The Break by Marian Keyes – Book Review 


The Story

Myself and Hugh . . . We’re taking a break.’
‘A city-with-fancy-food sort of break?’

If only. Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her. He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to 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 . . . However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge. For 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 if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn’t she?

The Review

Marian Keyes, you are a genius and I don’t know what to do with myself now I’ve finished this book!

It is such a real, human story. This may not sound like high praise, but when you read hundreds of books where the characters are limp, fake and frankly unbelievable, you can’t help but yell “hallelujah!” when you find a book like this.

I have to say, I have also never hated a character more than I hated Hugh. I just felt he was the most selfish, uncaring and heartless bastard. And yet, my feelings on him were swayed as well.

The story is actually quite heartbreaking. There is an awful lot of tragedy, and I just wanted it to stop but I could not put it down!

What makes this book so amazing is Amy. I never thought that at 25 I’d relate so well to a 44 year old mother of 2 (well, really of 3). Marian Keyes has an uncanny ability to use her characters thoughts to reach right into the reader’s soul and give a big tug. I was with Amy the whole way though this book. I felt her heartbreak, her rage, her excitement, and even her love for Hugh despite his bastardly behaviour.

If you are looking for an escape from your reality (a running theme through The Break), this book is perfect.  To be honest I think it’s perfect no matter what you’re looking for. I want to read it again already!

The Break was released yesterday so GO GO GO!

Trust me. IT’S THE BEST BOOK I’VE READ IN MONTHS!

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Playing Her Cards Right by Rosa Temple – Book Review


The Story 

New year. New life. Fresh start.

Newly minted career girl Magenta Bright reluctantly finds herself growing up – she’s now a live-in girlfriend, a successful business owner, and an obsessive desirer of classic leather handbags.

But, fuelled by her creative talent, Magenta doesn’t seem to know when to stop. Between designing and launching a new range of bags, planning her parents’ second wedding, and whisky binges with scary international model and best friend Anya, something’s got to give, and it’s not long before her relationship with shy artist Anthony is in the firing line.

Will handbags lead to heartbreak for the unstoppable Magenta Bright?

The Review

I’m going to start this review with a little disclaimer: I find it very difficult to feel sympathy for upper-class rich people whose lives are very close to perfect.

I’ll be honest from the beginning. I didn’t really like this book. I’m actually struggling to remember the name of the main character. Interestingy I can recall the names of both her best friend and her boyfriend, so perhaps I’d rather hear a story about either of them. In a way, that’s probably true.

I found the protagonist very difficult to relate to. When hungover, she reaches for Dior sunglasses, and she calls her parents “mother and father”. She’s also her biggest problem. If she would simply talk to anybody about what was going on in her head she’d have very few things to be dealing with. I guess it would make for a very short book, but I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing anyway. Even towards the end when I think she’s finally going to get over herself, she runs away from her problems again. Just frikkin talk to him! 

Having said that, I will concede that she does suffer a true heartbreak during this story. It’s the sort of event that no amount of money or privelage can fight against, and we can truly feel her despair coming through the pages. Even that isn’t enough to turn this around for me though. 

She is spoiled, idiotic, unfunny and cowardly, and I really couldn’t care less what happens to her. 

Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira – Book Review


Rating: 5 out of 5

The Story

In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. 

But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

The Review

Chick lit is hard to write.  Well, let me rephrase. Good chick lit is hard to write. Love stories, for all of their excitement, can be a little predictable to say the least. 

A tall handsome man is lusted after by the quirky self -conscious girl. After some awkward but sexy encounters, they both realise they were meant to be together and they then live happily ever after. 

For a writer to come up with not only a novel twist, but an interesting twist on this ancient recipe is a pretty hard task, particularly when the subject matter is one (I hope) everyone has had at least a little experience of. 

Therefore it gives me great pleasure to introduce Isabel Bandeira and her new novel, Bookishly Ever After… it’s a GOOD chick lit book!! 

As a not-so-secret bookworm, Phoebe grabbed my interest straight away. She loses herself in novels every day, and romance will do no good unless it comes straight off the pages of the latest paperback. You can’t really argue with that – men in books are the very best.

By creating a character I instantly connected with, Bandeira quickly drew me in. I love Phoebe’s independent, I-don’t-care-what-you-think attitude. Although she does fit in with the classic personality of many women in romantic novels, she has enough about her that she still feels like a tangible person. 

We’ve also got a really charming love interest, a great cast of supporting characters, and most importantly a plot which is perfectly paced and teases just enough in all the right places. 

You’ll not find any x-rated bedroom scenes, but it doesn’t need them to keep things exciting.  A tastefully written story that keeps you turning pages, and one that I would highly recommend. 

A Work of Art by Micayla Lally – Book Review


A Work of Art by Micayla Lally (She Writes Press)

Review copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Genres: Drama, Women’s fiction, Romance

RATING: 2/5

The Story

Letting go after her abrupt break-up with Samson is harder than Julene thought it would be, especially since her ex has wasted no time in burying himself in the local dating scene. But during an extended visit to her parents overseas, Julene rediscovers her love of art, and a burgeoning career develops. Samson, on the other hand, after trying valiantly—and unsuccessfully—to forget Julene, has settled instead on his own new career. When Julene returns home to Australia, a coincidental meeting leads to an emotional reunion—but her love and patience will be tested when she finds out just how busy Samson has been in her absence. Yes, they have both made mistakes they can work through and move past—but when a spectre from Samson’s past looms, Julene wonders: Can she trust him again?

The Review

This is one of the most frustrating novels I’ve read in a long time, and the reason for that is simple. The story is great, but the telling is distinctly not. The novel is very fast paced, but there is little detail in any of the scenes. What’s more, when there is detail, it seems to occur during the most inane occasions. There are some quite dramatic moments in this novel which have the potential to be extremely emotional and involving, but they are written about with the air of an afterthought. The most important aspects of the story are glossed over, whilst mundane conversations about rice pads are dealt with in great detail.

Now that I’m at the end of the novel, I still don’t feel that I have a good grasp of who the characters really are, what their motivations are and how they feel about anything that’s happened in the book. I think part of this is down to the dialogue. The conversations don’t seem realistic, and the writing style brings the phrase ‘hoity-toity’ to mind.

Focusing on the more positive aspects of the novel, the story is a very relatable and realistic. What happens in this novel could easily happen to anyone, and yet there are enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Unfortunately, you don’t have to guess for very long.

For example, the beginning of the novel is involving, as the two main characters, Julene and Samson, have ended their relationship but we don’t know why. Rather than use this as a way to keep readers interested, the tension is broken a few chapters later when the author reveals the reason for their break-up. I would have loved for her to have drawn this out a little more, as the majority of the book is much less interesting. 70% of the novel could perhaps could be entitled ‘the Sexcapades of Julene and co.’, but sadly this is nowhere near as fun as it sounds. In some cases, her circumstances actually make it feel a bit ‘icky’.

If I could turn back time and read this novel again, I’m not sure I’d bother. I did read it until the end (the story was interesting enough for me to persevere through the bad writing) but maybe it would make a better movie?

A Work of Art is released on 2nd May 2017.

Lally can be contacted via twitter , Facebook and her website.