Book Review: The Glittering Art of Falling Apart by Ilana Fox

Title: The Glittering Art of Falling Apart
Author: Ilana Fox
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Date: February 4th, 2016
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 1980s Soho is electric. For Eliza, the heady pull of its nightclubs and free-spirited people leads her into the life she has craved – all glamour, late nights and excitement. But it comes at a heavy cost.

Cassie is fascinated by her family’s history and the abandoned Beaufont Hall. Why won’t her mother talk about it? Offered the chance to restore Beaufont to its former glory, Cassie jumps at the opportunity to learn more about her past.

Separated by a generation, but linked by a forgotten diary, these two women have more in common than they know . . .

Review:

Do you know what I usually do when I’m about to review a perfect book? I postpone it, and pospone it, and pospone it…
Because, sometimes it is hard to find the words to describe how much, and why, I liked the book so much.
There’s sometimes that self-doubt that I just wouldn’t do it justice.

This is what happened in this case. I started writing my review 6 days ago, and here I am now, still not sure if I’m going to finish it this time around.

I guess you can already guess that I loved this book. I did, I loved it so much! It is the best book I have read this year so far, and it was my first 5 stars read of 2018.

I heard about this book two years ago when it appeared in many women’s fiction bloggers lists of favorite books.
The story sounded promising and let’s face it: The cover is really appealing (and I always judge books by their covers, I can’t help it!).

The story follows two women in two different times: Cassie in nowadays and Eliza in 1980s.

Cassie was always fascinated with Beaufont Hall, a house that belonged to her family for years and years.
Unfortunately, because of  poor financial situation, Cassie’s family can’t afford to have Beaufond Hall anymore, and they are about to sell it.
For the last time, Cassie goes to Beaufond House to sort things out, say her last goodbye to the home she always wanted to live in and spends some time going through all the belongings in a hope she’ll find something valuable and figure out how to save the house.

There, in Beaufond Hall, she finds diaries of a forgotten family member called Eliza. Forgotten is maybe a wrong word in this case, because Eliza and her mother were subjects no one ever talked about, a tabu-theme of the family.

Eliza is a young girl who’s story is placed in 1980s in Soho. She was bored with her every day life so she moved there to work and have fun. We follow her around and see her dreams being shattered, her friends falling apart and herself trying her best but still chasing the tail of the creature called better life.

Both stories are told in third person, and intertwined into a whole.
I assumed how the story might have ended, and to be honest, I can’t tell you if the reason for that was it’s predictability, of the writer in me recognized the way she would have wrapped this novel.
It doesn’t really matter, because one thing I can tell you: I wouldn’t want it any other way.
In my opinion, the completion of the story was perfect.

If I had to choose, I’d say I liked Eliza’s story better. It was more interesting, more emotional and more lush.
At some points, I could have imagine scenes from her parts so well, it was like watching a movie in my mind.

Overall, I would highly recommend this novel.
Even if it belongs to women’s fiction genre, I think men would also enjoy reading it.
After all, it doesn’t talk about women’s problems, but about life in general, and all it’s obstacles, highs and lows.

 

IMPORTANT: 

If you haven’t, you can still ented a giveaway I’m hosting on Twitter, in which you can win this book and some croatian chocolate: ENTER HERE

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Book review: The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

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Title: The Fifth Letter
Author: Nicola Moriarty
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: March 2nd, 2017
Pages: 362
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?

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Review:

When it comes to my reading experience with this book, there’s no other word to describe it but “lazy”.
I confess: I started this (mystery) book knowing that all the questions will be answered eventually and that, with time, I’ll find out who wrote the fifth letter and which from four letters belong to whom, so I didn’t bother.
I just read, the most relaxed as one reader can be, lazy to try to figure out myself.

Is it my fault for not getting invested into the book as much as the author probably wanted me to be?
Definitely.
But is it also the author’s fault for that, because her story didn’t make me want to know the answers right away?
I can’t say for sure.

But let me tell you: I liked this book. I don’t regret my laziness because I enjoyed reading this novel the way I did.

The story follows four friends who every year spend few days together on vacation. It is their tradition.
This year, they decide that each of them will write a letter in which they will tell a secret they haven’t told anyone before.
The idea sounds interesting and fun, especially because the letters won’t be signed.
What starts as a game turns into more serious situation after Joni finds the fifth letter, written by one of them, in which the one spells her bitterness and hatred for one of them.

I liked the premise of the story, and the idea of the plot, but if I’m being completely honest, I think that the content of the fifth letter wasn’t as disturbing (but then again, if I was one of four friends, maybe I’d think differently).
Also, in my humble opinion, some secrets should have stayed what they were in the first place – secrets.

Even though there was too much drama at time, I really, really liked what The Fifth Letter offered.

The main character, Joni, was the one I could relate to the most.
Trina was my second favorite, while I sometimes had problem separating Deb and Eden.

The Fifth Letter is written in third person. It is pretty easy to read, but at the same time it does not read quickly (at least it didn’t in my case).

Overall, The Fifth Letter is a solid, enjoyable read that I would recommend.

3,75

Waiting On Wednesday (#21): The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon

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Waiting on Wendesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases we can’t wait to read.

This week I am eagerly anticipating:

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The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

Publication Date: May 18st, 2017

Summary:

Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change …

Why am I waiting?

Paige Toon is one of my favorite authors and I am always eagerly anticipating her books. This one is no exception.

The Last Piece of My Heart sounds sooooo good. I was already excited about this one, but the fact that it talks about an aspiring writer/girl who wants to publish a book makes me want to read it even more.
Somehow, I have a feeling there is so much more to this story and I can’t wait to find it out!

Tell me, what book are you eagerly anticipating this week?
Feel free to leave your links so I could visit you.

Book Review: White Lies and Wishes by Cathy Bramley

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Title: White Lies and Wishes
Author: Cathy Bramley
Publisher: Punguin Random House UK, Corgi
Date: January 26th, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): What happens when what you wish for is only half the story…?

Flirtatious, straight-talking Jo Gold says she’s got no time for love; she’s determined to save her family’s failing footwear business.

New mother Sarah Hudson has cut short her maternity leave to return to work. She says she’ll do whatever it takes to make partner at the accountancy firm.

Bored, over-eating housewife Carrie Radley says she just wants to shift the pounds – she’d love to finally wear a bikini in public.

The unlikely trio meet by chance one winter’s day, and in a moment of ‘Carpe Diem’ madness, embark on a mission to make their wishes come true by September.

Easy. At least it would be, if they hadn’t been just the teensiest bit stingy with the truth…

With hidden issues, hidden talents, and hidden demons to overcome, new friends Jo, Carrie and Sarah must admit to what they really, really want, if they are ever to get their happy endings.

A feel-good romantic comedy that’s guaranteed to make you smile – perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde.

 

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Review:

Cathy Bramley is the author I found out about because of blogging community.
Her book Wickham Hall was so well received, and I couldn’t help but added it to my ever-growing tbr list.
Unfortunately, I still haven’t got a chance to read it, but when I saw there was an opportunity to read and review Bramley’s newest novel, I had to grab it.

White Lies & Wishes is a story about three women, very different at the first glance, but with one thing in common: all of them have wishes they want to make happen’, all of them want more from life.

These three women, Jo, Sarah and Carrie, meet at the funeral. It’s not a happy event, but it makes them realize that life is short, and they have to make the best out of it while it lasts.
They promise to help each other reach their goals – every one of them makes a wish, and with common support, they will do their best for their wishes to become reality.

Out of all the three characters, I honestly can not say that I have a favorite.
They were all somewhere in the middle, when it comes to likeability.
Each of them had some flaws, as well as good features, and that is why, in my opinion, they felt real to me.

I enjoyed reading all of the stories, but I have to admit that the one about Jo was predictable.
It also took me longest to like Sarah, because I just couldn’t understand her. In my eyes, she was too selfish, chasing her career and not appreciating her husband enough.

The story is written in third person.
It reads really easily, but for the better reading experience, I decided to take my time with it.

White Lies and Wishes not only made me think about my life and how it is still not too late to do something more from it, but it also reminded me that it is never too late to make new, true friendships.

I would recommend this novel to women’s fiction lovers out there.

3,75

Book Review: My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon

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Title: My Sweet Revenge
Author: Jane Fallon
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: January 12th, 2017
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.

Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’.

I want it to hurt.

Paula has had Robert’s back since they got together as drama students. She gave up her dreams so he could make it. Now he’s one of the nation’s most popular actors. And Paula’s just discovered he’s having an affair.

She’s going to remind Robert just what he’s sacrificing. And then she’s going to break his heart like he broke hers. It will be her greatest acting role ever.

Revenge is sweet. Isn’t it?

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Review:

It has been two weeks since I finished My Sweet Revenge, and I still don’t know how to write my review without possibly offending some people.
Not reviewing it would easy and, in a way, right decision, but after a while I decided to do it anyway.
My opinions are my own, and I do apologise to everyone who might be offended by them.

My Sweet Revenge follows the story of Paula, who found out her husband was cheating on her for a while. Instead of confronting him, she decides to keep a secret that she knows what he’s doing, and to make him fall in love with her all over again. Once he’d realize he doesn’t want to lose her, she’ll leave him.

The reason why this story was on my most anticipated books in 2017 list is because I was so curious how Paula is going to make her husband fall in love again with her.
I also didn’t know where the story is going to go, and I was eager to find out.

The one thing I should emphasise is the novel’s unpredictability. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not imagine what was going to happened next, and I wanted to read as fast as I could to find out.

Paula was a character so much different from me, with many different opinions, making decisions I would never make.
Because of that, I wanted to follow her story, trying to understand her decisions with an open mind.
However, it was so hard for me to connect with her or like her in general.

Paula’s husband was cheating on her, and it is a terrible thing to happen’ to anyone.
She felt betrayed (as she should have), blaming her husband for everything, stating over and over how self centered he was, but not once did she ask herself what made him do it.
You see, Paula gained a lot of weight (which SHOULDN’T be a reason to be cheated on, but sometimes it is) while her husband was working out every single day, making sure he looks right.
She also can’t remember when was the last time they slept together, and one time in the story when he wanted some action, she refused.
People have needs, and having sex is one of them. If a person does not get it from his/her spouse, it’s natural that with time he/she will want to find someone else to get it from.
It’s like being thirsty and not getting a glass of water from the one person you’re sharing your life with.

So yeah, I don’t justify cheating, but in this case, I understand why Robert did what he did.

Also one more thing I didn’t like is how Paula (and one more character in the book) stated more then few times how young girls dating older men is gross.
I get why some women think that way, but young girls dated (or married) older men always, in the past and today, and it is not gross, it is natural. To each their own!

The book is written in first person, following Paula’s and Robert’s mistress POVs.
I really liked Part 2 because the story became more interesting from there.

There were some laugh out loud moments, some “OmG moments”, and then, there were some dull moments.

The writing style is good. The book reads pretty easily.

I was happy with the end. It all concluded very well and I am glad how every character got an ending that was the best for him/her, even though not all of them were aware of that.

All in all, I am glad I read this book because it showed me perspectives different from my own.

4

The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake Book Review (Blog Tour)

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I am so happy to be today’s host in The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake Blog Tour.
I really enjoyed reading this book and I am excited to share my review.
I’d like to thank Janne Moller from Black & White Publishing, for giving me this opportunity.

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About the book:

Daisy Delaney’s life is pancake-flat. A talented baker and passionate lingerie specialist, she has wound up with no one to bake for and a career that hasn’t proved successful. But when she starts a delicious relationship with famous French author-chef, Michel Amiel, everything begins to look a bit more exciting.

That is until Michel’s bestselling cookbook is knocked off the top spot by newcomer ‘Lucy Lovecake’. His outdated recipes slide down the charts, while the popularity of Lucy Lovecake’s new dating cookbook is rising like the perfect sponge.

As Daisy teeters on the brink of love, how can she ever tell Michel that she is the mysterious Lucy Lovecake? Could he ever forgive her for finishing off his career? And more importantly, does Daisy even want to be with a difficult, egotistical, down-on-his-luck Frenchman just as her career is beginning to take off? Especially when she has some other very interesting offers…

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My Review

They say “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, but when it comes to The Secret of Lucy Lovecake, you should.
Why?
Because the story of this novel is exactly like the cover – girly and cute.

However, when it comes to synopsis, in this particular case, the story does not follow it in a way one would expect. Everything that’s being said is true, but there’s also a big part of the story that hasn’t been mentioned.
This is a story that talks about love interest and Daisy keeping secret from her lover, but it also talks about aspiring author on her way to become a published one, and her life after having a best-seller.

I really appreciated that aspect of the story, because it showed what publishing a book looks like, and in a way it made me learn something I didn’t know before.
I think mentioning it in synopsis wouldn’t hurt.

The story is written in first person, following Daisy’s POV.
Daisy’s voice is quirky and is really easy to read.
With really short chapters (84 in total) the book reads pretty quickly, and it is very likely that faster readers will finish it in one sitting.

On a quick note, I think the story would have been better without first four chapters (in those chapters we got to see Daisy’s life now when her book is bestseller, and then we go back into the past and follow the story from the beginning).

I liked characters in this story.
The one that stands out the most was Michel Amiel, who is also Daisy’s love interest.
I know it is stated that he is her boyfriend, but I wouldn’t use that word to define him.
He’s very complex and there is so much more then meets the eye when it comes to him. He suffers from depression, self medicates it with alcohol, he is very self centred, grumpy and overall one bitter man.
On the other hand, he can be fun and sweet.

Since this story is told from Daisy perspective, I wish the author (or should I say Daisy) gave us a chance to fall in love with him, or just like him better.
I mean, Daisy likes him, but we don’t see what she likes about him. Almost everytime she talked about him or described scenes with him, there was something problematic about him.
I wish we got to see why she fell for him.
Honestly, I feel like there was more connection between Daisy and Michel’s mother then between the two of them.

The end was very sweet and cute.
I can’t say I was 100% satisfied with the way the story was wrapped up, because it felt like the author decided to turn a blind eye on Michel’s depression (or maybe that is something that will get more attention in the next book).

Overall The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake is a fun novel that I would highly recommend to chick-lit lovers.

3,75

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About Pippa James:

Pippa James is a full-time writer with a love for food, fashion and all things French. She is best known as Janey Louise Jones, author of the fantastically successful Princess Poppy series, with sales of over 4 million copies to date. Before Princess Poppy took over her life, Pippa James had always intended to write contemporary fiction and this debut novel is the start of a brand new series, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Sophie Kinsella.

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Follow the tour:

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The This is My Genre Tell Me Yours Book Tag

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I was tagged by lovely Inge from The Belgian Reviewer book blog.
I really enjoy reading this tag on other blogs, so thank you Inge for tagging me.
If you’re not familiar with Inge’s blog, please do check it out because it is really, really good!

 

Here are the rules:

  • Credit Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek as the creator of the tag, use the created tag name graphic and link back to his blog.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag as many people as you want.

 

Questions & Answers

1). What’s your favourite genre?

I read variety of genres, I find it really hard to stick to just one, but I’ll go with women’s fiction, because I read that one the most.

 

2). Who’s your favourite author from the genre?

jane-costello-slikaJane Costello. Her books always bright up my day and I absolutely love her.
Her next book, You Me Everything will come out under the pseudonym Catherine Isaac. I simply can’t wait to read it, because obviously it’s Jane Costello, but also there’s already so much hype around that novel. It is optioned to be made into the movie, and rights for translation have already been sold to publishers all around the world, including Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Korea, Russia, Serbia, Israel, Brazil and Portugal.

 

3). What is it about the genre that keeps pulling you back?

I think the fact that I can relate to many things that are happening to main characters or their friends, but also books in women’s fiction genre often can prepare me how to react in certain situations and how to understand people better.
They are also fun and enjoyable. The main reason why I read so much is to be entertained, and books in this genre always amuse me.

 

4). What’s the book that started your love for your favourite genre?

can_you_keep_a_secret_book_coverI still remember the first book I ever read from this genre. It was Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella and I had so much fun reading it, it made me realize reading can actually be fun.
As soon as I finished it I borrowed Shopaholic series from the library (at that time there were only three books in that series and I read them in wrong order, but I didn’t care), and I was hooked.

 

 

 

5). If you had to recommend at least one book from your favourite genre to a non-reader/someone looking to start reading that genre, what book would you choose and why?

scandalousI’d recommend Scandalous by Tilly Bagshawe because it is one of my all time favorite books. It talks about injustice, revenge and strong women.

If you need to read one book from this genre, I highly, higly recommend you to read Scandalous. I learned a lot from that novel.

 

 

6). Why do you read?

Because books entertain me – simple as that.
They also make me learn things, understand people, expend my knowledge.
They also help me learn English, and I want to be able to understand and use that beautiful language the best I can.

 

I won’t tag anyone, but if you like this genre feel free to do it.
I would love to hear what you think and what your favorite genre is.
Also, if you already did this tag, feel free to leave your links and I’ll make sure to visit you!