Attachments by Rainbow Rowell Review

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, ISBN 9781409120537, 357ppAtta

Attachments is the third book I’ve read from author Rainbow Rowell and it just might be my favourite so far. While Fangirl and Eleanor & Park were written for a YA audience, this book is aimed more at adults. I loved the premise for this story. It was quirky, original and read like a chick lit book from a male perspective.

Attachments is set in a newspaper office in 1999, a time when the millennium was fast approaching and hysteria about the y2k bug was everywhere. Lincoln is a twenty-something IT guy who works the evening shift at the newspaper and his job is mostly monitoring staff emails and issuing warnings if there’s any inappropriate content. It’s in this capacity that he starts reading email exchanges between two female colleagues (Beth and Jennifer) who work at the newspaper during the day, as their emails keep being flagged by the security system due to inappropriate content.

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My Love Affair with the Outlander Series

I discovered the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon years ago when I was at university. It remains one of the defining moments in my reading life to date. I can still remember the absolute pleasure it was to read about Jamie and Claire for the first time. I often wish I could go back to this first time so I could be surprised all over again. This book fulfilled a lot of my reading loves: historical fiction, romance, adventure, a bit of fantasy and I loved all the medical aspects portrayed through Claire’s character.

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Still Me by Jojo Moyes Review

I’ve been a big fan of author Jojo Moyes ever since stumbling across Me Before You years ago. This was before the movie and before a lot of the huge hype. Me Before You first introduces the loveable Louisa Clark, wearer of quirky vintage clothes and bumblebee yellow and black striped stockings. In this first book she becomes a carer to Will Traynor, a complicated man not coping very well with life as a quadriplegic and they both change each other’s lives. If you haven’t read this first book, definitely give it a go. I don’t want to give anything away if you haven’t read it.

Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Still Me by Jojo Moyes, ISBN 9780718183196, 469pp, Pub Jan 2018

I loved Me Before You, even though it smashed my heart to pieces, and was quite happy for it to be a stand-alone book. But then Jojo Moyes released a sequel called After You. Although I devoured this book it didn’t have quite the same feel as book one. Louisa was far from the happy, positive young woman and with a major character missing in this book, it was a bit of an adjustment. But I liked it well enough in the end.

Which brings me to the newly released third book in the series, Still Me. I rushed out to get this because Continue reading

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare: A Review

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare, Kindle edition, published August 2017, purchased from Amazon

This is a quickie review for a satisfying and entertaining historical romance ebook I read in under 24 hours. The Duchess Deal is the latest release from Tessa Dare, an author who I happily stumbled upon a couple of years ago. Since then I have read all her books. Yes, there are steamy sex scenes in The Duchess Deal as per this genre and there is also a feisty heroine and a physically and mentally scarred Duke, but there are also laughs, drama and romance which is what always keeps me coming back to this genre when I just want a fun read.

Set in London sometime after the Battle of Waterloo, The Duchess Deal tells the story of a brooding, scarred from battle, Duke of Ashbury (a kind of beast-like figure) who was cruelly abandoned by his fiancée due to his disfigurement and has become a recluse. He is not the nicest of men as a result and drives his servants crazy by being demanding, rude and never leaving the house. But Ashbury decides it is time he does his duty to the title and find a wife to impregnate and then send off to a house in the country once she is with child. Afterall, who could love a hideous beast like him? Continue reading

The Break by Marian Keyes: A Review

The Break cover
The Break by Marian Keyes, Kindle edition, 568 pp

Reading a Marian Keyes novel is like having a cosy chat over a bottle of wine with a girlfriend you only see every few years. There are laughs, the occasional tear, secrets shared, milestones celebrated and losses commiserated. I’ve read every one of Marian’s novels over the years. They have taken me through my twenties and into my thirties and have never disappointed.

The Break is Marian Keyes’s latest novel. Set in Dublin and London, it tells the story of Amy O’Connell, a 44 year old mother of two girls (and carer of a niece) who works in PR and is married to the dependable Hugh. She is part of a large, nosey family, has a ‘portfolio of friends’, and is on her second marriage. Suddenly Hugh decides he needs to take a break by himself in the form of a six month trip to South East Asia. But he doesn’t just want a break from Ireland. He wants a break from his marriage. What follows is the before, during and after effects of this decision on their marriage and family.

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The One Plus One by Jojo Meyes

The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes (kindle edition, 528 pp, Feb 2014)
The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes (kindle edition, 528 pp, Feb 2014)

Recently I had a couple of long weekends off in a row and went away to see family. This involved a lot of hours in the car. Luckily, my partner did the driving which allowed me to sit back and read. I read The One Plus One by Jojo Meyes over one long weekend and I have to say it was the perfect travel book.

I discovered Jojo Moyes a while back when I read Me Before Youa powerful read about the relationship between a quadriplegic man and his carer. It was one of those rare times when you stumble upon a book that you know nothing about and then it turns out to be an absolute gem. Continue reading

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes Review

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Kindle edition, 516 pages, pub Dec 2011)
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Kindle edition, 516 pages, pub Dec 2011)

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is a very misleading book. The title suggests a light, fluffy romance, which is backed up by a pink cover that gives nothing away. Nor does the book’s blurb. Lou Clark is a twenty-something woman who just lost her job at The Buttered Bun tea shop in a sleepy English town she has lived in all her life. She is about to meet Will Traynor – a man whose motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. Cue a mismatched pair ala Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy and wait for the sparks to fly. Well, that’s what the book’s packaging seemed to indicate.

But what I got instead was very different. Yes, there are still the elements of two very different people meeting and not getting on. There is growing understanding over time. But what you don’t know until you are reading this book is that the character Will Traynor is a quadriplegic. And though you hope for some miracle to occur and for him to get up and walk, this book is far more realistic than that.

Lou Clark gets a job as his carer although she has no qualifications. All she can do for him is make cups of tea and give his flat a clean, whilst trying to stay out of the way of his bad temper. Before becoming a quadriplegic, Will was a lawyer and an adrenalin junkie with a zest for jumping out of planes and climbing mountains. His accident made him lose everything, including his model girlfriend. He sees nothing good about his life.

Lou finds out that she got the job because Will has scared away all his other carers. And his mother wants him to be watched at all times because he has previously attempted suicide. Then Lou learns by accident that Will has gotten his parents to agree that in six months time they will take him to Switzerland where there is assisted suicide. Though sworn to secrecy by Will’s mother, Lou makes it her personal mission to try to make Will change his mind.

So as you can see, this is not the formula for a typical chick lit book and the publishers of this book may have done it a disservice trying to market it that way. I read this book in a day. I just couldn’t put it down. In the course of reading it, I learnt so much about what people who are quadriplegic go through. They have countless medical problems. Not to mention the mental anguish of going from able-bodied to life in a wheelchair. Even the problems they have going places when in a wheelchair and how they are treated by family, friends and wider society.

But this story is not all about Lou trying to change Will. It’s also about Will trying to encourage a young woman who has no goals, has never gone outside her town, and is with a fitness mad boyfriend who doesn’t get her, to branch out in life – and live.

This book surprised me  greatly. I got so much more than I thought I was going to get. It was not quite the light read I was after, but definitely worth reading. Now to look up some of the other books by Jojo Moyes …

Children Of Liberty by Paullina Simons: A Review

Children Of Liberty by Paullina Simons (ISBN: 9780007241576, 544 pages, Published October 2012)

I’ve been a fan of Paullina Simons for years. It started with the book Tully and then continued with The Bronze Horseman trilogy and on to books like The Girl in Times Square and Red Leaves. Children of Liberty is a kind of prequel to The Bronze Horseman in that it tells the story of how the parents of Alexander (the male protagonist in TBH series) met in the early 1900’s in Boston.

What I’ve always liked about Paullina Simons books are the interesting, twisty plots and the angst-ridden romances. They are usually rich in detail and contain flawed female characters who you can’t help but like and cheer for. But this time? Umm…

The book begins with 14-year-old Gina from Italy stepping off a boat at Boston’s Freedom Docks with her mother and brother. They have come to America as it was the dying wish of Gina’s father. At the dock, they meet Harry Barrington and his friend Ben Shaw. The two young men are the sons of prominent Bostonian families and greet families at the dock to house them at the buildings Harry’s father owns around town.

Gina convinces her family to accept their help. They stay a night and then move to a town called Lawrence outside of Boston. From there Gina starts a number of money making schemes whilst nursing her love for Harry and conspiring ways to bump into him again.

Harry is engaged to a rich young heiress called Alice. He doesn’t do much apart from study at university and quote from a lot of highbrow writers of the day. His friend Ben is a more likeable and interesting character. Ben is also smitten with Gina but she only has eyes for the rather wet Harry. Fast forward and a few plot points happen, but mostly nothing. Then suddenly it is years later and Gina is all grown up. A couple more things happen and then the book limps to a unsatisfactory conclusion.

I think Gina was supposed to be like the tough, enterprising character Tatiana from The Bronze Horseman. But I found her ‘cuteness’ annoying. Whilst there were historical details thrown in here and there – like references to the building of the Panama Canal and quotes from writers and political activists from the time – I felt like this story wasn’t as fully fleshed out as I am used to reading from Paullina Simons.

Maybe because I found most of her other books to be such great reads I am judging this book a bit harshly. I read it, I got to the end, but unlike her other books, which I’ve read numerous times, I won’t be giving this one another read.

Has one of your favourite authors ever disappointed you?