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.

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Movie Monday: Set It Up

This week I watched an amazing, funny and romantic comedy Set It Up.
Few weeks ago I had no idea about this movie, but thanks to Youtube, now I have. You see, if I haven’t seen the trailer for it on Youtube (it was a commercial between videos that I clicked on to watch), I wouldn’t even know about Set It Up, and I surely wouldn’t watch it.

And I am so glad that isn’t the case. Set It Up is a feel good comedy that made me laugh out loud, enjoying almost every second of it.

I think Netflix is coming out with great movies so often now, and I welcome it. I hope they’ll continue.

The story follows two executive assistants who plan together how to set their bosses up so they could have more free time. Somewhere on the way, they start to like one another.

Fist of all, I loved the story. It was really good and fun.

Second of all, I loved the actors. Zoey Deutch played her role so well, Lucy Liu was amazing, and Glen Powell was the best. I love them all (especially Zoey).

Honesty, I wish there were more movies like this. I know some would say there are some that are similar, or have the similar atmosphere, but if you ask me, there aren’t enough of them.

Now when I saw Set It Up and enjoyed it so much, I can’t wait to see what else Netflix will prepare for us in the upcoming months.

 

Book Review: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Title: Surprise Me
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Bantam Press, Penguin Random House UK
Date: February 8th, 2018
Pages: 368
Format: Physical
Source: Gifted

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it’s casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years… and panic sets in.

They quickly decide to create little surprises for each other, to keep their relationship fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me – anything from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to photo shoots – mishaps arise with disastrous and comical results.

Gradually, the surprises turn to shocking discoveries. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all…

Review:

Do you know why Sophie Kinsella is my favorite author?
Because she can take anything, and I mean ANY-FREAKING-THING and turn it into gold (figuratively speaking, of course, even though I think she wouldn’t mind if it was true).

Take this novel for example. Have you read it’s synopsis?
Young couple finds out they are healthy enough to spend another 68 years together.
What do they do?
They freak out, because they kinda (how would I say it right…) feel nervous to be in a marriage for that long, with only one person, have sex for another 68 years with only one person and to be annoyed occasionally with each other for another 68 years.
Haven’t they ever heard about divorce?
I guess that’s how it goes when you don’t have (or are not aware of) real problems in your life. You make the problem out of anything that’s going on in your life at that time.

This is what the first half of the book is about: Sylvie and Dan being afraid that they will bore each other with time, and making a new habit in their life: surprising each other (to avoid boredom).

It’s all fun and games until secrets start to reveal and Sylvie will ask herself does she really know her husband to the core, as she though she did.

When I read the synopsis of this book, no matter how silly it sounded (if I’m being completely honest) I have not doubted in Sophie Kinsella’s talent.
I have read every book by her except one (If you wonder, it’s The Undomestic Goddess), and honestly feel like she can write anything, and still make it interesting and funny.
So I had a feeling I would like this book, and I was more then right! 

I loved it, and it scored the place in my Top 3 favorite books written by Sophie (when you take a look how many novels she has written, it’s a pretty high achieve for a book).

The second part of the book is what made the story exceptional, it captured me with every page and I was invested with all my being to figure out what was going on.
This might sounds like I’m describing some kind of thriller or something, but it’s true. Even though this is not a suspense, nor it’s a thriller, it still thrills you, because there is so much going on, so many secrets you try to figure out along with Sylvie.

The end is what took this novel on a whole another level when it comes to Kinsella’s work.
I know some readers are not fans and it kinda ruined the story for them (because they probably expected jauntily adventure through the whole book), but I think it is the best end and it makes the book stand out.
I was moved by it, and I wouldn’t change one part of it.

The writing style (as usual) is perfect. As you probably know, her writing style is my favorite because it pulls you in, does not let go, and it’s interesting and fun at the same time.
I think many writers, when they start, try to reach the voice similar to hers (until they find their own voice) and it’s for a reason.
There is a reason why her books are loved by millions of people all over the world.

The characters in Surprise Me are interesting, to say the least.
They are all gray, and have many layers to them, and I appreciate it so much.
I feel like if I say who I liked the best and who I think it’s villain of the story, I’ll spoil the book for you, so I’ll keep quiet.
But I have to say I loved one side guy, a neighbour who’s name I forgot (Amanda please don’t kill me, I know he was your favorite, but my memory sucks!).

In the end, I want to recommend Surprise Me to all of you chick lit and women’s fiction lovers, because it is an amazing book and it would be a shame if you’d miss it.

At the very end, I want to thank my dear friend Amanda from ChocolatePages (she is an amazing blogger and you should all visit her blog)  for giving me her own copy of the book, because she knew I wanted to read it so much.

Book Review: Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin

Title: Somewhere Inside of Happy
Author: Anna McPartlin
Publisher: Black Swan, Penguin Random House
Date: April 7th, 2016
Pages: 427
Format: Paperback
Source: Won in a giveaway

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Maisie Bean is a fighter. A survivor. Seventeen years ago, she went on a first date that went so badly it was enough to put the girl off chips. The marriage that followed was hell but it gave her two children: funny, caring Jeremy and bullish but brilliant Valerie.

Just as it seems everything might finally start going right, sixteen-year-old Jeremy goes missing. The police descend and a media storm swirls, over five days of searching that hurtle towards an inevitable, terrible conclusion.

Maisie is facing another fight, and this time it’s the fight of her life. But she’s a survivor. Whatever the odds, she’ll never give in.

Review:

I should have read synopsis before starting this book.
I always like to go blind into stories, read recommendations and judge books by their covers.
If you ask me how I decide what I’ll read next, I usually go with my instinct.
I always buy books based on the fact who wrote them and if someone from my goodreads friends or bloggers already reviewed it.
Rarely, if a book catches my eyes without me hearing about it before, I’ll read what it is about.

As you can guess by now, I didn’t know what Somewhere Inside of Happy is about.
I just hauled it and saw people really enjoyed it. One blogger who had the same taste as me said it was one of the best books she read in 2016, and that was enough for me.

I’m saying that I should have read the synopsis first not because I didn’t like it. No, that was not the case, because this book is beautiful in an exceptional way, but because I was in the mood for something light and fun, and this is anything but.

Somewhere inside of happy is one of the most important books I’ve read this year. It should have a huge impact on it’s readers and I hope it will reach everyone who’ll read it. 

It is not an easy book to read. However, I feel like everyone who’ll get a chance to read it, will be glad they did.

One thing I am not a fan of is how the message and everything that was important in this story is perceived as huge spoiler in company of smaller spoilers.

Therefore, I will warn you: After this sentence this review will be full of spoilers, so don’t read it if you don’t want to be spoiled!!

At the very beginning of the book, we already know that our main character Maisie had a son who died. We don’t know how or why, we just know it was violent (and if you ask me, his death was unfortunate, but I wouldn’t call it violent).

We follow the story of her family while her son was alive.

She lives with her mother who suffers from demantia (sometimes it was really hard to read about her situation), takes care of her, and she also had a son and a daughter.
Her husband who’s she separated with is nowhere near for some time now, and she can finally breath.

One day, her son doesn’t come back from the party, and we follow her and her family trying to find him.

The story takes place in Dublin.
I really enjoyed reading about that place, but all the time I had one big question mark over my head: Jeremy (her son) didn’t come to school on January 2nd. I was so confused, because I wondered do in Ireland schools really work in period between Christmas and January 6th.
I wouldn’t know because I don’t live there, but it is so close to New Year’s Eve…

This book contains some themes that readers should be warned about: violence and rape.

The story with it’s message reminded me of the movie Prays for Bobbie, only the movie is better.

Overall, I am glad I read this book and would really recommend it to everyone because I think it is really important to accept all the people, and I hope one day hate against everyone who’s different in anyway  will no longer exist.
That is the world I want to live in one day.

I would like to stress out that even though I am glad that I read this book and I think it is of huge importance, I didn’t click with the way it was presented.
I can’t figure out was it the writing style or just the story itself, or maybe even characters, but something was off, so therefore I can’t give it higher rating.

 

Book Review: Five Years From Now by Paige Toon

Title: Five Years From Now
Author: Paige Toon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Date: May 17th, 2018
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): What if you met the right person at the wrong time?

Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart.

Five years later, they find each other.  Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they must separate.

For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?

‘One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened…’

Review:

First of all, I want to say thank you to my wonderful friend Amanda (who is also an awesome blogger and you should all check out here blog here) for giving me a copy of this novel.
Amanda knew I was dying to read Five Years From Now, because it is the newest piece of work from one of my favorite authors, Paige Toon, and she was kind enough to send me a copy.

Once again, Paige Toon didn’t disappoint. In Five Years From Now she created two wonderful main characters who will win hearts of the readers all over the world.

This is a beautiful, emotional story that will make you smile, hold your breath and also, it will probably make your heart wrench.
As matter of fact, your heart will probably be broken to that level that you will go online and talk about it all day long (or maybe even longer).
At least, that’s how it’s done on twitter.

Since everyone talked about how emotional this novel is, and there was even a video of the author crying her heart out while writing this book, I prepared myself for the worst.
Can you imagine the consequence of my preparation?
Yes, you’re right. I didn’t cry at all! But in my defense, I’m not a big cryer anyway, plus, this story was still pretty emotional for me.

If there’s one thing I learned from this wonderful novel is just how long the period of 5 years actually is.
So many things can happen’ in 5 years, lives can change drastically.

The story follows Nell and Van from when they were 5 years old to when they were in their forties.
They met because of their parents, who were in love and lived together. When they were 10 a big tragedy separated them and Van moved to another part of the world, Australia.
They kept seeing each other every five years. There was always that big chemistry between them that turned out into love, but life isn’t always as you want it to be.
They both built their own families, lived their own lives, but couldn’t forget each other.

In whole honesty, while I was reading Five Years From Now I had a feeling I already came across this story before, and then it hit me: Love, Rosie! I’ve never read the book, but I’ve seen the movie multiple times, and Five Years From Now reminded me of it.
But still, even though it had some similarities, it is also so different.

Toon’s writing style is so amazing. Her books are always so easy to read, with beautiful sentences.

I want to stress out that Five Years From Now is not only emotional story, but it also has brilliant atmosphere, with amazing descriptions of Cornwall and it’s beaches.

Reading this book while on vacation is the perfect score!

I feel like everyone who already read this piece of literature talks about the end, so I won’t.
In all honesty, I wish they wouldn’t either, because it spoils the reading experience.
I’ll just say I liked it.

Book Review: An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena @PHRGlobal #partner

Title: An Unwanted Guest
Author: Shari Lapena
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books, Penguin
Date: August 7th, 2018
Pages: 290
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away

It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead–it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm.

Review:

If you’re a fan of “Who done it” books, games or movies, you will probably love An Unwanted Guest.
I’d say it’s a typical “Who done it” story, but in reality, I wouldn’t know, because I rarely read that type of books.
Why? Honesty, the only reason that comes to my mind is that those books are just not popular enough, and therefore, it doesn’t even cross my mind to pick up one.

Thanks to Shari Lapena, I can proudly say I read one “Who done it” novel this year.
If you follow my reviews for a while now, maybe you know how much I enjoyed Lapena’s first novel The Couple Next Door. 
So… when I had a chance to read An Unwanted Guest, I grabbed it.

The story follows several characters (honestly, I can’t even tell you how many of them there were) who end up snowed in in a hotel for the weekend.
Early in the morning, they find a dead body of a woman who stayed in the hotel with them, and since no one can get out from the hotel, and no one can come in, it is obvious that one of them killed the victim.
Or was it someone else all along with them in a hotel, an unwanted guest?

First of all, this story reads fast as lightning. Trust me, I’m a slow reader, but I sped through the book. If an inspiration to write some reviews for my blog didn’t hit me, I’d probably finish it in one sitting.
However it took me 2 days to finish it (actually, 6 hours to be precise).

At first I was afraid I wouldn’t keep up with all the characters, since there was so many of them, but it was easy to tell them apart.
Not once did I mix them up.

The story itself is not as intense as I thought it would be, but it was interesting all the time.
I was really invested and wanted to know what will happen’ next chapter after chapter.
Short chapters also helped to hold my attention.

The end was not shocking, but it was unpredictable.
I didn’t guess the killer.
As for the very end, I can say I predicted it. However, I think most readers will be satisfied with it.

Book Review: Bookish Boyfriends – A Date with Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt

Title: A Date with Darcy
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Series: Bookish Boyfriends #1
Publisher: Amulet Books, ABRAMS
Date: May 1st, 2018
Pages: 392
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): In this contemporary YA, a teenager’s favorite literary heroes woo her in real life

The first of two books in an intended paperback original series about a girl whose classic literary crushes manifest in real life. Merrilee Campbell, 16, thinks boys are better in books, chivalry is dead, and there’d be nothing more romantic than having just one guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. She’s about to get the chance to test these daydreams when she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer into Reginald R. Hero High, where all their fantasies come true—often with surprising consequences.

Review:

Who wouldn’t want a date with Darcy?
I don’t know… I was never Darcy’s kind of girl (I think Adrian Ivashkov would suit me better) but I’d still want to go on a date with Darcy, just like probably every bookish girl in this world would. Yet, our main protagonist Marrilee had a chance to really live that dream (and thank God she’s just a fictional character, because so many of us would be jealous of her!).

From what I understood, A Date with Darcy came to life in the most amazing way.
Tiffany Schmidt decided to write it when she realized there was no book about everyday girls dating real fictional characters. She wanted to read that kind of book, so she wrote it.

I bet she had some fun on the way, because I surely had some fun reading the story she created.

A Date with Darcy follows Merrilee Campel, 15 years old girl, who starts new school along with her sister and best friend. She immediately notices how polite guys in this school are and suddenly she gets a feeling they could be real book characters in disguise, with all the Shakespeare quotes and elegant attitude.
Soon she finds herself in a relationship with a guy who says he could be her Romeo, but love is really complicated sometimes…

Reading this novel was really fun, as it was pretty funny at times.
I think younger audience would appreciate it more, but I think everyone who wants some amusement in the book would value it as well.

The first half of the book was not the greatest. It was pretty childish at times and even silly, but the second half made up for all of it.

Novel is written in first person, from Merrilee’s POV, and it reads on an average pace.
It took me a week to finish this book, but let me stress out, it was a busy week.

Overall, A Date with Darcy was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to younger readers.