FEBRUARY WRAP UP


The Untethered Soul

  • AUTHOR: Micheal Singer
  • TOPIC: Self-help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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