Hello Lovelies! Please excuse our dust while we do a bit of construction on the blog. We will still be posting exciting reviews, brilliant guest posts, and exciting giveaways but we are in the process of transforming the blog and adding new content and features for you to enjoy.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash

Title: The Paris Wedding
Author: Charlotte Nash
Publisher: 27 June 2017 by Hachette Australia
Pages: 368 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: womens fiction, contemporary, romance
My Rating: 5 crowns


Ten years ago, Rachael West chose not to move to Sydney with high-school sweetheart Matthew. Instead she stayed on the family wheat farm, caring for her seriously ill mother and letting go of her dreams. Now, Matthew is marrying someone else. And Rachael is invited to the wedding, a lavish affair in Paris, courtesy of the flamboyant family of Matthew's fiancée - a once-in-a-lifetime celebration at someone else's expense in Europe's most romantic city.

She is utterly unprepared for what the week brings. Friendships will be upended, secrets will be revealed - and on the eve of the wedding, Rachael is faced with an impossible dilemma: should she give up on the promise of love, or destroy another woman's life for a chance at happiness?

If you enjoy reading Rachael Treasure and Rachael Johns, you'll fall in love with this deliciously poignant story about family and friends, and love lost and found.

My Thoughts

‘Maybe this trip was that way forward, its hope winking like Venus in the sky: tiny and distant, but enough to guide her through the darkness.’

What a lovely read this book was! What I liked most about it, was how well written it was, flowing along really quickly, with lots of story lines to keep you engaged and not just primarily all about the romance.

‘The movie of Matthew’s life had kept playing long after Rachel had been written out of the script.’

Rachael’s storyline alone is interesting enough; feeling left behind as she cares for her ailing mother while everybody else’s life goes on. Nash genuinely captures that emotion, and it’s not just about finding a partner, but fulfilling lost dreams. Add to that the stories of Matthew and his change of heart, or Rachael’s sister and her family struggling on the land, even Rachael’s best friend and her marriage issues, and it becomes clear how Nash demonstrates a real depth to this story.

‘Two days ago she’d woken up in the place she’d spent her whole life, with wide open spaces rolling away to the horizon. Here, every inch was spoken for, hundreds of years of occupation resulting in the city as it existed in this moment.’

The contrast in detail from the Australian Outback to the streets of Paris is wonderful. On the one hand you have struggling farmers and life in a small rural community compared to the dashing elegance of the Parisian metropolis, with all the glitz and glamour it has to offer. The descriptions of visiting famous landmarks are vivid and you feel as if you are there. What I most appreciated, however, was the poetic resonance that portrayed Paris in such a special way:

‘Under a sky of steel clouds, the city held the river in stone hands stitching across it with arches and bridges.’

Two more points to note. One, if you are at all interested in sewing and design of clothes, there is the added bonus of Rachael (and her mother) being a talented seamstress and outfits are discussed, designed and brought to life. Also, I was suitably impressed with the ending, not to give anything away, but suffice to say it was not your expected stock standard outcome for books of this genre. Well done Charlotte Nash. I am delighted to add another Aussie author on my crusade of rural romance discoveries, I highly recommend this book.

‘All those years ago, the break up with Matthew had felt like being abandoned on the side of the highway, watching the tail-lights of the future disappearing over the horizon.’

I received a free copy of this in a Goodreads giveaway.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Romance Reader's Guide to Life

Title: The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life
Author: Sharon Pywell
Publisher: 1 May 2017 Simon & Schuster
Pages: 304 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre:  fiction
My Rating: 2.5 crowns

As a young girl, Neave was often stuck in a world that didn’t know what to do with her. As her mother not unkindly told her, she was never going to grow up to be a great beauty. Her glamorous sister, Lilly, moved easily through the world, a parade of handsome men in pursuit. Her brother didn’t want a girl joining his group of friends. And their small town of Lynn, Massachusetts, didn’t have a place for a girl whose feelings often put her at war with the world -- often this meant her mother, her brother, and the town librarian who wanted to keep her away from the Dangerous Books she really wanted to read.
But through an unexpected friendship, Neave finds herself with a forbidden copy of The Pirate Lover, a steamy romance, and Neave discovers a world of passion, love, and betrayal. And it is to this world that as a grown up she retreats to again and again when real life becomes too much.
Neave finds herself rereading The Pirate Lover more than she ever would have expected because as she gets older, life does not follow the romances she gobbled up as a child. When Neave and Lilly are about to realize their professional dream, Lilly suddenly disappears. Neave must put her beloved books down and take center stage, something she has been running from her entire life. And she must figure out what happened to Lilly – and if she’s next.
Who Neave turns to help her makes Sharon Pywell's The Romance Reader's Guide to Life one of the most original, entertaining, exciting, and chilling novels you will read this year.

My Thoughts

‘They think that women who read romances are idiots. I assure you, they are not.” “No?”
“No. They are people who trust that love exists and that it is more powerful than bad logic or bad writing.’

This book turned out to be very different from what I was expecting. It is a romance and it is historical fiction, but it’s a lot more complicated than that! The concept is quite clever, but I have to admit to being confused and not engaged by unlikeable characters. It’s not a straightforward story with two narrators and inserted throughout, a historical romance. Confused? I was. Throw into that mix some ‘left of centre’ aspects such as a talking cross-dressing dog and this was not really the book for me.
The book alternates between the sisters - Lilly from "where she is now" with Mr. Boppit (above mentioned dog) and Neave, to portray what their lives had been like. Although presented from a unique perspective, it’s surrealism stretches credibility. The pirate romance, that is interspersed with the main story, is most definitely a separate story until the parallels come together towards the end.
This book was meant as a commentary on romance, with regards to those who read it compared to real life. It is most definitely original and well written. So if you are up for a dark read, that incorporates a little of everything from historical fiction to paranormal, then this quirky little read is for you.

‘She’s not ugly but she’s bookish, which is not a real enchanting characteristic in the world I lived in.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release