Another of our favourite authors at Compelling Reads, we’ve been reading Giovanna’s novels since her first and are always eagerly anticipating her next release…
In Some Kind of Wonderful we are introduced to Lizzie who is on holiday with her boyfriend Ian. We learn that they’ve been together since university and a decade later everyone including Lizzie is anticipating an engagement, every time they go away or have a day out and she comes back without a ring has been a disappointment. Now it’s the final night of their holiday and Lizzie is thinking it is never going to happen, Ian however is very drunk and when they arrive at a magical romantic meal on the beach it seems it’s finally time for that engagement, but on one knee, mid proposal and what should be a wonderful moments turns to Ian finishing the relationship.
Lizzie heads home a decade of relationship behind her and many questions in her head as to who she truly is, it seems that her life has been formed by Ian. Taking on his likes and dislikes and hobbies and without him she isn’t sure who Lizzie is or what she wants. So queue a book where Lizzie must learn who she is, and an intriguing look at how people enrich and influence the lives of others through their relationships with them.
A wonderful journey of Lizzie’s self-discovery that had me held from the beginning, I think this is Giovanna’s best book ever and I really truly didn’t want this book to be finished when I got to the last page. I hope that we get to see more of Lizzie’s journey in future books!
Some Kind of Wonderful
16th November 2017
When the love of your life says you're not The One, who are you?
Lizzy and Ian have been a couple since the first week of university. Now, after celebrating a decade together, everyone thinks they're about to get engaged.
Instead, a romantic escape to Dubai leaves Lizzy with no ring, no fiancé and no future.
Lizzy is heartbroken - but through the tears, she sees an opportunity. This is her moment to discover what she's been missing while playing Ian's ideal 'better half'.
But how much has Ian changed her, and who should she be without him?
Determined to discover who she is at heart, Lizzy sets out to rediscover the girl she was before - and, in the meantime, have a little fun . . .
So first off… I’m back! Apologies for the absence in reviews over the last few months, reading had taken a backseat whilst I was on maternity leave. However I’m now back on the commute and reading is back on, and I thought what better way to kick off 2018 then revisiting one of Compelling Reads favourite authors C L Taylor.
As regular readers of our blog will know we’ve lost ourselves in C L Taylor’s books before and love it when she releases a new one! The Escape is no different…
Here we meet Jo, Jo suffers from anxiety and agoraphobia, we learn that this stems from the loss of her first child. Although she is still plagued by her anxieties she has set up coping methods which enable her to carry on with her job and look after her daughter Elise. Jo’s anxieties are heightened however when a rather startling meeting with a woman she meets on the way to picking up her daughter from nursery who makes a thinly veiled threat to her daughter.
As the book progresses the strange woman Paula seems to trouble Jo more and more as it’s clear she is after something, something to do with Jo’s husband. Although her husband appears at first to be long suffering and doing his best to settle Jo’s anxieties, soon Jo’s world seems to tumble around her as the threats turn to actions and even her husband loses patience with her “anxiety” and makes a case to have her daughter taken away.
As Jo goes on the run with her daughter determined to prove her innocence the book is gripping, we find ourselves in a tension filled page turner that hurtles towards it’s conclusion. C L Taylor really knows how to make a thrilling read from a domestic viewpoint, always allowing you to identify with the main character in some way and get you routing for them. The Escape is once again an unputdownable read! More like this please!
C L Taylor
23rd March 2017
The Sunday Times bestseller returns with her most thrilling book yet, An unputdownable read for fans of Into the Water and The Girlfriend.
"Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't.
The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise.
What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her.
No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.
A lovely treat through the letter box in Clare Fisher’s All the Good Things. It was a rainy Monday and my kindle battery had died so I looked to my unread book shelf and this caught my eye. From page one I was hooked in Beth’s story – at 21 years old she is in prison, and can only see the bad in herself. When her psychiatrist suggests writing down all the good things she remembers Beth feels she will struggle. Soon however she has remembered her job at the Odeon, Orange Wednesdays, being friends with Chantelle and “your dad”.
It’s not revealed until the end of the book why Beth is in prison, but I felt from reading you could probably begin to get an idea from reading between the lines. In writing her notebook you become immersed in Beth’s life – her struggles with an absent mother, being passed through the foster care system and in believing she’d found love with a married man. When she is pregnant she has little money and becomes embroiled in debt.
It’s difficult not to feel for Beth and by the end I was a little teary at her story – probably had more effect on me being a new mum myself that I could have more of a connection in that way to the character.
A great little page turner for a rainy day!
All The Good Things
Penguin - Viking
Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn't deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won't give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby's head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone - even a 100% bad person - deserve a chance to be good?
**This article contains spoilers about Flawed, the prequel to Perfect.**
Thanks to the publishers for allowing us an advanced copy of the sequel to Cecelia Ahern’s Flawed Series – Celeste is back in Perfect.
Having enjoyed the first book in the series (Flawed – check out our review for that here: http://compellingreads.co.uk/flawed-cecelia-ahern/), we were excited to get our book wormy hands on the sequel we were so excited for.
In Flawed we left Celeste branded flawed – the most flawed person ever in fact and now having been forced away from her family. In Perfect we pick up with Celeste as an evader, in hiding from the Whilstleblowers and Judge Crevan who are desperate to locate her and bring her under control, for Celeste has become a light of hope to flawed everywhere and she has dangerous information against Crevan himself, which he is desperate to prevent becoming public knowledge.
As Celeste faces challenges in keeping away from those desperate to bring her into line, combined with her determination to bring to light the truth about the Guild and the system that itself is flawed. Can Celeste trust anyone? And will she be able to reveal the truth of her brands and Crevan’s part in them?
In Perfect we see a more grown up Celeste and her relationship with other flawed, especially Carrick. While to some she is a hero, it is a role she is unsure of, one which is forced upon her but due to her nature she can see the ‘flaws’ in the system that is running her society. She herself knows that it is mistakes that people learn from, but in this time it is mistakes that make the flawed outcasts. When those hold up to be perfect seem to be the most flawed in their hatred of difference and selfish motives.
We see Celeste torn between Carrick and Art, who she still believes to have a good heart despite being the son of the person who has changed her life forever. It’s easy again to become lost in this book and I read it within a few hours as it’s simply impossible to put down.
I enjoy Cecelia Ahern’s adult books but I’m in love with this Young Adult series, which is by name and in reality Perfect.
The book highlights very serious issues in an easy to follow way, Celeste acknowledges that no-one is perfect and it is flaws that make people unique and allow people to learn. My favourite quote which sums up this central idea is in chapter 81 which I’d like to end this post with:
“For someone one win, somebody else must lose. For that person to have won they must have lost something in the first place.
The irony of justice is that the feelings that precede it and those which fruit from it are never fair and balance,
Not even justice itself is perfect”
If that wasn’t enough for you, we also have an exclusive extract from the book for you to read – just click the link below:
6th April 2017
The thrilling, shocking and romantic sequel to the bestselling YA debut FLAWED is finally here. When we embrace all our flaws, that’s when we can finally become PERFECT…
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 a ghost, 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 the Flawed. And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed…?
With thanks to the publishers for sending us a copy of this book in exchange for review. I was interested in the description of this book, which bought to mind the books of Dinah Jefferies that I’ve been enjoying recently and I was intrigued to take on another authors take on historical romance.
In the Silk Weaver Liz Trenow introduces us to Anna Butterfield, on the death of her mother she has given up the comforts of her peaceful life tending to her dad and sister and is thrown head first into London life with her aunt – her uncle a silk merchant has a social status which Anna finds she must also step into. She must wear the right clothes and be seen with the right people for a young woman of her status.
However soon on arriving Anna meets French silk weaver Henri and soon through several twists of fates their lives become intertwined in a forbidden romance.
Trenow has managed to weave a wonderful story which immerses the reader in history, I did however find this book a bit slow going to start with and it takes a long time to get into the romance. However once it began I was drawn into the relationship and the book was better for it.
The Silk Weaver
1760, Spitalfields. Anna Butterfield’s life is about to change forever, as she moves from her idyllic Suffolk home to be introduced into London society. A chance encounter with a French silk weaver, Henri, draws her in to the volatile world of the city’s burgeoning silk trade. Henri is working on his ‘master piece’, to become a master weaver and freeman; Anna longs to become an artist while struggling against pressure from her uncle’s family to marry a wealthy young lawyer.
As their lives become ever more intertwined, Henri realises that Anna’s designs could give them both an opportunity for freedom. But his world becomes more dangerous by the day, as riots threaten to tear them apart forever . . .
Inspired by real historical events and characters, The Silk Weaver is a captivating, unforgettable story of illicit romance in a time of enlightenment and social upheaval.