#Review of #TheKickingtheBucketList by @CathyHopkins1 @fictionpubteam @W6BookCafe

bucketThe stunning debut for fans of Celia Imrie and Dawn French.

Meet the daughters of Iris Parker. Dee; sensitive and big-hearted; Rose uptight and controlled and Fleur the reckless free spirit.
At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’.

But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’ bucket list was about so much more than money…

What does TWG think?

I’ll be honest, this book wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I was expecting a storyline that was centred around the ‘typical’ bucket list and somewhat predictable. However, what I actually got was a novel that had me in absolute hysterics one moment, to then finding myself ugly crying the next, whilst also having some incredibly bold and unique characters thrown in for good measure. So you see, sometimes judging a book before you have even read it, can be a good thing. After all, we all like surprises, especially when they’re good ones like this!

Dee, Rose and Fleur were expecting a bog standard will reading. You know, letters from the deceased read out, inheritance (if any) spoken about and other wishes discussed, ending with a signature from all those involved. Snigger, that was NOT what they got. There was a condition attached to any inheritance money, as laid out via the deceased’s wishes. All three ladies have one thing in common; they have all lost their mother. The deceased, their mother, has one thing which trumps her daughters ten times over; she was their mother and she knew them better than they even knew themselves. Therefore, mummy knows best, right? Especially as the three sisters haven’t exactly been bosom buddies over the years…

Iris Parker is a L-E-G-E-N-D! Her last wish to her daughters via her will, had me in absolute hysterics! I totally envisaged all three daughters faces at the news. In any other circumstance; such as the sisters getting on really well, it probably wouldn’t have come as such a shock to them, nor would I have found it as funny. But, because they couldn’t stand the sight of one another and one of them really needed the money, Iris Parkers last wish was an absolute belter.

Obviously, I forged my own opinion of Fleur, Dee and Rose, I always do. At first, I disliked Rose with a passion. Her stuck up nature and arrogance riled me up the wrong way, I’m sorry to say. I adored Dee as I found her personality incredibly warm and soft natured, even though she was incredibly bouncy and energetic. As for Fleur, I kept changing my mind with her. One moment I liked her ‘company’ and found her humour to be quite similar to mine, yet the next moment I struggled to bond with her as she came across a bit self-centred and far to free and easy about a lot of things.

The weekends the sisters had to endure were a mixture of events, some being funny and some being rather thought-provoking. Despite the weekends being their mother’s ‘bucket list’, the three women couldn’t seem to open their eyes to what was directly in front of them, nor could they see further than the money. However, watching the sisters go on their journey of self discovery by reminiscing and trying new things, was such an emotional one. Even though the ladies refused to see further than the inheritance money at first; watching them get to the point where things started to make sense was an ingenious idea on the authors part. Without even realising it, their mother had given them an incredibly powerful gift which, unfortunately, they seem to realise far too late.

Because most of Cathy Hopkins’ book was light-hearted and turned the negative circumstances into positive ones, when the dynamic of the storyline completely changed my hand flew to my mouth and my eyes began to sting. You know what I mean, yeah? Think of this; you’re reading a storyline that seems to make you laugh more often than none, has such an important underlying message to it yet all of a sudden….WHAM. Every single thing you thought you understood, you no longer understand and it’s made you far more emotional than you thought it would. Does that make sense now? Good, because that’s what happened to me when I read the last third or so of the novel.

The last third of Cathy Hopkins’ novel also gave her characters a well needed kick up the backside, too! I hadn’t realised how invested in the storyline and the characters lives I was, until that moment. Dee, Fleur and Rose’s relationship finally decided to mosey on down the path that their mother clearly knew that it would, Iris just had no idea under what circumstances/weekend or event, that that would happen.

I bawled like a baby, no lie. I was absolutely devastated by the turn of events! I couldn’t keep a lid on it, AT ALL. Yes folks, it surprised me too. It was as though I was feeling their emotion first hand.
I LOVED ‘The Kicking the Bucket List’ from the moment I read about Iris’ last wish, right until the very end of the book. The attention to detail in regards to the sisters personalities, was unbelievable, I have never read a character like those before. Incredible realistic and more than just words on a piece of paper. Those ladies stole my heart (yes, even Rose), and I took their hidden message. There were highs and there were lows. Good times and bad times. Funny moments and absolutely hilarious, sexy snorting moments. And you know what? It was absolutely brilliant. Cathy Hopkins has written such a clever and unique storyline, putting a twist on the usual ‘bucket list’ by making it her own.

Don’t be like Dee, Rose and Fleur and leave things too late. Don’t break a close relationship thinking that you have all the time in the world to fix it again. You don’t. Go and do those things that you want to do before you end up being in Iris’ position. Although to be honest, Iris is an absolute genius. So is Cathy Hopkins, especially as she has written her own ‘Ten Steps to Happiness’ at the very end. Definitely worth a read.

Completely unexpected and surreal, Cathy Hopkins novel is definitely one of my most favourite books of 2017 so far.

Thank you Netgalley and HarperCollins.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Review! The Little Pieces of You and Me by Vanessa Greene (@VanessaGBooks) @LittleBrownUK

vg
Blurb.

When life as you know it changes, will it define you, destroy you or make you stronger?

Best friends Isla and Sophie made each other a promise a long time ago: to never let life pass them by. Years later, Isla is in love, living abroad and fulfilling her dreams. But for Sophie, things haven’t turned out the way she was expecting and she hasn’t achieved any of the things she and Isla talked about.

And then, in one sudden moment, life irrevocably changes for both women.

Isla and Sophie have hard decisions to make but above all else they must face up to the uncertainty that lies ahead. It’s only when they realise that this is easier together, two friends standing side by side, that each woman can embrace whatever the future holds for them.

What does TWG think?

Did you ever make a list when you were at school, about things you wanted to achieve when you grew up? For those who did and didn’t lose their list, how many things did you tick off the list? I’ll admit, it never crossed my mind so it was lovely to read a book where people have actually written a list like that. Sophie and Isla both wanted to live their lives like a constant bucket list by ensuring everything was ticked off. However, Isla seemed to be much more determined to live by her list than Sophie…for now anyway. Based on the blurb, I assumed that the story was going to be about two friends that go through a LITTLE bit of heartbreak. I was not mentally prepared for what the two ladies ended up facing.

A lot of the book was centred around Sophie and Isla’s list of dreams, as well as working out WHY Sophie wasn’t becoming tick happy when it came to her own list. Then, out of nowhere, the entire storyline got turned upside down. Isla went from being the life of the party, to wondering whether she would even be able to party. Everything Isla thought she knew was no more, and the only certainty in her life was that realising that everything was now uncertain..

The way Vanessa wrote about such an eye opening situation, was outstanding. Having gone through (and going through) similar situations to Isla, her heartbreak affected me in many ways. I thought I would cry, but I didn’t. Instead, Vanessa’s realistic portrayal of a devastating circumstance, left me numb and heartbroken. Never have I ever had a storyline make me feel like that, and it’s not a bad thing either. It just goes to show that Vanessa quite clearly did her research on the situation and knew it would affect her readers in a multitude of ways. For me, all the above is proof of a very good writer.

Usually when books cover such big storylines, the finer details are often not as fine as they should be; apart from this book. Vanessa seemed to have all the minor details down to a fine art as nothing seemed out of place within the storyline.

The only thing that irked me about ‘The Little Pieces of You and Me’, was how quickly a situation went from very negative to rather positive. For me, I found that part to not be overly realistic as it seemed to downplay the credibility of the topic in general.

However, despite that, I did enjoy the storyline and the very different personalities of each character. It was lovely to have such diversity across the book as I never knew what one of the characters would come out with next. Especially Isla!

Overall, The Little Pieces of You and Me is a really heart warming tale; which focuses on the true meaning of friendship through the good times and the bad. Vanessa has created two best friends which a lot of readers are going to aspire to be like, and that in itself is a talent.
A really poignant, and warm storyline which will stay in your mind weeks after you have finished reading it. It’s still in my mind a month on.

Thank you Little Brown.

The Little Pieces of You and Me by Vanessa Greene, is available to buy now from Amazon UK

Book review – The List by Joanna Bolouri

thelist

Blurb.
Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn’t feel fabulous. It’s been a year since she found her boyfriend Alex in bed with another woman, and multiple cases of wine and extensive relationship analysis with best friend Lucy have done nothing to help. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different kind of resolution.
The List: ten things she’s always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets. One year of pleasure, no strings attached.

Simple, right? Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe’s got her work cut out for her.

What does TWG think?

Sometimes you just fancy reading something different, maybe a book that isn’t your typical read for a weekday night. Or maybe a book by a brand new author (to you). One lonely night, I to fancied something different. I had just finished reading a couple of rather deep and dark novels and decided that I deserved a book session on Amazon. Within moments I spotted ‘The List’, the cover made me go ‘ooer‘ and because I wasn’t wearing my glasses, I could only see the large writing. The ambiguous large writing that makes you wonder why the hell someone has written a book about a shopping list…(I didn’t think that…honestly). I literally began the book none the wiser.

Just to clarify, this book isn’t about a list for your weekly shop! If you could write a list of things you would like to achieve in a year, to do with just one topic, what would you choose? A list of adventure sports you’ve always wanted to try, but some of them may involve the possibility of the odd break, but you still go for them anyway? Or maybe a list of countries you want to visit, some of which have HUGE spiders at 1cm long, but you’ll be brave and pluck up the courage and go? OR what about a list of ten things that you have always wanted to try in bed? No, I don’t mean trying to do a headstand on your bed as one of the ‘things’, that’ll be stupid. (Can anyone do a headstand on their bed…asking for a friend…).

After Phoebe found her boyfriend getting jiggy with another woman in HER bed, she has felt a little deflated. Mind you, it was a year ago, but she struggles to get over the heartbreak, and the size of the woman’s melons..
New year, new start, new Phoebe. After a wine fuelled session with her best friend Lucy, Phoebe decides that her New Year’s resolution will be ticking everything off on her list. The list being ten things she has always wanted to do in bed, you need someone to do that with don’t you? But where would Phoebe find a male willing to explore her list, and some? Ah, she’ll manage it fine, it’s no big deal…right?

This review has taken me ages to write because I have to stop typing every 0.5 seconds as I’m laughing at the book. ‘The List’ had me in hysterics. It got to the point where I was laughing so hard, I thought I would have to get shares in Tena Lady! I’m not a prude by all means, but if Ally Mcbeal is on the TV in the background and a guy wants to disturb me on the bed, you can bet which one win out of the guy and Ally McBeal! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Ally McBeal! Got to be something impressive to stop me from watching that! With that in mind, many of the quotes in the book were along the same lines as mine! I mean, a big chocolate egg or sex? The chocolate egg obviously!!!!

Joanna’s humour is incredible, it is literally a side-splitting, gut wrenching, nose drippingly hilarious read. Obviously, if you’re a prude, you don’t like the C-bomb and don’t wish to know what sexual antic is like childbirth in reverse, then clearly the book isn’t for you! I actually found Joanna’s novel to be quite relatable in a weird sense. There are a lot of females (or males) out there that don’t have the confidence in bed, don’t have the confidence in themselves to try new things, or even think of sex as a taboo or embarrassing subject. But then you meet Phoebe. She ticks all of the boxes above, yet takes you on her journey of self discovery (literally) and turns the ‘taboo’ subject into a ‘hang on, it’s natural!’ type moment. Don’t get me wrong, Phoebe went above and beyond with her list, she clearly was going to go for it with no holding back! Some of her choices along the way sounded a bit desperate, but despite having a cringe moment whilst reading it, I squealed like a twat with high-pitched laughter. I’m sexy and I know it!

This review is quite a tricky one to write as I want to say my opinion on the whole book, but if I did that, I would end up giving it away, and that wouldn’t be good. So can you please go and buy it, read it, and then discuss it with me?!

‘The List’ is a book that will make you forget as you’re too busy laughing your ass off at the words in front of you. Hands down, it was THE funniest book that I have ever read, in multiple ways. It has disgustingly hilarious moments, cringy hilarious moments and ‘omg I can’t breathe I’m laughing too hard but I’ll keep on reading’ moments. Absolutely FANTASTIC book to read. Joanna, please can you be my new BFF cause you are an absolute riot!

The List by Joanna Bolouri, published by Quercus, is available to buy right now from Amazon UK and Amazon US