Absolutely Smashing It by Kathryn Wallace

Absolutely Smashing It by Kathryn Wallace

 

41uiiujq7vl._sx309_bo1204203200_Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 7th March 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: General Fiction, Parenting, Humour

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 09.01.2020)

 

Synopsis:

***Unmissable, hilarious and kind, this is the first novel from Kathryn Wallace, who blogs as I Know, I Need to Stop Talking***

“SAM! AVA! Get downstairs, NOW. Have you done your TEETH? HAIR? SHOES? Come on, come on, come on, we’re going to be bastarding late again. No, I haven’t seen Lego Optimus Prime, and nor do I give a shit about his whereabouts. Sam, will you stop winding your sister up and take this model of the Shard that I painstakingly sat up and created for you last night so that I wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. I mean, so that you wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. No, it doesn’t smell of ‘dirty wine’. Well, maybe it does a little bit. Look, Sam, I haven’t got time to argue. Just hold your nose and get in the car, okay? AVA! TEETH! HAIR! SHOES!”

Gemma is only just holding it together – she’s a single parent, she’s turning 40 and her seven-year-old daughter has drawn a cruelly accurate picture which locates Gemma’s boobs somewhere around her knees. So when her new next-door neighbour, Becky, suggests that Gemma should start dating again, it takes a lot of self-control not to laugh in her face.

But Becky is very persuasive and before long Gemma finds herself juggling a full-time job, the increasingly insane demands of the school mums’ Facebook group and the tricky etiquette of a new dating world. Not only that, but Gemma has to manage her attraction to her daughter’s teacher, Tom, who has swapped his life in the City for teaching thirty six to seven year olds spelling, grammar, basic fractions – and why it’s not ok to call your classmate a stinky poo-bum…

It’s going to be a long year – and one in which Gemma and Becky will learn a really crucial lesson: that in the end, being a good parent is just about being good enough.

Rating: five-stars

 

Gemma is a single parent, after her husband (Nick the Dick) decided to go on an adventure of his life (with his secretary), juggling a full – time job and all the usual things you have to juggle in your everyday life. She’s turning forty soon, her boobs are somewhere around her knees on her daughter’s picture and of course she didn’t know she should read at least one hour with her children during the Christmas break… Then Becky moves next – door and they hit it off immediately. She tries to persuade Gemma to start dating again and she’s very persuasive – and so they make a pact that before Gemma turns 40 she will finally have sex and for Becky to land a perfect job.
It’s going to be a long, long year for both Gemma and Becky, what with disastrous dates, job interviews, school, homework and dogs…

I loved Gemma from the very beginning, she was just my kind of girl. Honest, genuine, without beating around the bush, telling things how they really are. She didn’t always manage to make all the things right, she often forgot things and this is why I wanted to high – five her, as she so reminded me of myself. I am also not perfect. I liked her friendship with Becky, who was like a breath of fresh air, albeit very quick and loud breath, also telling the truth direct into your face, no matter if you wanted to hear it or not.
I absolutely, totally loved Gemma’s dates and I am really, really sad that there were only a few of them put in the story. They were hilarious and I could probably read a whole new book only about Gemma’s adventurous meetings.
I also liked that the author didn’t only concentrate on Gemma but also took Becky under scrutiny as well and her struggles to find a job. You could think, Becky, so privileged, with nothing to worry about, successful husband at her side, a total liability of a dog as well, and I really, really applauded her desire to find herself a job. There comes a moment when you simply can’t stand sitting at home and you need to feel like a competent human being again. Becky’s adventures with finding the right place were not only hilarious but also – let’s admit it – sad and awfully relatable, but they only made the book more valuable and real. And I can of course remember taking my daughter to two interviews – however both times I’ve got the job so perhaps she’s brought me luck, but also both of those jobs were to work with children so maybe she was like a bonus point?

I really liked the writing style. It was so light and relatable, and the author has such a great way with words, and her writing is absolutely addictive. It has made me laugh out loud, nodding my head with understanding, roll my eyes and shake my head with disbelief. I must admit, my daughter was thanks god a very brave toddler and small child in comparison to so many others, nevertheless so many situations just rang a bell and it felt so personal. Though I must say that it’s getting serious now as she’s just started school and the whole school runs start to resemble those described by the author – cliques and ignoring each other is just normal. Hallelujah for ma daughter going to school by bus, really – I’m done, those few times that I had to go to school and meet some other parents.
The end of this story was, however, just too fairy tale – ish for me, to be honest. I like a happy end, but this one just too happy in my eyes, and I know, the characters have been struggling through the whole book and sure, they all deserved their own piece of happiness eventually but I’m just saying. As the whole story was so down to earth and so scarily relatable, the end seemed simply too soppy.

It was a hilarious, brutally honest and relatable story that I absolutely and whole – heartedly enjoyed. Personally I can read those funny stories about the challenges of parenthood and #FML moments over and over again, simply because they show me that I. Am. Not. Alone in all this parenthood malarkey, that there are others going through exactly the same things. Brilliantly funny but not too overdone, it was a perfect read for me. Highly recommended!

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Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews

Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews

 

41828647Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 21st February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 464

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 30.05.2019)

 

Synopsis:

Molly Baker is living her best life.

Thirty-eight years old, she lives on the twenty-five-acre Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by (mostly) four-legged friends and rolling hills. There’s Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner the alpaca with attitude, and the definitely-not-miniature pig, Teacup.

Molly runs the farm as an alternative school for kids who haven’t thrived in mainstream education. It’s full on, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. So when the well-groomed Shelby Dacre turns up at Hope Farm asking to enrol his son Lucas, Molly isn’t fazed.

But Lucas is distant and soon Molly realises he might be more of a handful than she anticipated. And then there’s the added problem that his dad is distractingly handsome. Molly has her beloved farm to think of – could letting Lucas and Shelby in be a terrible mistake, or the start of something wonderful?

Rating: four-stars

 

Molly Baker is a shy, single and also lovely and welcoming woman, running Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, which she inherited from her beloved Aunt Hettie. It doesn’t bother her that she lives in an ancient caravan, with neither TV not shower, the main thing is that her animals and students are happy. Students – because the farm is also an alternative school for children with learning difficulties, autism, behavioural problems. One of the new students, Lucas, finds a way to Molly’s heart – his father finds this way as well but because of their totally different life styles it’s a recipe for a guaranteed heartbreak, right? Also, Molly’s farm, that is so much more to her than only a farm, it’s her home, a place to live and to bring happiness, is facing being closed down for good. Will she manage to save the farm and her heart?

I haven’t mentioned any lovely covers lately and this one deserves a standing ovation. It’s gorgeous, and I love this beautiful yellow colour – you can feel spring in the air only by looking at this cover, and the little flowers dotted around are so lovely. And it is as uplifting and full of warmth as the book itself.

I loved Hope Farm, it was simply my kind of heaven, even with all of its inconveniences. OK, I’d maybe need a TV and a good internet connection but I so could live with the rest, just like Molly. I know it is said one shouldn’t work with children and animals but I work with both and I am still going, so it can’t be that bad, right, and so I immediately connected with Molly and could resonate with her on all levels. I also feel the best in my wellies and I always smell of dogs and horses treats. The assortment of animal at the farm was absolutely perfect, and their personalities were very, very well captured by the author.
But Hope Farm was not only about animals, and here comes the great idea – it was to help children who couldn’t find help anywhere else, it was their last chance saloon – they, usually already excluded from schools, could come to the farm and learn how to be around animals, some practical skills as well, and also learn from animals and about them being so good at simply being there. I totally loved all of the animals on the farm, they were all so special, and well, yes, it weren’t only the pupils that had problems but the animals as well. The children react to animals, learn to bond with them, to open to them and to develop the so much needed self confidence, and it was incredibly important for them, and it was really well described by the author.

I immediately fell for Molly. Immediately. Her love and passion to the things she has devoted herself to was overwhelming and palpable. She really knows what her animals of all shapes and sizes need, and her students as well. She was so chilled and relaxed and I really could get her reluctance to engage with other people. Her side – kicks Bev and Alan were also special, absolutely loveable and it was impossible not to like them. The story is told from Molly’s point of view and her narration is flowing, it’s chatty and honest, and the short chapters are what I really like in Carole Matthews’ books.

I always appreciate the fact that Carole Matthews tries to touch upon more serious issues in her books as well, of course with this gentle touch of humour. This time she’s factoring children with learning difficulties and dealing with grief – through Lucas, still grieving for his dead mother, feeling neglected by his father, lonely and mobbed at school. Molly tries to come through to Lucas, get him to open up and quickly she finds herself involved not only in his life but also this of his father’s, the famous soap opera actor Shelby Dacre. The relationship between Molly and Lucas, and actually between Molly and all of her charges, was so genuine and heart-warming and it was a real pleasure to read about them.

Even though you know from the very beginning that the book is going to end with a happy end, it is still full of moments that are going to make your heart stop beating, and you’re going to keep everything crossed for Molly and her charges. Because – of course – life is not a bed of roses for Molly and her farm, and she’s struggling financially, but there is also one small problem of finding a new place for the farm. Why? Read for yourself, you’re really going to fall for Molly and Hope Farm.

This book would be perfect if it weren’t so slow. I loved this story, and the characters – it was warm, funny and uplifting but not too sappy but I had a feeling that it doesn’t move, that we stay in one place, that the one idea has been taken and written on thousand different ways. As much as I enjoyed reading it, I simply wished for something to happen, for something refreshing to arrive and take us by surprise. And this time I missed the depth a little.
However, altogether, “The Happiness for Beginners” was a funny, uplifting and overflowing with charm story, full of the feel – good factor that I know I can expect from Ms Matthews’s books. Carole Matthews is simply a natural storyteller. She has a way with words and she describes her characters in such a way that you quickly feel like knowing them all since childhood, and not only the main characters, but also the secondary ones as well. She makes them relatable, genuine and realistic. The book was emotional, it was funny and poignant at the same time, a great mix of laughter, tears, emotions and feelings. You won’t want to miss it!

 

Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville

Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville

 

 

38393699Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 15th November 2018

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

Number of pages: 400

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Living back at home and spending most of her time behind a checkout till, it’s fair to say things aren’t going quite as Zoe had planned. But she’s determined to live every day to the full, and she’s spreading her mission of happiness, one inspirational quote at a time.

Since his dad died, Tristan has been struggling with a sadness that threatens to overtake everything. He can’t face seeing his friends, can’t stop fighting with his brother, and as much as he pretends to be better, the truth is he can’t even remember what ‘normal’ feels like.

One person can change everything.

When these two meet, Zoe becomes determined to bring the missing colour back into Tristan’s life. But the harder she tries to change the way Tristan sees the world, the more she realises it’s something she can’t fix – and in trying to put him back together, a part of her is beginning to break . . .

A novel to break your heart and put it back together again – Every Colour of You is the debut novel from Amelia Mandeville, with heart-wrenchingly relatable characters, big emotions and an unforgettable story.

Rating: two-half-stars

Zoe and Tristan meet at the hospital and they paths start to cross in the most unbelievable ways. Tristan is suffering from depression and his world is this of a very dark colour, and meeting Zoe brings rainbow colours into his life. Zoe is also determined to help him raise again after the sudden death of his father – but the more she tries the more reluctance she meets. Also, her own world starts to crumble around her – are they both going to find what they’re looking for? Will the fall apart or maybe will they manage to pick themselves up?

Zoe was a complex and complicated character but instead of falling for her, she just annoyed me. I do get where she was coming from and why she was like this, but her being SO chirpy, SO bouncy, SO relaxed was just too overwhelming. On the other hand, even without knowing till the very end what it is that she has, I did care about her. There was simply something in her that made her outstanding. However, I couldn’t connect with the characters so in the end I really couldn’t care less what’s going to happen to them. Tristan was so overdone with his image of “bad boy” that eventually I found myself rolling my eyes at him. I guess we were supposed to fall for him and to sympathize with him, but well, I simply didn’t like him. Sure, the author has done a brilliant job in capturing his character, him being so torn and troubled – I can’t deny this and I don’t want to deny it. But altogether he was not likeable for me.

I appreciate what the author tried to achieve with her writing, and also I must say here that her writing style is really good for a debut novel. It was thought – provoking and full of questions that were actually aimed at the readers which was really exceptional and different, as it truly makes you think. I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that the author has tried much too much to deliver a book with messages of love, second chances and not taking life for granted. It was too obvious, too strongly emphasized and while I really appreciated what she tried to do here, it just was too obvious for me and simply didn’t work for me. Theoretically, this book had it all, a poignant plot and it touched upon many important issues, such like depression, health conditions, death and grief and maybe it’s going to work for younger audience, I personally think Ms Mandeville tried too much and overdone it. It felt very repetitive and slow.

Overall, too overplayed, too dramatic, too much. However, the author deserves a standing ovation for choosing such heavy topics for her debut novel. There is the issue of having two dads as parents, which was tackled in such a light, forthcoming and charming way; of course the issue of depression and the way it affects whole families; the issue of living with a heart condition and not being sure how long you still have to live. You can easily see that the author has done her homework, as she writes about details that we wouldn’t notice but that often define people suffering from depression. Perfectly describing the rawness of mental and physical illness, therefore full of emotions, the most deepest and raw ones. Sadly, not for me.

 

An Island Christmas by Jenny Colgan

An Island Christmas by Jenny Colgan

 

 

39704349Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 18th October 2018

Series: Summer Seaside Kitchen #3 (read my review of Book 1 here and Book 2 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

Christmas on the remote Scottish island of Mure is bleak, stark – and incredibly beautiful.

It’s a time for hunkering down, getting cosy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram with the people you love – unless, of course, you’re accidentally pregnant to your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In what should be the season of peace and goodwill on earth, will Joel think Flora is a bearer of glad tidings?

Meanwhile Saif, the doctor and refugee from war-torn Syria is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons – but without his missing wife. Can the little family possibly find comfort and joy?

Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for an unforgettable Christmas.

Rating: five-stars

Flora lives on Mure and she runs the Seaside Kitchen, the most beloved cafe that offers the most delicious things ever. Her boyfriend Joel, the one who’s American, a high – flying lawyer with quite a few issues from his childhood finally start to open and feel happy. But then something happens – how are they going to cope with it?
Dr Seif and his two boys are still trying to settle into their new family life on the island, and even though the villagers are so welcoming, do they feel like at home? Maybe the school nativity play is going to help? Or not? Will the lovely doctor finally find peace and happiness on Mure?
And Fintan and Colton, who’s terminally ill, and then a very unexpected guest arrive – how are they going to cope with all the things that fate and life thro at them?

The Summer Seaside Kitchen series by Jenny Costello must be one of my favourite series ever and I would love to see more and more of them – and after reading the newest book “An Island Christmas” I see a lot of place and potential for another story. Or two. This book could be read as a stand alone but only just, and I would really heartily recommend reading all the other previous stories – they’re simply gorgeous, you’d miss beautiful stories and to get the characters and what make them tick it’s just better to read them in order.

It was brilliant to be back on Mure, this beautiful and wild island and this being December it showed us also the other face of it – darkness, never ending winds but still there was such a beauty to it, but the author so lovely and lovingly brings it to life and the descriptions of it, and the weather, and how it was like living there were atmospheric, vivid and it was such a great thing to see that the island somehow adjust to the things and events that happen to the characters.

Next to the characters that I know are going to stay with me for ever, I think, they all truly have place in my heart and that I adored to see again, the author introduces us to some new ones. I love how Jenny Colgan creates her characters – they may seem horrible and unpleasant but she still lets them open and blossom and in the end you’re going to love all of them, no matter what. I adored how they all seem rough and as if they don’t give a damn but in fact they all have hearts in the right places, they’re warm and quirky and genuine. I think I have already said it in my reviews of the previous books but the characters are exceptional – realistic, so different to each other, they represent different views and ideas, they have different life goals and this all makes the reading so much more interesting and deep.

Of course, I ended reading in tears. Jenny Colgan has such incredible way with words that they simply touch at your heartstrings and strike in all the right places.
As in the previous books in the series, here the author also touches upon heavier issues, and the way she writes about them, guys, it’s indescribable. She mixes lightness and sadness and seriousness in such a way that you would never expect. It was a special book, in many ways, poignant and cleverly funny, heartbreaking and heart – warming and I literally couldn’t put it down. Full of Christmas and festive mood, wonderful and full of heart characters, and not only the main ones but also the villagers of Mure have made me cry, as they’re simply amazing. It was one great rollercoaster of emotions and it’s really hard to do this book justice with a short review. Just treat yourself to it, you’re going to love it!

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

 

51dth1dom8l-_sx316_bo1204203200_Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 4th October 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Indulge in this wonderful, cake-filled novel of romance and friendship. Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is Sunday Times bestselling Carole Matthews doing what she does best!

Fay and Danny are madly in love and it’s all Fay’s ever dreamed of. But she left everything – including the delightful cake shop she used to run – to be with Danny on his cosy canal boat The Dreamcatcher. And as she soon finds out, making delicious cakes on the water isn’t always smooth sailing!

Then Fay gets a call from her friends, a call that sends her back to her friends and the Cake Shop in the Garden. It will be hard being away from Danny but their relationship is strong enough to survive . . . isn’t it?

Fay soon falls happily back in love with her passion for baking – especially now she’s on dry land again! – and starts to wonder if she ever should have left. With Christmas around the corner, Fay is determined that her friends will have a very merry time, but does that mean even more time away from Danny? Can Fay really get everything she ever wanted in Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights.

Rating: four-stars

 

Fay and Danny, deeply in love, are enjoying their nomadic life on the canal boat but when they get a call from Lija that Stan is not good, Fay rushes home to look after him, and also to help Lija, who’s now running the Cake Shop. Of course Fay’s sister Edie also makes an appearance – what is she planning this time? And there are, again, troubles coming The Cake Shop way and the characters are facing really difficult times.

when I’ve read the book for the first time I was surprised that it continues Fay and Danny’s adventures – it being a Carole Matthews’ book I didn’t take the trouble to read a synopsis, as with many other auto – buy authors, and already knowing it’s going to be a fabulous, festive read – but it was great to be back with Fay Merryweather and Danny Wilde and all their friends and relatives. I adored seeing them together, the sparkle was still there and you could see those two are made for each other, that they found each other. Fay, as before, puts everyone before herself but I noticed – with satisfaction – that she’s also grown a backbone, that she’s able to stand her ground and I felt like giving her a standing ovation and shouting you go, girl! There was also a new character Rainbow, helping in the cafe, and she was as colourful as her name. I think she added tons of humour and warmth to the story and while sometimes I couldn’t stand her blabbering, I appreciated the way she has lightened the atmosphere up. Lija and her foul mouth had made me smile more than once, I loved her directness! Altogether, the characters were – as usually – brilliantly and beautifully written, they had a great depth to themselves, they had personalities and the way they acted and reacted was realistic and so close to life. Their lives were not bed of roses and probably this is what makes them so close to your heart – that they struggle, that not everything is handed to them on a plate, just like in a normal life. Lija’s one – liners and sharp comments were an absolute highlights, and Rainbow, being Rainbow, so bubbly, bright and always happy just gave the book this little element of so much needed relax. Because the story touches upon so many heavy and difficult issues, guys – however, it’s not depressing or too overwhelming, or no, not to worry – and the author writes about them with so much intuition and understanding.

The title may be a little misleading, as the story only brushes a little on Christmas but the plot is so full of other things and happenings that I didn’t even feel disappointment – and so the book can be read with no regards to a season. As already mentioned, this newest release is a follow – up to “The Cake Shop in the Garden” and I think it could be read as a stand alone – just. I’d rather advise to read the books in the right order because even though “Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights” gives us a brief re – telling of what’s happened before, it’s really brief and to fully enjoy the book you should really start with the “Cake Shop”.

Altogether, it was a lovely, heart – warming story about friendship, friends pulling together, family bonds and love. Of course there wouldn’t be a Cake Shop without some great cakes, and the descriptions of Lija and Fay’s incredible creations were gorgeous and so vivid, and I can bet anything they’ll make your mouth water – they did it with me. The story was so comforting, just like your favourite reading place and a hot chocolate. It was warm and uplifting and so true to life and genuine. Highly recommended!

Lush by Gabrielle Fernie

Lush by Gabrielle Fernie

 

 

39204431Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 16th August 2018

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

Number of pages: 304

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Lush
adj. Very rich and providing great sensory pleasure (Oxford English Dictionary)
n. A habitual drunkard (Oxford English Dictionary)

‘Arms linked, just as we did when we were seventeen, we teeter our way to the club, pausing to tug Emma’s stiletto out of a drain cover and sling our empty wine bottle into the bin. For the first time in a long while I feel truly happy. I want to be standing arm-in-arm with my best friend, both completely pole-axed, for the rest of my days. And then it comes to me, with a stab: this is possibly our last night out together as free women…’

Gabby and Emma have been best friends since primary school in Wales. Emma has a stable job, a nice home and has just got engaged. Gabby has had a succession of disastrous one-night-stands and five awful jobs since drama school . . . and she has just been diagnosed with scurvy. She has one year until the wedding to pull herself together and prove to her friends and family that she can be a proper grown-up.

Described by Caitlin Moran as ‘filthy, immoral and incredibly funny’, Gabrielle Fernie’s blog, loveisa4letterturd.com, catalogued her life as a struggling actress with a taste for gin. Here, in her first book, she shares more of her most raucous stories with eye-watering honesty. It is a refreshing, frank and laugh-out-loud account of a young woman trying to find her place in the world; ultimately realising that it’s fine to play at being an adult until she properly figures it out.

Rating: three-stars

Gabby and Emma are best friends. While Emma has just got engaged and has a stable life, Gabby is working in a job that she hates, she dreams of being an actress (she has finished a drama school!) and goes on one disastrous date after disastrous date. However, she promises herself to grow up in time for Emma’s wedding.

I’ve requested “Lush” after reading the synopsis – I loved it. I’m already not in the author’s age range but well, I still remember some of the antics and troubles I’ve got myself into and you really don’t want to know where I threw up once. Those were the times…
However this book didn’t work for me, sadly. Gabrielle, our main character in this novel, wanted to change. So far, so good but a) I didn’t fully get why she wants to change – only because her best mate is getting married?, b) why write a book about it. There are many, many people out there living the same life as Gabrielle so, theoretically, they all could also write a book about their (miss)adventures? Blame it on my age, please, but some of the antics and Gabrielle’s approach didn’t make me laugh, they made me cringe – sometimes if felt much too overdone and as if the author has really tried too hard. Partly, it wasn’t funny anymore for me. However, I absolutely appreciate the fact how honest it was, and, in some ways, relatable.

But. I of course can so well understand that this book is going to speak tons with the younger audience. It so brutally honestly shows how it is to try and fail, to try again and to fail again but still not give up. The writing style was hilarious, engaging, sharp and hooking and the story itself was partly funny and partly touching and some of Gabrielle’s adventures were hilarious, I especially liked the TV episode or the bootcamp part. So even if I’m in two minds about this book, I’m sure that if you’re in your 20’s, you’re going to enjoy this memoirs about being single. Yes, hands up, it rang a bit to my own experiences, and I’m really glad to have read this book, even if it turned out that it’s not the perfect read for me, but you’d better try it for yourself.

My Sisters and Me by Lisa Dickenson

My Sisters and Me by Lisa Dickenson

 

 

 40875903Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 23rd August 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Three women are making over their childhood home. It’s going to get messy.

When Willow Lake asks her three daughters to help renovate the family home each has a reason to hesitate. The sisters always looked out for each other, but growing up in the Devon town of Maplewood wasn’t easy.

Noelle, the youngest, is perfectly comfortable with who she is – now. Once, though, she wanted to fit in so badly that she walked away from her first love. A first love who still lives in Maplewood . . .

Emmy, the middle sister, has always been quiet and bookish, and the idea of returning to the town that ridiculed her teenage-self fills Emmy with dread.

Outspoken Rae, the eldest, is painfully aware of how much the townspeople hurt her sisters growing up. She couldn’t protect them then, but there’s no way she’ll let history repeat itself.

As the sisters settle back into Maplewood they rekindle old relationships (some more welcome than others) and begin to make peace with the past. After all if they’ve changed over the years, it’s possible the townspeople have too . . . isn’t it?

Rating: four-stars

Rae, Emmy and Noelle are the three Lake sisters, as they are known in their childhood village Maplewood in Devon. They all visit their home rather reluctantly, as the place is full of sad and traumatic memories from their childhood and school years. They, in fact, couldn’t wait to leave Maplewood. Now Rae is married and is an opera singer, Emmy is a robotic engineer and Noelle is an environmental lawyer. However, at the request of their mother Willow, who, after death of the girls’ father started to travel the world, the girls are supposed to take sabbatical from work, come back home and renovate it for rental while Willow is again on the road. To say they’re all a bit wary would be an understatement, considering all the things that had happened in the past, and they are scared to face the village but there is no other option for them. How is it all going to play out?

I have warmed to the three sisters immediately. They were so easy to like and they had the best jobs ever. Noelle was environmental lawyer and I loved her interactions with Big Daddy, Rae was an opera singer (how many opera singers do you know?) and Emmy’s job was one in a million – she had something to do with building robots that she was sending then into space. They were all so passionate about their jobs and you could really see that they’re doing things they love to do. And oh yes, they were kick – ass sisters! It was brilliant they were all so different but no matter what they just stick together. I loved them all. But most of all I think I loved Jared *sigh*, and most importantly, I loved Emmy around Jared – she was then always so relaxed and funny.

Now, guys. I do love a Lisa Dickenson’s book. I’ve been reading and adoring her novels from the very beginning and this is why I went into “My Sisters and Me” with great expectations and actually certainty that this book is – again – going to blow my socks off with its brilliancy, humour and general greatness. And this is why, because of this feeling of certainty, I found myself reading and reading and starting to PANIC. Literally, panic and wondering, what’s happening? For a long time it was a solid 3 stars read for me, while I was sure it’s going to be a 10 out of 5 stars read. I’ve missed more humour, pace and action that I so well know from Lisa’s previous books. Those were actually Jared and Finn that saved the reading for me – they were brilliant characters, full of this Lisa’s hallmark banter and one – liners that the female characters maybe lacked a little this time. Don’t get me wrong, the three sisters were great, strong heroines, they were funny and their bond was genuine and out of this world fantastic, and I simply adored them all and kept everything crossed for them, but still the story felt too flat and too slow for my liking, and there were some things that bothered me all the time, like why the hell the residents of Maplewood hated the girls so much, even though they never did anything wrong and why their parents did nothing in that matter? Yes, Lisa did try to explain those things but somehow it just didn’t sit with me and didn’t convince me – probably because, as I have already mentioned, I ADORED the sisters and couldn’t understand those that didn’t like them as much as I did. so there.

But.

But oh my, does the book make you think and reminisce! Even though I’m a little older than the sisters, their journey back in time was a fantastic trip down memory lane for me as well. I am very 90’s chicka and all the mentions of clothes, music, posters on the wall were like opening a photo album for me. And Bonnie, how could “Mr. Vain” make you confused??? But this novel also brought back some memories that I’d rather, just like the sisters, leave unearthed somewhere deep, deep down, where it’s very dark, and I could really identify with the characters on this level. As always, the dear Lisa Dickenson chooses the best setting ever. This time we’re not travelling abroad but still, Maplewood and the house in the woods where the girls lived were fabulously described. Lisa has brilliantly captured the essence of a small town and its residents, close – knit community, with their prejudices and beliefs. And Lisa’s writing stays the same, it’s light and easy and so captivating, almost addictive, and it had me glued to the pages. You feel together with the characters, their fears, exasperation and happiness, their confusion and desperation. You laugh and cry with them and you just so want for everything to go smooth for them in the end. The descriptions are full of laughter and Lisa knows how to use her words to break the ice.

“My Sisters and Me” was full of sunshine, this overwhelming feel – good factor. It featured strong women who were developing all the time, finding their courage to feel good in their own skin, women who loved and were not afraid to say when they were not happy. It was about friendship and family dynamics, about revisiting your childhood and fighting the demons, facing the troubles and staying strong to your beliefs, and I absolutely loved this message. It brilliantly captured this mixture of happy childhood memories and those worse ones, and addressed all the old traumas showing that it’s really not so difficult to face the opponents and old memories. Would I recommend this novel? Hell, yes – just go and treat yourself to this book when it’s out!