Summer Reading Wrap Up!

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Sorry this comes so late, as I came back from my holiday on the 17th of July. However, I was very productive and read seven books and one audio book over the two weeks, which accounts to one book every two days. So without further ado, here are my mini reviews. (Click on the title to get the goodreads page)

1. Carry You by Beth Thomas 3.5/5 stars
Predominantly a book about friendship, Carry You focuses on a grieving Daisy trying to get her life back on track. From the moment we meet her you know something bad has happened to her, she also has nowhere to go as she was living with her mother, and now her mother has passed away, she has to sell the house and move out. Luckily her friend Abi has a spare room. It’s not the best plan, sharing with Abi and her boyfriend, but Daisy is quite happy to curl up on the sofa and watch Hugh Grant movies.

However, it turns out that Abi is a determined bestie, motivating Daisy to join a charity walking in aid of breast cancer research. It changes everything because now she has something to focus on. It turns out to be a lovely story about friendship and perseverance. If you put your heart and mind into something- you might just do it. Grief can get you down, and the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t let it consume you. Go out, get a hobby,  and do something other than wallow.

There are a few things I didn’t like, petty things like the change in character traits, Daisy’s attitude in some places. Nonetheless it was a good story about how to deal with grief. I’d recommend it but it might not be for everyone.

2. Summer at the Lake by Erica James  5/5 Stars.

In any other world, Floriana, Adam and Esme would never have met, but under the circumstances where Floriana gets run over, and the other two just happen to be in the same place- their lives become entwined. They then become a threesome, Floriana and Adam help out the elderly Esme around the house and Esme acts a voice of reason, helping them with their relationships. (And trying to set them up)

What Floriana doesn’t need is her ex best friend, Seb asking her to come to his wedding. She’s in love with him and he’s marrying someone else, knowing how she feels about him. However, the wedding allows for Floriana, Adam and Esme to take a trip to Lake Como in Italy, where secrets are uncovered, relationships are broadened, and Seb ruins his own wedding by admitting he loves Floriana. Awkward.

Fortunately, our three friends end up happy, closer, and much more like family. It’s a novel about moving on and unlikely friendships. It’s a novel about moving on and unlikely friendships. I definitely want to read more Erica James!

3.You’re the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher  5/5 stars!

Maddy, Ben and Rob have been best friends since they were at primary school- and now Maddy is about to marry one of them, but is it the right one? It is written chronologically from age five to twenty five, we follow their lives from Ben and Maddy’s perspectives. (Rob’s comes through in his wedding speech) I think this was more personal of a narrative to their stories. I did start to feel sorry for Ben the more I read- his best friend ended up with the girl he was in love with. You can really feel the pain he must be feeling.

Giovanna is really clever in the way she has written it. I was believing moments that shouldn’t have happened and smiling at moments that should. She captured the development from childhood naivety to adult lust perfectly and the narrative was coherent throughout.

The love triangle doesn’t get in the way, which I liked, and overall I really enjoyed this book. I has all the qualities of a good contemporary romance. Read it if you like that genre because you won’t be disappointed 🙂

4. Dream a Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher    5/5 stars

We all want our dreams to become a reality, so when Sarah has dreams about an old friend, dreams that could be considered intimate….she is shocked when he starts to work at her office. Awkward. How will she cope the night before, she and Brett were having sex! (In her dream, obviously…)

I really liked this book. Giovanna’s stories are uniquely different which is great for alone’s by the same author. Another feature was that two characters from her previous novels Billy Buskin, (Billy and Me) and Alice (You’re the One That I Want) which added a nice to connection to her other works. I also liked when her husband, Tom Fletcher was included in a dream sequence. Nice touch.

I felt Sarah’s embarassment but I  was glad that Brett didn’t turn out to be a dick, that would have ruined it. It’s a great read for the summer, I would definitely recommend it. Giovanna’s books get better each time she publishes one. 🙂

5. Day of the Troll by Simon Messingham 5/5 stars

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David Tennant has surprising ease flipping between accents, especially between the narration in his native Scottish to the Doctor’s very English one. It just shows his fluidity as an actor.

I’m glad this story was exclusive to BBC Audiobooks as the sound effects and story telling really bought the story to life- it was as scary, exhilarating and exciting as an actual episode and when Part 1 had finished I continued straight on to Part two and enjoyed the whole two hours.

Using a fairytale as a way for the creature to become a monster ( a troll, under the bridge) was a clever way of making it seem scarier than it could have been had it just been a tree monster, looking for food. The story is set on an Earth in the distant future, where England relies on Madrid for food and other commercial items- whilst trying to grow their own. It was scary thing to think about which is what I like about Doctor Who. It gets me thinking.

Overall, good story, good premise, excellent narration (I may be a bit biased though). I was hooked for the entire length of the story, which is slightly longer than the 45 minutes of a TV episode.
I’d definitely recommend it to fans of Doctor Who as it adds more stories to the fandom.

6. The Dandelion Years by Erica James  5/5 stars

This is the second book I read that started post-tragedy (Carry You being the second) and focuses on the life of Saskia, her father, and her grandfathers after her mother and grandmothers lost their lives in a car accident. They all now live together in a slightly dysfunctional way, that actually works. She helps her father with book restoration and her grandfathers cook and tend the garden. However, at 32, they think Saskia needs to settle down.

When she finds a notebook inside an old bible, it leads her to the life of someone who worked as a cryptologist at Bletchey Park during WW2, which in turn, leads her to Matthew, a man who happened to know the writer of the notebook and who is clueless to the time he sent at Bletchley. There’s also a romance in his life, a girl he never mentioned, that is throughout the book which focuses on love and loss- a theme that resonated throughout.

Published this year, the link to Bletchley is a nice touch, along with ‘The Imitation Game’ to provide knowledge about the astounding work done by Alan Turing and his collegues as they tried and succeeded to break the German Enigma machine. For that reason alone it is worth a read.

7. Her Mother’s Shadow by Diane Chamberlain 5/5 stars

This is the final book in the Keeper of the Light trilogy. The previous two have been reviewed here and here. It is set in a different time period again, each book is set a few years after the previous.

Lacey’s mothers’s murderer is due to be released from prison, and if that didn’t make her feel awful, she also finds out her best friend suffered serious injuries in a car accident and has died- but, she left the custody her twelve year old daughter to Lacey! She’s never met the girl! She faces a double dilemma. What does she do about her mother’s killer, and will she be able to take care of Jessica’s daughter in a suitable way?

The story focuses on tough decisions, betrayal (there was a twist with one of the characters I didn’t see coming. Hit me like a slap in the face!). drama, and the sadness of losing a loved one. Written in different perspectives, it’s interesting to see how the story effects different characters, from the wife of Annie’s killer, to Lacey, and other minor characters in the book.

It’s cleverly written and full of twists which kept me reading. Diane Chamberlain is always able to keep me hooked! Definitely recommend this one!

8. Reflection by Diane Chamberlain 4/5 stars.

And finally, Reflection! This was the last book I read during my holiday but unfortunately this book was a little predictable in places compared to Chamberlain’s other books, but it was still fun to read.

As always, Diane Chamberlain introduces us to characters that have secrets that have hurt themselves or others around them. Rachel Huber is one of those people, and when she returns to her hometown of Reflection to look after her grandmother, she finds that everyone is still holding a grudge against her.

I liked Rachel’s character, especially as she is much older than the characters I usually read about, being in her 40s. But this didn’t deter me.
I feel I can’t say much about this book as there is a massive revelation towards the end which shifts the blame off of her. I won’t spoil it but it was a relief to know that it wasn’t her fault ten children in her class died that day.

There was also a bit of romance to break up the drama which was a needed distractions. It’s different and I’d recommend it, but I did enjoy it.

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Phew! That’s a lot of writing!
Let me know if you have read, or are going to read these books, and let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading!

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