Title: Arms Wide Open: a Novella

Author: Juli Caldwelll

Pages: 137

Synopsis

Lauren’s roommate, Harlow, is fed up. Since Lauren finished grad school she has spent the days becoming more and more slovenly; her dishes are piled up in the sink; she hasn’t changed her clothes in days. Harlow is more than miffed…she is also a little worried.

So when Harlow challenges Lauren to go to a speed dating night Lauren is guilt-tripped into accepting. Harlow is hopeful that among the local freaks and weirdo’s Lauren might just find the one.

Review

As far as short stories go this one was pretty good. I will admit it was a little bit of a slow burner. I think that Caldwell left the big reveal a tad too late and the few hints that she gave to the reader in the earlier chapters might not have been enough to hold their attention.

I do feel like this is another one of those short stories that may have worked better as a full length novel. The back story was good enough to hold my interest and it would have been fascinating to see the relationship dynamics between Lauren, Grant and Oliver.

Overall, this was an enjoyable short story but could have been made better if there was more of it to read.

Arms Wide Open: A Novella by Juli Caldwell is available now.

 

Synopsis

When Ariel and her daughter Becky move into their new house on the illustrious Beverly Row they are instantly introduced to the sparkling and glittery world of the rich and fabulous. What they quickly learn is that money isn’t the be all and end all to gaining happiness. As they find their footing within their new community, Ariel realises that there is a lot hidden behind her new neighbours closed doors.

Review

This is going to sound like a negative but I assure you I am using this adjective as a positive; The Wives of Beverly Row was trashy. It was so indulgent, almost like Desperate Housewives but in book form. It is the epitome of a guilty pleasure.

Abby Weeks so seamlessly interweaves the lives of the residents of Beverly Row with the clever undertone of money cannot buy happiness that you can’t help but want to read on. Each resident appears to have a luscious, dirty secret waiting to be uncovered. I feel like the first book in the Beverly Row series has only scratched the surface – I for one cannot wait to read on and immerse myself in the delicious money soaked drama.

The Wives of Beverly Row 1 – Lust Has A New Address by Abby Weeks is available now

Beverly Row

Synopsis

When Ariel and her daughter Becky move into their new house on the illustrious Beverly Row they are instantly introduced to the sparkling and glittery world of the rich and fabulous. What they quickly learn is that money isn’t the be all and end all to gaining happiness. As they find their footing within their new community, Ariel realises that there is a lot hidden behind her new neighbours closed doors.

Review

This is going to sound like a negative but I assure you I am using this adjective as a positive; The Wives of Beverly Row was trashy. It was so indulgent, almost like Desperate Housewives but in book form. It is the epitome of a guilty pleasure.

Abby Weeks so seamlessly interweaves the lives of the residents of Beverly Row with the clever undertone of money cannot buy happiness that you can’t help but want to read on. Each resident appears to have a luscious, dirty secret waiting to be uncovered. I feel like the first book in the Beverly Row series has only scratched the surface – I for one cannot wait to read on and immerse myself in the delicious money soaked drama.

The Wives of Beverly Row 1 – Lust Has A New Address by Abby Weeks is available now

Beverly Row

Synopsis

With her wedding but a few weeks away, Scarlett has left all that is familiar to her in her home town of Stratford to figure out what she really wants. Her life with fiancé David is all well and good but Scarlett longs for something a little more exciting.

What Scarlett really wants is a love that is more like the movies. One with big dramatic music and heroes swooping in and making big romantic gestures but everyone in her life – her dad, her fiancé and her best friends – all point out to her that movies are fiction; they aren’t real. Scarlett sets out to prove them all wrong. And with her first meet-cute it seems that Scarlett might just be able show her friends and family that life can be just like a movie.

Review

I’m often sceptical about romantic books, and indeed about romantic movies. I personally feel that the best rom-coms and chick-lits have already been released years ago. So I am always pleasantly surprised when a book or movie comes along that gives me that mushy-love feeling. From Notting Hill With Love…Actually gave me that feeling. I am not afraid to admit that some tears may have blurred my vision at the end. This, my lovely readers, is a rare thing and only usually happens in heartbreaking books. However, my tears of joy were well earned by Ali McNamara.

Basically, I bloody loved her book.

The interweaving storylines kept me gripped throughout and it was an actual burden to me to have to put the book down and do grown up things like go to work. I loved the whole set up of the novel. McNamara kept me on my toes throughout. I so desperately wanted Scarlett to be with Sean even though I knew that David hadn’t really done anything to warrant the hurt. See that is the power of this story, you – the reader, want things to work out for Scarlett. You genuinely care for her and every hurdle she has to overcome you feel yourself willing her on.

This book is a great romantic comedy. Admittedly, I only picked it up because the third in the series is out this week and I am due to review it, however, I have had From Notting Hill With Love…Actually collecting dust on my bookshelf for a while now and so I thought to myself ‘What the heck!’ and right now I am awfully glad that I did because this book was just gorgeous.

For movie lovers out there, the final scenes in this book will give you goose bumps. It is just so sweet.

Kudos to Ali McNamara for creating such an amazing world that I was allowed to be fully immersed in. Now onto book two!

From Notting Hill With Love…Actually and From Notting Hill to New York…Actually both by Ali McNamara are available now.

From Notting Hill With Four Wedding…Actually is available later this week.

Woohoo. Yes people, congratulations are in order. I am out of my reading shlump. Huzzah!

This week I managed to post no less than four – yes FOUR – reviews. I was quite proud of myself for that. So here they are:

Fat Chance by Nick Spalding

Us by David Nicholls

Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop-Phane

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson

On top of that I also read and reviewed Arms Wide Open by Judi Caldwell. The review will be posted on Saturday, 25th October 2014.

I have a few books that are due for review this week but I am going to have an Ali McNamara week. Her latest book in the With Love series is due out on Thursday and since I haven’t read the previous two I have decided to get the whole series read in one go. I am midway through From Notting Hill With Love…Actually and so far I am loving it. So hopefully I will be that immersed in the series that I will get through them toot suite. Imagine Belle from Beauty and the Beast walking around with my nose in a book.

The books that I am supposed to read this week are:

Killing Keiko by Mark A Simmons

This Is Your Afterlife by Vanessa Barneveld

From Notting Hill with Four Weddings…Actually by Ali McNamara

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

Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

The Temp: The Complete Series by Emily Benet

The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan

So, once I get through my Ali McNamara fest I will try and get through some of these books. Fortunately for me I have three long train journeys this week so plenty of book reading will be done.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

L x