July Reads

July was a GOOOOOD month for books. Great, in fact. Check out what I was reading…

 

Wilde Like Me

Wilde Like Me / Louise Pentland

Meet Robin Wilde! You’ll make a friend for life and she’ll take you on a journey you’ll never forget …Single mum Robin Wilde adores her six-year-old daughter and loves her job as a make up artist’s assistant. She has a wonderful best friend and an auntie who is bonkers, yes, but loves her to the moon and back. But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things just feel … grey. And lonely. She struggles to fit in with the school mum crew. Online dating is totally despair-inducing, and she worries every day about raising her little girl with self-confidence, courage and joy.What Robin longs for is someone (over the age of six) to share with – someone who’s always on her team. After 4 years (2 months, and 15 days!) of single-mum-dom, it’s time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life. Exciting new opportunities are about to come Robin’s way … Perhaps a man, perhaps the chance of a lifetime …What will Robin do with the possibilities she creates for herself? And what potential will she unlock if she takes the leap?

Ahh, I had pre-ordered this and was so so excited when it arrived! I absolutely love Louise and just knew it would be a great read. It was so so funny at parts and I laughed out loud quite a few times!

 

My Not So Perfect Life

My Not So Perfect Life / Sophie Kinsella

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed. Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers. But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they? Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business. Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems. And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

This was hilarious from start to finish! I absolutely loved Katie. She’s one of the loveliest yet funny and straight talking characters I’ve ever read about. I love the plot and the ending and pretty much everything about the book. Although I was still so unsure of Demeter!

The Out of Office Girl

Out of Office Girl / Nicola Doherty

Alice Roberts is having a rubbish summer. She’s terrified of her boss, her career is stalling, and she’s just been dumped – by text message. But things are about to change… When her boss Olivia is taken ill, Alice is sent on the work trip of a lifetime: to a villa in Sicily, to edit the autobiography of Hollywood bad boy Luther Carson. But it’s not all yachts, nightclubs and Camparis. Luther’s arrogant agent Sam wants him to ditch the book. Luther himself is gorgeous, charming and impossible to read. There only seems to be one way to get his attention, and it’s not one her boss would approve of. Alice is out of the office, and into deep trouble…

A good book. Very easy read. Not a life changing book or anything but a really simple feel good read.

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Behind Closed Doors / BA Paris

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows. Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

Ohhhh, I loved this read. If you love a good suspense book then this is the one.

 

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The A to Z of Everything / Debbie Johnson

P is for Paris where it all began. J is for Jealousy where it all came undone. But the most important letter is F. F is for Forgiveness, the hardest of all. Sisters Poppy and Rose used to be as close as two sisters could be, but it’s been over a decade since they last spoke. Until they both receive a call that tells them their mother has gone – without ever having the chance to see her daughters reunited. Andrea, though, wasn’t the kind of woman to let a little thing like death stand in the way of her plans. Knowing her daughters better than they know themselves, she has left behind one very special last gift – the A-Z of Everything.

This was such a heartbreaking read. I related so much to Rose at the beginning but ended up loving Poppy just as much! Really conveys what grief is really like!

 

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Finding Audrey / Sophie Kinsella

Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.
Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start.And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

I think this story is an excellent representation of what it’s like living with social anxiety. I think it is a great way to educate young adults about anxiety and mental health in general. I was gutted that we didn’t get to find out what actually happened to Audrey at school.

 

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A Summer Fling / Milly Johnson

When dynamic, power-dressing Christie blows in like a warm wind to take over their department, five very different women find themselves thrown together at work. But none of them could have predicted the fierce bond of friendship that her leadership would inspire…Anna, 39, is reeling from the loss of her fiance, who ran off with a much younger woman. Her pride in tatters, these days Anna finds it difficult to leave the house. So when a handsome, mysterious stranger takes an interest in her, she’s not sure whether she can learn to trust again? Then there’s Grace, in her fifties, trapped in a loveless marriage with a man she married because, unable to have children of her own, she fell in love with his motherless brood. Grace worries that Dawn is about to make the same mistake: orphaned as a child, engaged to love-rat Calum, is Dawn more interested in the security that comes with his tight-knit, boisterous family? When a sexy, footloose rock singer catches her eye, will Dawn have the courage to follow her heart? At 28, Raychel is the youngest member of their little gang. And with a loving husband, Ben, and a cosy little nest for two, she would seem to be the happiest. But what dark secrets are lurking behind this perfect facade, that make sweet, pretty Raychel so guarded and unwilling to open up? Under Christie’s warm hand, the girls soon realise they have some difficult choices to make. Indeed, none of them quite realised how much they needed the sense of fun, laughter, and loyalty that abounds when five women become friends. It’s one for all, and all for one!

As you know by now, Milly Johnson is my fave author! And I absolutely love when she has more than one main character. I loved all the girls stories in this novel.The characters are all so realistic and you go through ever emotion with them!

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Stillhouse Lake / Rachel Caine

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom. With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace. But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

I was quite disappointed in this book to be honest. I felt like the book was so slow until the final 100 pages. I never give up on books but almost did with this one but I am glad I didn’t as the ending was great. I just wished more had happened earlier on in the book.

Have you got any recommendations for me? Let me know!

Much love,

louise-x

May Reads

Another month has flown past so of course, another bundle of books have been read! Here’s what I’ve been reading this month!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / JK Rowling

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Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can’t wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn’t if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school…

Okay, I love this Harry Potter so much. I love how yo get to know so much more about his parents and their friendships. It just makes everything make sense! I love Sirius SO much. Ahhh just read it already if you haven’t.

 

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Good Luck, Fatty?! / Maggie Bloom

Spunky North Carolina teen Bobbi-Jo Cotton is overweight, oversexed, underloved and misunderstood. When Dr. Harvey Lassiter, her former high school principal turned bicycle shop owner—with the help of Lex Arlington, a hometown celebrity—sponsors a charity bike race, Bobbi sees an opportunity to test her Schwinn and her fortitude. And when Tom Cantwell, her best (and only) friend, reveals he’s crushing on her, Bobbi figures it’s time to quit passing out screws like they’re dentists’ office suckers.  What Bobbi is having a harder time letting go of is the resentment she feels toward her missionary parents, who, after abandoning her in the night, have flitted back into her life with a surprise: she’s about to be a big sister. Will Bobbi win the race (and maybe even lose the weight)? Can she overcome her promiscuous past and earn the trust of the boy she just may love? Will her parents care enough about her—or her new baby brother—to stick around (and if they don’t, will she be tough enough to survive another of their betrayals)? The only way to find out is to come along for the ride. The way Bobbi sees it, all of life’s questions can be answered from the seat of a bicycle. And if they can’t, at least your hair will look great fluttering in the breeze.

This was a light hearted easy read. I instantly fell in love with Bobbi, she was such a cute character. The plot isn’t the most riveting or interesting but sometimes it’s just nice to escape into someone elses world.

 

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I Followed the Rules / Joanna Bolouri

Rule 1: Never ask him on a first date. Rule 2: Laugh admiringly at all his jokes. Rule 3: Always leave him wanting more. … wtf?! Have you heard of The Rules of Engagement? It’s a book that promises to teach you to find the man of your dreams in ten easy steps. Unsurprisingly, I don’t own a copy. What is it, 1892? But I’m a journalist, and I’ve promised to follow it to the letter and write about the results. Nevermind that my friends think I’m insane, I’m stalking men all over town and can’t keep my mouth shut at the best of times. My name is Cat Buchanan. I’m thirty-six years old and live with my daughter in Glasgow. I’ve been single for six years, but that’s about to change. After all, I’m on a deadline. I Followed the Rules and this is what happened.

This is the second of Joanna Bolouri’s work I have read and it is just as funny as the last. I instantly fell in love with Cat, and of course with her daughter Grace. I can relate to Cat so much and when I can connect so well with a character, I absolutely hate finishing the book. I love how realistic most of the situation and dates are in this book and I fell in love with this fiction just a few chapters in.

 

18666181We Were Liars / E Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I think this is one of the strangest books I have ever read. I gave it 2 stars on Good Reads because I just didn’t know what to make of it. But I think that might be the point. For me, there were far too many characters to begin with but it was easier to remember them nearer the end. I want to reread it to see if I understand it any better. It is very well written though.

 

Wuthering Heights / Emily Bronte

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Emily Brontë’s only novel, a work of tremendous and far-reaching influence, the Penguin Classics edition of Wuthering Heights is the definitive edition of the text, edited with an introduction by Pauline Nestor. Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

I have not read Wuthering Heights since I was 16 and in high school. Analysing a book to the extent you do in Higher English, left me feeling extremely bored of this novel. Fast forward 7 years and I feel completely different. I absolutely loved rereading this and the book meant so much more than it did at 16. I enjoyed the characters so much and my opinion of them is now completely different than it was at 16.

Perfect (Flawed #2) / Cecelia Ahern

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Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured–all her freedoms gone.
Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number-one threat to the public, she has been on the run with the complicated, powerfully attractive Carrick, the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret–one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground.
Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save only herself, or risk her life to save all Flawed…

I was SO excited for this to come out. My friend Katie was so so kind and sent this to me. As soon as I opened the cover, I could not put it down. It was so so easy to immerse myself back into Celestine’s world. JESUS IT WAS AMAZING. I really really urge you to go out and buy Flawed and Perfect.

How Not to Fall in Love, Actually / Catherine Bennetto

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Emma has a job in television which is distinctly less glamourous and exciting than it sounds. She’s managed to claw her way up the ranks from Tea-Maker and Rubbish-Collector to 2nd Assistant Director (heavy on the ‘assistant’. Even heavier on the ‘2nd’).
 So when she finds she’s accidentally very pregnant and at the same time accidentally very sacked (well, less accidentally: she did tell her boss to stick his job up his bum), she knows things are going to have to change.
 Luckily she’s also accidentally the heir to a lovely cottage in Wimbledon, with a crazy Rottweiler-owning octogenarian as a neighbour and a rather sexy boy as an accidental tenant. But this baby is coming whether she likes it or not, and she needs to become the sort of person who can look after herself let alone another human being – and quickly.  
I absolutely love the protagonist Emma. And I also absolutely love this story. I love how all the characters are completely different! But all so likeable. I am definitely looking forward to Catherine Bennetto’s creating more wonderfulness in the future. 

What have you been reading recently?

Much love,

louise-x

The Power of Fiction

Fiction is my escape. Since a young age, I have always loved reading. Always. And I don’t remember a time that I haven’t had a book on the go.

For me, reading is more than just something to pass time, to entertain for a short while. It’s an escape. A sense of comfort. Reading brings me peace and tranquillity that I cannot seem to find anywhere else.

Reading is the biggest and most important part of my self care routine. If I didn’t have books, then I have absolutely no idea what would keep me half sane. Whilst writing this post, I’m counting down the minutes until I can be reunited with my current book and forget about the world. (Yes, I could probably read on this bus ride but honestly, my book would go flying if its anything to go with this guys driving.) I honestly don’t think there is a better way to wind down than cosying up with a cuppa tea and a fantastic book.

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When I read, I forget about everything else around me. It is the only time my mind fully switches off. I don’t even think about food and believe me, that is very very rare. Over the years, with the increased consumption of technology in my life, my attention span has considerably shrunk. I find it difficult to even watch a 45 minute episode of something on Netflix. I get bored very easily. Reading is the only thing that can occupy my mind for longer than about 10 minutes. I don’t know what makes it so much more different than other activities but a book can never bore me. Ever.

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I don’t know what it is that switches me off so much better than anything else. It might be something to do with how much I need to use my imagination. I believe that reading makes us creative and more open minded. An author writes the words that describes places, people and plots. They paint the picture for us, we do the rest. It is up to us how we see the characters and their surroundings. I think that’s part of the magic.

Having to use our imagination to read the story that the offer has given us, requires quite a bit of concentration that takes us away from our own world. That’s my favourite part about fiction. That although plots and characters can be based around real life experiences and people, it is essentially made up.

When I was a student, I used to feel extremely guilty if I was doing anything other than uni work. Even reading fiction to wind down at the end of the night riddled me with guilt. So I never got to read half as much as I wanted to. Now though, I can read whenever I’m not working and feel 100% guilt free.

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For me, books are lifesavers. Not only do they distract me from my own bustling mind but they allow me to use imagination and creativity that is not used often.

What are your favourite books?

Much love,

louise-x

 

Me Me Me

I’m Louise but everyone calls me Lou. Like everyone. I used to absolutely hate it and then people just started using it as my default name so I got used to it and kinda like it now. YAY.

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I currently live in Stirling, in Scotland, where I moved to 4 years ago to begin my university studies. Stirling is like, my favourite ever place. I don’t know why. It just feels like home and there are some beautiful scenes and places here too!

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Stirling Castle

I’ve been through quite a bit in my 23 years of life but everything has made me who I am today and sometimes I feel I can conquer anything! I suffer from anxiety and depression which can be such a pain in the arse. But I try everything to help myself and stay positive.  Writing allows me to let go of all my thoughts and just be me. So, just a heads up that not all of my posts will be sunshine and laughter because sometimes, life just doesn’t go that way. I want to write about things that matter to me, and things that really bug me (cue upcoming post on mental health stigma.) I WILL try to keep my blog positive and happy for those of you who take the time to read my ramblings!  But don’t say I didn’t warn ya if  I rant! If there’s anything else you want to know about me, ask away!

Much love,