I’ve read many of Jodi Picoult’s previous books so am always eager to get my hands on a new release, and thanks to the publishers for allowing me an advanced review copy of this latest release.
Picoult is never one to shy away from emotive issues and this book is no exception, a shooter has taken hostages in an abortion centre and the police negotiators sister is an injured victim, his daughter a hostage caught up in the ongoing situation. But the book is about more then this situation it’s a revealing look at a series of characters and their connection to the abortion centre, both those in favour and those against the practice, as well as those who are there for very different reasons.
The book is very balanced and doesn’t sway to an opinion on either side of the abortion argument. There are parts of the story where you can’t help but be moved, and there was one particular part where a description left me very unnerved. You’ll find yourself drawn to each characters story and reason for being in the centre on the fateful day and left wondering how the situation will pan out, who will make it out?
There’s also a brilliant twist near the end which I would have liked to have seen more on (but perhaps it’s one for another novel).
Picoult really is a magical weaver of beautiful thought provoking stories!
A Spark of Light
Hodder & Stoughton
30 October 2018
The Center for women's reproductive health offers a last chance at hope - but nobody ends up there by choice.
Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder.
Now life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.
Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, A Spark of Light unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people - the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment - to this point.
And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose.
I’d seen this book advertised on my journey to work and was very intrigued, even more so when I heard it had been selected for the Richard & Judy book club, from which I’ve found many a favourite read. So I was very excited when I finally managed to lay my hands on a copy of this book, and I’m pleased to say not disappointed!
Jess and her boyfriend Adam split up a few months after their baby son William was born, following a series of events that showed Adam to be a womaniser who couldn’t make it to the birth of his own son and has spent the last few years lying about where he was that night. But William is now 10 and Jess’ mum is very ill and it is her wish for William to have a relationship with his dad. So this is how it comes to be that William and Jess are off to spend the summer at Adam’s Chateau in France.
From the first moment of being reunited it’s clear that despite the anger Jess has towards Adam there is very much a spark remaining between them, one which she spends a long time fighting against. I don’t want to spoil the plot of this book too much so I won’t post any spoilers in this post other than to say the reason that Jess fights that spark so high isn’t just related to the past events with Adam.
All of the main characters in the book are instantly likeable and there are moments of joy and sorrow as the plot moves on. There are parts near the end of the book where I was genuinely moved to tears. It’s one of those books that does make you think about life and living every moment! 5 out of 5 stars!
You Me Everything
Simon & Schuster UK
26 July 2018
Jess and her ten-year-old son William set off to spend the summer at Château de Roussignol, deep in the rich, sunlit hills of the Dordogne. There, Jess’s ex-boyfriend and William’s father, Adam, runs a beautiful hotel in a restored castle. Jess is bowled over by what Adam has accomplished, but she’s in France for a much more urgent reason: to make Adam connect with his own son. Jess can’t allow Adam to let their son down because she is tormented by a secret of her own, one that nobody - especially William - must discover.
By turns life-affirming, heart-wrenching and joyful, You Me Everything is a novel about one woman's fierce determination to grab hold of the family she has and never let go, and a romantic story as heady as a crisp Sancerre on a summer day.
I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced proof copy of this book while I was at the Books In the City Spring Blogger event and I’m so glad I did.
While I was Sleeping is the story of Maddie, newly pregnant and about to marry the love of her life when tragedy strikes. Waking up in hospital Maddie knows something is different but she isn’t sure what.
I really don’t want to spoil this week so it’s very hard to review without posting spoilers, but what I can say is this book is beautifully written, you have instant connection with all the characters and are pulled into an emotional tour de force as the story progresses. I cannot praise this book highly enough – this is the best book that I have read this year and I urge you, no implore you to go out and buy this book now. You will not be disappointed!
While I was sleeping
Simon & Schuster UK
23rd August 2018
A brand new and brilliant emotional family drama for fans of Jojo Moyes and Dorothy Koomson, from the bestselling author of Fractured.
I don't remember what happened or what has changed.
I can still hear your voices but you can't seem to hear me.
I was about to be married and had everything to look forward to.
Now I have to find a way back - to you, to our family, to us.
Lou Clarke, how we missed you and your stripy tights! Now starting a job in New York and separated from her new love Sam, Lou finds herself alone in a big City where she is surrounded by new sights, sounds and experiences. Now assisting a very wealthy family she is drawn into the bitchiness and secrecy of high society – but keeping secrets in this case lead to some unexpected problems and some even more unexpected friendships.
I loved seeing Lou develop through the course of this book, her fun personality is still there along with her quirky sense of style and New York just seems the ideal place to find her as she “finds herself”. Of course the plot is not without his twists and troubles for Lou – separation from Sam – trying to make long distance love work, handling jealousy, and the appearance of a man who looks just like Will.
The unlikely friendship with Mrs DeWitt and her Pug Dean Martin was wonderful as it grew and I was drawn into Mrs DeWitt’s fabulous wardrobe of treasures for someone like Lou!
This book felt like the right ending for Lou Clarke, she has learnt from Will, taken on his advice and lived her life and finally it feels like she has found herself!
25th January 2018
LOU CLARK IS BACK in the BRAND NEW Jojo Moyes novel Still Me, follow-up to the Number One international bestsellers Me Before You and After You.
Lou Clark knows too many things . . .
She knows how many miles lie between her new home in New York and her new boyfriend Sam in London.
She knows her employer is a good man and she knows his wife is keeping a secret from him.
What Lou doesn't know is she's about to meet someone who's going to turn her whole life upside down.
Because Josh will remind her so much of a man she used to know that it'll hurt.
Lou won't know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything.
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 . . .