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It's Now or Never - Carole Matthews

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Carole Matthews / Paperback / 416 Pages / Book is published 2010-02-04 by Headline Review

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    4 Reviews
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      13.04.2011 09:34
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      An easy enjoyable read

      I am gradually working my way through all the Carole Matthews books. I have enjoyed all of her books so far and so I decided to read It's Now Or Never, I was pretty sure I would enjoy it if it was as good as the previous books of hers which I had read! The front cover is very much the style of her previous books so it is easy to spot on the shelf.


      The plot:
      Twins Annie and Lauren are our main characters in this book. The book begins with Annie and Lauren at their elder sister Chelsea's 40th Birthday Party. The women look around them and compare their lives to the glamorous life of their elder sister. The women wonder why their lives are so different to their sisters and decides that it is time that they make changes to their lives.

      Annie decides that she is going to make her life more adventurous and decides to start by going away to Peru on a charity hike, but as she begins training it is clear that her husband Greg doesn't like this new change in his wife, will Annie give up her new dream to please her husband?

      Lauren however is sure what she wants and tells her boyfriend he has to make the choice now it is either her or his wife! Will he leave his wife like he has always said he would or will Lauren make different changes to her life?



      Characters:
      Annie and Lauren are our main two characters. I did find it took me nearly half of the book to work out which woman was Annie and which woman was Lauren so it did feel like real life when it came to the win situation! Both of the women's characters were both warm in their own ways, although they are twins their personalities are completely different.

      Greg who is Annie's husband took a few chapters to warm to but then you started to like his character he was just a man who is scared of change. I wish I could say the same for Laurens boyfriend but from the start I didn't like him at all.


      Overall Opinion:

      Yes!! Carole has done it again!! Another well enjoyed book. It is ideal for a quick read or a holiday read. Each chapter alternated between Annie and Lauren so it was like reading to separate books which come together in many places. Carole Matthews has a way of writing her book and making the stories feel very genuine and real and she brings this across in great detail so I can only assume a lot of what she writes is based on personal experience or experiences of her friends.

      The only part of the book I can give a little negative feedback on is the fact that I was constantly getting the women muddled up until about half way through the book, but other than this the book has got a big thumbs up from me. I like that although there is a serious storyline going on with the two women there are also many funny parts of the book which helps to make it an enjoyable read. I would defiantly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys easy chick-lit books.
      Happy Reading!!!

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      02.02.2011 09:49
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      A book by Carole Matthews

      Another book from my seemingly never ending pile that I have recently read is this one - knowing I had enjoyed every Carole Matthews book I had read so far, I was trying to hold out on reading this straight away as I wanted to read some of my newer authors first, so then if I was disappointed, I would have this to fall back on. However when trying to decide which to start I just couldn't hold out much more and decided since its ben sat there since before Christmas, it deserved its turn to be read!


      The author:
      Carole Matthews is an English author who has written 14 books. A couple of her books have been sold to Hollywood apparentl,y although I am not sure which ones! She has also done a bit of TV presenting and is also on the radio too.



      The plot:
      Annie and Lauren are twins and whilst attending their older sisters, Chelsea's 40th birthday party, it really hits home how far apart their world is from her much more glamorous life. They decide it is now or never and decide this is the year they will turn their lives around before they hit the big 4-0 too.
      Annie sets her heart on having adventure and realises life with her husband is boring as they have become old before their time. With husband Greg happy to go fishing constantly it is hard to get him to join in with her plans. She decides a charity trip to Peru will be the ultimate way to turn her life around and it helps that her sexy boss Blake is going on the trip too.
      Lauren however knows exactly what she wants from this year to turn it around - a life with her boyfriend of five years, that doesn't involve him running back to his wife and kids all the time. Could this really be the year he finally splits from his wife to come and have a life with Lauren or will she have to make other changes to turn her life around?



      Characters:
      Annie and Lauren are our main two characters and although the author has split the story into chapters between the two of them mainly over everyone else, Annie does seem to be the main character telling the actual story. It is easy to like Annie as she is your everyday mum who has children she hardly sees and a husband who doesn't seem to want any more from life. She is stuck in a rut and I think the author has really captured this and how she is feeling. I like that Annie is trying to do something to change her life and that she doesn't give up no matter how much it is effecting her relationship with her husband, Greg.
      We also have Greg tell his side of his story for a few chapters - not many mind and in all honesty he doesn't have that many conversations with his friend as such about it but, more the thoughts that are going through his head whilst he is fishing which is an interesting take on it as we, as the reader, can see what he is thinking and you just wish you could tell him to come to his senses!
      Lauren is our last main character and I think at first it is harder for me to like her as much as Annie as I think affairs are very wrong but, as you read more of her side you can see how she has been led a life of lies with this man and how she starts to feel about him. That changes how the reader feels about her and as the story goes on I do start to feel better about Lauren. You can see how the author has made it very clear how much the sisters love each other though, as they are both there for each other no matter what.

      Price:
      I picked this book up in Tesco as part of the two books for £8 offer making it £4 which is much better than the recommend RRP of £6.99. However I would pay full price for this book if I had to as I think it would be well worth the money. I don't think it is still in the offer so if you are after a copy your best bet is trying to find it online if you want to get it cheaper.


      Overall opinion:
      Well I can't fault the book as the author has done it again! She always manages to really relate to the subject she is talking about and make the characters come alive to the point where you care about them and this book is no exception. I think it was easy to connect with Annie and how he felt so this made the book more enjoyable for me as I really wanted her to succeed in what she was doing but, also the author has made the book much more interesting in making her husband against her in her plight, as the one person who'd you'd expect to be at your side encouraging you would be your other half and instead she is doing all this without his support and that really makes you feel for her and understand how lonely she feels.
      I cannot recommend this book enough - yes it is really just another chick lit book but, Carole Matthews really does use situations and people that are true to life and make the reader enjoy the books more because we can relate to the characters. Highly recommended!

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        13.03.2010 18:53
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        a good light read

        Ever since finding Carole Matthews as an author last year, I always look out for one of her books that I haven't read when I go to the library. My latest find and read was "It's Now or Never".

        Annie and Lauren are twins, both approaching their fortieth birthday. They have an old sister, Chelsea who is everything the twins aren't. As the twins attend Chelsea's birthday in a lavish hotel, they are determined that this year they will change their lives for the better.
        Lauren is single, having an affair for the last five years with her boss, Jude, whilst Annie is married to her childhood sweetheart with grown up children. They both feel as though they are trundling through life with no real purpose.

        All that is about to change as we learn from Annie that her company are doing a charity trek in a few months. Annie would love to go, but there is a large amount of sponsorship to be raised, and Annie knows her husband won't be supporting her decision if she decided to go.
        The book is told in first person from Annie's point of view, but it does chop and change through to Lauren quite frequently. Chelsea only pops into the picture every now and again through the twins.

        As the book unfolds we learn primarily about Annie's adventures of raising her sponsorship money for the charity trek, along with her fears, worries, excitement and every other emotion she has to go through to follow her dream.
        Home life isn't very comfortable, as Greg doesn't like change and is opposed to Annie doing something different.

        I found that despite the book being quite long, we learnt a lot about Annie especially, and Matthews manages to get the reader right into her character, and learn about what makes her work. I like this in a book as it encourages me into the lives of the characters, and makes me feel as though I am there with them.

        For half the book I wasn't sure where the ending was going to take use too, but in the second half of the book we see the lives of both Annie and Lauren change quite rapidly, and this is my only criticism of the plot. I think it could have been less rushed, especially in Lauren's case. There was however a decent twist to the end for Annie, and one that I didn't really see coming until a few pages beforehand.

        Overall I do like the majority of Matthews' writing. The book is easy to follow, and you can put the book down and be able to pick it up again a week later without forgetting what has happened. This book would be a great summer read when you can just go with the flow rather than have to concentrate too hard.

        You can pick this up in paperback for £6.49 from Amazon.
        Published: 2010
        ISBN: 978=0755354207

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        08.02.2010 17:24
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        Another stellar read!

        At their older sister Chelsea's flash fortieth birthday party, twin sisters Annie and Lauren wonder how their life has paled in comparison to their sisters. Why is it that Chelsea has a fantastic husband who caters to her every whim whereas Annie's husband spends most of his time fishing and Lauren's lover is married with two kids? There and then Annie and Lauren make a vow: this year everything will be different and they will follow their dreams. Annie's dream is to walk the Inca trail in Peru whereas Lauren wants lover Jude to finally leave his wife for her. Can the sisters make their dreams come true or is it too little, too late?

        Carole Matthews is definitely one of my favourite authors and I've read most of her books. Since 2006 Carole has an astonishing two books published per year and for me, that's akin to heaven. As most authors generally only publish one book a year I feel spoiled being able to read two Carole Matthews books a year, I must say! I read Carole's latest book That Loving Feeling back in August so when It's Now or Never came through my letterbox this week I couldn't wait to get started on it - hours later and I've finished it!

        All of Carole Matthews's latest books follow the same format: alternating first and third person narratives with short and snappy chapters guaranteed to keep the book flowing throughout. When I read my first Carole Matthews book that alternated the first/third person narrative I did find it difficult to get used to at first but now I find it gives a better view of events throughout her books and I just find it a fantastic way for a book to be written.

        It's Now Or Never is kind of similar to Carole's last release That Loving Feeling. Annie and Greg's (from It's Now or Never) were very similar to Juliet and Rick (from That Loving Feeling): their marriage seems to be falling apart at their ears, their children don't respect them at all. The two marriages really were eerily similar and it was like I was reading about Rick and Juliet again (which wasn't a bad thing - I adored Rick and Juliet). Furthermore since the marriages were similar I found Annie and Greg just as likable. I could understand Annie's frustration and reasons for wondering if her marriage was in tatters, but I also found it a little irritating at times because the dual narratives mean we get to see the scenes from everyone's perspective. As well as the book being narrated by Annie, we also get Greg's point of view. It means that everything Annie tells us about Greg - and some of it isn't nice - can be countered when we move to Greg's point of view and everything is explained. I respected the fact Greg was 'stuck in the mud' and couldn't understand Annie's sudden desire to roam the world. From his point of view it does seem as though Annie is going mad although from Annie's point of view it does seem relatively sane. It was very conflicting and I didn't know who to sympathise with more. I liked them both immensely and did hope they would be able to sort out their differences.

        Lauren, Annie's twin sister, was a fantastic character. I looked forward to her all the chapters told from her perspective. Her storyline was a bit tired and something that appears in every single book I seem to be reading at the moment but for me, I enjoyed it. I can't say I was a fan of Lauren being a mistress but she seemed incredibly sweet, if a little naive. As her lover Jude keeps letting her down, I thought it was fantastic that her friend Zak was there to help prop her up. I knew early on how Lauren's storyline would end (it's kind of hinted at really early on) but for me the question wasn't if Lauren would ever figure out things about Jude and Zak but when it would happen.

        When I first read the synopsis on Amazon I thought Chelsea, the twins' older sister, may have been in the book a bit more - even have some chapters about her life - but she rarely makes appearances which was a bit disappointing. It seemed that Chelsea was going through some difficult times which weren't properly resolved by the end of the book which was also disappointing. A lot is made about how different Chelsea's life is compared to Annie and Lauren so it wouldn't have added an interesting perspective to see how Chelsea's life was seemingly falling apart around her ears.

        Carole's writing is, as always, fantastic. I find it very easy to get into her books and could read Carole all day long. I thoroughly enjoyed reading It's Now or Never and apart from a few quibbles I did find it an absorbing read. There are a few chapters on fishing as Greg enjoys fishing and I thought I would have found those chapters boring but I didn't, at all. I found them quite interesting - which really surprised me, I never had myself down for wanting to learn about fish. Some people may find them a bit dull but they really gave us insight into Greg's mind, which was very clever. It's Now or Never is a must-read and I hugely enjoyed reading the book. Right - when's the next Carole Matthews book out?...

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