The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

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Here’s the official description:

Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him — the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being hunted by Kenny G!

Review

I won’t lie to you now my lovely readers, I absolutely bought this book because I remembered seeing Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in the clips for the movie version. At the time of reading, I hadn’t seen the film so I really went in to this book blind. I wasn’t 100% sure of what it was about but it had been in my TBR list for a while and given that I was about to go on a long journey, I figured now was as good a time as any to get into it.

When I first started the book, it took me a few minutes to adjust. It’s like it should be read in a diary style but it’s not a diary, you’re basically reading Pat’s thoughts which are quite….simple really. Not childlike, but they are definitely those of a man who is struggling. You then find out that Pat has spent a considerable amount of time in a mental health facility aka ‘the bad place’.

As the book progresses, you realise that Pat’s problems run quite deep. He is so focussed though, his main goal now is to get better and for ‘apart time’ with his wife, Nikki, to finish. He desperately wants Nikki back and has immersed himself into working out and reading, just so that he is in better shape than he used to be and is more intellectual for her. We learn that one of her old colleagues used to call him an illiterate buffoon and I don’t know about anyone else, but I felt really protective of Pat and wanted him to be able to go up to that guy, like he was imagining he would, and to be able to fire back at him.

I really loved Pat’s character and wanted to see him succeed but you can’t help but think that he isn’t going to get his happy ending, his silver lining like he dreams of, and you wonder whether Nikki really is worth all of the trouble – she certainly doesn’t seem it.

Pat imagines that his life is a movie that God is in control of and thinks that if he pleases God by improving himself and ‘practising being kind’, then he will return Nikki to him. You get the feeling that this ship has sailed though, especially as his family are being very vague with him whenever he mentions her and the end of their apart time.

When Tiffany comes onto the scene, his friends wife’s sister, I really wanted them to hit it off straight away. Tiffany is an extremely direct woman who speaks her mind, a bit too much at times, but Pat doesn’t want her attention, all he wants is Nikki. Tiffany however, makes herself a part of Pat’s life, whether he likes it or not. It was no surprise to learn that she also has mental health problems and towards the end of the book when you learn why, my heart literally broke.

The supporting characters, like Pat’s family, therapist and his friends were great and even though they weren’t always very understanding of Pat’s problems, you discovered that they were still there to support him 100% when it mattered.

Overall, I LOVED this book. It has the perfect combination of humour and really touching moments and it really made me think about things in a different way. I loved Pat’s thoughts on silver linings and practising being nice, something we should all do. The only thing that stopped this from being a 5* for me was the amount of sports talk in the book. It didn’t put me off finishing reading it because I actually finished it in the day, that’s how much I enjoyed it, but I found myself skimming over the bits where they were talking about things I really didn’t understand. I imagine this doesn’t have the same kind of impact in the film though which for me is a good thing.

It also kind of made me want to take up running but I imagine that will pass pretty quickly, I run like Bambi, it’s not a pretty sight!

4 STARS

I have since seen the film, a couple of times, and although I do love me some Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, I can’t help but feel the script writers let the author down. So much is missed out and so much is changed that I didn’t have the same kind of empathy with Pat’s family. I also missed the therapist who played a major role in the book.

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How to Get a (Love) Life by Rosie Blake

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Here’s the official description:

Some people book last-minute holidays, walk barefoot in the grass or party on a week night. Not Nicola Brown. Nicola is the kind of girl who double-locks the front door, leaves the plastic covering on new furniture, sticks to a super-strict diet and definitely, absolutely Does Not Date.

Her colleague Caroline – loopy, warm and exasperated by her, knows that Nicola’s reluctance to lose control means she’s living only half a life. And so she lays down the gauntlet: Nicola must cast aside her hang ups and go on as many dates as it takes to find true love in time for Valentine’s Day.

The pick of local men is, quite frankly, a bit rubbish. And there are only three months until February 14th. Surely it’s an impossible task? But, as Nicola is about to find out on her dodgy dates, letting go isn’t quite as scary as she imagined. In fact, it’s rather a lot of fun…

 Review

After seeing all of the rave reviews and people saying how funny it was on Twitter, I couldn’t NOT one click this beauty!

Nicola Brown is a single 29 year old creature of habit, and that’s putting it mildly. She has serious OCD, from the strict times she has her food on a specific day of the week to her super organised office space. Nothing she does is ever spontaneous and her life is meticulously planned – but she likes it that way….doesn’t she?

It’s Nicola’s colleague, Caroline, that finally get’s Nicola to relax little by little by setting her a challenge: find true love by Valentines Day.

Caroline is hilarious. I loved her care free attitude and free spirit, if it wasn’t for her I don’t think Nicola would have ever taken the plunge and realised how little of her life she was actually living.

Poor Nicola has to suffer her fair share of disastrous dates though and there are some genuine laugh out loud moments. My ultimate favourite was the kayaking date. I. LOVED. It.

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Between Caroline and her brother Mark, Nicola finally let’s her hair down and becomes the happy person that she deserves to be which results in her potentially finding love in the most unexpected of places 😉

Once Nicola finally begins to relax, the book skips along nicely and I for one really fell for all of the characters at that point.

4 STARS

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I’ll Be There For You by Kerry Barrett

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When good witchcraft goes bad…

Harry (short for Harmony) McLeod never thought motherhood would be for her. But now that she and wife Louise have adopted twins Finlay and Fiona, she can’t imagine life without her gorgeous little family. But just as the toddlers start to discover their own witching abilities – quite handy when they want to summon toys with just a wiggle of their fingers! – Harry’s own powers seem to have vanished.

With her abilities gone and Louise working all hours, Harry’s perfect world is starting to unravel. She knows she needs to rediscover her happiness to get her powers back, but with local charmer (and witch) Richard trying to steal her spa business from under her feet, how can she fight back?

Review
Book provided by the wonderful Carina UK via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

When first saw the cover for I’ll Be There For You, I knew I had to request it! One of the wonderful things about Carina is there ability to draw you in with their covers and I do love them for that.

This is the first book I’ve read in the Could It Be Magic series, and indeed the first (but definitely not that last) by Kerry Barrett. I’ll Be There For You is book 4 but I didn’t feel like I’d missed out by not having read the other 3 first, there are no gaps, no questions, it all just flows perfectly well and you feel as though you’ve known the characters years.

The story follows Harry (Harmony) as she tries to come to terms with the fact that since she and her wife adopted their gorgeous twins, her magic seems to have gone poof! Not that she’s admitted is to anyone yet, not in the real world anyway.

As her wife takes on a new undercover job at work, Harry finds herself struggling to cope and tries to find the answers to all of her problems online – enter, Mildred Hubble. Mildred finally convinces Harry to confide in her family and slowly but surely, with the support of her mother, cousin and wife, she starts to come to terms with being temporarily without magic. And as if having magical babies when your powers don’t work isn’t enough, there’s a fellow witchy businessman sniffing around her business, wanting to either buy her out or destroy her and THEN take over, depending in how Harry deals with his proposal.

I absolutely loved this book and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone who loves getting lost in a tale of close knit family and magical fun. I’ve always been a fan of stories about witches and magic, so I felt right at home with I’ll Be There For You. Kerry has managed to create characters that seemed so real that I felt a bit lost once I got to the end. Through Harry’s ups and downs, you really root for her and want her to beat the bad guy in the end, but nothing is ever that straight forward.

A 100% fun read!

4 STARS

Find Kerry on Twitter: @kerrybean73

Buy the book on Amazon UK

Website: kerrybarrettwriter.wordpress.com

Enemies and Playmates by Darcia Helle

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Official description:

When the abused decide to fight back, the abuser’s world might just shatter. Lauren Covington’s family maintains a grand facade that belies the life they live behind closed doors. Alex Covington, Lauren’s father, keeps a tight rein on his family through dominance, abuse, and obsessive control. Consequently, Lauren doesn’t believe she could ever trust a man, much less fall in love with one. When Lauren meets Jesse Ryder, her carefully constructed protective wall shatters. She falls hopelessly and completely in love. It’s only fitting that Jesse is a private detective who had once worked for her father, had defied him, and was now the subject of Alex Covington’s wrath. Amidst devastating loss, betrayal, and her father’s destructive pursuit of Jesse, Lauren finds the trust and love she had always longed for.

Review

I got this book a while ago to read over the Christmas holiday period (for free – I love a good freebie!) but have only recently decided to read it. Sometimes, I have to be in the  mood for certain books and when I’m like that, I tend to fall back on old faithfuls.

HOWEVER, I am really glad that I started to read this.

We are introduced to Lauren Covington who lives what many consider ‘the perfect  life’. Her family are wealthy, her father is a high profile lawyer who also does work for charities involving domestic violence and she has 2 of the best friends.

In the first chapter we meet Jesse Ryder, a tall, dark and handsome private investigator who falls hook, line and sinker for Lauren. It’s just a shame she’s the daughter of Alex Covington, a man he recently refused to work for.

We quickly learn that all is not what it seems with the Covington family and that for many years Alex has beaten his wife, taken his anger out on his son and intimidated Lauren to the point where they all live in fear of what would happen should any one of them leave the family home. Would their mother survive? Would he make their lives even more miserable?

Alex Covington will do anything, and that means anything, to maintain his image as the doting father/husband and top attorney, and heaven help anybody who gets in his way.

Enter Jesse Ryder who will do anything to protect Lauren.

The book is full of twists and turns, loss and betrayal and a few gasp worthy chapters as Lauren tries to protect herself whilst she falls deeper in love with Jesse.

I loved the storyline and found it extremely addictive! My only fault would be a lot of ‘he saids’ or ‘she saids’ that got quite repetitive but to be honest, when you get lost in the story you tend to switch off from bits like that.

I would also say, do not judge this book by it’s cover! It is very deceiving and looks like it could be a romance bordering on Fifty Shades but it is anything but. Yes it is a romance, but it’s a romance full of suspense and a dark undertone.

4 STARS

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Plotting, Planning and Preparing – My new 3 P’s

Good morning lovelies!

I hope you’re all having a fabulous weekend and catching up on some well earned rest/letting your hair down.

I’ve managed to get quite a bit of reading done this weekend which has been brilliant; and now I’m determined to have my blog active regularly, it means that I’ll be doing this more often.

My new 3 P’s have really come into play this weekend though, because as well as reading and writing my reviews, I’ve also been preparing for my own new release on 31 July and planning what giveaways to do. It’s taken hours of research, designing, online shopping, chocolate munching and coffee drinking but I think I’ve succeeded in getting you all the best I can 😀  You see, together with the lovely Tay from Chicksthatread I’ll be having a release party where you’ll have the chance to get involved and win lots of lovely book related goodies!

But that’s only 2 P’s I hear you say! Well yes, the plotting has been for a new secret project that I’m quite excited about as it will enable me to not only write a fun story about celebrity life, but also create some gorgeous item’s to coincide with its release. It’s a win win for everyone.

If anyone else has some fun ideas as to what goodies they’d like to see for the release of Dear Darling, then please do shout. It’s always nice to hear from people, especially those that want to be involved in new releases.

So, that’s really my weekend roundup. I’m going to tootle off now back into my editing cave to make Dear Darling the best it can be. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled too for the big cover reveal on 20 May, she’s a beauty ❤

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A Seaside Affair by Fern Britton

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The bit on the back:

When the residents of the Cornish seaside town of Trevay discover that their ramshackle but much-loved theatre is about to be taken over by a global coffee chain, Cafe au Lait, they are up in arms. It is up to Penny Leighton to come up with a plan to save it. Trevay soon finds itself at the centre of the universe when A-listers arrive to take part in a charity season at the theatre. The play throws out a chance to Jess Tate, girlfriend to TV heartthrob Ryan Roberts. His career is on the rise while hers remains resolutely in the doldrums. But when opportunity comes calling, it isn’t just her career prospects that are about to change…

 

Review

 

I received this book as a gift from one of my closest friends and what an amazing gift it was. This is the first time I’ve read anything by Fern Britton but it definitely won’t be the last!

A Seaside Affair is set in a small town on the coast of Cornwall and centres around the Pavillion being taken over by a large coffee company chain, Cafe au Lait. From the word go, you really want this town to succeed in saving such a wonderful sounding theatre, somewhere that is a piece of their history. They pull out all the stops, call in a lot of favours and even put on a brilliant show to help save their beloved theatre. And who doesn’t love a story about people going up against a huge concern and giving them a run for their money?!

There are several characters in the book, which did take some getting my head around to remember who was who. Each character comes to life beautifully though and all manage to hold their own. I was gripped as soon as I met Brooke, one of the leading ladies, and together with Jess and Ollie, they were my favourite characters; each going through their own problems personally and professionally, but when they come together to help save The Pavillion, they make the book what it is. And of course, you can’t have the goody guys without having some juicy bad guys too, and surprisingly, some of these turn out to be the people closest to some of our lead characters.

The only negative I have about the book, and it shouldn’t really put you off, just something I found, was that some parts felt like they could have been cut when the characters were preparing for the show that they hoped would save the theatre. The drama surrounding their lives was brilliant, but the parts that had them preparing for the show could probably have been shorter for me.

A Seaside Affair is the perfect summer read, especially if you’re wanting to get lost somewhere on a rainy day. Trevay was somewhere that I could imagine visiting myself and when reading whilst looking out of my office window to a cold and miserable town, it became the ultimate escape!

4 STARS

Fern is now firmly on my radar and I can’t wait to read more.

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Happy Easter!

I hope you’re all eating plenty of chocolate and watching the worst kind of television imaginable over the Easter break….or you know, going for long, healthy walks. That’s totally what I meant to say…….

This week has been fairly uneventful for me, aside from the usual 9-5 office bliss. I did hand a couple of Save the Date cards out for my wedding though to my boss and the staff partner, and now I think I’m going to have all kinds of abuse waiting for me from my colleagues on Tuesday when they find out. The thing is, as much as I would genuinely LOVE to invite everyone I work with, it’s just not feasible, and after consulting Martha Stewart – her website obviously, not the woman herself, although that would be pretty cool so if you’re reading this Martha, call me – she says that it is good etiquette to invite your boss. And I get on with her really well, at least I think I do, it’s possible she’s just being polite but I’m fairly sure she thinks I’m okay.

I also sorted my wedding flowers but that’s all I was prepared to do on the wedding front because after my Wedding Hells post,  I did mean what I said. I’d just had a little too much wedding rammed down my throat.

Last night, I managed to get some reviews written and some more reading done which has been a lot of fun. I’ve even done some more on my next novel which I’m hoping will be released August/September time so watch this space! It makes you feel that bit better about yourself when you’ve had a productive weekend doesn’t it? And it means I have no guilt about sleeping in until 9am yesterday, none at all.

Today was spent at the coast, a total last minute decision and all I can say is, I will definitely sleep tonight! My hair looks a little worse for wear thanks to the sea air but it was worth it. I love that salty smell of the seaside, if someone could bottle it and sell it I’d be one of the first there. I managed to get some nice photos on the way there that I’ll probably share on my Facebook (add me as a friend if you enjoy my ramblings and love to chat!) because it is a lovely drive out to Morecambe, you’re not far from the Lake District so as you can imagine it was very green….lots of sheep too!

Hopefully next week I’ll have something a bit more exciting to tell you but for now, I think I’ve covered everything. Bit crappy really isn’t is when you think about it….maybe I need some adventure in my life! I’ll keep you posted!

Ellen

XOXO