Rivalry, Revenge and Bitches: Tell Me a Secret by Jane Fallon (Book Review) #BookReview #WomensFiction #Revenge #TellMeASecret

Title: Tell Me a Secret
Author: Jane Fallon
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: January 10th, 2019
Pages: 404
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

Review:

Two years ago I read Jane Fallon’s My Sweet Revenge and I really liked it. You can read my review here. I loved how it was a perfect read for book clubs, because there was so many things people could discuss about, and I am happy to say that with Tell Me a Secret the case is the same.

This book would make a perfect book club pick. There are so many small details and clues readers could pick up, and also characters’ actions they could debate on.

What I liked the most about this novel were it’s characters. Almost all of them had strong personalities and they felt real.
I was always character driven reader, so it is really important for me to have opinions about characters, whether that be positive or negative opinions. There is nothing worse then flat heroes, and this book is full of impressive people.

The story follows Holly who just got a promotion in the company she works at. She is a screen writer, and now is in charge of others writers for the teen soap opera they work on.
After her promotion, strange things start to happen to her. Her scripts are all messed up, her colleagues get personal emails from her, that she hadn’t sent, and even her boss gets one.
Someone is trying to sabotage her, so she wouldn’t keep her work position.

Tell Me a Secret is mainly focused on friendships and rivalry. It talks about real friends and fake ones, and how far people would go when it comes to relationships with others.
It’s second focus is family and importance of people that are close to us.

There is no love story, which was kind of surprising to me, but I also have to stress out that it wasn’t missing at all. I think that this novel was complete and amazing without romance.
So if you’re not a fan of romance, here’s the book for you!

This book made me think and question why people lie to make themselves look better in others’ eyes.
I hate lies and don’t like people who tell them. I almost never lie, so reading about pathological liar in this book was kind of interesting. Still, I rolled my eyes at that character so much and thought she was just pathetic.

The end was so much different then the one I would chose to have in my real life, if I was in Holly’s shoes. I guess that just proves that Holly is bigger person then me.

In the end, I just want to mention that Fallon’s voice is so good that it was a pleasure to read this story.
Some parts were dragged, and maybe the novel could have been a bit shorter, but still, I appreciate every single chapter of this book.

And the cover… OmG, Jane Fallon always has these awesome book covers with food or drink on them, that are simple but attractive. You can not notice her book with those covers!

Overall, I would recommend this book to readers who like to read about friends and enemies, family and lots of drama.
If you like to discuss about books you read, this one is a perfect choice!

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Book Review: A Winter Beneath the Stars by Jo Thomas #BookReview #WomensFiction #BookLovers #Winter #Sweden #AWinterBeneathTheStars

Title: A Winter Beneath the Stars
Author: Jo Thomas
Publisher: Headline Review
Date: November 29th, 2018
Pages: 368
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

Escape to snowy Sweden in the gorgeous new novel from the author of Late Summer in the Vineyard and Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard. Fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson will love this unforgettable winter story from Jo Thomas. 

Halley has been running from her problems for years.

On a courier trip to Tallfors, deep in Swedish Lapland, everything is going to plan. Halley has her bag, with two precious wedding rings inside for delivery… until she doesn’t.

The only way to save the wedding is to team up with mysterious reindeer herder Bjorn, the one person who can lead her across the snowy tundra to be reunited with her bag.

On a journey of a lifetime beneath the stars, with only the reindeer and a bad-tempered stranger for company beside the fire, Halley realises that she will need to confront her past heartaches in order to let the warmth of love in once more…

Review:

If you follow me for a while, you know that year 2018 will be remembered in my reading life as a year I discovered Jo Thomas.  So far I read three of her books and loved them all. Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard made me fall in love with Thomas’ writing and made me want to read everything she wrote, while The Olive Branch won my heart completely and is now one of my all time favorite books.

I can’t even tell you how happy I was when I got A Winter Beneath the Stars unsolicited in my mailbox (thanks to wonderful Becky Hunter). I read it immediately because I didn’t want to wait, but I’m writing my review 1,5 months after finishing the book, so please forgive me if it’s not the best one.
The most important thing is that I really, really liked (loved it actually) it and that if you love funny chick lit stories, you will too.

The story follows Halley who has a job to deliver important wedding rings in Sweden. Things get complicated when her bag is switched in the airport, and now she has to find a guy who’s bag she got with hope that the rings are still in the bag and that her job will be successfully completed.

When I say I really, really liked the book, I mean that I loved it, but I wasn’t in love with it. I appreciate the story and it is obvious that the author put so much effort into researching.
However, I feel like I have never clicked with our main character Halley on the level that I’d like, nor did I like our male character Bjorn. Somehow he was dislikeable.

Other than that, Winter Beneath the Stars was really fun to read. I liked getting to know Swedish Lapland and the (few) people who live in that side of the world, as I have never been there nor do I know anyone from there.

Some parts were filled with so much snow and the only thing that was happening was our main characters talking or thinking something to themselves, while sleigh riding and coordinating dogs.
So if I’m being honest, at some point I lose my orientation and forgot for how long we were riding with our characters.

There were two twists or surprises in the story, but I figured them out before they were revealed. I can’t tell you if the reason for that is because the plot was predictable or maybe I would write the story the same way if I was a writer.
Whatever it is, I just want to stress out that I didn’t mind the predictability.

The story is written in first person, from Halley’s POV, but it also has some (small) parts written in third person.

A Winter Beneath the Stars is Jo Thomas’ first winter novel but I hope it won’t be the last, because it brightened my mood when I was reading it, and I am really looking forward to read her other work.
I feel like this author is the one I’ll always like to come back to.

If you’re looking for a light and fun novel to read during winter, look no further: A Winter Beneath the Stars is the one for you!

Book Review: One Day in December by Josie Silver #OneDayInDecember #BookReview #Christmas

Title: One Day in December
Author: Josie Silver
Publisher: Penguin
Date: October 18th, 2018
Pages: 417
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

Synopsis (from Goodreads): A love story about what happens after you meet, or rather, don’t meet the one.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

Review:

Warning: This book talks about love at first sight.

Pure and simple: I loved this book.

…and to be honest with you, it took me by surprise how much I loved it. It was a perfect book to read, with beautiful writing and fascinating story with feels that gave me shivers.

The story follows Laurie who, one day in December, sees a boy and falls in love. They didn’t talk, she knows nothing about him, but the chemistry and the connection they had by just looking at each other is too strong to forget.
She spends a year dreaming about that boy, trying to find him and believing they were made for each other.
One day, a year later, she happens to meet him, but as her best friend’s boyfriend.
Laurie keeps her secret with her because she doesn’t want to ruin her friendship with Sarah. However, erasing Jack from her heart is not an easy task.

Going into this book I thought it’ll be a quick, easy read. Boy, was I wrong!
I mean, reading this book was pure pleasure, but it was not a light read.
It talks about love, life and human relationships, and if you ask me, it stands somewhere on the edge between women’s fiction and general fiction.

We follow our characters during a decade and we see what they went through during that period of time.

This is pitched as a love story, and it is a love story, but it doesn’t talk only about romantic love.
It talks about different shapes of love: platonic love, love between lovers, friends, parents and children.

It also talks about grief, falling apart, life taking you different directions, marriage and human interactions.

The writing style is beautiful. Some scenes were so emotional and it takes talent to engage readers in a way Silver did.

The story is written in first person, following two POVs: Laurie’s and Jack’s.

The Christmas setting is captured excellently and the novel really gives you that festive vibe, even if the story itself doesn’t take time only during Christmas.

The only thing I wish for is an epilogue. I loved how the story ended, but I think with two, three pages more that talk about some time later it would be even better.

I loved this book so much more then I thought I would. It is now one of my favorite Christmas stories, if not even my favorite, and I would recommend it to everyone who believes (or want to believe) in love at first sight, likes to read about friendships and life twists and turns.

It’s a brilliant piece of fiction.

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.

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.

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: Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas

Title: Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard
Author: Jo Thomas
Publisher: Headline Review
Date: August 9th, 2018
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Jo Thomas’s new novel invites you to a special cherry orchard in Spain, where sunshine, romance and family secrets are the order of the day. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Milly Johnson and Katie Fforde, SUNSET OVER THE CHERRY ORCHARD is a heartwarming, hilarious tale.

It’s time for Beti Winter to dance to her own beat. 

After three failed engagements Beti is in desperate need of a fresh start. What better place than the sun-drenched hills of southern Spain?

But it’s not all sangria and siestas. Beti finds work on an old Andalucian cherry farm where there are cherries to be picked, trees to be watered and her fiery boss, Antonio, to win over.

As the sun toasts her skin, Beti finds herself warming to the Spanish way of life. Embracing the art of flamenco, she discovers there is much to learn from the dance of passion. She just has to let loose and listen to the rhythm of her heart.

Jo Thomas takes you there.

Review:

I believe there’s a right time for everything, and that includes books and authors as well.
Let me explain what I mean…

Jo Thomas is an author of women’s fiction (which is my favorite genre) for several years now. If you take a look at her covers and read synopsis of her novels, you expect feel good stories full of food, love and interesting people in interesting places.
Sounds like exactly my cup of tea, right!
But somehow, until recently, Jo Thomas was invisible to me. I have not paid attention to her books, which so unfortunate and don’t even ask me why because I could not give you the answer. Somehow, I haven’t heard about her or her books, even though she is kinda popular and twitter is buzzing about her.
What is even more ironic, after finishing Sunset over the Cherry Orchard I realized I already own one of her previous books, The Olive Branch, which I won in a giveaway two years ago along with other 7 books by other authors.

This year, Thomas’ newest novel came to my door unsolicited, thanks to Becky Hunter who is publicist in publishing house Headline Review. I worked with Becky ever since I started blogging and she thought I would love Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard.

She was so right! I loved, loved, loved everything about this book.
I read it on my vacation and honestly I can not imagine more appropriate book to read while you’re relaxed, in a good mood, eating fruit and feeling sunshine on your skin…

The story follows Beti Winter who moves in Spain with her fiance to start a new life. Not long after they move in, her fiance leaves her and also takes away all of her money, leaving her by herself struggling to make it on her own.

Beti was a character to look up to. She’s been through so much, always judged by other people but she never stopped believing in herself, never loosing hope.

I could relate to her so much, on many aspects: from failed relationships to judgmental family (only I never got robbed, thanks God, but then again, I never had some big inheritance so here we are).

As I already stated, I loved everything about this novel.
I loved how it was structured, with short chapters with interesting ends that make you want to read next one immediately. Good vibes were all over the pages, even though the story itself is not only cherries, dance and sunshine (but there are plenty of it through it, just so you know!). There were also some life situatuions that are somewhat challenging, but still, Jo Thomas managed to keep good mood through the whole story, and I phrase her for that!

I love how every character had it’s own role and no one was there just for sake of being.

I won’t bore you any longer because I think this review is already pretty long, so I will just say (I would shout it if I could actually) that Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard is an adorable book and you should all do yourself a favour, take this novel, let it bring a piece of sunshine into your lives and read it!

I am so thankful that I had a chance to enjoy Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard and I am so looking forward to read more books by Jo Thomas, because I have a feeling she could be my new favorite author.
As you’ve probably guessed, The Olive Branch is the next one on my tbr.