Book Review: Happy Ever …After by Seb Earl

BOok REview_ Happy Ever ... After

Synopsis:

When Emily wakes up in the middle of her bed, shaking and sweating from yet another Happy ever ... afternightmare, she knows it will not stop easily. The sexual assault she suffered eight years ago has left an enduring mark on her mind.

In the immediate aftermath, she moved back to live with her parents and, since then, they have happily provided sanctuary. But at what price? Emily is not free, and her inner doubt and anger are increasing their stronghold over her life.

Thrust into action by her best friend, Sarah, Emily finally finds the courage to move out and start a new life on her own. She soon meets Olivier, a charming French man.

As she realises how her future happiness depends on her ability to face the past, Emily begins the slow, and at times painful, journey to finding inner peace.

But can she truly put her ordeal behind her? And is everything exactly as it appears?

Review:

Image result for three out of five gold stars

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

Going into this book I prepped myself for a really hard hitting emotional read, as Emily faces her past and tries to move on with her life. Unfortunately, I felt that it just missed the mark. Now don’t get me wrong I did enjoy the story, while it was a bit choppy at times, I could see where the story was going, most of the reasons behind the decisions and emotions and I really liked the character of Sarah who just wants the best for Emily. Emily, on the other hand, I just struggled to like. I really couldn’t find the connection I wanted to really understand her as a character and she just kind of annoyed me at points.

The book itself was a slow start for me as I struggled through the first few chapters and while it did pick up I still never really found myself ‘lost’ in the story, there was definitely enough to keep me interested, just not enough to quite drag me in.

What I did like about the book was that it was able to show different aspects/personalities of secondary characters and I really liked how the author was able to add the next door neighbors as just that little bit extra to keep the story going. Also as everything ties up in the end and it just being a really satisfying ending I did feel it redeemed itself quite a few points. It just took a little bit to get there. While this is not a book I would read again, I would still be interested in reading any of the author’s other novels.

Rating: 3/5

Would I read again: No

Would I Recommend: Maybe

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

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Book Review – The Cornish Village School – Second Chances by Kitty Wilson

 

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Synopsis

Ex-ballerina and single mum Sylvie is in trouble. Juggling her ballet classes in the nearest Second Chances (The Cornish Village School #2)town, preparing shy Sam for his first day at Penmenna Village school and trying to finally move out from the farm she shares with her cantankerous Uncle Tom means life is anything but easy.

Television Journalist Alex is facing challenges of his own. Seeking a calmer environment for his newly adopted daughter, Ellie, he’s swapped reporting in war zones for the school PTA in quiet Penmenna, where his best friend Chase has persuaded him to start laying some roots.

Fireworks ignite when Sylvie and Alex meet but as Ellie and Sam become instant best friends, will they be able to keep things strictly platonic for the sake of the children?

Review

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

So I didn’t actually realize that this is the second book in ‘The Cornish Village School’ but I can safely say that it does read well as a standalone book. Also on a somewhat related note, I now do really want to read the first book in the series!

We start of the book by being introduced to Sylvie and her son Sam as they are heading off for their afternoon visit to the beach, I really loved the pure excitement from both of these characters as they initially set off for the beach, it’s where they meet both Alex and Ellie and begin an almost instant friendship. (Living pretty close to the beach I can safely say I do not take advantage of visiting as much as I really should and after reading the first few chapters of this book I really wanted to get out and visit!)

This was a great character-focused book with a lot of different relationships coming in to play, there was quite a focus on the children as well as the friends and family of Sylvie and Alex which made it just that little bit more than a simple romance book. There were a few ‘secrets’ in the background but mostly I really enjoyed it being a straightforward romance book. I think perhaps there could have been a bit more focus on some of the place descriptions but it doesn’t take away from the story at all. For me, it was a great sweet little read that had me smiling all the way through.

Rating: 4.5/5

Would I read again: Probably

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

Book Review: Not Perfect by Elizabeth LaBan

Synopsis

From Elizabeth LaBan, the acclaimed author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife, comes Not Perfecta captivating and very funny novel about a wife and mother’s fall from grace, and why keeping up appearances is not her biggest secret.

Tabitha Brewer wakes up one morning to find her husband gone, leaving her no way to support herself and their two children, never mind their upscale Philadelphia lifestyle. She’d confess her situation to her friends—if it wasn’t for those dreadful words of warning in his goodbye note: “I’ll tell them what you did.”

Instead, she does her best to keep up appearances, even as months pass and she can barely put food on the table—much less replace a light bulb. While she looks for a job, she lives in fear that someone will see her stuffing toilet paper into her handbag or pinching basil from a neighbor’s window box.

Soon, blindsided by catastrophe, surprised by romance, and stunned by the kindness of a stranger, Tabitha realizes she can’t keep her secrets forever. Sooner or later, someone is bound to figure out that her life is far from perfect.

Review

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

DNF at 34%

This is a book that has been sitting on my NetGalley shelf for far too long, I remember requesting it, I just never got round to sitting down and reading it.

The blurb itself is really intriguing and what initially drew me to the book. I was hoping for a story about a woman picking up the pieces of her shattered life while not only trying to maintain the image of a perfect life but hiding from a secret from her past. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like this book managed to pull this off and instead I found myself more angry with Tabitha then perhaps I should have been. Tabitha starts of fairly okay as a character she is clearly trying and using whatever ways necessary to keep food on the table and a fairly stable life for her two children. However, as time went on it just sort of showed that she was really just trying to keep up appearances as opposed to doing whatever she could to work her way through the situation. Sure no one knows how they would react when things get tough but her thought process and actions annoyed me to the point I wasn’t enjoying the book itself and decided to stop at 34%. Now the writing itself was good if a bit slow paced and the premise really was intriguing I just couldn’t, bring myself to finish the book.

I am not however averse to trying any other book from this author, or even giving this book another chance when I am in a different head space but for this read through attempt, unfortunately, it was not my cup of tea.

Rating: 2/5

Would I read again: Perhaps, but probably not

Would I Recommend: No

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

Book Review: This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell

Synopsis

If only Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that went viral…

THIS COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING is the feel-good new novel from Jill Mansell, This Could Change Everythingthe bestselling author of MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY. Not to be missed by fans of Katie Fforde and Lucy Diamond.

On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that only her best friend was meant to see – then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding…

On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn’t have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas…

And she wouldn’t have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with…

Review

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

I honestly was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. I started this on a Friday evening and finished it that Friday evening. As I have been in a bit of a book/reading slump it was a nice surprise to be able to just immerse myself in a book again!

The story starts off with a series of unfortunate events which leads to Essie having an email which should of been purely venting sent out to everyone. This, of course, includes the people she was venting about. Essie soon finds herself single, homeless and without work, leading her to start again on a whole new adventure.

What first really sucked me into the story wasn’t Essie or her situation, however, it was Zillah Walsh, the eighty-year-old ‘matriarch’ of the story who is not only stylish and rich but kind and willing to help others less fortunate. I felt she is really who made the story and though technically not the main character, there is no way you would be able to tell the story without her.

What I liked about the way the story was told was that it was fast paced, there were a few characters to get your head around but it was easily followed. I didn’t find myself looking back to try and find out who was who, it all just sort of flowed. I also liked that I was never really able to guess what was going to happen, I really did feel like I was following along with the characters on their journey.

I think one of the main reasons when I finished the book it felt so satisfying though was that every character is put to rest as such. There is no loose ends, no second-guessing or wondering what might have been, everyone’s story arc is nicely closed up and while of course there is always future possibilities it did just feel finished.

A solid 4.5 out of 5 stars  

Rating: 4.5/5

Would I read again: Yes

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

Book Review: Adventures in Online Dating by Julie Particka

Synopsis

For Alexa, the answer to everything comes down to numbers. Three sons. One divorce. Adventures in Online DatingOne great life…except her boys are getting older and they really need a man in their lives. Enter the number twenty, as in after twenty minutes with someone she knows whether or not she wants them in her life. So, she hatches a plan to meet any man who even remotely strikes her interest—for a twenty-minute date at her favorite coffee shop. It’s the perfect plan to find her perfect match in the most efficient way possible.

Too bad coffee shop owner Marshall isn’t keen on the idea. He doesn’t want his shop to be her speed dating zone—especially since she’s made it clear he’s too young to be a contender. But Alexa finds herself drawn to Marshall in ways she can’t quantify. There’s no easy answer, and once the kids become involved, her well-ordered world threatens to fall apart—twenty minutes at a time.

Review

Image result for three and a half out of five stars

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

I went into this book hoping for a fun tongue in cheek sort of romance book, it is my first book by Julie Particka and I was not sure what to expect. Luckily this was exactly the type of book I was looking for!

We start of by meeting Alexa a single mum of three who likes to plan her life down to the last detail. After deciding she knows if a relationship is going anywhere after the first 20 minutes she decides to optimise her time by setting 20 minute dates one after another to help find her perfect match. Alexa herself I found to be a hard character to like and it did take a little while for me to warm up to her. In all honesty she is a little too cold and organised I guess. I know she does need to be to be able to set up these types of dates but it did make it a little bit harder to really be rooting for her when everything is seen to be so clinical. Marshall makes himself so much easier to like simply by being more open, he does know what he wants and he is not afraid to try. He did surprise me as a character by not always going in the direction I thought he would which is always a good surprise!

The story itself followed pretty much how I expected it would and at a pace that I thought was really good for the book itself. It did take me a little longer than usual to actually get into the book but I think this was due to not being able to connect with Alexa. While there are not too many ‘surprising’ moments I didn’t feel like there needed to be. Either way an enjoyable sort of Sunday afternoon read.

Rating: 3.5/5

Would I read again: Maybe

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

 

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

Image result for 2 out of five stars

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

 

 

 

 

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

Image result for three and a half out of five stars

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