Book Review: The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts

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The Plus One
By Sophie Money-Coutts
★★★★★
Pub date: 9th August 2018
Publisher: HQ

I’ve been reading a lot but I haven’t had the time to sit down and write my thoughts on the books I’ve read which is not great so I am trying to make amends. I requested a copy of this book from NetGalley because I thought it sounded like an easy and funny read and it didn’t disappoint me in the slightest!

The story revolves around Polly (our protagonist) who, by the way, is completely fine. She’s single, turning thirty and only managed to have sex twice last year (both times with a Swedish banker called Fred), but seriously, she’s fine. Even if she’s stuck at Posh! magazine writing about royal babies and the chances of finding a plus one for her best friend’s wedding are looking worryingly slim.

But it’s a New Year, a new leaf and all that. Polly’s determined that over the next 365 days she’ll remember to shave her legs, drink less wine and generally get her s**t together. Her latest piece is on the infamous Jasper, Marquess of Milton, undoubtedly neither a plus one nor ‘the one’. She’s heard the stories and there’s no way she’ll succumb to his charms…

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I really really enjoyed this book. No, honestly – it was extremely fun and the reviews on goodreads don’t do it justice. I gave it five stars because it made me laugh out laud and it was the perfect summer read. Enjoy it in a terrace with a a diet coke by your side and you’re in for a treat.

Polly was fabulous and I think the situations she faces are the same that a lot of women face when they’re in their late twenties / early thirties. It’s sad but a lot of us usually feel like a failure and we promise ourselves that we are going to do better next year: we’re going to sort everything out, we’re going to be ourselves, move forward, eat healthier, drink more water, crave less chocolate and find our place in the world.

Her thoughts were relatable, the characters were interesting and I think the book and story fulfil its purpose: it’s an easy, romantic comedy that is going to make you laugh and have a good time. It’s true that I could see what the outcome was going to be but it didn’t make the book less special.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and I cannot wait to see what the author’s next work will be.

You can read more about The Plus One on goodreads.
The novel is out next month but you can pre-order your copy now!

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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Book review: One Day in December by Josie Silver

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One Day in December
By Josie Silver
★★★★
Pub date: 18th October 2018
Publisher: Penguin

When I saw this book on NetGalley I thought it sounded great. The description and the pretty cover made me want to read it and it certainly didn’t disappoint me. It tells the story of Laurie, who is pretty sure that love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but in the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a boy who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic… and then her bus drives away.

However, these two strangers are fated to find each other again. Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop, cafe and bar in London looking for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when in matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the boy from the bus stop.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered…

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This book was pretty – really pretty – and I thought it deserved a mention on the blog. The chapters run smoothly and I could relate to the main characters from the very beginning. The friendship between Sarah and Laurie seems real and they look after each other just as I do with my best friend.

The love story between Jack and Laurie is complicated but then again, some love stories really are. They both have feelings for each other but life, as sometimes happens, comes in between them. It was really beautiful how they created a friendship in an attempt to hide their feelings. They both follow their paths in life as does Sarah and the different characters in the novel.

We follow their steps through life and see where it takes them. Different stories, different paths, different loves, jobs, parties and families. It’s a beautiful story about life, heartbreaks, marriage and the road that lies ahead.

I gave it four stars because the book deserves it. Silver knows how to guide the readers, maintain the suspense and create an amazing atmosphere. It felt like falling in love all over again and it’s nice to find a story that does that.

There’s pure joy to find between the pages. It’s immensely moving and definitely a ‘reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness’.

It will be published in a few months but do not hesitate to grab a copy as soon as you can. This is a lovely read that will make you believe in happy endings again.

You can read more about One Day in December by clicking here.
Pre-order your copy from Amazon now.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Book review: On a Beautiful Day by Lucy Diamond

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On a Beautiful Day
By Lucy Diamond
★★★★
Pub date: 11th January 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Every year, Lucy Diamond publishes a new book and when January comes, I am always excited wondering what she will be releasing in the months to come. On a Beautiful Day is her latest novel and tells the story of four friends who meet for a birthday lunch up in Manchester. But then, they witness a shocking accident just metres away and this acts as a catalyst for each of them.

For Laura, it’s a wake-up call to heed the ticking of her biological clock. Sensible Jo finds herself throwing caution to the wind in a new relationship. Eve, who has been trying to ignore the worrying lump in her breast, feels helpless and out of control. And happy-go-lucky India is drawn to one of the victims of the accident, causing long-buried secrets to rise to the surface.

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I LOVE Lucy Diamond’s novels and On a Beautiful Day didn’t disappoint me. Her books are like a sunny morning in the middle of January and they all make me turn the pages and smile.

To be honest, I didn’t read the blurb before starting the book – I just trust Diamond that much – so it was very exciting and interesting seeing the events unfold before my eyes. After reading so many thrillers in a row, I was craving a bit of the good feeling that come after a nice chick-lit title and this one was like sunshine.

Lucy knows how to write and the chapters are easy to follow. She guides the reader through the facts and also explains what is going on inside their heads, which really makes you connect with the characters and her feelings.

After they witnessed the terrible accident, our four friends try to continue with their lives but what they saw will have consequences. All of them have a story to tell and all of them contribute to the plot in a different way. I see the characters as the various stages that a woman could face throughout her life: Laura is thinking about babies and getting pregnant, Eve’s marriage broke apart and she’s starting a new relationship, India realises that you cannot run away from your past but have to face it and resolve it instead and Eve will deal with a complicated diagnosis that is going to turn around the way she looks at life.

This book is brilliant and it made me smile all the way through. Although I am younger than the characters in the novel, I see myself in the way they think and act. This is why I think On a Beautiful Day is another success for Lucy Diamond. It is a novel about the unexpected turns that life can take. It is about luck, (good and bad, of course!) and about finding yourself when your world seems to be falling apart.

Above all this is a novel about friendship, hope, love and the city of Manchester.

If you haven’t read any of Diamond’s novels, I’d recommend you start from the beginning and enjoy all of them! Summer at Shell Cottage, The Year of Taking Chances and The House of New Beginnings have been my favourite ones so far!

You can read more about the author here.
Don’t forget to grab your copy!

Book review: The Dead Ex by Jane Corry

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The Dead Ex
By Jane Corry
★★★★
Pub date: 28th June 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books UK

I finished this book yesterday and I was desperately wanting to share my opinion here because I really (I mean it) really liked it.

The plot revolves around Vicky and the disappearance of her ex-husband David Goudman. He said in sickness and in health but after Vicki was attacked at work and left suffering with epilepsy and memory loss, David left her for his mistress.

So when Vicki gets a call one day to say that he’s gone missing, her first thought is ‘good riddance’. But then the police find evidence suggesting that David is dead. And they think Vicki had something to do with it but how can she prove her innocence when she’s not sure of it herself?

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I don’t remember reading a lot about the book before I requested a digital copy from NetGalley but I think that’s why I was hooked. I read a lot of thrillers / mystery / crime novels and some of them just don’t do it for me but this one took me on an emotional ride all the way through.

I liked the different (and multiple!) characters and the voice that was given to them by the author. The book has all the elements to make it a success: the different sub plots, characters and twists and I must say that I went through the chapters on my kindle without even realising it. Why is David missing? Is he dead? Who is responsible for his disappearance? It must be Vicky, for sure? So many questions playing in my mind!

The title of the novel could build expectations that are not meet within the pages though and the reader can be disappointed. I was a bit, to be honest, because I found a few loose ends along the chapters and some of the twists seemed to come out of nowhere presenting situations that hadn’t been mentioned before in the book.

However, I liked that I couldn’t figure out what had happened to David and the information about him and Vicky that is given to the reader little by little as the pages go by. I think, all in all, it was a great read – I was scared and intrigued and surprised all along and that’s what made it so good for me.

I cannot wait to read more titles by the author. My Husband’s Wife – which was published in 2016 – is already on my to-read list!

Thank you so much to the publisher for the digital review copy. It was a very exciting novel and I cannot wait to see what the author will prepare for her readers in the future!

You can read more about The Dead Ex here
Don’t forget to pre-order your copy on Amazon!

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Book review: Big Bones by Laura Dockrill

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Big Bones
By Laura Dockrill
★★★★
Pub date: 8th March 2018
Publisher: Hot Key Books

I read a lot. Probably not as much as I’d want to but a lot nonetheless. However, I do not write reviews of all the books I read. Probably like most book bloggers. Big Bones, though… deserve a mention here because it’s just like a sunny day in the middle of winter.

Written by renowned author Laura Dockrill, the story revolves around Bluebelle, aka BB, aka Big Bones – a sixteen-year-old girl encouraged to tackle her weight even though she’s perfectly happy, thank you, and getting on with her life and in love with food. Then a tragedy in the family forces BB to find a new relationship with her body and herself…

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Big Bones is the first YA novel that I have read in 2018 and I am glad I requested a digital copy from NetGalley. It was a lovely reading experience because Dockrill really knows how to write and the story was hilarious.

BB is awesome, her experiences brought back memories from when I was a teenager myself and her way of looking at life was refreshing. This is a story about body confidence and getting to accept who we really are – both physically and mentally.

It’s an easy read, very well written, funny, raw and honest. The book is intended to be Bluebelle’s food diary but in it, she also writes about her family, her thoughts and feelings, her aspirations, feminism and body positivity. To be honest, I’ve never read something like this before – this is not a book about a toxic relationship with food, in fact, it’s quite the opposite and it’s empowering.

The story was believable and I think it was only once or twice where I found myself doubting the plot. The characters were warm and seeing the heroine being so happy in her own skin was inspirational.

It’s a story about food, friends, boys and family but above all is a story about trying to be healthy, taking care of oneself and finding balance. I loved the development of BB’s attitude and genuinely enjoyed every page. All in all, this book is a success and I hope everyone gets the chance to read it.

Big Bones out on 8th March and you can get your copy here.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

 

Book review: Close to Home by Cara Hunter

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Close to Home
By Cara Hunter
★★★★★
Pub date: 14th December 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK

I finished this book last week and I am still thinking about it. It’s just too good to be true. I have been reading a lot of thrillers / crime novels recently but this one… this one will really stay with me.

The story revolves around Daisy Mason, an eight-year-old who vanishes from her family’s Oxford home during a costume party. Detective Inspector Adam Fawley knows that nine times out of then, the offender is someone close to home. And Daisy’s family is certainly strange – her mother is obsessed with keeping up appearances, while her father  is cold and defensive under questioning. And then there’s Daisy’s older brother, so withdrawn and uncommunicative…

DI Fawley works against the clock to find any trace of the little girl, but it’s as if she disappeared into thin air–no one saw anything; no one knows anything. But everyone has an opinion, and everyone, it seems, has a secret to conceal.

But how can a child go missing without trace? They’re all certain it was Daisy on a flower costume at the party…

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I wasn’t expecting Cara Hunter’s first novel to be so good. I didn’t plan to get so hooked but this thriller was really incredible.

I really liked how the book was plotted and developed. Nothing is what it appears in this investigation but Hunter knows how to guide us (through flashbacks and interviews) in order to gain insight into Daisy’s family and what led to her disappearance.

The chapters and events move quickly and in an engaging manner. I felt completely part of the plot and I found myself questioning the incidents, interviews and suspects at all times. The way in which the author presents our current social media trends was also fascinating – with Facebook and Twitter posts that represent the public opinion while the suspects undergo trial.

The writing is crisp and immersive and the story feels real. I was completely hooked, reading chapters fast, wanting to know what happened and who was responsible. I also liked DI Fawley and his team – how they gathered the information and came up with clues and evidence.

As the chapters went by, I kept changing my mind and couldn’t decide who the perpetrator was. I was clueless, I honestly had no idea – and that was brilliant because it kept me intrigued, wanting to find out the truth.

You’re in for a real twist when the book comes to its end too!
Congratulations to the author, this was just brilliant! I cannot wait to read her new book – In the Dark – which will be published in July 2018.

Grab your copy of Close to Home here!

Book review: The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

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The Choice – Embrace the Possible
By Dr. Edith Eva Eger
★★★★
Pub date: 7th September 2017
Publisher: Ebury Publishing, PRH UK

I have a lot of books to read. I carefully update my Goodreads’ lists when I hear about a title that sounds interesting and I add it to my to-read pile so… when I finished I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh and felt in the mood for something different, I scrolled down my list and found this one. The title and synopsis sounded promising so I decided to buy the eBook and see where it was going to take me.

This book is Edith Eger’s memoir. In 1944, when she was only sixteen years old, Edith and her family were sent to Auschwitz. There, she endured unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. Over the coming months, Edith’s bravery helped her sister to survive, and led to her bunkmates rescuing her during a death march. When their camp was finally liberated, Edith was pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.

Today, Edith Eger is an internationally acclaimed psychologist whose patients include survivors of abuse and soldiers suffering from PTSD. In The Choice, she shares her experience of the Holocaust and the remarkable stories of those she has helped ever since.
In her memoir, Edith also explains how many of us live within a mind that has become a prison, and shows how freedom becomes possible once we confront our suffering.
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I had never heard about the author before reading her book but she really is remarkable. And so is The Choice, which I can only describe as beautifully-written, warm and compassionate.

The book is organised into four sections: Prison, Escape, Freedom and Healing. In the first three, Dr. Edith Eger tells us her story and shares her experiences in Auschwitz, what happened when the II World war was over, how she found her way back home and how her life evolved as a survivor. It would be enough for her to just share the events that she witnessed and how she coped with the pain and sorrow but Edith Eger goes further. In Healing, she tells us about her experiences with her patients and the truths she’s discovered along the way.

Edith Eger will make you change your way to look at your life and your choices. She’ll make you realise that there is no hierarchy when it comes to suffering and that everyone’s pain needs to be addressed. She does not judge. Instead, she tries to help people to be free and liberate them from the prisons they’ve created in their minds.

Only us hold the key that will allow us to be free and to do that, we have to take responsibility for our lives. Life is about choices and today, in this present moment, we cannot change what we did, what happened to us or the choices we made. But we can choose how to live now. Everyone has had to deal with the consequences of making bad choices bur we cannot judge ourselves, we have to release ourselves from judgement, accept our feelings and reclaim our innocence, loving ourselves for what we truly are ‘human, imperfect and whole’.

There’s so much power and strength within us. And, as Dr. Edith Eger says, we can choose to be free.

A story to remember and re-read in the months to come – there’s so much I still want to learn from the author.

You can read more about The Choice here
Don’t forget to get your copy on Amazon!

Book Review: Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

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Everything I Know About Love
By Dolly Alderton
★★★★
Pub date: 1st February 2018
Publisher: Penguin

I don’t know how I first came across this book, or who mentioned it on Twitter or how I found who Dolly Alderton is but I am so glad I did.

Alderton is an award-winning journalist who has written for numerous publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, GQ, Marie Claire, Red and Grazia. From 2015-2017 she was a dating columnist for The Sunday Times Style. She is co-host of The High Low Show, a weekly pop culture and current affairs podcast, and also writes and directs for television. This is her first book and… who would have thought?

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I enjoy reading non-fiction titles so much (!) but it’s true that it takes me longer time to go through them. I guess fiction is easier to get hooked on. This didn’t happen with Everything I Know About Love, though. Dolly Alderton’s first book is funny (and serious), silly (and smart), sweet (and sour) happy (and sad), and above all, it made me feel whole.

First of all, Alderton can write and what I mean by this is that some of her paragraphs felt so real that I decided to write them down in my own journal. I could relate to her feelings and to so many of her cultural references (internet / MSN messenger / living in a damp flat in London…etc). This is a selling point of the book because, as the chapters go by,  the author’s experiences become your own and she has the power to make you feel exactly what she is feeling: it doesn’t matter if you are from London or Barcelona, if you are 20 or 44, if you are timid or outgoing or if you are a party girl or spend your nights relaxing at home–  We’ve all gone through what Dolly’s explaining in her memoir.

The author has tried it all (really) and, in the book, she vividly recounts falling in and out of love, wresting with self-sabotage, getting drunk, going to therapy, getting dumped, finding a job… – in fact, she recalls what is like to become a grown-up *with all its highs and lows*.
Throughout the chapters, Alderton made me laugh. And she made me cry.
I also started recognising some of her behaviours in myself and understood the importance of loving oneself and this was her best lesson. The author taught me things that I already thought I knew – and it was a great discovery.

‘This is a book about bad dates, funny nights out, messy days, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough’ and I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

If you only read a book next year, you have to make it this one!

You can read more about Dolly Alderton here.
And don’t forget to get your copy here!

 

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to the publisher, it was wonderful!

Book Review: It Started with a Tweet by Anna Bell

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It Started with a Tweet
By Anna Bell
★★★★
Pub date: 7th December 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre

When it comes to books, I read loads of different genres but oh… give a chick lit novel anytime! I adore Lucy Diamond’s books (particularly The House of New Beginnings and The Year of Taking Chances) so I was excited when I got a digital copy Anna Bell’s new book. Bell is well known for being the author of The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart (Bonnier Zaffre, £7.99) and has been named as the new ‘queen of romantic comedy’.

It Started with a Tweet tells the story of Daisy Hobson, who literally lives her whole life online. A marketing manager by day, she tweets her friends, instagrams every meal and arranges (appalling) dates on Tinder. But when her social media obsession causes her to make a catastrophic mistake at work, Daisy finds her life going into free-fall…
Her sister Rosie thinks she has the answer to all of Daisy’s problems – a digital detox in a remote cottage in Cumbria, that she just happens to need help doing up. Soon, too, Daisy finds herself with two welcome distractions: sexy French exchange-help Alexis, and Jack, the brusque and rugged man-next-door, who keeps accidentally rescuing her.

But can Daisy, a London girl, ever really settle into life in a tiny, isolated village? And, more importantly, can she survive without her phone?

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When I started reading the book I hadn’t had a look at the the blurb so I didn’t know what the book was about but that’s exactly what I liked about it – I was not expecting anything that happened in the story and it turned out to be one of the funniest books I’ve read all year.

I liked its warmth and the characters, particularly our heroine, Daisy (she’s just hilarious) and her sister Rosie. I could relate to the journey they both go on in so many ways. It’s a journey of self-discovery that is not only well-written but also believable. I also liked the romantic elements of the story (of course) and didn’t expect a few things that happened with both Alexis and Jack.

The descriptions of Cumbria and the beautiful English countryside were something I really enjoyed. They took me back to the time I spent in Yorkshire surrounded by  green fields and being taken back there was wonderful, tbh.

This book is chick lit at its best with a good lesson hidden between the pages.
Five stars (also because I read it when I needed it most).

You can read more about It Started with a Tweet by clicking here.
And don’t forget to get your copy here!

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to the publisher, it was the funniest of books!

Book review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz
By Heather Morris

★★★★
Pub date: 11th January 2018
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre

I try to read as many books as I can and some people will understand me when I say that my to-read list increases by the day. I buy books when I still got tons at home. This one I didn’t buy, though. I received the ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. So here it goes:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz tells the incredible story of the Lale, the Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist and the woman he loved.

Lale Sokolov is well-dressed, a charmer, a ladies’ man. He is also a Jew and this is why he is taken from his home country, Slovakia, to Auschwitz in 1942. In the camp, he is looked up to, looked out for, and put to work in the privileged position of Tätowierer– the tattooist – to mark his fellow prisoners, forever. One of them is a young woman, Gita, who steals his heart at first glance.

His life given new purpose, Lale does his best through the struggle and suffering to use his position for good. This is the story of Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov, a real-life Holocaust survivor.


When I was around 17 years old, I read The Diary of Anne Frank, a book that changed my life. It’s true,  Anne’s story changed me for good and during many years I studied and read a lot about Second World War: how it developed, its repercussions and of course the Holocaust. I’ve read multiple non-fiction titles on the matter and I also visited Auschwitz and Auschwitz II Birkenau in Poland many years ago. No soul is prepared to learn about what happened there.

When I read about The Tattooist of Auschwitz on social media, I instantly knew I wanted to read this one but I honestly didn’t expect to find such a story.
Full of beauty and hope, the book is based on years of interviews that author Heather Morris conducted with Lale Sokolov, our protagonist.

Throughout the chapters we learn about Lale, where he comes from, his family, his feelings and how he ends up becoming the tattooist of Auschwitz. We discover how was life in the concentration camp and we are present when he first meets Gita and falls in love with her. The omniscient narrator helps us understand what is going on at all times and that’s why I never found myself lost in the story.

This is a difficult story that will keep the reader hooked from its very beginning. What is going to happen to Lale? Will he see Gita next week? Is it true what they say about the gas chambers? Will he live to see another day? The Holocaust is a difficult topic but it is something that it’s important to know – and read – about.

The message that the book gives us is heart-wrenching, illuminating and unforgettable. In fact, Lale’s story is unforgettable – just as all of the stories of those who ended up in a concentration camp during the war.

What I liked the most was not only that it was beautifully written but that the book is based on a true story. So yes, it is history and real facts and it is about love and about friendship and about sadness, and joy. It’s about our history – one that we all hope will never repeat itself.

Lale’s and Gita’s story is worth knowing so thank you, Heather, for putting it down on paper. And thank you to the publishers for seeing the potential of this book and bringing it to life.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz will be published in January 2018.
You can pre-order your copy here

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to the publisher, it was extraordinary.