#Review – The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty (@NikkiM3) @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks

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Four friends. Five Letters. One Secret.

The scandalous breakthrough novel from Nicola Moriarty that will leave you asking, how well do I really know my friends?

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?

What does TWG think?

You know when a book cover catches your eye online, and you can tell straight away that it’s going to be a good read, that your excitement overflows when it doesn’t disappoint? Ever get that?

Couldn’t wait to get started on Nicola Moriarty’s new book, I’m not gonna lie! Letters, secrets, what’s not to be intrigued about! Four friends who have been best friends since they were knee-high to a grasshopper, you would assume that they know each other inside and out, yes? In an ideal world, yes, but seeing as reality got in the way, friendships and relationships grew apart. How can four women re-kindle their close friendships, reconnecting with the personalities they once knew?

Getting four women to write anonymous letters was such a bold move! It was also a move which wasn’t going to be free from trouble either. Look, here’s the thing, I’m female and I really do like to talk (if I’m in the mood). However, I don’t really like baring my soul when people know that I am, I want something to hide behind to save…judgement. That said, being free from judgement and having that anonymity means women WILL bare their souls, and go to town on it. Why? Because they can!

All four ladies are extremely different in terms of personalities and beliefs. There is Joni, the one that seems to enjoy being the ‘fixer’ of the group, but it also means she is often stuck in the past. Then we have Trina, she reminded me of Claudia from The Babysitters Club books as she was the quirky one, yet oozed warmth. That make sense? Think I’m showing my age with the BSC books though! Next up we had Eden, the lady with a life which everyone admires. Lastly there’s Deb, the firecracker of the group. Ever seen Miss Congeniality 2? Deb reminded me of the character Sam Fuller, played by Regina King, as she is bulshy and very blunt, yet her heart seems to be in the right place.
Oh and btw, this is my take on the character! You may think differently!

At first I liked Joni as she just wanted to do right by them all, except she didn’t seem to enjoy using her brain and ended up not thinking of the consequences before she did anything. The letters for example. Could you write anonymous, honest letters with three of your friends? I couldn’t! I’d be absolutely bricking it! Due to that, I absolutely LOVED the letter part of the storyline, as us readers were kept in the dark right until the last minute. Trying to work out who wrote what, proved incredibly difficult. After all, as readers we only know a little bit about each of the characters, so unless our detective skills are rather brilliant, working out the authors of the letters is a tricky one. I did get rather impatient though as I wanted to know who wrote them haha.

I really did enjoy ‘The Fifth Letter’ as it ticked a lot of my boxes, proving itself to be my kinda book. Yes, I ended up disliking a character or two I am afraid to admit. No, I’m not going to tell you who as you will need to decide for yourself who you like and dislike! I kept changing my mind, especially when I disliked them all at one point, nearly putting them on the naughty step! I loved each and every element of surprise that Nicola added to the storyline. For me, Nicola Moriarty modernised the whole Sex and the City vibe by creating characters who were much more relatable, and far easier to understand. I thought that the novel, bar a few moments where the storyline slowed down too much, was a fab read.

The Fifth Letter is the modern-day take on Sex and the City meets Neighbours; a fun, sassy, emotional storyline which highlights exactly how damaging secrets can be. A must read that’s for sure!

Thank you Penguin/MJ/Netgalley!

Buy The Fifth Letter from Amazon UK
Buy The Fifth Letter from Amazon US
Buy The Fifth Letter from Amazon AU

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#Review! My Sweet Revenge by @JaneFallon @penguinUKbooks @penguinrandom

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Blurb.

I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.

Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’.

I want it to hurt.

Paula has had Robert’s back since they got together as drama students.
She gave up her dreams so he could make it.
Now he’s one of the nation’s most popular actors.
And Paula’s just discovered he’s having an affair.

She’s going to remind Robert just what he’s sacrificing.
And then she’s going to break his heart like he broke hers.
It will be her greatest acting role ever.

Revenge is sweet.
Isn’t it?

What does TWG think?

Your wife/husband has been cheating on you; how do you feel? Of course, you’re going to be fuming, devastated and so on. Would you confront them about it? Or would you be badass and seek revenge?! Well, Paula has found out that her world is about the crumble (pretty much rivalling the amount of crumble on a good ol’ apple crumble to be honest); but instead of getting in his face and turning the air around them rather colourful, she is taking matters into her own hands.

The thing is, millions of people have been cheated on and continue to do so for reasons that are only known to themselves. Jane Fallon knows that, that is probably why she took one of the most relatable, soul-destroying and realistic situations and severely owned it.
Have you been cheated on? I have, multiple times. It was the most confidence shattering experience ever; an unforgettable experience if you will. Never mind self-help books, I needed a book like this!!! Writing novels, you have the ability to make people do things that you probably wouldn’t do yourself, yet some other books that contain situations similar to this one, have the characters doing what us readers would do ourselves.
OF COURSE WE ARE GOING TO SNIVVEL IN SUPER OLD PJS AND HUMONGOUS SLIPPERS, HOLDING THE TUB OF BEN AND JERRYS.

Instead, Jane Fallon has created a badass, sassy and phenomenal main character who does the complete opposite. She seeks revenge! Paula is officially my heroine, she totally needs to be made into a super hero character! Sorry, going off subject. Anyway. The steps that Paula takes to turn her heartbreaking situation around are very bold, very daring, very ‘oh my god you’re doing what?!’, yet unbelievably brilliant. A couple of times throughout the book, I did wonder whether Paula was acting slightly childish with the tit for tat and wanting to ‘get him back’ so to speak. However, that swiftly became a thing of the past the more that Robert annoyed me.

There is A LOT to take in with ‘My Sweet Revenge’ and you do need to keep extra focused in case you do miss out on any vital information, but oh my goodness it is SO worth it! The storyline to’s and fro’s, changes direction multiple times but it really is one that will keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation.

Jane Fallon has exceeded my expectations with her latest novel, especially as her sharp humour is on point from start to finish. I thought Paula was a clever heroine but Jane Fallon has taken that role over!

My Sweet Revenge is a book that will have you crying, laughing, forming a group of solidarity with a woman who is only alive on paper, and realising that it IS okay to put your foot down and own a situation.
Absolute brilliant read; I definitely recommend this as your not-so-guilty secret. Girlpower!

Thank you Penguin, Netgalley & Jane Fallon.

‘My Sweet Revenge’ is available to buy now from Amazon.

#Review – The One Memory of Flora Banks by @Emily_barr @penguinukbooks #FloraBanks

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Blurb.

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

What does TWG think?

#FloraBanks surprised me by being classified as a YA book, but in my opinion, I feel as though it is really for adults too (basically don’t let the YA classification sway you!).  It is fantastic to see that YA are being made aware of situations like Flora Banks’ that’s for sure. Hell, I even learnt a thing or two!

To say that Flora Banks struggles with her memory would be an understatement; she has anterograde amnesia. In simple terms, Flora cannot remember the things that we take for granted (routine etc) and she relies solely on trust, as well as notes.
Put yourself in Flora’s shoes; you get up every single day completely unaware of who you are, what you like or how to do things. You come across a human being who says that they’re your mum. You believe them, yes? Of course you do, you have no reason not to…as far as you’re aware. That human being then decides to give you an item of food that you’re not even sure that you like; but they tell you that it’s your favourite. You believe them again, yes? But then, if it wasn’t confusing enough, another human being speaks to you and tells you that in fact, you are allergic to that food item that was just handed to you. NOW who do you believe?

Emily Barr puts the reader into Flora Banks’ shoes with the way she has written the storyline. Instead of looking at characters from an outsider point of view and being able to see things before they do, the readers ARE Flora. We are reminded of the personal talks that Flora has with herself on multiple occasions. Just like Flora, we don’t see a room in the storyline; instead we see the post it notes and make a bee-line for those. It’s raw, it’s emotional and unbelievably powerful.

Multiple times throughout the book I found myself panicking as I had become rather invested in Flora’s emotions. She couldn’t remember. I couldn’t remember. Well, I had nothing TO remember, I didn’t know the storyline until I had read it. Forget trying to piece the situations together like a jigsaw puzzle; you need to ride every circumstance out like rogue wave. Unpredictable and incredibly forceful.

I was blown away by the intelligence behind Flora’s actions, but most importantly, the complete storyline itself. Emily Barr has put memory loss on the map, underlined it and given it a ‘look at me’ style theme tune. For that, I take my hat off to her. It takes a talented author to take such a topic that a lot of readers may be unaware of, and create a storyline around that whilst also being true to the facts. However, it takes an incredible author to do all of what I have just mentioned, connect that storyline with three-dimensional characters AND leave the reader completely entranced.
Emily Barr, you are that incredible author.
A mind-blowing, phenomenal read that will have you find emotion you never knew existed. If you don’t believe me, read it yourself.

Thank you Netgalley.

The One Memory of Flora Banks is out now in e-book and can be bought here.
However, if you prefer paperbacks, sit tight as it will be released on the 12th January. You can pre-order your physical copy right here.

Book review! Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty. @PenguinUKBooks #LianeMoriarty

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Blurb.

The electrifying new novel from the international bestselling author, Liane Moriarty

Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you’d think.

For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again.

But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them.

Which is how it all spirals out of control…

What does TWG think?

I was introduced to Liane’s books not long ago and I soon became hooked on her enchanting writing. As soon as I heard that she was releasing a new book the excitement took over and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. However, I couldn’t read it as quickly as I would have liked to and I was incredibly surprised by the topsy turvy reviews of this book on Goodreads and Amazon. After all, Liane Moriarty is like a literary Princess and how can little ‘old’ me be allowed to review her books! Sacrilege!

Despite being aware of the reviews before I began reading, I did put them to the back of my mind as I wanted to make my own decision. I love Liane’s other books and my fingers were crossed that this one would follow suit.

The storyline predominantly focused on the background information; what happened before the BBQ from different people’s perspective. Every now and then the storyline switched back to ‘now’, teasing the readers curious mind.

Well, it most certainly teased my curiosity! So many questions went through my mind as different events unfolded. As soon as I tried to work out one situation, something else happened and I was left trying to figure out multiple situations and the characters involved. It is safe to say that by half way through, I became quite infuriated because I wanted to know what happened at the BBQ! Why was it such a big deal? Why were good friends now acquaintances? Once or twice, I did wonder why some pieces of information were brought to the reader’s attention as I couldn’t quite see where it fit within the storyline. However, if I had been patient and let the rest of the story unfold, I would have found out why those pieces of information were written. Every teaser, questionable circumstance and dodgy character traits, all had their own places within the story.

‘Truly, Madly, Guilty’ reminded me of a phrase that I used to get told as I child; ‘Never look at a piece half finished’. It’s the same with Liane’s book. If you try to work out circumstances halfway through the book, nothing will make complete sense. Certain pieces of vital information will be missing and you’ll end up being a very confused reader. Due to the complexity of the story and the emotional nature of the storyline, there is a lot to take in and can take a little while to settle into the book. However, it most certainly is worth it. I didn’t expect the book to turn on its head when it did in terms of emotion and ‘omg’ moments, so for me, that gave the story even more of an edge. Even though the background information was setting the scene for the big situation reveal, I didn’t expect it, it was as though it came out of nowhere.

I was constantly on edge reading the book and I LOVED it. Liane Moriarty has written such an emotional rollercoaster of a story that will definitely have you sitting on the edge of your seat, almost shouting at the book ‘WHAT HAPPENED?!’. ‘Truly, Madly, Guilty’ is very cleverly written from start to finish and it just oozes suspense.

Personally, I cannot see why anyone wouldn’t like this book as it definitely hit the mark for me. I thought Liane was a literary Princess before reading her latest book, but now? She gets promoted to literary Queen.

Another magnificent read from an incredible author. Absolutely brilliant.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest opinion.

Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty, published by Penguin, is available to buy now from Amazon UK.