Book Review: Three Last First Dates – Kate O’Keefe

Synopsis

When it comes to men, Marissa Jones is totally committed to not being committed. One major heartbreak is enough for her.

Against her better judgment, Marissa agrees to a pact with her friends to marry the next Three Last First Dates (Cozy Cottage Café #3)guy she dates. But she isn’t going to take any chances. For her, it’s a numbers game, and one last first date just isn’t enough. So, she ups the ante–three first dates with three very different guys, all in one day.

But can any of these men live up to her high standards?

Despite a few bumps in the road, from the three, she chooses The One. That is until the motorcycle-riding ex she never got over turns up, changing everything.

In the end, do you choose love or does love choose you?

Three Last First Dates is the third book in the Cozy Cottage Café series, but can be read as a standalone. It features laughter, a total hottie you will fall for, and, of course, a lot of cake! As with all my stories, I guarantee a feel-good, happy ending!

Escape to New Zealand in this fun, feel-good chick lit story.

 

Review

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Thank You to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

DNF at 34%

I was rather excited to go into this book with it being set in New Zealand at all, but within the first few pages I was already struggling. I loved the premise of the book and kind of expected the dates to be a lot bigger deal than they were, instead they seemed to be a mild inconvenience achieved throughout the course of one day. Which ultimately left a whole lot of book left. After that there just seemed to be a lot of discussion regarding the dates and what on earth to do next.

Now the writing itself was good and I found out afterwards it is actually the third book in a series, however it supposedly could be read as a standalone. I’m starting to think I have problems if I read any book in a series out of order as I haven’t particularly liked any that I have read recently. I’m not sure if I would of liked this book if I had enjoyed the first two in the series but as I hadn’t I found myself not really invested in any of the characters. The main problem I had with the book though was with Marissa. I could not get behind her as a character to the point she was seriously irritating me. Not the book for me but I still love the idea behind it.

Rating: 2/5

Would I read again: No

Would I Recommend: No

Would I read another book from this author: No

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom

 

Synopsis

‘I’ve googled it, how to die,’ Jenny says to Maureen. ‘It was full of climbing this mountain, 36986900swimming that sea, becoming a marathon runner and raising millions for charity.’

‘Sounds like bloody hard work. You can make it more fun than that surely?’

Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair…

Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago.

And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.

Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990’s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?

 

Review

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Thank You to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Now this is a story that right of the bat tells you it’s probably not gonna have a super happy ending, our main character is diagnosed with terminal cancer right at the start, and this is her story on how she is able to take a good hard look at her life and make the changes she wants to make while she still can. This is of course exacerbated by the fact that she finds our her husband is having an affair. All in all not a good week.

Now it did take me a little while to warm up to Jenny, she was just a little to passive about pretty much everything going on around her and she spends an awful lot of time thinking about how much better everything was in the past. This is something that starts from before her cancer diagnosis and remains a staple-point throughout the story. While I think it was a very understandable reaction to everything that was going on in her life, it did start to get a bit tedious.

What I did like about the book was how the author was able to approach a rather difficult subject and inject it with a whole lot of humor, not only does it lighten what had the potential to be a pretty dark book but it provides a coping mechanism for the character. I really did like the writing throughout the book as I felt I was really able to follow Jenny’s train of thought as she goes through all sorts of different situations, and while I didn’t necessarily agree with everything she was doing/thinking, it was great to have such a clear and concise narrative as to the why. It also gives a clear message of how everyone deals with things differently as well as to not always sweat the small things, as they don’t always matter in the grand scheme of things. The main thing I did love about the book though was the way the author was able to not make everything about the cancer diagnosis, something in which Jenny was adamant about as well!

Rating: 3.5/5

Would I read again: No

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Probably

 

Book Review: The Would-Be Mommy – Jacqueline Diamond

Synopsis

From the moment he arrives at Safe Harbor Medical, Ian Martin is on infant overload.The Would-Be Mommy (Safe Harbor Medical #1) But the story he’s covering gets a lot more interesting when the adventure-seeking reporter meets Jennifer Serra, an intriguing PR director who has created a stir by taking home one of the center’s unwanted newborns!Jennifer has always wanted a child of her own. Her dream becomes thrilling reality when she agrees to temporarily–permanently?–be a mother to a sweet baby girl. Ian could complete the picture–Jennifer sees how easily he bonds with little Rosalie.

But just when she begins to look at Ian as potential father material, the dashing journalist dredges up a scandal from Jennifer’s past that could jeopardize her plans for adoption…and for a future with Ian…

Review

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Thank You to the Author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I started reading this book in the mood for a short and sweet romance, and that’s exactly what I got! It was the kind of book that sucked you in straight away and you immediately wanted to find out more. I think one of the main reasons for this was the likability of the characters, I found them easy to like and to rally behind from the beginning. Jennifer especially as she was more often then not just trying to make the best out of every situation.

In regards to the story itself it was a lot more in-depth then I had initially thought it would be, as I mentioned above I went into this expecting a short but sweet romance story with a few obstacles in the way before they got their happily ever after, however the book provided more than a few surprises along the way with a far more in depth character development and background than I was expecting which I really enjoyed. It also provided at credible twist to the story which really brought everything together while still being something I hadn’t expected.

Something else which I hadn’t been expecting was the way it managed to bring up a lot of important issues throughout the novel, motherhood and providing the best life for babies I think was the core issue, however it also puts an interesting light on the influence of not only social media but how news articles and so on can effect public opinion. In regards to the romance part of the story their is a bit of instalove but not to the extent of head of heels first meeting but instead I felt it worked really well within the story. The only thing I would of liked to of seen more of was some more story and development of other characters, however as this is part of a series (#17 so far!) I’m guessing they may have a story of their own! Definitely a series I want to check out more of and a great Beach and Wine kinda read.

Rating: 4.5/5

Would I read again: Yes

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

 

 

 

Married to a Cave Man – Damien Owens

Synopsis

Married to a Cave Man

Three young couples doing their best to keep the magic alive amid the nappies, bills and dirty dishes in recession-hit Dublin. When each of these husbands decides that he deserves a man cave simmering tensions come to the boil. A heartfelt comic novel about the trials of modern marriage.

Review

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Thank You to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is a story of three married couples as they try to deal with various different aspects in their married life. What ends up tying them all together is ‘the man cave’, that little area for the men to relax, unwind, whatever they may need.

What I liked at the very start was how the author introduced the couples, which was of course their first meeting, I loved this because although a short introductory chapter it gives you a vital piece of history as well as letting you know what everyone thought of each other at first glance. For me that really drew me into the story, most likely as I’m incredible nosy and love to find out how things turn out.

After we did get past the initial meetings and onto the real nitty gritty parts, I did find it hard at times to keep up with who was who, now there are six characters main characters to follow and just for the first few chapters at least I did struggle a tad to remember who was married to who. Once I did figure all that out, it was easy to see the different dynamics, different struggles and different personalities which were all fairly fleshed out. It did also lead to a lot more internal screaming towards every single character as no one was able to see any of the problems their spouses were facing. Now this might just be because as a reader it can be pretty easy to tell what’s going on, especially with all that internal dialogue, but my goodness I was definitely getting more than a little irritated at times.

It did however give a pretty good and pretty honest depiction of what a relationship can really be like, without all the romance and when life really decides to kick you while your down. It also gives a valid depiction of what can happen in a relationship when both partners let pride get in the way and stubbornness of course. Now even though this was a well written book, I just couldn’t really lose myself in it and I can’t really pinpoint why, I feel as if the points the author was going for were well received, as mentioned it gives an accurate depiction of struggles people face, but it didn’t have the certain factor that allowed me to completely lose myself in the book. This may just be me though. I was really hoping that the ending would knock my socks of and all would be forgiven but I only kind of liked how one couple was able to resolve their problems. If anything I wouldn’t of minded an epilogue to find out how the characters were doing down the road, but once again that may just be my overall nosiness!

 

Rating: 3/5

Would I read again: No

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Probably

 

 

 

Book Review: Life After Joe by Ann Benjamin

Synopsis

When the love of your life leaves, where do you go?

When thirty-something Liz McNeil is unexpectedly widowed, she has no idea what to do

Life After Joe

with her life. After the initial shock of her husband’s death wears off, she packs up her car and sets off on a tour of the country with Joe’s urn in the passenger seat. Using social media to connect with a variety of friends and family, Liz works through her grief in a number of unpredictable methods. As she shares her experience via blog posts, on a road trip full of surprises, Liz takes what life has given her and makes the best of her situation.

Will Liz ever be able to experience love again? Readers of P.S. I Love You will definitely be interested in the journey of this courageous young woman and her struggle for a new normal.

Review

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Life after Joe is a bittersweet story about an unexpected widow and her efforts to regain control of her life after the absolute worst thing could possibly happen. Now at this point in my life, I haven’t lost someone I am truly close too, this is something I am incredibly grateful for, especially after reading through the roller-coaster of emotions that poor Liz has to work through.

As the synopsis states, Liz begins to try and find some sense in her new life by starting a blog, which is the format for how the book was written. This is something I really enjoyed reading through especially with how well the blog posts were written. It really gave it a sense that we were following someone on a journey as they wrote down their ‘raw’ thoughts and emotions. (It also might have something to do with how much I like writing and reading blogs!)

It also wasn’t a book that just focused on the sadness and turmoil Liz was feeling but there was points of happiness, hope and understanding. It was a story where it was just as easy to laugh as it was to cry. I didn’t feel that everything that happened to Liz was completely believable, but her emotions and how she reacted to her surroundings definitely were. In regards to the characters, I did sometimes get a tad confused just because as Liz travels around we are introduced to a lot of them, and because of this not many got a great deal of character development, but I think in a book like this the development and journey of the main character was much more important, which kind of let everyone else get away with it.

Overall it was a very enjoyable read, and as the synopsis mentioned anyone that was a fan of P.S I Love You will most likely adore this book as well!

Rating: 4/5

Would I read again: No

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

About the Author:

A little about me? So glad you asked. I am an author and ex-pat living in Dubai, UAE. I enjoy travel, am obsessed with Pinterest, love the musical Newsies, support UGA football, and recently embarked on a career as a freelance writer. You may recognize me from my other writing persona, Courtney Brandt, author of six young adult marching novels.

If you are interested you can buy the book here or download it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

A World Without Color – Bernard Jan

Synopsis

One story. Two endings. Genuine and fictional. Which ending is yours?

What do you say to someone who is dying? And what do you say when that someone A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Catcan’t understand a word you are saying? How do you comfort each other throughout… and beyond?

My love, if you go away in a few days, the world will lose its colors and darken like the land of Mordor. If you go away and leave me to wander aimlessly, alone in this sea become wild, like a ship with a broken rudder and drowned sailors, and if I don’t find comfort in the warmth of your body, clutched in my embrace at the end of the day, I’m afraid I won’t survive.

“I don’t regret anything. Marcel was not only my cat, he was my everything. My brother, my friend, my world shrank in a soft gray-striped furry ball.”—Bernard Jan

Powerful. Emotional. Honest.

A heartfelt and moving novella.

Review

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Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Now this is a book I had no expectations going into, what had initially interested me in the memoir, was finding out how the author was able to share the highly intimate journey of a family pet passing away into a story.

What I found immediately was the raw emotion that the author is feeling is perfectly described on the page, they hold nothing back as they describe not only the situation, but the importance of Marcel to them. You really do feel as if your right alongside them as they go through their final three days.

Now this is probably not a novel to start reading if you are already feeling a tad down that down, when reading it’s so hard no not get caught up in emotion and at times it did feel quite a struggle to get through, not due to bad writing or anything like that but because it puts into sharp focus whats important and that you should really be hugging your pets right now!

At the same time it probably would provide some comfort to those that may of experienced a loss like this, their is a definite feeling that your not alone, as well as perhaps sharing some of your grief. The author does make the story deeply personal and perhaps just that little bit too emotional if anything. However it is a beautiful touching read.

Rating: 4/5

Would I read again: No

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

 

First Line Fridays #7

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First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

‘It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears’ house. It’s eyes were closed. It looked as if it was running on his side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream.”

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And it is of course…….

‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.’ by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time

I read this first many years ago as a recommended reading in English and it quickly became something that intrigued me, mainly because the main character has autism and I really enjoyed reading a story from a point of view that I didn’t really understand. It was a great way to get a better understanding of not only the world around me but the many different people that inhabit it.

Synopsis:

‘Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.’

Have you read it? What did you think?