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Books on divorce seem to be hugely popular at the moment, but I love Jane Green most of the time, and wanted to see her take on this common subject. It didn't disappoint...too much!
The story is about Kit and Adam. When Adam leaves, Kit feels like she has lost her husband, her best friend and her identity, and it doesn't look like she'll ever get over him. One year later, though, and she's got a job and a house she loves, and you wouldn't think she was a divorcee! She even has a good relationship with Adam, and her children are well behaved and happy.
Kit's best friend and yoga instructor hasn't failed to notice the lack of men in Kit's life since the split, though, and introduces her to Steve, a handsome and charming man who Kit instantly likes. She's wary, but slowly Steve shows her how much she cares, and it seems that she'll get her happy ever after...Until Tracy and Kit's boss, the reclusive and dull Robert, get together. Kit doesn't know why she's so upset, but she can't get the two of them out of her mind.
As if that wasn't enough to deal with, Tracey is also hiding a secret which could blow up Kit's new 'calm' life. But Tracey is struggling to keep her secret as her conscience tells her to reveal all...
Green manages to avoid the common 'friend dates ex husband' plot, and the story does have some excellent bits. The writing is good quality, and the dialogue believable...it's a good story, there is just something missing. Something that could make it amazing. The characters are shallow and weak in places, and the 'romance' is cheesy, and reads like a Mills and Boon reject.
I find Sophie Kinsella's books a mix of good and ordinary, and so I never quite know what to expect when I buy one. This one seemed to be selling fast, and was on special offer, so I decided to give it a go.
Lara can see, and communicate with, ghosts. While I was worried that this storyline might be too unrealistic to work, Kinsella manages to write with such quirky flair that she pulls it off, and the book remains readable. Lara's latest visitor was her great aunt Sadie, who has 'visited' Lara as a Charleston dancing girl to ask her to track down a necklace. Sadie insists she cannot rest in peace without it, and so Lara agrees...
Lara's life isn't going well without the interference of ghosts. Her business is failing, and her best friend and business partner run off to Goa together, leaving Lara responsible for everything. That's bad enough, but the love of her life decides he can do better, and leaves her, too. The last thing Lara wants to do is hunt down a necklace, but she finds the time she spends with Sadie is magical, and healing. Soon the two 'women' are inseperable, and Sadie is teaching Lara lessons that are invaluable...
I found this just a little too...unrealistic. I felt the whole way through that the story could have been something excellent, but had been doomed to being just another below average attempt at chic lit. It's okay for beach reading, but for anything more engaging, I'd pick a different book.
I enjoyed "A Walk To Remember", so I was eager to see what Nicholas Sparks would come up with next. This book will certainly appeal to the same set of fans, although I did find it a bit soppy in areas!
The story follows John Tyree, a rebellious teenager who managed to graduate purely because his school didn't want him around anymore. With no obvious career ahead of him, he decides to enlist in the army. He's surprisingly good at his job, and makes friends easily, fast gaining promotion. For once it seems he has actually found something fulfilling and worthwhile to do with his life. He spends his first few 'leaves' longing to go back, and slowly ruining his relationship with his father more and more.
His third leave is different. He meets a beautiful college student named Savannah, and the two bond in a way he has never felt before. They fall in love, but John soon has to return to Germany. She swears to wait for him, and he leaves her with promises of marriage. The two exchange beautiful love letters which promise their love will last the length of time left before he can leave the army.
The problem occurs on 9/11, when John is forced to choose between fighting for America and the army, the only place he has ever felt at home, and going home to Savannah, the girl he loves. If he stays, he'll have to enlist for a further two years, and spend two years away...As John makes a tough decision, Savannah does too, and what was once a beautiful love affair breaks both hearts.
The story is tragically beautiful, and very well written. You can feel the characters emotions, and the pull between their heart and their heads at times. When John returns, the scenes are so raw and touching that they can easily make you cry. The story is mesmerising, and the characters so believable and likeable...It's gripping, and one of the best books I've ever read.
After finishing a very powerful book by Cathy Glass, I was recommended this book by a friend. It really isn't the miserable story it looks like, however.
The book follows the story of Alice, who's troubles started when her father began abusing her. Alice finds that creating different personalities helps her to cope, and it isn't until she starts puberty that her personalities get out of control, and she struggles to control them. She finds herself waking up in places she can't remember, and with her arms mutilated. Sometimes she has alcohol bottles, sometimes toys, sometimes a replica gun. She can't remember any of how she got there, however, much as if it had happened to someone else.
Throughout the book, Alice becomes addicted to alcohol and several drugs, both legal and illegal, and a period of such huge self harm that she is hospitalized several times. Alice then spends many years bouncing from A&E and psychiatric wards, and is diagnosed with DID, which used to be known as Multiple Personality Disorder.
The book is hard hitting, mainly because Alice is not your typical wreck. Before her personalities took control, she was strong, fit and intelligent, studying at Huddersfield University. A lot of what happens to her happens in stages, and is so well described that you will liken it to things that you yourself have been through. This makes her seem so much more real...
Something worth pointing out is the huge amount of sexual abuse which is described, sometimes very vividly. It is necessary to the story, to show how much Alice suffered, and how she has turned out how she has, but it is very upsetting to read and future readers should be aware of this.
Alice's book covers the huge debates surrounding DID, and is written in a refreshing, simple way, rather then demanding sympathy. I was slightly disappointed with ending, but this was never going to be a happy ending, and it is a very worthwhile read. It really does highlight the horrible consequences of sexual abuse, and how the coping strategies created by a two year old as a way to survive make healing so much more difficult and painful...
After reading Cathy Glass' last novel, it haunted me for a long time, so I was cautious about reading another. I couldn't help myself, though, and I'm really glad I did.
This is another book about the children that Cathy has fostered, this time a little girl called Donna and her two brothers. When Donna arrives, she is very withdrawn and quiet, and while her brothers settle in, she doesn't seem too. Very slowly, Cathy manages to gain Donna's trust, and Donna begins to reveal abuse worse then anyone had imagined.
One scene which stuck in my head was Donna describing how her mother forced her to wash with wirewool, in the hope of scrubbing of her skin colour. Her mother had been ashamed to have a mixed race child, and Donna's skin bore the scars of scrubbing it so hard. I was in tears as I read it...Cathy has a way of getting the child to trust her and show their true colours, when so many others would simply consider them moody and give up on them.
The book took an unexpected twist for me when Donna begins to show her mothers bullying characteristics herself, and Cathy suddenly finds herself stuck between helping Donna and protecting her own children. As a mother, her children must come first, but could Donna cope with being rejected again?
Cathy is an amazing foster carer, and reading about her struggle with Donna is gripping, in the worst possible way. Cathy writes in an honest way, that really makes you feel as if you were there, and know exactly what happened. It's a fascinating look at the amazing work that she does, and the huge affect that it has.
It is worth pointing out that some of the events described are incredibly upsetting, and I wouldn't recommend this book to people who might struggle to cope with what they are reading. I've had parts of this book stuck in my head since I finished it, it really is very powerful writing.
I bought this in Sainsburys, when it had been mispriced down to a £1. It was definitely worth it! Adele is almost back to her best with this entertaining book.
Elizabeth has always wanted two things...a sexy Italian husband and lots of babies, and when she married the handsome but moody Roberto, she thought her dreams had come true. Years have passed, though, and she hasn't managed to conceive...the couple just seem to be padding on in their world, with no inkling of a child. Until Roberto loses his job, and decides its time he went home to Italy to take over the family business...
Elizabeth is obsessed with the idea of warm days and vine yards, friendly Italians, hunky men and, of course, her beautiful gurgling babies that are sure to appear soon! The reality is much different, however. Italy, while still being a lovely place, has just as many faults as home. The family business is falling apart, and demands huge amounts of unpaid work, and Robertos family are very strange and dislike Elizabeth alot.
Things just get worse when Robertos svelte, sexy ex makes an appearance, living on their doorstep...so who could blame Elizabeth for having a coffee with a gorgeous, understanding American? And when he offers her the chance of a brand new life...well, I won't ruin the ending, but its unpredictable and entertaining!
The mother in law is very funny, trying to use every opportunity to destroy her sons marriage and demean Elizabeth. She's even cunning enough to involve his ex! Roberto's sister is a good distraction through some of the book, and Elizabeth is a brilliant main character. She has such a brilliant personality, but her baby obsession is pushing her to the edge...
I'd recommend this to anyone, it's an excellent book, with just the right amount of humour.
When Bella met Stevie, she knew he was the one, and no one was surprised when they got married while at university. The real world was much harder then Bella had imagined, though, and when the going got tough, Bella walked out.
Now she's got a new man, called Phillip, and despite swearing off men forever she can't resist him. He's everything she wants...funny, charming, handsome and kind, as well as intelligent and caring. They are happy together...and Bella just can't bring herself to tell him that she's still married to Stevie. She tries, but every moment just seems so wrong, and as she gets more attached to him, the lie just gets bigger. So Bella vows never to tell him, so that they can both be happy.
Her plan seems to work, until her best friend Lauren introduces Bella and Phillip to the new love of her life...who is none other then Stevie. Friends dating your ex's is hard enough, but your husband? Bella's life couldn't get more complicated...until she feels a familiar fluttering and remembers exactly why she loved Stevie for so long.
This was Park's back at her best, with brilliant characters and a clever, unique storyline. I didn't know whether to feel sorry for Bella, or to hate her for lying to Phillip and leaving Stevie. This book will question your morals, and make you really consider whether lying is ever worth while, or if the pain is just prolonged...An excellent read, and highly recommended.
I am usually a massive Park fan, but this book was more then disappointing. The storyline revolves around six characters at a wedding, who have been lifelong friends. As memories are shared and wine is drunk, secrets begin to escape...
It had the potential to be a leading book in this rather over used storyline, but it didn't quite get there. For a start, the characters were a horrible bunch of people. They were supposed to be shown as rich and beautiful, with 'slight flaws'...they were the type of people you actively avoid, and not one of them had any endearing qualities. What made this more frustrating was that after forcing myself to read to the end, none of them learnt anything, or got any better. They ended the book as horrible and ego centric as it began.
The second big flaw was with the characters decisions. For example, Tash has a lot of decisions to make, but she never makes the right one. We aren't ever told, or even hinted, at how she made her mind up. Instead, we are left to wonder how on earth she came to certain conclusions, and some of her decisions were so far away from the type of character she is that it is completely unbelievable.
As I said, I usually love Parks, and her way of writing good, thought provoking chick lit. This was unputdownable, but for all the wrong reasons, and it certainly doesn't show off her ability.
I love Adele Parks, and this book was no exception. Rarely do we hear about women and affairs without the author making a long list of excuses or portraying them as being easy, so it's refreshing to read a book that allows you to make your own decisions.
First we are introduced to Connie and Luke, who are a happily married couple. Or so we think, until Connie goes on a business trip, and starts a passionate affair with the charming and cheeky John. While Connie deceives her lovely, but quite dull, husband, John takes her to grubby pubs far away and late night dirty phone calls after nights drinking.
This was the most interesting part of the book, for me. Connie begins to question whether her affair is based on lust, or love. She starts to see parts of John she didn't notice before, and convinces herself that his late night calls are based on heartfelt feelings, rather then his libido...
Adele lets us look at Connie, and although you might hate her for what she is doing, you seperate that from who she is. She is a likeable, confused character anyone could relate too, and the affair is so well written that you are allowed to make up your own mind.
John is an amazing character, who will appeal to every woman in some way. He is the bad boy himself, a cheeky, flirty, confident and funny man who could seduce anyone. The scenes are well written, and I felt so sorry for Luke, who is a genuinely nice guy. I really didn't want him to get hurt!
I'd recommend this to anyone, it's excellent, thought provoking chick lit.
I'm a big Adele Parks fan, but I'll admit that this isn't her best work. It isn't bad, however, it just could be better!
Fern is turning thirty, and is very upset by this. Realizing that her life isn't going to plan, she demands that her boyfriend of four years should propose, much to his disgust. He can't see the reason for such an unromantic deadline, and refuses to give in.
So when he takes her to work on her birthday, setting up for heart throb Scottie Taylor's gig, she isn't impressed, and slinks off backstage. Where she ends up meeting Scottie, and getting slightly too close...So when he proposes in front of millions, she is shocked, and her boyfriend is humiliated.
Fern's whisked off with Scottie's moody team to LA, where they start to plan a wedding that he doesn't seem at all interested in, and a life that Fern doesn't fit in too. Scottie has lots of bad habits, and Fern spends a lot of time feeling unhappy, but she's so wrapped up in her daydream that she can't see how unhappy she is.
The ending is a bit predictable, and some parts of the book do seem very rushed. It does, however, transport you into the lives of the characters, and you will want to read the ending.
I love Jane Costello, and when I got the chance to read this, I took it!
Zoe Moore is shocked and humiliated when her fiance Jason jilts her at the alter, and immediately books tickets to America. Hiding from her tattered life, she takes a job as a nanny for five year old Ruby and her younger brother Sam. Their dad, Ryan, hardly notices their existence since their mum was killed in an accident, and the children are feeling neglected and attention starved.
Zoe throws herself into cheering up the children and their lives, mainly to forget about hers, but as she bonds with the children she finds herself getting more and more frustrated with Ryan. When she finds a small group of British nannies to befriend, she thinks her new life is complete, but running away isn't as easy as she'd thought...
This book is quite sad, both from the jilting and the death, but both Zoe and the children inject much needed happiness and keep it readable without tissues! There are some laugh out loud funny bits, and you'll find yourself crossing your fingers that things work out for Zoe.
This was recommended at a book club I attended recently, and having never read a Milly Johnson, I put it to the top of my pile.
When Helen, Janey and Elizabeth all fall pregnant after visiting an ancient fertility symbol, they can't quite believe it. Janey is horrified, having just been offered the career of her dreams, and knowing that she isn't likely to be given a second chance. She's also feeling very confused, as she's very careful with contraception..
Helen is thrilled, and immediately starts thinking of baby names. Unfortunately her husband isn't as keen,and Helen has to make some tough decisions as she realizes that her 'perfect' marriage has actually fallen apart.
Elizabeth had decided long ago not to have children, due to her own problems. She doesn't know if she can love the child, and finds thinking about it painfully difficult...
This book is very empowering, as all three women learn about themselves, and become individuals once more, rather then being labelled by their jobs. Johnson writes beautifully, and manages to give all the characters their own thoughts, which adds to the story.
All in all this is a unique take on women and pregnancy, and is very well written.
I read this after seeing it advertised in Waterstones, and at the start didn't like it at all. Rachel is a vain, self obsessed woman who repeatedly tells you how good she looks, and how perfect her life is. So you aren't instantly overcome with sympathy when she sleeps with a man from the office and falls pregnant, although I couldn't help but wonder how she'd cope with a baby!
A few chapters in, however, and Carbin has created a much more likeable character, who you'll actually care about. The book gives a fresh and welcomed look at unexpected pregnancy, and how Rachel comes to terms with it and decides what to do.
The book is written in an unusual first person way, and it's really conversational, which does help you to bond with Rachel. It's smooth and easy reading, and quite funny, once you get past her ego! There are some unexpected twists and turns, and it'll keep you reading til the end. It won't win any prizes, but its chic lit at its best.
This is one of the most entertaining books ever. Roxy is a beautiful, superficial, rich girl who works as a receptionist in a brothel. Which is fine, until her boyfriend cheats on her and she vows not to interact with men again.
In an effort to support her, the reserved Ginny agrees to swap jobs with Roxy, and give up her quiet library job for Roxy's boisterous brothel...a swap that leads to hysterical consequences. While Ginny learns about the X rated lifestyle, Roxy goes on a journey of self discovery, which makes really good reading.
This is laugh out loud funny, with a pretty unpredictable end, and it's really light hearted. It does make you feel good, and you might pick up some sex tips on the way! It's the first one of Low's books that I have read, but I'm keen to read some of her others now. This is well written, entertaining and original, which makes for very good chic lit.
This is one of those books that throws you straight into the action! Olivia returns to her hometown to attend a funeral. That's pretty normal, you think, until you learn that its the funeral of her husband Luca, and his family don't want her there at all.
The introduction is so well written that you can't put it down until you've found out what an earth went wrong...before that, though, you learn that Olivia and Marc, Luca's brother, are getting a little too close while helping each other come to terms with his death. It's hard to condemn their affair when you think of it from their point of view, and feel their grief. Although its forbidden, and it can only end in disaster, you'll want Olivia to have a little happiness, and Marc seems to give her that.
Throughout the book you learn about Olivia and Luca, and why she eventually gives up and lets his family win. And probably fall for Luca and Marc a little too, as they are both such lovely men.
Olivia is so real, and while she certainly isn't perfect, it's mesmerising to read about someone who feels so alive. The descriptions of her growing up are brilliant, and some bits will move you to tears.