Title: A Place for Us: Part One

Author: Harriet Evans

Pages: 137 pages

Synopsis

Being part of the Winter clan is something incredibly special. Equally, being part of the Winter clan can be an albatross. The Winter’s, like most families, harbour many dark secrets; stories that they have failed to share. For although they are a close family there are some things that you just keep to yourself.

When Martha Winter, mother and matriarch of the family, calls all her children and grandchildren back to Winterfold, the family home, everyone is beyond curious. Hidden as an excuse to celebrate Martha’s 80th birthday, the family know that there is more than meets the eye to this party.

The house of Winter is about to be rocked to its very foundations.

Review

I love Harriet Evans. Never have I read a book by her and not been entranced and completely in love with the setting, the characters and the story. I was a little disappointed in myself that I found A Place for Us: Part One so difficult lose myself in. Don’t worry, it happened, just not as quickly as I had imagined it would.

Personally, I think I initially struggled with the multi-character perspective. This is not something I usually struggle with however, what I initially saw as a detriment actually turned out to be one of the great strengths of this book. Each character became distinctive. Their foibles and problems and desires and similarities became more and more evident as the tale went on. The everyday soap opera dramas juxtapose so easily with the long standing secrets making this book all the more intriguing.

The best way I can describe it is that A Place for Us is like going into the attic and finding a box of old photographs of people that look familiar that you don’t quite know. You try and piece together their story and it is only as more and more snapshots are revealed that you realise that you have an epic saga on your hands. That is what A Place for Us felt like for me.

I love stories that have the ability to make me want to be part of the featured family and help uncover the shocking familial revelations. I can honestly say that I have not read a saga like that in years – possibly since the Sweet Valley Sagas released in my teenage years.

Cleverly, Evans has serialised her novel which now has me chomping at the bit to read the next instalment. Well played, Harriet Evans. Well played, indeed.

All four instalments of A Place for Us by Harriet Evans are available now.

You can follow Harriet Evans on Twitter @HarrietEvans

A Place for Us Part One

Synopsis

Delia Moss has made a decision. It is the 21st century and she wants the world to know how much she is in love with her boyfriend of ten years, Paul. She plans to propose to him. However, as with all best laid plans things start to go a bit awry. Especially only moments after accepting her proposal, Paul incorrectly texts Delia a message intended for his mistress.

Heartbroken, Delia flees to London – away from the life that she knew, a life she was comfortable with and a life that she really wanted. However, London has a few tricks up its patriotic sleeves to help Delia realise that she is better, stronger and wiser than her northern upbringing initially reveal.

Review

It is silly just how much I loved this book. Within the first few pages I was hooked. I was blindsided by just how much emotion I was feeling towards Delia’s situation. I mean, it could be argued that the protagonist wronged by her partner is a storyline done to death but Mhairi McFarlane had me wheezing with panic over the happenings of Delia’s love life. Suffice to say, the whole cheating scandal is probable every hopeless romantic’s worst nightmare and imagining myself in Delia’s situation was utterly heartbreaking even though it was through the vicarious activity of reading rather than facing it myself.

What McFarlane manages to do though is offer light at the end of this dark and melancholy tunnel. She shows us how strong a character can be, in fact how strong we can be in that self same situation. Furthermore, what is most noteworthy about this author is that she takes risks. She won’t go for the easy option or the one that her readers will agree with and plenty of times throughout this story I did yell at the book. However, it is an impressive thing when an author will monkey with your mind for the purpose of the better outcome. For this, I salute Mhairi McFarlane.

It’s Not Me, It’s You is a juggernaut of a chick-lit with so many emotions, so many adventures and so many possible outcomes it will keep you guessing until the very end. This should be on every readers Christmas Wish List…heck forget Christmas, buy it now and just hide for the weekend and read it all.

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane is available now.

You can follow Mhairi McFarlane on Twitter @MhairiMcF

It's Not Me It's You

Synopsis

Fed up with his life surrounded by abusive women (his sisters) Martin Moone makes the mature decision (well mature for an eleven year old) to get himself and imaginary friend. Cue hysterical tales of misbegotten adventure and wacky circumstances.

Review

The much celebrated Moone Boy: The Blunder Years has been released in book format and it is jolly good fun. It is very much a similar ilk to the Tom Gates books or the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series but actually much better. The comedy is much more fun and at times taboo for the age group – think innocent conversations about pimping your elder sisters boobs out for protection from schoolyard bullies and you will see where I am coming from.

Moone Boy: The Blunder Years, along with its fabulous illustrations, is the perfect book for your younger brother, or cousin or next door neighbour or random kid in need of some giggles. Basically you should just buy this book as a stocking filler for a loved one and then proceed to ignore everyone come Christmas day whilst you sit reading it instead.

Moone Boy: The Blunder Years by Chris O’Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy is available now.

Moone Boy

Hello bookish folks,

I have had a week off and I will admit I am darn proud of myself and the amount of books that I have managed to read and the few bloggish posts I have managed to write.

The books that I have read and reviewed this week are as follows:

From Notting Hill to New York…Actually by Ali McNamara

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown

If I Knew You Were Going to be this Beautiful, I Never Would have let you Go by Judy Chicurel

How to Lose A Girl in 10 Ways: Words from a Wonderfully Woeful Womaniser by Sean Smithson

I Will Marry George Clooney (…By Christmas) by Tracy Bloom

I have two upcoming reviews ready for the posting this week, they are:

A Place for Us: Part One by Harriet Evans

Moone Boy: The Blunder Years by Chris O’Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy

This week I also managed to write two blog posts so if you fancy giving them a read then please do so. They are:

OD-ing on Ollie & Darsh…or How I Overcame my Fear of the Dentist

Yeehaw! The Round-Up: October 2014

Now this week I have a few books that I am meant to read that are due for release this week but I am feeling a little rebellious. Instead here is a list of the books that I want to read this week. Hopefully I will get through them:

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson

From Notting Hill with Four Weddings…Actually by Ali McNamara

A Place for Us: Part Two by Harriet Evans

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Now this week has been a very slow week bookwise. So if any of you lovely bookish people want to send me physical copies of books then contact me. That being said, thank you to Elizabeth Preston who sent me a copy of the new McBusted book (I literally squealed) and also a big thanks to Becky Plunkett who sent me a copy of Lucy Diamond’s The Year of Taking Chances.

Anywho, my lovely book people, I hope you have an excellent week. Keep sharing the book love and I shall be back again next week.

L x x

Synopsis

At the age of 36 Michelle, chicken packer extraordinaire, did not expect to be living in such a rut. Living in the shadow of her dead sister and pretty much abhorred by her teenage daughter Michelle knows she has to make a change. When she strikes a deal with her rebellious daughter to marry George Clooney her initial reasons were selfish – to stop her daughter Josie from sleeping with sweaty not-good-enough-for-her boyfriend Sean and well to possibly get to marry George Clooney. However, life has a funny way of twisting fate and making you see the bigger picture.

Review

Ok, let me just start by saying two things. Firstly, I loved this story. It was funny, the characters were endearing and it was quite frankly unlike anything I have ever read before. Secondly, the storyline is absurd – people tend to take that word the wrong way. I assure I mean it in only the positive sense. It is such a bonkers, over the top, out of this world idea that it really did only have two ways of going. It would either work completely or it would fall apart hopelessly. Fortunately, for the readers of I Will Marry George Clooney (…By Christmas) and indeed for Tracy Bloom this book definitely falls into the former category.

What I think makes this book so special is that it focuses on the relationship between mother and daughter rather than the love story being the central theme; the uneasy relationship between Michelle and Josie strangely paradoxes the relationship between Michelle and her own mother, Kathleen. Michelle seems t get it from both sides. She cannot fill the shoes of her sister Jane who tragically died and she cannot be the mother that Josie wants her to be. Josie reacts and acts out due to the frustrations of not knowing who she really is and at her mother’s own willing to fade into the background rather than make anything of herself and, like any petulant teenager, makes Michelle feel all the more a bad mother for it by being snarky, disrespectful and disobedient. Kathleen doesn’t make things any easier on Michelle by always putting her down.

Yes, you can’t help but feel sorry for Michelle throughout this book, her confidence is at an all time low and she relies on her friends to remind her how wonderful she is. And truly, Bloom has created a rather marvellous character in Michelle. Bloom also succeeds in reminding her readers that life is short and you should become the hero in your own life story.

I Will Marry George Clooney (…By Christmas) by Tracy Bloom is available now.

You can follow Tracy Bloom on Twitter @TracyBBloom

Tracy Bloom