#Bookreview – The Paris Effect by Karen Burns.

The Paris Effect by Karen Burns.
Published 31st May 2016 by Velvet Morning Press.
Available to buy from Amazon US//Amazon UK

‘Friendship, loss… and a tantalizing trip to Paris in this highly praised debut novel!

Amy and Kat had a plan: A secret trip to Paris. Even Amy’s husband wouldn’t know about it. But when Amy loses Kat, the “friend of her heart,” to cancer, she knows the plan, too, has disappeared forever. Or has it?

Guided by memories of her friend and dissatisfaction with her own calorie-counting life in Phoenix, Amy sneaks off to Paris while her husband is away on a business trip. Once there, she’s robbed, stalked, arrested and kidnapped (almost). Worse, she finds that her numerous issues have come right along with her.

Through her adventures, laced with luscious descriptions of food and Paris, Amy learns that often in life, love and friendship, nothing is exactly as it seems. Grab a croissant and settle in for a decidedly non-touristy trip to the City of Light.’

‘The Paris Effect’ is a book that I have seen pop up on my Twitter feed more than once. At first I had no idea who wrote it (sorry) because I was memorised by the cover. I saw the colours, the word ‘Paris’ and it went straight on my TBR list. The more I saw it, the more intrigued I became. I did want to read it but every time I saw it, I was already ‘booked’. Then one day, the lovely Karen Burns sent me a lovely e-mail asking me to review her book ‘The Paris Effect’. It was one of the nicest request e-mails that I have ever received, plus it wasn’t a book I was going to turn down, obviously! Thank you Karen for sending me the copy of the book and for your truly lovely e-mail!

I did make room for this book I’ll be honest (read it the day after I got sent it!).
Have you ever made a pact with a best friend, to do something completely outlandish, planned to the last detail, with the only participants being you and your best friend?
But what if you could no longer make that pact a reality?
When Amy loses her best friend to cancer, she has not only lost her best friend; the one person that truly knew her, she has also lost Kat’s words of wisdom and friendship. They had a plan to go to Paris, everything was planned, outfits organised, itinerary known..but one important thing was missing. Kat. Amy could go to Paris with her husband, after all, it is a romantic city, she could go on her own with no husband and no Kat, or she could not go full-stop. Where do Amy’s priorities lay? With her husband, herself or her best friend that is no longer with her?

I was slightly disappointed when I began the book and read a chapter or two as there were rules on dieting and being obsessed with calories. As a person that has struggled with eating disorders and weight for many years, it caught me off guard a little bit. However, once I had removed my own personal struggles from the concept of the book and how that tied in with Amy’s character, my disappointment soon went and I began to enjoy it. The rules for dieting turned out to be quite cleverly done too.
I did feel quite sorry for Amy, she had just lost someone close to her and her husband was being a gigantic pain in the pear tree. Amy goes on her journey making some rather questionable decisions, but you can tell by the emotion within the story, that it was right for her despite the consequences that she will face.

I adored feeling as though I was getting a tour of Paris, monuments and well-known spots being described brilliantly. Well, I say brilliantly, I have never been to Paris but if I do go, I’ll expect it to look like what Karen has described it to be! No pressure haha. Despite the chic lit background what with the obsession with food and best friend plans, ‘The Paris Effect’ had some rather fast paced situations which bumped the book up another level for me, personally. I felt that it gave the story another dimension to it.

As Amy continued her journey she came across a selection of very different people. At first glance they were just the ‘average Joe’, but Amy soon released that people, and places, aren’t always as straight forward as we believe. My opinion of Amy differed immensely throughout the book because of every choice that she made. Part of me felt sorry for her, another part of me felt she needed to grow up, but then another part of me wanted to support her. How can you support someone who seems such a lost cause though?

I loved how each character stood out of the book in their own ways and weren’t just part of the story to make up numbers so to speak. ‘The Paris Effect’ was the first book that I had read of Karen’s so I was looking forward to finding out her style of writing. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Despite my earlier reservations, after a couple of chapters, I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down and I was eager to find out what happened to each character and what path they were destined to be on.

‘The Paris Effect’ is a novel full of emotionally charged situations. A novel that opens your eyes to people’s motives, including your own. A novel that will take you on a journey around Paris and show you that it’s okay to eat nice things. A novel that will make you question whether you’re on the correct path for YOU or whether you are going along for the ride. A novel that, if like me, will leave you thinking that you have something ‘in your eye’. A novel that will make you message the author and ask her whether there will be a next book…..

Such a brilliant read, I would read it again in a heartbeat….unless the next book comes out and then I will read that first!

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Blog tour stop for ‘When he fell’ by Kate Hewitt.

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Blurb.

‘The powerfully gripping new book from USA Today bestselling author Kate Hewitt.

Josh and Ben are nine years old and best friends, until a single, careless act in the school playground destroys the lives of both families – and wrenches their small Manhattan school apart. As both mothers Maddie and Joanna try to find out what really happened between the boys, they discover the truth is far more complicated and painful than either of them could have ever realised… with lasting repercussions for both families. And when tragedy strikes again in the most unexpected of ways, the lives of these two women will be changed once more, and this time forever.’

Big thank you to NeverlandBT, Kate Hewitt & Netgalley for allowing me a copy of the book for my honest opinion.

My goodness me, where to start! I didn’t read the blurb before I agreed to do the tour as I wanted to find out the whole story by myself, I chose to review it purely based on the title and the fact that Kate Hewitt would be a new author for me.
As a mother myself, reading this novel hit home in many, many ways because the main storyline is something I wouldn’t be able to ever comprehend if it happened to my child.
Maddie and Ben are a team. She would do anything to protect her son from harm and she expects the school he attends to do the same whilst he is in their care. Unfortunately, a playground incident happens involving Ben and his best friend Josh and Maddie is left trying to find out exactly what had happened and why. Easier said than done when people at the school decide that it’s much better to keep the information to themselves. But is it?
Ben’s best friend Josh finds himself spiralling lower and lower into a depressed state, much to the sadness of his parents Lewis and Joanna.
I found ‘When he fell’ to be an unpredictable, heartfelt and emotional read. I think that Kate Hewitt has written about such a sensitive and devastating subject with incredible detail which made the story stand out and not seem like she hadn’t done her research. Clearly, she has. For the majority of the story, I felt like I was standing behind Maddie and seeing everything that she saw. Very cleverly written to be able to make the reader move into the story so to speak, but I found that incredibly emotional. Being totally honest, halfway through I felt like I shouldn’t carry on reading it because of the topic covered, especially with how deep and harrowing it got. However, the story had me gripped and I wanted to find out exactly what happened that day at school. Why the head teacher wasn’t volunteering information, and why Josh didn’t want to talk about it. Why didn’t he want to talk about it?
Several times throughout the book, I did get frustrated because I was desperate to find out why, I wanted answers for Maddie and Ben and they’re characters in a book! Joanna, Josh’s mum, has fears about her and Lewis’ relationship, especially as Lewis and Maddie spent time together during the children’s playdates. She thinks her son isn’t watching her body language or facial expressions, but he is, he can tell something is wrong. The calm before the storm. Joanna’s fears sound so minor compared to Ben’s accident, but everything isn’t as it seems.
I honestly thought I had guessed what the outcome would be when I was three-quarters of the way into the novel. I was wrong. Completely wrong. It’s not often I say this, but I loved being wrong in this instance because the last quarter of the story popped up from nowhere. Jaw dropped, gasping and going ‘oh my…..’. That is the sign of a very good writer because not only did Kate Hewitt manage to make me feel like I was IN the book, she had a way of connecting with my emotions. I say that like she wrote the book for me, hah. No, I mean it seems like she intended to connect her words with the reader and feed the reader such a poignant and memorable storyline.
The events that happened within the book are real life events for some children, which makes the storyline even more emotional. That said, Kate has written such a powerful book, especially when I keep thinking about it despite finishing the book a week ago. Such a talented writer, I cannot wait to read another of Kate Hewitt’s books!

Buy ‘When he fell’ from Amazon UK
Buy ‘When he fell’ from Barnes & Noble
Buy ‘When he fell’ from Kobo
Buy ‘When he fell’ from Google Play
Buy ‘When he fell’ from Waterstones
Buy ‘When he fell’ from WHSmiths

Kate Hewitt social links.

when he fell author
Kate’s Facebook
Kate’s Twitter
Kate’s Instagram
Find Kate on Goodreads
Kate’s Blog

If you fancy a chance at winning a paperback copy of ‘This Fragile Life’ by Kate Hewitt, click the link to enter! Good luck!

 Enter the giveaway!

 

How to get hitched in ten days by Samantha Tonge. A Book Review.

How to get hitched in ten days by Samantha Tonge. (Novella)
Published: 11th February 2016 by Carina.
Available on Amazon in Kindle format.

‘How not to get the girl…

Meet Mikey, every girl’s best friend – he bakes the creamiest cheesecake, loves movie nights and is a great dance partner.

For Jasmine, Mikey is the perfect flatmate – he owns a 50s diner that turns out the best food around, gives the best bear hugs and amazing romance advice – after all they’re scoping out the same hot guys! So when her boyfriend proposes in the worst possible way, Jazz knows her best friend will be there to pick up the pieces with gourmet popcorn, Pinot sleepovers and a shoulder to lean on.

But Mikey isn’t about to let Jasmine give up on love, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to mend her broken heart – even if it means helping the one person who sees him as the enemy…

Because at the end of the day, all’s fair in the pursuit of true love… right?’

How far would you go to fix things for your best friend? To the end of the Earth I’m sure. But how far would you go to fix your best friend when there is someone involved that seems to have lost their tongue and gained rudeness? Tough one isn’t it.

Well, Mikey loves to retro, nice clothes, his diner, but most importantly, he loves his best friend Jasmine. Mikey is the shoulder to cry on and the person to turn to when you need a dose of chick flick movies and wine. But, it seems as though Mikey is disliked by someone who is a ‘permanent’ fixture in his life. Who could that be I wonder? Why would a fun-loving, hug giving best friend be disliked?

Jasmine has a boyfriend, good job with good prospects, but a past that keeps haunting her. Thanks to her boyfriends disastrous mistake, her past is too close for comfort. Can she move past her past to settle down with someone who she loves? Or will the decision already be made for her due to other people’s stupidity?

I hadn’t read a novella before (short story), so I wasn’t sure how much information and description would go into one. I was pleasantly surprised because despite the length of the book, it didn’t feel as though you were missing out on anything. Mikey and Jasmine were written with very likeable personalities, as well as having the ‘cover face with hands because you weren’t thinking’ characters. Of course I don’t mean in terms of Samantha’s writing!! I mean the fact that one or two made stupid mistakes and you end up sitting there thinking ‘why the roly poly did you do that?!’. So yes, that’s why I covered my face with my hands. I never realised someone could be that….idiotic! It did make me laugh, and as I have just said…cringe, several times. I also felt sorry for some of the characters! For a light read, it definitely packed a lot of punch into the storyline and even covered some issues that are quite prominent in today’s society. I found that to be an extremely clever turn in the story. Such a lovely, light-hearted book to  relax and get cosy with, definitely one I will be reading again! Thank you Samantha!

The years of loving you – Review

The years of loving you –  by Ella Harper.
Published
19th November 2015 by Harper Collins Publishers (Avon books)
ISBN: 978-0-00-758184-9
Available on Amazon in multiple formats (paperback and kindle).

‘What if your first love was your only love?

When Molly is diagnosed with a life-changing illness, it feels like her whole world has come crashing down. She hopes the news will make her marriage to Sam stronger. But why does Molly always call Ed in a crisis?

Ed, the very same Ed that Molly fell in love with at a party when they were teenagers, underneath a star-filled sky. Then life took them in different directions.

Molly starts to question every decision she has ever made. What if they could turn back the clock? When the only certainty they shared was each other….’

Stop for a moment and think about YOUR life. Have you ever had to break devastating news about yourself to any of your loved ones? Or have you been the one to receive the terrible news, getting told that lives will never be the same again? Yes? Thought so. Me too, except that I was the one breaking the horrible news…..multiple times. So was Molly…
The story begins in the present, lots of laughing, drinks and a hint of tension. Throughout the story you not only follow Molly’s life, you follow Ed’s life as well. Ed and Molly have known each other for many years, they share a history and a connection so deep that they have remained friends right into their adulthood. Ed has had a troubled life with secrets and problems he is too embarrassed to tell anyone, even Molly. Unfortunately for Ed, his life comes crashing down and he ends up making one of the biggest mistakes of his life….
Molly is married to Sam, a man who has his eyes firmly focused on the prize….his business. Molly has to compete with it, even when she has to sit down and break the news to him that she has a chronic illness. An illness that will not only change her life, but her loved ones lives too. They will see her grieving over a life she has lost, whilst also trying to adapt to a life that is unpredictable…very unpredictable. Unfortunately, Molly finds herself battling with extra problems and becomes lonelier than ever.
Who will come through for Molly in her darkest times? Sam, or Ed? Or nobody?
The book stood out for me because of the illness situation. I had to find out how other people reacted to life changing news. Why? Because I relate to it in more ways than one. I have multiple chronic illnesses. Reading about what Molly went through and how other people reacted to the news, had me in tears. It’s a topic that people don’t want to talk about and I am very pleased to find Ella Harper putting it in her story. It is real life. People go through it every single day. Personally I found that to be my connection to the storyline and to the characters. Also, I was hooked on finding out whether the girl got the guy, or the guy got the girl!
In every chapter there is something that will grab your attention, whether it’s something funny, or sad. Ella Harper’s style of writing is very engaging and I found myself in the story like I was someone watching everything unfold right in front of me. Depending on your beliefs about certain situations within the story, you might find yourself siding with a certain character and their own decisions. I know I did. ‘The years of loving you’ is an emotional rollercoaster of a book because it takes you on a journey of love, life and self discovery. Personally, I found the ending to just appear, like it was too short, and I think that is because I was incredibly engrossed in the gripping story that I didn’t realise it was coming up!
Ella Harper has managed to capture the soul of each character, bringing them to life in a way that I have never experienced before. A wonderful book that will bring out every emotion possible. A book that will open your eyes to different eventualities, good or bad. A book that will make you think anything is possible. Ella Harper, thank you. It has been an absolute pleasure to read and I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

Life Swap by Carol Wyer.

Life Swap by Carol Wyer.
Published by
Bookouture on 22nd April 2016.
Available on Kindle at Amazon

*Advanced preview copy given by Bookouture/Netgalley.*

‘All Polly has to her name is a string of failed relationships and a mountain of debt. She sees herself as a hopeless case and would do anything to change her luck.

So when she’s given the opportunity to swap all she’s ever known for a life of luxury, Polly jumps at the chance. Soon, it’s all diamonds, spa days and celebrity parties. Now all that’s missing from her life is a bit of romance. Will hunky Matt be the man to heal her broken heart?

But money can’t always buy you happiness. Can the life she’s always dreamed of get in the way of true love? ‘

Prepare yourself for a book that you will probably remember the day after you read it. Prepare yourself for a book that will have you wondering ‘what the fried eggs is going on?’. Prepare yourself for a book that will leave you that puzzled to the point of being unable to put it down. But more importantly, prepare yourself to be transported into a story that will make you look at your own life a little bit differently….

Before reading the Life Swap, I did the unthinkable. I didn’t read what it was about so I took it by its lively and bright looking cover and title. I straight away assumed that it was going to be about one person wanting a better life for themselves. Ever seen ‘The Holiday’ with Kate Winslet? I thought it was going to be similar to that. I know it is wrong to assume, however, it makes a much better surprise if you do in the book world. Brace yourselves, it’s not often I admit this so I am just telling you, you can keep a secret right? I was wrong, completely wrong. It was nothing like ‘The Holiday’. Lives were swapped, but not in the way that you might think.
Life Swap starts by the hunger inducing, wonderful thoughts of…..marshmallows. Yes, the book begins with marshmallows! If you’re not a fan of them, don’t let it put you off the book though, I mean, it’s not like it’s a talking marshmallow! No really, it’s not! At the beginning you’re introduced to Mr Simon Green, a car salesman with a wife and two children. Oh, and a cat. I won’t mention the cat too much, not that I have anything against cats, but, oh you’ll see! Mr Green is unhappy in his current life and wishes for his troubles to disappear (don’t we all). He wishes for the typical thing, happiness. Luckily for him, strangers come to the ‘rescue’ and promise him that things will change for the better and that a happier life is before him. Or is it?
Meet Polly MacGregor. An unlucky in love sports therapist that adores spending money on things she doesn’t really need. Polly is also unhappy in her life because of problems facing her that could ruin everything. She could lose everything. No wonder she wants a new life, a life full of luxury and without problems. Unexpectedly, Polly gets promised the world also, beckoning her into a life that she desires. A life swap. But is it really what she desires?
Throughout the story you will swap between the two main characters, their lives and their ‘new’ lives, with every chapter leaving you will something to think about and laugh about. Go with the story, because you’ll be truly kicking yourself at the end. Don’t blame me if you hurt yourself though!
I finished the book in five and a half hours. I was hooked on the bizarreness of what I was reading. Many, many times I did say out loud ‘what the fried eggs is going on?’ but I HAD to finish it. It is definitely an unpredictable story, however, it has the most incredible conclusion. This was the first book by Carol Wyers I had read, I didn’t know what her style was like, but I laughed, I laughed a lot. The things you will come across in the book are actually relatable to an extent because of the real life worries that do occur. Not everyone is happy in their lives, people do want things to change, but I would suggest not going down the route that Simon and Polly did!
If you’re into weird and wonderful humour, then expect the unexpected because you’re in for an absolute treat. It’s so bizarre and hilarious to the point that you will be guaranteed to remember it. Lose yourself in the joys of what unfolds before your very eyes. Laugh out loud. This is definitely a book for relaxing and to not take things so seriously. It’s my feel good book of 2016 so far!