Three spooky books I read this October #Halloween #Horror #Paranormal #Books

Hi Everyone,
It has been a while, probably over a month since the last time I wrote something for this blog. There were some scheduled reviews poping up, but I personally wasn’t active anywhere except on Goodreads, and I was pretty unactive there too.
The reason for that: I feel like I never have time to just sit and in piece and silence write and read in front of my computer, except in the very late evening when I am too tired to be productive, so I choose to read instead.

Today is Halloween, and I want to bring you my three reviews for the books I read this October. Non of them was given to me in an exchange for review, but all three of them I chose along with my friends because we wanted to give them a try.

Mexican Gothic was an October pick in the book club I am a member of along with other awesome book reviewers, when Cackle and House of Hollows I read along with Amanda from Chocolate Pages, who is also the member of previously mentioned book club.

So in conclusion, Amanda and I read together all of the three books I talk about today, so make sure to visit her BLOG too, to see what she thought about them.

ribbon

Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic book cover

Mexican Gothic took the bookish community by the storm last year when it came out, and if there wasn’t the hype around it I probably wouldn’t pick it up.
It’s magnificent cover, although beautiful to look at, didn’t “speak” to me so this time I am thankful for the hype because now I am glad this novel joined my read shelf.

I, just like most of the readers I believe, have certain aspects of the story that are important for me to like the book, character development being in the first place.
What I’ve noticed lately is that the atmosphere in the story is slowly getting closer and closer to take that CD aspect from the throne.

And if there is something this book has fully developed, is the atmosphere. Gothic, dark, gray, wet… I could almost smell the damp when I was imagining being in High Place.

One more thing that makes this book special to me is that my favourite character was High Place.
Yes, you read it right. The big, cold house has such a strong presence it felt like it was a person itself.

As for other characters, I think our MC Noemi was fully developed and it was clear what was her motive, her reasons to act the way she did, and she was also likeable and the one to look up to.

On the other hand, I think some side characters could have been more developed or at least more presented.

The writing was good and easy to read, but if I am being honest, the story was boring at times and I caught myself yearning for some action, or at least for something to happen.

As we got closer to end and secrets started yo reveal I was little disappointed with the way the story turned, but at the same time I appreciate it because it does make it different from other stories in this genre (here I am mostly comparing it to movies as I am still new to horror genre in written form).
My personal opinion is that the movie would be great and I would like to absorb it for the first time in that format, but that ship has sailed, obviously.

In the end, I just want to warn you about some scenes that can be triggering like ones that can remind of sexual abuse, but there is long list on TW for this novel so make sure to check it out.
I don’t always recognize them, as they are personal to each reader, but I would say TW: sexual abuse, racism, substance addiction, and also some graphic and gory scenes.

I decided to give Mexican Gothic 3,75 stars because although it was good and I can’t find it many flows except maybe being too slow at times, it just didn’t wow me to give it a higher rating.

rating 3,75 hearts
ribbon

Cackle

Cackle book cover

Let’s make one thing clear: đź‘ŹThis is not a thriller! This is not a horror! đź‘Ź
To be a thriller, it has to play with your (or at least the MC’s) mind, to be a horror, it has to have at least one character dead/murdered (or in danger of the same) and at least one gory scene.

(Not) Sorry to spoil you, but this has non of that.

This is cozy women’s fiction with paranormal (witchy, perfect for Halloween) elements that can also be categorized as feminist novel and that is it!!

It was weird, I’ll give it that, but it is definitely not disturbing (unless you hate spiders, who are here pets because why not throw something childish and unnecessary to make it unique)!

So yeah, if you consider Twilight a horror because it has vampires as characters, then this is the horror/thriller for you.
If you are looking for thrilling book that will keep you at the edge of your sit, this is not a book for you.

This is cozy, slow paced book, perfect for readers who are looking something to read for Halloween, but instead of being scared, they want to be relaxed.

It was entertaining, with characters interesting enough, and easy to read writing style.
It is written in first person.

I could spend my time overanalyzing the novel, telling you how Annie reminded me of my own friend which made me care for her on a higher level, how in my mind Sophie looks like Megan Fox, how I loved Sam and am sorry the writer ruined his character even though I understand why she did it, how I think cat would work way better then the spider and how absurd it was for MC to take everything like it was even though no sane person would do it.
I could also tell you how I really enjoyed the atmosphere and my friend Amanda who I buddy read this with, and me, we had great time and how this book was exactly what we both needed after finishing Mexican Gothic, but I won’t bore you more then necessary.

I will just recommend this novel to everyone who are looking for cozy autumn book with witchy/Halloween elements.

3 stars rating
ribbon

House of Hollow

House of Hollow book cover

As soon as I saw the cover for House of Hollows I knew I had to read it.
The design reminds me of Horrid and Wilder Girls, books I both enjoyed so much, and I have a theory that covers like this keep weird and brilliant stories between the pages.
This book proves my theory right!

The story is narrated by Iris, the youngest of the three sisters who disappeared one night and came back one month later not knowing where they’ve been, and clueless about the truth about what happened to them.

The story is written in first person, easy to follow and fast paced from the very beginning.
In fact, it was so fast paced at times that I was lost for moments (that often happens to me in fighting scenes).

Once again, my favourite part of the story was the atmosphere.
I noticed that that aspect in storytelling became of huge importance for me, so I loved this book for it.

I can’t say much about the world or things that happened, because I don’t know where is the line between reviewing and spoiling in this particular case, but I will say that my bets are the author found some inspiration in the movie Insidious.

The characters were all presented very well, and I love how the author played the game of good guy/bad guy masquerade.
I would tell you who’s side I was on, but then I would spoil you, so I’ll keep my mouth shout (or my fingers reserved, I should say).

The epilogue was the only part I didn’t like, as I find it unnecessary.

I should also mention I shared this reading experience with my friend Amanda, who I’m buddy reading so often lately, we should call ourselves bookish sisters.
She is not the one to pick fantasy, paranormal or ya on her own, but she really enjoyed this book too, so that says something, right?

In conclusion, I am sooooooo glad I’ve read this novel. It was perfect Halloween/October choice and I recommend it to everyone who is searching something spooky.

four hearts

A book I learned a lot (about bees) from: The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin @PRHGlobal #partner #bookreview #bees

The Music of Bees book cover US edition

GIFTED / Today I bring you a review of a book I read a while ago, but some parts of the story still stayed with me. I feel like it is one of the books a reader learns a lot from.

The Music of Bees came out on April 27th 2021 and it has 322 pages. I want to thank Penguin Random House Global for sending me an e-galley of this novel (in an exchange for an honest review).

ribbon

About the book:

FROM GOODREADS /

A heartwarming debut novel for readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, following three lonely strangers in a rural Oregon town, each working through grief and life’s curveballs, who are brought together by happenstance on a local honeybee farm where they find surprising friendship, healing–and maybe even a second chance–just when they least expect it.

Forty-four-year-old Alice Holtzman is stuck in a dead-end job, bereft of family, and now reeling from the unexpected death of her husband. Alice has begun having panic attacks whenever she thinks about how her life hasn’t turned out the way she dreamed. Even the beloved honeybees she raises in her spare time aren’t helping her feel better these days.

In the grip of a panic attack, she nearly collides with Jake–a troubled, paraplegic teenager with the tallest mohawk in Hood River County–while carrying 120,000 honeybees in the back of her pickup truck. Charmed by Jake’s sincere interest in her bees and seeking to rescue him from his toxic home life, Alice surprises herself by inviting Jake to her farm.

And then there’s Harry, a twenty-four-year-old with debilitating social anxiety who is desperate for work. When he applies to Alice’s ad for part-time farm help, he’s shocked to find himself hired. As an unexpected friendship blossoms among Alice, Jake, and Harry, a nefarious pesticide company moves to town, threatening the local honeybee population and illuminating deep-seated corruption in the community. The unlikely trio must unite for the sake of the bees–and in the process, they just might forge a new future for themselves.

Beautifully moving, warm, and uplifting, The Music of Bees is about the power of friendship, compassion in the face of loss, and finding the courage to start over (at any age) when things don’t turn out the way you expect.

ribbon

Review:

At first glance, The Music of Bees grabbed my attention. The beautiful yet simple cover made me curious about the story inside, and as I was reading it’s premise, I got a feeling it is beautifully written literary fiction.

In a way, I can blame myself for having my hopes so high, as there weren’t so many reviews out there at the time.

The story follows three characters, Alice, Harry and Jake.
If I am being completely honest, I didn’t click with any of them at first.
I wasn’t a fan of the way Alice and Jake met each other, and I feel like Harry was big mystery, like we didn’t get to really see him, understand him.

It took 60% of the book for me to really get into the story.
That reflected on my reading pace as well. I read those slow 60% for days (when I say days, I mean more than a week), and the last 40% I finished in a day.

I loved how bees were present through the story and I feel like I’ve learned a lot about them.
I was thinking how the author did a really good job researching, but then I read that she actually is a bee farmer, so that makes more sense.
She obviously knew what she was writing about.

In the end, I want to mention that one character has disability (jake) and is in a wheelchair.
I can’t speak from personal experience (although I had to be in wheelchair for two months after the car accident), but I feel like the character is described respectively and fairly.

3 stars rating

The one with… stupid main character (sorry, not sorry): Survive the Night by Riley Sager @PRHGlobal #partner #horror #thriller #bookreview

Survive the Night by Riley Sager book cover US edition 2021

GIFTED / Hi guys! Today I am talking about a book that I read along with my girls in our book club. These days I am mostly focused on buddy reads, as I feel like I get more from the book when I discuss it with others. My favourite buddy in crime is Amanda from ChocolatePages, we read many books together this year, and I hope we’ll continue with it. Survive the Night was the August pick in the book club we are both members of.

This book was published on 29th June 2021 and it has 324 pages. I want to say thank you to Penguin Random House Global for sending me an e-galley of this novel (in an exchange for an honest review).

ribbon

About the book:

FROM GOODREADS /

It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing–survive the night.

ribbon

Review:

So… this was a shitshow full of mad people. And I don’t mean it in a good way.

Let me start this review on a positive note.
As Riley Sager is a best selling author, I expected to like his writing style, and although I wasn’t a fan of all the things he has written in this particular novel, I do admit that his words are easy to follow and the book reads easy and fast.
To give you and example how fast it reads, I will just say that it was our August pick for our book club and instead of planned 7, it took us only 4 days to finish.

The premise was promising, but with all the negative reviews appearing I didn’t have too high expectations.
However, I did expect to be fascinated with Josh’s character (because of one BookTube review) but that didn’t happen.
Also, in one of my Goodreads friend’s review I read that Charlie is one of the stupidest characters ever written, and after I finished Survive the Night, I 100% understand why my friend feels that way. I also agree with her, to some point.
It is hard to root for someone who acts so against their well being.
If I am being honest, one part of me even wanted for her not to survive the night.

As for the big relevation I wasn’t surprised at all, as the author gave us only few characters in the whole story, there weren’t much choices to chose our suspect from.

Last thing I want to mention is how I am not happy with the way mental illness was handled.
We never got the answer what Charlie’s diagnosis were, the author almost approached it as some kind of superpower, at some parts it felt like it was used just to mess with our mind and one chapter closer to the end reminded me of the way mental illness was handled in the history, when ppl in mental hospitals were put under electricity hamlets to be cured.
That chapter left bad taste in my mouth.

In the end I will just say that I am still eager to read Riley’s book called Lock Every Door, and this one I will just pretend it wasn’t written by him.

2 hearts

The one about family… and love: A Perfect Cornish Christmas by Phillipa Ashley #Christmas #WomensFiction #BookLovers #Cornwall

A Perfect Cornish Christmas by Phillipa Ashley book cover

GIFTED / Today I want to talk about one beautiful Christmas novel that I have read some time ago. It was actually my first Christmas read of the year, but I had to wait with my review so I could post it around it’s release day.
A Perfect Cornish Christmas was published yesterday (October 31st 2019) by Avon, and it has 400 pages.
I  I have read an eARC I received via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review.

ribbon

About the book:

FROM GOODREADS / Christmas in Cornwall is just around the corner…

But after last Christmas revealed a shocking family secret, Scarlett’s hardly feeling merry and bright. All she wants this Christmas is to know who her real father is.
So Scarlett heads to the little Cornish town of Porthmellow, where she believes the truth of her birth is hidden. She just didn’t bargain on being drawn into the Christmas festival preparations – or meeting Jude Penberth, whose charm threatens to complicate life further.
Everything will come to a head at Porthmellow’s Christmas Festival … But can Scarlett have the perfect Christmas this year, or are there more surprises on the way?

ribbon

Review:

Phillipa Ashley was on my to-be-read list of authors for some time, so I am so glad that A Perfect Cornish Christmas was the first novel by her that I have read, because I really enjoyed it.

If you know me, you know Christmas stories are my absolutely favourite, and I can proudly say that I am happy that I have opened the season with this one.

Going into A Perfect Cornish Christmas I had no idea if it was a standalone or part of the series. It definitely read as a standalone, but then again, I know that Ashley has another book called A Perfect Cornish Summer so I believe they are companion novels (someone should update it to Goodreads, so we’d know!).

This story follows two sisters; Scarlett and Ellie. Since the story centres mostly around Scarlett, I would say she is our main character, but because we do get to follow the story from Ellie’s perspective as well, I’d say she is our second main character.
The story is written in third person.

When it comes to genres, I’d say that A Perfect Cornish Christmas is women’s fiction, or even general fiction with romance in it.
In the first place the story talks about family, and complicated relationships between people. It covers some serious topics that are result of people choices, and how they effect other’s lives.
It also talks about belonging and how it impacts us as beings, how it defines who we really are.

Romance is also part of this book and we get to follow two romance developments, one for each sister.

The third important part of the story, in my opinion, is Christmas itself. The setting, food, snow… basically everything that happens around Christmas time, and in this novel, there is a Christmas festival that takes place and is also nice addition to the fable.

I liked most of the characters, and disliked some that were negative ones.
The only character I simply couldn’t understand was Scarlett and Ellie’s mother. I don’t understand how could she kept quiet about everything even after the truth came to light.
I also had hard time understanding their father and his choice to stay with her in the same house while she was acting that way.

The only downside of the novel is that there are lots of repetitions and I felt like I was reading a 500 pages long book, when in reality it has 400 pages.

Overall, I think A Perfect Cornish Christmas is the one to curl up with during winter, so I recommend it to women’s fiction lovers.

four hearts

The one about wicked village: The Liar’s Sister by Sarah A. Denzil (Book Review) #TheLiarsSister #Thriller #BookLovers

The Liar's Sister by Sarah A. Denzil book cover

GIFTED / Today I decided to tell you about the latest thriller that I have read, since October is approaching and many readers like to devour that genre during spooky season (aka Halloween month).
The Liar’s Sister really surprised me with it’s plot, but only in positive way.
This book was published on September 25th 2019 (in other words: today) by Bookouture and I have read an eARC I received via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review.

ribbon

About the book:

FROM GOODREADS / A SHOCKING DISAPPEARANCE. A VILLAGE FULL OF SECRETS.

Ten years ago, a boy named Samuel Murray went missing from the quiet village of Buckthorpe and was never seen again.

Rosie Sharpe cried over her missing friend for weeks after. But her little sister Heather knows that Rosie’s tears hide the truth. Because the night Samuel was last seen, Heather watched her older sister climbing back through the window of their childhood bedroom. Her jacket torn, her eyes wild and her body trembling with fear.

Heather never told anyone what she saw, but secrets can’t stay buried forever…

A decade later, Rosie and Heather return to the home they grew up in when their mother falls ill. But when their house is ransacked and they receive a threatening note, it becomes clear that someone in the close-knit village doesn’t want them there.

When Heather finally confronts her sister about what really happened on the dark, rainy night Samuel vanished, Rosie’s version of the truth is more shocking than she could ever have imagined. But can she trust her sister? And who broke into their house that night? As the lies of the past begin to unravel, they have the power to put the lives of both women in terrible danger…

ribbon

Review:

One day I was browsing through Netgalley books in order to find a good thriller because I was really in a mood for that genre.
Out of all of the novels in that category (and may I say, it’s the most popular category there) The Liar’s Sister was the one that sounded the most appealing to me.
The cover is attractive, but the premise is what got my attention, so therefore I knew it was a winner.

My feeling was right, because not only did I like the story in the book, but I also fell in love with the atmosphere, people relationships and interactions within the story. All the secrets and mystery that were not visible at all made me appreciate this piece of fiction so, so much.

This small community, spooky atmosphere was my absolutely favourite thing about this book, and with all the creepy characters and events it really gave a life to the place, it felt like the village was it’s own character.

As a cherry on top, there is a writing style that can simply be described as high quality.
Beautiful writing is always welcomed when it comes to fiction, but to me this one really stands out.

The novel is written in first person, from Heather’s POV.

After finishing the book I found out that Sarah A. Denzil is very popular author, but somehow I haven’t heard about her before (once again, this is the proof I live under a rock). I would really want to check her other work, especially Silent Child because from others’ reviews, it seems to me that that is the most loved one.

I would recommend The Liar’s Sister to everyone who is in the mood for a good thriller.
With it’s cold atmosphere, it is a perfect pick for cold nights during October.

5 hearts rating

 

A novel every woman should read: Her Husband’s Mistake by Sheila O’Flanagan #HerHusbandsMistake #WomensFiction #BookLovers

Her Husband's Mistake by Sheila O'Flanagan UK book cover paperback

GIFTED / Today I want to talk about a book I really loved, and even though it has been some time since I’ve finished it, I still think about it at times.
Her Husband’s Mistake was published on August 13th 2019 by Headline Review, and it has 448 pages.
I want to thank Becky Hunter for sending me a physical ARC of the book, in an exchange for an honest review.

ribbon

About the book:

FROM GOODREADS / Roxy’s marriage has always been rock solid.

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple.

Until the day she comes home unexpectedly, and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour.

Suddenly Roxy isn’t sure about anything – her past, the business she’s taken over from her dad, or what her family’s future might be. She’s spent so long caring about everyone else that she’s forgotten what she actually wants. But something has changed. And Roxy has a decision to make.

Whether it’s with Dave, or without him, it’s time for Roxy to start living for herself…

ribbon

Review:

Once again I am guilty for not reviewing a book as soon as I finished it. It has been quite some time since I read Her Husband’s Mistake, so I do apologize for having only brief and short review.
The book is still (kind of) fresh in my mind when it comes to main points of the story, but, as I already stated, it has been some time so I don’t feel comfortable writing a full in depth review.

The story follows Roxy who one day finds her husband in their bed with their hot neighbor.
Her husband wasn’t supportive of her when she took care of her ill father, and now when he passed away Dave (husband) made this big mistake that is so hard to forgive and forget.

I would say that the story talks about a woman who is torn apart between her husband’s infidelity and the two possible decisions it brings: to forgive and try to work it out as a couple, or to leave and move on while she can.
She is also grieving her late father and the situation is not easy, especially when people around her also have their opinions.

I would also call this coming of age story because it talks about a woman finding her voice and her own strenght.

I think every woman should read this novel because it talks about the capability of a woman to support herself even though that was not something she has done for her whole marriage life, and also how sometimes husbands like for women to depend on them.
Even though it officially does not belong to that kind of genre, I dare to say that this also talks about feminism.

The writing style is amazing. The book does not read quickly but it has so many beautiful sentences and thoughts that it is worth to spend time with.
It is written in first person. from Roxy’s POV.

Sheila O’Flangan is well known author with many books written and this book reminded me how much I loved her novel Suddenly Single that I still remember today, even though it has been years (we talk here about cca 14 years) since I read it.
I kind of regret now for not reading more of her work, but at least I know it is not too late to keep up with them.

I loved everything about this book and the only think that bothered me, and it is personal pet peeve of mine, is that the sentence “I released the breath I didn’t know I was holding” was in there three times (and if you ask me even one is too many), but I have to stress out that I read an ARC, so maybe that was change in the finished copy.
As I said, it is my own personal pet peeve, so please don’t take it seriously.

To wrap up, I want to recommend this book to readers (especially women) who enjoy reading general and women’s fiction, and to those who love beautiful writing in their books.

5 hearts rating

Brilliant piece of literary fiction: Looker by Laura Sims #Looker #LiteraryFiction #BookLovers

Looker by Laura Sims UK paperback book cover

GIFTED / Today I want to talk about a book I absolutely loved. Looker was published on July 25th 2019 by Tinder Press and it has 224 pages.
I want to thank Becky Hunter for sending me a physical ARC of the book, in an exchange for an honest review.

ribbon

About the book:

FROM GOODREADS / A dazzling, razor-sharp debut novel about a woman whose obsession with the beautiful actress on her block drives her to the edge.

I’ve never crossed their little fenced-in garden, of course. I stand on the sidewalk in front of the fern-and-ivy-filled planter that hangs from the fence—placed there as a sort of screen, I’m sure—and have a direct line of view into the kitchen at night. I’m grateful they’ve never thought to install blinds. That’s how confident they are. No one would dare stand in front of our house and watch us, they think. And they’re probably right: except for me. 

In this taut and thrilling debut, an unraveling woman, unhappily childless and recently separated, becomes fixated on her neighbor—the actress. The unnamed narrator can’t help noticing with wry irony that, though she and the actress live just a few doors apart, a chasm of professional success and personal fulfillment lies between them. The actress, a celebrity with her face on the side of every bus, shares a gleaming brownstone with her handsome husband and their three adorable children, while the narrator, working in a dead-end job, lives in a run-down, three-story walk-up with her ex-husband’s cat.

When an interaction with the actress at the annual block party takes a disastrous turn, what began as an innocent preoccupation spirals quickly, and lethally, into a frightening and irretrievable madness. Searing and darkly witty, Looker is enormously entertaining—at once a propulsive Hitchcockian thriller and a fearlessly original portrait of the perils of envy.

ribbon

Review:

Trigger warning: This book talks about one’s inability to have children and in detail pictures IVF process with failed result.

Looker is one book that surprised me in the most positive way. Going into it, I didn’t expect to like it so much.

To be fair, I have already watched some people talk about in on Booktube and it has pretty low rating on Goodreads, so my expectations weren’t too high to begin with.

I think why many readers get disappointed in the book is because, at first glance, it leaves an impression that it is a thriller or mystery, when in reality it is pure literary fiction that explores one’s character development.

The story follows our main (unnamed) character as she’s slowly sinking down in her madness.
Her life is falling apart, after many failed IVF attempts and her husband leaving her. She is having hard time to make piece with the fact that she won’t be a mother even though that is all she ever wanted, and it is even harder to know that her husband who left her can have a family with another woman at some point in his life, that he has a chance she never will.

In her depression her escape is the hope her new neighbour and famous actress gives her by just living near her. Our main character sees her as someone who can she be friends with, and obsessively is trying to make connection, always watching the actress and her children, and even at some point of the story, she crosses the line.

The story is written in first person and it is one beautifully written piece of fiction.
The author used to write poetry, and it surely effected her writing in a good way.

It is a short book (American version has even less then 200 pages) but it does not read quickly.
However, I enjoyed taking my time with this novel.

I understand some people would complain that not much happens in the story, and I would agree with that, but at the same time, I don’t think that’s a fault.
Literary fiction is famous for not having big plot but big character observation, and this is exactly what this novel provides.

I would recommend this book to lovers of literary fiction and once again I want to stress out: this is not a thriller!

5 hearts rating

The one about friends who don’t act like friends: The Friends We Keep by Jane Green (Book Review) @PRHGlobal #partner #Books

the friends we keep by jane green book cover

GIFTED / Today I decided to speak about one book that came out few months ago, that I wasn’t too fascinated by. In other words, it left me disappointed.
It’s the story about friendship and forgiveness.
I want to thank the team from Penguin Random House Global for sending me an e-galley of this novel (in an exchange for an honest review).
The Friends We Keep came out on June 4th 2019 and it has 384 pages.

ribbon

About the book:

FROM GOODREADS / Evvie, Maggie, and Topher have known each other since university. Their friendship was something they swore would last forever. Now years have passed, the friends have drifted apart, and none of them ever found the lives they wanted – the lives they dreamed of when they were young and everything seemed possible.

Evvie starved herself to become a supermodel but derailed her career by sleeping with a married man.

Maggie married Ben, the boy she fell in love with at university, never imagining the heartbreak his drinking would cause.

Topher became a successful actor but the shame of a childhood secret shut him off from real intimacy.

By their thirtieth reunion, these old friends have lost touch with each other and with the people they dreamed of becoming. Together again, they have a second chance at happiness… until a dark secret is revealed that changes everything.

The Friends We Keep is about how despite disappointments we’ve had or mistakes we’ve made, it’s never too late to find a place to call home.

ribbon

Review:

If I could use only one word to describe The Friends We Keep by Jane Green, it would be boring.
Even though the story takes place in time period of 30 years, and so many things happened during that time, it still felt like the story was dragging and dragging.
This novel has 384 pages, but it felt like I was reading 600 pages long book. It took me 4 days to finish it, even though I really do have time for reading on my hands at this point in my life.

The story follows three people, Evvie, Maggie and Topher who met in collage and started their friendship there.
Through the story they keep and lose contact with each other, but their lives are always intertwined in some way.

I usually love novels that explore human relationships, and I don’t mind when the story takes time, but this time I just couldn’t wait for it to be already over.

I think my main problem was with characters. Two of four main characters (yes, four, because one side character is very significant) were very superficial, one was alcoholic and I feel like person who knew about him only tried to find excuses for his behaviour, and one only made bad choices in her life.

The worst of them all was Evvie. I think with a friend like that you really don’t need enemies.

This is the story about forgiveness, and although I am aware that forgiveness is important for one to move on with his life, I also think that some actions are unforgivable and even if you do forgive with time, it’s better to move on with your life without a person who wronged you in it.

Jane Green is very popular author and I have to admit that, even though I haven’t read her work before, I was pretty disappointed with The Friends We Keep.

book review rating 2,5

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

the-secret-life-of-lucy-lovecake

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.

spoiler vrpca

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…

the-secret-life-packing

spoiler vrpca

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

spoiler vrpca

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.

spoiler vrpca

Follow the tour:

the-secret-life-blog-tour

Book Review: The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

the summer that melted everything

Title: The Summer That Melted Everything
Author: Tiffany McDaniel
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date: July 26th, 2016
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: from Author for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him.

As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be.

While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

vrpca

Review:

Here is the truth: this book is perfect.
When you look at every single element of this story, every single character, phrase and all of the parts of the plot, you get one perfect whole, compliteness that leaves you breathtaken in an absolutely literal way.

I am sorry if I already used the word perfection too many times at the very beginning of my review, but the truth is, I am lost for other words. This book, to me, was pure perfection.

It played with my emphaty in a way I can’t describe, it broke my heart, torn me apart and I am still picking myself up, days after I finished it.
I am lost for words and I already know that my review won’t do a justice to this masterpiece, but I will try my best.

The Summer That Melted Everything talks about summer in a year 1984, the year when the HIV virus was discovered and scientists gave it a name.
It takes place in Breathed, a small town in the West America, where people are still afraid of unknown and are very judgamental.

Even though this book contains more then few diverse elements (like gay people, black people and people with dwarfism), the way characters talk about people and things that are diverse or different is plain brutal.
For example, people say that AIDS is God’s punishment for gays, God’s tool to get rid of them.
Those kind of references you’d hear even from characters you’d like.
Keep in mind that it is 1984 and even though that kind of phrases were hard to read about, they also represent the reality of the story.

The novel is written in first person, following two different times: first being placed in 1984 when Fielding was a 13 years old boy and the second that takes place when Fielding is and old angry man, and we can see how much tool summer 1984 took on him, how happenings from that summer shaped him as a person and destroyed him in a way.

The writting style is astonshing. McDaniel’s voice is so beautiful. It is different from other voices I read and it probably has a lot to do with the fact that The Summer That Melted Everything is a piece of literary fiction.

This book reminded me how much I enjoy reading literary fiction, even though I don’t read it too often.

My opinion is that this book demands to be read more then once. I know I will reread it for sure in my close future.

This is not a happy book, it will probably leave you under an impression and you won’t be able to stop thinking about it.
I already knew this was a five stars read for me after I finished it, but I also learned to appreciate it even more after some time passed.
I would give it all the stars in the world.

This is the best book I have read this year and it is one of the best books I read in my lifetime.

Tiffany McDaniel surprised me with her debut novel and after reading only one book written by her, I already know I want to read everythig she’ll write in the future.

Recommending books is something I often do in my reviews, but if there’s one book I would recommend of all the books I liked, it would be this one.

I really, wholeheartedly recommend you to read this book!

5