frustrated and unhappy with her marriage… Just all the normal things that are called life.

I had a feeling that the author wants to throw off all of her problems on the fact that she’s a mother. I’m sulky and bad tempered – because I’m a mother. I have a bad hair day – because I’m a mother. I had a row with my husband – because I’m a mother. As if those things would have happened if she wasn’t a mother. What I missed in this book were most certainly the simple things that make motherhood special. Yes, it’s exhausting, being a mum, juggling work and home and shopping and thousand other things, but it is also satisfying and having your daughter put your arms around you must be the best feeling ever. Rebecca would be much more believable and likeable if she showed an emotion or two towards her daughter, in her presence. Other than that, she was an okay character, trying to keep calm while wanting to explode and worrying about everything, doing her best to juggle being a working mum.

I also didn’t find it funny. I’m sorry, but I found it flat and lifeless After seeing the huge hype about this book I was hoping I’m going to love it, that it’s going to be another hilarious novel about motherhood, but it turned out to be self – absorbed and dry. Not humorous. I wasn’t expecting twists or turns, as in real life there are not many of them, but I was expecting a coherent and solid story. I had high hoped for this book, being sure that it’s going to be so relatable to me, but sadly not this time. However, do not feel put out by my review – you may enjoy this novel much, much more.

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

 

Publisher: Avon 47914729._sy475_

Publishing Date: 5th September 2019

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

Number of pages: 376

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Prepare to fall head over heels. The perfect book for fans of Josie Silver, Richard Curtis, and anyone who ever fell in love with the wrong person…

What if you couldn’t get away from the one who got away?

This December, unlucky-in-love Jess is following her dream and moving to Notting Hill. On the first night in her new house-share she meets Alex, the guy in the room next door. They don’t kiss under the mistletoe, but there’s still a spark that leaves Jess imagining how they might spend the year together – never mind the house rule against dating…

But when Jess returns from her Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started seeing Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into the man of her dreams – and, apparently, the woman of his.

Jess is determined to move on and spend the year falling in love with London, not Alex – but what if her heart has other ideas?

Rating:  three-stars

 

Jess moves to London from her home in a small town after finding out her boyfriend is cheating on her. Luckily, her friend Becky inherited a multi – million dollar home in Notting Hill and offers Jess one of the rooms for almost nothing, renting other rooms to a group of random friends. As Jess has just bagged  a job in publishing, she’s delighted with the offer. And also, she’s instantly attracted to one of the other tenants, Alex – but Becky has a no – relationship between the tenants clause. But does Alex feel at all the same? What with this other woman coming out of his room one morning? 

The characters were nice enough, even though they felt too one – dimensional but still, they were likeable. I liked Jess and Alex, he was the über – perfect boyfriend candidate, but was also a driven young man with a passion, willing to chase his dreams instead of settling for the wrong partner and job. However, I missed the chemistry between these two, to be honest, and perhaps this is why I was not so invested in their slowest. romance. ever, I’d love more dynamic interactions between them, something that will suggest that they really fell head over heels in love with each other – it was too lukewarm for my liking, too cautious. 

I think the author tried too much to write a perfect, festive story and has overdone on fluffiness and general goodness. The book started really well but then it felt too repetitive and too slow. I appreciated the attempt of getting into Jess and Alex’s heads during their walks through London but in the end they didn’t bring anything new and I started to skip them. I also think that reading about Alex’s reasons of changing his job once or twice was absolutely OK but I didn’t have to read about it in every chapter. 

I can’t help myself, the comparison to “One Day in December” by Josie Silver is simply unavoidable. I wasn’t looking for the same story but the cover and the synopsis to “We Met in December”, as well as the title, have the same vibe and I was looking forward to a lovely, romantic story. However, this book left me disappointed. The beginning was good, and I was fully invested in reading but continually I was losing my interest as the story was losing its impact. Nevertheless, I kept reading, holding out hope that something would happen but the downfall was the lack of action and the fact that it felt so clichéd. There is not a lot happening in there, and as much as I can accept the stories to be predictable, here you knew from the page one how it’s going to end and in the end I found myself willing the book to just cut to the chase.  

Altogether, it was a nice enough, comfortable read, a book that you know what to expect from it and getting it all the way, a cute, warm and quick novel. Yes, I was hoping I’d enjoy this book much more which sadly wasn’t the case, but I’m sure that you may find it a great choice for yourself. Yes, the book had tons of potential but ended up falling short for me. When the book looks like one of the best books written, sounds like one of the best books already written and the author’s name is Rosie Curtis, I was hoping for some Notting Hill vibes. I didn’t hate it, of course not, but it’s not a book that will stay with me for long.