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Archiwum - Maj, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up # 50

31 maj

Hi there! welcome to my Weekly Wrap Up, and can you see the number? 50! It’s almost a year with Weekly Wrap Up, amazing!

 

BOOKS I RECEIVED THIS WEEK:

PAPERBACKS:

Ann O’Loughlin „The Ballroom Cafe”

Paula Daly „Keep Your Friends Close”

Katie Marsh „My Everything”

Naomi Novik „Uprooted”

Dana Bate „Too Many Cooks”

Elin Hildebrand „The Matchmaker”

Such brilliant books post!

KINDLE:

Holly Martin „Fairytale Beginnings”

Couldn’t help! I mean, it’s Holly Martin’s new book!

 

BOOKS THAT I READ THIS WEEK

„Girl at War” by Sara Novic – reviewed

„The Dish” by Stella Newman – reviewed

„7 Years Bad Sex” by Nicky Wells – to be reviewed tomorrow

„Too Many Cooks” by Dana Bate – to be reviewed on 5th June

„Finding Audrey” by Sophie Kinsella – to be reviewed next week

 

 Am reading right now:

„Summer at Shell Cottage” by Lucy Diamond

„Little acts of Love” by Tilly Tennant

 

I REVIEWED THIS WEEK:

Girl at War by Sara Novic 5/5

Catch Me if you Cannes Part 4 by Lisa Dickenson 5/5

The Dish by Stella Newman 5/5

Yes, not many reviews this week but I was up – to – date with my reading and reviews, which doesn’t happen often, I do realise :) Now I’m reading like crazy, as 4th June is again THE publishing day, there are so many great books out on this day, and I’d love to share as many of them with you as possible. So yes, please do excuse me, I’m going reading :) See you all next week!

 
 

The Dish by Stella Newman / Book Review

29 maj

The Dish by Stella Newman

 

Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 21st May  2015

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult),

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Dish by Stella Newman is the new novel from the much-loved author of Pear Shaped and Leftovers. This is a warm, passionate novel that will delight fans of Jill Mansell and Mhairi McFarlane and leave you happy and hungry in equal measure.

Love is on the menu. With a side order of lies.

When Laura Parker first crosses forks with Adam Bayley, she’s only after one thing: his custard doughnut. But when she takes a closer look she sees a talented, handsome man who outshines the string of jokers she’s been dating.

There’s just one problem. Adam’s job means Laura has to keep her job as restaurant critic for The Dish, a secret. Tricky for someone who prides herself on honesty.

Can the truth be put on ice long enough for love to flourish?

And how can you expect your boyfriend to be honest if you’re not quite telling the truth yourself?

Stella Newman. Fiction has never tasted so good.

Rating: 5/5

 

I’ve read Stella Newman’s „Leftovers” before and I liked this book very much, but „The Dish” is an absolute cracker! I loved it from start to finish and I wasn’t able to voluntarily put it down! The author created a world that I so wanted to be a part myself, characters that I adored, and brilliant, refreshing plot, with just the right amount of humour, drama and romance.

Laura is living in London, where she moved after she and her husband divorced. She’s trying with the dating, really she’s trying, but unfortunately, unsuccessfully… This is, until one day she meets this guy who’s just ordered the last bacon sandwich that Laura was thinking about since yesterday. Moreover, he also gets her doughnut! Yes, they are both into good food and their friendship seems to grow into something… more? That is, until Laura finds out that Adam is a Head Chef in a restaurant that she has recently visited and wrote a very poor review – because this is what Laura does: she’s writing restaurant reviews for her column „The Dish”. Actually, she is a secretary to the magazine’s editor but he can see her potential and this is how Laura got into writing.
So what now? To tell or not to tell? Laura is not so very much into secrets after her family kept her mum’s illness private to them only, she needs honesty in her life, but well… Is telling Adam the truth going to end this super – promising relationship?

This book took the descriptions of food to another level. I’ve read many books centred around cuisine and eating and they were great, but to say that portrayal of food in „The Dish” was delicious would be an understatement. It was over – delicious. It was incredibly tasty and incredibly vivid, and there was such LOVE to food in this story that I’ve never seen before in chick – lit.

I would go so far and compare (even though I’m not so much into comparisons!) the writing style to this of Lucy Robinson, and those of you who know me, know that I am a massive fan of Lucy. MASSIVE. Writing in „The Dish” has so much reminded me of Lucy’s writing, which is incredibly eloquent, intelligent and witty, and Stella Newman writes exactly the same. She has this talent to write about things that we take for granted in a way that makes us see those things in different light, afresh, and to describe things, flavours and aromas that we really don’t know they exist. It’s the same with the dialogues, that are witty, smart and sharp and feel like real banter between real people, not dialogues written on a paper.

And please, don’t let me start gushing about the characters! They were unbelievably realistic and brilliantly fantastic! I have no idea how often I caught myself nodding my head and yelling, you go, Laura, I’d do or say the same as you, girl! They all made so many mistakes and this made them so, so perfect in my eyes, because only those that make mistakes are real people, right? I so freakingly adored the awkward first conversations between Laura and Adam, they were so sweet as a couple, and those sparkles between them, this sizzling chemistry couldn’t be better described! The feelings were palpable through the pages, and everything between them just felt so honest, so genuine, nothing was too forced or too pushy, it just flew, either smoothly or not, but flew! This romance was brilliant, as it was not only bed of roses and bubbles, oh no, there were so many obstacles for our love birds, and sometimes I so wanted to bang their heads together, because I’ve seen, and everybody else has seen this, only those two haven’t seen this: that they are meant to be together! Yet, till the last moment we aren’t sure how it is going to end. There were so many complications and problems that I could only shake my head with disbelief and seeing how they themselves were complicating their lives made ME desperate. Of course the problems were programmed: Laura is a food reviewer and Adam is the chef, so sooner or later she was going to come across him in her job – and the big question was: to tell him or not to tell him? I really loved that this relationship was not so easy, what with all the secrets and mystery there, first with Laura’s job (well, she wrote this brilliant review, the best in her life in fact, about eating in his restaurant and hating it – there is only this small fact of uncertainty if it was really Adam cooking then), and with Adam being so secretive, answering his mobile during the dates, heck, even disappearing during the dates!

The many different sub – plots that Stella so skilfully intertwines in her story are a great joy and a breath of fresh air, and all of them add so much to the whole book! Let it be Roger, Laura’s boss, Sandra, Laura’s (un)beloved work colleague, Laura’s sister and father to name only a few, all of them are spot on and I loved to follow all of them. The interaction between all the characters are hilarious and so genuine.

Laura was totally likeable character, and I found myself rooting for her from the beginning to the end. I loved her attitude, her sense of humour and the way she coped with Sandra at work and with her failure in love. I actually think I fell in love with Laura after she has parted with her potential boyfriend after he lied to her – way to go, Laura, I was feeling like cheering up on her. She was so very down – to – earth and feels just so true – also her cravings for bacon sandwiches or custard doughnuts, we could shake hands on this. She was so easy to relate to, so normal, going on with her life just like we do. And she was funny, oh my, how funny she was, and she always tried to make the best of a bad situation.
Laura had the best job in the world, I think, and I don’t mean the secretary part, but her being a food critic. Yes, I do realise it isn’t always as exciting as it sounds, and we witnessed her spending hours waiting in the queue just to wine and dine at the very posh restaurant, but nevertheless, I still do find it a really interesting aspect to the book – I think I’ve never come across a food reviewer in the book before, although I may be wrong. And Laura is brilliant at her job, she’s reviewing the food and the restaurants non – judgmentally, totally fair, seeing things that other don’t pay attention too, and I would trust her judging totally. Also, the idea of Second Helpings was brilliant – why focus only on new or posh bars?

But you know, as much as I loved Laura, there was a brilliant cast of characters in this book that just MAKE the story, and I really don’t know with whom I should start. Her family, her sister, father and two nieces were all incredibly funny, quirky and different to each other, especially Laura’s sister, Jess. This one knew what she wanted from life, oh yes, she did! Laura’s chef, larger – than – life Roger was the best chef you could have imagine, while his second – in – command, Sandra, couldn’t be the worse work – colleague, and oh so often I really admired Laura that she was able to hold her tongue. And Adam, oh my gosh, we can’t forget Adam and let’s stop for a second to swoon about him and to sigh for a moment. Yes, there were moments that the things he said were a little too harsh for my liking, and if I were Laura I’d just turn around and go and let him talk like this to someone else, but other than that he was… perfect, I think, yes, perfect is the word! Handsome, with dry humour, great relationship with his mother, he actually listened what was said to him, and a chef, I mean, really…!

All the characters have their own personalities and feel like real people, they just jump out of the pages, and you can’t stop but you root for them and you feel involved, and you so want to know what’s going to happen with all of them. You just care for them and want that everything went well for them.

Laura has also brilliantly captured the soul and essence of the restaurants that she was writing about, especially the one Adam was working in. Oh gosh, it sounded so pretentious that I was asking myself, why bother and open such a place at all, and why bother then and go to such a place, if you’re not a snob? Laura and Roger visiting this place, and then Laura with her friends, was absolutely delightful experience and the observations were priceless.

One of the greatest part of the book was the email interactions between the characters, and no matter who wrote to whom, they were hilarious! And the ever – changing subjects of the emails were absolutely brilliant. They also allowed us to establish very quickly what’s going on in the characters’ minds.

I know many reviewers wrote that the book has made them hungry. Well, it didn’t make me hungry, but I just wanted to see and try all the dishes that Stella was writing about in such a delicious, vivid way, and no matter if she wrote about cakes, desserts or fish and chips.

It was a truly awesome book and the time flowed so quickly when I was reading it! It has a great bunch of characters, brilliant and engaging plot, some really good food, it’s written in a very entertaining way but also with some tender, touching moments. It was fast – paced and all the time there was something happening, either at work or in Laura’s or other characters’ private lives. Stella Newman has incredible ways with words, she writes in a way that you can feel all that’s happening – there were emotions, anticipation, vibrations, confusion, and they are all so wonderfully defined and emphasized, I really haven’t read such skilfully written book in a long time. Yes, this book has it all: vibrant characters, engaging plot and wonderful writing style. I have enjoyed it immensely, Stella has incredible talent to draw the reader right into the heart of the story. I can’t praise this book enough, please just go and read it – it’s great!

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 5/5

 

Blog Tour: Catch Me if you Cannes Part 4 by Lisa Dickenson / eBook Review

28 maj

Catch Me if You Cannes by Lisa Dickenson

 

Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 25tht May  2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult), Contemporary

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 Synopsis:

The final part in this hilarious four-part romantic comedy, from the author of You Had Me at Merlot and The Twelve Dates of Christmas – winner of the Novelicious Debut of the Year award.

Just one week ago, Jess was safely tucked away in her quiet seaside home, running her cafe and not really doing much of anything. So what on earth has happened between then and now that has her stealing a superyacht from Cannes marina?

Leo. Leo happened.

Jess doesn’t want to believe what everybody is saying about him. He’s her Leo, with his lazy smile, soft kisses and firm hugs, and she knows he’s a good man. But she can’t deny that something isn’t quite right so she just needs some time to figure things out. All Jess did was fall in love with a boy who liked Nutella. How has it come to this?

Full of hilarious one-liners, sparkling blue seas and plenty of romantic moments, Catch Me If You Cannes is the story of two friends, a few white lies and one extremely delicious man. WARNING: reading Catch Me If You Cannes may result in embarrassing outbursts of belly-aching laughter on public transport.

Rating: 5/5

 

Read my review of the first part here! And part 2 here! And part 3 here!

 

 Honestly, I don’t know what I should say about this last part of „Catch Me if You Cannes” that I didn’t say before! I’m afraid I’m going to repeat myself but oh well, yes, it was a brilliant, funny, full of sunshine, perfect ending to the series. So there. And as much as I loved it, it’s such a pity that it was the final part *can you hear sobbing? Yes, that’s me*.

Over the last four weeks I have enjoyed being a part of Lisa’s Blog Tour, and adored all the parts of „Catch Me if You Cannes”, highly anticipating each new one, and devouring them in one go. It was the same with part 4, and here we are, starting there where we left, namely on the Cannes Marina, awaiting the return of Jess and Leo, and the yacht that Jess inadvertently stole (it was the first sentence in the book about the yacht that had me sold, and I was so waiting for this to happen! And it was hilarious. Jess is my hero. Really). And I won’t say a word more about what’s going to happen in this part – don’t want to spoil the joy of seeing it for yourself. Let me just tell you that we are to find out what was going on, what are the secrets, and if Jess and Leo will or won’t. Oh, and let’s not forget Bryony, she gets her part here as well, which I personally loved! Moreover, Jess has the best parents on the planet, parents with the best connections and contacts that you can imagine, really!

Lisa doesn’t leave any questions open, everything is brilliantly wrapped up, explained, and all this in this only – Lisa – style.

I’ve absolutely enjoyed „Catch Me if You Cannes” and Lisa Dickenson is now right at the very top of my favourite authors list – let’s be honest, no matter what she writes, she makes it a really cracker, and I absolutely can’t wait for more from her. Her writing is so warm and addictive, and there is no such thing as too much humour in her books, and moreover, this humour is incredibly clever and with belly – laugh effect. It is also oh so very gentle and lovely, and the characters that Lisa creates are so genuine and feel so realistic. „Catch Me if You Cannes” was a brilliant series, quick to read and quirky.

Each part of „Catch Me if You Cannes” was perfect to settle down in the sun, probably with a glass of mimosa (or two, depends on how fast you drink) and devour it, just devour it, such delicious read it was. I’m going to miss the characters, their banter and the setting, really. This was a holiday of a life time, once in a life holiday, and I want it, too! So excuse me when I go and look for my jar of Nutella right now, as there is no holidays in sight for me, not mentioning the French Rivera… Bye Jess, Bryony, Leo and Co., I absolutely enjoyed your company, and felt a part of your story. Going to miss you, but am sure Lisa has something new in store for us…

 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR!

 

Blog Tour: Girl at War by Sara Nović / Book Review

27 maj

Girl at War by Sara Nović

 

Publisher: Little, Brown

Publishing Date: 21st May  2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre: Historical Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 Synopsis:

Part war saga, part coming of age tale, part story of love and friendship, Girl at War is a powerful debut novel by a young writer who will appeal to readers of Anthony Marra, Téa Obreht, and Anthony Doerr.

“An unforgettable portrait of how war forever changes the life of the individual, Girl at War is a remarkable debut by a writer working with deep reserves of talent, heart, and mind.”—Gary Shteyngart

Zagreb, summer of 1991. Ten-year-old Ana Juric is a carefree tomboy who runs the streets of Croatia’s capital with her best friend, Luka, takes care of her baby sister, Rahela, and idolizes her father. But as civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, soccer games and school lessons are supplanted by sniper fire and air raid drills. When tragedy suddenly strikes, Ana is lost to a world of guerilla warfare and child soldiers; a daring escape plan to America becomes her only chance for survival.

Ten years later Ana is a college student in New York. She’s been hiding her past from her boyfriend, her friends, and most especially herself. Haunted by the events that forever changed her family, she returns alone to Croatia, where she must rediscover the place that was once her home and search for the ghosts of those she’s lost. With generosity, intelligence, and sheer storytelling talent, Sara Nović’s first novel confronts the enduring impact of war, and the enduring bonds of country and friendship.

Rating: 5/5

 

The story follows Ana, who’s living in Croatia and when the Yugoslavian Civil War breaks out she’s only 10 years old. It shows how she and her family try to cope as best as possible with new reality and with an illness of Rahela, Ana’s little sister. While trying to save Rahela, Ana and her family are thrown into a very dangerous situation, situation that is going to change everything…
The author brilliantly described the way the war so quickly and so naturally assimilated itself into Ana and her family’s (and millions of others) life – she still goes to school, and her parents to work. She still rides on her bike around Zagreb with her best friend Luka, and she and her friends play war outside.
Fast forward, and Ana is a student in a college in New York, but her past is still haunting her, and also her closest, even if they don’t know it. She can’t stop thinking about her old home, her old friends, she doesn’t know what happened to them, especially to Luka, her closes friend from her childhood. She decides to return to Croatia and find answers to her questions.

Some reviewers predict this book is going to be a book massively read by book clubs, book of the months, nominated for all kind of possible prizes etc, and I’m asking, why not? Should it be a shame? In my opinion the book is worth all the talking, all the mentions – it has literally blown my mind away. You know why? Perhaps because the language was so literal, the descriptions so genuine, or perhaps because it is about a part of history. Of course you can say, many books are historical fiction and they do not get such recognition, and it is also true. But what is so significant to me, what makes the book so exceptional, is the fact that I was a witness myself to those times. Safe at home, watching the news on the TV. And people there were fighting for their freedom. And just imagine, that all that Sara Nović has written in her book, has happened, and I don’t mean the war altogether – we know it happened, but I mean all the elements that form a war: women being raped, innocent people being killed, tortured, being forced to witness how their beloved ones are suffer… things that we don’t know, that we may only assume happened – and Sara Nović has written this, how it was. And I won’t forget this book for a long time. And if it is her debut novel, she really has set the hurdle very high – I can’t wait to see what more she has in store for us next time.

I adored absolutely everything in this book, writing, which is so strong and self – confident, characters that are so vivid and realistic, the plot, the subject matter, and the way the author managed to write this book – it’s very serious, it’s very earnest, it’s very important, yet she wrote it in almost a cold way, without letting out any feelings, without making the story too sentimental. But it’s good, really good – it is truly a powerful, strong story and there is no place for sentimentality.

The next thing that I liked about the book is that yes, it covered the times of the civil war, but not only, and while Ana couldn’t escape from her memories, which is understandable, the war itself with all its dubious glory didn’t take the whole book. I mean, yes – it was always there, in Ana’s memory, but the author balanced the savage descriptions of the war with Ana’s other, „normal” life in the USA, showing how she tried to come to terms with her previous life, how she was trying to learn her life and forget.

There were four parts in the book, two of them dedicated to the war and two to Ana’s new life, even if this new life was still under the shadow of the past events. The parts about war were incredible, they were heart – wrenching, they were horrifying, and the descriptions of the events that took place, what happened to people, what happened to the whole villages just made me stop breathing. Those are the moments that will stay in my mind for long. Dividing this book in this way was one of the best ideas, I think, because as much as the first part leaves us breathless, wide – eyed with disbelief and with such an end to it, I think we needed some kind of rest from the details of the war reality. Of course following Ana in America doesn’t leave us war – less, because as much as Ana is now safe, we can still see that the war has left an incredible impact on her and it’s still haunting her. Then the third part is about her memories as well, and the last one is about her return to Croatia, a kind of closure. It did work really great for me, I think I wouldn’t be able to read the book if it was only about the war times – it was too realistic, too genuine, too close home.

The parts taking place in New York are not as effective or powerful as those in Zagreb but they were needed very much in this book, to give us a little rest.

The narrator in the novel is Ana, at first a ten – years – old girl who’s telling her story through her own eyes, and the author brilliantly captured the essence of this age and those times, the innocence with which the children were playing war, being a part of the war themselves, and showing how quickly they must have had to grow up, to mature, and finally how some of them were soldiers themselves. She has showed us something that I really can’t believe exists, but on the other hand people must try and live normal in not normal times – how they try to incorporate everyday life, their going to work, seeing friends, with the horror of being in a war, where some kilometres away people are dying, and you can be the next one to die tomorrow but you still try to live as normal as possible in this conditions.
You know, from start to finish it is a beautiful book. No matter if the author writes about rape, terror, mass tombs, describing the smell of a man who’s going to kill in a second, or about adapting to new life, new family, new things, it is all incredibly compelling and gripping, and there is an overwhelming feeling of honesty to it all.

It is a very thought – provoking novel written in a very mature way. It in a very powerful way tells a story of Ana, starting with her being a carefree girl who must grow up quicker than usually because of the war in her country, and following her as a child – soldier to a young woman trying to come to terms with the past horrors. It is a very realistic read, not too sentimental, shockingly genuine and tugging at all the right heart – strings. Maybe it’s so shocking because it actually shows how a war influences people living their ordinary lives. It is really well written, it has the right pace, vivid characters, and it all makes it a very memorable debut novel. I think that if you are going to read only one book this year, you should make it „Girl at War”. Highly recommended!

 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR!

 

Weekly Wrap Up #49

24 maj

Hi there! How are you all? Hope everything is great, not only books – wise :)

 

BOOKS I RECEIVED THIS WEEK:

PAPERBACKS:

Lauren Dane „Opening Up”

Stella Newman „The Dish”

Sally Hepworth „The Secrets of Midwives”

Judith Allnatt „The Silk Factory”

KINDLE:

Alison May „Midsummer Dream”

Gill Paul „No Place for a Lady”

Catherine Ferguson „Green Beans and Summer Dreams”

Jane Linfoot „The Vintage Cinema Club”

 

BOOKS THAT I READ THIS WEEK

„From Italy with Love” by Jules Wake – reviewed

„The Island Escape” by Kerry Fisher – reviewed

„The Sun in Her Eyes” by Paige Toon – reviewed

 

 Am reading right now:

„The Vintage Cinema Club” by Jane Linfoot

„Girl at War” by Sara Novic

 

 I REVIEWED THIS WEEK:

Raving About Rhys by Jessica Redland 4/5

The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) by Kate Winter 5/5 + Hall of Fame

From Italy with Love by Jules Wake 4/5

Catch Me if You Cannes Part 3 by Lisa Dickenson 5/5

The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon 5/5 + Hall of Fame

The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher 5/5

Please don’t forget you can still win a book of your choice in the May Releases Giveaway here and a copy of Paige Toon’s new novel „The Sun in Her Eyes” here! See you all next week!

 
 

Blog Tour: The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher / Book Review + Guest Post

24 maj

The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher

 

Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 21st May  2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Can one woman’s marriage survive her best friend’s divorce? Fans of Veronica Henry and Erica James, this is the next book to add to your reading list.

It’s time to get back to where it all began…

Octavia Sheldon thought she’d have a different life. One where she travelled the world with an exotic husband and free-spirited children in tow. But things didn’t turn out quite like that.

Married to safe, reliable Jonathan, her life now consists of packed lunches, school runs and more loads of dirty washing than she ever thought possible. She’s not unhappy. It’s just that she can barely recognise herself any longer.

So as Octavia watches her best friend’s marriage break up, it starts her thinking. What if life could be different? What if she could escape and get back to the person she used to be? Escape back to the island where she spent her summers? And what if the man she used to love was there waiting for her…?

Rating: 5/5

 

I absolutely adored Kerry’s debut novel „The School Gate Survival Guide”. Absolutely. And I couldn’t wait for her next novel to be published – I so fell in love with her writing, her storytelling and was hoping for another cracker of a book. And let me tell you right here, right now, that „The Island Escape” has totally lived up to my expectations. It is a little different to Kerry’s debut novel, especially in the subject matter, but this what made me so adore Kerry’s books was there – exceptional writing, great storytelling, down – to – earth characters and fresh, original plot. Although I must admit that first I was slightly confused – the blurb says about Octavia and there was no word about Roberta, and the story started with Roberta, and I found myself thinking, what’s up? Who is Roberta and where is Octavia? But it quickly became clear that it is a story about two best friends, and both of them were facing big changes in their lives.

The book follows the stories of two friends, Octavia and Roberta, both of them on turning points in their lives, whatever the reason. Roberta has finally decided to get a divorce from her bullying, arrogant husband Scott who’s not afraid on calling a police on his wife, and is desperate to start a new life and follow her dream of having her own company as an interior designer. She also relatively quickly tries experimenting on the dating market and learns a wonderful man, but even then Scott manages to destroy this relationship. What now? Is Roberta going to pick herself up once more?
Octavia lives happily, married to Jonathan, and they have three children. She’s juggling family life and her career and leads your normal, everyday life. The problems start when Jonathan is being made redundant – he not only goes into his own personal space but also becomes distant towards his wife and family. Octavia is sure that it’s going to change when he gets a new job – because he will get a new job eventually, right? But all the uncertainties in life make Octavia think about her youth and her first true love – what would happen if they hadn’t parted their way those twenty years ago? Would she be happily married to Xavi now or is it only delusion, and she should be happy in her relationship with Jonathan and appreciate what she has?

It is incredible what Kerry Fisher has done with (and to) her characters. I have found myself liking either Octavia or Roberta more, according to the circumstances that changed so often. But mostly through the book I was more Team – Octavia then Roberta. The latter had in my opinion more awkward moments when I really didn’t know what to think about her and why she acts the way she acts. Octavia just seemed to me to be more honourable and honest, and she was much more down – to – earth. I couldn’t believe that it took Roberta so much time to realize that her marriage is a fiasco in fact, and that she still tried, and tried, and tried, was a doormat to her husband, and everything in the name of love. Or that her father would say „I told you so”. Sometimes you must just put the tail between your legs and admit that other people were right, even if it is hard thing to do. But! She was not so bad, don’t worry :) She had her moments and I also felt sorry for her, when she thought that things were going better but they turned out only worse. Roberta lacked some depth – I really don’t know how to tell you my feelings about her, but she was just too often too immature. Octavia was really more a girl after my own heart, she was more adventurous, not afraid of all sort of mischief, and I just fell more for her, she seemed to me much more sympathetic. Roberta was more posh and came from a „better” family, and she behaved differently, she was more stiff and tense. The only thing that she rebelled against was her father when she married Scott – and this is why she’s scared of hearing „I told you so” (and also this seems to be her biggest mistake. Lesson learned, no? Parents are always right! *just joking*).

So really, the friends couldn’t be more different even if you had asked for it, but they complemented each other so well, and it really did work out brilliantly in this novel.

Actually, when I think about it, all the characters were not immediately (or at all) likeable. They had their flaws, many flaws, and while I absolutely adore characters that are not perfect, here I just couldn’t warm to some of them. I think it is obvious that I hated Scott, Roberta’s husband, who thought he can afford everything he wants. I really couldn’t believe in some things he had the courage to do, and I couldn’t believe that Roberta still closed her eyes and for the sake of – what? Love? Time spent together? Daughter, who has seen the things how they really were? Misunderstood responsibility? – did with all the humiliation.
The other character that I couldn’t stand – really. I know it sounds harsh but he was incredibly unlikeable – was Jonathan, Octavia’s husband (I know, right? The girls were probably standing in the wrong queue when it came to choosing a partner for them). While at the beginning his OCD and order – obsession seemed to be a little funny (maybe perhaps I am just like Octavia, and my husband is a little like Jonathan – a little! Very little! Not OCD at all, and he only likes when everything has its place) – I could absolutely relate to her rolling her eyes and humorously accepting his funny hobby, but the more I read about him, the more I disliked and detested him. I was suspecting something, much earlier than Octavia, but was not sure, but still, when the truth glimpsed the daylight I on one hand was happy that Octavia will be free from such a pedant, on the other I wanted that she’ll make his life a hell and not give up without a fight (which she did in my eyes), and on the third hand (I know, I know, no third hand) I wanted to hurt him, so much! I wanted to hit him where it hurts most, and wanted to tell him that with such approach he is not a real man in my eyes.

But I also thing this is the strength of this book – that the author writes how it is, that she doesn’t paint oh so rosy picture of marriage, that she writes about all the problems and frustrations in such an open, honest and genuine way. Thereby we can all relate to the story, as the domestic lives aren’t usually only a bliss and walk on the clouds.

The book is told in alternating chapters, either from Octavia or Roberta’s points of view. Both of them told us their own story and sometimes they were also sharing their thoughts about each other. There were moments that I had a feeling that I missed something, because they were telling about totally different things, and I felt as if I have either missed something or jumped over in time.

The further I was into the story, the more I knew how it’s going to end, but nevertheless, my waiting was diversified with a fast pace and thousand of twists and turns, so it in no way spoiled my reading or bothered me.

Octavia was also talking often about Xavi. Xavi this, Xavi there, and eventually I started to long for Xavi myself, and I was totally curious if we were going to meet him or not. It’s the same as with Roberta, the blurb mentions the island where Octavia can find her refuge, and so I was in fact expecting the plot to took totally different direction, and was a little disappointed that the island is in fact only a very little part of the plot, although significant – because actually everything started and ended there and, ah, I so love when the story went round in a circle! There is always such a great feeling of fulfilment and accomplishment. But yes, I wanted to say that I was expecting a totally different story and this book took me really by surprise, but this is a nice surprise.

It is not as light reading as might be expected, because it deals with many, many uncomfortable and serious issues, but it is also written in a brilliant way, with a great dose of a dry humour that balanced this seriousness, and altogether, the book makes a brilliant read.

It is a book full of questions, but who of us hasn’t asked „what if” in his life? It’s the same with our main characters. It tells how it is, that making decisions is not the easiest thing in life, and there is always this insecurity if the decision was right or wrong. It is also about courage and having the balls to change something in your life. Yes, I absolutely loved this novel. I followed Roberta and Octavia with pleasure on their journey and observed how they found courage to change things in their lives, proving that it is never too late to forge a new life, even if it doesn’t come easily. I’d go so far and say that there is a message in this book: follow your instincts and never regret your decisions – you could always have made a worse one. Highly recommended, wonderful summery read!

 

GUEST POST

In The Island Escape, I wanted to capture a sense of middle-aged restlessness. When my friends and I had young children, we didn’t have time to think about what we wanted to do with our lives.  We were too busy trying to stop our kids wetting themselves in public, hiding broccoli in pasta sauce and in my case, attempting to get my son to read while he hung upside down on the sofa, practising a Scottish accent and wondering when he could get back to irritating his sister.

Most of us did jobs to fit around our children, rather than dream careers. It’s only now we have teenagers that there’s some breathing space to think, ‘What now, what about me?’ (I’m seizing the moment to write novels, before the son learns to drive and I can never sleep again.) Of course, considering what comes next often involves looking back to what we thought we’d do before life made other plans. I hope I’ve reflected this in Octavia – she’s just emerging from the hard manual labour stage of young children and when her best friend, Roberta, gets divorced, she begins to question her lot. She obsesses about the gulf between who she perceives she is now – a dull drudge with a husband who bores her – and who she thought she’d be – a bohemian mother living a Mediterranean life.

Like Octavia in The Island Escape, I was very restless throughout my twenties. I loved languages, studied French and Italian at university, then went to Spain to teach for a couple of years. I came home briefly, got rejected for the diplomatic service (which surely has led to greater harmony worldwide) and disappeared to Italy for five years. There I worked as a holiday rep, guidebook author and PA to an American artist who would start painting on the walls when he was in a bad mood. I loved feeling I could move city, even country, at a moment’s notice with nothing more than a tiny rucksack and a pair of flip-flops. Eventually, much to parental relief, I returned to England to train as a journalist but still imagined I’d end up in Paris or Rome living a hippyish life.

But no…I met my husband and settled down in suburban Surrey. I’m still restless but my generous-spirited husband doesn’t take my need to escape as an insult, because apparently ‘it was part of the package’. However, we like to travel in different ways.  He is strictly a hotel man, preferably with rose petals on the pillow, whereas I still gravitate to the rucksack, maps and ‘we’ll see where we get to’ philosophy. Consequently, I usually do any rough travelling with my best friend from university.  This year, we’re going to the Isle of Wight Festival and staying in a pod – even I have accepted that Glastonbury days of sleeping in a muddy field and cleaning my teeth in lager are over!

I no longer hanker after extreme adventures, though I plan to go trekking when the children are grown up. Whenever they ask me if they have to leave home at eighteen, I always tell them they can stay as long as they like…they just can’t bank on me being here!

 

The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon / Book Review + Giveaway

22 maj

The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 21st May  2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Blinding sunshine… A bend in the road… What became of the little girl with the sun in her eyes?

Amber was three when a car crash stole her mother’s life. She doesn’t remember the accident, but a stranger at the scene has been unable to forget. Now, almost thirty years later, she’s trying to track Amber down.

Amber, meanwhile, is married to Ned and living on the other side of the world in London. When her father has a stroke, she flies straight home to Australia to be with him. Away from her husband, Amber finds comfort in her oldest friends, but her feelings for Ethan, the gorgeous, green-eyed man she once fell for, have never been platonic.

As Ethan and Amber grow closer, married life in London feels far away. Then Amber receives a letter that changes everything.

‚Before your mother died, she asked me to tell you something…’

 Rating: 5/5

 

Lately I became Paige Toon’s massive fan, and I am always waiting impatiently for her new releases every year. I will be honest with you, it was not always like that, but the last few books – „The Sun in Her Eyes” included – have just had me hooked. I don’t know, maybe I’ve just grown up to absolutely appreciate her books?

Amber is living in the UK with her husband. She’s a maths teacher, but the last years she’s been working as a broker, and has just been made redundant. On the same day she also receives a phone call from Australia, from her father’s partner Liz, that he had a stroke and is in hospital. Amber heads home immediately, leaving Ned behind. Lately the situation was a little tense between them, as Ned is working with Zara, and Amber is sure that Zara has the hots for her husband, and it leads to many misunderstanding between the couple. And – in Australia, there is Ethan, Amber’s best friend for ever, since they were kids, and a man she fell for, but nobody knows about her feelings, especially not Ethan…

Australia is still a very exciting continent for me and I’d love to visit it one day, really, so I truly enjoyed the setting of this book and Paige’s descriptions of the place, which were so vivid, no matter if the characters were sitting in the bar or were somewhere outside the town, visiting properties and vineyards, keeping an eye on the snakes and watching the kangaroos.

One of the strength of this book is the fact that the characters are not so obvious and that they are so complex. I was changing my mind about them more than once, especially about Ethan, who was absolutely charming and lovely at the beginning, hell, a sex – god with those green eyes, but who turned out to be not this kind of person that I thought – I don’t like people playing with other people’s feelings! It was really like a rollercoaster ride with Ethan and my feelings to him, once we were high and then suddenly he did or said something (or rather, didn’t do or say!) and we were deep, deep down. But it was the same with Ned – at first he stroke me as a whingy, moody person and through the bigger part of the story I was thinking, boy, how did Amber end with you? You seem to only follow your own instinct, you don’t consider what your wife has to say on the matters that affect you both, and you don’t see so obvious things! But then Paige has taken us back in time and told us how Ned and Amber met, we got to know a little about his background, and then Ned himself came to his senses and he was again in my good books. It doesn’t really happen often that I have such mixed feelings about the characters but I liked it – they were unpredictable, they were changing, and they were also learning from their own mistakes (or not).

It was the same with Amber. She was incredibly likeable and realistic, and very easy to relate to. She did things that were good for her in this particular moment, without thinking about consequences but she has never buried her head in the sand. Sure, there were moments that I so wanted to shake her and ask, girl, what the hell are you doing?????, but there were also moments that I could only keep my fingers crossed for her. I haven’t felt such involvement as in her life for a long time when reading books, and it was absolutely brilliant feeling!

I’m not saying that this what Amber did was OK, but it was also not the easiest situation for her. Her relationship with Ned was not a bed of roses and to be honest, I was absolutely on Amber’s side on this one. What I absolutely applauded was the fact that this marriage was written in such a realistic way, and Paige told everything as it really was, with all the insecurities and problems. Perhaps running away was not the best idea, because you can’t solve your problems via telephone, but this time the circumstances were a little different and Amber must have leave Ned and England. So arriving in Australia and almost straight into Ethan’s arms, it’s no wonder that she feels this old attraction to him. And the situation is favourable – Ethan is separated from his wife and they’re going to get a divorce and Amber… well, Amber doesn’t know what to do with her life and her marriage.

I’m totally lost in admiration how complicated the author made the characters’ lives. The more I read, the more I though there can’t be a happy end because no matter what, somebody is going to be hurt. And I literally couldn’t wait to see how Paige is going to solve it!

What Paige did with this sub – plot is amazing. I am sure that most of the readers will fell for Ethan and his forbidden relationship with Amber as much as I did. The way he treated her, when we had always in mind how moody Ned was on telephone, it just seemed somehow right, we had a feeling that Amber deserved this unconditional adoration. However, not everything is so simple in life and of course, there are other sides of the story – but me, well, I stick with Amber. She was not perfect, she’s made a lot of mistakes, but in fact none of the characters in the book are perfect, which in my eyes make them much more realistic and likeable – who of us doesn’t make mistakes or take wrong decisions?
The final decision of Amber may also seem controversial, but – again – I am fully with her on this decision.

Paige has this incredible talent to interweave so many different, heart – breaking stories into one, fantastic book that doesn’t feel sad or depressing at all. On the contrary, while we are not absolutely sure if this novel is going to end with happy end, there is still this optimistic feeling to it, and we hope till the last page that everything is going to end well. There were many emotional moments that really had me on a verge of tears, for example seeing Amber’s father coping with his stroke, seeing Amber and Liz trying to come to terms with his inability to live independently, or reading about the car accident or what Amber’s mother had to say, to name a few, but on the whole there is a beautiful feeling of hope and new beginnings to this book.

This story went totally different way to this that I expected. After reading the blurb I was sure that it is going to be about the search for Amber and that maybe then it will be all about the words she was going to hear. But no, this was in fact a small part of the book, even though it influenced Amber and her life greatly. It really hurt to see how much the events from the past influenced her and how and what she kept in her memory, and how insecure it made her feel. So yes, the story was full of brilliant twists and turns and it really took me on a very hooking journey, a journey full of emotions, often forbidden emotions, secrets, guiltiness and love, unconditional love. The mystery words that I expected to be something totally different have so taken me by surprise and I swear, my eyes were full of tears when I eventually heard what they were, what was the last message from Amber’s mother to her daughter. I, in fact, can feel my eyes welling up when I’m writing it right now – it was beautiful. Beautiful!

Altogether, yes, I absolutely loved this book. It was perfect for me. The writing is so typical Paige’s – gentle, light, easy to follow. There is enough tension and the plot is so complex, Paige didn’t take the easiest way, as usually, and made the lives of the characters really complicated – and I bow down to her because it isn’t for sure easy to write such a book, full of difficult decisions to be made, where in fact no way out of them is a good way. This is really a book that is going to stay with you for longer and it is an absolute must read this summer!

 

GIVEAWAY!

You can win one copy of „The Sun in Her Eyes”! The giveaway is open internationally and ends on 29th May. You must only enter via Rafflecopter – good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • The winner will be announced here/and on Twitter shortly after the giveaway ends and notified by email.
  • The winner has 48 hours to respond to the winning email before a new winner will be chosen. (Please be sure to check your SPAM folder!)
  • Entries will be verified. Really, guys. You don’t have to do much.
  • We are not responsible for the book once it is shipped.
 

Blog Tour: Catch Me if You Cannes Part 3 by Lisa Dickenson /eBook Review

21 maj

Catch Me if You Cannes by Lisa Dickenson

 

Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 11th May  2015

Series: Catch Me if You Cannes #3

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

The third part in this hilarious four-part romantic comedy, from the author of You Had Me at Merlot and The Twelve Dates of Christmas – winner of the Novelicious Debut of the Year award.

Things could not be going better between Jess and Leo. Every moment they spend together is lovely and sunkissed and full of anticipation. Jess hasn’t felt like this in a very long time and she doesn’t want it to end. Sure, Leo is a bit vague about certain areas of his life but that doesn’t mean anything . . .

Suddenly Jess’s perfect holiday romance isn’t looking so great and she has a choice to make – should she ignore what Bryony is telling her and keep living the dream, or should she run the risk of losing Leo in order to prove her friend wrong?

Full of hilarious one-liners, sparkling blue seas and plenty of romantic moments, Catch Me If You Cannes is the story of two friends, a few white lies and one extremely delicious man. WARNING: reading Catch Me If You Cannes may result in embarrassing outbursts of belly-aching laughter on public transport.

Rating: 5/5

 

Read my review of the first part here!

And part 2 here!

 

So, part 3, Cannes, here we come!

I really do apologise for my vague, bitty and incoherent review but I just really don’t want to spoil the reading for you!

After part 1 and part 2 of „Catch Me if You Cannes”, part 3 hasn’t slowed down, oh no, au contraire, the things are just so hotting up…! There is the case of are they/are they not and it is not about Jess and Leo, oh no! Ha! Curious?

The lovely, gentle, touching, and oh so hilarious and funny romance between Jess and Leo is blooming, even though there are some little understatements between them – what is this about? Bryony is a little in a dead spot job – wise but it might be that she has found a great topic! But did she really…?
But altogether, the girls are still partying hard and putting themselves in a lot of awkward situations – just like they already get us used to, no? They are also to develop very special investigation skills. They must also prove their organizational skills as well – securing a room in a very expensive hotel where Bryony can run interview of her life and where Jess gets a very unexpected visit which almost blows the girls’ cover.

Oh my gosh, no, the girls are not slowing down! They are in the whirlwind of action and they are having holidays of their lives, and there is something new happening on each page! And you really have no idea where Lisa is going to take us this time, what’s going to happen and how long will the girls be able to continue with their little, innocent, white lies? This part is so full of action, drama and unexpected visits that I really couldn’t bother and stop for a breath. Or two.

It’s again the case of Lisa pulling you straight into the heart of the story and making you laugh out loud, making you feel good and feeling the sun on your skin, with her incredible talent to describe everything so vividly. The characters stay as genuine and realistic as they were in the last two parts, so utterly funny and warm and you really can’t help it but you root for them, you cheer them on, and every single word that they say, every banter between them just bring a smile to your face. Yes, such a feel – good story it is!

This is a flawless, perfect book that you absolutely should read! And then re – read, and re – read… Really. Believe me.

 

From Italy with Love by Jules Wake / eBook Review

20 maj

From Italy with Love by Jules Wake

 

Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 14th May  2015

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

‘To my niece I leave the Ferrari GT250… On the proviso that she takes it across Europe to Maranello within the next three weeks. Only on successful completion of the journey to a prescribed route, will the car be hers…’

Home-loving Laurie thinks she’s happy – she has a safe, reliable boyfriend and working in her local library is what she thought she always wanted. That is until she inherits a vintage Ferrari from her eccentric Uncle Miles and the conditions of the inheritance are far from simple. To keep the car Laurie will have to drive across Europe with the gorgeous but unreliable Cameron Matthews as her guide… and Cam’s motives for helping are not all that altruistic.

Cam isn’t particularly thrilled about escorting his late pal Miles’ dull mouse of a niece on this wild goose chase but all he has to do is get Laurie safely to Italy and he’s sure the Ferrari is his.

But Uncle Miles had a few tricks up his sleeve and the route he’s planned takes Cam and Laurie on a road trip they’ll never forget. From sampling the delights of the Loire Valley to the breathtaking beauty of Lake Garda, this is one journey that has more twists and turns than either of them could ever have imagined…

 Rating: 4/5

 

You know, I couldn’t wait to start reading this book, I had a very overwhelming feeling when I pressed the „Request” button that I’m really going to like it, that it’s going to be a story that will have me hooked and I won’t want to put it away. Don’t know why, just had this feeling, and the blurb was so promising, the cover so inviting… And yes, I wasn’t mistaken – it was a great read! Full of fast cars, brilliant journey through Europe, adventures and many, many more!

The story starts with a real kick, namely at the funeral, but not very usual funeral. Laurie’s Uncle, Miles, decided that black is not going to be seen there, and all of his four ex – wives and guests turn up wearing red, but also his choice of music might have been perceived as controversial. But that was Miles for you – larger than life, generous, open – handed and beloved by his friends. Only Laurie and her boyfriend Robert show up wearing navy and standing out from the crowd.

Laurie and Robert live together in Laurie’s home. She works in a library and they both lead a very mediocre, average, steady life, without taking any risks, without excitement, and I couldn’t help but think that it is in fact Robert who’s forcing Laurie to live like this. He made her wear her hair like this, to buy clothes like this and while Laurie said she’s feeling great in her own skin, the great change in her only proved that she was wrong – she was just waiting for a chance to spread her wings and show the world her true colours. I really adored the change in her, her coming out of her comfort zone, out of her shell, and the development in her was of an epic sorts, really!

So Uncle Miles lefts Laurie a verrrry classic Ferrari GT250, but under one condition – she must take the car across Europe, to Maranello – the home of Ferrari. Everything is organized – the whole trip, sleeping places etc., as well as some certain places where she must stop, and she must also send some postcards along the way. That she’s not feeling lonely, Cameron Matthews, Miles’s friend and a car mechanic, is going to accompany her on this trip.

Now, to say that Cam was a cookie would be an understatement. I have a soft spot for car mechanics to be honest, just imagine those oily bodies covered in dirt appearing from under the cars… Mmm… OK, OK, I’m dreaming a little here… But I had a feeling that we didn’t have such a good chance to get to know Cam as well as we got to know Laurie. Yes, we know his background, his story, his dreams, but he’d rather kept himself to himself in my opinion. But! If I were to go on a trip with a stranger, I’d only go with Cam!

We can’t, of course, forget our dear Robert, who was one of the most unlikeable, disgusting characters ever, and I really have no idea what Laurie’s seen in him. Although I have a feeling that his sub – plot was the weakest one here, somehow unfinished – I thought that there must have been something more to his pushing on getting married, something different to the fact that Laurie might have inherited some money. I was guessing job troubles, or other women, but nothing came, so he was probably only greedy. And his attempt at revenge, I really have no idea how does it sit with the police, but I think: well, nobody caught Laurie, right? So he can stuff his police where the sun doesn’t shine, no?

You know, this extravagant Ferrari was almost a character in the book as well! The way it was described it was as if it was a living, breathing creature. I’m guessing Cam was really in love with this baby. Well, he was plotting and planning how to persuade Laurie to sell it to him after the trip ended.

Yes, I liked Laurie from the beginning, but I found myself liking her more and more as the story progressed. It was like seeing a Cinderella, there was so much change in her, and it was a change for better. She grew to be more confident, to know her virtues and to conquer her fears and demons, and oh my, she proved she can really rock! But this sensible, gentle side of her didn’t change, and I really loved the way she interacted with her younger sister. There might have been nothing exciting about her, in fact, she was more like a mouseburger, worrying about her job and money and for sure in her life there wasn’t any place for extravagant travelling or keeping such car as Ferrari. Yet she was so likeable in her normality and down – to – earthness and I really couldn’t not keep my fingers crossed for her and cheer her on her way, on her opening to the world and blossoming. Uncle Miles really knew what’s best for his favourite girl!

It is this kind of book when you know from the very beginning how it is going to end, but oh my, it doesn’t spoil the story at all, and let’s be honest, the author doesn’t make the characters’ life too easy. There are complications, there are adventures and there is, on fact, also some kind of uncertainty, and altogether this creates a great, fast – paced and full of twists and turns book that is like a road movie.

I am really the last one to say that a book is too long, because the more pages there are, the bigger joy for me, but I think that here it could be a little shorter. There were too many different descriptions for my liking, too great focus on the smallest details, and sometimes I couldn’t wait for something to finally happen, for the characters to answer the question, for them to move.

So yes, apart of some details, I really enjoyed the book. It’s a great piece of escapism. It was a great journey, full of beautiful views and landscapes, great places to visit and unexpected twists and turns. Full of humour, great weather and good food, overall it was a light and sweet read. Jules Wake brings the views and scenery to life with her wonderful, colourful, vivid descriptions, and she writes in a very light, easy to follow way. But be aware, it’s going to make yearn for holidays – I’d so love to be on a road right now!

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 4/5

 

Blog Tour: The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) by Kate Winter / Book Review

19 maj

The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) by Kate Winter

 

Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 21st May  2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre:Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Falling in love is never simple. Especially when you’re dead.

When Rosie Potter wakes up one morning with what she assumes is the world’s worst hangover, the last thing she expects is to discover that she’s actually dead. With a frustrating case of amnesia, suspicious circumstances surrounding her untimely demise, and stuck wearing her ugliest flannel PJs, Rosie must figure out not only what happened last night, but why on earth she’s still here.

Slowly the mystery unravels, but there are many other secrets buried in the quiet Irish village of Ballycarragh, and nobody is as innocent as they first appear. Aided by the unlikeliest of allies in her investigation, Rosie discovers that life after death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, particularly when you might just be falling in love . . .

In this hilarious, life-affirming and romantic journey through Rosie Potter’s afterlife, she shares the ghostly tale of how she lived, she died, and she loved (in that order).

Rating: 5/5

 

Only seeing the title of this book has made me desperate to read it. Then I’ve read the synopsis and there was nothing that could stop me from reading – a story about a girl who wakes up one day and finds out that she’s dead – just my kind of humour, really. So I was really more than excited when this baby, with this beautiful, colourful, catching the eye cover finally arrived on my doorstep and I hold it in my hands. And when I started reading it, there was nothing that would make me to put it down – not even a husband threatening me with a divorce. No, a girl must have her priorities. Although I was also a little sceptical at the beginning because, you know, there are stories about ghosts and there are stories about ghost. Luckily, Kate Winter has written a brilliant book, with a great dose of humour and with a pinch of salt, witty, original, fresh story, full of this characteristic Irish humour.

One day Rosie Potter wakes up and discovers that it’s not a hangover, no, she’s dead. She only can’t remember how it happened. The police summoned to the scene of the accident states that there must have been other person involved. Jenny, Rosie’s best friend, is immediately sure that it was Jack, Rosie’s boyfriend.
In the meantime Rosie realises that she’s… a ghost. And that there is only one person who can see and hear her – her brother’s best friend Charlie. But why? Why only he? And why is Rosie a ghost at all? And who murdered her? Rosie sets off on a short journey of finding answers to all those – and more – questions. Is she going to find them?

You know, usually discovering a person being dead is rather a sad occasion, full of tears, but this time I couldn’t stop giggling. Really couldn’t. Rosie has an incredible distance to herself and she doesn’t take herself so serious, so her coping with finding herself dead in bed was a real gem to read.

I’ve read some books about afterlife but not a single one was as hilarious as „The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP)”. You know, all of them were so serious in tone, and the dead people were also perceived in a serious way, and the families and friends were putting the dead on pedestal, but this one was exceptionally light, humorous read, and moreover, it is set in Ireland, which grows to be one of my absolutely favourite settings, and Irish characters to be my absolutely favourite ones.

I totally fell for our Rosie. She was so full of life, young and one day she woke up to found herself dead. And she didn’t even know how it happened that she’s dead. I mean, this could perfectly sum up Rosie, right? She was light – headed, optimistic, LOVELY girl. And she was the most adorable ghost in the history, and she did the best haunting ever! Oh, how much I laughed, this Jack haunting was more than amusing, it was hilarious! And let me tell you one, I didn’t feel sorry for him, not at all!

The next great thing in the book is the fact that there is only one (or maybe as many as one) person that can see Rosie! Yes! Charlie can see Rosie! Oh my gosh, how much I adored how stoically he acknowledged the fact of being able to see her! Their conversations were indescribably brilliant and incredibly amusing!

Kate has dealt with such a sensitive topic as death with a totally new approach. Of course you feel sad about Rosie, and when reading the scenes with her family I felt my heart breaking and heard it fall to the floor but as Rosie herself deals with her state in this humorous, cynical way you can’t help but feel so warm and optimistic, even though a dead person is talking to you! The way Rosie realised with whom she was in love, it just broke my heart for the second time. I couldn’t stop thinking how unfair it is that Rosie can’t have her perfect life anymore, and how stupid and useless, unnecessary her death was, and when imagining how beautiful it could be for her I couldn’t stop howling. Really. I loved Rosie so much that till the end I was hoping that perhaps it was a mistake, that she’s alive, that there is a miracle going to happen and that Rosie will be getting her happy ever life, but not „after” life! I guess I would forgive the author everything if only she could bring Rosie back, no matter how, really, Rosie was so brilliant, she really deserved to live. Yes, I felt in love with Rosie, just from the beginning. She was a girl with the right attitude, even after her death.
Rosie might have been dead but she still had her spirit and personality, and she didn’t rest for a single second. When she set her mind on something, there was nothing that could hold her back – and I was cheering her on the whole way! She was incredibly loyal and I would give lot to have her as my best friend (but living best friend!).

Jack. Oh my, how long is it when I last detested character as much as I detested Jack? Two – faced, he showed Rosie his rosy side while in fact he was a brutal, arrogant git who hurt a lot of people in his life, and Jenny was one of them. Charlie was the total opposite of him, grumpy but charming, and saying things how they were, but I so much preferred Charlie with his two big wolfhounds and dirt under his finger nails to this sleazy, lying git of Jake!

The cast of characters was just brilliant and I adored all of them – no, not all of them, because some of them I just wanted to slap very hard or do this what Rosie did to Jake at the end of the book. I adored them as characters that were incredibly wonderfully written. The author has so fantastic captured all the emotions, they were absolutely genuine, and to be honest I felt as if I were just as silent shadow in the book myself, witnessing everything, so realistic they all felt.

The town where Rosie lived and worked, Ballycarragh, couldn’t be better described. At the first sight it felt so sleepy and peaceful, what with the father and son local gardai, the pub where all the life was happening, the idyllic life in Honeysuckle Cottage with Jenny, but then the brutal thing happened, and the town hasn’t seen something like this for more than thirty year. I adored how the life of the residents centred around the pub where Rosie worked, McMorrows, there was such a feeling to this place and the author has so brilliantly captured the atmosphere of both the town and its residents, and the bar.

Once Rosie is on the loose , there is nothing stopping her and the action flies. As a ghost Rosie sees and discovers much more than when she lived, she opens her eyes to her relationship with Jack, learns what happened with her best friend Jenny, and finds love, so even if she’s dead, she really grows in this story, develops. Nothing seems as straightforward as people think, and people are not those people that you think them to be, and I really had no idea where the author is going to take me next. Rosie has heard so many new, often devastating conversations, and seen so many, often so shocking things, and I watched together with her, shocked and horrified at all the revelations.

You know, this book was nothing that I have expected it be! I have never in my life supposed it’s going to go in the direction it went. I can’t tell you exactly what I’ve expected but really, not such a story – which I, nota bene, freakingly adored! I loved the fact that it deals with death in such light, funny way.

It is a bitter – sweet read full with all kinds of emotion. There is a lot of sadness, pain and hurt but there is also much more love, humour, friendship and optimism. It tugs at all the right heart strings, it goes straight to your heart in fact, and the overwhelming feeling of warmth just envelops you. I felt as if the book just sucked me in, and didn’t feel so emotional and so strong about a character as in this book.

And I can’t stop thinking about the scene where Rosie and Charlie makes fun of the shoes to die for – what a bloody irony, no? Not going to tell you more about it, just go and read this book for yourself!

So yes, I could tell right from the beginning that I’m going to love this book, I only didn’t know HOW MUCH I’m going to love it. It’s unique, it’s refreshing, it’s funny and sad, it is in fact the perfect mix of everything that I am looking for in a story. Even though it is a book about a dead person, so quite theoretically it should be sad and gloomy and full of tears, it was something totally different. Yes, you could catch me dropping a few tears here or there but altogether it was optimistic, uplifting read. The end of the book, and the Epilogue, were especially gentle and Oh. So. Freaking. Touching. It was really a quick (because I couldn’t put it down!), adorable, sweet read and it immediately goes to my shelf labelled to re – read. If I ever were to be a ghost, please let me be a ghost like Rosie! Kate Winter is now on my radar and I will be keeping eye on her – I desperately want to read more from this author!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Winter is a journalist, novelist and storyteller from the North West of Ireland who was lucky enough to grow up with no TV (though she didn’t consider it a lucky break at the time) and lots of books. After graduating from University of Ulster with first class honours and the Ulster Television Award for her BA in Media Studies, Kate promptly forged a glittering career for herself in waitressing. Then one day, beside a swimming pool in Australia, Kate decided it was time to write a book. The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) is Kate’s debut novel.

Follow Kate on @KatiCut.

 

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