2021 Goodreads challenge: 96 / 100

The Prodigal Daughter

  • AUTHOR: Jeffrey Archer
  • TOPIC: Novel

Things You Save In A Fire

  • AUTHOR: Katherine Center
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I fell in love with @katherinecenter when I read “How to walk away” and she is ever since up there with my favorite writers. And of course, she didn’t disappoint with this tale of courage, love, forgiveness and healing. A great read, which I highly recommend.
Cassie lives for her job as a firefighter in Austin. Nothing else matters to her, because when she was 16 her life changed forever: her mother left, and she was abused. That is why she never does any kind of love. The night she is meant to receive an award of valor, it’s another turning point: the person handing it out to her, it’s her abuser. And she loses control, sending the guy to hospital. The same day, her mom calls to make an impossible request: for Cassie to move in with her for a year, near Boston. Though initially reluctant to leave her life, she is forced into it as her job is on the line. She ends up moving, and joining a new firefighter crew, starting from the bottom, having to prove herself. And the same day, a rookie starts as well, Owen. And she feels towards him a connection she never felt before, bringing down all her defenses, including the ones towards her mother. Soon after, the discovery of her mom tumor makes Cassie change her prospective in life, and though she tried so hard not to love Owen, she gives in, confessing her trauma and having her first kiss and night with a man. When a huge fire threatens to take away Owen from her, she will be no longer afraid to lose her job to her love, and despite someone on the team is trying hard to get Cassie fired, an amazing plot of truths will be revealed that will make for a perfect happy ending.


I Custodi Della Biblioteca

  • AUTHORI: Glenn Cooper
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This read was long overdue, as I didn’t read in italian for a long time. And when I do, @glenn_cooper is my go-to. I read almost all of his books, and in fact this is a sequel of one that I read a few years back. If you are a Dan Brown fan, you will love him. That mix of historical fiction with a bit of action and religious affairs in the way: love it!
The world will end on the 9th of February 2027. This is the discovery that Will Piper made before retiring when he found the Library. On the isle of Wight, a cave was discovered full of volumes dating from the 8th century until the end of the world: each person that has ever lived, is there: their name, date of birth and date of death. The Abbey above the cave was used as protection, and eligible virgins were kept there for only one purpose: keep the dynasty of these unique scribes alive. Until Clarissa decides she has no intention of giving up her baby, and escapes, putting an end to the library. Or so it seams. Years later, she is found by a Father, who sees in Clarissa’s boy the gift of the scribes: from that moment onwards, Clarissa’s family, the Lightburns, will be the gatekeepers of the Library, which also means one thing: the world won’t end on the 9th of February 2027. This is a world-changing news, that comes about when the youngest of the Lightburn family contacts Will’s son Phil for help. This almost unleashes a world war when the Uk, the US and China battle against each other to get control of the surviving Library, while all Will is set out to do, is save his son and hand over the truth to humanity. 


Big Summer

  • AUTHOR: Jennifer Weiner
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My first ever novel by @jenniferweinerwrites and it was nothing as what I expected. In a good way! A tale of insecurities, body shaming, personal come back, complicated friendship…all dusted with a coating of mystery which was really surprising and made me love the book at the more!
Daphne is now a plus-size influencer, but she wasn’t always this brave. Battling her whole life with her body, it took one episode in high school to turn her life around: from victim, to owner of her own destiny. That faithful night, her so-called best friend Drue arranged for a boy to dance with her…but the truth came out soon enough. That night, she decided that it was enough, and the video of her affront went viral, kickstarting her new life and career, breaking her friendship with Drue forever. Just when she signs up with a new collaboration with a clothing brand, Drue reappears in her life, asking her to attend her wedding as bridesmaid. Initially hesitant, she feels bad for Drue and gives in, with the prospect of spending a few glamorous days and maybe meeting someone. And she does, Nick. Only waking up to find Drue dead in her jacuzzi. This shock unleashes a whirlwind of events. While Daphne embarks on a mission to find out who the killer is, she will also discover truth about Drue’s father, about Nick, and about Drue: she wasn’t as bad and evil as everyone thought her to be.


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

  • AUTHOR: Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All I am going to say is WOW. First time reader of anything by @tjenkinsreid and for sure, not the last. I was totally engrossed in this book and unable to put it down. Reading it was like watching a movie: exciting, rapturing, descriptive, emotional, and true. The life of Hollywood fame is so well described, reminding you that even the biggest stars, are human beings, just like you and me, struggling and feeling just as everybody else.
Newly separated Monique is a reporter in a magazine, and her life is about to change when Evelyn Hugo, one of the biggest Hollywood stars of all times, expressively requests her to write up an article about an upcoming charity event. Only thing is, Evelyn has other plans: she wants Monique to write her full, un-edited, truth-only biography. Reluctant at first, Monique is unable to refuse this incredible life altering opportunity, and agrees. We are than taken through the whole story of Evelyn’s whirlwind life and career, meeting her 7 husbands, and the unexpected love of her life. But the very best part of the book is the end…I know it can sound cliché, but trust me it is. The reason why Evelyn chose Monique will be revealed to you, and you will simply be left with a big WOW, speechless and in awe at the genius of it all. Read it and enjoy!


Don’t You Forget About Me

  • AUTHOR: Mhairi McFarlane
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My second book by @mhairimcf and though I always love them, I always have major issues with the English colloquialisms that she often uses, and have to re-read entire phrases to understand. Aside this, I always have a good laugh thanks to the wittiness of her writing, and come back for more. ( in fact, I have other 2 books of hers on my TBR pile already 🙂 ).
Georgina is having her worst day: she just got fired from her waitressing job at the worst restaurant in town, only to go home and find her boyfriend in bed with someone else. An unexpected twist of luck lands her a last-minute gig at a soon-to-open pub, and despite it being a wake, she loves it, and they love her, and the job becomes permanent. But…one of the owners is Lucas, her first love, who has grown into a handsome man, rich, owning pubs all over the country. And worst of all…he doesn’t seem to recognize her. At all. While enjoying her new job, Georgina battles her ex-boyfriend attempts to gain her back in the most horrible ways; fights with her manipulative step-dad; rebuilds her relationship with her mom and her sister; and begins to write again thanks to the “share your shame” stand up reading competition that the pub is hosting. One night, Lucas opens up about his past, and she does too, uncovering her most intimate secrets about her dad, and she kisses him, only to be rejected and find out that he faked not knowing her all along. She resigns, hurt, only to come back to “share your shame” once more to tell the story she never told anyone: what happened that famous day 12 years ago when both their hearts were broken.


Persuasion: The Art of Influencing People

  • AUTHOR: James Borg
  • TOPIC: Self-development

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In this book, Persuasion: The Art of Influencing People, James Borg is throughout and detailed in everything that communicates, and how this affects everything we do in life. From our words, to our tone of voice, from our body language to our ability to read others, it takes you on a journey filled with examples to learn from. It emphasizes the importance of how small changes in the way we talk and engage with other can have unexpected effects and results. The main topics explored are: empathy, being a good listener, keeping attention, controlling your body language, cultivate memory skills, how to say the right things at the right time, the importance of telephone etiquette, negotiation, dealing with difficult people and how to deal with different personality types. All this, with one goal in mind: how to convince people to listen to you, and follow you…or how he likes to describe it: how to take people from point A to point B, without even realizing it. Though some parts of the book might seem “common knowledge”, I like to think that common sense is no longer so common anymore, so I definitely suggest this book for anyone who needs a reminder and a refresher on the topic, or for those who are at loss and need to advice on how to master this very important art of communication. 


Summer Days & Sea Breezes

  • AUTHOR: Carole Matthews
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another favorite of mine, @matthews.carole doesn’t disappoint with this easy breezy novel. I love how she is able to transport you to another time and place, to a story that though feels real…it’s always filled with hope and a touch of romance. Her stories keep you grounded but make you fly at the same time, reminding you of the important things in life whilst allowing your imagination to fly.
Jodie is leaving London behind, towards the Isle of Wight. Escaping her life, her husband and her broken heart, she is set to spend time alone to put herself together, by spending as long as needed on her brother’s refurbished boat, “Sunny Days”. Easier said than done, when Marylin shows up with food and cleaning intentions, and a dose of cheer and vitality. Irritated as first, she slowly lets herself go, exploring the vicinity, meeting new people…especially Ned, her next-boat neighbor. While at her first ever festival, her and Ned get closer, and it just feels right and not a casual fling at all. But upon their return to the boat, the sudden appearance of her ex husband Chris quickly breaks the spell. And Ned walks away feeling cheated and heartbroken. With no other choice than returning to her normal life, Jodie vows to save her marriage and returns to London. Work is her only respite, and while her creativity seems to be back to where it’s supposed to be, her marriage sinks and breaks when her doubts about her husband come true: he was cheating on her with her best friend. She immediately returns to the boat, where she decides to stay for good, working remotely and with a sole objective in mind: find Ned, explain her story, and hopefully win him back. 


After The End

  • AUTHOR: Claire Mackintosh
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My first ever read by @claremackwrites and it didn’t disappoint. A gripping story of parenting, love and loss, of second chances and failure, of fear and bitterness. I also really loved the “sliding door” scenario that makes the second part of the book come to life, where the author explores how life would/could have been different, should different choices have been made.
Pip and Max are a strong couple, together forever and making it work since day one, despite their very demanding jobs which has them both traveling all the time. Things change when their son is born. And change even more when he gets very sick, diagnosed with a brain tumor when he is not ever 3 years old. Despite initial hopes of a recovery after the surgery, things take a turn for the worse and the hospital’s recommendation is to cease treatment aside palliative care. Called onto making a decision on the fate of their son, Pip and Max cannot agree. One wants to give their son another chance at life, no matter how small. The other wants to end all suffering and put a stop to a non-life spent in hospital without being able to move. Unable to reach a consensus, they fall apart, and end up in court. The rest of the story takes you on a journey into past and future, navigating what life would have been based on the two different choices. And one thing is clear…no matter what, it will not be an easy ride. 


The Happy Ever After Playlist

  • AUTHOR: Abby Jimenez
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My second book from @authorabbyjimenez and it didn’t disappoint. I laughed, I cried, I daydreamed, I hoped ( that man like Jason actually exist in this world ). It’s one of those books that are romantic without being cheesy. One of those that give you faith in true love though born from imagination. We need books like these in life, words and pages and stories that make you dream and have faith. And we also need a best friend like Kirsten in our lives too! She was my favorite. Loved it! Highly recommend.
Two years after losing her fiancé, artist Sloan is still living in the limbo of the past, unable to move forward, unable to paint again. And when she least expects it, something happens in her life that will change everything forever: a dog jumps into her car. After weeks of trying to contact the owner, he finally calls her demanding the dog back. But she is adamant to keep it, unless he will prove to her that he really loves his dog. Texts are followed by phone calls, and they both start developing feelings for each other, before meeting in person two weeks after. Sloan is afraid to love again, but cannot resist Jason’s pull. When she gives in to a date, her best friend Kirsten finds out that Jason it’s actually Jaxon, a famous upcoming singer that Sloan is a huge fan of. After overcoming the first shock, they can’t help falling in love for each other, visiting his family, before his tour starts. Growing fame is upon Jaxon, and with his tour extended beyond the initial plans, he asks Sloan to join him around the world, and she accepts. When life on tour becomes too hard to bear, he sacrifices himself by sending Sloan to his family house to rest and paint, but they cannot stay apart. Only when misunderstandings, new career developments and a blast from his past come flooding in, is Jaxon forced to make up a lie to hurt Sloan so much that she will never forgive him. All this, for love: he doesn’t want her to give up her life and dreams for him…he wants her to be happy. But don’t worry, because as the title says, there is a happily ever after waiting for you at the end of the story.


MAY WRAP UP


Defining You

  • AUTHOR: Fiona Murden
  • TOPIC: Self-development

When you are uncertain during a specific time of your life, a book like this screams “salvation”. I picked up this book in a quest to help myself find myself again. The book is very detailed, with heaps of exercises that build up from the bottom all the way to the top, in an attempt to help you redefine yourself, what you believe in, what are your strength and weaknesses, what you need to succeed in life, what your purpose is, and how to find the perfect spot in the world where you can truly be yourself and thrive. The book focuses both on day-to-day life and work/career. As we all know, we spend most of our adult waking moments working, hence I appreciated how the author always reconnected everything to your professional realization, because that is the one place where you can find your meaning, where you can learn and develop, where you can energize from, where you can find meaning and feel helpful, where you can make a difference and contribute to the world. At the end of the book, it also focuses on sleep, exercise, stress, as a reminder of the body-mind connection that so many people often forget.


Girl A

  • AUTHOR: Abigail Dean
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Despite the hype surrounding this book, I think it’s simply not my style. I didn’t particularly enjoy the narrative nor the ending, and though the story was heartbreaking, it just left me with too many open-ended questions, one of them being: what is the purpose of this book, what is the story? I am sorry but I was just left a bit disappointed.
Girl A, Lex, is one of the surviving children of the so called “House of Horrors”. The story begins when news come of the death of her mother in jail, and the inheritance she left behind: some money, and that terrible house that marked her and her 6 siblings for life. Now a successful barrister, she decides to convert the house into a community project, but to do so, she needs the approval of all her brother and sisters. En route to obtain the same, Lex takes us through the horrible story of her childhood, of how a poor family that was somehow surviving along, was transformed into a nightmare. Pain, hunger, and abuse all caused by their father’s religious views, who lost his mind and literally imprisoned his whole family, away from the world. Her escape was the act of love that allowed all of her siblings to start again and have a new life…or is it really that way?


Shipped

  • AUTHOR: Angie Hockman
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is the perfect pool side read. Cute, funny, uncomplicated, dreamy, but with a touch of life lesson attached to it: always speak up for yourself, follow your dreams, work hard, give credit where its due and surround yourself with people that believe in you and support you. 
Henley Evans is a marketing manager at a cruise line, and wants nothing more than to prove herself in her career. Dedicated fully to this dream, she divides her time between work and evening classes to get her MBA, leaving no time for anything else. When her dream promotion is announced and she is shortlisted, she is set on a mission to make the job hers. Only issue: the remote social media manager she despises, Graeme, is also up for the role. To decide the winner, their boss asks for a proposal on how to boost their business in the Galapagos…and to do so, they need to experience the cruise…together. Confined on the ship and with the taste of vacation in the air, Henley manages to let her hair down a bit and she ends up discovering that Graeme is not so bad, neither work wise or as a person. In fact, he is nearly perfection. And he seems to reciprocate her growing feelings. Scared to get caught and lose her chance to the promotion, she tries to pull back, unsuccessfully, and comes up with an amazing proposal that she is sure will get her what she wants. Once back in the office, she is appalled when the promotion is given to Graeme. Luckily, surrounded by her co-workers and with Graeme by her side, she will learn to stand up for herself and fight for what’s right, and she will achieve more than she would have ever imagine possible.


Sea of Lost Love

  • AUTHOR: Santa Montefiore
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have grown to love anything Santa Montefiore writes. This is only my second book but I already have three more waiting ready to go. At the beginning, I felt the book had way too much details in terms of descriptions, though the plot kept me glued to the pages. As I went on, there were a lot of WOW moments, and suddenly it almost felt rushed…so definitely a slow beginning, with a very powerful second half that will keep you wondering what’s next at each page you turn. Loved it and highly recommend it.

When Robert Montague, a loved husband, father, son, brother, business and community man suddenly disappears at sea without prior alarm, the family is devastated. When the body is never found, his daughter Celestria decides to get to the bottom of it. Back in London, leaving the rest of the family behind at the Cornwall estate to deal with the news that there is no money left, she embarks on a Sherlock Holmes journey to find out the truth. After some unbelievable discoveries, and with the help of her grandfather, she traces it all back to a small town in Puglia, where apparently her father was wiring money. Unable to untangle anything at first, a fortuitous meeting with a French women will shed lights on unexpected truths about her father, leaving her reality shattered. Thankfully, she will find a shoulder to cry on Hamish, the widowed son in law of her hosting family, with whom she falls in love.


Love Her or Lose Her

  • AUTHOR: Tessa Bailey
  • TOPIC: Romantic Novel

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Well…this book was much racier than I expected. There was a LOT of action going on throughout the whole story, and though I didn’t mind it, it kind of puts me off from giving it a five star. Don’t get me wrong, I am not prude or anything, it’s just that I felt it took over 50% of the story, which was a topic very close to home: have the courage to chase your dreams and make sure your voice is heard, even if that means giving up on what you love the most. Communication, partnership, support, understanding…are as important in a relationship as sex and love. 
Rosie and Dominic have been married since forever: best friends, fierce lovers, soul mates. But not anymore. Since Dominic came back from the military, the communication is zero unless it’s in bed on their weekly Tuesday night encounter. Everything else seems lost. One evening, when at work a man shows interest in Rosie, she gathers the courage to say “enough” and leaves, threatening divorce. But Dominic will not have it: he will fight back for his wife. He gives in and accepts to go to a non-conventional therapist with her to try and save their marriage, and as hard as it is to keep their sexual frustration at bay, they both learn more about each other, about themselves, about what makes the other happy or what the other needs. Though Dominic’s insecurities almost threaten to ruin everything again, you will be in for a true happy ending, and a great lesson about love and marriage.


The Memory Collector

  • AUTHOR: Kim Neville
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was enchanted by the cover and the small synopsis at the back, and that is why I decided to give this book a try.I liked the story but for some reason it didn’t leave a mark in me. Maybe I was let down by the end. As the book unfolds with one secret after the other, I was probably waiting for a more impressive ending that never came, and left me surprised and slightly let down. 
Ev has inherited a gift that is hard to comprehend and to explain: she feels the energy in the objects around her. She can feel emotions left behind by the previous owner, so much so that if not careful, they affect her. Though she sells these items for a living, she is always very careful on how she trades with them, aware of the effect that it can have on others. This care and protectiveness are affecting her life, but a childhood trauma is so engrained inside of her that nothing will change her mind. Until she meets Harriet, an older woman who shares the same gift, but not as developed as Ev. This new discovery, of not being the only one in the world, prompts Harriet to create a museum of all the things she has collected throughout her life: a place people will be able to visit and take advantage of the positive emotions those items will release. While the two woman get to know and help each other, exploring and developing their gift,  the sudden reappearance of Ev’s younger sister will threaten not only the success of this museum, but also their own lives.


The Ex Talk

  • AUTHOR: Rachel Lynn Solomon
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. I think the plot was extremely clever, powdered with few racy bits which are always welcome! But also touching subjects like misogyny, how to stand up for yourself, the fear of change and the pain of loss. This book was talked about in past few months, and I do understand the hype now. Definitely a great beach/pool read @rlynn_solomon
Shay has been working at the same radio station since 10 years, loving every moment of it. Things get a bit tricky when Dom joins the team, fresh out of grad school, thinking he knows it all. When the radio station is going through some rough times, during a brainstorming session Shay comes up with an idea: create a radio show about exes. With the backup of the whole team, The Ex Talk is born…but there is a catch: Dom and Shay will co-host this and pretend to have been together and broken up. This is the first experience for both of them in front of the microphone, but the success is instant and overwhelming. But no one ever expected for them to fall in love. Agreeing to come clean to the world during a national podcast conference, they get tangled into management politics and cut out: the radio station decided to come clean on social media about their fake break up minutes before they go on stage. With the audience against them, Shay tried her best to damage control, but when Dom doesn’t stand up for them and support her, she feels that she didn’t just lost her job, but also the love of her life.


The Rose Code

  • AUTHOR: Kate Quinn
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I wasn’t sure I would love this book when I decided to give it a go, but obviously, I was wrong…my instincts never fail me! 600 pages in 2 days is quiet a record for me, and this is testament to how good the story was. Now I am in trouble, because yet again I found a new writer that I love and it means that I will have no rest until I read every single book she has ever published.
Thank you @katequinn5975 for this tale of friendship, women, war, love, passion and resilience.

It’s the beginning on WW2, and 3 very different woman find their paths crossing: Osla, the beautiful girl that has everything and tries so hard to show everyone that she also has a brain ( while dating Prince Philip at the same time ); Mab, escaping poverty and the ghost of past mistakes; and Beth, the village spinster living in her mother’s fear while possessing a very singular gift. An unlikely friendship grows between the 3 girls, while they proudly put their individual knowledge and skills to use to ensure they participate in their country’s war. What they do? They break German military codes, each finding their place in the world. In between code braking, friendships growing and heartaches, more than one exceptional secret will be revealed, until something happens that tears them apart, putting them against each other, with Beth ending up in an asylum. It’s 1947, just before the royal wedding of Prince Philip to Elizabeth, that Beth reaches out via a code to her lost girlfriends…and yet though hesitant at first, they are too curious to discover the real reason behind Beth’s request. Friends once more, with Beth free, they will work closely to uncover the traitor who betrayed Beth and their country. Back to coding, and surrounded by so many friends coming together to help, they will break the last most important code that will reveal the truth and save not only their country, but also their individual futures.


The Success Code

  • AUTHOR: Amanda Dewinter
  • TOPIC: Self-improvement

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The more I read about similar topics, the more it’s clear that there is no escaping from doing certain things, changing certain habits, rewiring your thinking and just putting a lot of work and conscious planning…if you want to get anything done in life.
Some might say “well, you didn’t need to read a book to find that one out”…but you would be surprised how helpful it actually is.
What I loved the most about this book it’s the emphasis put onto learning. And how it reminds you that there are endless possibilities and opportunities out there, if only you are ready to open your eyes.
I recommend this book to those who need a push of confidence, who need a boost to keep trying or start anew, you needs to be reminded that we are capable to do whatever we put our mind to.


Our Story

  • AUTHOR: Miranda Dickinson
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read in one day as I just couldn’t wait to discover how it ended, and now made me fall in love with this author, meaning I will now pursue my quest of reading everything she has written. It happens every.single.time🤪

Otty is about to embark on her dream journey: being on the writing team for upcoming tv shows. But just the night before, she is unexpectedly evicted from her flat. Not all is lost when on her first day on the new job, she finds out that favorite writer Joe, is looking for a flat mate. And so she moves in. Their friendship grows, and when paired as writing duo, their chemistry increases daily. One evening, drunk on a recent writing success, they hook up and individually realize their feeling for each other…but neither of them is ready to confess it out loud, making things awkward. When a new executive, Fraser, joins the team and starts showing interest in Otty, Joe’s jealousy in uncontrollable…especially when Otty, disappointed about Joe’s behavior, ends up in Fraser’s arms. It will take a lot of heartbreaks and misunderstanding to realize that that one off was not a mistake, but even more to express their feelings out loud. And while their writing success continues to grow, it won’t be until the last pages that we will find out how their story ends.


Pretty Things

  • AUTHOR: Janelle Brown
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was probably one of the hardest books to find and buy. Took me close to a year than get my hands on, but I knew I had to read it and I was right. Really enjoyed this novel by @janellebrownie
A story of broken dreams and families, of the world of social media, how we do anything in life to be loved and understood, and how unfortunately often we really can’t trust anyone in our lives.

Nina is putting her BA in arts to good use, but not in the traditional sense: she is a con artist, just like her mom used to be. About to get caught, and with news of her mom’s illness getting worse, she decides to embark on a last big act with her boyfriend. They study the victim’s every move on IG, they recreate new identities for themselves, and show up at this mansion of Lake Tahoe, where Vanessa, an heiress and social media influencer, lives alone trying to put her life together after losing her family in various tragedies. But Nina has been in this mansion before as a teenager, and that’s why she chose Vanessa: an easy victim but also an opportunity for revenge. When Vanessa realizes who Nina is, she also starts her own revenge scheme against Nina, convinced that she was the culprit of her family’s tragedies. What they didn’t expect, is to end up being connected together against one shared revenge, transforming them from enemies into allies, discovering in the end that all they can trust is each other.


The Hating Game

  • AUTHOR: Sally Thorne
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I absolutely loved this book! Fun, charming, clever, subtly racy hot at times, and just a pleasure to read.
Loved, loved, loved and absolutely recommend!

Lucy is the nice girl in the office, assistant to the co-CEO of a publishing company. Her life is work and sleep, and most of her energy is spent on hating her co-worker, Joshua, assistant to the other co-CEO. Things get really intense when a new role comes up for COO, where both Lucy and Josh are the preferred contenders. The game is on. Until unexpectedly one day, in an elevator ride, he kisses her like she has never been kissed before, and with her anxiety raising to new levels, she is lost between hating him, wanting him, with the upcoming promotion making things just that more difficult. As time passes it’s clear that it’s not just one episode, but the new upcoming job is just too important for her. What will she choose? Career? Or the potential love of her life?


The Therapist

  • AUTHOR: B.A. Paris
  • TOPIC: Thriller

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This kind of novels are not usually my “go-to” but I do enjoy some suspense reading once in a while, and this had just the right amount to keep me glued to the pages, trying to solve the mystery, second guessing the end ( and failing at it, of course ).
I actually ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would, and finished the book in less than two days, leaving me wondering if maybe I should attempt to read more books like these, beginning with more by the same author.

Alice and Leo decide to cement their so-far long-distance relationship, by moving in together. They buy a villa in a beautiful gated community, and Alice gets immediately to work trying to make friends with all the neighbors and fill her loneliness, as she works from home while Leo travels for work. She struggles at first, feeling as everyone is trying to avoid her, only to than realize that it’s her house they are actually trying to stay away from: because a murder was committed there and she didn’t know. While her relationship with Leo takes a hit due to this uncovered lie, Alice gets more and more involved into the story, taking it as a personal challenge to solve the mystery of this death. Maybe because it’s close to her personal experience of loss. A mysterious yet charming private detector becomes the only person she can seem to trust, as more lies surface from Leo’s past life, and all the neighbors seem to be hiding something. Just when Alice is about to give up solving the mystery and go back to her previous life, single again…and unexpected turn of event will give you that jaw-dropping moment that is so important and essential in stories like this.


The Love Proof

  • AUTHOR: Madeleine Henry
  • TOPIC: Romantic Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed the read, the story, the belief in soul mates and in the rarity of finding that one person that is meant for you. I also loved the underlining lesson: work and success is nothing, if you don’t have people and love around you.

Sophie is a prodigy student, in physics, intended to solve the mystery of time. When she meets Jake at their first week of Yale, it’s love at first sight for both, as if they knew each other forever. They immediately become inseparable, but while Jake thrives following his dreams, Sophie starts to shy away from hers, finding everything she needs in Jake. Not even tutoring classes with Peter can make her think otherwise. While Jake becomes a star, Sophie fades away…so much so that Jake decides to break things off, thinking it’s the only way for Sophie to find herself again. Years pass by, Jake is at the top of fame, and only a sudden realization brings Sophie back in the game, managing to finish her PhD and concludes a research that will make her forever famous. Well into their 60’s, a twist of fate with being Jake’s son into Sophie’s life…and the opportunity to find and love each other again, finally seems within grasp for Sophie and Jake.


Why Mummy Drinks

  • AUTHOR: Gills Sims
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

 Just to prove how much I adored this book, I bought the next ones already 🤪 Even if you are not a mom, you need to buy this book because you will laugh for 338 pages non stop to the point of rapture. In this book, the author wittingly explores family dramas, but more in particular, what it’s like to be a mom. It also touches on the myth that we always think other people’s lives and families are better than our own. Wrong! If you are kind enough to ask and listen, you will find out that everyone is fighting their own battle and continuously checking if grass is greener on the other said.
I cannot express in words how much I laughed and loved this book.
It is a must read, mark my words!


Designing Your Life

  • AUTHOR: Bill Burnett & Dave Evans
  • TOPIC: Self-Development

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When I saw the title of this cover, I knew I had to read it.
I love why this book was born: two professors from an Ivy League college wanted to help students reply to the most common question: “what shall I do with my life?”. So they created a course, that you can take at the early days of your studies…because no one wants to waste years of university only to find out you were pursuing the wrong career.
The book is full of question, exercises and advice. And you can buy the workbook as well, that helps you really dive in deeply into it.
There are a lot of parts of this book that I particularly loved, especially when myths were torn apart and reframed into what they actually are in reality.
The underlining lesson, to quote the book, is: “Life design is ultimately a way of life that will transform how you look at your life and how you live your life. The end result of a well-designed life is a life well-lived”.
Yes, your life is your own, unique, and made-by-you-for-you. And most importantly, there is no right or wrong way of living this life, and there is not only one version of it…there are as many different paths available to you as there are possibilities.
So “be curious, try stuff, reframe problems, know it’s a process and ask for help”, and you will be on the right path to build a life where who you are, what you are doing and what you believe in…will align.


The Lost Apothecary

  • AUTHOR: Sarah Penner
  • TOPIC: Novel

I have been waiting for this book…it was one of those new releases that I was attracted to from the beginning.
Must have been the cover 🙂 as it always is.
@sarah_penner_author thank you for this book. I really enjoyed it.

Caroline is in London, on her 10th wedding anniversary trip, alone…because before departure, she found out her husband James has been unfaithful. On her first day, unable to embark on the countless activities she had planned, she joins a group of people that explore the muddy shores of the Thames, looking for treasures. When she finds a vial with a bear etched on it, she can’t resist her impulse to investigate, rehashing memories of the life she should have lived as a researcher and historian. Her search unveils for us the story of Nella and Eliza and take us back to the end of the 1700’s, while in modern day she continues her search: not only for the story of the vial, but also for a solution to her life and broken marriage.

Nella, daughter of an apothecary, transformed her trade into a secret and dangerous one, after a personal loss and deceit: she sells poison to women who seek revenge. Each poison is personalized, should not be used against other woman, and will be recorded in her register. But when one day, a young Eliza enters her life to collect a poison for her mistress, neither women will know how much their lives will change or how dangerous they are about to become.
The final twist of the plot will give you a proper open-mouthed wow moment, and will make you love the book all the more for it.


APRIL WRAP UP


Love At First Like

  • AUTHOR: Hanna Orenstein
  • TOPIC: Romantic Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Smart, witty, funny, good plot, easy read. Really liked it and can’t wait to read the rest of her books. It was just the perfect weekend-by-the-pool read with a sprinkle of fairytale.

Eliza co-owns an already popular jewelry store in NYC, specialized in engagement rings. But things take a wild turn when she accidentally posts a picture of her finger with a ring on, and the engagement rumors have such an effect on business that she decides to keep her followers dreaming. Now she only needs to find a fiancé. On a night out, she meets Blake, the perfect guy on paper. When her landlord presents a rent increase notice, she has no choice but to keep up the farce. She even gets a venue, dress, and honeymoon for free, and her need to save her store blinds everything else. What she wasn’t expecting was for Blake to actually fall in love with her and propose right on time, but everything falls apart when she reveals the truth. But not all is lost. She would have never expected that true love, and all the answers to her problems, was just right in front of her eyes…just across the road


Milk Fed

  • AUTHOR: Melissa Broder
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I am really struggling with this book on so many levels. The writing was good and fluid, it had a lot of wow moment I personally didn’t expect, but one day after finishing I still cannot wrap my finger around what was the purpose of the story, and what is the sudden ending for? I was literally left there like “what just happen? It’s over now? What’s happening next?”
I don’t know, I hate books that leave me this confused. I cannot even understand if I liked the book or not. So I feel I cannot really post a summary or recommendation.
But just as a top line, it highlights topics like: sexuality, family, religion, eating disorders, being an outcast in society, solitude.


The Off Limits Rule

  • AUTHOR: Sarah Adams
  • TOPIC: Romantic Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book from @authorsaraadams kept me giggling with laughter the whole way through! I simply couldn’t put the book down, I enjoyed it so much. This is definitely a strong contender for favorite book of the year! And the smart ending makes me want to grab the next book straight away, so eager I am to find out what happens next!
Don’t think, buy it! You won’t regret it.

Lucy is back in her hometown, trying to put pieces of herself together, after a failed attempt at making it on her own in a different state as a single mother. On a mission to cheer her up, her brother Drew drags her out one day for a boat trip, where she meets Cooper, Drew’s best friend. It is attraction at first sight, though they both try to fake it. Sensing something, Drew is clear from the beginning: Lucy is off limits. Blinded by Cooper’s recent history as a flirt, not knowing his real story ( that he ended up in this city after a broken heart and failed engagement ), Drew is adamant that Lucy should not be another woman on his list, thinking that his best friend is allergic to actual commitment. Stuck into trying to respect the bro-code, Cooper sends mixed signals to Lucy, leaving her wondering if she is the only one with feelings. So much so that she even makes a failed attempt at going on a date with someone else. When Drew is out of town for a few weeks, Lucy and Cooper get closer together, and even spend time with Levi, Lucy’s son, and things are clear: no amount of trying can keep them apart. Drew finding out in the worst possible way doesn’t help matters, but when Levi has a medical emergency, everything finally falls into place, with a truly magical happy ending…but still leaving you wondering what happens next?


Something To Live For

  • AUTHOR: Richard Roper
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 3 out of 5.

It was the title that attracted me to this book, and it was a nice read, that reminded me in places to Fredrik Beckman’s Ove: dry humour, a man with his heart in the right place but outcast from society, the pain of loss and how hard it is to come back to life and move on.

Andrew has a job at the council hard to come by: he inspects households of recently passed away citizens, looking for traces of relationships. Because all these people died alone, often without anyone realizing they were missing. But it’s a job he cherishes, so much so that he involuntarily lied during his interview just not to seem socially awkward and ensure he would get the job. Because Andrew is alone, lives alone, his only respite being his music and his train toys. Until Peggy comes along…a new colleague that day by day, will make Andrew understand that there is more to life, making him feel emotions he had long forgotten, always standing by him, especially when his last family member passes away: his sister Sally. Consumed by guilt, loss, pain and fear, he wants to right every wrong in his life, but he is scared. Until he finally comes clean to Peggy, whom to his surprise doesn’t run away…but instead gives him more courage to finally tell the truth, and get a chance at life again


The Four Winds

  • AUTHOR: Kristin Hannah
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I started to love her books after reading Firefly Lane, and now I can’t get enough from @kristinhannah
This book was loved by every bookstagrammer I follow, and now I understand why.
I didn’t know anything about this part of American history, but I could surely feel the pain of those who suffered during those hard time, just by reading through the pages. It was not only a moving story of love, family, hope and survival, but it was also a lesson: not only one of American history but also one of gratitude. We often forget how much we have.

Elsa wants to break free from her family, who doesn’t love her or value her. She has a fire in her, to become someone, that only disappoints her family further. Reaching its peak when she falls pregnant, and gets disowned and dropped at the door steps of the boy’s family. After a rocky start, she blooms into a woman, a mother, and a fierce and untirable worker, gaining the love of her adopting family. Everything is perfect until the drought strikes, followed by wind, with dust covering everything, spreading desperation and death. Unable to take it anymore, her husband leaves in the middle of the night, leaving her and her kids heartbroken, trying to survive. When her son Anthony get seriously sick, she decides to pack up and leave for California, chasing an uncertain dream like many other before her. But when they reach, more hardships await, even worse than what they left behind, but Elsa won’t give up, and does everything to ensure the survival of her family. Only when talks of strikes take over the valley, she resists to stand up for her own rights, and its Loreda, her daughter, who starts showing signs of rebellion, befriending Jack, the leader of the resistance, who helps the family out more than once. When Elsa finally decides to stand up for herself and others like her, it will be too late. Too late to be free and love again


The Silent Treatment

  • AUTHOR: Abbie Greaves
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A heartbreaking story of love, family, secrets, regret, suicide, and how the inability to communicate can ruin everything.
Definitely leaves a lot of food for thought. And proves something that I always believed in very fiercely: everything can be fixed if people communicate.

Frank stopped talking to his wife of forty years, Maggie, and she doesn’t know why. Until one morning, he finds her in the kitchen, where she attempted suicide.
The books splits in two: Frank at her bedside in the hospital, recounting their whole lives, trying to get to his main confession: why he stopped talking. We discover that after a miscarriage, they were blessed with a daughter after 15 years, Eleonora. And that their lives fell apart one day when she was a teenager and came home a different person.
The second part is Maggie’s confessions in a written form, that she left for Frank before attempting to take her own life. Her recount is as filled of regret as Frank’s: they both blame themselves for their daughters faith.
They both feel like failures. They were both unable to speak the truth to each other.
Only in the end will we discover the tragedy that pushed both of them into silence, but the lesson learnt will push them back into each other’s arms, willing to try and live again


The Marriage Game

  • AUTHOR: Sara Desai
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I laughed so hard the whole time, it’s definitely an entertaining read that left me super curious to read her next novel!

Layla comes back to her family heartbroken and jobless, intent to put her life back together, starting by putting up her own recruitment business in the office above her parents Michelin’s star Indian restaurant. Issue is, her father just rented the space to someone but she is intent of throwing him out, Sam.The next 24hrs are a decisive step in Layla’s upcoming future: her father suffers a heart attack, the guy he rented the office to is handsome and has no intention to leave, and when a strange man appears looking for her, she discovers that her father signed her up to a dating site to find her an arranged marriage husband. Since her parents are happily married thanks to an arranged marriage, she decides to give it a try and strike a deal with her unwanted office companion: he will come to each date with her, and if she finds a husband, the office will be is. The marriage game begins. What they didn’t see coming is that spending so much time together, only one thing could happen. Unless Sam’s past ghosts and regrets takes over, threatening to jeopardize and ruin everything.


Kane & Abel

  • AUTHOR: Jeffrey Archer
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I absolutely loved it. So well written, so captivating, so enthralling, I simply couldn’t put it down.
It was inspiring, surprising, and with one strong lesson for all of us at the end about regret: money, success, career are not everything in life, so never let anything stand in the way of family and love, because you never know when it will be too late to appreciate what you have.

Two parallel lives intertwine over decades.
In America, William Kane, from a well-off bankers family, has his future planned out for him: best school, get all the honors, and lead his father’s bank one day.
On the other side of the world, in Poland, a new born boy saved by a farmer in the woods grows into an intelligent little boy, getting the attention of the Baron of the estate, who soon takes him under his wing. When WW1 hits, he survives imprisonment in his Baron’s castle, concentration camp, a trip through Russia into Turkey, and makes his way into America where he names himself Abel. Working in a hotel and studying economics, he grabs the attention of a Texan hotelier, where his real history starts: that of a hotel magnate.
Both men build empires in their respective businesses, but on the verge of Black Friday, their encounter marks a moment of hate that will accompany them for their whole lives, becoming sworn enemies.
Their lives cross again and again, even when they both enrol in the army to fight in WW2 and Abel saves William’s life without either of them realizing who the other was.
Only when unexpectedly, William’s son falls in love with Abel’s daughter, is the rivalry at its peak. Both fathers are not blessing this union, and for years they don’t speak to their own children, continuing to tear each other’s reputation apart.
William eventually decides to forgive his son, but it’s too late.
And when Abel decides to do the same, he will get his chance to make it up to his daughter, but never to William, who turns out has always been Abel’s biggest supporter…but by than, every chance of redemption was long lost


The Rome Affair

  • AUTHOR: Karen Swan
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As always, anything she writes is pure perfection.
The way she manages to produce stories so full of twists and surprises, that guarantee a WOW moment, leaving you open mouthed and speechless.
Each story has multiple intertwined tales and a sparkle of romance, without ever feeling overdone. Just loved❤️
Francesca is a tour guide and blogger in Rome, where she moved to escape a past she rather forget. One night, she finds an expensive bag in the bin outside her house, and thanks to her neighbor, she finds out who the bag belongs to: Elena, a princess living across the street. The bag is empty, aside a blue sealed envelope. Upon returning the bag, the two strike up a conversation into the late hours, causing Francesca to be late the next day to work, ending in her losing her job. Elena comes to the rescue by offering Francesca a job: write her memoir.
During the interviews, scanning through photos, Francesca gets a glimpse of Elena’s fantastic life, but also the feeling that the princess is not telling all of the truth. One day they are suddenly interrupted by the garden collapsing on its own, revealing a set of tunnels that run under the palace. And that’s when Francesca meets Nico. The story unfolds between the present and the past, revealing so many secrets of Elena’s past, and it’s clear that she is hiding more than she gives away. An incredible truth unfolds that none of the characters expected, all becoming clear with the sudden death of Elena, and with the blue envelope finally open, revealing the truth that even Elena waiting 15 years to discover.
Highly recommend!


The Binding

  • AUTHOR: Bridget Collins
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The cover did it for me, as so often happens. @bakerbridg can’t wait to read on your next one, which by the way, is already on my bookshelf waiting to be read.
I was left with so many unexpected wow moments, which is something I absolutely love in a book.
In the first part, Emmet is leaving the country life with his parents and his sister Alta, until one day he gets severely and unexpectedly sick. Shortly after, his father decides to send him away in the woods with an older woman, who is a binder. Binders take away your memories and bond them into books, leaving the subject free of that tormenting memory they wanted to forget so badly. Turns out that his illness had his explanation: he is a binder too, it’s his destiny and while learning the trade, his mentor suddenly passes away and he is forced to move to the city to continue the trade. Here he meets Lucien, a born aristocratic son of a rich man, and immediately their relationship is one of love and hate that they both can’t explain.
In the second part, the book takes you back to the relationship between Emmet and Lucien, revealing the source of their connection. Something totally unexpected.
In the third part, narrated by Lucien, the truth will be revealed. Emmet and Lucien both visited binders to forget their sorrows, leaving them oblivious of their true relationship, despite the strong pull they feel toward each other. Only when a fire destroys the book that bound Emmet’s feelings in the dark, will he be on a quest to free Lucien’s fate, guiding the story in a tormented yet happy ending.
Compelling, breathtaking and thrilling.
Loved ❤️


How To Stop Time

  • AUTHOR: Matt Haig
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From the moment I read the Midnight Library from @mattzhaig, I knew I wanted to read more from him.
#howtostoptimematthaig is equally good but not as soul twisting, but still a great read.
Since the dawn of tome, humans have battled one thing: avoid death, avoid getting old. But if you had the reverse problem? What if you could never get old…would that make your life a better and happier one?
And this is the problem with Tom. He cannot age, or better said, he ages very slowly. He is centuries old and spent his life moving as often as someone would notice his “condition”, and survives every person he has ever cared for. Afraid to fall in love, afraid of being misunderstood, afraid of being taken as a freak of nature. Unable to fully live. And the Albatross community, created to safeguard the lives of those just like him, seems a safe haven at first. The group, led by one of the oldest man alive, turns out to be a controlling and manipulative scheme, creating fear in those who are part of it. And only when Tom finally reunited with long lost daughter whom he has been searching for hundreds of years, will he feel empowered to let go of fear, try to take life as it comes, and finally starting to live. And love.
A great read ❤️ 

2021 reads: 59

Love At First

  • AUTHOR: Kate Clayborn
  • TOPIC: Romantic Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love a good romantic story, especially when it reminds you of real life: how we are too often scared to be vocal about our true feelings, probably scared of getting hurt.
Sixteen years ago Will fell in love with a voice under the apartment building where her mother dragged him in, in Chicago, to ask for help from a brother he never knew she had. When his estranged uncle passed away leaving that apartment to him, he is adamant not to live there and decides to return it and giving up for seasonal rent. But to do so, he has to pass through the building’s approval, whose director is a blast from the past: the girl he fell on love with all those years ago. She is fiercely connected to her neighbors, attached to the memory of her late grandma, and on a mission to make it difficult for him to make his plans come true. But the more they spend time together, the more they give up on their on stubbornness. Him, starting to love the neighborhood and giving up his commitment issues. And her, giving up on memories and trying to keep them alive for someone else’s sake, beginning to make a life of her own.
Loved it and highly recommend!


Bone Labyrinth

  • AUTHOR: James Rollins
  • TOPIC: Thriller

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I was really hoping for more.
Usually I love his books and the story line always going back to religious or history related mysteries. I started to read again thanks to this genre.
But this read? It was painful.
The plot was there but somehow it got diluted into too much description, too many details ( seemed like a movie script more than a book ) and too much complication. So much so that I got lost more than once and I literally couldn’t wait for the book to be over, determined as I was not to collect another DNF anytime soon!
So, apologies, but a summary is not going to happen for this now. I couldn’t, even if I wanted to.


Our Secrets and Lies

  • AUTHOR: Sinead Moriarty
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

 I loved the book. I started reading @sineadmoriartywriter after seven letters and now I am on a mission to read all of her books. The reason for a 4 and not a 5, is that I found some parts to be repetitive at times. Otherwise was a great read done in 2 days, and would still recommend.
Lucy is 21, first class at law school and in love with Tom. Than she finds out she is pregnant. Initially convinced to abort, when Tom’s controlling and nasty father comes to know of it and gets involved, she changes her mind. But Tom disappears cowardly to NYC to finish his studies. Luckily Lucy has her mom, dad and best friend Sarah on her side, and Lucy decides to have the baby and return to school after a year. Fast forward 17 years, Lucy had twins, her mom passed away due to cancer, she never got her law degree and Tom never reached out. But on the plus side, her kids are her world and make her very proud. Dylan got a scholarship for football, and Kelly gets to tag along being an A-student. Lucy lets her past grievances get into the way, suffocating her kids, expecting them to make up for the life she didn’t get to live, bitter due to all she had to give up, intended to prove to Tom’s father and the world that she is good enough. Blinded by this, she is oblivious to Kelly’s situation at school. Bullied to the edge, she will take an extreme decision that will force Lucy to refocus on life, just as Tom is bursting back into their lives.


MARCH WRAP UP


Writers & Lovers

  • AUTHOR: Lily King
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I am still left with the feeling of being unsure if I liked it or not. It was like waiting and waiting to see what going to happen…and than boom! In a couple of chapters it’s allover and the protagonist’s life totally changes 360 degrees all of a sudden.
So I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Though it was a nice read of two days.
Casey just lost love and her mom, and is lost. Struggling to pay her college debts because she refused to use her golf scholarship. Trying to write a novel since six years. And working at a restaurant to survive. Than she meets Silas, and than Oliver. Silas, a writer, interested, but troubled, so much so that he leaves town suddenly before their date. And Oliver, also a writer but mature and with two kids in tow. When Silas reappears, Casey is faced with a decision to make. And while her life finally starts to go in the right direction ( new job as a teacher, her novel finally published ), in love she will take the most dangerous decision and follow her heart.


When You Read This

  • AUTHOR: Mary Adkins
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I absolutely loved it.
Written in a style that it’s quiet unique ( texts, emails, blogs ), it will leave you laughing and crying at the same time.
Due to the nature of the way it’s written in, it was such an easy wonderful read. And it just made sense. Loved!
Iris finds out she has cancer and has little to live. She leaves behind a printed copy of her blog to her boss-cum-friend Smith, whose life is falling apart between childhood dramas, a failing business and a gambling addiction. But even from the grave, Iris manages to spread love and connect people. And that’s how Smith meets Jade, Iris sister. And somehow they heal one another from their losses and grief, uncovering Iris desire of opening a bakery, opening to each other about their hopes and dreams, fighting over Iris’s blog publication, and trying not to kill Carl ( Smith’s nosy intern )…Who despite being barely tolerable, will help magic happen.


Ordinary People

  • AUTHOR: Diana Evans
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 2 out of 5.

 I struggled with this one. Very slow start and a very weird ending that leaves you with a number of question marks, one of them being: surely this can’t be the end? But not in a good way. Not in a “I am looking forward to a sequel” kind of way. More in a “I’m glad it’s over and it’s weird this is the end”. A story of relationship, of losing yourself into marriage and kids and responsibilities, of wanting more for yourself but not knowing how to, on guilt and cheating, and arguing and feeling not enough. The hot topics were there, but the narration was heavy, the tale of two couples and their kids interwoven somehow without a clear purpose. I was just left confused and unfortunately didn’t enjoy the read at all.


You Are Not Alone

  • AUTHOR: G. Hendricks & S. Pekkanen
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Finally a great read after two consecutive DNF that literally left me heartbroken. There is nothing worse than starting a book you want to love, and end up being so disconnected from it that you can’t bring yourself to read it. I read hundreds of books before but that was a first time.
So when I picked up this one, and couldn’t put it down, I felt relieved. Like the world was right again 😂
It was an intriguing suspence-filled tale that kept me glued to it so much so that I finished it in two days.
Abuse, friendship, women sticking together, and the best part: you have no idea who is the person and the reason behind everything until the last pages.
Loved it!
Shay needs a new life, apartment, job, love. One day on her way to work on the subway, she witnesses a suicide that shakes her life and leaves a deep mark inside of her. While on a quest to find more about the victim, she crosses path with Cassandra and Jane, a sister power couple who have everything Shay wants: career, beauty, fame, confidence. In surprising ways, they demonstrate an interest in her and take her under her wings, amazingly fixing everything in her life that was wrong: new job, new house, new looks. But Shay is a data analyst by trade, and when she starts to add things up, she realizes that the sisters know so many things about her she never disclosed. Finding herself in the middle of a murder case where she is being set up as the killer, thanks to her analysis she will discover the truth behind the murder and the suicide she witnessed, and the real reason why she was pulled into it. The two sisters weren’t so angelic after all, spending most of their lives making others pay for wrongs bestowed unto them.
Highly recommend!!


The Starless Sea

  • AUTHOR: Erin Morgenstern
  • TOPIC: Novel

My first DNF ever. No matter how much I loved her other book, I couldn’t pass the mark of 200 pages. And even that was a torture.


Instagram Power

  • AUTHOR: Jason Miller
  • TOPIC: Social Media

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was a work related read.
With my new job, I need to use Instagram more than ever before, and I was looking for some insights to learn and develop my knowledge about the platform. I am always better at reading a real book than on line articles. Though this edition is a 2019 one, and ever since a lot of new features have been developed, it was still a very good read and helped me a lot to highlight some key things I was missing or didn’t know of.


Firefly Lane

  • AUTHOR: Kristin Hannah
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My first book by this author and for sure not the last. I didn’t watch the series yet and now I find myself equally intrigued to, and worried in case it doesn’t match what I read!
Don’t know if anyone felt the same but the story gave me flashbacks to The movie “Miss you already”: friends since forever, living two totally different lives and being two totally different characters, but no matter what, seem to be made from the same soul split into two, unable to stay away from each other for two long. A story of coming to age, growing up, career, love, kids, fights, understanding, support, sacrifice but most importantly: friendship above all else.
I am leaving the summary vague on purpose, as it’s up to you to find out the whole story.
Loved and recommend!!


The Invisible Life of Addie Larue

  • AUTHOR: V.E Schwab
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A super well deserved 5 star for this amazing book. A big hit in the last months that I couldn’t wait to read, and now all the fuss about it is clear to me. A true masterpiece.
Thrilling, mysterious, filled with suspence and with an plot that keeps you glued to the pages. Absolutely loved it.
Adeline is about to be married away, but she cannot imagine her life tied up. She is thirsty for freedom and life. So on the day of her wedding she escapes to the woods and pleads for a way out…but she is too late and as darkness takes over the day, her plea is granted by the god of darkness: a deal, to get her freedom. The price: her soul when she gets enough of it. And a curse, that she will discover over time and keep her company for centuries: she will never grow old and no one will ever remember her. Year after year she wonders through life and cities not being able to own anything, form a bond, or create something of her own. Only visited by the dark god on her deal anniversary, forming with him a twisted bond of rivalry and stubbornness. After 300 years, she stumbles upon Henry in NYC. And he remembers her. Sees her. And it’s not an illusion, it’s for real, so real they form a relationship neither of them expected. But soon enough they will realize why this was at all possible: he also made a deal with the dark god. A much shorter one, meaning that soon the god will come back for his payment. That is when Adeline will have to make a choice, that will change everyone’s destiny forever.


The Flat Share

  • AUTHOR: Beth O’Leary
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Praise for this so-talked about book that I couldn’t wait to read. And I do understand the excitement now, because it was awesome! Written in a witty way that I just adore, it was funny and romantic and a total delight. So much so that I finished it in one day because I couldn’t put it down.
Can’t wait to read all of your other books, because this one was just epic!

A heartbroken and now single Tiffany needs to find a new place, and the only option she can afford is a strange arrangement: share a flat, and a bed, with someone who will be using the flat when she is not there. Leon, working nights at a hospice, needs the extra money to get his brother out of jail. They don’t meet for months, exchanging post-it notes to communicate, and unknowingly get close thanks to this correspondence, till one day they finally meet in person in the most awkward of ways. And it’s instant chemistry which neither of them seem to be wanting to admit. Tiffany gets her best friend Gerty to help Leon with his brother case, and just when everything seems to go well, Tiffany’s boyfriend reappears in her life, stalking her and begging for her to come back, causing her a shock so big that she is unable to let go fully with Leon. Just when her career is skyrocketing, her ex pulls the biggest attacks of all, threatening to ruin everything in her life. A story of love, friendship, abuse, second chances, and hope. Read it, you will love it!!


The Paris Library

  • AUTHOR: Janet Skeslien Charles
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

 I truly loved the book, finished it basically in one sitting, as the narrative took me back to WW2 in Paris, thanks to the intensity of the description and the love for books that I share with the main character. I was only a bit disappointed with the ending, otherwise it was a great book and would still recommend.
Odile gets her dream job: librarian at the American Library in Paris. Her policeman father is not thrilled, and keeps inviting suitors to Sunday lunch to find a potential husband. The fourteenth candidate, Paul, it’s the good one, and she enjoys her growing romance while living her best life at the library, surrounded by inspiring people coming from different journeys of life. Everything will change once war disrupts Paris, but that won’t hold back the library from staying open, delivering books to soldiers at the front or readers that can’t make it to get books themselves. The library becomes a symbol of hope. One act of jealousy towards her best friend will truly ruin everything, forcing her to leave her recently wedded Paul, marry Buck and flee to America to start new. Here, forty years after, she meets lonely neighbors teenager Lily, and forms a special connection especially when Lily loses her mother. The two ladies have more in common than they think, and when a misunderstanding from the past seems to break their affection forever, they will both learn the greatest lessons in life.


The Vanishing Half

  • AUTHOR: Brit Bennett
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Both while reading it and now that it’s finished, I still cannot make my mind up about this book. Did I love it or not? For sure, the second half was much more interesting than the first one, and it didn’t really catch me, otherwise I would have finished it much quicker. It has not been one of those “I can’t put down” reads. I really wanted to read it as I have heard so much about it, but maybe it’s simply not my style.

Twins Desiree and Stella disappear from a small town out out New Orleans. But truth is, they escaped, leaving behind a life of many tragedies and poverty, shadowed by their skin color. They get by working here and there until Stella leaves Desiree behind without so much of an explanation, chasing “the whites life”, at which she succeeds, marrying well and having a daughter, Kennedy. Not so lucky, Desiree also needs to escape a violent husband, and finds herself back in her hometown with her daughter Jude, reconnecting with her mother and with her first love, Early. Only a twist of fate brings the twins daughters on the same path, with Jude trying to uncover a past everyone else seems to hide from or not know at all. And even a brief reconciliation won’t be enough to bring the twins back together again.


Such A Fun Age

  • AUTHOR: Kiley Reid
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I heardf so much about this novel and was looking forward to it. Read in one day and though the story was good, it didn’t leave me wowed to be honest.
I liked it, but didn’t adore it.
Emira is baby sitting part time for a well-off family. One evening, she is asked to help out late at night as an emergency to look after their daughter, Briar, for a short while. They go to the closest shop, and Emira is stopped by a security guard and accused of stealing the child. Only because she is afro-American. One man, Kelley, vídeos the encounter and offers Emira a copy of the video to seek out justice but she refuses. They later ob meet again and start a relationship. Alix, Briar’s mother, becomes obsessed with Emira and trying to make it up to her, and when she invites her over for Thanksgiving and Kelley shows up with her, she recognizes in him the guy who broke her heart in high school. Alix and Kelley fight their way to gain Emira’s sole love and attention, Alix pushing her to leave him and Kelley pushing her to leave her job. When the video of the store incident leaks out, Emira is faced with a decision to make, that will eventually force her to leave behind the only people she had ever loved. 


Layla

  • AUTHOR: Colleen Hoover
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Colleen, you did it again! What a masterpiece ❤️
I love everything she writes, every book seems better than the one before. The unexpected turns and twists of the plot kept me glued to the pages, so much so that I read half the book last night in one sitting because I simply couldn’t wait anymore to find out what happens next. I must have gasped “omg” at least 100 times. Absolutely adored it!
Leeds, an unfulfilled musician, meets Layla at a B&B where her sister is getting married while playing the gig. It’s love st first sight. Though it makes no sense to him, she can’t let her go and when he offers her to move in with him, she does. Layla pushed Leeds to pursue a solo career, and just when life seems too perfect to be true, someone from his past shows up and tragically changes all their lives forever. In an attempt to recover themselves and their relationship, Leeds decides to bring Layla back to where they first met. But she is not the same person he fell in love with. Matters complicate further when another guest of the B&B, Willow, makes her appearance in bizarre circumstances, forming a relationship with Leeds that goes beyond understanding. Though he knows he is neglecting Layla, Leeds cannot stop his interest in Willow and the pull he feels towards her: she feels so familiar and right, like he needs to help her. Forced to make a decision between saving Layla or Willow, unexpected circumstances will make it almost impossible to choose without affecting everyone’s future.
I know the summary is cryptic, but it’s intentionally so…I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for you. Just read it.


The Guest List

  • AUTHOR: Lucy Foley
  • TOPIC: Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book it’s not my usual genre but really liked it and now totally understand the hype about.
@lucyfoleyauthor keeps you glued page after page wondering: who did it? And this is exactly what you need for a thriller.
A wedding is about to take place in a remote island between Jules and Will, both too good looking and famous for their own good. There is a small list of guests that will be staying overnight at the estate prior to the celebration: and everyone is hiding something. Everyone has a secret, and the groom is the connection between them all. When the scream of a waitress claiming to have seen a body interrupts the wedding celebrations, it won’t be until the very last pages that you will discover who the body belongs to. And who did it. You will be kept on the edge until the very last wondering and scheming. But it will leave you speechless when you will find out.
Loved it. Highly recommend!!


FEBRUARY WRAP UP


The Untethered Soul

  • AUTHOR: Micheal Singer
  • TOPIC: Self-help

Rating: 3 out of 5.

And not because I didn’t like the topic or didn’t find it interesting – on the contrary. It’s just that the writing style didn’t sit well and with me and when that happens, I am unable to fully focus on the book. It doesn’t make me run to it to finish it. Regardless of that, I have been wanting to read this for a long time and I am happy I did. It explores the world inside yourself, and how to master that relationship with the most intimate part of your soul, how to manage the voice in your head, how to conquer fear, how to channel your energy to your heart, how to control the psyche…all with the ultimate goal of letting go of everything that doesn’t serve the higher purpose of living your best life.


Secrets of The Lighthouse

  • AUTHOR: Santa Montefiore
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My first read from this author and for sure not the last. I was so charmed by this book, I couldn’t put it down. I felt I was in Ireland the whole time, part of this enchanting story. Just blew me away and absolutely loved every page of it. Ellen escapes London, leaving a controlling mother and an arranged wedding behind. Her only option: go to Ireland, where her aunt lives. Aiming to start fresh and start on a novel, she discovers many secrets about her family. First of all, she has a huge family she never knew existed, and meets her biological father, discovering why her mother escaped this part of the world never to return. She also finds love in the estranged Conor, who lost her wife Caitlin 5 years ago in unclear circumstances. The whole town blames him and her family wants her to stay away from him but she can’t. On a mission to bring her daughter back to her senses, her mother travels back to Ireland, and reconnects with the whole family, but at the same time letting a secret slip that might destroy Ellen’s relationship with Conor.


It Started With A Secret

  • AUTHOR: Jill Mansell
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I absolutely loved all of her books so far and this was no exception.
That’s why she is one of my favorite writers: I adore books that keep you engaged, with a good love story to ger you dreaming, but surrounded by multiple interwoven plots that just make each page so much more interesting and complex.
Each character in the book has his own thing going on that supports the main part, adding diversity and color and meaning to it. Hence summarizing its a bit tricky. Lainey lost her job at a chateau in France, and on her way back to the UK, she applies to a quirky ad, knowing it would be the perfect fit for her and her best gay friend Kit. But the ad is for a couple. Passing the interview with flying colors while pretending to be in a relationship, they soon realize they will be taking care of the house and family of an old famous Hollywood actor. Seth, the grandson, discovers that Kit is gay and is secretly happy as his feelings for Lainey have started to grow, not knowing that she feels the same way about him. Once out in the open, job safe, they are still unsure of each other feelings, worried to break the working relationship that was working well so far. Between multitude of different events, every single character in the story will find love, family, friendship and acceptance for who they truly are.
Beautiful and highly recommend!


The Spanish Promise

  • AUTHOR: Karen Swan
  • Topic: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another breathtaking story from one of my favorite authors.
Each book I read, the more I am amazed about the way she can just glue you to her pages, as you just can’t stay away until the next plot twist, or to find out how it ends. She has this amazing way of making each story so interesting, that you never know how it will turn out to be: it’s what I love the most about her… you can never guess the finale and it’s always a surprise.As usual, summaries of her books are very hard to write, as the is so much going on. Charlotte has a particular job: wealth counselor. She helps rich people deal with the psychological issues that might arise from possessing a great amount of money. On the week before her wedding, she gets sent to Spain to get at the bottom of a very strange request from one of the richest man in the country, who is about to pass away and wants to gifts everything he is owes to an unknown woman. With the help of Nathan, her long lost love who now hates her, she will come to the bottom of the story, realizing that this mysterious woman is in fact a long lost twin of the man, and revealing so much family history, including her own. It was so good I had read it in one day. Highly recommend!


How To Fail At Flirting

  • AUTHOR: Denise Williams
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I stayed up until 1Am to finish it in one day…that’s how good it was! And I love how the title doesn’t prepare you for how much more complex and unexpected the story actually is. Abuse, racism, gender discrimination, love and lots of racy parts.
Loved it…now I understand the hype.. Naya is an accomplished professor at university, but after being in a violent and abusive relationship, she shut everything else off. Her best friends convince her to get herself out there, and give her a to do list. On the night they are all supposed to go out and support her, she ends up alone in a bar…and that is when she meets Jack. Everything goes more than right, ticking off so many items on the list, until she gets sick…but the next day he still calls her. They unexpectedly grow fonder until it turns out that Jack works for a company that’s working with her university…but not even this conflict of interest can stop them from falling in love. Things take a turn for the worst when their relationship comes to light and her abusive ex makes a comeback, making Naya feel like she is about to lose everything.


If I Can’t Have You

  • AUTHOR: Charlotte Levin
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I remember looking at this book on the shelves for weeks before going for it…but the pull was there…the book was calling me.
Though I am still true to my February theme of novels about love, unfortunately this one is not one with happy ending. But definitely one with a big last minute surprise.
I won’t summarize the plot, but I will tell you what you can expect. It touched on so many topics, from alcoholism, self-harm, domestic violence, stalking, unreciprocated love, jealousy, abandonment, grief, guilt…but still it was a story about love. Love that you feel but don’t get in return. Love that hurts and drives you made. Love that makes the unacceptable, acceptable.


Watermelon

  • AUTHOR: Marian Keyes
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love everything she writes!! It was just amazing.
I didn’t even realize this is her first ever written book…no wonder she became so popular. I have read a lot of her books so far and loved every single one of them, so can’t wait to read all the rest very soon. She is definitely one of my favorite writers. This book made me laugh out loud but also angry. Angry about the underlying issue that she brings to light in this novel: how sometimes women end up in manipulative relationships where the man makes them feel like everything is their fault, and the only way to make it work is changing themselves to make their partner feel more like a man. Totally raging!! And this is what happens to Claire. She has literally just given birth to their daughter, when James announces that he is leaving her and having an affair. Without so much so giving a glance to his newborn daughter. Claire goes back to her childhood home where her crazy sisters still live with mom and dad, and when she just about managed to put herself together and met a young man to keep her mind off things, James flies to Dublin, doesn’t apologize and practically blames Claire for pushing him into cheating on her. Initially she forced herself to give in for her daughters sake, but Claire doesn’t take long to realize that she isn’t the one who should apologize and change to make the marriage work. In fact, she gathers enough courage and self-respect to end things and start life all over again. Great read, highly recommend for a good laugh but also for a good lesson to any woman who is made to feel less than she actually is. Because that is not love.


In Case You Missed It

  • AUTHOR: Lindsey Kelk
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another amazing novel from one of my favorite writers. Ros is back home after spending 3 years in DC as a radio producer. Forced to live in her parents house and witness their newly found romanticism, she is jobless but her 3 best friends are almost as she left them. Almost because they are all moving on with their lives, their hangout has changed to a new bar run by a guy named John…and she is the only one missing the good old days. Part of her past is Patrick, who broke her heart when she moved overseas and accidentally gets in touch with again the first night she is back in town. She finds a job, which she hates…and she picks up with Patrick where she left off…only to realize that he hasn’t changed one bit and she was never the problem: he was. Through a lot of moments spent with friends, a vow renewal she has to organize for her parents, and getting on with this job which clearly isn’t for her…she will learn to move on and look to the future, both at work and in love.
Super cute and loved it. Highly recommend.


A Bend in The Road

  • AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really liked this book. It kept me stuck it, waiting for find out exactly what happens. And I love when a book does this…keep me on my toes, excited and waiting with anticipation.
Hence my summary will be short and sweet, as I wouldn’t want to give away too much, keeping you from experiencing the same thrill. Miles is a single father to Jonah, working as a sheriff in a small town. The last years have been a nightmare, filled with investigations trying to find out who killed his way and ran away. The only one able to break this spell is Sarah, who recently moved to town after a bad divorce, and offered to help Jonah after school since he is falling behind. One thing leads to another, and Sarah and Miles heal each other’s hearts. To threaten all this, is new information that arise in regards to his wife killing, over which Miles looses all stability. And when the true finally comes out, seems there is nothing left to save Sarah’s and Miles’s love, no matter how strong…but…will let you read and find out the rest!


The First Time I Saw you

  • AUTHOR: Emma Cooper
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Wow! What a story! So intriguing and so full that I struggle to make a summary. I loved it, so much, the pages keeping me stuck to the book, unable to wait to know what happens next.
Sophie is successful and meets Samuel, for whom is love at first sight. He is able to cut through her defenses and see the real her. Work gets in the way, when she realizes he works for the company she is trying to acquire. A glitch of conflict of interest makes it impossible for them to be together, and misunderstandings get in the way. So she tries to move on, until she finds herself jobless and pregnant. He doesn’t want to give up on her until an accident makes it impossible for him to fight for her. Both their lives change dramatically, and through the whole story they keep looking for each other and missing each other, as if fate is trying to make it as hard as possible for them to be together. But love conquers all. And though they are both not the same people they have fallen in love with, they will look at a very bright future together…topped off with a surprise.


The Places I’ve Cried in Public

  • AUTHOR: Holly Bourne
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What started like something close to a YA book leaving me wondering if it was something for me, ended up gripping and twisting all of my insides. Feeling the pain of the main character deeper than I ever thought possible, as if it had actually hit home somehow.
I will not write a summary this time, but will type out a paragraph from the closing chapter of the novel. A novel about the wrong type of love and emotional abuse.

“Sometimes, when someone doesn’t treat us well and attacks the essence of who we are, that causes trauma. It’s natural to want to be loved – it’s the most natural thing in the world. So, when we love someone and they hurt us, our brain doesn’t like it. Our brain doesn’t like trauma, it doesn’t like feeling unsafe, and sometimes comes up with unhealthy shortcuts in order to trick us into feeling safe. One of the things the brain does to feel safe, is it creates an intense bond with the person who hurts us. If someone is inconsistent with how they treat us, our body can get addicted to being in a nervous state. Waiting for it to get better, feeling sick and depressed and terrible when it doesn’t – but then when we get a flood of happy hormones when this person is finally nice to us again. It’s a bit like being on drugs. You’re never sure when you will get your next hot of niceness”


Beach Read

  • AUTHOR: Emily Henry
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have read ravishing reviews about this one, and though I rarely buy based on this, the plot seemed interesting enough to give in. And I am glad I did.
Read in one day, as I couldn’t put it down until I knew how it ended, I highly recommend. Great love story without being cheesy. January is a writer, now nearly broke and struggling to write her next book. Moreover, her father passed away, and she inherited a cabin by the beach…where he used to have a second life with a woman he was cheating on his mother with. Her neighbor, turns out to be Gus, another writer she went to school with and had a crush on, but that couldn’t stand as he always thought he was a better writer than her…just because she writes romantic comedies with happy endings, and he does the total opposite. On the way back from a book club night they have been set up with, they decide to cure each other writers blocks by making a bet: he will write a book with a happy ending, and she will write one without one. Spending more and more time together, they both discover darkness and pain in each other, built up from their past, making you wonder if they will ever be able to write those books and much more. Don’t want to write more not to spoil the ending.


The Plus One

  • AUTHOR: Sophia Money-Coutts
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Filled with belly-laugh moments, it will make you love Polly. But might not make you adore the book. Hence my three stars. Polly, almost 30, shares a flat with her gay friend Joe and hasn’t seen much romantic action the past year. Working as a writer in a royals-gossip-only magazine, she is surrounded by many friends, her widowed mom being her best. When sent to a duke’s palace to interview their son Jasper for the magazine, little did she know that he would be the one to break her one year-spell, with lots of bed action and even a declaration of love. All her friends, including mom, seem to love him apart for her oldest friend, Billy. When away on her a hen night she organized for her friend Lex, he doesn’t stay in touch only to reappear with a lot of excuses that are later revealed to be lies once some paparazzi pictures appear on the desk of her boss. He cheated. Forced to go to her friend Lex’s wedding without a plus one, she will be surprised how she will end up the day never to be alone again.


The Sun in Her Eyes

  • AUTHOR: Paige Toon
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I liked but didn’t adore.
Amber lost her mom to a car accident very young. She was in the car too and survived thanks to a driver who passed by the accident and saved her life, Doris. Grown, married, and now living in London, she looses her job on the same day she finds out that she suddenly needs to go back to Australia when her father suffers a stroke. There, she meets with her old friends again while tending to her father, above all reconnecting with Ethan, her first love. Spending time together, they get closer by the day and she confesses her love to him, and ends up cheating on her husband, nearly divorcing him. When she finds out she is pregnant, fearing the baby to be Ethan’s, she discovers his true colors and she doesn’t like what she sees. She meets Doris, who connected with her through a letter, and who reveals to Amber her mom’s last words, bringing closure to both women about the tragic event. With her husband Ned on the way to Australia to save their marriage, Amber finds out that the baby she is expecting is Ned’s, and the relief and happy news is enough to save their love


Everything I Know About Love

  • AUTHOR: Dolly Alderton
  • TOPIC: Memoir

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I laughed, a lot.
This memoir is quiet something, made me miss having strong long lasting female relationships in my life. Reminded me that I never shared a house with friends or went on a girls vacation in life. Never say never though!
In this book you will find everything about life: loss, breakups, friendship, sex, addiction, grief, counseling, anxiety, coming of age, getting older, flat sharing, tears, laughter and heaps of alcohol.
But most importantly you will remind yourself of some important lessons: you are good enough, love yourself, age is just a number, live your life the way that fits only you, don’t care about society-imposed milestones, it’s ok to feel broken, friendship is everything, marry your best friend, don’t be scared of getting older, you can do anything you want at any age.
Loved, but not adored. But still recommend to read it.


The Friend Zone

  • AUTHOR: Abby Jimenez
  • TOPIC: Romantic Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a hands down proper romantic novel. With a hint of tragedy, but with the best happy ending you could wish for.
And the main character? Totally in love with her, she is so my type.
Read it, you will cry and laugh and believe in love again!!

Kirsten is on a long distance relationship with a military man who she rarely sees and who doesn’t want kids: perfect! Because she cannot have kids. Her condition is severe and this relationship fits her just fine. On the days preceding his boyfriend coming back and moving in with her at long last, she meets Josh. He moved into town for good, just before his best friend gets married to Kirsten best friend. One thing to another forces them to spend more and more time together, first as friends while the individually develop feelings for one another. And than her boyfriend texts: he is reenlisting and not coming back. And Kirsten let’s go. She soon regrets it as Josh wants kids above else in this world, and she loves him to much to take that away from him. But no matter how much she pulls back, the more he fights for her. Even when he finds out about her condition. Even when a tragedy seems to be tearing them apart.
I don’t want to say more, as I would spoil the fun!
Can’t wait to read more from her. 


The Light We Lost

  • AUTHOR: Jill Santopolo
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was looking forward so much to this book and I was right. I loved it.
I loved the way how it was written, like a long love letter, as if the writer was expressing her whole experience to her loved one, sometimes prompting for answers she knew she would never get. Because unfortunately, it’s a story with a sad ending. Lucy meets Gabe on 9-11 while at college. They immediately click and this experience marks them, making them realize about the importance of time. They kiss, but it goes no further as Gabe ends up back with his girlfriend. But they meet again, and live the type of romance that we all wish for: all consuming. But work and dreams come in the way separating them again: Gabe puts his dreams before the relationship and leaves NYC to be a war photographer correspondent. Life moves on, Lucy marries, has kids, works in a job that she adores and Gabe and her only keep in touch or meet few times over the years. But one time, when Lucy wrongly suspects that her husband is cheating on her, she gives in all the way to her feelings. She never stopped loving Gabe. Time passes again and a call from an unknown number makes her jump…will it be him? No, he has been injured and won’t wake up again. She had to run to him, one last time, with a huge secret inside of her. Lesson learned: time is single most important thing we have. Don’t waste it not being happy or now following your heart.


Good Vibes, Good Life

  • AUTHOR: Vex King
  • TOPIC: Self-help

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am so happy I decided to read this one and break my pattern of “romantic-reads-only” for this month.
Why? Because this book makes you feel good, makes you think, makes you want to change and better yourself. And I needed this book at this point in my life.
I have read many books of similar topic, but I have to admit that this is hands down the best yet. It’s clear, each chapter short and on point, and it definitely belongs to those few books I will read again. In fact, due to its small size, I am tempted to bring it always with me in my bag, to be able to flick through it when I need a nudge or a reminder, to give me strength and ideas to focus and love myself and to remember what I should focus on and on what matters.
The book touches everything: fear, meditation, purpose, acceptance, goals, affirmations, consistency. And all written in a concise manner and to the point…just the way I like it.
Read this book, cherish it, read it again. It makes you feel like it’s all possible. Only a few tweaks and you can live the life you want and you were meant to live.


Love After Love

  • AUTHOR: Ingrid Persaud
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I am sorry, maybe it’s just me, but I really didn’t like this book.
Not only the fact that majority was written with a Trinidad influenced English, but the story just didn’t get to me.
Betty has a son, Solo, and her husband Sunil beats her daily. On Solo’s 5th birthday, she kicks him down the stairs when he is drunk. And he dies. She meets a co-worker, Chetna, that needs a place to stay, and he moves in with them. Becomes part of the family but never anything more, as though he really loves Betty, it’s not enough for him: he needs a man. They live in harmony for years and he becomes a father to Solo. When Solo finds out about the truth of his father’s passing, he moves to NYC with his uncle and stops speaking to his mother. Chetan moves out and has various relationships and keeps in touch with Solo, who is struggling in NYC with depression, self-harm and loneliness. Only when Chetan is murdered, Solo goes back to Trinidad, and finally patches up his relationship with his mother. Was very close to being DNF for me.


Some Kind of Wonderful

  • AUTHOR: Giovanna Fletcher
  • TOPIC: Romantic Novel

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The start was amazing: in Dubai on holiday, Lizzie is hoping that her boyfriend of 10 years will finally propose. When he organizes a romantic dinner on the beach on their last night, she thinks this is it! He even pulls a ring out…only to tell her it’s over. Heartbroken and lost, she moves back at her parents, aiming to find herself again. She joins a choir, she meets new people, she leaves her job, on a quest to put her life back together. But when the right job comes along, and a possible new man too, she decides instead to go traveling for 3 months.
And this is how it ends.
For me it was a bit stretched, found it boring at times and not really as exciting as the start had promised.
It was an easy breezy read but didn’t take my breath away. Not sure why but maybe was expecting more.


Dear Emmie Blue

  • AUTHOR: Lia Louis
  • TOPIC: Romantic Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Emmie, with a father she never met and an absent mother, releases a red balloon in the air as kid, with a message. That balloon makes it over the canal, to France, where Luke just moved. He writes back, and the friendship is sealed for life. First emails, than gift boxes and than visits. Luke’s family becomes Emmie’s, and they spend all birthdays together, as they were born on the same day. During one of these occasions, Emmie is convinced that Luke will propose: she loves him and cannot imagine living without him. But instead, she is asked to be his best woman. He is getting married…to someone else. During the wedding preparations, she will get closer again to Elliot, Luke’s brother. He will always be there when she needs him: when she discovers who her real father is, when she freaks out to go for an interview for a school counselor job because that is were she was molested, when she develops a friendship with her landlady. He is always there. Through various plot twists that I leave to you to discover, Emmie will realize that all she was sure to know, is not exactly so. And she will rebuild a life and find love, in the most unexpected places. Highly recommend!


JANUARY WRAP UP


Happier Now

  • AUTHOR: Nataly Kogan
  • TOPIC: Self Development

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have never read so many books before in one month, and choosing this one to finish off my January reads was the best decision ever. The right book at the right moment.
I have been going through a phase of uncertainty, my confidence weakened, searching for answers…and this book opened up a wide door of support and understanding.
I would highly recommend anyone to read this, regardless of your personal life circumstances: it’s a great reminder to love ourselves, to cut ourselves some slack, to be understanding and forgiving, and how much our mental health affects anything in life.
Acceptance, gratitude, intentional kindness, the bigger why and self care are the pillars of this amazing book.
Do yourself a favor and read it. You will thank me later.


The Silent Patient

  • AUTHOR: Alex Michaelides
  • TOPIC: Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5.

These few days off gave me a lot of time to read, finishing one book a day, and trashing my record of books per month.
I have been wanting to read this book for so long. It has been praised to highly, and even though it’s not my usual genre, I loved it so much that I finished it in one day: I simply couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen.
Alicia stops talking after her husband is brutally murdered in their house. She is put in the care of a psychiatric facility, and when Theo, a new joiner, starts working there…it makes it his personal challenge to find out what really happened, and to get her to talk again. Alicia kept a diary…the key to the truth about what really happened, and the key to find out who tried to kill her to silence her forever.
This is just a super short summary. The plot is too twisted and gripping so don’t want to spoil it for you. If you like mystery and thriller, this one is for you! Highly recommend !!


The Psychology of Time Travel

  • AUTHOR: Kate Mascarenhas
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I was honestly so excited by the title and the summary plot at the back of the book. Time travel is something whole humanity has been thinking about since the dawn of time and I was sincerely looking forward to it. I am not sure what exactly didn’t make me love this book: maybe it was the complexity of the plot, which is so intricate that it makes me unable to write a summary of sorts. Too many moving parts and too much going on, that often made me lose track of the story and it’s purpose. It started well but didn’t blow my mind…in fact, it was so close to be a DNF for me but I was just too curious to finish it to find out what it was all about. Shame.


The Kiss Quotient

  • AUTHOR: Helen Hoang
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This one was a funny, steamy, cute and witty one, totally unputdownable hence finished it in one day.
I heard so much about her books and all the fuss was totally worth it, as I now can’t wait to read her next ones. Michael left all his dreams aside to pay for his mom cancer treatments and take care of his 5 sister and brother after his dad left, taking everything with him. To make ends meet, he spends Fridays being an escort. Stella is successful and rich, but doesn’t know how to be with a man or have a relationship, and her autism doesn’t help her with this. When pressured by her mom to bring a date to an upcoming charity social event, Stella contacts an escort agency to have a professional teach her all she needs to know. Michael shows up at her door. Stella will not be the only one to learn about relationships: they will tear each other walls and insecurities down, learning about trust and love and forgiveness.


VOX

  • AUTHOR: Christina Dalcher
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I knew, when I read the summary at the back of the book, that I would love this. Reminds me a bit of Atwood’s recent books, though I must be truthful in saying that this one is much better. We are again in the US, when the overzealous Christians decide to purge the communicate from sin: by taking away everything from women…most importantly their voice. If they speak more than 100 words a day, an electric shock will go through their bodies…to remind them what their new place in the world is: silence, reverence and obedience to man, in a world where they cannot read, write, work, communicate, feel. A terrifying tale but with a happy ending. Because woman are resilient and they always find a way, to protect their families, kids, loved ones…and themselves.


I Feel Bad About My Neck

  • AUTHOR: Nora Ephron
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I think every woman in the world should read this book. The way Nora Ephron destroys bluntly every single cliche’ about what women do or care about just to uphold the standard role that society has given us ( or we have given ourselves ), it’s mind blowing. And hilarious. And so true it hurts. And straightforward. And I just loved it and please make sure you read it. Every chapter is something new, all based on her own experience recounted without shame or embarrassment. What she learned, where she failed, what she believes in, and even if you don’t know her and you are from a different age group/nationality/part of the world…you will relate so much that you will just laugh and raise your hand and say “yup, that’s me”! I would personally take a screenshot of the chapter called “what I wish I’d known” for future life reference 😉


The Gift

  • AUTHOR: Edith Eger
  • TOPIC: Self help

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Just as the title says, this book is truly a gift. It’s raw, it’s true, it makes you think and it makes you cry. @dr.editheger puts it all out on the table, showing us how being vulnerable can be our biggest strength. Not shy or ashamed to use her own life experience to teach us how to love ourselves no matter what, she explains in great details 12 ways to make your life better.
If you read carefully, you will recognize yourself in so many ways, remembering things you either said, did or thought…and how you can do better next time. For your own good. Just for you. I think everyone in the world, no matter their life circumstances, weather they had a good or troubled life, should read this book and never give it away. Keep it there in the shelf so you can go back to read it, when you know you are going off-path.


The Year that Changed Everything

  • AUTHOR: Cathy Kelly
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED!! I knew I would love this writer and can’t wait to read more from her. The story is full of meaning and truth, the power of woman resilience, the importance of family and true friends, the hard-learned life lesson of never giving up. Callie turns 50, only to find out that her husband James is gone, leaving her and her daughter behind, escaping a fraud case. Ginger turns 30 at her best friend wedding; she is still a virgin and overweight, and that night she discovers that her best friend was no such thing all along. Sam turns 40 and gives birth to her miracle baby, after years of IVF, but is consumed by post-natal depression and the memory of her own unmotherly mother, fearing she will end up like her. During a full year, all 3 woman rediscover themselves and get a new chance at a happy life, thanks only to themselves and to their loved ones around them. Highly recommend.


The Seventh Commandment

  • AUTHOR: Tom Fox
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have waited for this book for so long. It took me ages to find anyone who would have it in stock and shipping to the UAE, so I was super excited when I started. I loved his other book so much that I couldn’t wait to read it as soon as it was out of the delivery box. It was good, but maybe not as exciting as Dominus. An ancient tablet written in Akkadian, a lost language from Mesopotamia that only a handful of people can translate, is found underneath Rome. And it contains seven prophecies. Though it will turn out to be a huge scam, Emil, fired years ago from the Secret Archives of the Vatican, has made his life purpose ever since to seek revenge. And thanks to years of meticulous planning, conjures this tablet and its seven commandments to become true, forcing Rome to its knees for 4 days. His ultimate objective: empty the secret vault of the Vatican, full of gold and silver and only known to a few. But thanks to the only two people in Rome that understand Akkadian, and with the help of the Swiss Guards, he will be discovered and stopped.


Sorry I missed you

  • AUTHOR: Suzy Krause
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Maude, Mackanzie and Sunna have all lost someone. Not literally, but they have been all ghosted by people that mattered to them. When a broken letter shows up one day in the shared mail box of the house where they recently moved in as tenants, each one of them hopes it’s for them. This takes them to spend a lot of time in a cafe’ where the letter mentioned that person would be waiting. But no one ever shows up. Each of the ladies will eventually meet their “ghosts”, and make up for lost time, while becoming friends in the process. Other actual ghosts are living in the attic, as strange noises and disappearances happen every day in the house. Larry, the landlord, too scared to take action and see what is up there, will be in for a surprise: his aunt who left him the house is not dead, and is the one living in the attic…with is non-dead husband, and non-dead friends. At the very end, the mystery of the broken letter will be revealed: it was for Larry. Funny, comical, smart, loved it. And recommend it!


Originals

  • AUTHOR: Adam Grant
  • TOPIC: Social studies

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What an amazing read this was! So many busted myths about who is labelled as an “Original”. With plenty of studies to back up his theories, real-life examples from business, sport, management, families, and history, his thoughts make perfect sense. All his ideas can support you in business or personal life alike, and his advice is so well explained and thought of, that it can be easily replicated and used in all spheres of life. Highly recommend!


On the other side

  • AUTHOR: Carrie Hope Fletcher
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

It took me a bit to fall in love with this story and the writing style of this new author I am reading for the first time. But all in all, it was a great read, with lots of fantasy involved aside of the lingering main love story that was underneath it all. Upon he passing, Evie finds herself in a limbo, which has taken shape of the place where she was most happy in her life. There, she understands that in order to enter her own heaven, she needs to let go of some heavy secrets that are keeping her from making the crossing. She needs to chose the right person and also the right action that she wants them to perform. She visits 3 different people in her sleep, and they all wake up feeling Evie has been there with them. Prompted by the intensity of the dream, they analyze it and they feel inexplicably pushed to act of it. Each time they succeed, Evie feels lighter and closer to her heaven: spend the rest of her time with her first and only true love.


House of Spies

  • AUTHOR: Daniel Silva
  • TOPIC: Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I can never get enough of Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon’s stories. This is my third book from him and he is slowly becoming one of my favorite writers. The beauty is that you can read the book without having read the one before, as there is always a good summary to ensure you are up to speed with the story. In this episode, Gabriel is intended to do all he can to find the mastermind behind all the recent attacks around the world: Saladin. By working closely with all the other agencies around the world, he is led to Morocco where the biggest drug dealer is actually in business with Saladin, helping him out to source weapons and most recently, a bomb. Thanks to his amazing team, he is able to personally bring Saladin to an end and save the world once more. Recommend it if you like action spy reads!


How to Walk Away

  • AUTHOR: Katherine Center
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved! I laughed! I recommend! What a book! So good that I am now on a mission to read everything else she wrote asap. Maggie hates to fly, but when her boyfriend/training pilot forces her to get onto a plane on Valentine’s day, she reluctantly accepts because she thinks he will propose. And he does, just before a turbulence causes them to crash: he gets out of it without a scratch…she, with burns and a broken spine. Once in hospital, aside trying put her life back together and come to terms with the reality that she might not walk again, she needs to deal with: her fiancé’ cheating on him and the consequent broken engagement, her sister she didn’t see for 3 years coming back into her life, a family secret surfacing that explains her sister disappearance, and a rude untalkative PT…who will soon become the only reason for her to smile and be happy. Will Maggie be able to put herself back on her feet and be happy again? Read to find out.


Think Like a Monk

  • AUTHOR: Jay Shetty
  • TOPIC: Self Help

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I started this book with zero expectations, as I simply didn’t have any. Of course, like everyone, I have come across Jay’s videos on Facebook many times and always found them inspiring, but I had no idea about his life story and how we came to be who is is today. If I could, I would give this book more than 5 stars. It has quickly become one of those few books in my life that I would re-read just to absorb the information better. Perfectly written, making sense through every word, every quote, every chapter, hitting to the core more than one would care to admit. I was just WOWED, and I learned so much from it, made me really want to take some of his advice and teachings and put them into practice. Do not think twice, just read this book and make the most of it. It is a must.


The Return

  • AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks
  • TOPICS: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I liked, but I didn’t love. I am not sure if it is because it was written in first person tense, or because I was expecting more surprises. Never the less, was a pleasant read, but I liked some of his other work better. After being injured in Afghanistan where he was working as a doctor, Trevor moves back to his grandfather hometown after his passing. He is still struggling with the aftermath of his experience, but he is trying to look forward to his life, planning to return to medical school as a psychology resident, while tending to the beehives of his grandfather. He was certainly not looking to fall in love when he meets Natalie, a local who works as a deputy sheriff. Though she seems to fall for him too, she seems distant as if something is holding her back. He also meets Callie, a teenager that seems to live on her own and away from everyone. Things get complicated when he starts a journey to understand why his grandfather passed away in another state…only to find out that this mystery is somehow connected to Callie. When Callie has an accident, and Trevor saves her life, so many secrets will unfold, including the real season why his grandfather died where he did, and why Natalie was holding back from his love.


Anxious People

  • AUTHOR: Fredrik Backman
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is the 3rd book I read from him, and I just love love love his unique writing style, clever and witty with a side of dry humor. This story is so unique and entangled that it is impossible to write a summary. All you need to know is that one morning a good person decides to rob a bank…out of despair…only to find out that it’s a cashless bank…the person escapes and hides into an apartment that it’s open for a viewing…and the mix of individuals in there is so unique, the situation so peculiar, the robber so useless that they end up helping him ( or is it a her? ) escape. The lives of all the characters come to be known, and they all interconnect somehow, either in the past, or present or future. It’s a master work: I laughed, I empathized, I loved it all! Read it!


Untamed

  • AUTHOR: Glennon Doyle
  • TOPIC: Autobiography / Self-help

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book hit home. Deep. There are topics that are touched that I cannot relate to, such as discrimination, BLM, bulimia, alcoholism, anxiety and depression. But I could definitely relate to being a parent and often not knowing what is the right thing to say or do; I could relate to divorce: do you stay for your children or do you leave because you simply cannot be happy if you stay; “who are you and what are you supposed to do with your life?” type of questions. I could feel a fire inside of me reading her story. Her words related so much, and they made so much sense: why do we make ourselves so little just to fit in? How about we stop caring and be ourselves and do what we really want to do? How about we live our lives based on our own rules? How about we just understand that all that matters is the integrity of making sure we don’t let ourselves down? How about we keep dreaming? How about we just be who we are and screw the rest? I didn’t know I needed this book till I read it. And will for sure be going back to the highlighted parts more than once. Recommended!


The Book of Two ways

  • AUTHOR: Jodi Picoult
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I didn’t do it intentionally but even my second read of the year is about regrets and a possible life that we could have lived. When Dawn is in a plane crash and survives it, all of her past comes rushing. This takes her to Egypt and to the love she had left behind, Wyatt. She was working with him as an archeologist, but her mom was about to pass away and she had to leave. Her life took a turn, she found out she was pregnant and married Brian, and left her dreams behind and made a new life and career for herself. But this near-death experience just makes her wonder “what if?”, and so she goes to find out if the love she felt is still there and unavoidable. True doubts and new discoveries, Dawn will have to make a choice between her two lives: the comfortable one she is in now, or the one she was always supposed to live. I loved the book, good narrative, the switch between her current life and possible life keeping the tale interesting. Recommend.


Midnight Library

  • AUTHOR: Matt Haig
  • TOPIC: Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My first book of 2021 couldn’t have been a better choice. I read it in one day as it was impossible to put down. What a perfect story to start the year! Right on point at the time of our life when we are more inclined to think about life changes, resolutions and intentions. Imagine if you had the chance to try as many different life versions of yourself as you could? And choose the one that is best for you? Nora has this chance. One night she decides to end it all, but instead of dying, she wakes up in the Midnight Library. This library contains books made up of all the different lives she could have lived if she took different turns on her path. The book of regrets is the best place to start: trying to right her wrongs, and live lives she never got the opportunity to experience. But, she soon realizes, going from regret to regret, that grass is never greener on the other side. Grass becomes just as green in your backyard, as long as you water it and take care of it. She lives countless different versions of her life, only to realize that the one she really needed and wanted was right in front of her the whole time. Amazing, inspiring reading. One of the best books I have ever read. Cannot recommend it enough.