Monday, 17 March 2014

Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

This review contains a **SPOILER** in the last paragraph!!!

I thought the premise of this book was interesting.  It's good, but it isn't amazing and if you over-analyse it, it becomes totally ridiculously unrealistic. However, at the same time, it's chilling to think something like this could happen to you, and how dependent you would be on your nearest and dearest if you woke every morning not remembering anything about your life. 

I was pleasantly surprised, as when I first started reading and gathered exactly what the story was about, I was worried that it would be too repetitive. Whilst elements are obviously repeated, the author mostly manages to do it on a way that is refreshing each time and interesting. 

I was slightly disappointed by the ending - it leaves too much to the imagination.  I wanted more closure, more explanation.  

**SPOILER ALERT** - I wondered throughout most of the book whether Ben was making her worse by giving her some sort of drug, and thought that was the direction the book was going to go in.  I was wrong but somehow there were elements that just didn't ring true with the ending. Too many unanswered questions, too much of a "fairytale ending" which doesn't quite sit true, but still an enjoyable light read. 

The Wedding Cake Tree by Melanie Hudson

I haven't adored a book in the way I adore The Wedding Cake Tree for a while. I became totally and utterly immersed in Grace's journey, and the hunky Alasdair was a wonderfully packaged bonus. 

Hudson writes in the most descriptive manner that you feel like you are living and breathing the story with Grace. I found my eyes brimming with tears on more than one occasion, whilst at times my heart ached, and at other times it sung and fluttered with joy.  

I loved the different locations as well - I could see them so clearly in my mind, and on occasions it felt like I was actually there.

As with all ChocLit, there are twists and turns along the way. There are elements that I guessed, but that took nothing away from my enjoyment of the book. I absolutely loved it. 

A truly amazing story of living life to the full, of discovery, of loss and sadness, and what can happen if you are in the right place at the right time.

Gorgeous, simply divine.  

Sunday, 9 March 2014

A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon

Thank you to Veronique at Hodder & Stoughton for the review copy of A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon.

I found A Hundred Pieces of Me to be a slow burner book.  It didn't have me totally and utterly hooked from the first page, but it did interest me and I thought the concept was very clever.  

"Letters from the only man she's ever truly loved.
                                   A keepsake of the father she never really knew.                                   A blue glass vase that catches the light on a grey day.
Gina Bellamy is starting again, after a few years she'd rather forget. But the belongings she's treasured for so long don't seem to fit who she is now.
So Gina makes a resolution. She'll keep just a hundred special items - the rest can go.
But that means coming to terms with her past and learning to embrace the future, whatever it might bring . . ."
It wasn't until quite a way into the book that I became hooked.  Each chapter begins with a flash back to some time in Gina's past.  It doesn't really seem to follow any particular pattern, but it moves almost too seamlessly between the past and the present.  I did catch myself occasionally thinking "right, which era am I reading about now" but after a while it becomes second nature and it works amazingly well.

I loved Gina (inspirational), I loved Buzz (heartbreakingly cautious), I loved Willow (adorable!) and I loved Nick (why isn't he in my life)!!!

The story is life affirming, it's inspirational and hopefully will make you want to live life to the full.  Towards the end of the book, the scene between Gina and her mother had me sobbing!

I'm not entirely honest how I feel about the end.  For the book, and the message that the book conveys, it is perfect.  But part of me was disappointed not to know more.  There are loose ends which are very much not tied up.  However, having looked at the other reviews on Amazon, I notice that Lucy Dillon has a habit of revisiting loved characters in her future books to check in on them and see how they're getting on (I hadn't read a Lucy Dillon book previously so didn't know this).  I hope more than anything, that Gina features (happily) in a future book!

You can follow the author @lucy_dillon or on Facebook.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

After I Left You by Alison Mercer

The publisher's description of this book grabbed my attention, and I'm glad that it did, because it's a book I very much enjoyed. 

The book is split into parts, Anna in the present day and Anna in the past at university in Oxford. It's clear from the present day chapters that something happened whilst Anna was at university.  It's clear she split up from her (then) love of her life, it's clear she was betrayed and it's clear one of the group is no longer with them BUT it isn't obvious who she was betrayed by, or how, or what happened to Keith. You meander all the way through the book, and you might have an inkling but it isn't obvious or predictable. There aren't any particularly major twists to the book, but I liked that it wasn't obvious and it wasn't something that you were pressingly forced to think about. It meant you could quietly indulge in the story itself and let the truth come out in its own time. 

The switch between decades was seamless and very well done.  The characters were full of life, and the description of the setting was really lovely at times.  

If anything, I would have liked to have a little more made of the ending but I appreciate why it is how it is. 

After I left you is due to be released in paperback on 31 July 2014, but I believe you can download the ebook now! Thank you to Leanne for the advanced review copy, which was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. 

You can follow the author on twitter @AlisonLMercer or on Facebook.  You can also find Alison's blog here.