Book Review: While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins #BookReview #BookLovers #WhileIWasSleeping

Title: While I Was Sleeping
Author: Dani Atkins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: July 26th, 2018
Pages: 543
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): What if someone else was living your happy ever after?
When Maddie wakes up in a hospital bed, she can’t remember anything about what happened to her or what has changed.
She just remembers she was about to be married and had everything to look forward to.
But it seems life has become a lot more complicated while she has been asleep …

Review:

Going into While I Was Sleeping I thought I knew what I’m putting myself up to.
I have heard good and not so good things about it, and one main thing everyone stated about this story was how emotional it is.

My expectations were not so high, but they were still there.

I know this will probably sound stupid after everything I wrote before this, but what took me by surprise the most was how emotional it was.
I know, I know, I just told you how everyone stated how heartbreaking the novel was, but I did not expect for this story to hit me as hard as it did.
I am not a crier when it comes to books, but my eyes were blurred with tears while I was reading this novel, and the tears appeared on multiple parts of the story.

The second thing about this book that took me by surprise was that it was written from two POVs: one is Maddie’s, and the other is Chloe’s.

The story is written in such a beautiful way. I think the writer knows how to use the words that hit heart, and I praise her for that.

Maddie was my favorite character, she was the only character I truly cared about and even though I can’t even imagine what she went through, I could connect with her.
Her happiness was all I cared about.

Chloe is the one who lived the life Maddie planned to live, before the accident took everything from her.
I didn’t like how it was so easy for her to put Maddie’s shoes, and I didn’t like how goody-good she was.
It was like she was some saint or angel sent from above to fill Maddie’s place, and then she took it completely.
I still can’t accept the fact that Chloe’s happiness was built on Maddie’s  misfortune.

Ryan was my least favorite character. I would use a word hate to describe my feelings for him, but then again I think that word is too strong and wrong.
I know it’s not his fault that he fell in love with someone else while his fiancee was in coma, but how he treated Maddie after she woke up was what made me angry and hurt.

This book is one of the rare books that stayed with me even when I wasn’t reading.
I kept thinking about it over and over again, couldn’t wait to have some free time to read at least one more page.
Even after I finished the book, I caught myself longing to read at least one more page, and then I had to remind myself that the story is over and that all the pages were already read.

This could have easily be a five stars book for me, and I wish it was, but I can’t make myself like it that much because the end ruined everything to me.
It took me few days (even weeks to be precise) to finally write my review because my emotions were all over the place and I was so angry, but still I didn’t want to write something I would be sorry about later, and I was afraid that because I hated the end I wouldn’t be able to tell you how beautiful and interesting everything else was.

In the end, this is a four stars book for me, and all of my feelings about the end you can read in the spoiler section down bellow:

Spoilers!!!

So this is how I feel about the end: I hate how the author didn’t give Maddie a happy end, but instead decided to put her into a long sleep again.
I wonder if she killed her would it be less painful? It probably would.

The only good that could come out of it (and I would never welcome that kind of story) was if the author decided to write a sequel in which Maddie’s daughter was sick and then Maddie would up and save her life because her daughter would need an organ or something).

This story could have a happier ending. Why Maddie didn’t start a relationship with Mitch??? They could have been a perfect couple.

This way Chloe got everything, all the happiness in the world, and Maddie didn’t even get crumbs. She got crumbs of crumbs, and I can’t put my head around why the writer decided to put her through so much pain and didn’t even give her at least that little happiness that she deserved.

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Book Review: Our House by Louise Candlish #BookReview #THATlastline #Suspense

Title: Our House
Author: Louise Candlish
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Date: September 1st, 2018
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for a review and to give away

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): On a bright January morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought in Trinity Avenue. 

Nothing strange about that. Except it is your house. And you didn’t sell it. 

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern co-parenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.

Review:

I feel like Our House took our blogging community by the storm. Ever since it first came out in April, all the amazing bloggers who review adult titles rave about this novel.
Some reviews are very positive, but there are also ones that do not think Our House is the best book written.
Me?
I think this novel is very good and I am so grateful that I had chance to read it.

I would like to thank Sara-Jade Virtue for sending me a paperback copy of Our House to read and pass on to someone else in the #ibelieveinbookfairies project, where people leave books in different places for other people to find it.
I left mine on the Model of Zagreb in Kaptol, Zagreb, Croatia.

Every now and then I would come across a review for this story. You can’t help it when you read blogs and book reviews on regular basis. However, I was good when it comes to avoiding spoilers, so I still found myself surprised while reading.

First thing that surprised me was that Our House is actually more of suspense then a thriller.

Second thing was the way it was written.
You see, this novel does not have that regular, every day way of storytelling.
In fact, it is told from two POVs, one written as podcast and the second one written as documents (that actually sound more like a diary or confessions to me).
There is the third way of storytelling that unites those two POVs into one whole.
Never before have I ever read anything similar to that, so I welcomed it.

The story follows Fiona who lost her house and her husband Bram who is the reason why she lost it.
I don’t want to tell you too much about it because I feel like the less you know the more interesting reading experience you’ll have.

I have to stress out that during the reading process I didn’t have anything to think too much about, like, there was no mystery to be solved.
The story itself was interesting enough, but was is not puzzling as I assumed it would be.

The characters of the story were pretty memorable but not one of them was likeable. However, I feel like that was author’s goal, to give us unlikeable, realistic characters that we can not trust.

The story itself has some dull and boring moments, but I highly encourage you to keep reading because once you get to the end, it is all worth it!
The end is the best part of this novel, so unique, and one of the best endings I read in a very, very long time.

Movie Monday: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #MovieReview #MovieMonday #TooAllTheBoysIveLovedBefore #Netflix

Movie Monday is a feature here on my blog, in which I’m rambling about movies I’ve watched lately.

These days I haven’t been watching many movies, so I decided to give you my two cents when it comes to To All the Boys I Loved Before, the Netflix movie that took twitter by the storm.

 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

If you’re active on twitter, there is no way you haven’t heard about the movie called To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

It was long anticipated, and once this ya comedy came out, everyone talked about it on twitter, and everyone seemed to love it.

I have read Jenny Han’s book the year it was published and I loved it so much, I even rated it 5 stars. It is a perfect young adult contemporary story and even though I think that in this case the book is better, the movie was also amazing.

The story follows Lara Jean who used to write letters to boys she liked, and kept those letters under her bed.
One day all of her letters were being sent out and now she has to find out how to manage the situation. What makes things more complicated is that one of the receivers is her sister’s boyfriend.

As I already stated, I loved this book, and I also loved the movie.
I watched it with my sister and my fiance and I have to admit that they were not as delighted as I was. They both said that the movie is good but nothing special, and my fiance also stressed out that Love, Simon was “way, way better”.

When it comes to actors I thing that Lana Condor who plays Lara Jean was excellent. I don’t usually comment on one’s acting skills while watching the movie, but I couldn’t notice how great she was.
I also couldn’t notice how not-so-good Israel Broussard who plays Josh was.

I was so glad to hear that Netflix will film the sequel.
I wasn’t a fan of that book because I think that the guy Lara Jean chose has been treating her badly, but I hope that in the movie his sins would not be as heart hitting as they were in the book and that the movie will be better.

Book Review: The Olive Branch by Jo Thomas #BookReview #BookLovers #TheOliveBranch

Title: The Olive Branch
Author: Jo Thomas
Publisher: Headline Review
Date: August 25th, 2015
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Won in a giveaway

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): It’s amazing what you can buy online these days:
Memorabilia
Fashion accessories
A crumbling Italian farmhouse…

After a Prosecco-fuelled girls’ night in gets out of hand, Ruthie Collins awakes to discover that she has bid for her dream Italian home online – and won. Recently out of a relationship, a new start is just what Ruthie needs. Anything is better than sleeping on her mum’s settee.

But arriving in Southern Italy, Ruthie doesn’t know the first thing about running an olive farm. And with new neighbours, the tempestuous Marco Bellanouvo and his fiery family to contend with, all Ruthie wants is to go back home.

Life can change with the click of a mouse. But all good things – friendship, romance, and even the olive harvest – take time to grow. Can Ruthie finally put the past to rest and find her own piece of the Dolce Vita along the way?

Review:

OmG, this book! I can’t even find the words to describe how much I loved it.
I know it’ll probably sound stupid, but I’ll say it anyway: This book made my life more beautiful. 

It really did. So many times while reading I had that warm, comfortable feeling only few books can give you, and after finishing it I just wanted to hug it for a while. So I did. And to be completely honest, I don’t recall when was the last time I had a need to literally hug a book.
And that, my friends, is the reason The Olive Branch found the spot in my All-Time-Favorite-Books list.

The story follows Ruthie who buys herself a new Italian home. Once she arrives to her new place, she finds out it is not easy to live alone in a big house, with a huge estate and a goat who lives there, especially when your neighbours don’t want you there, because your estate belonged to them for decades, and they still consider it as theirs.

The Olive Branch is a book full of positive vibes, lovely feelings, sunshine and food.
I feel like it could make anyone’s day at least a bit better.
As a matter of fact, it should be prescribed as a cure to anyone who is in a poor mood or had a bad day. That’s how lovely this novel is.

The story itself is great and beautiful, but what also makes this book perfect is Jo Thomas’ skill to write.
I flew through this book, and my reading speed accelerated dramatically: from cca 30 to 50 pages per hour, which is HUGE.
I think that the main reason for that is how great the writing style actually was. I know I said many times in my reviews that the writing style pulled me in and didn’t let go, and I could say it again here, but only imagine it 5 times stronger.
Like, the story didn’t pull me in, it grabbed me and I couldn’t get out until I finished the last page (and now I’m rambling).

I loved so many things about this book. How fun it was, how beautifully the nature was described, how good people in the story actually were, and how animals also had their role, especially Daisy.

I am so thankful that I had a chance to read Jo Thomas’ books this year. This summer I read her last published book Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard and I loved it so much, I knew I wanted to read more of her work.
Now when I finished The Olive Branch and loved it even more, I want to read everything she wrote.
I was lucky enough to receive her newest book A Winter Beneath the Stars that will be published in December, and I also ordered myself three of her books that were published previously.
I can’t wait to dive into all of them!

Overall, The Olive Branch is my favorite book that I’ve read this year so far and I would recommend it to everyone.

Two Short Book Reviews: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century and Someone Else’s Summer

Last month I wrote two short book reviews on my blog, for books I have previously read but never reviewed here on my blog. Since I am pretty satisfied by how they turned out, I decided to do it once again, for books that I have read while I was in a reviewing slump.

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is a ya time-travel novel that will make you laugh more then few times while reading.
This is just like you could imagine from the title, a sweet, fluffy story that could even make you swoon (just) a little bit (I mean, Lorenzo is swoon worthy all the way!).

I remember how confused I was at the very beginning, because our main protagonist Cat travels time in a heartbeat, and it feels like she isn’t even freaked out about it. I mean, not at all!
I was confused myself but she had no problem figuring out what was hapening or fitting in.

The story is silly at times and the first half was bit boring (sometimes), but the second half is really intense and it makes you read more and faster. In other words, it compensates the first half.

This is a ya, but I would like to note that it would probably be more appealing to the younger audience (between 13-16 years old teens).

I had fun reading this book and would recommend it to those who look for some fluffy entertainment in their reads.

 

Someone Else’s Summer by Rachel Bateman

First of all, how cool the author’s surname is?! It’s almost like Batman, but with E in between.
And now… let’s get into the book…

This book is perfect for summer (ok, I know I’m late, but you can always read it on a sunny day, even if it’s not summer, or maybe save it for next year?), and it’s perfect combination of serious and emotional with lovely and swoon worthy.

The story follows Anna who lost her sister Storm. One day she finds her sister’s bucket list, and along with Storm’s best friend Cameron she spends the summer trying to cross of as many things from the list as she can.

This novel is an emotional roller coaster that I couldn’t put down, and I understand why many people say it’s their favorite.

 

 

Book Review: How We Remember by J.M. Monaco (Blog Tour) #BookReview #BlogTour #HowWeRemember @RedDoorBooks

I am so honoured to be today’s host in the How We Remember blog tour.
I want to thank Anna at RedDoor publishing for giving me this chance.
I really liked this book and it had a huge impact on me.

About the book:

When Jo returns home following her mother’s death, she is shocked to learn of an unexpected inheritance and her mother’s diary. Jo thought she could put to rest her darker past until an entry implies the messy aftermath of an uncle’s sexual advances towards her when she was fifteen. Like the diary, Jo’s memory of events is full of gaps, but one thing is certain – she will never regain what was lost. What is the full story of what happened between Jo and her uncle?

How We Remember traces the effects of alcoholism, mental illness and abuse on one Irish-Italian-American, working-class family. As Jo’s first-person narrative weaves together past and present stories, she creates a portrait of her family’s life and her own as she faces new decisions amidst the tragic consequences of mismanaged grief.

Full of moments of light and dark, Monaco’s debut novel –set during a week that anyone would dread –provides a mesmeric narrative portraying the pain of grief, the tenuous nature of memory and the earth-shattering effect that the death of the ‘glue’ of a family can cause. How We Remember is an unforgettable novel that tackles issues every reader will be able to relate to on some level.It’ll capture hearts and capture imaginations.

My Review:

Trigger warning: This book talks about sexual abuse and some scenes can be disturbing to some readers.

How We Remember is one of those books that you choose to read not to forget about the world around you, but to remind yourself how harsh it can be.

It is a story you don’t read for a pleasure, but for the appreciation. It makes you appreciate the life you have, the written word and the courage it takes for an author to tell this kind of story.

I know How We Remember is a fiction, and may I say, the author did a beautiful work by telling this story to the world, but stories similar to Jo’s do exist in the real world.

The story follows Jo who returns to home after her mother’s death. She finds her mother’s old diary and starts to remember her life before she moved to London.
All kind of disturbing scenes and painful memories come back to her, and she tries to cope with them along with the loss of her mother, and her brother’s demands.

We follow two different time frames. One in the present and one in the past. The one from the past lead to the one in the present, and they do give reasons why some characters act in a way they do.

I loved reading this book even though it was hard to read at times. Some scenes were so difficult to read, that I had to take small breaks between reading.
Nevertheless, I am so glad I had a chance to read this book, as I find it significant and beautiful at the same time.

It has been some time since I read a serious general fiction, and this book reminded me how good they can be.

However, I do have to stress out that it took me a while to get into the book, since I found myself lost sometimes between the time frames in the book.

What I think I will remember the most from this book is how people can be manipulative and make you feel small with their ignorance and just how awful mind games can be.

Overall, I really liked this book and would recommend it to general fiction fans. I think it is a perfect choice for the cold and rainy days that are about to come in this time of the year.

Follow the tour:

Book Review: Friend of the Family by Tasmina Perry

Title: Friend of the Family
Author: Tasmina Perry
Publisher: Headline Review
Date: September 20th, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

You trust your friend, so you’d trust her daughter. Wouldn’t you…?

When an old university friend gets in touch with a request for work experience for her daughter, magazine editor Amy agrees. Twenty-year-old Josie walks into Amy’s office, moves into the basement of her Notting Hill house and is soon helping out with her children after Amy’s nanny is hit by a car. It seems the natural thing therefore for Amy to invite Josie on the family’s annual to Provence. When a series of things start to go wrong in their luxurious villa, Amy begins to suspect that Josie isn’t quite the friendly presence she appears. But when no one, not even her husband believes her, she realises she will have to play Josie at her own game in order to expose her true intentions…

Review:

This year has been great when it comes to discovering to me new authors. Tasmina Perry is one of them.

I appreciate so much the chance I got to read and review Friend of the Family, because I really enjoyed this story, and I loved the writing style, and now I want to read more work by Tasmina Perry.

The story follows Amy who works in journalism, in a magazine called Verve.
One day she is contacted by her high school best friend, who asks her to take her daughter in for a week while she’s doing her internship.
One week turns into two, then two turns into even more, and Ivy feels like Josie (that’s the daughter) is trying to steal Amy’s life for herself.
There is no doubt someone is sabotaging Amy’s career and personal life, and Amy is determined to get some answers before it’s too late.

I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t make much effort when it comes to reading synopsis. No matter how cliche it sounds, I do like to go blind in books most of the time.
I’ll even choose to read someone else’s review before I’ll read synopsis, that’s how weird (especially for a book bloggers) I am.
Yet, somehow I end up reading good books most of the time (I pick up my reads by listening to my instinct, paying attention to authors and publishers, looking at the book covers (I think that is the most important aspect tbh) and observing my twitter and goodreads feeds).

When I started Friend of the Family, I though I was reading a thriller. However, after some time, it was clear to me this was not a thriller, but very interesting and fascinating work of general fiction.
It could also be tagged as women’s fiction, in my opinion.

As soon as I began reading I fell in love. The story talked about everything I wanted to read about in that moment: magazines, modern women, rivalry, fashion and different relationships between people.

I think I can safely say that I enjoyed reading every single page of it, and if it was 200 pages longer, I probably still couldn’t get enough.

People’s relationships and their reactions are what I love reading about the most, and this book is full of those complex themes.
I really, really loved observing everything, every character’s part in the story and their attitude to each other.

We have that aspect on one hand, and on the other hand there’s a plot driven story that will make you want to read, read, and read some more. 
I am a slow reader who reads mostly in the morning, and this book made me want to get up early so I could read more, squeeze at least few pages more from what I’d usually read.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am so glad and thankful that I have read it.
I would recommend it to readers who like stories about successful people, relationships and rivalry, with little splash of mystery and thrills.