The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

 

cover145117-mediumPublisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 24th January 2019

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

Number of pages: 394

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 19.09.2019)

 

Synopsis:

Everyone’s invited…everyone’s a suspect…

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?

Rating: three-stars

 

“The Hunting Party” – and what a phenomenal title this is! – introduces us to a group of thirty – something close friends from Oxford University, who, after their degrees, stayed in touch and made it a tradition to spend time together. This time they gather over the New Year period at a secluded lodge in Scottish Highlands. On New Year’s Day though, the manager of the estate and the gamekeeper discover that one of the guests is missing and is then found dead. It quickly becomes clear that it was not an accident, that a murder has been committed. The place is closed off the world because of the snowstorms, the police can’t arrive and there is a killer among the guests – what’s going to happen now? Are they save?

I’ve been keeping seeing “The Hunting Party” everywhere, guys, everywhere, and well, yes, this whole hype made me desperate to read this book. Add to this the brilliant, chilling premise and I thought, yes, it’s going to be THIS read. Yes, I’m rather careful with books being advertised in such a way because I am always scared that they’re not going to live up to my expectations, as I think that you can expect something really amazing from them but as lately I’ve been rather lucky and so I started to read this book without any trepidation.
And I kept reading, kept reading and reading, finished the book and thought, and? Is this it? Where is the wow? Sadly, it didn’t take me by surprise. Sadly, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I’m going to. There were all the signals it could be a brilliant read. The setting for example, could you imagine a better setting for a psychological thriller than this remote and desolate exclusive hunting lodge, snowed in, next to a loch somewhere deep in Scottish Highlands? Brilliant, no? Also the way it was written, starting with the information that one of the guest has been found murdered, and then going back and forth over the few days revealing all the facts, interactions and dynamics between the characters should make it tense and on the edge, don’t you think? But then came the characters, and as this story was very character – driven they were the make or break of the book. For me, unfortunately, the break. In the end I simply couldn’t care less who’s been murdered and why because all of them somehow deserved this fate and they simply wasn’t worth saving. We have Emma, a relative newbie to the group and hence desperate to prove that she deserves to be their friend, to fit in, Mark’s girlfriend, and who has organized the trip this time. Mark turns out to be a little on the aggressive side – not that he’s aggressive towards Emma but there is this dark side to him. Miranda is the most beautiful, the most attention seeking, the most popular among the group, though she’s also probably the most spoiled and unpleasant but together with Julian, the good looking and successful one they seem to make the perfect power couple. Samira and Giles are married and arrive with their 6 – months – old daughter Priya, though you can’t tell more about them, to be honest, except that they seem to not coping too well with being newly parents. Nick has been in a long – term relationship with Bo, who has a history of being a drug – addict. And the only single among them, the power London lawyer Katie, who’s hiding a secret and has been Miranda’s best friend since schooldays, but recently they don’t see each other too often. There is also the addiction of the other guest at the lodge, two Icelanders, and of course we have Heather, the manager, with her own dramas and traumas, and Doug, the gamekeeper, an ex – marine, suffering from PTSD. Interesting group, no? Well, not so. And between the partying, hunting, drinking and drugs it quickly becomes clear that perhaps they aren’t as close – knit as we were supposed to think, and more and more secrets and lies come to light. Until the day when one of the guest is found dead. Murdered.

I am very, very sad that this story didn’t deliver for me. The pace of the book was slowed down by the very detailed descriptions of the lodge, the place, the food and clothes which – of course very vivid and almost poetically written – didn’t add much to the main plot. Also, maybe because of the writing style, I found it a little disengaging and cold. Whilst I absolutely loved the setting and the brilliantly captured, chilling atmosphere it was still too little to save the book for me, to make me emotionally involved. This dual timeline was also brilliantly written by the author, she didn’t give too much and yet tried to whet my appetite to find out what has happened, and it would work if it weren’t for this group of those petty characters. However, “The Hunting Party” was brilliantly observant. The author explores the dynamics of friendship, digs deep into them, revealing what’s really hidden under the surface – all the murky, dark secrets and lies. Lucy Folley has an incredible talent to capture all the details and nuances and the chilling atmosphere full of uncertainty and insecurity. So if you’re into reading about dysfunctional group of characters, into some mystery and psychological games this is a book for you.

 

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Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

 

34109621Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 1st January 2019

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

Number of pages: 315

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 07.03.2019)

 

Synopsis:

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to rise again…

The hilarious new heartbreaker from Mhairi McFarlane!

If there’s one thing worse than being fired from the grottiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else.

Reeling from the indignity of a double dumping on the same day, Georgina snatches at the next job that she’s offered – barmaid in a newly opened pub, which just so happens to run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas McCarthy. And whereas Georgina (voted Most Likely to Succeed in her school yearbook) has done nothing but dead-end jobs in the last twelve years, Lucas has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but also has turned into an actual grown-up with a business and a dog along the way.

Meeting Lucas again not only throws Georgina’s rackety present into sharp relief, but also brings a dark secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows the truth about what happened on the last day of school, and why she’s allowed it to chase her all these years…

Rating: four-stars

 

Georgina is working in probably the worst Italian restaurant in Sheffield, has a narcissistic boyfriend, a patronising family that doesn’t understand her life choices, a housemate from hell, and then she’s not only unfairly sacked from her job but also finds her boyfriend in a very unambiguous situation with his PA. And this is when she’s thought things couldn’t get possibly any worse… But at last luck seems to be on her side when she gets an unexpected job offer at a newly refurbished pub, run by the brilliant Dev. However, then she meets Dev’s brother, and business partner, Lucas – her first ever love. She immediately recognizes him, but he doesn’t remember her. Or maybe he doesn’t WANT to remember her?

I think Georgina, as a main character, may trigger mixed feelings but I liked her. She was funny and sharp and relatable and her life was so full of problems: she loved being a waitress, even if she was working at the worst place possible so when she’s fired, in front of the full restaurant, she’s truly shocked. She feels comfortable with her boyfriend but then she discovers something and even though she’s so right about her decision he doesn’t want to let her go. Her flatmate seems to hate her, leaving her passive – aggressive notes and her step – father also seems to hate her, and for sure he doesn’t appreciate her, and so on, and so on. So really, to be honest, nothing comes easy to her. But I loved the fact that she never gave up, that she tried to process her dramas and, despite all of the troubles, she’s happy with her life. – even though she sometimes felt like a failure, sometimes didn’t know what to do with herself and her life. The continuous reminders of her being thirty and that perhaps it’s really time to slow down and do something useful (ie. get married and start to produce children) also didn’t help. But she was strong, she had great friends and she never gave up, and this is why I liked her so much. Of course, there is still some self – doubt but on the whole she was more or less happy with this what she had and she felt comfortable in her own skin.

The romance aspect was, in fact, the background story – it was Georgina’s tale, and I loved it that way, though, I must admit, Lucas was absolutely, totally delicious. Yes, let’s swoon a little about Lucas. Sigh. I simply adored him, even with him blowing hot and cold. The younger Lucas, the one that was Georgina’s boyfriend, came across as absolutely brilliant, responsible and honest teenager while the older one seemed much more moodier but there is a reason to this, oh yes, there is. But let’s put the moods aside, guys, he was simply perfect. And had a dog Keith – what more would you need, right?
Those were actually the characters that made the book so outstanding, I think. They were all so brilliantly developed and full of personality and even if they were absolutely unlikeable – yes, I’m looking at you, Geoffrey, you little toad – you had to appreciate how much work went into all of them, how realistic they all felt. They were strong, not too meh, complex and complicated, just like they should be.

The family dynamics in the story were so well captured! My heart broken at Georgina’s attempts to hide the truth from her mother and sister and, as it turned out, they wanted to do the same. Also, at the fact that she still couldn’t process her dad’s death, at the guilty feeling she was still having – she really had a heart in the right place. The descriptions of the dysfunctional family from Georgina’s childhood were so realistic and plausible, as well as the family from her present days – the meetings at her sister’s were hilarious, especially when we think about the grandmother Nana Hogg, and also full of hurt, pain and bad feelings.

Sure, there were also some things that felt undone or ended abruptly, or too conventionally, like with the short drama with the diary, I’d love a little more depth and development in the Georgina and Lucas’s relationship but they were only small bumps on the otherwise smooth journey but on the whole the book was written in a very easy to read, flowing style that I enjoyed very much. The plot was relatively simple but Mhairi McFarlane’s take on it simply brilliant. There were moments that it felt predictable, the will they/won’t they were there but it was written in such a refreshing, engaging way that it truly didn’t bother me. The events felt so natural, the pace was just spot on, the romance was well developed and I literally raced through this book. The humour there was just my kind of humour, I loved Georgina’s sharp tongue and her one – liners and the banter was witty and warm. It was a perfect mix of laugh, tears, heartbreak and hope. There was much more to this book that you could initially think. It’s about not allowing others to put you down, about raising above, about getting over your old demons. A hilarious novel with an unexpected depth to it, story about second chances, coming to terms with your past and growing to value yourself. There are some very strong messages in this book, wrapped up amongst the laughs so if you’re looking for a light, heart – warming story that will make you think as well, don’t hesitate and treat yourself to “Don’t You Forget About Me” – highly recommended!

A Winter Kiss on Rochester Mews by Annie Darling

A Winter Kiss on Rochester Mews by Annie Darling

 

 

40540663Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 29th November 2018

Series: Lonely Hearts Bookshop #4

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

Number of pages: 416

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

A heartwarming and hilarious Christmas romance!

Tis the season to be jolly!

But on Rochester Mews, two unlikely lovebirds are struggling to find their festive cheer.

Star baker Mattie has hated Christmas ever since she had her heart broken on Christmas Eve. The only thing she hates more is the insufferable Tom, who has rubbed her up the wrong way since she started running the tearoom next door to his bookshop. So when Mattie and Tom are left in charge in the frantic festive days before Christmas, it might be cold outside but things are sure to heat up.

Can a bookshop full of romantic novels, a life-sized reindeer and a mistletoe kissing booth persuade two scrooges to fall in love with Christmas… and each other?

Rating: five-stars

In “A Winter Kiss on Rochester Mews” we’re back to Happy Ever After, the best romantic fiction bookshop in the world, and to the adjoining tearoom run by Mattie Smith, a very talented patisserie chef. She’s been running it for two years already, after coming back from Paris – heartbroken and disappointed and badly judged. This all happened around Christmas, so it’s not a wonder that she’s not the biggest fan of the festive season. Or men. Tom Greer still works in the bookshop, wearing cardigans with patches on the elbows, and the only thing that he has in common with Mattie is the fact that he also hates Christmas. Other than that, it seems that they rub each other only the wrong way. But after Nina moving out from the flat above the bookshop, Mattie and Tom become flatmates – how is it going to end?

There are so many things happening in the bookstore and at the tearoom! Posy is heavily pregnant and ready to cry at any given moment, Nina is back at the shop and is determined to bring the festive atmosphere there, and so with the reindeers in their original size, mistletoe photo booth it slowly starts to look like “Christmas vomited over it”, which for Tom and Mattie, both total anti – Christmas, is at least one common ground to complain.

This time the story focuses strongly on Tom, the enigmatic and enigma – like member of Happy Ever After team who hates romance, and Mattie, who always wears black, runs the tearooms by the bookshop and hates all man. Again, those two, as well as the rest of the gang, and they’re all mentioned in the book, hallelujah, they were just my kind of characters – believable in the way they were, with their ups and down, secrets and troubles, with days that were sometimes better and sometimes worse and their banter, and you know, it is often that you want to bang the characters heads together for them to see the light eventually – and I didn’t want to bang their heads together! They were simply brilliant as they were. Although, I must admit, there was a moment that I felt so sorry for Mattie, when she was blanked out by the others after revealing Tom’s secrets, and I mean, they all – Posy, Verity and Nina, all wanted to know them, right, and then Tom also blanking her out and it was just soooo unfair.
I love how all the characters have their own stories to tell. Mattie’s heart was badly broken in the past and the return of her ex – boyfriend Steven doesn’t bode well. Tom, the very modern feminist, was so full of surprises and well, he always meant really well, even though it might not have looked like this at the first sight. The way those two were starting to find each other in this very complicated and uncomfortable arrangement of living in the same flat above the bookshop was absolutely sweet, hilarious and uplifting. Annie Darling, just like Debbie Johnson, can so brilliantly write about feelings and emotions, they’re so beautifully captured and they simply sound genuine and honest.

I’ve finished reading this book grinning from ear to ear, there was so much joy and optimism here, it really made me feel better and lighter. It was a delight to read and it was almost as good as the first book in the series, “.The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts” though, to be honest again, it is probably one of the most gorgeous novels in the world and of all time. I really could read more about the Lonely Hearts Bookshop, it’s one of my absolutely favourite series, and I so hope to see more from the characters in the future, though guys, to be totally honest, the last sentence in this book looks like the very final one, sniff.

Altogether, this book was a perfect read – I loved every single moment of it. It was full of fantastic characters that are down – to – earth and brilliantly funny and comic moments, but it also touched upon some heavier issues. There was the Christmas spirit, bookshop full of romance books and mouth – watering festive baking – I don’t need anything more! Highly recommended!

 

A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

 

 

39783948Publisher: Harper Collins/ HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 18th October 2018

Series: Comfort Food Cafe #5

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Cosy up at the Comfort Food Cafe for a romance that isn’t just for Christmas…

‘As cosy as a buttered crumpet’ Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson

Christmas has never been Katie Seddon’s favourite time of year. Whilst everyone else shares memories of families coming together and festive number ones, the soundtrack to Katie’s childhood wasn’t quite so merry.

But since she moved to the village of Budbury on the gorgeous Dorset coast, Katie and her baby son have found a new family. A family who have been brought together by life’s unexpected roads and the healing magic of a slice of cake and a cupful of kindess at the Comfort Food Café.

This year, Katie’s new friends are determined to give her a Christmas to remember, and with a gorgeous newcomer in town, Katie’s Christmas wish for a happy home for her son might just come true.

Rating: four-stars

Katie is a single mum to a little boy Saul. She moves to Budbury hoping to find peace there, to just have a simple life, far away from her childhood home and her parents’ constant fighting that outshone them the real needs of their daughter and the real sense of life. Katie doesn’t want such life for her son. Budbury is full of wonderful people that want to help each other, people who embrace Katie without asking, who accept her immediately. But can Katie leave her past behind? And can her past leave Katie behind? Is she going to find what she’s looking for in Budbury?

I really am not sure what to say more about the Comfort Food Cafe series that I haven’t already said. It is really hard to write another review about a book that you loved – and please, please, please don’t get me wrong, I could read books set in Budbury all year long – but they start to feel the same. “A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe” is a brilliant, funny, uplifting story, with beautiful characters but for me there was nothing that I haven’t come across in previous books in this series.

But. Having said that I can only admit that Debbie Johnson has written another fabulous, full of feelings and emotions story. I loved getting to know Katie and her son Saul, though I must admit that the parts where the characters from the previous books entered the scenes brought me so much more joy, especially all the surprises. Katie, I think, was not the easiest character to like – she was challenging, with her moods and blowing cold and hot but it was, of course, absolutely understandable. Already at the beginning of the story we learn about her life and to say it was turbulent would be an understatement – hence the habit of running away when the troubles come. But now Katie found her place in Budbury – didn’t she? I loved seeing Katie coming out of her shell, leaving her comfort zones, to have the guts to do something new, to perhaps start to trust again. However, when the troubles came back to literally knock on her doors, she started reverting back, packing her bags and it was incredibly sad to see. On the other hand, I think Debbie Johnson has captured here the most realistic, genuine emotions – the need to just bury your head in the sand, to repeat the old pattern because they were working, and this is what Katie’s initial thoughts were, which was really understandable. It takes a lot of courage to overcome the old habits and it was truly brilliantly described by the author, and Katie felt so genuine, and I loved it. I think she just needs a chance, so please just give her some time, you will really like her and understand her.

Of course the story touches upon many sensitive issues and Debbie Johnson proves again that she can tackle them with so much sensitivity and also humour. I also adore this overwhelming sense of familiarity, belonging and community in her books. Debbie Johnson never disappoints with her stories, and the Comfort Food Cafe series is one of the best ever. They are books that you don’t want to end, that you immediately feel like a part of the characters’ world – that doesn’t feel fictional at all and reading “A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe” was like being back with your old friends. Really, opening this book was like stepping back into a parallel world, a world that you know is just one page away. I immediately felt comfortable, as if I’ve came back to a place where I belong, and it is a great feeling.

It was a warm and feel – good book, perfectly mixing humour, fun and poignant moments. Despite some sadness, it was full of this overwhelming feeling of happiness and content and you know what, I’d love to be a character in Johnson’s books, even if there are many challenges awaiting them because at the end they always find love, luck, come out of their shells and feel good on their own skin. It was a lovely story about friendship, letting go, finding yourself – highly recommended, even if you haven’t read the other books in the series: every single one of them is a good start.

 

The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp by Sarra Manning

The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp by Sarra Manning

 

 

39844198Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 6th September 2018

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A hilarious contemporary retelling of the classic society novel, VANITY FAIR, featuring the irrepressible Becky Sharp

Beautiful, brilliant, ruthless – nothing can stop Becky Sharp.

Determined to leave her poverty-stricken roots behind her, Becky Sharp is going to take every opportunity offered to her to climb to the top. Whether it’s using her new BFF Amelia Sedley to step up into the rarified world of London’s upper classes, or seducing society’s most eligible bachelors, Becky Sharp is destined for great things – at any cost…

From London to Paris and beyond, the world is there for Becky’s taking – even though some people are determined to stop her along the way…

Rating: four-stars

This story follows Becky Sharp – a runner up on Big Brother, nanny, Instagram influencer to eventually become a philanthropist. But Becky worked hard for all of this – or did she? Relying only on herself, that is until she senses a chance and someone with more money… or another someone, with even more money? Using other people or simply being ambitious? I haven’t read the original “Vanity Fair” so I am probably in the minority that won’t be comparing those two books, and also I didn’t recognise any of the scenes and couldn’t compare the characters, but I’m sure there are similarities, and also, even without reading the “first” book, I can assure you that I totally adored this modern take on “Vanity Fair”.

Even though I was not particularly found of the characters! However, I fell for Becky and I felt sorry for her and in the next second I simply hated her. Becky was incredibly intriguing character, and Sarra Manning has so brilliantly captured all of her attributes! She was a champion of disguising her true self and so you could never be sure which of the faces you’re going to see; she for sure knew how to behave in a particular company. It depended on the person she was with and how influential they were. I don’t think we have ever come across Becky’s true colours guys, she has provided regular doses of the level of sincerity and really, I think, no, I am sure that the only person she cared about was herself. She was a master of using people and sweet – talking them. Yet – she was likeable! I might have not loved her but I had feelings of warmth and somehow I wanted to protect her. Weird, no? She schemes and manipulates in a perfect way and yet you just want to cheer her on. She truly knows what she wants and doing anything just to get her way, actually almost always getting what she wanted. She’s unbreakable.

Sarra Manning’s writing style is brilliant. The pace of the novel in fast and there are twists and turns that you’ll never see coming. The plot was hooking, I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what’s going to happen. There were moment that it was ridiculous and hilarious, as well as some of the very colourful characters that really made me feel all kinds of emotions.

This book could go on and go, it was a kind of never – ending story, and personally I would love to see what Becky has got herself into – I think it ended in one of the most exciting moments, and our Becky implied that she’s not to rest on her laurels, oh no. But also, this end was not satisfying for me – there was a huge build up but then I had a feeling that it turned into … nothing. So really, if Ms Manning were to write a sequel to “The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp” I’d be probably the first one in the virtual queue to read it.

“The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp” was a book full of scandals, rich people and celebrities, revenge, coincidences. It was partly really bonkers crazy but this is why I enjoyed it so much, as it sat with this book so well. It was sharp and brutally honest about modern life and current priorities. It was juicy and relying strongly on social satire, and Sarra Manning has brilliantly portrayed this what makes it this satire – demeanours, the mentality, the greed and self – obsession in this Instagram era, celebrity obsessions, being famous because of being famous. It’s full of sharp and so fitting and relevant observations – highly recommended!

 

The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap (Blog Tour)

The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap

 

37551531Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 9th August 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 04.04.2019)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Rules of Seeing follows the lives of two women whose paths cross at a time when they need each other most. Nova, an interpreter for the Metropolitan police, has been blind from birth. When she undergoes surgery to restore her sight her journey is just beginning – she now has to face a world in full colour for the first time. Kate, a successful architect and wife to Tony, is in hospital after a blow to the head. There, she meets Nova and what starts as a beautiful friendship soon turns into something more.

Rating: four-stars

Nova is 32 years old and she’s been blind her whole life. She’s coping very well – she speaks five languages and works as an interpreter for the Metropolitan Police. Now she’s going to undergo an operation that’ll allow her to see for the first time in her life. Contrary to what other people think, it’s not an easy decision – Nova has fears about what’s going to come, about not understanding, about not finding herself in her new life. And it’s true – she can see, but she can’t understand, she must learn everything anew. Will she be strong enough to preserve in being a sighted person?
Kate is an architect who lives in an abusive relationship. While in a hospital during an accident when she fell down and experienced some injuries, she meets Nova, and their friendship, full of bumps, turns and twists, begin. It turns out there is more than friendship – but will Kate’s husband Tony accept this new situation?

The way the author described Nova learning to see was… well, it was actually indescribable. I don’t know how it is with you but I thought, OK, she’ll get her operation, she’ll be able to see and that was it. But nothing could be further from the truth! I didn’t take into consideration the fact that she has never seen, so how is she going to perceive it now? To see? Will it be painful? Will she immediately get used to it? This, what is obvious for me, was not so much for Nova, and I just didn’t think about it this way, and it took me so much by surprise. You may think, she should be happy that she can see, right, but is it really so? Is it better to really see, all the things, everything that happens? Nova has had to learn everything – how to live a life as a sighted person, how to write, how to identify shapes and objects, and it wasn’t as simple as we can think it can be. The author really opened my eyes and pointed out things that I would never have imagined might be so surprising for a person like Nova. He has done a really great job in making me understand how hard it was to Nova to learn to see.
Nova was the strong one and Kate was the weaker one, and well, I sometimes felt desperate with Kate. As much as it was the story about Nova, I think that it was in fact about Kate and her learning to see, to take actions, to face her fears and I couldn’t wait to see when she’s eventually going to grow a backbone. It may sound harsh but I simply cared for her so much, I was worried that the next time will be this one too much and that something really bad is going to happen to her.

The rules of seeing from the title are notes made by Nova, her observations on things that she’s learnt, and they were always connected with the events that happened to the characters. Again, they were brilliant observations about things that we take for granted but if you stopped and wondered for a moment, you’d see that actually they’re not.

I’m not so sure about the ending, to be totally honest. I understand that the author had to solve one of Nova and Kate’s subplots and perhaps add this little drama but firstly, it felt too much at the margin, and then the shift in tone was too abrupt, too dramatic and too rushed. There were moments that the book slowed down, that it felt a little too slow and too philosophical for my liking but there were also moments that were full of drama and were really scary, there was a touch of thriller to this book as well.

This book was not what I was expecting but on the other hand, I’m not sure what I was expecting – probably a little teary tale about a woman who can miraculously see after years of not seeing, and not this thought – provoking, sometimes dramatic and so deeply captivating debut. It was really about learning to see – both in literal and metaphorical aspects. It was honest and refreshing, affecting, thought – provoking and it made you think, so really it had all the things to make it a great read. There was a great mix of romance and contemporary, lightness and darkness, hope and losing it. It gave the reader a very different perspective on almost everything that we take for granted. A real read with a difference and for sure Joe Heap is one to watch. Highly recommended!

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One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk (Blog Tour)

One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk

 

35562950Publisher: Harper

Publishing Date: 26th July 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

‘A corker…hilarious!’ Giovanna Fletcher
‘Full of heart and very, very funny’ Paige Toon

Everyone wants that special someone….

Annie Higgins has given up on love: she’s too busy trying to get her own business off the ground. Infuriated by the advertising agency across the hall making fun of her job, Annie accepts their crazy challenge – to make a random stranger Instagram-famous in just 30 days.

And even when they choose Dr Samuel Page PhD, historian and hater of social media, as her target, Annie’s determined to win the bet – whether Sam likes it or not.

But getting to know Sam means getting to know more about herself. And before the 30 days are out, Annie has to make a decision about what’s really important…

Funny, real and heart-meltingly romantic, Annie and Sam’s story is My Fair Lady for the social media age – and the perfect summer read.

Rating: five-stars

 

In “One in a Million” we meet Annie Higgins who has just betted to turn a very social media unfriendly person into an Instagram influencer. The man in question, Dr Samuel Page, doesn’t know his luck yet and Annie must turn this innocent nerd into an über – cool – nerd with twenty thousand followers in only thirty days. Samuel is absolutely not interested but when Annie learns that his girlfriend has recently dumped him for being only interested in his research work, being emotionally absent, for having a bad dress sense and for being not groomed enough, she senses her chance and “Boyfriend Bootcamp” is brought to life. She’s going to change him into the man his ex wants him to be and in exchange for her tips he agrees for her to make him exist in social media. Will she manage to turn this totally unknown unfriendly historian into Instagram star?

I’ve never been so much into social media, I mean, I do have my Facebook (sorry, Annie, yes, I’m old enough), and I know my Twitter but this followers fights on Instagram somehow passed me by, however I was totally intrigued what you can do to gain those followers – especially when you’re as reluctant as the person that Annie was supposed to turn into Instagram influencer. I am not the person that can’t take her eyes off her phone so Annie was a little exotic to me but I, of course, can also understand her way of keeping on with her emails, messages and likes, it was her job at last.

Annie was immediately likeable. She was funny and had some of the best one – liners, she was quirky and extremely good at her job. I loved Annie’s passion, the way she mad me feel about her – she made me laugh but I also wanted to bang her head sometimes, and this is the sign of a really great, realistic character.
Dr Samuel Page (not Sam!) was one of the most brilliant characters ever. Not only seeing him coming out of his shell was a real joy, seeing him as he is was refreshing and only imagining his face at some of the changes made me laugh out loud. This reluctance of his, it was so perfectly well captured and described and I felt so, so sorry for him. I only think that I would love to hear his point of view as well, not only Annie’s – I know, we know he’s reluctant and not so keen on this whole idea but it would be great to hear direct from him.
The banter between the characters was so enjoyable and it felt so genuine and natural. What I also liked was the fact that there could be one or two or more potential affair contenders, which made the reading not so obvious, however then it came to such a point when I couldn’t imagine Annie with any other character than THIS ONE. But of course life is not a picnic and the way to happy ending is always a bumpy road and there is never a guarantee that it’s going to be a happy end, right.

The pace of this story was only right, it was not too quick and not too slow and there were amusing events aplenty. It was fabulously enjoyable, with enough drama and romance, laughter and seriousness. The romance part was truly genuine and not too forced on the characters, and it was brilliantly balanced with their lives, careers and likes. Even if the story covers only one month, this love affair doesn’t feel too rushed or too artificial and I found myself totally absorbed in it. And it’s not only a laugh – out – loud book. I really liked how cleverly and seamlessly those subtle references to gender politics in business, in running your own company and also those random historical facts were built into this story.
Altogether, “One in a Million” was brilliantly light – hearted and spot on, it was full of hilarious situations and this trademark Lindsey Kelk’s humour and incredibly warm characters – this author is really a queen of creating unforgettable characters that you can’t help but root for. And of course there is also the hidden message about social media as well! Highly recommended!

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