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Notki z tagiem ‘Corgi’

The Plumberry School of Comfort Food by Cathy Bramley

07 lip

The second blog tour today belongs to Cathy Bramley and her brand new novel „The Plumberry School of Comfort Food„. I think I don’t have to introduce Cathy to you – she is one of my all time favourite authors and I love all her books, and the latest release is not  exception – it has all I am looking for in books, and more, much more, and I only hope that Cathy Bramley will keep them coming. Books, I mean.

So, to celebrate the publication of „The Plumberry School of Comfort Food” the publisher (Corgi) has organized a very special Blog Tour – one of the fellow bloggers Zarina of Page to Stage Reviews has run a brilliant interview with Cathy and Cathy is answering the questions every day on different blog – so be sure to check all the stops to read the whole lovely conversation between those two gorgeous ladies! Here is my question:

In one sentence, why should readers pick up your new novel, The Plumberry School of Comfort Food?

While I was mulling this question over, I received a message from a reader, so if you don’t mind I’ll let her tell you:

Dearest Cathy, I have just finished The Plumberry School of Comfort Food, wow, absolutely stunning, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried and for me it’s your best book yet, thank you so much for writing such a wonderful book.

The Plumberry School of Comfort Food

by Cathy Bramley

 

 

Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 30th June 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher,  thank you!

Number of pages: 480

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Plumberry School of Comfort Food was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

Verity Bloom hasn’t been interested in cooking anything more complicated than the perfect fish finger sandwich, ever since she lost her best friend and baking companion two years ago.

But an opportunity to help a friend lands her right back in the heart of the kitchen. The Plumberry School of Comfort Food is due to open in a few weeks’ time and needs the kind of great ideas that only Verity could cook up. And with new friendships bubbling and a sprinkling of romance in the mix, Verity finally begins to feel like she’s home.

But when tragedy strikes at the very heart of the cookery school, can Verity find the magic ingredient for Plumberry while still writing her own recipe for happiness?

A heartwarming and romantic story certain to make you smile – perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde.

Rating: 5/5

Oh wow, I haven’t even realised how much I’ve missed Cathy Bramley’s writing! I could probably read her books on daily basis, so dear Cathy, please never stop writing novels! I don’t know how the author does it but each time I start a new book or new series by Ms Bramley I immediately feel at home and I feel as if I had known the characters for a long, long time already – the warmth of the writing just envelopes you and really, the stories are like an evening out with best friends – brilliant, funny, comforting and relaxing.

I’ve really read many books about food but in „The Plumberry School of Comfort Food” believe me, there is a lot of food, glorious food indeed, so well described that I actually felt my mouth watering, even though I am relatively resistant to such things, but the author has really excelled herself in describing these lovely, gorgeous canapés and some other food. Glorious food. Yes, I am aware I used the word „glorious” already. But it is glorious.

This time, as usual with Cathy Bramley’s heroines, Verity Bloom is at crossroads with her life. We are introduced to her not in her best moment to be honest, and let’s only say it involves unfaithful boyfriend, her job and she’s still grieving after the very unexpected death of her best friend Mimi. The story of Verity is so natural and realistic, sounds so believable and she’s another fantastic character from Cathy Bramley (and ditto for the whole cast of characters in the book – I immediately connected with all of them and am felt like a part of their gang), and I loved seeing her coming back to life she enjoyed before, blossoming and starting to laugh again. What she needed was one phone call from Mimi’s mother Gloria, owner of a new cooking school – even though Verity wasn’t sure about cooking, as she connected cooking and food with great memories of Mimi. But nevertheless, she knew that marketing the school is something she can do really well, so there was nothing keeping her at home and she took the chance. I really enjoyed the way our Verity was changing and coming back to life and the whole process of it. It was not easy for her and the author has brilliantly captured all the emotions and feeling accompanying Verity. I loved to see how her passion to life was growing back, how she was finding cooking relaxing and bringing joy again and I also loved how she dealt (or not) with the romance element in her life. I absolutely, totally adored watching how Verity and Tom were coming together, how awkward it was occasionally, and how genuine, and you’ve no idea how much I wanted those two to stay together, which was not so obvious, as – of course! Of course! – the author has pulled the rug from under their feet more than once!

I also loved to see how the school is coming to life. I adored the classes that the school offered and I’d myself love to try one or two of them, even if I were supposed to respond „Yes, Chef” to Tom. I could respond however he wished, to be honest, as Tom, you lovely folks, Tom is again one of the best male characters ever. I’ve no idea how Cathy Bramley manages to create such characters, as every book of hers brings us a new cookie. But better back to school, oh dear, I kinda went too far with my thoughts about Tom… The descriptions of the cookery school, inside and outside, and of the village were, as always, full of lovely details, vivid and springing to life.

The group of characters is just the best. Tom, Gloria, Mags, Rosie, Pixie – they were all fantastic, larger than life, funny and sad, just like the real people. However, I couldn’t warm to Mimi’s husband Gabe. I don’t know why, there was something in him that made me feeling like this. And of course they all stick together! They support each other, they can count on each other, they bicker and then mend the fences and this all felt so genuine! It was really palpable that they all felt so good in their own company but also that any new person was heartily welcome, and this made me feel like a part of their world.

As usual, Cathy Bramley adds some more serious issues to her story, and it’s the same with this novel, and this subplot is mention en passant every once in a while. I must admit, I relatively quickly guessed what it could be, that was so controversial and made Verity fell out with her parents, especially with her mother, but nevertheless it was an interesting look at this issue and I really appreciate the fact that Cathy has found a place for this in this light – hearted story. She also complicates the lives of the characters, adding a catastrophe here or there and she sees the timing brilliantly – she knows when to add a funny scene to brake the ice and when to add some drama to pump up the pace and feelings. There are twists and turns along the way but always treated with a dose of humour and wit.

Reading the book was a real joy, from start to finish. It is so well written, it has a lovely storyline and it’s full to the brim with events of all sorts. It is a great journey that makes you laugh, cry, cheer and boo the characters, a great rollercoaster of emotions and full of beautiful descriptions and lovely setting. It belongs to these kind of books that you want to read as quickly as possible to see what’s going to happen but you also don’t want to end. However, after reading „The End”, I felt so satisfied and so happy – Cathy Bramley has again delivered a brilliant, light – hearted, warm and uplifting read that I’ll be coming back to for comfort. You really don’t need comfort food when you have the book to hand. There were characters that you can relate to, it was down – to – earth and – again! – the cover is so incredibly gorgeous and inviting! Loved it and can’t wait for more! Highly recommended!

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The Assistants by Camille Perri

21 kwi

The Assistants

by Camille Perri

 

 

Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 21st April 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 288

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 Synopsis:

Behind every successful man is a busy assistant and Tina’s boss is very successful.

But Tina is tired of being overworked and underpaid.
She’s bored of her damp flat and her mounting debts.
Then a blip in the expenses system sends Tina a cheque.
She’s a good person.
But she’s desperate.
This isn’t stealing.
It’s an administrative error.
Right?

What would you do if you thought you’d get away with it?

Rating: 3/5

 

OK, guys, „The Assistants” by Camille Perri was one of my most anticipated releases this year. Honestly. I was intrigued by the synopsis, and it sounded so thought – provoking and I really couldn’t wait for my copy to finally, eventually arrive. There was such a buzz going about this book on Twitter, and I didn’t wait long to dig deep into it when I’ve received it. I started reading it so full of expectations and so incredibly curious how the author has pulled off this rather controversial and not so easy to handle topic.

Tina Fontana is a PA to media mogul Robert Barlow, and she’s loyal to him – she would never do anything to harm him or that could end with losing his trust. That is, until one day, because of a mix – up in refunding expenses, she ends with a double back payment for almost 20 thousand dollars. It is the amount of her student loan that she has such problems to pay back, what with her being on an assistant’s salary. So – what now? To do or not to do? OK, already from the synopsis we know that it’s „to do”, but the question now is, what next? Is anybody going to discover this fraud? And can Tina live like this? Would her conscience allow her?

You know, Tina – with or without taking this chance – was a really nice person and I’m not going to get mixed up here in some moral considerations about her. She was sharp and independent and had a great sense of humour. Slightly naive, very good natured and hard – working and I really kept my fingers crossed for her, and couldn’t believe when, in style of Dumb and Dumber, she started to tangle up into almost a pyramid – scheme. She was really not bad, she was not a thief and I think it is normal to dream about a better life. But, it’s the way how you achieve this dream life, that’s for sure. But liking her didn’t stop me from seeing that she also felt a little flat – she was super passive and let the things around her just happen, and went with everything she was told, even though she didn’t agree. And what I didn’t enjoy so much was the fact that the characters were so stereotypical: the über – rich mogul, the poor assistants, only men with better jobs.

I took the whole money thing in a relatively relaxed way, to be honest. We are supposed to be on Tina’s side only because her boss is a real mogul who spends thousands of dollars on his wife jewellery when he loses his bet, an amount that would pay Tina’s debt, but the author tries to complicate the things for us a little showing Robert as a normal man who is doing his own BBQ and making us like him more. Sure, I was a little conflicted about this whole situation because a) I could understand Tina and the unfairness of the system, b) no matter how much money you have and who you are people shouldn’t steal from you, but altogether, it didn’t make me feel shocked or something like that. And, to be honest, the thing with paying, it was maybe funny, thrilling and to digest for the first or second time, but when it started to get out of control and new people came, interested in this kind of cheating, I could only roll my eyes and sigh in disbelief. How much Robin Hood – like can you be with money that is not yours and risk so much?

What I really liked in this book is Camilla Perri’s writing style – it’s sharp, no – nonsense and light. Sure, next to this lightness and humour that author also touches upon issues of injustice, inequity and indirectly asks how come people who went through colleges and universities end with thousands of dollars loans while people who can’t book a plane ticket without their help can sleep on their money. It’s a fast – paced story but the message is not always so optimistic: you steal. You get away with it. You steal more. I really wanted to leave this moral aspect of this story aside, however, after leaving it aside, without judging the characters, the book seems a little bland, a little confusing, a little chaotic. Yes, it delivers some romance (that didn’t work for me, at all, it was too unbelievable), it delivers some funny moments, but there is not enough depth for my liking. And let’s be honest – the whole idea of the plot, the fraud, it does seem a little unbelievable, right? I’m not sure how corporations work but I am sure that they check every cent twice so discovering the fraud would be only a matter of time. Then the quick idea with the website – I haven’t heard of such thing, to be honest, I can’t even imagine how such thing should work and for how long, and I had a feeling that Emily had other plans for this money, no? It’s really complicated, because as much as I liked the characters, or rather grow to like them, when you steal than you should be punished, right? And not go away with it… Stealing is stealing. Oh damn, I’m really torn about it book :) I wanted to love it but I liked it, I’ve spotted there a lot of potential, the author found the courage for a rather very controversial plot and I really appreciate that, as I like the books to be not so straightforward. However, I missed this „something” that makes novel exceptional, and like I’ve already mentioned it before, the characters went away without being punished, and I wasn’t expecting them being put into the prison for twenty years or something, but it looked like they – maybe with the exception of Tina – didn’t learn any lesson and would do it again. But guys, I’d say, read the book for yourself and you’ll see for yourself what it is about.

 

The Night that Changed Everything by Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice / Book Review

23 mar

The Night that Changed Everything

by Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice

 

 

Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 24th March 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 Synopsis:

Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn’t cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They’re a perfect match.

Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.

When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.

Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?

The Night That Changed Everything is a funny, feel-good and bittersweet story, told in alternate chapters by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice.

Rating: 5/5

 

After reading and loving Laura and Jimmy’s debut novel „The Best Thing That Never Happened to Me” two years ago (two years, guys! TWO years!!!) I was waiting impatiently for their next novel – it isn’t often that you have such a gem of a debut in your hands and I couldn’t wait to see if their second book will live up to my expectations. The first thing I thought when I started reading „The Night that Changed Everything” was how comfortable I immediately feel, how the writing embraces me and how it feels as if I’ve just read the previous novel – as if it was yesterday. I also couldn’t help thinking how similar to the earlier book the novel is built, as the chapters are told from both of the characters points of view, alternatively, and just like with the last book I totally adored the ones told by Rebecca – I loved her sharp tongue, her razor sharp one – liners and the great sense of humour. (And I also can’t stop wondering how the two authors brilliantly work together, as the story flows so seamlessly – the two perspectives give us a great view at the whole situation, we have two voices, two different opinions, and yet it feels as if the story was written by one person, so complete it feels!).

At first it seemed that Rebecca and Ben are THE perfect couple but then came this misunderstanding and everything changed – yes, the night that changed everything! However, I couldn’t stop thinking that the reason the couple stopped seeing each other is a little too far – fetched, don’t you think? For me Rebecca, no matter how much I liked her, exaggerated much too much and for me it was really not a reason to break up if they were in love so much. Sure, then the circumstances made the whole situation even more complicated but really, I can’t stop shaking my head at the foolishness of Rebecca and Ben. Nevertheless, they felt so honest and genuine in all their feelings and the way they acted – Rebecca trying to work things out with her characteristic cynicism, often over – reacting and being incredibly stubborn, and Ben, the calmer one, the chalk to Rebecca’s cheese, also stubborn, and I might have not agree with them and all of their decisions but I had a feeling that they are true to the things they do and say and I did sympathise with them.

Throughout the story the characters have their ups and downs, there are twists and turns, they are closer, they are farther away, they change, they develop, and many things are happening. And then comes the end – the end that I haven’t expected at all and at first I didn’t know how I’m feeling about it to be honest, but the end that worked and the more I think about it, the more I’m sure it’s the best one.
The background characters in this book deserve Oscars, and Jemma deserves two. At first I thought there is a little more to this girl than meets the eye, that she’s planning something, but it turned out she’s the best new best friend, and I loved the scenes with her – she was incredibly funny but also clear – headed, and she was this kick in the backside that Rebecca so often needed. There is also Avril who, as much as we hate her, is in fact one of the most significant people in this book, and also Ben’s flatmates are more than worth a mention or two – they were all brilliantly written, felt so true to life.

The authors have this brilliant gift of throwing the reader to the heart of the story, to make them feel like a part of it, like a part of characters’ world, and it is a feeling that I, personally, am looking for in books and I love it. I felt very involved in the lives of Rebecca, Ben and their best friends Danielle and Jamie, and more than once I wanted to shake them or bang their heads together, to shout at them or to comfort them. The bond between these four was great and going strong, even with the hiccups they had on their way. They are not perfect, they made mistakes and the book shows them as they really are.

I can’t not mention the other night that changed everything, the one nearer the end of the story – the night that broke my heart and that I couldn’t believe has really happened.

So if we forget for a moment about Rebecca and Ben behaving like children, the book was absolutely brilliant. Maybe it didn’t have a life – changing plot but altogether I loved it, I loved the characters and the way they were. It was bitter – sweet, funny and sad, I laughed out loud and also cried, and what more do you need from a great book? I wouldn’t say that „The Night That Changed Everything” is better than the duo’s debut novel but it’s at least as good as – it’s addictive and the writing style is brilliant, it’s a storytelling at the highest niveau and I didn’t want to put it down. There are characters to die for and to hate, so easy to identify with, it’s full of emotions, and it’s this kind of book that makes you think what you would do in the same situation. In my opinion it fully deserves these big, fat, shiny 5 stars and I recommend it highly!

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2016 Releases, Rating 5/5

 

Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley / Book Review

14 sty

Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley

 

 

Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 14th January 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Genre:  General Fiction (Adult), Contemporary

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 Synopsis:

Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up. Not only does she get to organise for a living and work in stunning surroundings, but it will also put a bit of distance between Holly and her problems at home.

As Holly falls in love with the busy world of Wickham Hall – from family weddings to summer festivals, firework displays and Christmas grottos – she also finds a place in her heart for her friendly (if unusual) colleagues.

But life isn’t as easily organised as an event at Wickham Hall (and even those have their complications…). Can Holly learn to let go and live in the moment? After all, that’s when the magic happens…

Rating: 5/5

 
I can’t express how much I was waiting to finally read Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley! I usually don’t wait for her series to come out as a full – length novel but read them part by part, immediately after they are released, so I really have no explanation why I waited this time. But no matter, no matter…! When the book arrived, I couldn’t stop looking at it – really. The cover is so gorgeous, only looking at it made me feel better :) But this what is between the cover is even better than the cover, Cathy delivers a wonderful, warm, lovely story – again! There may be thousand of uncertain things in your life, but one is for sure – when you pick Cathy Bramley’s book, you are for a real treat.

Just like Cathy’s previous books, Wickham Hall, that was firstly published as a series, is divided into four parts, and each part is in charge of a season – and it worked out brilliantly in this book, as there is always at least one big event to be organized in the Hall, and the plot focuses around it. It suits the book totally, and we have not only Christmas party, but fireworks night or Summer Fairs.
Cathy is a champion of creating delightful plots, worlds and characters, and it was not exception with Wickham Hall. I immediately felt at home when I started reading this novel, felt comfortable and in the right place. Holly Swift, Cathy’s new protagonist and main character, is just charming. She is on the normal level, a girl from the neighbourhood, a lovely, friendly person, but she can also stand for herself, when situation requires. I loved Holly’s internal dialogues, I couldn’t have enough of her dilemmas, she was so funny and this all only made me like her even more. She was so down to earth, genuine and honest in everything she did. Also, she had the biggest heart in the world and tons of patience in her, which we could see and appreciate when Holly’s mother Lucy was introduced to us – Lucy and her hoarding issues. It was also a point in the book that was brilliantly tackled by Cathy, with a lot of understanding and gentleness, and it quickly became clear why Holly is as she is: meticulous, clipboard kind of girl, with everything planned in advance. I also loved Holly’s enthusiasm about almost everything, loved her fresh ideas, and she was really the kind of girl that I’d love to have as my own, personal best friend.
And let’s talk about Ben. We can’t NOT talk about him. Move over all of my previous bookish crushes, now it’s Ben. For me, he was perfect. No, he himself was not perfect, he had his flaws, but from the very first scene we meet him (mmmmm…) I was sold. I was smitten. I was under his spell. And it didn’t change. A guy with his own dreams and plans that he wasn’t afraid to chase, a guy with talent, sexy as hell, with a brilliant sense of humour, leather jacket and able to organize the best dates in the world. Hello? And the sweeping romance was so, so sweet!
There is a great bunch of characters in this story, because we are talking not only about Holly, her mum and her best friend, but also about the owners of the Wickham Hall and all the staff members there, and they were all so true to life, so genuine in this what they were doing and saying, and I adored them all – even though I had a little clash with Lady F. some time during the story. They all add tons to the book – in the sense of their own stories and personalities. They were all so welcoming and so warm, and just made me feel like a part of their one, big family.

The plot moves seamlessly and the story is just flowing, and the author’s storytelling is incredibly engaging. Cathy always finds lovely settings for her novels, but this time she has exceeded herself. Wickham Hall and its surroundings, together with the village, were beautiful. The descriptions of those places were so very vivid, I didn’t have any problems to picture all of them in my mind, and Cathy created a truly special place.

I may sound like a very ungrateful reader, but I am really already waiting for Cathy’s next novel – I just can’t have enough of her writing and I hope she will be writing books for many, many years to come – she just pulls you into the story with her wonderful, vivid descriptions and you feel so, so welcome. Wickham Hall was the best example of her talent, easy, enjoyable read that had a depth to it. It made me laugh, it had moments that had me feeling a little nostalgic, it was fast paced, and when one secret was revealed the next was already waiting for you So and I loved the whole story, from the beginning to the end – a truly brilliant book, highly recommended!

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2016 Releases, Rating 5/5

 

Blog Tour: Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley / Book Review

17 lis

Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley

 

Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 5th November 2015

Source:  Copy provided by publisher, thank you!

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 Synopsis:

What surprises might life have in store for you?

A takeaway, TV and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets for thirty-something Sophie Stone. Sophie’s life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much.

But when a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is one big catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen.

Saying ‘yes’ means the chance to build her own dream home, but she’ll also have to face the past and hear some uncomfortable truths…

With interference from an evil boss, warring parents, an unreliable boyfriend and an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth, will Sophie be able to build a future on her own terms – and maybe even find love along the way?

A totally charming, modern love story for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

Rating: 5/5

 

It’s kind of hard to believe that it is Cathy Bramley’s debut novel (once upon a time, Cathy Bramley has self – published „Conditional Love” that now, under the wings of Transworld publishers, has got a new polish and new cover – those guys there at Transworld know what a gem they have found in the person of Cathy! Cathy, I hope they do cherish you :) ) and I’ve only read it now – being Cathy’s big fan. But well, as they say, better late than never, right? And this time this novel, with its beautiful cover, lovely plot and characters to die for, has lived up to my expectations and I enjoyed every single minute spent in its company.

I’m not sure what I can say about Cathy Bramley’s writing that I haven’t said yet. It’s so warm and comfortable, and when reading her books I just feel… at home. She has found her own unique voice, and I am living in hope that she’ll never stop writing books. And reading her novels is for me always what the doctor ordered – no matter what weather, what problems I have, what’s happening, they are always like a comfort – blanket to me, a real treat.

Sophie Stone is our main character in „Conditional Love”, and even though Sophie, in her thirties, was mostly like a much younger person, I warmed to her immediately (yes, this is this magic, this is what Cathy Bramley does with her characters – it’s impossible to not to love them!). Sophie thinks that she’s in a happy relationship with Marc, but quickly, and on the Valentine’s Day, instead of a bunch of flowers and a gift, Marc breaks up with her. Just typical, no? Will Sophie be able to forget about Marc? In the meantime, a very mysterious letter arrives, and Sophie finds out that she has just inherited a cottage on Lilac Lane, left to her by her Great Aunt Jane, aunt that she has really never known… Home, sweet home is the only thing that Sophie has always dreamed about, and is this dream to come true now? Well, yes, but under one condition…
So yes, I warmed to Sophie instantly but still, I had some issues with her. She was in her thirties and there were a lot of moments that she behaved and spoke like a teenager, and she was under a big influence of her mother, even though her mother was absent from her life. Often Sophie, before doing something, was wondering if her mother would approve, and I hated how guilty she felt after Skype conversations with her mum, and I wanted to bang her mum’s head on the table for being so selfish! No wonder then that Sophie felt so insecure and waited for other people to take the initiative. But – it was brilliant to see her changing throughout the story, seeing her maturing, developing and growing a backbone. She was still naive, but not in this irritating, childish way, and she just wanted everybody to be happy.

As usual, the bunch of the supporting characters is great. Next to Sophie we have her flatmates, sisters Emma and Jess, and I truly adored their friendship. They were so normal in each other company, there was nothing forced there and you could really feel those three are best friends. They could count on each other, and they could also bicker, oh yes, they could. We have also Marc, sneaky Marc, and Cathy Bramley has excellently portrayed him this way, and I’m sure it was intended for us to dislike him immediately. There was a time when I wanted to shake Sophie, tell her to wake up and finally see what kind of man he is. On the other side we have Sophie’s architect and I was absolutely team Nick, absolutely, there was no other way. He was so shy around people and so animated about his job but you couldn’t not like him. And his brilliant dog, Norman! Norman was the star of all the scenes.

As usual, Cathy Bramley has mixed a lot of her characteristic humour and brilliant one – liners with many emotional scenes. This novel has many layers to it, so next to laugh – out – loud scenes you can expect some tear – jerking as well, but those are so wonderfully balanced in this book. Ms Bramley has this talent to brilliantly capture all the emotions and pour them onto the paper, and you often find yourself nodding your head with agreement, relating to the characters and feeling as if you were in the same situation.
I absolutely adored the way Cathy Bramley has treated the thread of Sophie’s absent father, and how genuinely and honestly she described Sophie’s feelings about it, but that she also gave the father the chance to let us know his version of the events. I cheered Sophie on and was really proud of her being so open and even though she had some doubts (who wouldn’t have them in such situation!) she decided to grab the bull by the horns and make use of her chance.

So yes, Cathy Bramley has done it again. She delivered a story that has everything I am looking for in a book – brilliant, realistic characters, wonderful plot, friendship, romance, troubles… This is a lovely, sweet novel that drew me in from the very first page. It’s easy to read and the author so skilfully makes us a part of Sophie’s life. Yes, it is a tad predictable, but we are not reading this kind of book for its unpredictability, right? There were so many elements to this novel and I couldn’t wait what’s going to happen next and what kind of troubles or awkward situations Sophie is going to put herself – a real page turner that I didn’t want to end! Highly recommended!

 

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Blog Tour: Forget Me Not by Luana Lewis / Book Review

17 lis

Forget Me Not by Luana Lewis

 

Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 5th November 2015

Source:  Copy provided by publisher, thank you!

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult), Psychological Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 Synopsis:

A tragic suicide?

When Rose’s daughter, Vivian, is found dead of a suspected suicide, Rose has questions nobody can answer. Wasn’t Vivian living the perfect life? A caring husband, a sweet little girl of her own.

Or the perfect murder?

But as the police investigation develops, their findings raise new questions. Did Vivian kill herself, or was she attacked? If so, who has something to hide?

As Rose struggles to piece together the secrets of her daughter’s life, the cracks in the family begin to show. But once Rose knows the answers, there’s no going back…

A gripping thriller perfect for fans of Daughter, The Book of You and C L Taylor’s The Lie.

Rating: 5/5

 

„Forget Me Not” is the first book by Luana Lewis that I’ve read, but it blew me away so much that I will be keeping my eye on her next releases for sure, and am going to check her debut novel as well. From the very beginning „Forget Me Not” has just sucked me in and I couldn’t put it down – I, in fact, read it in a little more than only one day – I was simply drawn in. Even though the subject of this novel doesn’t belong to the most optimistic ones (what an understatement on my part), it was written in a fantastic, easy to follow and hooking way that made the reading so quick. Moreover, Luana Lewis is a clinical psychologist, and you can feel it in this story, feel that the author is comfortable with what she’s writing, that she knows what she’s writing about, and the deep characterisation of characters’ personalities was exceptional.

So yes, I guess you already know that I adored this book. One of the strength of this novel lies in its characters. It follows stories of Vivien’s family. Vivien’s, who’s been found dead and who has left a husband and a young daughter behind, as well as her mother. Slowly, through the chapters told mostly from Rose’s point of view, the author describes the family relationships and dynamics and the whole, not the most beautiful picture, starts to emerge. It is amazing what Ms Lewis has done with her characters, and how she made me change my mind about them all, even about little Lexi – I guess you are supposed to warm to the children characters, but there was something in Lexi, something that I couldn’t put my finger on, something that was holding me back from liking her. Of course I felt sorry for her, then thought that maybe it’s better for her to grow up without her mother, to to look at her with disbelief. And it was the same with all the other characters, Luana Lewis portrayed them in a way that you were never sure what to think about them and what they did – and I am sure it was done with premeditation, it was like a kind of psychological game with the reader, and I really, really liked it. Rose, at the beginning, seemed so cold and estranged from her family, she struggled with motherhood, concentrated on her job as a neonatal nurse, and ultimately Vivien struggled to be a mother to Alexandra as well – but I think Vivien’s reasons were different to those of Rose’s. Also, you couldn’t be sure how was the real relationship between Alexandra and Ben, who in fact is Isaac and what are Cleo’s intentions. And what happened that Lexi is like she is – many questions, it felt like being lost in a labyrinth, but Ms Lewis has took us through the labyrinth and even though she has complicated the way even more, at the end there are no questions left open, I think.

But yes, the end. I was dead sure that I know who the killer is. So sure that I almost put the book away, stopped reading it because the guilty one was jumping out of the pages and laughed at me – so convinced I was. Fortunately, I didn’t put it away, I didn’t stop reading – it would be one of the biggest mistakes. Because eventually I stopped believing anybody and started to suspect everybody, even though my main suspect was still on the top. Do I need to tell you that I was absolutely wrong? No, I thought so – that you already guessed it. But I still am not so sure if I am satisfied with this end. It was certainly absolutely not this what I was expecting, which is a brilliant thing, but also I still don’t know how to process, to handle it.

But back to the characters, as they can’t leave my head. They all really awoke thousands of feelings in me, and I can’t stop thinking about them. They were all so incredibly complex and full of question marks. How is it possible that Rose, a neonatal nurse, who loved her job so much, was so cold towards her own daughter and then her granddaughter? Was Vivien’s life as perfect as she wanted us to think? Did some of the characters have a reason to murder her? Really, the plot itself becomes secondary in comparison to the characters, and the book is a brilliant, sharp analysis and exploration of Rose and Vivien’s mother – daughter relationship. And I personally didn’t feel the need to judge Rose for what she did – for the way she has neglected her daughter.

Even though you may find the characters unlikeable, there is something fascinating in all of them, something that keep you glued to the pages. I know that the reviewers have mostly problems with Rose, and I can understand why, but still, personally, I felt sorry for her – she was mourning in her own way, but I also think that she finally realised that she has lost her life way before her daughter’s death, and she wanted to make up for this now. Vivien had such a complex personality, on the surface she was a happy mum and wife, beautiful and successful, but behind the closed doors her life looked very differently, and this dark side to her was fascinating. Then we have Cleo – psychotic or not?, and a husband that doesn’t show any emotions – can relationships be more complicated?

The story is really full of tension, it was palpable through the pages and there were many moments that made me hold my breath and I waited for the worst to happen. It is a complex, full of darkness book, touching upon some taboo issues, and I am still impressed with the author’s understanding of human being and human psyche. It’s for sure not a predictable read. It’s intelligent, challenging and high – quality novel that will have you guessing and assuming, and then surprise you like anything else. I am over the moon to be able to read this book and to discover Luana Lewis for myself.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Luana Lewis is a clinical psychologist and author of two non-fiction books: An Adult’s Guide to Childhood Trauma(1999, Cape Town: David Phillip Publishers) and Dealing with Rape (1994,Johannesburg: Maskew Miller Longman).  As well as writing for several newspapers, magazines and journals, she has recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.  She has also attended workshops at Arvon and City Lit.

DON’T STAND SO CLOSE is her début novel, a gripping psychological thriller about a reclusive psychologist who is forced to confront trauma from her past and secrets in her marriage.

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Blog Tour: Appleby Farm by Cathy Bramley / Book Review

19 sie

Appleby Farm by Cathy Bramley

 

Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 13th August 2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Appleby Farm is a charming, funny and romantic story for anyone looking for a feel-good, light-hearted read, from the author of bestselling Ivy Lane.

Freya Moorcroft has wild red hair, mischievous green eyes, a warm smile and a heart of gold. She’s been happy working at the café round the corner from Ivy Lane allotments and her romance with her new boyfriend is going well, she thinks, but a part of her still misses the beautiful rolling hills of her Cumbrian childhood home: Appleby Farm.

Then a phone call out of the blue and a desperate plea for help change everything…

The farm is in financial trouble, and it’s taking its toll on the aunt and uncle who raised Freya. Heading home to lend a hand, Freya quickly learns that things are worse than she first thought. As she summons up all her creativity and determination to turn things around, Freya is surprised as her own dreams for the future begin to take shape.

Love makes the world go round, according to Freya. Not money. But will saving Appleby Farm and following her heart come at a price?

Rating: 5/5

 

Let’s pull out all the stops, right at the beginning – because I really don’t know how I’ve been living before, without Cathy Bramley’s stories. I can’t have enough of her books and they are perfect for me. They are all down – to – earth, but still they are full of hope and positive feelings, wonderful characters and the most normal, yet exquisite settings, and laugh out loud one – liners. They have all what I am looking for in books.
And yes, you know what, it was Cathy’s „Appleby Farm” that inspired me to start with my long abandoned – but not forgotten! – hobby again, horse riding. Yes. If Freya can follow her dreams, I can too, right?

As soon as I started reading, I wanted to punch the air and shout „I know her!”, „I know him”, „I was there!”, when Cathy mentioned the Ivy Lane allotments or the lovely characters from the previous snovel. It just made me feel so in the right place, and I felt as if I have never left Ivy Lane! This time it is Freya that is our main character, and I couldn’t imagine a better leading character for this book as her. She just oozes warm and good feelings, and she’s more probable to step into cow’s poo, gets dirty with a toothpaste or ice – cream than blow – dry her lovely red hair – absolutely my kind of girl! We get to know Freya, her background, and her family as well, and we can see that something went wrong with her relationship with her parents and brother (who, nota bene, seems to be a really jealous ass, sorry for my language, although he should be a little more wiser, as he’s so much older than Freya). As Cathy already get us used to, her characters are all down – to – earth, but nevertheless exceptional, warm, friendly and so easy to like!
I think I have a little girl – crush on Freya. I just wanted to squeeze her hard, to hug her and keep her safe, protect her from all the problems that she’s facing, and there are many of them in store for her. I abso – freaking – lutly adore this girl and I can easily imagine her as my friend, and as much as I’d love her to live a trouble – free life on the farm, I totally adore the way she’s coping with all the problems and her fresh ideas how to save the living of her beloved Aunt and Uncle. I really fell for her, and as I accompanied her through this story, I couldn’t help but feel all kind of emotions: I cringed with pain and wanted to hold her hand when she visited her parents, and I waited for an explanation why, what happened, why are they like this? I cheered up when she had some really brilliant ideas hot to help the farm, and I loved to hear her banter with all those lovely people that became her friends. There is such an incredible sense of amity, friendship between them, and it all feels so natural, not at all forced or pushy, and it really makes me want to move to a farm and go to the pub every Sunday evening.

Cathy proves every time that she is a bloody talented author by creating the most interesting, brilliant, lively, realistic characters. Only some of the authors know how to make a background character so significant, and Cathy does this with Vicky, who is not the main character, but she’s so clear – cut, shaped, with her own (not necessary nice) personality and she stirs so many problems!

We quickly grow to love all the characters, even if they are not on Freya’s side – well, then, actually, we quickly grow to love to hate them, because absolutely nothing and nobody should stand in Freya’s way! . Auntie Sue only looks as if she’s really finished with the farm and all the financial problems that they have and this only made me want to slap Julian hard few times, I can’t believe how cold – hearted he is and that he was able to trick his own lovely family for some money.

Cathy’s writing is – as always – amazing and her one – liners are one of the best ever. She writes in a way that makes you feel that writing is actually the easiest thing in the world (though I’m sure it’s NOT!), and her storytelling is exceptional. The way she told the story made me wish I was on a farm right now, strolling through the green fields, mucking out, cleaning or collecting eggs, even with my panic fear of hens. I’m not a city – kind of girl, I love animals and you can usually see me in wellies, not high – heels, so the story couldn’t have taken a better setting for me. Cathy’s descriptions of the village and even the farm work are just delicious and she makes it all feel very realistic. Thanks to the warmth and magic in Cathy’s writing you just feel a part of the book. Bring me more of Cathy Bramley, anytime!

I don’t know how Cathy does it, but she can create not only one of the most believable, warm characters in the world, but also one of the most enjoyable plots, and with her writing even the descriptions of the everyday farm work are engaging and witty. It won’t be a surprise for me if, thanks to her stories, farming will become a new trend and there will be a big interest in Tea Rooms! She packs the book with a lot of action, fun, humour, emotion and you just can’t put it down and it leaves you yearning for more. „Appleby Farm” is Cathy at her best and I don’t know how I lived without her books – they are my secret weapon against bad weather, bad mood and worries, as they always cheer me up, and thank you, Cathy, for this!
Freya’s Vintage Tea – Rooms is the one that I would absolutely love to visit. Cathy has done a great job with describing the place and putting the miss – matching vintage tea pots, cups and plates on the shelves, and there wouldn’t be anything better right now for me than to drink a strong, hot, sweet tea from a pastel – coloured cup and eat Tilly’s cookie. Because yes, there is a short, but lovely, reunion with Tilly from Ivy Lane, too, as if we were not already spoiled with all the lovely people from Appleby Farm and its neighbourhood.

The story is full to brims with happenings, embarrassing situations, hope and this overwhelming feel – good factor. Cathy’s writing is right on the spot and she draws the reader immediately into the heart of the story. The writing is just flowing, it’s full of warmth and beautiful, detailed but not too over – detailed descriptions, and it makes the reading so effortless. It is a funny, but also touching and gentle story, especially when Cathy so brilliantly described Sue and Arthur’s love to their place, to the fields, to their animals.

Yes, I have absolutely adored this story about Freya, returning to her childhood farm, seeing how much she loved her Aunty Sue and Uncle Arthur, seeing the changes in her life and in herself too, and loved to accompany her on her trips on Skye’s back or making friends with her in Lovedale and absolutely dived into the atmosphere of Appleby Farm, which is right now my top place to live. Freya is really one in a million because she was able to put her own happiness and private life aside only to help her family, and I more then once thought, oh my, I’d love to have such Freya at my side. She was caring and thoughtful and only wanted best for everyone, but she was not perfect, and that’s made her character so adorable. Every single character in the stories, even the most background one, has been written in a vivid way, and they all had their own personalities, and I just felt that I know this people all my life. Cathy has this incredible talent to take her readers straight into the heart of the story, and I really love this feeling!

But as much as Appleby Farm is light – hearted and funny, there is also lots of depth to it, and the author in brilliant way has described the ties among one family, showed what the real friendship is and also brilliantly passed her own love to the nature and animals. There is not a single bad word that I could say about the series (and I don’t want!), it’s just a perfect read for everybody.

Yes, this book ends with a big, fat happy end but this is what we always expect from Cathy Bramley, right? And this is what we wish our characters.
I can tell that „Appleby Farm” is on the top of my favourite books.

 

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Blog Tour: Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley / Book Review

08 mar

Being a part of each Blog Tour is a real privilege, but being a part of Cathy Bramley’s Blog Tour is a real honour! You may already know that I am one of Cathy’s biggest fans and I ADORE her writing and her stories, and I, in fact, have read „Ivy Lane” in installements, and also as complete story, and I still don’t have enough. It is a book that everybody should read, period. Full of wonderful characters, descriptions and this feel – good factor that just brighten your days.

Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley

 

Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 12th February 2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis:

Tilly Parker needs a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude if she is ever to leave the past behind and move on with her life. As she seeks out peace and quiet in a new town, taking on a plot at Ivy Lane allotments seems like the perfect solution.

But the friendly Ivy Lane community has other ideas and gradually draw Tilly in to their cosy, comforting world of planting seedlings, organizing bake sales and planning seasonal parties.

As the seasons pass, will Tilly learn to stop hiding amongst the sweetpeas and let people back into her life – and her heart?

Rating: 5/5

Oh, what a joy it was to be able to read „Ivy Lane” the whole story! A real joy! Absolute, wonderful, fantastic joy! I have loved the series so much that I haven’t had a problem to read it in installements, waiting ages for the next part to come out, but this… This whole book… To read it as one full story… Re – reading, in fact, but on the one hand it felt as if I was visiting my old, good friends, and on the other it felt as if I’m reading a new, fresh story.

We meet Tilly when she’s starting everything afresh: new house, new place, new job. She also takes on her own plot at Ivy Lane allotments and everything what she needs is her part of the lawn and peace. But the community of Ivy Lane has other ideas, they want to get to know Tilly and they want to help her very much with the gardening. So Tilly finds herself in the whirlwind of events, among many new friends and – surprise, surprise – discovering that greenery can be exciting! So after her first reservations she’s starting to enjoy her gardening, with a little help of carrots that really grow, sweat pies and friends.
Every season on Ivy Lane brings something new. In Summer it is a lot of excitement through a TV crew that is going to film the owners of the allotment, as well as the grande finale: The Annual Show which marks the end of the summer as well as the end of the filming. Tilly has opened a little since she became the part of Ivy Lane community and she develops that perhaps, after two years, she’s ready for a new relationship – well, she has a crush on Aidan, one of the Green Fingers TV crew. In the meantime Charlie also reveals that he has feelings for Tilly, Gemma has her own big secret, there is a big fire and this all only in summer!
Autumn is packed with action, there is always something happening in the allotment. This time we have a new project with a group of young offenders working their punishment there, and it was Alfie who took to them immediately, while others were so reserved and unpleasant. And, of course, we have a great Halloween party, those people of Ivy Lane really do know how to party!
You could think, what could happen in winter on an allotment? In winter, when nothing grows, blossoms, when everything sleeps…? Oh, on Ivy Lane a LOT can happen, those people just know how to rock! I loved the very spontaneously organised cake baking competition party to rise money for… Christmas Party. Ha! Isn’t it great? The ideas of the many categories people could enter their cakes were brilliant, especially the one „tasting better than looking”.
So, what secrets does Tilly keep? Is she going to find her own place at Ivy Lane?

This was one of the best stories I have ever read. Period. Written in the most engaging, smooth, flowing way I have ever read. Period. I personally have really null idea about gardening, just like Tilly, so I could totally relate to her embarrassments and her trying to get the whole instalment under control.

As much as Ivy Lane itself is a character in this book, it is actually a story about Tilly, she was the main character here and no matter how many other people surrounded her, she was the centre of our attention. And that’s brilliant, because she’s one of the loveliest, nicest characters ever written. I was keeping my fingers crossed for her, I liked her from start to the finish and it was a real joy to see how she’s slowly opening, how she’s settling and getting her life under control again. And it was great to see Tilly, full in her element organizing, organizing and organizing, not only at the allotment, but also at school. Tilly back to life. She was such a good soul, she has really not deserved the life that she had, not this bitter fate and I rooted for her and wanted everything to be okay for her.

The only thing that Tilly lacks is love and this brings us to the male characters in the book, Charlie and Aidan especially, although (YES! There is although!) I was not so sure about those two men. I was guessing there is more to Charlie than we know, I had very mixed feelings towards him through the whole book and wasn’t really sure what to think about him, he seemed to be so fascinated, charmed by Tilly, he wanted her to love him but all the time there was something wrong in him for me. But also Aidan was not my idea of the Boyfriend of the Year, so actually for me it didn’t matter which guy Tilly was going to choose, I was not going to be a happy cookie. Ha, no, I’m not going to tell you which one is this, oh no. I guess my problem is that there was no romance in the book, or at least not enough romance, I haven’t seen it coming (remember: no matter if it was Charlie or Aidan :) ) and I personally would gifted Tilly with a third party. There. I just thought that Tilly deserves a man that would put her on pedestal, that is going to cherish her (because she deserved it so much!) and this is the man that should do the chasing, not Tilly.

But this brings us to other characters, and believe me when I say that it was an incredible bunch of characters. All the characters, with Tilly on the top of the agenda, were brilliantly portrayed, they were funny, witty, with sharp tongues and dry sense of humour, all just popping out of the pages and feeling so real. I loved how they all opened their arms and welcomed Tilly to their little group of garden – freaks and their sense of community was the right one, as they stick together and support one another. Of course I must mention Gemma here, with her whole family, as they with all their problems deserve a separate book, I think. But you just felt so warm and so enveloped by the characters and I really didn’t want to leave Ivy Lane for a second. Cathy just brings the characters to life and the way she describes them makes you feel they are your best friends.

This book is packed with action and suspense, and every part ends with a big cliff – hanger, and you don’t want to put this book down because you’re desperate to know what’s going to happen and what a new season is going to bring to Ivy Lane. Because yes, this book is told in four part, each part for one season. We follow the characters through the whole year and together with them we blossom or prepare ourselves for a winter sleep, together with them we feel a breeze of fresh springy air or we bake pumpkin cake for Halloween.
I have loved this story straight from the start. Cathy’s writing skills are exceptional and she can create a world that you want to be a part of and when you finish reading, you miss this world.. There were some best scenes and some best lines in this book that I have ever read and I found myself snorting with laughter. This book left me feeling warm and very optimistic and I loved every word of this book.

With every part of this novel Cathy only confirms that she can write brilliant, funny stories, stories with a depth and that she’s a real champion in plotting! It is written in this brilliant, subtle, smooth Cathy’s way. It’s light, easy to follow, humorous and full of feelings. Cathy has an incredible way with the words and while reading, you feel as if you were a part of this whole story, as if you were in the characters’ world, and it make you root for them. There is everything you could wish for in a book, humour, sadness, love, friendship, hope, together with fantastic writing and brilliant characters. And who knows, maybe you’re going to discover that you do have green fingers after reading the book?

Highly recommended, this book for sure is going to lift your mood up and it could be a perfect escape for some time! I have read it twice already and it turns out to be my comfort read. Ha, who needs comfort food if you have „Ivy Lane”!

 

Pieces of You by Cassia Leo / eBook Review

21 sty

Pieces of You by Cassia Leo

 

Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 15th January 2015

Series: Shattered Hearts #2

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

Genre: New Adult, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 Synopsis:

Sometimes, putting yourself first is truly a sacrifice.

Claire Nixon and Adam Parker each have a painful past too heavy to carry alone. Claire once tried to push Adam away but his relentless pursuit of her heart made her walls come crumbling down, and now they know they’re much stronger together than apart.

But now Claire’s attending college a hundred miles away from Adam, and the distance is forcing a crack. To add to the strain, Adam is sent to Hawaii on business, and doubts start creeping into both their hearts.

Claire’s also dealing with her ex, rock star Chris Knight, being back in her life. Chris wants Claire more than anything, and he knows just how to get her: only he has the power to mend the final missing piece of Claire’s broken heart. How can Claire ever choose between taking a chance on new love, or a second chance at having a family and a home?

 

Rating: 3/5

 

„Pieces of You” is a second book in the „Shattered Hearts” series. As it usually is with me, I didn’t read the first book but there are so many flashbacks in „Pieces of You”, so many situations brought back from the book one, so many memories repeated that I had no problems to guess what’s happened in „Relentless” and, after reading the blurb for this story, I was right, so actually no problems here with reading the book as a stand – alone novel, although I’m sure that it would be much better to read all the books in the series to get the whole picture. I am always scared that I am going to judge the characters falsely, that there might be something very important that happened in the past that may be an excuse for them and I can only hope that I got the characters right.

It was actually only a story about wanting him/not wanting him, wanting her/desire her, wanting the other one/not wanting the other one. Claire seemed to be only crying, which in fact doesn’t surprise me, if I wouldn’t know what I want from life like she, I would probably also cry all days.
I don’t understand the whole hype about Claire. In my opinion, she was such a meh, weak character, a girl who – okay, okay, I have it right, had a bad past, knows what trauma is, is still messed up by her past etc, etc – didn’t know what she want. The boys in the story were much more expressive, much stronger characters, and I really couldn’t understand what they saw in Claire. She must have had some hidden values that didn’t shine through the pages probably. Out of the two guys, Adam and Chris, I think I am rather Team Adam, he seems more honest, although I can understand that Chris can be muchos interesting as well. Though Adam is much funnier, I totally adored his jokes and it’s a pity there were only so few of them. My kind of humour :)

This is a simple love story where the author tries to add some spice by throwing in a very young love – triangle but it didn’t work so much for me. In almost every chapter Claire was sure that she’s in love with Adam, in the next she was sure she’s in love with Chris, and in the chapters told from the boys’ point of views we only learn that they are so f*ing in love with Claire. Not enough for my liking, but it seems that I am really not the best target for YA books. I’m too old, too cynical, too experienced and all those young people just play on my nerves. They so much want to behave like adults but in fact are KIDS and the way they behave and make themselves so important makes me smirk because, oh my gee, guys, what do you know about life? Nothing, but you behave as if you lived at least nine lives, saw everything. OK, here, in „Pieces of You”, the characters are not so shallow and I could bear with them, although there were many moments that I only rolled my eyes. I was hoping that perhaps reading this book is going to remind me how it is to be young and free but it hasn’t wow – ed me as much as I’d love it to do.

Altogether, it made a really adorable, entertaining read and I have already seen masses of very faithful fans to the series, which is brilliant. Cassia Leo’s writing style is beautiful and she can really capture the emotions and feelings in her characters, and she can for sure end the book with a great cliffhanger – what is Claire going to do? Which boy is she going to choose? Is she going to get in touch with her father and his family? Absolute must – read for fans of the series!

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 3/5

 

It Had to be You by Ellie Adams / Book Review

22 sie

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It Had to be You by Ellie Adams

 

Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 28th August 2014

Source:   Received for review.

 

Amazon Summary:

The worst break-up ever . . . Could be the best thing that has ever happened to her.

Lizzy Spellman has been dumped. At a party.While wearing a Henry VIII costume. By the man she thought was The One. Someone even filmed it, so now she’s a massive YouTube hit sensation too.

Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, she meets the rudest, most cynical man in the world, and gets a new mission in life. To prove him wrong.

Love does exist, and she’s going to find it . . .

Rating: 5/5

 

Jo Carnegie is now writing as Ellie Adams! But never mind under what name, I totally love her books! I have immensely enjoyed „Party Games”, to only mention the last book written as Jo and although I have heard that „It Had To Be You” should be totally different to the previous books, I was desperate to give this novel a go. And I fell in love after the first few words.

Enter Lizzy. She’s twenty – something PR living in London, right now clothed as Henry VIII and she’s just being dumped by her boyfriend on a ship full of friends and this all is being filmed. And immediately put on YouTube. Lizzy is a hit, although she doesn’t necessarily dream about such publicity or being called „Headbuttgirl”. She likes her job but it looks like she gets the most unsellable accounts, or is given the wrong information which ends in the most disastrous promotional work and unhappy clients. Promoting her last very strange concept, Happy Halo, she comes across a very popular, but also very stiff ginger – head journalist…. They come across each other more often but they only feel antipathy to each other. Through a mix of very unexpected events,  including a broken car somewhere out in the sticks,  and Elliot’s mother, Lizzy and himself start to meet up, to talk. They mainly only bark and growl at each other and there is a visible hostility and NO attraction between them, not at all!

Or is there?

Or are they both real cynics now about love and relationship?

 

I loved Lizzy, end of story. I want her to be my new best friend. She made me laugh uncontrollably, especially when she was under the influence of booze and was throwing shoes over the fence of her parents’ garden. The more I read the book, the more I adored Lizzy, and she couldn’t do anything wrong in my opinion. She was totally my kind of perfect heroine: with big mouth and very bad timing, always saying the wrong things in the wrong situation. A little clumsy, a little naive, but so very, very lovely, friendly, loyal and with a spare tyre (she says so, at least).

Elliott, the grumpy Elliot, with his hostility to almost everything, was in fact a great, funny, handsome and lovely guy. He only didn’t want you to know this. So cynical about everything but deep inside he was like a little lamb. I loved his conversations with Lizzy, and I also loved how he coped with her family. But he’s only the second ginger head hero I’d had a chance to come across in the books that I’ve read, shame, I mean, Prince Harry, helloooo… The whole sex appeal… You know what I mean :)

There is also a bunch of other minor characters in the book including Lizzy’s friends (brilliant! just brilliant!), her family and her work colleagues with her boss Antonia on top, and let’s not forget Elliot’s mother desperately trying to save her family’s old home. They were all wonderfully written, larger than life characters, so very colourful and vivid and felt realistic. They were  likeable, intelligent and totally eccentric but in a positive sense! Their banter was hilarious and they are parts of some of the funniest scenes ever written.

I can’t read enough  books about going on dates. Blind – dates, online dating, all kinds of dates actually, it fascinates me to be honest, maybe because I personally was never a big dater, and also because I am always wondering what new can an author write about a thing that is so often used in books and that we  all have read everything.Well, Ellie doesn’t disappoints, I have enjoyed every single date Lizzy was on and they brought tears to my eyes because I laughed so much.

The book reminded me a little of Bridget Jones. Lizzy also has a somewhat dysfunctional family, with a very dominant mother and very meek father and a brother. She, also like Bridget, has a bunch of brilliant best friends, and Lizzy also was looking for the perfect man, maybe not so desperately as Bridget, but still. But it’s absolutely not a problem for me, who knows me knows already that I am one of the biggest Bridget’s fans ever, and now I am also a Lizzy’s fan. Lizzy For Ever!

It Had to be You is, in my eyes, chic – lit in its best. The plot may be predictable but still, it’s like a breath of fresh air, it’s original, it’s funny and has some very unexpected twists and turns. It has all that I need in a book: friendship, great family, humour, brilliant interaction between the characters that are fantastic and have you rooting for them, it has romance and love. It’s light, bright and heart – warming but it also has some depth to it. Very enjoyable read, it’s already on my „Favourites” shelf and I for sure will be keeping my eye on Ellie Adams/Jo Carnegie in the future. I can’t tell you enough how much I adored this book!

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2014 Releases, Rating 5/5