Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Review of Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

Thank you to Hannah from Ebury for the review copy of Save Me.

** What it's about **

You always put your own child first, don't you?

When an explosion rips through her daughter's school, Rose McKenna faces a horrifying choice.  Does she go in search of her daughter, or save the children nearest to her first, one of whom is the bully who has been making her daughter's life a misery?

It's a split-second decision which will cost on girl dearly and will see Rose's life transformed forever...

** What I thought **

Having read the synopsis for this book, I was looking forward to reading it, however I’m sorry to say that I was slightly disappointed by it.  It just wasn’t at all what I was expecting.  Lisa Scottoline doesn’t hang about and the drama of this book starts early on.  Once the dramatic school fire had occurred, I was left wondering what on earth was going to happen in the rest of the book.  About half way through, this drama turns into a murder mystery and I just couldn’t quite get my head around the whole thing.  It was all a bit far-fetched (which usually I can deal with but apparently not this time).

I found that there was a fair amount of repetition within the writing, and unfortunately this didn’t add anything for me, I just found it vaguely annoying.  I have to admit I didn’t warm to the main character, Rose McKenna, as I’d have liked to, but I did love her little girl Melly.  The last few chapters are my favourite part of the book (and I don’t mean that in a mean “because it was finally ending” way); they’re heart-warming and brought tears to my eyes.

I really hate it when I dislike a book, and whilst I didn’t hate it, it just didn’t do it for me.  I’ve seen other reviews from people who loved it, so don’t rule it out just yet….take a look and see what you think.

Save Me is Lisa Scottoline’s seventeenth novel (!!!!) which will be released on 15th March 2012, published by Ebury Press.  You can follow Lisa on twitter @LisaScottoline or find out more about her at www.lisascottoline.com

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Thank you to Headline Publicity for the copy of this book to review!!

** What it's about **

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Imagine if she hadn't forgotten the book. Or if there hadn't been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn't fumbled the coins for the toll. What if she'd run just that little bit faster and caught the flight she was supposed to be on. Would it have been something else - the weather over the Atlantic or a fault with the plane? 

Hadley isn't sure if she believes in destiny or fate but, on what is potentially the worst day of each of their lives, it's the quirks of timing and chance events that mean Hadley meets Oliver...

Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

** What I thought **

The statistical probability of you putting this book down once you've started is very very low.  Clear your schedule....

This book is incredibly easy to read, it’s kind of captivating and I found myself reading and reading until I’d turned the last page.  I’ve always been a believer in fate and destiny and this book takes that simple premise and turns it into a love story.  It makes you think, when you run back into the house to grab something you’ve forgotten, what difference will those few minutes make to your life? It could, after all, be life-changing.

It’s lovely to watch as the relationship between Hadley and Oliver develops.  I found myself smiling to myself at the closeness and instant chemistry that they both felt and it reminded me that every once in a while you stumble across someone who feels such a natural part of your life despite having known them only a few minutes or hours.  It might be predictable but it's without being cliched - it follows a natural progression which allows the reader to believe every word.

Whilst there aren’t any massive shockers, no cliff-hangers, this isn’t just a love story; it also focuses on Hadley’s relationship with her father.  This added a lovely depth to the book and was another thing I could relate to.  I felt the whole plotline was developed well considering the length of the book (only 215 pages of fairly big text!).

This book is set over a very short 24 hours and it makes for a gorgeously easy read, perfect for any occasion; a night in on the sofa, curled up in front of the fire, on the train or maybe on a plane.  Saying that, the feelings are intense, and watching them develop is wonderful.  This book is a bit like a bar of chocolate; it won’t last that long, but you’ll enjoy it very much whilst it lasts!  I, for one, would love to see a follow up to this – but that’s because I’m greedy and I want to know more!!

Review of Never Coming Home by Evonne Wareham

Thank you to Choc Lit UK once again for the advance copy of this book for review.  Never Coming Home is released on 8th March 2012 and you can pre-order it now from Amazon! (which I highly recommend you do!)

** What it's about **

All she has left is hope. 

When Kaz Elmore is told her five-year-old daughter Jamie has died in a car crash, she struggles to accept that she'll never see her little girl again. Then a stranger comes into her life offering the most dangerous substance in the world: hope. 

Devlin, a security consultant and witness to the terrible accident scene, inadvertently reveals that Kaz's daughter might not have been the girl in the car after all. 

What if Jamie is still alive? With no evidence, the police aren't interested, so Devlin and Kaz have little choice but to investigate themselves. 

Devlin never gets involved with a client. Never. But the more time he spends with Kaz, the more he desires her - and the more his carefully constructed ice-man persona starts to unravel. 

The desperate search for Jamie leads down dangerous paths - to a murderous acquaintance from Devlin's dark past, and all across Europe, to Italy, where deadly secrets await. But as long as Kaz has hope, she can't stop looking… 

** What I thought **

Whilst this is chick lit (there’s oodles of sexual tension and tanned skin to keep you dreamily staring at the page), it’s a unique type of chick lit.  It isn’t a meandering love story; it’s romance combined with a gripping plot – it’s a mystery, romantic thriller.  It's quite a solid read, but it's very easy to do so, easy to get wrapped in and very hard to put down (even when the natural break of a new chapter comes along!) - I had to convince myself to put it down in order to sleep!

This book is the perfect mix of romance and action with twists and turns around every corner.  I found it incredibly unpredictable, and refreshingly I didn’t guess the storyline before it happened.

Evonne Wareham is a fabulous writer; the book is told from alternating points of view (both Devlin and Kaz) and this allows the reader to see the same scenario from different perspectives.  The writing is witty, warm and wonderful!

The two main characters are easy to fall for, and no sooner have you opened the book are you drowning in their chocolatey goodness.  Choc Lit once again provide a delicious hero, and an equally delicious heroine.  Devlin is smooth but with a kick of danger – definitely chilli chocolate!!

Unbelievably this is Evonne Wareham’s debut novel – I cannot wait to see what other delights she comes up with.  Never Coming Home has a fantastic plot, written in the perfect way – it’s unputdownable! Equally heartbreaking as heartwarming! Finally, I can't leave without mentioning the cover - it's beautiful and I could stare at it all day.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Review of Highland Storms by Christina Courtenay

Thanks to Choc Lit for the copy of this book for review!

** What it's about **

Betrayed by his brother and his childhood love, Brice Kinross needs a fresh start.  So he welcomes the opportunity to leave Sweden for the Scottish Highlands to take over the family estate.

But there's trouble afoot at Rosyth in 1754 and Brice finds himself unwelcome. The estate's in ruin and money is disappearing.  He discovers an ally in Marsaili Buchanan, the beautiful redheaded housekeeper, but can he trust her?

Marsaili is determined to build a good life.  She works hard at being a housekeeper and harder still at avoiding men who want to take advantage of her.  But she's irresistibly drawn to the new clan chief, even though he's made it plain he doesn't want to be shackled to anyone.

And the young laird has more than romance on his mind.  His investigations are stirring up an enemy.  Someone who will stop at nothing to get what he wants - including Marsaili - even if that means destroying Brice's life forever.

** What I thought **

I have to admit when publishers ask what genres I read I always say everything except historical fiction.  So when Choc Lit UK (renowned for their delicious heroes) sent me a copy of Highland Storms, I was a little apprehensive.  Yet, this isn’t just any old historical fiction – this is historical romance fiction.  And yes, the hero in this IS delicious! So tuck in….!

This is the sequel to Trade Winds, but can be read as a stand-alone book.  It’s packed full of adventure and romance, friendship and love, loyalty and betrayal.

The characters were extremely well developed.  It didn’t take me long to hate Colin “the bad man” Seton and he is by far the best baddy I’ve seen portrayed in a book for a long time.  Brice is delicious (did I already mention that?!).  Marsali isn’t any normal woman, she isn’t a damsel in distress, she’s fiery and I loved that about her.  I have to say, apart from the steamy romance, I particularly loved Brice’s relationship with young Archie and Marsaili and Liath’s relationship was beyond special.

Amidst these strong characters comes the even stronger background.  The book is set in 1754, just as Scotland is beginning to settle after the Jacobite risings of 45.  Courtenay’s descriptive writing takes over you and draws you in to this far away world.  There are plenty of twists and turns along the way, leaving us with a well-paced and unpredictable action-packed read.

I believe next time come to visit the Kinross family we will get to discover Jamie (Brice’s brother).  I look forward to that – Christina Courtenay has been added to my list of authors to look out for in the future!

Review of Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

Firstly, I would like to thank Sharon over at Jera's Jamboree for running the competition which caused this book to come into my life.  Thanks also to Daniela Sacerdoti for getting involved with Sharon and a) doing the author's interview and b) picking me as the winner of a copy of her book Watch Over Me.  I loved reading about how the idea for this book came to be and then grew - you can read it too here.

** What it's about **

Eilidh Lawson's life is in crisis.  Years of failed fertility treatments, a cheating husband and an oppressive family have pushed her to the limits.  At the end of her tether, she runs away to the one place she things she can find solace - her childhood home in the Highlands.

There, as she struggles to mend her broken life, she reconnects with her childhood friend Jamie McAnena, who is trying to raise his daughter Maisie alone.  After Maisie's mother left to pursue a career in London and Jamie's own mother, Elizabeth, passed away, he has resigned himself to being a family of two.

But sometimes there is more to a story than meets the eye.  Despite their reluctance, curious circumstances keep bringing Jamie and Eilidh together.  For even when it seems all is lost, help can come from the most extraordinary places.

** What I thought **

I've sat here and stared at this review for too long, wanting to add more but it's difficult to put into words how poignant and beautiful this debut novel is.  Therefore, whilst you read what I have managed to convey, please think hard about getting yourself a copy of this.  There's something about it that's life-changing, it flicks a little switch inside of you that truly makes you consider life.

As I sit having just finished Watch Over Me, I can’t help but wonder how an author can come up with a debut as incredible as this (see here for an answer to that from Daniela herself!).  This book is honest and raw, it’s heart-wrenching and heart-warming, and it’s beautifully written.

When I first picked it up, I did think that it was going to be a little predictable, all too convenient to be realistic but how wrong I was.  It’s subtle, yet magical – there isn’t any of the “girl meets boy, boy goes off with other girl, boy comes back to girl” stuff here.  At times, I feared it was going to become that but it doesn't; it’s real and it’ll make you think about life.  There are so many ways that the added touch of Elizabeth’s “help beyond the grave” could have gone wrong, but Daniela doesn’t fall into any of the traps – it’s perfect.

The main characters Eilidh and Jamie are exceptionally easy to love.  And don’t even get me started on Maisie; what a gorgeous little angel!  The story is told in a unique and incredible way which draws you in instantly and lets you fall deeper and deeper until you’re totally captivated.  The writing itself is beautiful – I found myself re-reading passages just to absorb the beauty radiating from the page.

Take your time when you read this (I didn’t and devoured it in a matter of hours), absorb every word, because it’s totally and utterly worth it.  The first book I’ve ever wanted to read again before I’ve even finished turning the last page; this book will stay with me forever.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Review of Breakfast at Darcy's by Ali McNamara

Firstly, thank you to Sphere for the review copy of this book! (And sorry for the delay in posting - it got buried amongst other books)

** What it's about **

When Darcy McCall loses her beloved Aunt Molly, she doesn't expect any sort of inheritance - let alone a small island.  Located off the west coast of Ireland, Tara hasn't been lived on for years, but according to Molly's will Darcy must stay there for twelve months in order to fully inherit, and she needs to persuade a village full of people to settle there too.  Darcy has to leave behind her independent city life and swap stylish heels for muddy wellies.  Between sorting everything from the plumbing to the pub, Darcy meets confident Conor and ever-grumpy Dermot - but who will make her feel really at home?

** What I thought **

I was absolutely captivated by this book.  Now, at this point, I have to hold my hands up and admit that I’m a little biased in that I adore everything to do with Ireland.  Having Irish family and having the hots for the Irish accent are both contributors to this!  Yet whilst I can’t be 100% sure, I do think even without the Irish setting I’d adore this book.

I’ve read a couple of other reviews on this book and a few say the main character, Darcy, isn’t realistic.  Now I just don’t get this – she likes her designer clothes and likes to have her hair and nails done every once in a while – what exactly about that doesn’t add up?

This story explores the nearly-uninhabited island of Tara just off the west coast of Ireland.  Now remember this is chick lit so it’s not going to be page after page of descriptive scenery – it’s about the lives of the futures inhabitants of Tara but it has the most beautiful background setting and there were certainly enough descriptions for me to be transported to this beautiful place whilst I read.  I also loved the Celtic legends that came out through this book.

There are parts of the book which are predictable; I must admit I knew which of the men Darcy would ultimately end up with from pretty early on but it’s the journey that gets her there that makes this book so special.  There are also parts that you know are important and that they mean something, but the hints are subtle and so when the twist comes, you don’t see it coming at all.  It’s quite a thick book but Ali McNamara adds sub-plots which come into play just at the right time to hold your interest.  I loved the character development; McNamara makes you root from one person and then change to another at just the right time but without that character having to do anything in particular – her writing truly is wonderful.

My only criticism (which has nothing to do with Ali McNamara’s writing abilities) would be that the cover didn’t fit with the story.  I mean, it looks good but if anything, the back seemed more appropriate.

Ultimately, I was hooked to this book and ended up reading it over two very late nights because I literally couldn’t put it down.  It made me laugh, smile and by the end, I had tears in my eyes.

I haven’t read Ali McNamara’s debut From Notting Hill with Love…Actually but I will certainly be getting myself a copy now and I look forward to her next book too! McNamara is an author to keep your eye on!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Review of Working It Out by Nicola May

Ruby Matthews has a plan.  Twelve jobs in twelve months, until she finds the one of her dreams....

After an unexpected redundancy, Ruby begins to question her priorities.  Inspired by a quote from Kahlil Gibran about loving your work, she launches her mission to find the ideal job.

Her year of gainful (and sometimes painful!) employment includes nannying for clients in the South of France; dealing with embarrassing ailments in a Harley Street clinic; waiting tables in a buzzy Soho cafe; and meeting the celebs of years gone by in a home for retired actors.  And even though love is no longer top of her list, relationships just seem to start happening along the way - which sees her handing out some P45s of her own!

But will any of the jobs, or men she meets, see her dreams come true? Or will Ruby just end up back where she started?

I loved the sound of this book – Twelve jobs in twelve months.  And we’re not talking about any old boring jobs; we’re talking unique crazy jobs that will make you laugh!  This variety allowed the reader to meet a vast array of characters from all different walks of life.  I loved this aspect of the book – the characters weren’t all city-types or mums (you get the picture) – we meet so many different people!  Gorgeous George earns every single letter of his name and the banter he and Ruby share throughout the book is fabulous! I also loved Sam, Ruby’s brother who is blind.  He features throughout the book, and is portrayed so well!

At first I struggled with how short our encounters are with some of the jobs Ruby embarks on.  Yet, as I read on, I discovered that we see just enough to make us laugh or maybe cry, to see how it impacts on Ruby’s life and then we can move on to her next encounter.  If I had anything to criticise it would be that I would have liked to have known more about each job!

Amazingly, this book is self-published.  Despite the vast number of characters, I never forgot who any of them were when they reappeared later.  There are plenty of laugh out loud moments, and whilst you might guess the ultimate conclusion, it’s satisfying nonetheless. 

This clever idea of a book is definitely worth a read, and I’m really looking forward to reading Nicola’s next book Star Fish which takes the same premise but applies it to dating.  In Star Fish, we will meet Amy who is going to date her way through the twelve signs of the zodiac! Now, I’m not overly into horoscopes (I don’t believe I can live my life by them) but I do believe that your star sign affects who you are as a person (maybe some more than others).  

Finally, a big thank you to Nicola May for the copy of Working It Out to review.  Can't wait for Star Fish!!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Never Mind the Botox Series by Penny Avis & Joanna Berry

Never Mind the Botox Series

This is a set of four books about four professional women all working on the same deal; the sale of a high profile cosmetic surgery business.  I am more than intrigued to see how Avis and Berry are going to incorporate the same deal into four books without too much repetition. 

The first book focuses on Alex who works on the legal team aspect of the deal determining if there are any legal issues and negotiating the sale and purchase with the other side.

The second focuses on Rachel who works for a prestigious accounting firm and is working to discover the valuation of the business, and any skeletons in the closet that might affect that.

The third book (which won’t be out until Spring 2012!!!!!) follows Stella, a cosmetic surgeon at the business being bought.

The fourth and final book (which won’t be out until Summer 2012!!!!) follows Meredith, a senior banker.

Never Mind the Botox: Alex

I started with the first book which focuses on Alex, a high-flying lawyer chasing both partnership and wedding bells.  I was especially keen to read this one as I’m just about to embark on my very own legal career.

I found this book to be instantly engaging and I absolutely loved it! You get to know the characters in this book really well; they’re totally 3D.  I loved Dan!  The authentic setting of the book also really helps – Joanna Berry (co-author) has a first class honours law degree, is a qualified solicitor and has been a partner at Eversheds and so if anyone knows how to write a book about being a solicitor, it’s her!

I devoured this book as quickly as my sleeping schedule allowed!  It’s a wonderfully unique book that isn’t based on just women’s love lives but also on their career! I’m living in hope that I didn’t just love it because of the law connection, so I’m about to dive into the next book which focuses on Rachel to find out.

Never Mind the Botox: Rachel

Penny Avis (co-author) trained as an accountant and until 2009 was a high flying corporate finance partner at Deloitte.  Once again, like for the first book, this has allowed Avis and Berry to create a realistic world and transaction which makes it all the more interesting to read. 

I loved that these books didn’t just focus on one aspect of the heroine’s life (not just her shopping habit, her love-life dramas or her high-flying career).  It incorporated all aspects of the working women creating wonderfully 3D characters.  Real-life working women don’t JUST go to work; they also go out and play.  These books really focus on both sides of the career women and boy does it work for them!  I felt the social side more with Rachel but it’s certainly also prevalent in Alex as well.  Despite seeing Luke for much less time than Dan (from Alex) – I loved him more!

I shouldn’t have been concerned about the overlap following the same deal through four books.  Yes, there are cross-overs but that certainly isn’t a bad thing.  After a while, it then branches off into new twists which you didn’t uncover in the first book.  There are quite a few overlaps with the legal and financial side of the deal but from reading the synopsis of the third and fourth book, it would seem that they split even further to discover other completely unseen before twists, turns and skeletons affecting the deal.  I think it's a really unique and wonderful concept to allow the reader to discover the deal from a completely different angle each time.

Never Mind the Botox: TV SERIES

Joanna and Penny have signed a deal with Future Films for a TV series of Never Mind the Botox.  I can’t wait to see how they develop this fantastically unique set of books into a TV series!  Featured in Bella Magazine - it’s tipped to be a UK version of Sex & the City:

Question & Answer with Penny & Jo

Finally, Penny & Jo have kindly taken the time out to answer some questions for us: 

Book – Love – Bug: Do you think being a co-author bring additional complications and challenges to writing than doing it alone? Or does it bring much needed reassurance?

Penny & Jo: We much prefer writing together, particularly when it comes to plotting out the stories. Two heads have always been better than one for us.  If we could make each other laugh, or surprise the other with a plot twist, then it helped give us confidence that we were on the right track. It also makes it a less lonely profession and at moments of doubt or where we want to bounce ideas off each other it provides reassurance and an early editorial perspective which and individual author wouldn’t have.

Book – Love – Bug: I've always thought the best books come from those where the author can draw from personal experience.  Has it made it easier for you to write with the knowledge you've gained from your own careers? Did you need to do any additional research?

Penny & Jo: We totally agree! The advice to debut authors is nearly always ‘write what you know’ and that is what we’ve done.  Our personal experiences have been hugely important and we know that the settings for what we are writing are totally authentic. We researched the cosmetic surgery industry quite thoroughly before we started though, as that was new to both of us.

Book – Love – Bug: How do you think these books stand out from other books focused on career-women?

Penny & Jo: We really wanted to write about women who care about their careers as well as shoes, shopping and searching for Mr Right. We felt in other books, career women were often portrayed as very dominating or with very flawed personal lives. We feel our books focus on fun, likable, everyday characters just trying to get on with their jobs. We also hope our books provide an insight into the professions of the lead characters; professions which we don’t think have been represented in women’s fiction very often, if at all .

Book – Love – Bug: You must be really excited about the TV series - how much involvement will you have with it? Will you be avid viewers?

Penny & Jo: Really excited! And as we have signed a joint venture agreement (rather than just signing over the rights), we will be involved every step of the way. You bet we’ll be watching and will maybe even try and wangle a walk-on part!

Book – Love – Bug: Do you find the time to read as well as write - if so, what are you reading at the moment?

Penny & Jo: Right now, we don’t have much spare time for reading but Penny has ‘What the Nanny Saw’ by Fiona Neill on her bedside table and Jo is reading ‘I left my tent in San Francisco’ by Emma Kennedy.

Finally a big thank you to Lucy Black from Midas PR who somehow uncovered my blog and sent me out copies of both books for review!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Review of 'The Nightmare Thief' by Meg Gardiner

** What it's about **

San Francisco Forensic Psychiatrist Jo Beckett doesn't dissect the body or the crime scene - she dissects a life and a mind, recreating the victim as a person, piecing together the story of their death to get to the truth.  And then she goes after the killer.

Autumn Reiniger wants something special for her twenty-first birthday.  Daddy's bought her the car and the apartment, but now she wants excitement.

Her father signs up her and five friends for a "crime spree experience" with Edge Adventures.  They warn the police, ensuring that the authorities will ignore any squealing tyres or desperate cries for help.

Then - when working on a case nearby - Jo Beckett encounters a group of men carting six sullen college kids to the woods for a wilderness adventure.  Suspicious, she takes a closer look.  And winds up with an invite to a birthday party she may never leave...

** What I thought **

I struggled with the first 9-ish chapters of this book, whilst Gardiner sets the scene for all the action that is about to unfold.  I couldn’t really remember who was who, and thought I wasn’t ever going to really care.  However, once we get into the nitty-gritty kidnapping, it turns into a fast-paced action thriller which is packed full of non-stop action that will keep you turning the pages.  However, it’s much more action adventure (about survival) than thriller.

I believe this is the fourth book which follows Jo Beckett, and whilst I hadn’t read the other three, I didn’t feel I needed to in order to read and enjoy The Nightmare Thief.  I was a little disappointed that we don’t see much of the forensic psychiatrist side of Jo, but I suppose for that I should read the first three books in this series. 

You might need to suspend belief in real life for a while, but it’ll keep you entertained for a few hours.  It even has a life lesson, moral-to-the-story type ending thrown in for good measure.  It wasn’t predictable and the story intertwines and weaves its way towards the ending, but at the same time, there weren’t any jaw dropping light-bulb moments.  It was enjoyable, but perhaps not memorable enough for me to remember in a few weeks’ time.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Review of Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

** What it’s about **

I think some small part of me knew I was living an unsustainable life.  Every now and then, it would whisper, Sarah, please slow down.  You don’t need all this.

Sarah Nickerson has it all: the high-flying career, the loving family, the second home.  But does she have time to enjoy it? Too busy to pay attention, can she see what’s left neglected?

One fateful day, while driving to work, Sarah looks away from the road for one second too long.  In the blink of an eye, her chaotic life comes to a screeching halt.  In the wake of a devastating accident, it’s time for her to choose:

What does she really want?

** What I thought **

When I first picked up this book and read the back, I was a little wary as I started to read.  It reminded me of If I stay (Gayle Forman) and Afterwards (Rosamund Lupton); both books which focus on out-of-body experiences following some sort of accident.  The blurb of this book indicates that this book will follow in their wake, yet it doesn’t.  It stands totally aside; proud and unique.

The book starts off following our main character, Sarah Nickerson, 37, high-flying, career woman as she juggles her everyday life of family (3 young children) and work.  Then one day, her never-ending multi-tasking results in a car accident.  Whilst this isn’t fatal, she suffers a brain injury which results in Left Neglect, a real-life neurological condition which will change her life forever.

The title Left Neglected is very clever.  The blurb gives no indication of the content of the book, and as very few people are aware of the neurological syndrome (also known as unilateral neglect or hemispatial neglect), the reader is left to discover this through Sarah.  Yet this book isn’t just about the condition Sarah suffers from, it’s about the things in life that have been left neglected whilst she pursues her career.  It also brings Sarah and her mother back together.  Will Left Neglect make her finally realise what she’s forgotten about and will she think she’s been missing out or will she rush back to her old life as soon as possible?

This book is a haunting reminder that things can change in an instant.  It’s certainly stuck with me – if I’m ever tempted to glance at my phone or press a little harder on the accelerator, this book comes back to me; it says “Is it worth it?  Whatever it is can wait, wherever you’re going can wait a few extra minutes.”  This book makes you realise what we take for granted every day.  The only time we really tell ourselves to “look left, look right” is when we’re crossing the road – imagine having to remind yourself that every minute of every day, and even then not being able to trust yourself that you’re actually seeing what is there, and not just what your brain perceives to be.

There aren’t any massive cliff hangers, but Lisa Genova doesn’t need them to keep you reading.  Her writing style does this all by itself.  It isn’t all doom and gloom; it’s certainly an eye-opener but it’s packed with other parts of family life as well.  One of my favourite bits of the book is when Sarah and her son Charlie are doing their homework together (look out for it). 

I haven’t read Still Alice so cannot compare this to Genova’s previous novel, but after reading Left Neglected, I’ll certainly be getting hold of a copy of Still Alice.  If I had to pick up on anything in this book, it’d be that the ending felt perhaps a little rushed in terms of Sarah’s mum.  Yet overall, it's a great read packed with a life lesson for us all.