Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Review: Together apart by Natalie Martin

Book cover

When Adam proposes to Sarah, the last thing he expects is to be single and heartbroken less than forty-eight hours later. But Sarah has a secret, and she's willing to sacrifice everything to keep it.

Going through a break-up is hard enough but having to live together afterwards is even worse, especially when it's a break-up neither person wants. For Adam, only ways to deal with it are drinking and partying. For Sarah, it’s keeping her distance and her secrets.

Against a backdrop of lies, betrayals and passion, the delicate threads holding Sarah's secret begin to unravel when her past and present collide. Romantic, intense and heartbreaking, Together Apart explores what it really means to love and be loved.

My Thoughts:

I love a good puzzle so heartily enjoyed this book about passion, secrets and lies by omission. All brought to a head when past and present collide.  Having enjoyed it so much I was surprised to see some harsh reviews on Amazon. 

What I loved about this book was its originality which kept me guessing until the end. It had a way of pulling you in and being anxious to solve the puzzle I found it very hard to put down. It was certainly different too from other books I've read and was an easy and pleasant read. It is this easy style which makes it a perfect holiday read.

It is really hard to say more without revealing any clues but I thought the pieces of the puzzle fitted together well. Whilst some other readers may dismiss it as dull or find the secret unrealistic I can only that add that this is a work of fiction. Stranger things can and have happened in life. I have no idea what inspired this novel but I wonder myself if it could have been a newspaper clipping.

Recommended as light or holiday reading.

(Review copy received via NetGalley in return for an honest review.)

  • Format: Kindle Edition
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (23 Jun. 2015)

Monday, 29 June 2015

Review: Mireille by Molly Cochran

Near the end of World War II, seventeen-year-old Mireille de Jouarre flees the home of her stepfather, a Nazi collaborator and abusive drunk. She finds shelter with her childhood friend Stefan, and the two fall deeply in love. But as the fighting escalates, Mireille must escape alone to Paris, where she discovers she’s pregnant and lacking a way to provide for her child.

Book coverSo begins her new life as l’Ange—the Angel. After an unlikely meeting with a wealthy aristocrat in a Parisian hotel—and her acceptance of his solicitation—Mireille becomes the most celebrated poule in all of France, eliciting huge fees and invitations to exclusive parties. At one of these events, Mireille meets Oliver Jordan, an American womanizer and film producer, and is soon launching a promising film career. As her star rises, Mireille is determined to bury her past. But her success isn’t as carefree and glittery as it seems, and when her daughter’s future is threatened, Mireille must make a deadly decision in a desperate attempt to finally choose her own path.

My Thoughts:

Sometimes a book does live up to its cover. Attracted initially by the cover, I enjoyed this immensely. Mireille is a nostalgic tragedy of contrasts where the most beautiful women in the world isn't who she seems. Set mainly in the 50 and 60s and reminiscent of the bestsellers and blockbusters of the nineties it tells the tale of a women who overcomes the tragedies of her youth to find fame and fortune in Hollywood. The lovely cover portrays beautifully the new Mireille hailed the new Garbo.

Mireille is a survivor but again and again her hopes and dreams turn to dust. As each new escape turns into a new prison it becomes increasingly difficult to put this addictive page turner down. Whilst Mireille had her weaknesses it was this fighting spirit which I found so easy to relate to and what I liked about her.

Despite the tragedy it was a lovely relaxing read which I can recommend to all lovers of nostalgia. My only criticism is whilst I loved it I had trouble tying in the first chapter which sets the scene for the rest of the book with what followed. Somehow they didn't match up for me.

(Review copy received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (9 Jun. 2015)

Friday, 26 June 2015

Review: The Ballroom Café by Ann O'Loughlin

Book cover
Sisters Ella and Roberta O'Callaghan haven't spoken for decades, torn apart by a dark family secret from their past. They both still live in the family's crumbling Irish mansion, communicating only through the terse and bitter notes they leave for each other in the hallway. But when their way of life is suddenly threatened by bankruptcy, Ella tries to save their home by opening a café in the ballroom – much to Roberta's disgust.

As the café begin to thrive, the sisters are drawn into a new battle when Debbie, an American woman searching for her birth mother, starts working at the Ballroom Café. Debbie has little time left but as she sets out to discover who she really is and what happened to her mother, she is met by silence and lies at the local convent. Determined to discover the truth, she begins to uncover an adoption scandal that will rock both the community and the warring sisters.

Powerful and poignant, The Ballroom Café is a moving story of love lost and found.

My Thoughts:

Attracted by the cover,  teaser and introductory bargain price on Amazon the characters were older than I'd assumed. Whilst it wasn't what I'd initially expected, I really enjoyed it. It was an extremely engaging and interesting multithreaded read about two sisters and the effect of loss and deceit. It was very hard to put down.

This a book with depth, filled with sentiment and well thought out characters. I really liked the way the story unfolded. This could have been Ella's story but it was more than that with the introduction of Debbie and another storyline. It is a tale crafted about people, their choices and subsequent consequence. Parts were very sad. The author gave little away with each chapter revealing more surprises.

Not an author who I had read before, I am looking forward to discovering more such interesting books.  Highly recommend.

  • Format: Kindle Edition
Publisher: Black & White Publishing (14 May 2015)

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Review: A Mother's Story by Amanda Prowse

Book cover

I deserve all this because I did the worst thing a woman can do. The very worst.

Jessica's wedding was like a fairytale. Her dress strewn with crystals. Her dad made a tearful speech. Her husband Matthew declared himself the luckiest man alive.

But when their beautiful baby girl is born, Jessica is gripped by panic. She can’t tell anyone how she feels. Even when her life starts to spiral out of control...

This is her story.  A mother’s story.

My Thoughts:

An interesting and intriguing read where we literally step into Jessica's shoes because this is her story. Switching back between the past and the present Jessica's tale gently unfolds as Amanda cleverly does her thing and utilises her story telling skills.

I liked this book and if you read and enjoyed Still Alice I think you will too. However it is a disturbing read making it an interesting but not relaxing read. My mother read it too on my recommendation and whilst she couldn't put it down said she didn't enjoy it.

Whilst the story is indeed shocking I found it easy to emphasise with Jessica. Throughout the book the past somehow feels more real than the present which I suspect is deliberate. The present is told mostly by letters,  as a result of which I as reader I felt more detached.

I have read a lot of Amanda's work and enjoyed most but not all of them, this is certainly one of the best and prompted me to preorder a copy of "Perfect Daughter".

Format: Kindle Edition

Publisher: Head of Zeus (26 Feb. 2015)