Someone Else’s Wedding by Tamar Cohen

Someone Else's Wedding

“Mr. & Mrs. Max Irving request the company of:

Mrs. Fran Friedman, mourning her empty nest, her lost baby, the galloping years, and a disastrous haircut.

Mr. Saul Friedman, runner of marathons, avoider of conflicts and increasingly distant husband.

The two Misses Friedman, Pip and Katy, one pining over the man she can’t have, the other trying to shake off the man she no longer wants.

At the marriage of their son James Irving, forbidden object of inappropriate and troubling desire.

For thirty-six hours of secrets and lies, painted-on-smiles and potential ruin. And drinks, plenty of drinks.

There’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past. As Fran negotiates her way from Saturday morning to Sunday evening she is forced to confront things she’s long thought buried, sending shockwaves through her family, and to make decisions about the future that will have far-reaching consequences for them all.”

MY REVIEW

A fat * * * * from me!

Someone Else’s Wedding is an enjoyable read that takes place over two days at a wedding.

Tamar Cohen brilliantly draws the reader in and cleverly presents us with some surprising twists as we read on. The characters are plenty and varied but written in well so we’re not overwhelmed with information.

Having read Tamar’s fantastic “War of the Wives” previously, this author is definately one I will eagerly watch out for.

An engaging, enjoyable read.

Buy Someone Else’s Wedding here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tamar Cohen

Tamar Cohen is a freelance journalist who lives in London with her partner and three teenage children.

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Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop Phane

Zenith Hotel

“Narrator Nanou, a street prostitute, gives a detailed account of her day, from the moment she wakes up with a foul taste in her mouth, in her sordid rented room, until the minute she crawls back into her bed at night to sleep. Interwoven with her story are portraits of her clients. Oscar Coop-Phane invents an astonishing cast of original and deeply human characters – losers, defeated by the world around them – who seek solace in Nanou’s arms. Original and moving, this short book deftly paints a world of solitude and sadness, illuminated by precious moments of tenderness and acts of kindness.”

MY REVIEW:

Thank you to Arcadia Books for sending me a copy of the lovely little Zenith Hotel in hardback to read & review.

A short yet powerful read where we follow the daily life on the streets of Paris with a prostitute called Nanou who keeps a diary of her thoughts and feelings as well as stories of her daily clients.

This is a very raw and grim reality which is written wonderfully by a promising young author! Oscar’s talent is evident as he has managed to pack a lot into few pages and bring each character to life.

We are left feeling for poor lonely Nanou and glad we’d read such a wonderfully written, insightful book.

Buy The Zenith Hotel here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Oscar Coop Phane was born in 1988. He left home at 16 with dreams of becoming a painter and at 20 moved to Berlin where he spent a year writing and reading classics. There he wrote Zenith Hotel and then Tomorrow, Berlin (Arcadia 2015). He now lives in Brussels, where he is working on his next novel.

Spare Brides by Adele Parks

Spare Brides

“Damaged and beautiful, they were the generation who lost so much and became ‘spare brides’. The richly compelling and emotional new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Adele Parks is the powerful story of four extraordinary women left to pick up the pieces of their lives, in the scarred, glamorous and endlessly fascinating post-First World War era.

New Year’s Eve, 1920. The Great War is over and it’s a new decade of glamorous promise. But a generation of men and women who survived the extreme trauma and tragedy will never be the same.

With countless men lost, it seems that only wealth and beauty will secure a husband from the few who returned, but lonely Beatrice has neither attribute. Ava has both, although she sees marriage as a restrictive cage after the freedom war allowed. Sarah paid the war’s ultimate price: her husband’s life. Lydia should be grateful that her own husband’s desk job kept him safe, but she sees only his cowardice.

A chance encounter for one of these women with a striking yet haunted officer changes everything. In a world altered beyond recognition, where not all scars are visible, this damaged and beautiful group must grasp any happiness they can find – whatever the cost.”

MY REVIEW:

 Firstly, thank you to Georgina and Headline Publishing for sending me a beautiful ARC of Adele Park’s novel to read & review.

I give * * * stars to Spare Brides.

I had no expectations on reading this as it is my first Adele Parks experience and I’d also heard that it was a far cry from her usual chick lit novels.

Set in 1920’s post Great War we follow four ladies, each affected by the war in some way and now trying to move on and live again. I found the class divide explained wonderfully in this book, with the hardship and suffering of the normal people, to the wealth and glitz from the upper classes – each then being drawn together by a chance meeting that change the ladies lives forever.

The descriptive prose is effortless and gave me a clear image of the surroundings and the 1920’s tragedies that befell the elegant men and women of this era. I had no problems taking myself to that time and enjoying the elegance they lived in with them!

As we follow our ladies, we are captured by the realities of war and how deeply the men suffered and were forever damaged – both physically & mentally. Each woman also had her own history and sadness and each deals very differently with moving on.

I enjoyed Spare Brides but was not hooked, nor particularly sad when I’d finished it. I did however find it an enjoyable, historic, well written read, hence my 3 stars.

Buy Spare Brides here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Adele Parks was born in Teesside, NE England. She studied English Language and Literature, at Leicester University. She published her first novel, Playing Away, in 2000; that year the Evening Standard identified Adele as one of London’s ‘Twenty Faces to Watch.’ Indeed Playing Away was the debut bestseller of 2000.

Prolific, Adele has published nine novels in nine years, including Game Over, Tell Me Something and Love Lies, all nine of her novels have been bestsellers. She’s sold over a million copies of her work in the UK but also sells throughout the world. Two of her novels (Husbands and Still Thinking of You) are currently being developed as movie scripts. Young Wives’ Tales was short listed for the Romantic Novelist Association Award 2008. She has written numerous articles and short stories for many magazines and newspapers and often appears on radio and TV talking about her work.

Since 2006 Adele has been an official spokeswoman for World Book Day and wrote a Quick Read, Happy Families as part of the celebrations of World Book Day, 2008.

Adele has spent her adult life in Italy, Botswana and London, up until two years ago when she moved to Guildford, where she now lives with her husband and son.

Adele’s Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/OfficialAdele and Twitter: @adeleparks

The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

The Dead Wife's Handbook

“Today is my death anniversary.  A year ago today I was still alive.’

Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life – until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating.

Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.

As Rachel grieves for the life she’s lost and the life she’ll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for.

Hannah Beckerman gives an unforgettable exploration of love and loss in her first novel, The Dead Wife’s Handbook.”

MY REVIEW:

My apologies for the delay in getting this review written, this is mainly because this book is AMAZING and has received my first EVER * * * * * star rating!

Thank you so much to Hannah Beckerman and Penguin for sending me a signed copy of this book to read & review. I will treasure it always and lend it to none!  😉

I’ll start by saying that if this is Hannah’s first novel then she must have been born to write as it is quite simply superb. With such an emotive, achingly sad topic to write about – death – it must be very difficult to get right, but Hannah has nailed it perfectly.

The book revolves around Rachel who has died unexpectedly and the story is then told in a unique way – through the deceased Rachel’s intermittent glimpses of the family she has left behind, her husband Max and her young daughter, Ellie. She watches as they try to move on with their lives whilst there is nothing she can do and no one she can hug. It is such a clever, imaginative point of view and has the reader immediately transfixed.

This is one of those books that puts the reader through a myriad of emotions – happy, sad, anxious, annoyed, mad and even indifferent! I found myself contemplating Rachel’s situation even when I wasn’t reading and I discussed it with my husband, my mother, my friends… the emotional affect on me was so deep and thought provoking. Just what a perfect read should accomplish with it’s reader.

I was instantly gripped, loved all the characters and wanted to devour every page quickly yet at the same time didn’t want to finish reading! About halfway through I started getting anxious about certain choices that Rachel’s husband Max made and I was groaning aloud with sheer frustration!

A great film will capture your mind and emotions and stay with you. The Dead Wife’s Handbook is on my top 5 list of best books and I can easily imagine what a fantastic film it would make!

A truly wonderful, incredible & memorable read – thank you so very much Hannah! When IS the next one due?!

Buy this wonder of a book here!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hannah Beckerman lives in London with her husband and their incredibly lively toddler. She is a former TV and film producer who spent fifteen years producing and commissioning documentaries about the Arts, History and Science before turning her hand to writing.

Other than reading and sleeping (both rare but much-cherished pleasures) she’s a big fan of great TV drama, films, long country walks and travel. She currently spends far too much time on social media but would, of course, deny the fact if anyone pointed it out.

The Dead Wife’s Handbook is Hannah’s first novel. She sincerely hopes it won’t be her last.

You can find Hannah regularly on Twitter – @hannahbeckerman or visit her website http://www.hannahbeckerman.com

A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon

A Hundred Pieces of Me

“Letters from the only man she’s ever loved.

A keepsake of the father she never knew.

Or just a beautiful glass vase that catches the light, even on a grey day.

If you had the chance to make a fresh start, what would you keep from your old life? What would you give away?

Gina Bellamy is starting again, after a difficult few years she’d rather forget. But the belongings she’s treasured for so long just don’t seem to fit who she is now.

So Gina makes a resolution. She’ll keep just a hundred special items – the rest can go.

But that means coming to terms with her past and learning to embrace the future, whatever it might bring . ..”

MY REVIEW:

This is my first experience of Lucy Dillon and I was therefore delighted to have been accepted for a copy via Netgalley!  Thank you!

A Hundred Pieces of Me gets * * * stars from me.

 

The premise of the book intrigued me and immediately had me thinking about my own possessions and what’s important.

The story tells of Gina, finding herself starting over as a single woman in a new, small & empty white flat – a stark comparison to the beautiful home she shared with her cheating husband. Sadly, her belongings from the house are just too great to squeeze into her flat, so Gina decides to only take 100 items into her new life.

The tale unfolds and captures it’s reader with flashbacks from Gina’s past and how it is shaping her future. Lucy Dillon’s descriptive prose is such that I felt the hurt within the walls of the empty flat that was just waiting to be made a home. We find out that Gina has had a lot to cope with of late and it was wonderful to read on and find her strength and ability to move forward with such focus and positivity.

I loved the addition of Buzz the dog – a fuzzy friend will always warm the soul and fill a room with love!  A well written, lovely read where we learn that if we let go of the past, we can live without regret in the present.

Overall, the concept was fantastic and did make me think about my own luxuries in life and their actual importance. It just sadly wasn’t quite the page turner I’d been anticipating.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lucy Dillon was born in Cumbria, worked for a while in publishing in London, and now lives in Herefordshire with her two basset hounds, near the Welsh border. She has written five novels for Hodder & Stoughton, all set in the fictional Midlands town of Longhampton, which looks a bit like Hereford, although the inhabitants tend to sound rather more Northern than that.

Lucy Dillon grew up in Cumbria, and while at school, wrote a play about Mary, Queen of Scots, which apparently only had two major historical inaccuracies, and edited the school magazine, all of which set her up for her first job after university, in publishing. Working for a fiction editor taught her some invaluable lessons about how books are written, then re-written, and then re-re-written, as well as how satisfying is it to watch a pile of pages magically turn into a novel you can hold in a bookshop and read in the bath.

A HUNDRED PIECES OF ME is Lucy’s fifth novel. None of the characters are based on her family, although the dogs might recognise themselves a bit.

Lucy won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts.

You can follow her on Twitter @lucy_dillon or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/LucyDillonBooks.

You can buy A Hundred Pieces of Me  here

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

The Lemon Grove

“Set on the rugged, mountainous west coast of Mallorca, this taut, sultry, brilliantly paced novel is an urgent meditation on female desire, the vicissitudes of marriage and the allure of youth. 
 
Taking place over the course of one week, The Lemon Grove lands in the heat of Deia, a village on an island off the southeast coast of Spain. Jenn and Greg are on their annual holiday to enjoy languorous, close afternoons by the pool, and relaxed dinners overlooking the rocks. But the equilibrium is upset by the arrival of their teenage daughter, Emma, and her boyfriend, Nathan. Jenn, in her early forties, loves her (older) husband and her (step)daughter and is content with her life, she thinks. But when this beautiful, reckless young man comes into her world, she is caught by a sexual compulsion that she’s seldom felt before. As the lines hotly blur between attraction, desire and obsession, Jenn’s world is thrown into tumult–by Nathan’s side, she could be young and carefree once again, and at this stage in her life, the promise of youth is every bit as seductive as the promise of passion. Jenn struggles between the conflicting pulls of resistance and release, and the events of the next few days have the potential to put lives in jeopardy as the players carry out their roles in this unstoppably sexy and unputdownable novel from a brilliant observer of the human condition.”

My Review:

Thank you very much to Georgina at Headline Publishing Group for sending me a paperback of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Only * * stars from me for The Lemon Grove, unfortunately. All opinions differ and I’m sure for many this was a “sultry, sexy & intense” read but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

I was so disappointed that I couldn’t connect with this book, I’d got wrapped up in the hype and had read so many great reviews, it was a shocking realisation that I was left feeling mainly uncomfortable reading this.

The Lemon Grove is well written and I have not been put off from trying another Helen Walsh novel. But personally, as a mother to an 18 year old girl, I felt utterly disgusted with Jenn and her actions were completely revolting to me. I think if Jenn’s object of obsession was maybe a few years older, I could have coped better. As it was, that she would even contemplate any wrong doings with a mere 17 year old? Ewwww. Not pleasant reading for me, certainly not sexy. It leaves one wondering, if it were a man in his forties lusting after a 17 year old girl, would we find that sexy, sultry reading? Mmmm.

But hey, that’s my opinion! Many have loved this read! So try it for yourself, right HERE

 

Visit Helen’s website and other books here:   www.helen-walsh.co.uk

The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

The Memory Book

“The name of your first-born. The face of your lover. Your age. Your address…
What would happen if your memory of these began to fade?
Is it possible to rebuild your life? Raise a family? Fall in love again?
When Claire starts to write her Memory Book, she already knows that this scrapbook of mementoes will soon be all her daughters and husband have of her. But how can she hold on to the past when her future is slipping through her fingers…?
Original, heartwarming and uplifting, The Memory Book is perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.”

 

MY REVIEW:

I rate * * * * stars to The Memory Book.

I was very fortunate to receive an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Oh gosh. You HAVE to read this book. It’s a Memory Book in its own right and will stay with you for a long time after the last page.

Before starting, I was a little apprehensive, concerned that it would be a bit depressing and sombre. But it really isn’t like that at all. Rowan has managed to write The Memory Book in such a wonderful way that yes, of course it’s heart-wrenching and filled with sadness, but there is humour and love embedded throughout which ensures that you’re smiling as much as you’re crying.

To be able to write a novel covering early onset Alzheimer’s Disease is a skill in itself, and one which few authors would tackle but Rowan has certainly superbly achieved. Rowan has managed to enter the mindset of an Alzheimer’s sufferer and translate it onto paper in such a touching, tender way that although sad, it’s still a gripping read.

The Memory Book is fabulously written, with love spilling over the pages, enticing the reader to devour every word, feel every emotion.

The cast of characters are small, but perfectly formed. You agonise along with each family member and what they are all having to deal with and they are all loveable and believable.

The idea of them all writing in the beautiful Memory Book that Greg bought for his wife Claire is a fantastic idea, and helps the reader understand more about all the family as they pour their hearts out over the pages.

It left me to imagine how much the family will completely adore & be thankful for the memory book once the inevitable does sadly happen…

Read it. The Memory Book. What an apt name for such a memorable book. You will remember this one forever. Thank you Rowan.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rowan Coleman   Rowan Coleman lives with her husband, and five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family which includes a very lively set of toddler twins whose main hobby is going in the opposite directions. When she gets the chance, Rowan enjoys sleeping, sitting and loves watching films; she is also attempting to learn how to bake. Rowan would like to live every day as if she were starring in a musical, although her daughter no longer allows her to sing in public.

Despite being dyslexic, Rowan loves writing, and The Memory Book is her eleventh novel. Others include The Accidental Mother, Lessons in Laughing Out Loud and the award-winning Dearest Rose, a novel which lead Rowan to become an active supporter of domestic abuse charity Refuge, donating 100% of royalties from the ebook publication of her novella, Woman Walks Into a Bar, to the charity. Rowan does not have time for ironing.

Visit Rowan’s website to see all her books – http://www.rowancoleman.co.uk
She’s also a GoodReads author – www.goodreads.com/Rowanlovesbooks
Rowan likes to chat on twitter too – rowancoleman