Anything You Do Say [review]

Anything You Do Say

Title: Anything You Do Say
Author: Gillian McAllister
Publisher: Michael Joseph

[Synopsis]

Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly.

But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it’s him; the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor.

Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most – make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?

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[My Review]

Another fantastic read from Gillian McAllister; it’s full of every emotion you can think of, all written spectacularly well. I couldn’t put it down!

I don’t want to give anything away so I’m going to keep this fairly succinct. What I will  say is: don’t read Anything You Do Say if you have immediate plans – all you’ll want to do is stay in and race through this novel… which is exactly what I did!

The plot itself is just excellent, and presents a worryingly realistic situation. It’s every woman’s worst nightmare and whilst reading it I could imagine only too well how I might feel in Joanna’s place. Though I may not agree with everything she did, and at times her indecision was frustrating, but I really felt for her throughout the novel.

I absolutely loved the split storylines, titled ‘conceal’ and ‘reveal’, each showing what would happen if Jo had reacted in a different way, and how her life would have changed accordingly (and in some ways, dramatically!). It feels very realistic, and Gillian McAllister resists the urge to make everything tied up with a neat bow. It also made me really think about how unfair some aspects of just being a woman are! It provoked some strong emotions in me, which is always the sign of a great writer.

This is just a brilliantly constructed, convincing novel which I highly recommend. No doubt this will be on my best books of 2018 even though we’re only in January!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Michael Joseph UK and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

Anything You Do Say is out in the UK on 25 January. 

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS_ / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

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The Other Us [audiobook review]

The Other Us - Fiona Harper

Title: The Other Us
Author: Fiona Harper
Publisher: HarperCollins UK

[Synopsis]

If you could turn back time, would you choose a different life?

Forty-something Maggie is facing some hard truths. Her only child has flown the nest for university and, without her daughter in the house, she’s realising her life, and her marriage to Dan, is more than a little stale.

When she spots an announcement on Facebook about a uni reunion, she can’t help wondering what happened to Jude Hanson. The same night Dan proposed, Jude asked Maggie to run away with him, and she starts to wonder how different her life might have been if she’d broken Dan’s heart and taken Jude up on his offer.

Wondering turns into fantasising, and then one morning fantasising turns into reality. Maggie wakes up and discovers she’s back in 1992 and twenty-one again. Is she brave enough to choose the future she really wants, and if she is, will the grass be any greener on the other side of the fence?

Two men. Two very different possible futures. But is there only once chance at happiness?

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[My Review]

This is a book that really makes you think about life’s ‘what if’ moments, and though it’s not something I think about a lot, The Other Us did make me think that, if one thing changed in your life, things could be so different – but would they be any better?

The Other Us is an enjoyable, sweet and, at times, poignant read which follows some great characters. It centers around Maggie and shows her complex relationships with Dan, Jude, Becca and others as she navigates life, relationships, family and kids, careers… all whilst wondering what if? Maggie isn’t really happy at the start of the novel, and always wonders how things would be if she had ended up with ‘the one that got away’, Jude. When she begins to experience an alternative reality in which she had got together with Jude, it shows her how happy she could have been – and also how some elements in her life also change as a result.

The themes in this novel aren’t just about Maggie’s marriage/ relationship but covers her friendship with Becca, her choice of career, whether she has children… it’s a great novel for making you, along with Maggie, wonder whether she’s really ‘messed up’ her current life or not. The story itself is fairly light-hearted and fun, though at the beginning I did find it quite upsetting, if I imagined being in the same situation myself. There are parts which are quite predictable but I think you often expect that with novels in this genre and it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. The different timelines really drew me in – I love novels that do this (as long as it’s done well, of course!), and it wasn’t too confusing to follow.

I found Katie Scarfe to be a great narrator for this; her voice didn’t get on my nerves (I sometimes find audiobook narrators’ voices can grate!) and she presented the story really well. I’d definitely recommend The Other Us in both a readable or narrated format – it was enjoyable and really kept my attention throughout!

[Rating: 4/5]

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White Bodies [review]

White Bodies - Jane Robins

Title: White Bodies
Author: Jane Robins
Publisher: HQ

[Synopsis]

Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless façade, not everything is as it seems.

Callie, Tilda’s unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix’s domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix’s uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister’s arms.

Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies—or was he murdered?

Add to Goodreads button[My Review]

White Bodies is a strange and quite unsettling read. I struggle to properly categorize this  novel; Goodreads (my go-to for all bookish info) has various categories, probably added by readers, and they include: thriller; mystery; psychological thriller; mystery thriller; suspense…

I wouldn’t say it was really a mystery or thriller, because I found it was much more about the relationship between sisters Callie and Tilda and the other people in their lives, though there is an element of ‘what happened’ and ‘who is telling the truth’, which I loved. Some parts of the story are actually fairly slow in that not that much happens after the first quarter, but then the second half seems to ramp up the tension again… and that ending!

Jane Robins has managed to make my care about strange or unlikable characters; I don’t want to give too much away but even main character Callie has her quirks and potential flaws – which you’ll see from quite early on – but I really enjoyed reading about her. Her (and her twin sister Tilda) are the same age as me, so I felt almost more of a connection with Callie… Tilda, not so much! Callie’s such an intriguing character, and Tilda is too – in a completely different way! Jane Robins has crafted the characters so well which only added to my enjoyment of this strange, and at times creepy, plot. White Bodies is definitely as much of a character-driven story as a mystery.

There were some hard to read parts, strange occurrences, and even stranger behaviour which all combined to make a completely compelling read – all this without any ‘explicit’ parts, as such – hard to describe, you just need to read it!

I can see that White Bodies may divide opinion and I can kind of understand why, but I loved it and couldn’t put it down. It manages to be atmospheric and slightly surreal whilst at other times completely grounded in reality, with issues that face so many women every day, and makes for a riveting read.

[Rating: 4.5/5]

Many thanks to HQ for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

The Perfect Victim [review]

The Perfect Victim - Corrie Jackson

Title: The Perfect Victim
Author: Corrie Jackson
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre

[Synopsis]

Husband, friend, colleague . . . killer?

Charlie and Emily Swift are the Instagram-perfect couple: gorgeous, successful and in love. But then Charlie is named as the prime suspect in a gruesome murder and Emily’s world falls apart.

Desperate for answers, she turns to Charlie’s troubled best friend, London Herald journalist, Sophie Kent. Sophie knows police have the wrong man – she trusts Charlie with her life.

Then Charlie flees.

Sophie puts her reputation on the line to clear his name. But as she’s drawn deeper into Charlie and Emily’s unravelling marriage, she realises that there is nothing perfect about the Swifts.

As she begins to question Charlie’s innocence, something happens that blows the investigation – and their friendship – apart.

Now Sophie isn’t just fighting for justice, she’s fighting for her life.

For fans of Nicci French and Sophie Hannah, Corrie Jackson’s explosive new novel will leave you questioning how far you would go for friendship.

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[My Review]

I think I’ve found a new favourite crime writer! I haven’t read Breaking Dead, the first in the Sophie Kent series, so I read The Perfect Victim as a standalone. Corrie Jackson has created not only a fantastic female protagonist but the perfect mix of convincing crime fiction combined with a touch of drama and plenty of mystery. Her writing is brilliant, with plenty of twists which take you by surprise just when you think you’ve got it all figured out.

As I mentioned, I feel that Sophie Kent is a fantastic main character. The fact that she’s not part of the police means she can take risks and, at times, cause trouble which she wouldn’t be able to as a police officer, but her job as a crime reporter means she gets enough information and is quick enough to pick up on clues, taking the reader along with her. She’s got her own demons but she’s incredibly fun to read about.

Similarly, I felt that Emma, the wife of the elusive Charlie (also close friends with Sophie) is a great character. She’s not necessarily likable or trustworthy BUT I found her hugely interesting to read about – a bit of a loose cannon, which always makes for fun reading! I also liked how so many of the characters were linked in some way – I don’t want to give too much away but the plot is cleverly worked so the reader finds themselves going “ahh that’s why…” or “I forgot about that!”; lots of seemingly unimportant things turn out to be more of a key issue than expected. I don’t want to say any more as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else, but I would highly recommend The Perfect Victim to anyone looking for a great new crime series to dive into. I certainly intend on catching up with the first in the series.

[Rating: 5/5]

Thanks to Bonnier Zaffre for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS_ / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

Seven Days Of Us [review]

Seven Days of Us

Title: Seven Days Of Us
Author: Francesca Hornak
Publisher: Piatkus

[Synopsis]

A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays…

It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.

For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.

As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.

In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…

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[My Review]

Seven Days of Us is a novel with many emotions – there’s humour, sadness, anger and stress, all rolled up (along with Christmassy feelings and interesting characters) into a well-written, warm novel!

I’m not sure exactly how to ‘categorize’ this novel – though it revolves around a family going into quarantine over Christmas because their eldest daughter has been treating victims of a contagious disease, called Haag, in Africa, it’s not all about this. It’s more about the family’s relationships and interactions as they’re forced to spend more time together than they usually do, and some of their secrets which come to the surface. The story, though there’s plenty of drama included, doesn’t feel overly dramatic and really manages to avoid being too cheesy, despite the family pulling together sometimes and experiencing emotional upheaval at other times.

The story focuses in on each family member at different times – mother Emma, father Andrew, daughters Olivia and Phoebe, plus Phoebe’s fiance George… and some other additions, which I won’t say much about so as not to ruin the story. I love stories which focus in on different narratives or people, and find it adds so much to the plot when you learn how each person is feeling, instead of seeing it all through one person’s eyes.

Seven Days of Us touches upon so many different themes, but never feels rushed, and somehow manages to be exactly the right levels of light-hearted fun and seriousness! It’s also a thought-provoking read and its characters  – some lovely, some annoying, all refreshingly dysfunctional in their own way – really drew me in so that I didn’t want to stop reading! Highly recommended.

[Rating: 4.5/5]

Many thanks to Piatkus for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

 

Yellow Room [blog tour review + guest post!]

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for The Yellow Room! Find out what I thought of this great novel (well, that gives it away a little!) and learn a little more about author Shelan Rodger’s writing inspiration below, as she tells all about how important the use of location is in her novels…

Yellow Room - Shelan Rodger

Title: The Yellow Room
Author: Shelan Rodger
Publisher: The Dome Press

[Synopsis]

Set in England and Kenya during the post-election crisis of 2008, a psychological drama that explores the power of secrets to run and ruin our lives.

Chala has grown up in the shadow of a tragic act—as a small child she killed her baby sister in their yellow room. Even now, in her thirties, her state of mind is precarious and both she and her partner struggle with the demons of her past. When a one night stand leaves Chala pregnant, and her beloved adoptive father dies, she decides to go to Kenya and visit the scene of her parents’ deaths. Slowly memories of  the events in the yellow room return, the political uprising puts a new meaning on life, and the future can only be faced by making a choice—to deceive or tell the truth.

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Shelan Rodger
[Guest Post: “The importance of location – in my life and in my books”]

I was recently described in a local Spanish newspaper as a ‘Nigerian author living in Andalucía,’ which I found amusing as the only thing Nigerian about me really is the fact that I was born there (I left when I was three). But it is true that the question ‘Where are you from?’ is one that I find impossible to answer. My father was born in India and grew up in Kenya where he is buried; my mother, also born in India, still lives in Kenya. When I was three, the family left Nigeria and went to the Northern Territory of Australia; my first school was a radio in the bush, my second was an aboriginal school with two classrooms on an island north of Darwin. When I was eleven, we moved to England. I went to a comprehensive school in Hampshire and then Oxford University where I graduated in French and Spanish. Then nine years in Argentina, followed by another period in the UK and six years in Kenya before moving to Spain in 2011. My professional career has revolved around international education, learning and development, and anti-discrimination.

Probably no surprise then that my writing is haunted by the question of what shapes us and our sense of who we are. How much is our personal identity moulded by the place we grow up or live in – the culture, the landscape, the language? And what happens if we move between different cultures, different landscapes? I don’t really feel English but I cannot tell you where I’m from. In my twitter profile, I define myself as a ‘writer and wilderness lover, with a patchwork life’. Connection with nature is extremely important to me; the need for wilderness is in my blood. So, there is a strange dynamic in my own life: strong emotional connections with certain locations and cultures combined with a sense of belonging to none – or all of them.

Twin Truths is set largely in Argentina and a big chunk of Yellow Room takes place in Kenya. I see Argentina and Kenya almost as characters in the stories. The relationship between the protagonists and the location is key to each story and to the journey of self-discovery for the protagonists in each book.

In Yellow Room, Chala is named after a lake in a remote part of Kenya. She volunteers at an orphanage in Naivasha, where she gets caught up in the turmoil of the post-election violence that killed over a thousand people in 2008. One of the things I wanted to explore with this book was the relationship between the internal world of our own inner stage and the external world, and how this affects our sense of who we are. Kenya – the events, the landscape, the culture, the people – has a profound effect on Chala and the outcome of her own personal story. Kenya is not just a setting but plays a role in the story of who she is and who she becomes.

Argentina has its own story. Buenos Aires in the nineties is a place of forgetting, but the shadow of Argentina’s dictatorship lingers. There is a kind of collective amnesia about the 30,000 disappeared, a gentle collusion almost everywhere to forget and move on, in the face of a reality too horrific to counter. In Twin Truths, Jenny’s journey too is one of forgetting, trying to move on. She does not really connect with the culture at first, using it like sex as a means of escape, trying it on like a piece of clothing, treating therapy as a game. But Argentina becomes part of her own story and there is one place that plays a pivotal role: Iguazu falls. There is a point where the falls converge in a bottomless crush of water called La Garganta del Diablo, a place that connects with Jenny’s own memory. ‘I was being sucked down into the depths of the ocean, no air, down and down into the devil’s throat.’

If we are what we eat, we are probably also where we live…Well, I tried that sentence out in Google and discovered this is exactly what someone called Jeff Speck, author of Suburban Nation, said at a conference about urban planning! Location, location, location…I hope you enjoy your travels in my books…

– Shelan Rodger


[My Review]

This is a beautifully written book which really made me think. I felt like it had a bit of everything – human relationships, family, some drama, travel and an element of surprise/ twists. All together these create a wonderfully crafted blend of tragedy, secrets and, through it all, hope.

I felt that the characters in Yellow Room are really convincing and well developed; though I didn’t agree with everything Chala did, I really felt for her. It made me stop and think about how much blame you can really pin on a child, and how difficult it must be for adults around her – especially Emma’s parents – to deal with what’s happened. It also deals with how one decision – whether to tell someone the whole ‘truth’ or not – can affect so many parts of a person’s life.

The travel aspect was interesting, and we saw how Chala’s personal demons eased a bit by being so far away, but at points I just wanted her to go home so I could see what would happen with her ‘situation’ (don’t want to give too much away!).

I absolutely love the way this book makes you think one way about someone – Chala’s husband, for example – but as the book reveals more your opinion changes and morphs with Shelan’s brilliant writing.

Thought provoking, surprising and emotional, Yellow Room is definitely a must-read!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to The Dome Press for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review, and for inviting me onto the blog tour!


FOLLOW THE TOUR…

Yellow Room Blog Tour Poster

The Break [review]

the break - marian keyes

Title: The Break
Author: Marian Keyes
Publisher: Michael Joseph UK

[Synopsis]

Amy’s husband Hugh isn’t really leaving her.

At least, that’s what he promises. He is just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. For six-months Hugh will lose himself in south-east Asia, and there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.

Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet . . .

It’s been a long time since Amy held a briefcase in one hand and a baby in the other. She never believed she’d have to go it alone again. She just has to hold the family together until Hugh comes back.

But a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married? And will Amy be the same woman?

Because falling in love is easy. The hard part – the painful, joyous, maddening, beautiful part – is staying in love.

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[My Review]

The Break is another absorbing, interesting and humorous read from an author I’ve loved reading for years: Marian Keyes. I was so ready for a new novel from this brilliant and funny Irish writer and I was definitely not disappointed!

You sort of know what to expect from Marian Keyes’s new novels but The Break surprised me in many ways. For one, it was more emotional and upsetting than many of her other novel (or so I felt anyway). Amy’s husband Richard has what seems to be a sort of mental breakdown after the death of his father and decides he wants a break from their marriage – and yes, a proper break, heading to travel around Asia and potentially involving romances with OTHER PEOPLE! No wonder Amy was devastated; as much as Richard can say it’s nothing to do with her personally, how on earth would you NOT take this at least a little personally?

Mental health is something that’s affected various people I know and care about in the past, so reading this felt very emotional. At times I felt genuinely sick reading about the betrayal that Amy feels, imagining if I was in the same situation.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s still plenty of the classic Keyes humour we’ve all grown to expect and love. Amy really made me laugh, though I definitely did not agree with some of her choices, and she’s definitely not perfect – as we learn in this novel. However she IS really likeable, witty, and fun, and there are some very humorous moments; in fact this novel has a lot of likeable characters, and even when you think you’ll hate a character or have them completely figured out, you realise you don’t because people are not that black and white.

The Break is a fairly long novel but I loved every minute, despite the emotional subject matter. It made me laugh, cry, and consider the fact that there really aren’t many (or perhaps any?) completely perfect marriages – they take work. I’d definitely recommend this novel to fans of Marian Keyes or anyone who enjoys ‘chick lit’/ women’s fiction with an extra level of depth.

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Michael Joseph UK and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.


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Cold Blood [review]

Cold Blood - Robert Bryndza

Title: Cold Blood
Author: Robert Bryndza
Publisher: Bookouture

[Synopsis]

She fell in love with a killer, now she’s one too.

The suitcase was badly rusted, and took Erika several attempts, but it yielded and sagged open as she unzipped it. Nothing could prepare her for what she would find inside…

When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames, Detective Erika Foster is shocked. She’s worked on some terrifying cases but never seen anything like this before.

As Erika and her team set to work, she makes the link with another victim – the body of a young woman dumped in an identical suitcase two weeks ago.

Erika quickly realises she’s on the trail of a serial killer who’s already made their next move. Yet just as Erika starts to make headway with the investigation, she is the victim of a brutal attack.

But nothing will stop Erika. As the body count rises, the twin daughters of her colleague Commander Marsh are abducted, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Can Erika save the lives of two innocent children before it’s too late? She’s running out of time and about to make a disturbing discovery…there’s more than one killer.

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[My Review]

Robert Bryndza has done it again; Cold Water lives up to the great writing and utterly addictive storyline of the previous four novels in this seriesand, side note, I can’t believe there have been that many already, it only seems like 5 minutes since the brilliant The Girl In The Ice came out! (Scroll to the bottom of the page to read my reviews for each previous novel).

Of course, Erika is a great character – one of my favourite detectives, and even better than she’s a strong female character! She’s back on great form here, as usual disregarding the rules when she feels it’s necessary (or just wants to), but she has some personal problems that are causing her some worry and is another layer of heartache on top of the constant sadness for her ex-husband’s death.

The story itself is dark and gritty, featuring a serial killer who Erika and the team must link to the string of dead bodies turning up, all the time working against the clock. It takes a dark turn when the children of someone Erika knows well are kidnapped. This definitely adds a menacing touch to the story, and the writing is as gritty and tense as always.

I finished this novel in no time – the next instalment can’t come quickly enough! Cold Water is another great release in this stellar series and I’d highly recommended it!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

See my reviews for titles in this series:
The Girl In The Ice 
The Night Stalker  
Dark Water
Last Breath


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One Small Act of Kindness [audiobook review]

One Small Act of Kindness - Lucy Dillon

Title: One Small Act of Kindness
Author: Lucy Dillon
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

[Synopsis]

What can you do to make the world a better place?

Libby helps a stranger, and transforms her life in the process.
Libby and her husband Jason have moved back to his hometown to turn the family B&B into a boutique hotel. They have left London behind and all the memories – good and bad – that went with it.

The injured woman Libby finds lying in the remote country road has lost her memory. She doesn’t know why she came to be there, and no one seems to be looking for her.

When Libby offers to take her in, this one small act of kindness sets in motion a chain of events that will change many people’s lives…

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[My Review]

One Small Act of Kindness strikes just the right balance: sweet without being too cloying, touching without being overly sentimental story, and featuring some really likeable characters who I’d happily read more about.

The narrative features some of the typical elements of this genre, yes, with romances and budding romances (I saw some parts coming a mile off, but again I feel that’s just something that comes with the territory and I didn’t mind this) but importantly it manages to avoid being overly cheesy or ridiculous. The plot is believable and has some more serious parts, but also plenty of light-heartedness mixed in there. It’s well written, sweet and with a plot that moves along at just the right pace whilst still providing plenty of character development.

Without giving too much away, main character Libby seemed really lovely and a bit of a saint with what she’s had to put up with, whilst Alice is suffering from memory loss and can’t remember the person she was before the accident, but is equally likable as she tries to piece together the parts of her life from ‘before’. Other characters enter the scene and either really charmed me (human or non-human – I loved Sir Bob) or made me want to throw things at them (but, either way, equally well written by Lucy Dillon), and made me want to continue reading on (or, in this case with the audiobook, listening on).

I enjoyed trying to piece together Alice’s memories as the novel went on, and felt the amnesia part of the story was convincing (well-researched, I assume) and intriguing. I finished One Small Act of Kindness feeling satisfied and uplifted

The audiobook was well read, with a great narrator (though the Welsh accent was quite amusing; I’m not sure why seeing as I’m awful at ‘doing’ accents myself) and it’s an ideal story to be enjoyed on audiobook. Some books, I feel, really work in audio format and some just don’t, and often in that case I abandon them early on – this was really enjoyable!

The only other book I’ve read by Lucy Dillon (so far) is All I Ever Wanted, and I was really taken by that too [read my review here], so I think I can safely say Lucy Dillon is a winning writer for me in the ‘chick-lit/ romance/ women’s fiction’ genres; I’ll certainly be reading more by her in the future.

[Rating: 4/5]

Close Enough to Touch [review]

Close Enough To Touch - Colleen Oakley

Title: Close Enough to Touch
Author: Colleen Oakley
Publisher: Allen & Unwin UK

[Synopsis]

Love has no boundaries…

Jubilee Jenkins has a rare condition: she’s allergic to human touch. After a nearly fatal accident, she became reclusive, living in the confines of her home for nine years. But after her mother dies, Jubilee is forced to face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.

Jubilee finds safe haven at her local library where she gets a job. It’s there she meets Eric Keegan, a divorced man who recently moved to town with his brilliant, troubled, adopted son. Eric is struggling to figure out how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Jubilee is unlike anyone he has ever met, yet he can’t understand why she keeps him at arm’s length. So Eric sets out to convince Jubilee to open herself and her heart to everything life can offer, setting into motion the most unlikely love story of the year.

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[My Review]

Close Enough To Touch is a wonderful, touching story that ticked all the right boxes for me.

Filled with wonderful characters  – I LOVE Jubilee, Eric, and Aja, who are amazing characters each in their own (very different) ways –  the novel uses these vibrant people to address some slightly heavier subjects, all with the perfect level of information and humour. The characters each have their own problems and struggles to deal with, but reading about the way they handle them is both amusing at times and also very touching. The budding relationships between them are convincing and fantastic to read about; I found myself relishing every page and appreciating how Colleen Oakley manages to make us really care about the people within the novel without having to include any overly cheesy or ‘forced’ emotions – the thoughts and feelings in this book feel very real and convincing and I for one found myself completely absorbed in their lives.

There are parts of this novel that made me laugh out loud – particularly Eric’s best attempts to try and be a ‘good parent’ to Aja – and some which are slightly less believable (it is fiction, after all!), but either way I felt myself completely falling in love with Colleen Oakley’s writing style, which I hope to see a lot more of in the future!

I finished Close Enough To Touch feeling both satisfied and emotional. A fantastic read, and one of my favourite books this year!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to the publisher, Allen & Unwin UK, for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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