Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane / Blog Tour

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

 

Publisher: Michael Joseph 44004179._sy475_

Publishing Date: 8th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

How much can a family forgive?

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne—sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Francis and Lena’s daughter, Kate, and Brian and Anne’s son, Peter. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while tested by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.

Rating:  four-stars

 

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope got to know each other through the New York City police academy and worked as partners later. Later, they move into neighbouring houses in the small town of Gillam and start their own families, Francis with Anna and Brian with Lena. While Gleesons have three daughters, the Stanhopes have only one son. There is only six months difference between Kate and Peter, and they immediately bond with each other, becoming true friends. A few years later however, and a tragedy occurs, changing the lives of everyone in both families and the Stanfords having to move away. Fast forward some years, Kate and Peter, now adults, are still trying to come to terms with what has happened, navigating through the years filled with pain and unfairness, nevertheless throwing themselves into what future brings. But the memories hunt them, and past becomes a millstone round their necks.

This book was for me a slow burner. It took me a long time to finally, eventually fully get into it (well, it spans over 40 years and revolves around only two families), to get what the author wanted to tell us, to cotton on what the story is about – my bad, I admit, but then the story was unputdownable, taking an unexpected twist when something really tragic happens, shaping the lives of the characters, and not necessary in a positive way. It’s a novel that will leave you mentally drained and thinking about it all the time, even after you’ve finished reading it.

Each of the characters has its own, distinctive voice and the author lets them speak. They’re full of faults, they make mistakes, they’re not always likeable but they feel real and often I felt a pang of sympathy for them, even if I haven’t supported all their choices. They were through so many trials and tribulations that it was impossible not to fell for them, especially for Kate and Peter, although – and I loved how it made me feeling – one moment you’ll be feeling like you are betraying the other side by liking the other characters.

 It was a heart – wrenching  and mentally draining family – drama, for me very character driven. The author has done a brilliant job in describing her characters, though what blew me really away was how great her understanding of human nature is and how deep and realistic she writes about characters’ interactions. This story is full to brims with feelings and emotions, even if they’re not mentioned on every single page, but they’re there, dealt with care and sensitivity. And it’s in both, the characters and the plot, that there is tons of soul – baring honesty and reality, I couldn’t imagine the characters to behave differently. The author has an incredible way with words, and is a great storyteller. The relationships that she paints are true to life, even if masterfully crafted, her observations are spot on and she doesn’t shy away from writing about burning and difficult issues.

“Ask Again, Yes” is a complex, disturbing book with the feeling of something wrong going to happen at any moment, and you simply want to keep reading, can’t leave this fictional world. It deals not only with family bonds, but addiction, mental illness and the repercussions when it’s not treated.  However, deep inside this sadness and darkness, there is light and heart and hope, and it explores life and love and everyday life in a unique way. Unique, thought – provoking and clever – recommended!

 

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Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas / Blog Tour

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

 

44293430._sy475_Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 8th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 448

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 08.08.2019)

 

Synopsis:

THE ONLY THING MORE SHOCKING THAN THE FIRST CHAPTER . . . IS THE LAST. . .
___________

Everything changed the night Flora Powell disappeared.

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared?

Rating: four-stars

 

Heather and Jess used to be best friends, growing up in a small seaside town, until their friendship fell apart after Heather’s older sister, Flora, went missing and was never found. Fast forward 18 years and Jess works in her childhood town as a reporter and it’s then when she learns that Heather is currently in hospital in a coma after trying to commit a suicide, also having been accused of murdering two people in their own home before she tried to take her own life. Jess is torn – it’s a story that can help her career but she also wants to stay loyal to her friend. Also, she can’t believe that Heather, married mother of a young boy, could have commit such crime. What has really happened? Is there more to the story than meets the eye? 

The characters in this story feel so real that I had a feeling they’re going to jump off the pages at any moment. They’re full of flaws but the fact that they’re not perfect simply makes them even more relatable and realistic. Some of them are more likeable then the others, that are really untrustworthy but all of them are vivid and real. The story is written in chapters alternating between Jess and Margot in the present, and Heather in the past and we slowly but steadily get a picture of what has happened, what has shaped the girls and, perhaps, what has happened to Flora. In the present, Jess tries to find the truth hidden behind the death of the two murdered people, but also tries to stay loyal to Margot and Heather. 

I liked the way the book was written, and how well it connected the subplots, slowly but methodically untangling the web of lies and dark secrets. I found myself changing my mind and opinions many times and couldn’t be sure where the story might go – and I really liked this unpredictability. It was a slow burner, but it couldn’t be different with this kind of book, though no worries, there was not a single moment that it felt flat. Also, it was full of tension but not tension that makes you feel chilly – instead of thinking that something’s really bad is going to happen I was rather sure that the worst has happened already and the final reveal is this what’s going to blow me away. While it didn’t happen – it didn’t blow me away – it was still a brilliant story full of secrets, twists and surprises and kept me guessing until the end.

“Then she Vanishes” was a multi – layered and complex novel but easy to read, thanks to the forthcoming but also beautiful writing style, with words flowing with ease. Atmospheric and compelling story about friendship, family bonds, forgiveness, touching upon such topics like drugs, abusing, full of emotions and intrigue that kept me glued to the pages. Recommended!

 

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A Cornish Summer by Catherine Alliott / Blog Tour

A Cornish Summer by Catherine Alliott

 

43805734Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 13th June 2019

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

Number of pages: 448

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Flora’s been in love with her husband for twenty years. The trouble is, he’s been married to someone else for the past fifteen . . .

Now she’s been invited to spend the summer in the shady lanes and sandy coves of Cornwall. It should be blissful.

There’s just one small snag: she’ll be staying with her former mother-in-law, Belinda.

And Flora discovers she’s not the only one invited when her ex-husband shows up out of the blue, complete with his new wife. So now there are two small snags.

Can Flora spend the summer playing happy families with the woman who stole her husband’s heart, and the mother-in-law who might have had a hand in it?

Or will stumbling on the family secret change her mind about them all?

If you like Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Sophie Kinsella, you’ll love this heartwarming read.

Rating: four-stars

 

Flora is a single mother, divorced for 17 years already but still crazy in love with her ex – husband Hugo, even though he’s married to his second wife for 15 years and they have twins. Nevertheless, Hugo remains a large part of her, and their son Peter, lives, taking care about his education and holidays. Now Flora is about to return to Cornwall, to Hugo’s family home, as she has been commissioned to paint a portrait of her former father – in – law. Soon it turns out that it’s more a family and friends reunion, as there are literally everybody significant to the Bellingdons’ life. But forced to confront her feelings to Hugo, Flora is going to discover some hidden family secrets.

The book introduced us at the beginning to many characters – and I really mean, many – but incredibly quickly I got to grips with them and didn’t have any problem with identifying who is who and to whom they belong in the family dynamics, so really hats off to the author for making it as uncomplicated as possible. Flora is the main one and the whole book is told from her point of view but it works. Though I must admit there were plenty of moments that I have found her frustrating, watching her living half a life and waiting for something that was impossible to happen. But altogether, she was likeable, even believable, kind and funny.

It is a relative slow burner. It felt as if the first half was this long introduction but providing us with this much needed information, dynamics, relationships for the second half that, thanks to that, felt much quicker to read. Although I must admit that it took me only one day to read this book – yes, admittedly, I had time to do nothing than read (finally!) but also it kept me glued to the pages, I simply wanted to know what’s going to happen and I was engrossed in the story. It was absorbing, and set against the lovely, vividly and colourfully described Cornish coastal setting, the writing flowing beautifully and leading to a rather satisfying conclusion.

I wouldn’t describe this book, like in the blurb, as “hilarious” romantic comedy. Yes, it was light – hearted, easily written and it had its moments, but it also touched upon some much more serious issues and the general tone was steady and maybe not deliberate but also not too light. What I missed was the promised tangled web of relationships. I was hoping for more interactions between the ex – wife, the present wife and the mother – in – law, I actually expected pulling hair out and deceiving each other. Some more interaction happened at the end of the story but, to be honest, I would love more. Also, as a horse lover I adored the scenes where the characters were riding out, the descriptions of horses and their habits but, totally frankly, the fox hunt for example went on and on, and I think, do I need to know, blow by blow, the chase, who did what and when?

Altogether, “A Cornish Summer” was a captivating, rich in details and descriptions story with an epic bunch of characters that you adore or love to hate, about old friendships, a great family saga with some twists that I didn’t see coming, with sailing, horse – riding, painting and finding love there where you’re not looking. It was full of secrets, lies, manipulation and social expectations that mixed altogether made a brilliant, perfect summer read, holiday escapism, with a great sense of place, about confronting your feelings, moving with your life. It’s perhaps not the most light – hearted romance, as the subject matter is quite serious, but everything works really well. Truly recommended!

 

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She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge / Blog Tour

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

 

40232703Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 21st March 2019

Series: DCI Jonah Sheens #1

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 10.01.20)

 

Synopsis:

Get ready for the biggest crime debut of 2019…

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust?

“A dark, deep, terrific thriller and a scorching portrait of friendship and its betrayal” Nicci French

On a hot July night in 1983, six school friends go camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and young Aurora Jackson is dazzled to be allowed to tag along.

Thirty years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens is called to the scene, but he already knows what’s waiting for him: Aurora Jackson, found at long last.

But that’s not all. The friends have all maintained their innocence, but the body is found in a hideaway only the six of them knew about.

It seems the killer has always lurked very close to home…

Rating: four-stars

 

“She Lies in Wait” has a brilliant synopsis. In July 1983, six teenagers go camping in the woods, but only 5 come back. The 14 – year – old Aurora is missing – her sleeping bag is empty and cold. What has happened? Where has she gone? Who last saw her? Is she alive?
Thirty years later, remains are found in the same wood. Soon it’s confirmed that it’s Aurora Jackson. DCI Sheens and his murder squad re – open the case and start investigation. It soon becomes clear that all members of the group that went camping are hiding truth and that there was much more happening as they first told. Was one of them the killer? Or was there someone else involved?

The story is told in alternating time – lines and the events take place on 23rd July 1983 – it’s my birthday. We slowly experience what happened during the camping trip and 30 years later, with the investigation being open again after the remains of Aurora have been found, watching Jonah and his team investigating. And it was not an easy task, what with the disappearance happening so many years earlier. The past tells us what has happened on this day and introduces us more to Aurora’s character – a very compelling one.

I know that some of the bloggers say that they knew almost immediately what the mystery is but I, well, I didn’t know. Yes, that’s me, the worst and slowest logical thinker in the world, I think I wouldn’t make a great inspector. Honestly, till the very end, when the reveal came and face palmed me I didn’t know who it was – and it’s great, really, that the book kept me in darkness for so long.

I liked this book, really liked, but I wanted it to engage me more, as I’ve never felt a part of this story, and I also couldn’t connect with the characters. Actually, all the time one of the friends was mentioned I wasn’t sure who it was and to whom they belonged – especially the male characters, those two that their names began with “B”, I really didn’t know which one of them is the athlete and who’s the politician. And then a Daniel? Was he one of the “Bs”? I am really not sure what has happened here, why I had those problems, can’t explain them – it’s probably one of the things. And I also missed the tension a bit – the book was not as dark and full of surprising twists as I’d hoped it could be – on the other hand, now I’m writing this, it didn’t have to be tense and dark, so everything is okay here. But the writing was very good, the writing style is the one that immediately draws you in and makes you intrigued, it was flowing and seamless, and I was glued to the pages, so that’s a good sign, right?

The characters seemed unengaged, not interested in what has happened with Aurora, and maybe because of the relatively huge number of them we weren’t given the opportunity to really get to know them, deep, and to find their motives. It looks like each person is protecting the other, not telling truth, trying to hide things and forgetting that it’s about murder. On the other hand, DCI Sheens and his squad were interesting characters, and I really liked their work ethics. They also perfectly complemented each other.

“She Lies in Wait” was a slow burner, a methodical and well build and plotted book. It was thoroughly planned and I had a feeling that every detail in this story was very well considered and that nothing unnecessary wasn’t put into this stale. You shan’t expect many “wow” – moments in this story but on the other hand the way it was written, its slow tempo, the hard core police procedures was addictive and I simply enjoyed it very much. It is a clever, multi – layered book and I desperately wanted to uncover every single layer, heck, it doesn’t happen often guys but I wanted to have a look at the last page to see whodunit – I resisted, of course, but the more thrilling it was to discover the truth. Recommended!

 

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The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup / Blog Tour

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

 

40232719Publisher: Penguin – Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 10th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 512

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 05.09.2019)

 

Synopsis:

A NAIL-BITINGLY THRILLING CRIME NOVEL FROM THE SCRIPT WRITER BEHIND THE KILLING

Rosa Hartung is returning to her job as Minister for Social Affairs, a year since the disappearance of her twelve year-old daughter. Linus Berger, a mentally ill young man, confessed to her killing, but can’t remember where he buried her dismembered corpse.

That day a young single mother is found murdered at her home in the suburbs of Copenhagen – she’s been tortured, and one hand has been cut off. Thulin and Hess, sent to investigate the crime, arrive to find a chestnut figure hanging from a playhouse nearby.

When yet another woman is murdered, and another chestnut figure is found, Thulin and Hess begin to suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women.

Thulin and Hess are drawn into a race against time, as the murderer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

Rating: five-stars

“The Chestnut Man” introduces us to Naia Thulin and Mark Hess, two detectives in Homicide’s Murder Squad, trying to solve the mystery of Laura Kjaer’s murder. It doesn’t look like it is a beginning to a series, and that it will eventually lead to a disappearance of Rosa Hartung’s, Minister of Social Affairs, young daughter. The girl’s killer has been caught, but as Thulin and Hess start to dig deeper, his testimony simply doesn’t make sense. And moreover, in the place of Laura Kjaer’s murder they find a figure made of chestnuts with an evidence linking it to Rosa’s daughter Kristine. As further murders occur, with a similar pattern and more chestnut men with Kristine’s fingerprints on them, the race against time begins – are Thulin and Hess going to solve the case on time?

So, there was the best opening ever in this book. I was actually afraid that I’m not going to be able to read it, judging on the opening, on the awful, gory details but I just couldn’t stop reading. There was something in this book that kept me glued to the pages, and even though I’m a little softie when it comes to crime scenes, and if the children are involved, all the descriptions didn’t dishearten me.

Almost every chapter – and there were 130 of them, bear with me! – introduced us to a new character. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but there were tons of characters in this book and it was simply impossible to keep track on all of them, and I quickly decided that I’m not even going to try, even though I couldn’t be sure who’s important and who’s not. However, the few main characters are the most important, although all of them, even the background ones, are really well developed and fleshed out. You can’t help but be wary with all of them, as you don’t know whom you can trust. And I really felt involved in the characters’ lives. Naia Thulin feels unchallenged at her job (that is, until the chestnut man case arrives!) and wants to transfer to NC3 (National Cyber Crime Centre). She’s a single mother to Le. Mark Hess is a bit of enigma but there was much more to him than met the eye. He’s been pushed out of Europol because of some issues and finds himself back again in Denmark, on the case with Thulin – though it’s obvious he doesn’t want to be there (that is, until they find the connection to Kristine’s case and he starts to put two and two together). But their partnership was really sparkling and they were completing each other. Their characters develop throughout the story.

Yes, of course, one could say this book was full of clichés. We have here your usual detectives couple: the clever young girl who, despite her lack of experience, is your top girl, single mother and with great ambitions. The laid – back detective with unresolved issues, discredited, with a tragic past, forced to leave Europol, scruffy and harsh but with a heart made of gold. They make a lot of mistakes and also decisions they really shouldn’t make by themselves, the killer is always one step ahead of them, the colleagues are more interested in their own careers and vendettas etc, etc . But it didn’t bother me and it didn’t take away from the story. I was totally drawn to it, I’ve breathed and lived it and I told anyone that was in my vicinity and wanted something from me to simply go away because this book is so good.

Now, guys, I’ve guessed the culprit. I can tell you exactly what page it was that gave me the tip that made me feel so sure but I’m not going, oh no. However, it didn’t make me feel smug or whatever, no, it made me race through the pages even faster as I desperately wanted to know why – what was the reason, how deep did it sit in their soul, what turned them into a killing monster.

It was an addictive and captivating Scandi – Noir, brutal psychological thriller, very realistic and very sharp and very complex. It was dark and bleak and grimy and so incredibly absorbing. It was a chilling, disturbing and gripping debut novel, full of tension and suspense and the feeling that something is going to happen, that it’s not enough, that something is lurking around the corner – the atmosphere was really well captured. Haunting and truly unforgettable. The writing style was so chilling and so down to earth, yet it simply sucks you in. The author has an ability to write gruesome scenes that will make you feel unsettled. The last part of the book felt much more faster as the first two – thirds, a lot happened then and there and maybe in comparison it should be a little slower. But altogether, “The Chestnut Man” was an exciting and fast – paced book, and the short chapters made it even more pacy, and they were full of twists and turns and cliffhangers that make you hold your breath and lead to a satisfying conclusion. I personally absolutely loved it – highly recommended!

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Tell Me a Secret by Jane Fallon / Blog Tour

Tell Me a Secret by Jane Fallon

 

41946727Publisher: Penguin – Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 10th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

**The million copy bestselling author of Faking Friends and My Sweet Revenge is back – pre-order now!**

Holly and Roz spend most of their days together. They like the same jokes, loathe the same people and tell each other everything.

So when single mum Holly gets a shot at her dream job after putting everything on hold to raise her daughter, she assumes her friend will be dying to pop the champagne with her.

But is she just imagining things, or is Roz not quite as happy for her as she should be?

As Holly starts to take a closer look at Roz’s life outside their friendship, she begins to discover a few things that don’t add up. Who is the woman who claims to be her ally?

Perhaps it was a mistake to tell Roz all her secrets.

Because it takes two to forge a friendship.

But it only takes one to wage a war . . .

Rating: five-stars

 

Holly has always prioritised her little family so when, after years, she gets her dream job on a popular TV soap she’s over the moon, and also determined to pass the probation period, to prove that she’s really the right person in the right place. But quickly it turns out that not everyone in the office agree with her promotion, as a not a very subtle campaign full of sabotage and accidents takes place. Holly is in shock and taken aback – who is behind this all? She tries to unveil who the person is, but in the meantime she must be prepared for a life full of twists and turns, sometimes better than in the soap opera she’s working on.

The characters were absolutely brilliant. Not only Holly, but also the side characters that were so well developed and fleshed out. Jane Fallon is perfect when it comes to capturing people’s characters, their personalities and mentalities, and she’s a real queen of revenge novels, guys. The characters always feel realistic, they are engaging and genuine, and the way she writes about friendship dynamics is absolutely brilliant, as she isn’t shy of stirring things up and complicating them. She’s a great and sharp observer of everyday interactions and she can brilliantly transfer them onto the pages of her novels. Holly was so human, with all her insecurities, and the need to prove herself that she’s got the promotion rightly and so she puts herself under a lot of pressure. I can only guess how weird and difficult it must have been for her, suddenly managing people that she used to work with and who are now to report to her but I think she really did her best, even though it couldn’t have been an easy task, especially with all the back – stabbing and the uncertainty of what’s going to happen yet. I really loved to see her growing in confidence, it was the best thing to see. It was also refreshing to see Holly as a single woman, not looking after a romance or a man that she could relay on – she didn’t need it, she had her best friend Dee, and I loved their interactions and how far would Dee go to help Holly.
But I also think we shouldn’t demonize the other character, the one that sabotaged Holly. Of course our sympathy is on Holly’s side, there is no other option, but I think we should also stop for a moment and think what was it that made her act like this, to put people so down. And this also what I so love in Jane Fallon’s novels, the diversity, the way she is able to portray different types of friendship! There is the perfect mix of characters that we love and we love to hate.

This book follows the Jane Fallon’s proven formula and guys, it turns out I could read the books like that over and over again, it doesn’t grow old or boring for me. Though, in my opinion, this novel is not as bitchy and as sharp as the previous books. It’s not a criticism, oh no, it’s just my simple opinion, I am used to much more trouble, fret and paperchase. Also, in the previous books we were not directly told who is the frenemy and here we actually know from the very beginning who’s sabotaging Holly, the question is now – why. But – just as with Ms Fallon’s previous books I was so close to put this book down because I simply couldn’t take the tension! This is why I don’t watch films – because I can’t stand sitting here and not being able to do anything, and it is the same with “Tell Me a Secret”. You’ve no idea how much I wanted to punish the character in question, and I’m usually really a very peaceful person, so that’s saying something, that my blood was boiling and I so wanted her to happen to slip up eventually. Sure, there were things that were perhaps happening too convenient, and right people in the right places so that the plot could flow seamlessly towards the happy end, but honestly, it didn’t bother me.

I do love a Jane Fallon novel, that’s not a secret, and “Tell Me a Secret” was a light – hearted, entertaining novel, full of intrigue and hidden depth. There is the safe and proved Fallon’s trademark that explores the themes of friendship, rivalry, betrayal, jealousy and deception, and it’s sometimes so refreshing to read a book without a romance in it. It explores toxic friendships in such an eye – opening way, with all its ups and downs. It was, just like all the other Fallon’s books, a fast – paced and addictive read that made my heart go faster and me to clench my fists. It was a complex, thought – provoking and clever read, very well developed and written in this brilliant, sharp writing style. Even though it’s pretty sure who the “bad one” is, there are moments that I started to doubt myself, and started to suspect everybody, that I was wondering perhaps they are all involved? The author knows how to complicate the things, how to pool wool over our eyes. Highly recommended!

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The Importance of Being Aisling byEmer McLysaght & Sarah Breen / Blog Tour

The Importance of Being Aisling

by Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen

 

 

41433629Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 15th November 2018

Series: OMGWACA # 2 (read my review of Book 1 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

You can take the small-town girl out of the big city – but can you take the big city out of the girl?

Job. Flat. Boyfriend. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Aisling (seems) to be winning at life. But life has other ideas.

Fired. Homeless. Dumped. Tick. Tick. Tick

When everything comes crashing down around her, moving back in with her mam seems like a disaster.

But might returning to her roots provide the answers Aisling’s looking for?

Rating: five-stars

In “The Importance of Being Aisling” we’re back with our beloved character created by two authors, Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen, and I couldn’t be more happier to be reunited with her. She’s still deeply grieving after the tragic loss of her beloved Daddy but she tries to go on – well, she’s back with John, so it’s not so bad, right? However, she’s being made redundant at PensionsPlus. Elaine and Ruby are getting married, so she’s forced to look for a new place to live which in Dublin is simply impossible. To top it all, yes, she’s back with John, but where is this sparkle…? The butterflies…? Her mum is not coping well and it looks like she’ll be selling the farm. Might Aisling need to go back home, to Ballygobbard, then? How will she cope with mum, unemployment, John being in another city? But maybe Ballygobbard can offer her more than she thinks is possible?

 I love Aisling, I think it is impossible not to love her. She’s so nice and so kind and also so genuine in being nice and kind, there is not a drop of falsity in her and this makes her an outstanding character. I love that she’s so proud of being herself, of her heritage, of coming from a little town in Ireland, and I love her sense of humour and simply the way she is. She knows how to party and she knows when she should stop, she knows probably all recipes in the world and I’m sure she also knows how to get any stain out. 

There are so many brilliant things happening in this book, guys, we can’t say that Aisling’s life is boring, oh no. She’s made redundant so she needs to consider what to do next, her relationship with John is not this what she was thinking it is, there is the cracking and epic visit to Las Vegas and she’s always able to get up, shake off and built a new life for herself, and I simply adore her for this. Aisling is such a queen of being organized, I am sure that no matter what can happen she’d be prepared for it and have it in her bag.  I loved how important her family and friends were to her and how much she stressed it, it doesn’t happen often that the characters REALLY put them first and act according to this.  She’s such a brilliant friend as well, the girls are so supporting and they can count on each other, and it feels so genuine, honest and real. This friendship is actually one of the best points in this book,  going strong and it’s certain, and it is so lovely the girls are always open to people becoming their friends, and taking it all, with ups and downs, supporting each other’s backs. They’re all the kind of characters that I’d got to know and love with all my heart in Marian Keyes’s books – the Irish families and people are the one and only in the world, they respect each other but also mercilessly pull their legs, their humour is so sharp and intelligent, their observations so spot on and life approach so relaxed – and I’ve got all of this in this book, and it was so brilliantly entertaining. 

It was a great joy to be back with Aisling, and I really hope there is more of her to come. She’s so practical and so serious in being practical, it’s simply impossible not to fall for her. She’s funny without trying too hard to be too funny, which only makes it so entertaining, and the way she takes all things so seriously  is overwhelmingly heart – warming. I personally think that what makes Aisling such a brilliant, exceptional character is the fact that maybe we are not complete Aislings ourselves (although…),  but there is much of Aisling in every single one of us. 

It was actually really hard to write this review because there was not a single thing in this book that I didn’t like! I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I loved the events and I adored the humour – what’s more to love, right? “The Importance of Being Aisling” was a brilliant, uplifting story about trials and tribulations in life, about friendship and family and being there for each other, also touching upon some heavier issues this time – there is the short but expressively written issue of bullying, domestic violence and sexual abuse which I appreciated so much and I think the authors tackled in the best possible way. This book, as well as the character of Aisling, was heart – warming, uplifting, funny and poignant. The supporting characters were a huge part of this novel and they were equally comic, craic, believable and they felt so full of life good people. A special and magnificent novel about girls’ power and women’s empowerment and sisterhood, inspiring and so important nowadays. I hope for many more Aisling’s stories to come!

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