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: 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.

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

Book review: The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

the-fifth-letter

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?

vrpca

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

wow

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:

the-last-piece-of-my-heart

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.