Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary Review

 

Cover for The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary

Addie and her sister Deb have just set off early in the morning, for the long trek to the Scottish countryside for their friend Cherry's wedding. They expect it'll be a fun road trip, (even if they are giving a lift to stranger Rodney who is also going to the wedding) with plenty of time to get to the day before the wedding BBQ. However the plans changes when early into the trip, there is a fender bender with another car. Unfortunately, the two people in the other car are Addie's ex Dylan and his obnoxious best friend Marcus! Both of who she hasn't seen since her relationship ended and who are also going to the wedding. With Marcus and Dylan's car now out of action, they squeeze into Deb's Mini Cooper so they can all reach the wedding on time. But this road trip turns out to be anything but easy!

The plot has two parts: the current timeline of the gang trying to make it to Scotland on time as well as the flashback timeline which starts at Addie and Dylan meeting and works it way up to their breakup. Addie and Deb were working as housekeepers in Cherry's family's French villa, which was being rented out to wealthy families. Dylan ends up staying there and this is where he and Addie start their relationship. This setting, as well as the road trip plotline, makes for a fun summer book. Living in the French countryside and being on a road trip are two very summery things in my mind, so I really enjoyed reading this book, outside in the sun. I liked the road trip element a lot, there's lots of things that go wrong, I also like the tension of two exes being forced to share this small space and reflect on their relationship. Rodney, being a bit of an odd character and also a stranger to the others, adds an element of comedy and bizarreness. I found the flashback plot a lot slower at times, it's obviously needed to show why the couple broke up but it slowed down the road trip plot, which I felt more invested in. Overall I liked the characters though Marcus confused me a bit at times, how nasty he is to Addie felt almost unwarranted. I felt like compared to The Flatshare and The Switch, this book didn't have as much charm and feel good energy. I do think that if you liked Beth O'Leary's other books, then you'll enjoy this one as well though, the road trip portion is super fun

I received this ebook free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am not required to post a review on here and all thoughts are my own

Monday, July 12, 2021

About Us by Sinéad Moriarty Book Review

Copy of About Us by Sinead Moriarty is standing upright on a wooden table on the left side of the photo with some yellow and pink flowers in an old glass milk bottle on the right

'Three Couples. Three Love stories. One Couch'

Today is my day for the About Us by Sinéad Moriarty bookstagram tour. I was very kindly sent a copy by Penguin Books Ireland and decided to share my review on here as well as on Instagram.

About Us follows 3 different couples:

•Ann and Ken are in their 60s and Ann is feeling lost now that all her kids are grown up

•Alice is struggling as a stay at home mother to 4 kids while her husband Niall is resentful that she no longer has the time or energy for him

•Orla is a young teacher in her 20s who is falling hard for one of her pupil’s dad but she is unsure if her past relationship fails means she is unable to be intimate

They each end up on the couch of Maggie, a sex and relationship therapist. Can each couple work through their problems and discover what’s best for them as individuals too?

This book sucked me in, I devoured it in a day or two! I was completely wrapped up in all the stories. Each couple is at a different stage in their lives, all with different relatable sex and relationship problems. It felt balanced, every character has flaws. Mostly told from the women’s point of view (it changed every chapter), we sometimes see it from the men’s point of view too which helped ensure it wasn’t all one sided

I liked how with one couple it was the woman who suggested the therapy but with another couple it was the man, it gave a sense of balance and realism. The progress the characters make in therapy isn’t linear, they hit bumps in the road which is realistic to real life therapy. You can tell it was well researched by the author

Throughout the story, one of the main feelings is hope. You’ll be rooting for the characters to do what’s best for them and find their happiness! The lives of all the characters also slightly overlap outside the therapist’s office which is sometimes I love in novels. For example Orla lives with Ann’s daughter and while they don’t have many scenes together, the scenes they do have are sweet

If you like stories about the complexities of relationships, this is the perfect read to immerse yourself into this summer!

Release date 15th July

This book was sent to me by Penguin Books Ireland for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own

Thursday, July 8, 2021

The Authenticity Project by Claire Pooley Review

Do you like books where people are connected, sometimes without even knowing they are, and how they all impact each other lives? Then this might be the book for you!

Julian Jessop is an eccentric artist in his 70s who is lonely. He writes his story in a green notebook, being open and honest about his life and leaves it in his local cafe. The owner Monica finds the book and is so touched by his story that she decides to reach out to help him. She’s so inspired that she too writes in the notebook and leaves it on a stranger’s table. From there, the book has 6 people who write in it, who all cross each other’s lives and eventually meet in different ways.

It’s a cute uplifting novel, a feel good summery read. I read it very quickly as I was enjoying it so much. The characters are not perfect, they have their flaws and we get to hear what they’re thinking as it rotates the POV for each chapter. It is slightly cheesy and predictable at times but it’s still charming and overall I enjoyed it



Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi Review

 

Cover of Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi packs a punch. Jayne is in college and barely keeping it together, stuck living with a freeloader who isn’t her boyfriend, her only friends are those she parties with and she has an eating disorder she’s in denial about. Despite all this, she’s happy she’s in New York City, at least it’s not Texas. Her successful sister June is also in the city, but the two sisters have been estranged and haven’t spoken in years. Suddenly June contacts Jayne to tell her that she’s sick with uterine cancer. Their lives are slammed back together with this news, which isn’t always easy sailing. But will the sisters be able to help each other through their illnesses?

Jayne is a hot mess, for a number of different reasons, yet I still found her compelling. Sometimes when characters are written like this, as unpredictable and unreliable, it can be over the top. But it felt authentic with Jayne, as more of the story goes on, you can understand how someone would spiral like this. The book is so raw at times, painfully so. The portrayal of an eating disorder is brutally honest and could be potentially triggering to some people

Family is at the centre of this book, the ways they support and hurt you, sometimes at the same time. Jayne and June have a tumultuous relationship, which at the core has a lot of love. I enjoyed seeing the sisters reconnect and seeing Jayne rebuild other relationships (including the one with herself). This is being marketed as a YA book but I would say it’s more New Adult. Jayne is in college, I would say she’s 19-20. I think teens could read it, but this book covers a lot topics like racism, eating disorders, sexual assault, cancer with raw honesty and anguish


Thursday, July 1, 2021

The Killing Kind by Jane Casey Review

 

Cover of The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

Ingrid is a barrister in London, who's life has turned upside down after defending John Webster in a stalking case. Since he was acquitted, he has turned his attention on her, making her life hell. When her restraining order runs out, Ingrid thinks John is back, especially when a fellow barrister ends up under a lorry. Everyone thinks it was an accident but Ingrid is convinced the victim was pushed. And that she was the intended target.

This book had me gripped from the beginning! It really hooked my attention and reeled me in. The story was intriguing, finding out the backstory of Ingrid defending John Webster and the immediate aftermath of the trial. As the current storyline unwinds, the sense of fear and paranoia Ingrid feels is so palpable. You have no idea who to trust or how much is Ingrid's imagination running wild. Especially when Ingrid interacts with John Webster. There's plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested as everything ramps up. One storyline seems a bit rushed at the end, but it didn't take away from the overall storyline. Fans of Casey's Maeve Kerrigan series will enjoy this stand alone novel. It's a multilayered, well paced thriller that I read in under 24 hours as I didn't want to put it down!

I received this ebook free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am not required to post a review on here and all thoughts are my own

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2021

 I've seen Aoife over at Pretty Purple Polka Dots regularly do a Top Ten Tuesday, which is run by That Artsy Reader Girl, so I've decided to join in! Partially because I love a good list but also because today's list is Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2021 and I used to always do my most anticipated reads so I thought it would be a good way to ease back into posts like that.

Animal Vegetable Criminal by Mary Roach

Cover of Animal Vegetable Criminal by Mary Roach
This is probably my most anticipated read of the year! I love Mary Roach's books, she takes a specific topic (past ones include death, living in space and sex to name a few) and looks at them from a scientific point of view. They're always super interesting and I'm sure this one will be no different. This will explore the science of nature vs humans conflict, which mostly when there's problematic wildlife, humans are the blame. The book is being released in the US under the title Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law on 14th September by W.W. Norton and Company

UK release 14th October by Oneworld Publications


Sista Sister by Candice Brathwaite

Cover of Sista Sister by Candice Brathwaite
I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite was one of my favourite releases last year. Part memoir, part manifesto, the book is Candice's account of being a Black mother in the UK, covering topics from her own childhood, as well as her pregnancy and the complexity of raising her children. Sista Sister is her new book of essays on a range of topics, all centring around what Candice wishes someone had spoken to her about when she was younger. I listened to I Am Not Your Baby Mother last year and loved Candice's narration so I've preordered this as an audiobook as well

Release 8th July by Quercus


On a Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk

Cover of On a Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk
On a Night Like This is Lindsey Kelk's upcoming book and I am a BIG fan of Lindsey's work! It's a story of two people from wildly different worlds: Evan belongs to the glitzy world of the rich and Fran is the assistant to those in the rich, glitzy world. However Evan whisks Fran away to Crystal Ball event. Can one magical night change everything or will they go back to their own separate worlds after the night is over? It's being marketed as a feel-good Christmas rom-com which I love! And surely by now you must have that Kylie Minogue song stuck in your head since seeing the title?! 

Release 11th November HarperCollins

The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Webber

cover of The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Webber
Heather Webber writes charming, magical realism stories set in the American South which are perfect autumnal reads. Two estranged sisters must come together to help run their mother's inn during Sugarberry's famous water lantern festival. I enjoyed Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe and South of the Buttonwood Tree by the same author and will be cosy read

Release 30th August St. Martin's Press




The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Cover of The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman
Practical Magic, book one in the series, follows Gillian and Sally, Owens sisters who lives with a family curse. The Rules of Magic follows Franny and Jet, the aunts who we first meet in Practical Magic. Magic Lessons is about Maria Owens in the 1600, the origin of the family curse. This final book in the series follows events after Practical Magic, with three generations trying to break the family curse. I've loved reading this series so I was excited to see there is another book out, especially as we get to revisit the original characters from the first book. The book is out 5th October by Simon Schuster.

UK Release 6th January by Scribner UK


Precious Catastrophe by Deirdre Sullivan

Cover of Precious Catastrophe by Deirdre Sullivan
This is the follow up to YA novel Perfectly Preventable Deaths, with twin sisters Madeline and Caitlin living in the weird and creepy Ballyfran. The first book was so atmospheric and eerie and I'm sure this one will be no different! I read the first one in autumn and look forward to reading it again at the same time of year. I love a witchy book for autumn, if the previous 2 books didn't make it clear! 

Release 30th September Hot Key Books




Cook As You Are by Ruby Tandoh

Cover of Cook as You Are by Ruby Tandoh
I'm a huge, huge fan of Eat Up! by Ruby Tandoh, which is packed full of essays and small thought pieces about food from different points of view; from the purely pleasurable to the political, food and body weight and stories from Ruby's life. Ruby has a no snobbishness allowed approach to food, which is so refreshing from someone who writes recipes. This cookbook is to appeal to people from all walks of life, to be accessible and inclusive.

Release 7th October by Serpent's Tail


A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

Cover of A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers
A new series from Becky Chambers, who wrote the Wayfarers series, a gentle inclusive sci-fi series about life in outer space for various different alien species. This series is called the Monk and Robot series and that's all I pretty much need to know about it! I'm sure it'll be just as comforting and lovely to read as her other books.

Release 23rd August St. Martin's Press





Anyway the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell

Cover of Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell
The 3rd and final book in Rainbow Rowell's Simon Snow series. While I liked the other two books, I didn't love them but I am intrigued to see how the series end. Simon Snow is the series that features in Fan Girl, which is not so loosely based on Harry Potter. It's a fun, fantasy YA series and I'll probably pick it up if I'm looking for some fast paced fantasy.

Release 6th July Macmillian Children's Books





The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

I had downloaded this image to include in the post originally but then afterwards noticed I forgot to add it. Oops! The Man Who Died Twice is the follow up to the wildly successful The Thursday Murder Club, a series about a group of friends in their 70s who live in a retirement village and like to solve crimes. I have no doubt this one will be as big as the first one. 

Release 16th September Penguin Books




I'm sure in a few month's time there will be other books announced, usually some are announced for release in October for the Christmas market. The new Aisling book by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen is due out later this year too which I can't wait to read!

What books are you looking forward over the next 6 months? Drop a line below or let me know over on Instagram

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid Review


Cover for Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

For years the Riva siblings have hosted a big summer blow out party in Malibu, which has only gotten bigger the more their fame has risen. Nina (surfer and supermodel), Jay (championship surfer), Hud (renowned photographer who's helped boost Jay's career) and Kit (the youngest, still trying to find her place in the world) are the estranged children of Mick Riva, legendary musician. This year's Riva party is going to be the biggest one yet, everyone is vying to go but with secrets simmering under the surface for each sibling, this party may blow up in more than one way

The story has two timelines: we have the current timeline of 1983 which is set over 24 hours and is broken down into chapters of one hour, as well as the past of how Mick met their mother June in the 50s and what happened to their love over the decades that made Mick estranged from the family. I love books that span a day, it's a fun concept and Jenkins Reid does a good job of balancing the past to give us context of what's happening in the future. I really felt for Nina, trying to hold everything together for her family and putting the happiness of others first over her own. The conflict between Jay and Hud adds some tension to the story and while I feel like we didn't really get to know Kit too much, I could totally see a follow up novel with her at the centre. The storyline with their mother June is sad and poignant at times and I loved how we travelled through the different decades, I could imagine the different looks and fashions even though there's not a lot of description of these, I think Jenkins Reid does a good job at creating books that you can see vividly in your mind, ones that would be good as film adaptations and this is no different. The setting in Malibu, with the descriptions of the beaches, cliff side houses and surfing was amazing, making this a great summery read. 

While I did enjoy the book, there were elements I didn't enjoy. Primarily at the party a lot of characters are introduced and have their own little story arc (involving sex, drugs or vandalism as the party got wilder). It got a bit difficult keeping track of these minor characters, I get that Jenkins Reid was showing that even when bigger dramas are happening at a party, everyone is having their own mini drama and she was showing how some of the characters were connected to each other. As well as adding to the debauchery at the party. However it really distracted from the main characters and what was happening to them. We didn't need to know some of the background tales for these characters, even if it was only a few lines. We just needed to know chaos was happening. I think if you're a fan of Jenkin Reid's books you will enjoy this but it doesn't top The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo or Daisy Jones and the Six

I received this ebook free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am not required to post a review on here and all thoughts are my own

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