Blast from the Past by Cathy Hopkins

Blast from the Past by Cathy Hopkins

 

43320539Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 21st February 2019

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

Number of pages: 400

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

On a trip of a lifetime to India, Bea is given an unexpected fiftieth birthday present – an hour with a celebrated clairvoyant. Unlucky in love, Bea learns that her true soulmate is still out there ̶ and that he’s someone she knew in a past life.

Returning home, Bea revisits the men in her life and can’t resist looking up a few old lovers – the Good, the Bad and the… well, the others. As Bea connects with the ones that got away, she suspects that her little black book has remained shut for a reason. But one man out there has her in his sights.
They say love is blind and maybe Bea just needs an eye test…

Funny and wise, this is the perfect read for anyone who believes in finding love, no matter what their age.

Rating: three-stars

To celebrate her 50th birthday, Bea and two of her best friends travel to India. It’s not your usual trip, as they usually avoid the touristy places, and enjoy it very much. At the end of the trip the befriended three exchange their birthday presents and one of Bea’s is an hour reading with India’s most popular and celebrated clairvoyant. To say that she’s sceptical would be an understatement but nevertheless she goes there with an open mind and is told that her true soul mate is out there somewhere and she only must find him. Moreover, they have met in the previous life already – the only thing Bea has to do now is to recognise him in her present life.

And here the book takes us on a bitter – sweet, funny and poignant journey as Bea decides to revisit the men that were significant in her life and to reconnect with her past loved ones. Some of them are single, some not, some of them changed, some of them didn’t and she’s in for all sorts and kinds, and we together with her. What she doesn’t know is that there is a man who’s desperately in love with her – is it one of the past lovers? The chapters told from Bea’s point of view were interspersed with some told by the mystery man, and let me tell you, the author didn’t make it too easy for us to guess who it was. There was a character that I wanted Bea to end with together but I couldn’t be sure that it’s going to happen, and I really liked this feeling of uncertainty and unpredictability.

The retrospections of Bea’s previous relationships were so very well written. It was simply like it is in real life, with all the ups and downs and all kind of relationships and how Bea felt about them. It was realistic and genuine and also entertaining – some were truly disastrous, also in a funny way, but also in a more serious way, and I liked how well the author mixed them all together and perfectly balanced humour with sadness and seriousness.

Sadly, this time, the book felt a little too flat for me, and very repetitive. I had a feeling that we’re repeating the same thing, over and over again and that we’re not moving forward. I liked the idea of reincarnation, it was something totally new and refreshing but I couldn’t engage with it somehow and it didn’t keep my attention as much as I thought it’s going to. It simply felt too slow – but, having said that, I must also admit that this book was full of warmth and brilliant characters and I liked the message that it’s never too late to find your true love. What was so exceptionally brilliant and unique in the book was the idea of past life and the way the author explored this topic – even if I couldn’t fully get into it. No matter what your thoughts on it, it was written in a special, well – researched way and I had a feeling that Cathy Hopkins isn’t trying to convince me there is a past life and it’s possible to meet your soul mate again, no, she’s giving me a choice to believe in it or not. I’ll be honest, I still don’t know what to think about it but it was great to read about it, about the possibilities and oh well, there is something in it, right, those feelings of deja vu that we’re experiencing, seeing people for the first time in our lives and thinking that we know them for ages.

Altogether, “Blast from the Past” is a book about second chances, about grabbing life by the horns, having fun and about not being afraid to have dreams. It was warm, uplifting and with some sad moments as well, and I’m sure we all be able to find something we can relate to in this story. Even though it may not be my favourite Cathy’s novel, I still enjoyed it whole – heartedly, it was refreshing and unique. Recommended!

 

Advertisements

My Top Ten Books of 2017

My Top Ten Booksof 2017

Hi guys! Exactly one year ago I was sharing my most favourite reads of 2016 with you, and now it’s time to do the same with the 2017 reads. What is so special about this is the fact that there are the same authors on both lists!

In 2017 I haven’t read as many books as I’d like. The current number is 156 and when some might say wow, I know that I struggled to get to this number – life getting in the way, child growing up and serving as a taxi to bring her to and back from her activities, looking after the dogs, going to work that lately is very stressful… But let’s not whinge, altogether it was not a bad year, and not only in a bookish sense, but let’s focus on books, guys, this is why we’re here, right? I’ve read many brilliant novels, introducing me to characters that are going to stay with me for ever, and I spent thousand of magical hours in my fictional worlds, and here are some of my most favourite ones. They are not in particular order but there is one book that immediately springs to mind and so I just have it to place it at the very top of my list.

A Song for Tomorrow by Alice Peterson

img_20170206_150557

February releases brought one of my most anticipated books this year. Alice Peterson belongs to my top favourite author but with “A Song for Tomorrow” she has overdone herself – this book is an absolute gem, a book like no other that turned me into a a weepy mess but that was also full of hope. I absolutely loved this book and it’s going to stay with me for ever!

My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon

c1e1cfowqaatc-7

One novel that made me laugh out loud, that made me cringe, that made me cheer the characters on and also made me feel inspired by the main character was “My Sweet Revenge” by Jane Fallon, a story that I’ll be getting back to many, many times – though I’d love to be able to read it for the first time over and over again. “My Sweet Revenge” was a bittersweet story with strong and solid characters, with laugh out loud moments and many twists and turns, and you really couldn’t be sure what to expect and – and it was the best! – who to trust and which information is true, the author has really messed with her readers! Absolutely brilliant read!

A Not Quite Perfect Family by Claire Sandy

33387208

I am actually a little bit in love with this book. It was fun and quirky, with brilliant characters, and the author tells about things like they are, with no holds barred. She has written about normal family – with all the ups and downs, function and dysfunction, troubles and successes but she has made this family not only special but down – to – earth. They could have their differences but in the end they all stuck together, they supported each other, just like it should be. “A Not Quite Perfect Family” was full of laugh – out – loud moments, but also there were moments that were much, much more poignant. A cringey, embarrassing moments intertwined with deeper, poignant ones and I loved this mix – it was perfect.

The One by John Marrs

31422849

Oh holy moly, guys. This book. THIS BOOK. When I started to reading it, I couldn’t put it down. Literally. This book. THIS BOOK. It was freakingly brilliant. So refreshing, so original, so unpredictable – one of the best novels this year, believe me. This novel was unputdownable. It was exciting and addictive, and as the chapters were so short, I more than often found myself telling only one chapter and coming out for an air few hours later. It is so, so cleverly plotted, full of shocking twists and turns. “The One” was one of the most unpredictable reads you can ever wish for.

Catch Me if You Cannes by Lisa Dickenson

32940978

There can’t be a list without Lisa Dickenson’s book on it!!! “Catch Me if you Cannes” was packed full, as it usually is with Lisa’s stories, of incredible, belly – ache one – liners. There is something magic and addictive to Lisa’s writing. It’s so light and easy to follow, and it leaves you full of sparkles and will to live, really. But it’s not only laugh – out – loud story about the adventures of two best friends, oh no, Lisa, as usually, has added some softer and emotional moments to the plot as well, that just made me love the story much, much more!

Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

35215800

This story is so beautifully written, it’s full of layers, it’s deep and incredibly funny at the same time, and full of unforgettable characters and situations, friendship and the overwhelming feeling of being welcome. It’s bittersweet, and it is very honest and raw but there is also this incredibly uplifting, optimistic side to it. You can feel the love, the friendship and hope and it is great. It made me laugh out loud and cry like a baby, and it evoke all kind of emotions in me. It is Debbie Johnson at her best!

The Break by Marian Keyes

34511798

“The Break” was full of dramas, small and huge, and brilliantly captured family bonds. It touches on some more serious and some lighter issues. It is first of all about love, but also about death and grief, health issues, patchwork families and how they work, betrayal, temptations and also your everyday troubles and issues. It’s about overcoming those troubles and staying strong. It’s about choices. It was compelling, emotional, complex and so wise! A book with unforgettable characters that’s going to stay with you for a long time after you’ve finished reading it, with plenty of emotional but also plenty of this incredible Irish charm and humour.

Dancing Over the Hill by Cathy Hopkins

37531790

This book made me laugh so hard and I couldn’t wait to discover what’s going to happen. It is this best kind of book when you want to turn the pages as quickly as possible but on the other hand you don’t want it to end. It was a brilliant, entertaining story about love, family and finding your priorities, relationships and seeing that grass is not always greener on the other side. It had me emotionally involved and just pushed all the right buttons for me.

The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle

Jpeg

“The Year of Saying Yes” was a story about learning things about yourself, pushing your boundaries, learning that impossible is nothing. It shows that no matter what we think about ourselves, we’re strong enough to face the challenges – in a brilliant, hilarious, light – hearted way. I really can’t wait to see what Hannah Doyle has in store for us, because this book was a real winner and it is a novel that should be shouted about from the rooftops.

Sister Sister by Sue Fortin

51r1rv74isl

This book is  pure genius. A bloody good psychological suspense/thriller with a writing style that just draws you in, and you can’t stop reading. “Sister, Sister” is a story of betrayal, lies and secrets, an absorbing and disturbing psychological suspense with greatly developed characters full of secrets and issues, all so significant to this story and they keep you guessing till the end. This is this kind of a book that you say to yourself you’re going to read only one chapter more and come up for a breath few hours later.

Dancing Over the Hill by Cathy Hopkins

Dancing Over the Hill by Cathy Hopkins

 

37531790Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 14th December 2017

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 341

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 25.01.2018)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The hilarious and poignant new novel from the best selling author of The Kicking the Bucket List.

When a boxset of Broadchurch is more appealing than having sex with your husband, then perhaps it’s time to hide the remote…

Cait and Matt have been married for 30 years. They are rock solid; an inspiration to others; stuck together like glue – aren’t they?
But Cait can’t shake off the feeling that something is missing. They are fit and healthy, if a bit skint – but the whole world should be their oyster now that Matt has retired, giving them the time to do those things that really matter – and more importantly – together. So why is she left wondering if this is all there is? Has Matt always been this annoying and infuriating? And where have those ants-in-her-pants suddenly come from?
It’s not helped by the reappearance in her life of Tom Lewis, the love of her life who broke her heart at university and who, despite the fact she hasn’t she hasn’t seen him for decades, is still exerting his magnetic pull.
Her friends are Lorna, who recently lost her husband, and Debs whose husband recently left her. The three women must all question what they want out of the rest of their lives – and how they are going to get it…

Rating: five-stars

 

happy-valentines-day11

“Dancing Over the Hill” is my second Cathy Hopkins’s book and oh my word, guys, I just can’t wait for more! It was a read filled with fun, laughter and tenderness and it just spoke with me and resonated with me and it was all what I needed at the moment. I was immersed in the story from the very first page, guys, and I really didn’t want to put this book down. It was truly fast – paced but not over – done, it was full of brilliant, larger than life characters that the author so incredibly well brought to life, and it just rang a bell or two, it was so relatable. It was also brutally honest and absolutely hilarious, so really, just the best kind of read, evah. I had great expectations for this book, after reading Cathy’s previous one, “The Kicking the Bucket List” and I was not disappointed, I probably liked “Dancing Over the Hill” even more.

What I absolutely liked in this story is the fact that the characters are mature ones – people with past, who experienced a lot and they really know what they’re talking about. They make mistakes, and oh boy, some really great mistakes, but they are so genuine and honest in all the situations and I just couldn’t help and kept everything crossed for them. Cait and Matt have been married for more than 30 years now and they find themselves in a relationship that’s, let’s say, came to a little standstill. They don’t have anything in common anymore, and they just live in one house, next to each other, but as if separate – if you follow me. Probably more out of habit than anything else they’re still together. Then, after a whirlwind of events, they find themselves both out of work and the big question, what now, is looming above their heads, and it’s not only about their financial situation but also their private lives. Do they want to stay together? It’s not so straightforward, as an old flame of Cait suddenly appears on her Facebook, sending her friend request and trying to seduce her again. Then there are also Cait’s friends, Lorna and Debs, trying their best to help as best they can, that doesn’t always end well, and Matt’s brother (oh boy. Guys! Some of the most hilarious scenes I’ve ever read, please be careful when you decide to talk sex on the phone with your husband!) and Cait’s father, and many, many other characters and things. They were open for new stuff and to learn a new lesson or two.

Really guys, there was not a single thing that I didn’t enjoy in this novel. It was down to earth and close to life, and with some best one – liners ever. The dialogues were just spot – on, so realistic and genuine, and the situations the characters got themselves into were incredibly hilarious but not too far fetched. There were so many situations that made me laugh out loud, and I fell for all of the characters, that Cathy Hopkins so easily and effortlessly brought to life. She can so well write about feelings and emotions, it was absolutely brilliant. The chapters were just the right length, snappy and kept me glued to the pages.

Cathy Hopkins deserves so much more recognition, and believe me, I’ll be shouting about “Dancing Over the Hill” from all the rooftops! This book made me laugh so hard and I couldn’t wait to discover what’s going to happen. It is this best kind of book when you want to turn the pages as quickly as possible but on the other hand you don’t want it to end. It was a brilliant, entertaining story about love, family and finding your priorities, relationships and seeing that grass is not always greener on the other side. It had me emotionally involved and just pushed all the right buttons for me, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough! A perfect read!

 

The Kicking the Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins

The Kicking the Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins

 

34403262Publisher: Harper

Publishing Date: 9th March 2017

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

Number of pages: 296

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

‘Warm, wise and full of heart… I absolutely loved this book.’ Lucy Diamond

Meet the daughters of Iris Parker. Dee; sensitive and big-hearted; Rose uptight and controlled and Fleur the reckless free spirit.
At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’.

But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’ bucket list was about so much more than money…

Rating: 4/5

“The Kicking the Bucket List” is Cathy Hopkin’s first adult book – previously she has been writing teen fiction. As soon as I spotted this novel on NetGalley I knew that I want to read it – I love the cover, it’s so uplifting and the three ducks are lovely 🙂 Also, the tag saying “Even when she’s gone, Mum still knows best” is really eye – catching and I just had a feeling that this can be THE book. It is about death and grief but dealing with those issues in a lovely, exceptional way. The writing style is truly great, it was flowing, it was so vivid, bringing all the characters and events effortlessly to life. I couldn’t wait to see what the next task is going to be – some of them were better, some of them not so good but in the end they should have bring the girls together. Did they?

The book started very promising and it quickly started to gain a pace. However, somewhere in the middle it went a little downhill for me, felt a little too slow and too flat, but in the end it gathered pace again. There were many funny moments and I more than once laughed out loud, but it was also full of very poignant moments that almost brought tears to my eyes. There were passages that I loved and passages that I skim – read, as I thought they were not necessary. There were moments that were so important but also some that felt too insignificant. But altogether, I totally enjoyed this story and was engrossed in the three sisters’ lives – the three very different women are the main characters in this story – well, just like sisters can be different. They are sisters by blood but because of life getting in the way they are actually more like strangers – they don’t get in touch, they don’t see each other, they don’t know what is happening with each other. I don’t know if it’s such a typical relationship between sisters? Though, you know, I also have a sister – she’s 8 years younger than me and there is 1000 km between us since more than 10 years now and well, yes, we talk on the phone every once in a while, or we send an email and we know what’s going on in our lives but I wouldn’t call it the perfect sisterhood – although Rose, Daisy and Fleur took their relationship to another level, I think, as they only knew what’s happening with their sisters through their mother – but now she’s gone. She had also added some conditions to her will. The girls must complete some tasks before they receive their inheritance but the main reason is that Iris wanted to bring all her girls together – will she manage, from beyond the grave?

I must say that I liked the characters immediately, probably because they were so honest and genuine in the way they were. Rose, the eldest, is also the bossiest and she seems so cold – hearted. She is the one who wanted to backtrack from the challenge – Dee thinks it’s because she’s so stand – offish, has enough money and doesn’t need to be afraid of the future. But – is this the real reason? The more you read the more you learn about Rose and her reasons. Yes, she was smart alec, she thought she knows best but I think that deep down it was because she was the eldest and somehow she always felt the responsibility for her younger siblings.Daisy, the middle sister, is an artist and she often has her head in the clouds – she, unlike Rose, doesn’t own a home, she only rents it and Rose can’t understand why. Dee turns 50 in the book and her birthday party, especially the song sang by Anne and Marie was fantabulous! Dee is single, and her only daughter lives in Australia. After the misfortunate relationships Dee decided no more men in her life, she’s going to concentrate on her art but well, how do they say, if you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans – because a man, or even more, appear on the scenes. Dee is desperate to make the challenge her mum set for the sisters, as without her part of the inheritance she can’t buy the house she’s currently living in. But she also wants to connect with her sisters again, she misses them – really misses them. Then we have Fleur, the youngest one, real power – woman who runs a very prosperous property portfolio and next to having some fancy apartments all over the world she also has one in London. I’d personally love to know more about Fleur, because I have a feeling that I didn’t get to know her as much as I’d like, she was the closed, withdrawn one, even though she probably had the sharpest tongue of all of them.
There is also Daniel, the man who was helping Iris organizing the tasks for the girls. Let me just tell you that from the very beginning there was something in him that made me unsure. I didn’t trust him, full stop. Was I right?

Dee is the main character in the story and it’s told mostly from her point of view, however there are also chapters told by Rose and Fleur, so we also get a chance to get to know – and understand – them much better, especially Rose. I also totally adored how the relationship between them was developing – it was not too quick, it was not a bed of roses and it’s good, because then it would seem too unrealistic, and doing it this way the author has made it much more authentic and genuine. Well, you can’t fall into each other’s arms after years of hidden grudges and animosities and not being in touch, right? So it was a real joy to see how eventually the girls start to stick up for each other. And they loved their mother. They could be different, they might have not agree on different issues, but what they had in common was the fact that they loved Iris, so I imagined how emotional it must have been for them, to see her in the video messages. The author has brilliantly captured all the emotions between the sisters, this great deal of misunderstandings, hurt and jealousy. I think she described it just like it is in real life. The way they picked on a word or two and chose to understand it the wrong way, the way they jumped to conclusions, well, it was just so realistic and honest. Also the reasons why the sisters didn’t want to partake in the challenge were thoroughly explained, the secrets were revealed and it really let us understand what and why.

I truly enjoyed “The Kicking the Bucket List” by Cathy Hopkins. It was emotional, it was full of feelings, it was incredibly funny and poignant, just the perfect mix. It made me pick my phone and call my mum and sister, just to hear their voices, to know they are there. It is a story that will probably make you think and re – evaluate your relationships and show you that you shouldn’t take them for granted. It is a book about appreciating what you have because it can happen that very suddenly there will be nothing more to appreciate, a lovely and warm story about finding happiness and contentment. Recommended!