There’s something about Paige Toon’s books that is magic, I always find myself drawn in from the first to the last page and One Perfect Summer was no different.
Here we meet Alice, 18 and just about to start at university but before she leaves her parents and best friend she has the family holiday to Devon to contend with. She thinks she’s going to spend the time getting through the reading list she has for Cambridge but she didn’t count on meeting the hot son of the local pub landlords. Alice and Joe are drawn into a magical love that summer, they grow close quickly and form a tight bond perhaps due to the difficult relationship Joe has with his own parents which make him vulnerable and in need of help. Then at the end of the summer with the situation with Joe’s family at it’s worst he disappears leaving Alice devastated and with a shadow that will cast over the rest of her life.
Alice takes a very long time to recover from Joe, but is finally on the mend with the help of new friends at university and the appearance of a handsome student who begin to mend her broken heart. Her relationship with Lucas is very different to that with Joe and I really wasn’t sure how it was going to play out or even if I liked him. I often thought that something bad may come of the relationship (in my head I had this feeling he was going to hurt Alice physically, or not be all that he seemed). However we do see the relationship play out to a conclusion (I won’t post spoilers), and indeed have resolution when Joe reappears and we get an explanation of his disappearance.
When we get to the ending I think Alice makes the right decision (you’ll have to read it to find out what it was)…. Paige has wound her magic again!
One Perfect Summer
Simon & Schuster UK
10th May 2012
A Dorset summer, a chance meeting, and Joe and Alice, both 18, fall into step as if they have known each other forever. But their idyll is shattered as quickly as it began. Joe leaves without warning; Alice heads off to Cambridge University and slowly picks up the pieces of her broken heart.
Years later, when she catches the attention of gorgeous, gifted, rich boy Lukas, Alice is carried along by his charm and swept up in his ambitious plans for a future together.
Until news of Joe reaches her once more, but he's out of reach in a way that Alice could never have imagined. Life has moved on, the divide between them is now so great. Surely it is far too late to relive those perfect summer days of long ago?
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 . . .
Another book purchased in the wake of Fab Mag’s Fabulous Night in – I’ve not read any of Mhairi McFarlane’s books before, but having seen her chat about her work I was intrigued in this book and grabbed a copy from the popular depleting pile.
In who’s that girl we encounter Edie as she attends the wedding of 2 work colleagues, everything is going wonderfully, embarrassing bridesmaid singing aside and then the groom kisses Edie and they’re caught by the bride. The ensuing fall out sees Edie returning home to Nottingham side-lined on a copywriting project. Here she finds ghost writing the autobiography of rising acting star Elliot Owen maybe more challenging than anticipated.
A heart-warming story that looks at the fallout and trolling of someone through social media along with an almost comparison of the negative aspects of fame. The budding friendship between Edie and Elliot is genuine and was great to see the sharing of secrets between the two of them along with the sharing of advice. Edie’s downfall turns out to be a learning experience as she takes a look at her life and learns about herself and her genuine friends, making a decision on how to deal with the future.
A genuinely laughed and cried at this book – the first book in a while that I couldn’t leave till the next day and had to finish in one go. Will definitely check out more from McFarlane
Who's That Girl?
7th April 2016
When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?
Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgy, layabout sister.
When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.
Liv and Adam are about to enjoy the last night of their holiday in Mexico – Liv has pulled out all the stops with her dress and high heels, because though it’s meant to be a secret her best friend Cass let it slip that Adam is going to propose. She’s been waiting all holiday so tonight has go to be the night. Meanwhile Adam has gone to long lengths to make it the perfect proposal, but when a simple error in calculating how long it will take to get the restaurant puts a spanner in the works he starts to second guess his plan and things go from bad to worse when instead of the expected proposal instead he declares he ‘wants a break’.
Neither Adam or Liv can quite work out what’s gone wrong and neither of them are able to work things out, instead things get worse, friends are involved, things are assumed and blown out of proportion and soon it seems like the break could be permanent as they wonder what could be if they weren’t together.
Another wonderful novel by Lindsey which is full of the humour you expect from her style whilst also being true to the characters. There are some real light hearted moments (a cat called Daniel Craig wearing a thong…), amongst other serious moments exploring miscommunication and unneeded involvement by friends and family.
I loved the character of Liv, a hard working vet who doesn’t realise how loved she is by those around her and is made aware of just how unsure she is of what she wants from life. I think I changed my mind throughout the book several times on how I wanted it to conclude – a thoroughly enjoyable read!
We Were On a Break
6th October 2016
I finally got to read the last in the wonderful Liberty Sands series and am now suffering post series blues!
Following directly on from where we left the last book we finally get a resolution to Holly’s love life… and while she may not end up with who you think, for me the ending was perfect! We also see Holly’s career taking off on all fronts, the blog is doing well and she now has now adventures in other fields so she doesn’t have to worry about providing for her children any more.
In the last book I was torn over my feelings for Philippe and whether I wanted him and Holly to make a go of things, but this book cleared my feelings up and I was glad with how the conclusion panned out. I have to say that in this book you really can’t help but be irritated by his selfishness!
Not just a love story there are plenty of twists in the family drama, in this book we finally have Holly’s mother introduced properly and we uncover some pretty major family secrets!
The book is very fast paced and you’ll race through to the conclusion – an enjoyable little holiday from the reall world!
It's Never Too Late To Say
The Liberty Sands Trilogy
26th May 2016
An emotional and at times tragic conclusion to the Liberty Sands trilogy, It’s Never Too Late To Say… uncovers terrible family secrets that have long been buried.
Holly Wilson seems finally to have it all: a beautiful baby daughter, a son about to embark on an exciting career, a glamorous new job in television, and an adoring boyfriend in bestselling novelist, Philippe. But something isn’t quite right…
In another part of the country, Carol has liver cirrhosis and is suffering from alcohol induced dementia causing her to relive memories – dreadful memories – of sins committed against her and those she has inflicted on others. Her carer, Helen, hopes a meeting with someone from the past might help mend Carol’s broken soul, but time is running out and there is something Helen has been keeping secret.
What links Holly to Carol and Helen? And who is Nick, the handsome stranger who has just walked into her life?
If He Really Loved Me sees us meet Holly firstly 2 years in the future, with a happy baby, son and apparently husband, but before her husband is revealed we travel back Picking up from where book one in The Liberty Sands trilogy left us as Holly tries to find a moment to reveal to son Harry that follwing her holiday romance she is pregnant.
Still avoiding Phillippe and determined not to reveal to him she is pregnant it seems history is set to repeat itself. But with the relationship with his mum set to change Harry thinks it’s time to find out who his father is and that every child deserves to know their father.
Phillippe meanwhile is set on tracking down Holly and finding out if they can make things up, but it seems he will get a surprise when he does find her. Can they be honest with each other and make a go of things, or are there too many secrets in the way of the relationship?
There are plenty of twists in this saga and a few characters are developed a little more, with secrets being unhidden and new information revealed – there are some nice surprises in the way that take this away from the holiday romance of the first book and make the characters much more three dimensional with their own problems and histories.
The end of the book leaves you guessing and hanging on to delve straight into book 3 to find out exactly who Holly is going to end up with in her happily ever after! I can’t wait for more!
If He Really Loved Me...
The Liberty Sands Trilogy
25th November 2015
Book one in the Liberty Sands Trilogy, Life's a Beach and Then..., introduced us to Holly, Harry and Philippe; If He Really Loved Me... continues their captivating story, from love to heartbreak. trust to betrayal, and back again.
Single mum, Holly Wilson, and her twenty-year-old son,Harry, have an enviably close relationship but when Harry finds out that she is pregnant and, for reasons unknown to all but herself, intends to raise the baby alone again, he begins to question her decision not to tell him about his own father, who abandoned them before his birth.
Upon discovering his father's name, Harry secretly embarks on his search for the truth, a search which takes him to Los Angeles where he uncovers a tragic story. Still reeling from what he has learned, an extraordinary twist of fate brings Harry and Philippe, the father of Holly's unborn child, face to face. Should Harry tell him about the baby and risk damaging his relationship with his mum forever? If he does, will Philippe want to be a husband and father? And will Holly be prepared to give Philippe a second chance?