The Girlfriend – Michelle Frances

I can’t remember where or why this popped up on my to-read list, but it ended up on my Audible account, and so I started listening to it last week, as I was driving the three/four hours from Sheffield back down to London. Touted as a psychological thriller, this was more of a story of two utterly despicable women fighting over a totally bland man, both in obsessive and frankly disturbing ways.

The Girlfriend – Michelle Frances

33974714The addictive Number One bestselling thriller, perfect for fans of Into the Water.

A girl. A boy. His mother. And the lie she’ll wish she’d never told.

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a gripping and chilling debut psychological thriller, based on the fall-out following an unforgiveable lie. It looks at the potentially charged relationship between girlfriend, boyfriend and his mother, which most women can identify with, and locates it in an extreme but believable setting.

Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but she hasn’t had the same opportunities as Daniel. And she wants Laura’s life.

Cherry comes to the family wide-eyed and wants to be welcomed with open arms, but Laura suspects she’s not all that she seems.

When tragedy strikes, an unforgiveable lie is told. It is an act of desperation, but the fall-out will change their lives forever.

There was plenty that was admirable in this book. Cherry and Laura were both terrible people, but they were certainly believable. Unfortunately, I saw nothing worth fighting for in Daniel himself, so both women’s obsession with him, whether because he represented the perfect family life, or because he was a ticket out of the drudgery that Cherry’s early life had been, was utterly bewildering to me.

The blurb says that Frances locates this power struggle between two women in an extreme but believable setting, but honestly, I don’t believe it. From the off, this book was predictable, with the cover and early hints showing exactly what was going to happen in the end.

Cherry’s and Laura’s power plays were interesting enough, but they didn’t exactly draw me in. Besides that, the blurb makes it sound like the whole story stems from an unforgiveable lie, and we come in right before that happens, but actually, the lie only appears about half-way/two-thirds of the way through the book, so the majority of the story, I actually spent waiting for it to get going.
The slowness of the start of the story meant that I spent much of the book waiting for something to happen, because I felt like the massive lie (which was huge, and ridiculous) was the real starting point of the story, so everything which came before that was preamble.

Boy, though, that was a lot of preamble.

While enjoyable, I think this book had some serious pacing issues, and predictability issues, as well as being difficult to believe a lot of the time. locating a story in the world of the superrich means that some things have to just be glossed over (the lift from the garage to the living areas, for example), but there were other aspects of it that stretched the bounds of believability, and aspects of it that were too coincidental to be true.

Not a terrible read, but the more I think about it now, the more I roll my eyes at it. Definitely not something I’ll be reading again, but it was enjoyable enough at the time!

Three Stars
***

 

PS  I may have to cut myself down to two blog posts a week at this rate. I am BUSY, and running out of time to blog. Or read!

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Tower of Dawn – Sarah J Maas

My review of the last Throne of Glass book, Empire of Storms, although split between two posts, had two major complaints. One of those complaints was that there was no Chaol.
Well, over the course of the next year, it became clear why there was no Chaol in Empire of Storms – it’s because he got his entire own book, Tower of Dawn.
More than a year since I finished Empire of Storms, and Tower of Dawn popped up on BorrowBox – this was great, because it meant I could read it without breaking my self-imposed book buying ban, so although it took me over a week, and I read it all on my phone, which wasn’t the most comfortable reading experience, I got to immerse myself in Chaol’s story, which was so sorely missing from EoS, and also enjoy two bad-ass women kicking butts and taking names!

Tower of Dawn – Sarah J Maas

33306347In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

Tower of Dawn takes a different direction from the other ToG books. Running in parallel to Empire of Storms, it follows Chaol as he seeks healing for the disastrous spinal injury he suffered at the end of Queen of Shadows, and also asks the Khagan for his assistance in the upcoming war against the dark. Together with Chaol, we’re also inside the heads of Nesryn Faliq, the new Captain of the Royal Guard of Ardalan, and Yrene Towers, the heir-apparent to the Healer on High and a character we saw in the bindup of prequel stories, The Assassin’s Blade, in a brief encounter with Celaena.

Two of the major complaints I had about EoS were totally erased here. With too many perspectives in EoS, I felt it was sprawling somewhat, and character development got lost. That wasn’t the case here. With just three heads to be inside, it was tight and interlinked. The parallel nature of this book and EoS also meant that we had delicious insights into what was happening on the Northern continent that Chaol & co did not – that Skull Bay tip, we knew what was going to happen there way before Chaol did.

My second complaint, no Chaol, was also totally dealt with. There is plenty of Chaol going on here, and links back to old characters and main characters from the first five books (plus the bindup), which is great, as it makes the whole series feel like a really cohesively plotted arc (even though I’m preeeeetty sure it wasn’t, in the beginning).

Although originally planned as a novella, and it does show in times, with development a little thin on the ground in places, I very much enjoyed the change of pace that Tower of Dawn represents in the Throne of Glass story. With some interesting disability representation, which I’m not going to talk too much about, because it’s not my bag, and a cast of almost entirely PoC and many WoC taking centre stage, the diversity of this book was certainly to be admired – it was more than a typical white-centric middle England fantasy, but woven into the story in a way which didn’t feel tokenistic. Again, though, as diversity of ethnicity isn’t my bag either (I’m very white, you see), I’ll leave commentary on that to more relevant people.

Lastly, there was some LGBTQ representation here, including one prominent lesbian couple in a royal family, no less. Interesting, but more please!

Some weaknesses in this book, certainly, and it dragged in the middle, a sign that it was originally only meant to be a novella, but a great addition to the canon, with some interesting reveals of motivations of major characters, and links with my fave (Lysandra!!)

Once again, however, I’m in the position of waiting for the next book without so much as a cover or a title, and I’m impatient!

Four Stars
****

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The Start of Me and You – Emery Lord

I am really loving the fact that I have downloaded BorrowBox – ebooks and audiobooks on my phone, borrowed from the library, without even having to leave my bed. It’s *such* a good idea.

I also have to point out that I missed yesterday’s blog post. I was so busy I completely forgot to write. I’m also going to be very busy tomorrow, so I’m merging Wednesday and Friday’s posts into one Thursday post, because I have an hour free to write now, and my most loyal reader is actually staying in my house right now, so I can just tell her my thoughts on books.

So The Start of Me and You is the first Emery Lord book I’ve read, although there’s another queued up on my Kindle waiting for me to get around to it. It was a great introduction to Emery Lord, actually, because I really quite enjoyed this book. It was sweet and it was enjoyable, it was easy to read, and it had some heft. All good things.

The Start of Me and You – Emery Lord

35546621.jpgCan you plan happiness?

It’s been a year since Paige’s first boyfriend died in a swimming accident and it’s time she rejoined the real world.

So she makes a plan:
1. Date a boy (long-standing crush Ryan Chase seems like the perfect choice)
2. Attend parties (with best friends by your side: doable)
3. Join a club (simple enough, right?)
4. Travel (might as well dream big)
5. Swim (terrifying. Impossible)

But when she meets Ryan’s sweet but so nerdy cousin, Max, he opens up her world and Paige’s plans start to change. Is it too late for a second chance at life?

Brimming with characters so real you feel you could pick up the phone and call them, The Start of Me and You will prove that it’s never too late for second chances. Perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Jennifer Niven and John Green.

Emery Lord is a great contemporary writer. Paige was navigating high school, trying to find out who she is, trying to really live life again. Her plan for how to do this involves ticking several things off a list, including kissing a boy, joining a new club, and swimming again, after the death of her boyfriend in a drowning accident a year and a half prior.

There was so much in this book that I loved. Paige was such a likeable and understandable main character. I really felt her confusion and grief at the death of her boyfriend, and I loved that we picked up with her a year and a half after the incident – so the book wasn’t so much about dealing with the immediate, horrendous grief of the aftermath, but more about the lingering effects which echoed through her life over the following years.

Points which I really liked about this book: Paige’s friendships. Paige and her girls were such a tight group, supportive and they really helped each other through tough times. I also really loved Paige’s development as she comes to understand what that female friendship means.

Further than that, I thought the two love interests were great. Long-term crush Ryan Chase and his quiet, unassuming cousin Max played very different roles, and Paige’s understanding of the difference between a fantasy relationship and the real connection that comes of spending time with someone and laughing with them was lovely to see.

There were a couple of things in the book that I wasn’t that impressed with – making fun of Max’s firefly t-shirt, for example. Firefly is awesome, and a cult classic – plus nerd culture is so in right now, that it jarred with me to think that it would be made fun of. And then the climax and resolution of the book were a little predictable, to be honest.

But they were minor quibbles in what was overall a hugely enjoyable experience. I’m looking forward to reading other contemporaries by Lord, and finding out what other adventures we can go on together.

Four Stars
****

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Challenge Update

One and a half months to go on my 2017 reading challenge, and I’m really getting down to the nitty gritty.

When I published my last post about the reading challenge, I had 11 categories still to fill. They were two titles, six first names, and three last names.

In the two months since then, I’ve managed to tick off another six of those categories, which means I have five still to fill.

Interestingly, the categories I’ve ticked off aren’t necessarily filled with the books I thought they might be.

Title

I had two blank spots in title, K, and Z. I was intending to fill K with a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, but actually ended up reading Kill Me Twice before that, so that’s K ticked off.

Z is still open, but Zenith is sitting at the top of my to-read pile, if I’ll ever get around to it…

First Names

I, Q, U, X, Y, Z

I was ticked off the list pretty quickly, with Nutshell, which I didn’t enjoy.

Q was a book bought specifically to tick it off, by Quenby Olson which I also didn’t enjoy.

U is still as yet unfilled, but it’s going to be A Wizard of Earthsea, which I’m going to reread before the end of the year.

X was Xavier Neal, another book bought specifically for the purpose of filling in a blank, and it was a terrible mistake.

Y remains not only blank, but also uninspired. I don’t think I can think of any authors whose first name begins with Y. What names even begin with Y? I need help here!

Z was unexpectedly crossed off. Although I had been intending to read Barefoot on the Wind, I actually ended up reading The Note last week, which happened to be written by a woman named Zoe. And I think I enjoyed it more for the fact that I didn’t read it specifically to fill a category!

Finally, there’s the surnames. This is the one that’s stumping me.

Surnames

Q, U, X

I actually managed to tick off Q, with a book written by Susan Kaye Quinn. It was about mind control, and wasn’t great, but wasn’t terrible either. I don’t think I’ll be bothering to read the sequels.

However, the last two letters, U, and X, are also really troubling me. I’ve had a think about surnames which start with U – Underwood, Underhill, Urwin, Unwin? But I can’t think of any authors that have those surnames. I’m going to have to go to the library and comb the shelves to see if I can find something.

As for X, well, I decided to check on Amazon to see if there was someone with the surname Xavier, since it worked to find me a first name, but the only one I could find writes gay erotica, and that’s reallllllly not the kind of stuff I’m looking for.

34168885

 

One and a half months to go. Five more categories to fill. I have two books picked out and ready to go – Zenith and Ursula Le Guin for title and first name. But I am utterly perplexed by the other three, and am going to have to do some serious research.

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Going Viral – Amy Alward

I read and enjoyed the first two Potion Diaries books last year, mentioning that they’re a fun and fantasy-laden adventure through the delights of a world where smartphones go hand in hand with magic, and our heroine is a potionista who just happens to be best friends with a princess.

The third book, Going Viral, finishes up the trilogy, and was released earlier this year. Before I actually bought it, I noticed that it was on my local library’s ebook app, so read it over the course of a day or two as I commuted. It’s every bit as fun and flashy as the previous instalments, and a satisfying conclusion to a light and not terribly taxing trilogy.

Going Viral – Amy Alward

33573083Having managed to find her great-grandmother’s potion diary, escape Emilia Thoth, save her grandfather’s memories AND become a Master Alchemist, surely it’s time for Sam to have a good, long rest? And maybe, just maybe, a date with her boyfriend Zain?

But now that Evelyn is married and showing symptoms of the Gergon illness, it looks as though Sam’s adventures are just beginning…

I don’t really have any complaints about Going Viral. It was fun, it was fluffy, it was enjoyable. It branched out into more of the world around Sam Kemi’s adventures, this time going to the home of alchemy, the place where her ancestors were born, and meeting master alchemists from around the world (even if just via video calling).

I really liked that this book introduced the phoenix, after having seen the unicorn and the dragon in the previous two books. It’s like the holy trinity of mythical animals was complete. Sam’s relationship with her best friend, her sister, and her boyfriend were all well drawn and believable, and the additional element of social media and filming a television show added a degree of realism to this fantasy fun.

I don’t feel like the potion diaries trilogy as a whole is in any way taxing, nor will it linger in my mind overlong, but it was certainly fun, and I enjoyed reading all three books. If Alward starts up another series when I’m looking for something light and enjoyable, I certainly won’t be averse to reading it.

Plus, all three covers are spectacular, in a really cute and girly way.

Three Stars
***

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White Bodies – Jane Robins

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

Although the NetGalley email I received for this book made it sound really great, once I actually picked it up, it wasn’t quite what it had been advertised as, and I was less impressed than I thought I would be, sadly.

White Bodies – Jane Robins

32920301.jpgFelix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless façade, not everything is as it seems.

Callie, Tilda’s unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix’s domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix’s uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister’s arms.

Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies—or was he murdered?

White Bodies was an interesting concept, with a great vibe running through it. Twins Tilda and Callie both have serious issues and this darkly serious book has a lot of twists and turns. With Callie getting sucked into a website that may be more than it seems, and Tilda seeming to fall deeper and deeper into the clutches of her sinister and controlling husband, the tension in the book built up deliciously towards the climax of Felix’s death.
However, after that, it all seemed to go a bit flat, and I felt like a lot of the tension was lost. While Callie was certainly mixed up in something more than she had bargained for, the book’s latter half lost the eerie, creepy feeling that had been building up in the beginning, and I was left plodding through the ending, unsurprised and unimpressed by the final reveals. Some great moments in this book, but ultimately, I don’t think it will stick in my mind.

Three Stars
***

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Three Wishes – Liane Moriarty

I’ve read a lot of Liane Moriarty’s books – almost all of them, I think, at this stage. But I seem to have been going about things backwards, as Three Wishes is her debut, but it’s the second-to-last that I’ve read. I have only The Hypnotist’s Love Story left to go and I’ll have read everything of hers (everything adult, at least). Perhaps because it was her debut, or perhaps because it was an audiobook, or just perhaps because I’ve read a few of her books, some of the structure and pacing felt a tiny bit flat, but only a tiny bit.

Three Wishes – Liane Moriarty

28531300Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle, beautiful thirty-three-year-old triplets, seem to attract attention everywhere they go. Whenever they’re together, laughter, drama, and mayhem seem to follow. But apart, each is very much her own woman, dealing with her own share ofups and downs. Lyn has organized her life into one big checklist, juggling the many balls of work, marriage, and motherhood with expert precision, but is she as together as her datebook would have her seem? Cat has just learned a startling secret about her marriage — can she bring another life into her very precarious world? And can free-spirited Gemma, who bolts every time a relationship hits the six-month mark, ever hope to find lasting love?

In this wise, witty, hilarious new novel, we follow the Kettle sisters through their thirty-third-year, as they struggle to survive their divorced parents’ dating each other, their technologically savvy grandmother, a cheating husband, champagne hangovers, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a threesome. A family comedy about sibling rivalry, “Three Wishes is an assured and warmhearted debut.

I listened to the Audible version of this book, narrated by Gemma Lee. I have to say, Gemma Lee did an incredibly good job. Even with the three main characters being triplets, she had such distinct ways of voicing them that I had no trouble telling them apart. Also, Maddie, the 18-month old terror, was voiced with such jubilance and mischief that I found myself laughing almost every time she was on air (on the page? On screen? I don’t know what the appropriate ‘on’ is for an audiobook!)

Three Wishes was written with Liane Moriarty’s typical humour, with serious issues dealt with deftly, but lightened by delightful insights and ridiculous asides. The relationship between the three Kettle triplets felt so real, so loving, so full of hatred and frustration and joy, that I was absolutely captivated by it.

I had only two proper issues with this book. The first was that I’m a tiny bit sick of opening with a melodramatic scene and then circling back so that we can see the buildup to it. It was done in Big Little Lies, it was done in Truly, Madly Guilty, and even though this was written before either of them, because I read it after, it’s Three Wishes that feels the force of my boredom with this structure.
The second issue I had, and I think this was in part because of the audiobook structure, was that I had some issues with the narrative jumping between characters. Although I had little trouble telling the difference between the three triplets, the book was interspersed with unnamed characters telling stories about the Kettle triplets. I’m assuming that in the print version, this change of perspective was obvious through paragraph breaks, page breaks, or some other visual cue, but this wasn’t really the case in the audiobook. Especially in the prologue, which switches between several characters describing a birthday night out in a restaurant, it was far from clear when the characters were switching voices, and this continued throughout the book.

But on the whole, I really, really enjoyed Three Wishes. It was funny, it was warm, it was a lovely portrait of three women who each think the others have it made, and the frustrations and tensions between three sisters. There were some farcical moments in the book which made me roll my eyes, but the explanation given for some character linkages was actually somewhat believable, and mostly I just rolled with it.

Sweet, but with a certain degree of bite, Three Wishes is certainly a strong entry in Liane Moriarty’s catalogue.

Four Stars
****

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Goodbye, Perfect – Sara Barnard

I received a copy of this book on NetGalley from the publisher.

Sara Barnard’s A Quiet Kind of Thunder is my Q book for this year, and was massively enjoyable. I also have Beautiful Broken Things sitting in my teetering TBR pile (or one of the three piles), patiently waiting for me to get around to it. Barnard’s third offering, Goodbye, Perfect, tells the story of Eden, and her keeping secrets for her best friend after Bonnie runs away with their music teacher. Although the Galley I got had some formatting issues which made aspects of it very hard to read, there’s a good chance I’ll be picking this up when it’s published. Those covers, and how shiny they are – how could I not want all of them on my shelf??

Goodbye, Perfect – Sara Barnard

35495848When I was wild, you were steady . . .
Now you are wild – what am I? 

Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.

Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts.

As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.

 

Sara Barnard does it again. Goodbye, Perfect was perfectly pitched, a story of sisters and best friends, discovering who you are and who the people around you are. I loved Eden’s fierce, unstoppable love for her younger sister Daisy, and her bewildered and angry begrudging of her older sister Violet. Achingly real in how it’s drawn, it was wonderful to have a main character with a boyfriend who’s supportive and interesting, more than just a YA dreamboat, and actually essential in developing the story of the book. Together with that bizarre feeling of realising that you don’t know your best friend half as well as you thought you did, and set against the backdrop of GCSE week, Goodbye, Perfect was that unusual kind of book where the main character isn’t the bookish, studious character gone wild, but her already troubled best friend, bewildered at how she’s ended up left behind in the dark. Debating the lines of loyalty to your friends against the insistence of all those around you that you need to break that trust, Eden’s development over that week in the early summer was enthralling to read. I particularly loved her fragile, fractured relationship with Violet, the older sister whose family she invaded without invitation, without giving Violet a choice in the matter, and how it develops over those days of Bonnie’s jaunt off with her teacher.
Set against the backdrop of the seediest of relationships, a fifteen year old who’s been groomed by her teacher to run away so that they can be together, Eden was a wonderful companion along this journey, and I ended up standing in the middle of the pavement after getting off the bus so that I could finish the final pages of this. Barnard is quickly becoming a leading voice in UKYA, and her pitch-perfect depiction of those awkward and frustrating teenage years where everyone looks at you like you’ll grow up and learn how wrong you were soon is more relatable than I know what to do with.

Four Stars
****

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October Roundup

 

October has been a great month for reading for me. I started a new job three days a week which has put me back on the tube for an hour each way. In the morning I travel with my dad, and we compete to see who can do the crossword faster (it’s ALWAYS him), but in the evenings I can get in some uninterrupted reading time. I’m also trying to get more audiobooks playing when I’m doing things other than driving. As well as that, I’ve been just hanging around and reading at home since I don’t need to dedicate my spare time to jobhunting any more (or feeling guilty about not jobhunting). All in all, October has gone pretty well.

Books

  1. The Riddle – Alison Croggon
  2. More Than This – Patrick Ness
  3. There’s Someone Inside Your House – Stephanie Perkins
  4. The Taste of Blue Light – Lydia Ruffles
  5. Hekla’s Children – James Brogden
  6. Just Haven’t Met You Yet – Cate Woods
  7. Windfall – Jennifer E Smith
  8. One Perfect Summer – Paige Toon
  9. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  10. The Memory Game – Nicci French
  11. Fortunately, The Milk – Neil Gaiman
  12. The Deviants – CJ Skuse
  13. A Thousand Pieces of You – Claudia Gray
  14. The Ice Dragon – George RR Martin
  15. Going Viral – Amy Alward
  16. Havoc – Xavier Neal
  17. Ten Thousand Skies Above You – Claudia Gray
  18. It Only Happens In The Movies – Holly Bourne
  19. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  20. Goodbye, Perfect – Sara Barnard

Short Stories

  • One Perfect Christmas – Paige Toon

Cover Art

 

Favourite Book This Month

Gosh, tough one. I had two five-star rated books this month – Fortunately, The Milk, and It Only Happens In The Movies. They were both brilliant in totally different ways, and I found it really hard to pick between them. I’ve plumped for Fortunately, The Milk as my favourite book simply because I wasn’t expecting it to be as funny as it was. I kind of expected IOHITM to be amazing. Is that unfair on Holly Bourne? Can they both be my favourite books of the month?

Least Favourite Book This Month

So easy. I really, really didn’t enjoy Havoc, for many, many reasons, all of which I enumerated in the blog post itself. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

Favourite cover art

Joint award this month, to both of the Firebird books. Those covers are gorgeous, and the third in the series is just as incredible. I’m kind of upset that I’ve listened to audiobooks of these, because they would look superb on my shelves!

 

 

 

Other…

I’m only one book away from being able to shrug off my self-imposed book buying ban (which I mostly ignored anyway, only refraining from buying hard copies), and I’m now utterly torn about what I should get myself when I permit the purchasing of books again. I want Tower of Dawn and King’s Cage, because I need to continue the serieseses I’ve been collecting, but I also want La Belle Sauvage, because hello, new Lyra’s world? I also think I’ll reread His Dark Materials next month, in preparation for La Belle Sauvage – have to ensure that I’m ready to go back to those worlds! Exciting times.

 

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It Only Happens In The Movies – Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne is an author I’ve seen so much about in the last few years, but have never actually managed to pick up one of her books.
The first chapter of It Only Happens In the Movies was one of the samplers I picked up at YALC, and I was definitely interested in reading it. So when I saw on Twitter that it was only 99p on Kindle and iBooks, I was on it like a car bonnet, and snapped it up as soon as I could.

It Only Happens in The Movies – Holly Bourne

34564400Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies…

The greatest love story ever told doesn’t feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies… YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.

 

This book was… basically perfect. It was funny, it was real, it had characters who were so believable and far from perfect. It had realistic sibling relationships and friendships that are strong enough to withstand one member acting like a knob for months. It had dissections of movie tropes and a romance that felt so real, so achingly real, that I was swept up in it.

I have very little negative to say about this book. I might have enjoyed it more if I were more of a film buff, because I really didn’t know half the time what was a real film and what was a fake film in the book. Cinema Paradiso was discussed, and I know that’s real, but Dicky Curtisfield is clearly a pisstake of Richard Curtis. And yet Love, Actually was mentioned, so Richard Curtis clearly also exists in this universe? I was slightly bewildered by that.

But that is a minor, minor quibble in a book which I really very thoroughly enjoyed. I would have liked more of Audrey’s friendships to shine through, as I’ve heard that’s something Holly Bourne does very well, but I guess that just means I’m going to have to read the Spinster Club books.

Also, there were zombies in this book. Who doesn’t like a few zombies to spice things up!

It Only Happens In The Movies is *still* only 99p on Amazon and iBooks, and honestly, if you’re not buying it right now, you are missing out.

Five Stars
*****

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