Book Review: Our Song by Dani Atkins

What’s it about?

This is the story of Ally and Charlotte, whose paths have intersected over the years though they’ve never really been close friends. Charlotte married Ally’s ex and first true love, David. Fate is about to bring them together one last, dramatic time and change their lives forever. Full of Dani’s signature warmth and emotion, this is a gripping and emotional family drama. With breath-taking plot twists, Dani explores themes of serendipity, friendship and love. She fully engages the reader in the dilemmas faced by her characters. What would you do if your husband was the love of somebody else’s life? And when faced with an agonising decision, could you put the past behind you and do the right thing?

 

 

 

My thoughts

As regular readers of my blog will know, I hardly ever read romantic novels or watch romantic films but as it so happens I was going through my book shelf after crying my eyes out at Nights in Rodanthe and just fancied something a little lighter to my usual kind of read.

I enjoyed the book although I found the storyline quite predictable and I saw all the twists coming and I wasn’t really a fan of the chapters being mixed up between the characters, having said that I appreciated the dual narrative and different perspectives – two sides to every story and all that.  I found it hard to engage with Charlotte, both as a teenager and as an adult, I didn’t find her to be a nice person.  Whereas I felt Ally was a more warmer character and much more likeable.

There’s a particular scene which reminded me of the Athena posters of the 80s with the man naked from the chest up holding a newborn – this was how I pictured Joe 🙂

I felt the book was about 50 odd pages too long and therefore I found myself getting a little bored but I’m glad I carried on as my god I read the last 20 pages with tears streaming down my face, I was a mess!  I haven’t read a book that’s had that effect on me since Me Before You so this book is perfect if you need a good cry!

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Won
No of pages: 500
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Book Review: The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez

What’s it about?

In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together.

SUNNY, the proud proprietor, who needs an ingenious plan – and fast – to keep her café and customers safe.

YAZMINA, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul’s violent streets.

CANDACE, a wealthy American who has finally left her husband for her Afghan lover, the enigmatic Wakil.

ISABEL, a determined journalist with a secret that might keep her from the biggest story of her life.

And HALAJAN, the sixty-year-old den mother, whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules.

As these five women discover there’s more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will for ever change their lives and the lives of many others.

My thoughts

I read this book as I was going to attend a new book group and this was their first chosen read.  It wouldn’t have been a book I’d usually pick up as I have this preconception that any book titled “The Little____of/by the____” is going to be a women’s fiction romance which is not generally my cup of tea or preferred read; that’s kind of the impression I got from the cover too and in some ways the book did fulfill that idea.

Having said that, I enjoyed the book and read it quite quickly.  The author obviously has intimate knowledge of Kabul which comes across in her writing and conveying the hardships of Afghan life to the reader.

However, I don’t think it’s meant to be a deep analytical view of life for women living in Afghanistan, native or not, as it I think it just skims the surface of dark subjects.  I liked the characters: their strong-willed determination and dependability and the book very much centres around their love stories and friendships (nothing wrong with that, for the record) but I thought it quite predictable.  It is a lighter way of experiencing what must be an extremely difficult and threatening places to live.

But if you’re after a novel which is more gritty and hard-hitting A Thousand Splendid Suns is the book to go to.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Author links: Twitter | Website

Small print for info
Source: Library
No of pages: 416
Publisher: Sphere

Book Review: The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh

What’s it about?

Imagine you meet a man, spend seven glorious days together, and fall in love. And it’s mutual: you’ve never been so certain of anything.

So when he leaves for a long-booked holiday and promises to call from the airport, you have no cause to doubt him.

But he doesn’t call.

Your friends tell you to forget him, but you know they’re wrong: something must have happened; there must be a reason for his silence.

What do you do when you finally discover you’re right? That there is a reason – and that reason is the one thing you didn’t share with each other?

The truth.

My thoughts

I’m not a huge reader of ‘chick-lit’ as I’m not a light and fluffy predictable ending kinda gal, which is what I look at this cover and think I’m going to get.  However, I bought this book on another book blogger’s recommendation whilst it was on a 99p Kindle offer.  I read it on holiday and in all honesty I couldn’t read it quick enough to get through all the twistiness. No such predictably here, thank you very much!

It was definitely not the typical light-hearted boy meets girl romance I was expecting, it was so much more, with the added mystery element which was soooo good!  I found both Sarah and Eddie to be such relatable characters and I love it when the characters are of a similar age to me…this always makes me feel hopeful.

I’d seen this term ‘ghosting’ surrounding the book which I’d not heard of before but am now fully up to speed:

Ghosting is breaking off a relationship (often an intimate relationship) by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.

I have to wonder if Sarah’s reactions were over the top batshit crazy or would you have done the same thing? I think I kind of sit on the fence here, I’m pretty sure I would have made all the calls and left messages texts etc but I’m not sure I would have turned up at his football club – different folks, different strokes!  I was just cringing for her!

At the heart of the book is forgiveness and moving on against some quite big odds.  I enjoyed the writing, the pace and this book is surprisingly twisty and quite intense in places – I thought it was a great read.

I’m just now looking forward to my seven days 😉

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Author links: Twitter | Website

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 352
Publisher: Mantle

Book Review: I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk

What’s it about?

Angela’s running from the world’s worst wedding for a new life…

Fleeing her cheating boyfriend clutching little more than a crumpled bridesmaid dress, a pair of Louboutins and her passport, Angela jumps on a plane – destination NYC.

Holed up in a hotel room, Angela gets a New York makeover from her NBFJenny and a whirlwind tour of the city that never sleeps. Before she knows it, she’s dating two sexy guys and writing about it in her new blog. But it’s one thing telling readers about your romantic dilemmas, it’s another figuring them out for yourself …

Angela has fallen head over heels for the big apple, but does she heart New York more than home?

My thoughts

It’s not in my usual bookish nature to pick up a rom-com but I’d had this on my Kindle for some time, ok a long time, and it was like a breath of fresh air after the rather heavy going brutal serial killer thriller I’d just finished.

This is the first book in the I Heart series and it’s a good read which I enjoyed.  It’s light-hearted, sad, funny and is mostly set in one of the best cities in the world.  Having been to New York I do like reading about places I’ve visited as I have much more of a clearer image of the setting – this book just made me want to go back even more!

Our heroine Angela is a somewhat clichéd character who thinks of herself as a bit of a lush but I think she’s actually stronger than that and has got her head screwed on exactly where and how it should be.  I totally see where her actions were coming from on her arrival in America and would think that a lot of women who’d been through what she had would rebel.

It’s not without faults, some of the storylines are a little far-fetched but overall it’s an entertaining read.  I’m not sure if I’d continue with the series…maybe if they were on Kindle offer I might be tempted.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 322
Publisher: Harper


Book Review: A Stitch in Time by Amanda James

A Stitch in TimeWhat’s it about?

Sarah Yates is a thirty-something history teacher, divorced, disillusioned and desperate to have more excitement in her life. Making all her dreams come true seems about as likely as climbing Everest in stilettos.

Then one evening the doorbell rings and the handsome and mysterious John Needler brings more excitement than Sarah could ever have imagined. John wants Sarah to go back in time …

Sarah is whisked from the Sheffield Blitz to the suffragette movement in London to the Old American West, trying to make sure people find their happy endings. The only question is, will she ever be able to find hers?

My thoughts

I recently took an educated guesstimate that this was the book that I’d had on my TBR pile the longest so decided I should get on and read it.  It’s been on my Kindle for at least 2 years!

The book started off really well and I immediately enjoyed the author’s humour and Sarah’s character.  I thought she had a Bridget Jones kind of style to her.

I thought it was a clever idea with the Needles and the Stitches and how the author has incorporated phrases about time stemming from the time travel.

If I’m being honest I enjoyed the historical parts more and appreciated the research that would have gone into these because they came across as very realistic.  I liked Sarah being thrown into the past with her not knowing where or what kind of situation she’d find herself in and how she’d cope and having to remember to not let anything slip about the future…I would have liked more of this.

And less of the the scenes in the present!  I found her and John’s relationship overly schmalzy and somewhat predictable especially the scenes involving Josephina. However, that is just me because I think the majority of readers will enjoy the romantic side of the story.  Overall I’m glad I picked it up and enjoyed the read.

Do any UK readers remember that TV mini series Lost in Austen? this kind of reminded me of that.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Twitter | Blog


Share your bookish posts and news with #TalkoftheTown

Talk of the Town