Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Our MC is on the verge of divorce from her husband after he gets to the end of his tether with her putting her job before family and so he goes to visit his family for Christmas leaving her there. She finds a phone that magically allows her to speak to her husband in the past before they were married with kids and this helps her think about where she wants her life to go.

I felt like I couldn’t really relate to the characters because I’ve never been married and they were much older than me. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but at times it felt like I didn’t really get their motives because I’ve never been in any situations like it.

I absolutely adored the idea of this one phone being a gateway into your past. And that whilst in the past it was him who had made a mess and was thinking about what he wanted from the relationship, in the present she was trying to work through her own feelings and how she’d made every thing fall apart. It was like a really nice magical way of having someone think about why they got together with their significant other in the first place.

I did have a few problems with the discourse in this book because at times it did feel like the husband was mad at her for wanting to excel in her job. I completely understand that he wanted her to be around more for the kids because that’s important but it did feel like he was giving her an ultimatum. Like you either need to stop being so involved in work or I leave you. Like why couldn’t he just tell her she really needs to balance everything better. I would’ve liked to get to know present husband more than we did because to me he came off as a bit of a chauvinist compared to the past version of himself who read like an absolute sweetheart. There was a bit of a disjoint.

As with all previous Rowell books I’ve read the writing style was really easy to follow and I read this pretty quickly. Though at times I did find it a little on the slow side.

Overall I feel like the idea was really interesting and the execution was ok for the most part but it could’ve done with a bit more fleshing out in some areas and less in others.

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From the Stars by C.S. Wilde

I was sent this novel by the author in an exchange for an honest review, so thank you C.S.Wilde!

James falls in love with this girl he works with at his office job, Miriam. They start to hang out then she tells him her secret: she’s an alien. Things begin to become complicated between them

I’ll be completely honest and say that this book wasn’t my cup of tea, there was a bit too much romance and not enough sci-fi for me, but that’s just me.

One thing I liked was that the aliens had both human and their alien names, I often find with sci-fi books that they’re either given human names, which isn’t really realistic or they have just alien names and you can’t pronounce it to save yourself.

The book shows a lot of potential, it was fast paced and engaging. I just found it hard to believe at times. I liked James, he was a character that I understood. He was happy to just be friends with Miriam if that’s what needed to happen. Whereas I found myself getting annoyed by Miriam a lot, she felt less like an alien and more like a self-aware robot sometimes.

I would also say it felt quite short, the book itself is short but it could have been fleshed out in places and though the pacing was fast I feel like some of the speed could’ve been sacrificed to add more to immersion and connection with the characters.

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Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher

Thank you to netgalley and Penguin/Michael Joseph for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I would say this was better than the first book. I could definitely tell that Giovanna’s writing has gotten better. Again, this was an easy read and I liked it for the most part, as with the previous book. However it did fall a bit flat compare to other British “chick lit” writers.

I found the characters still a bit annoying. Sophie was so insecure at times that I wanted to jump into the pages and shake her. I couldn’t imagine being in a relationship with her because you wouldn’t be able to do anything without her worrying that you were going to sleep with someone else. Billy was a lot better in this, he didn’t make any stupid decisions like he did in the previous novel.

I liked getting to see more of the Hollywood side of Billy, it kind of felt like that didn’t exist in the first novel. I liked getting to see his life there and his family. Overall I’d say the characters felt a lot more adult in this novel, they actually tried to work through their problems instead of just shoving them under the carpet.

I’ll be honest, if you’ve followed me for a while you’d know that I schedule everything and have a huge backlog of reviews, so I read this in December and I’m writing this in February, it wasn’t very memorable as I’m struggling for words. It wasn’t a terrible book by any means, and the writing was good, it just didn’t feel like anything new. That’s not a problem really, it’s just not what I’m after.

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The One We Fell In Love With by Paige Toon

Someone I work with absolutely adores Paige Toon’s books so I thought I would give her a try.

In short 3 sisters fall for the same guy but it’s more than that.

So basically the writing was really easy to read and it was fairly quick to get through and I will read more Paige Toon stuff in future. It’s not as funny as other British romance novelists I like, but it’s not just romance made to make you cry so it was ok for me.

I found all 3 of the sisters really just not great. I didn’t mind reading them but as I was going along all I could think was “these are terrible people”. Eliza was probably my favourite of the 3 because she was pining for Angus for years and didn’t try to do anything to break up Angus and Phoebe, all she wanted was to live her life the way she wanted and not have to go into a career she didn’t want to be in. Whereas Phoebe came too close to cheating which is never ok. And I don’t want to even talk about Rose reading Eliza’s bloody diary, and how she was obsessed with Angus and thought that meant she could nose her way into things that weren’t her business.

There is a time jump about a quarter of the way through, after Phoebe dies, which isn’t much of a spoiler as it happens quite soon after the beginning. I found the time jump really jarring, you get used to the past and getting to know what was happening just before the death and then suddenly it’s a few years later and I had no idea what was going on.

I knew who was going to be endgame probably from the beginning, it was pretty obvious but it was still good to see their relationship blossoming. And there was some good conflict that didn’t seem thrown in there just to elongate the book, which I find a lot of romance novels suffer from.

Some people may find it a bit silly that 3 girls fall for the same guy and the guy has involvement with all 3 of them but hey sometimes that happens, life can be awkward like that.

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Mini reviews #2

Origin by Jennifer L. Arementrout

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This is what I was longing for 3 books ago honestly.

Everything started kicking off in this which is desperately what I’d been wanting. All the boring same old stuff of the 2nd and 3rd books should’ve been condensed into half a book then put this in with it.

I really enjoyed all the different settings in this and learning the government’s perspective on things.

However I have really got to the point where I find the romance nauseating. They’re just so young and stupid and it really bores me reading their inner monologues about each other.

Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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This was basically a continuation of the 4th book and I feel like both books could have been condensed into one book. There was so many random scenes that were just completely unnecessary.

I had to put down this book so many times because as with the previous book there was so much nauseating romance.

The end of this was what I expected to happen and I was happy with it but of course it was incredibly cliche.

Sugar Bowl series by Sawyer Bennett

I started to read this series because Jill raved about it. The first book was really enjoyable and an incredibly fun read but as the series went on it just kept getting more and more ridiculous.

I liked that it was romance with a twist of intrigue, but it veered off into a weird place in the second book and I just felt really awkward reading it. The third book was just bizarre and not what I expected to get into after reading the first book.

All The King’s Men by Alex Powell 

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Thank you to netgalley and Less Than Three Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I just requested this on a whim because it sounded interesting, but then I found out later that Alex Powell is genderqueer and I’m all about diversity in my reading.

This was an interesting read and whilst it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read it was a change of pace for me as I don’t often read sci fi. I found myself confused occasionally and the romance of it, whilst a kind of side story, felt awkward. I did really like the concept of the book though and I would happily read another book by Powell.

Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop by Jane Linfoot

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Thank you to netgalley and Harper for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was happy enough to return to this series and read about characters I knew but a different group of people at the forefront.

The plot was mostly predictable but still nice to read and of course it was a good read in the run up to Christmas. I liked reading about the relationship between Sera and her sister, not just the romance aspect, though her sister was an unlikeable nightmare, but thankfully she grows towards the end.

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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I went into this trying not to expect too much because I love the TV show and I’m from the Isle of Skye so I was completely wary of it. I know so many people love the book but the TV show has the benefit of research with Gabaldon didn’t have when she first wrote the book so I was preparing myself for this to not be stellar, but I was wrong thankfully.

I’m sure you know what Outlander is about but if you somehow don’t Claire and Frank Randall are on holiday in Inverness trying to reconnect after the second world war. After touching a stone circle Claire is transported back to 1743 and stumbles upon some redcoats. She’s rescued by some Highlanders and taken to their castle so their clan chief can figure out what to do with her.

I never trust books or tv shows or movies set in Scotland because there’s just so many bad ones, so much inaccuracy and romanticisation of the country. But this was fairly accurate, of course there’s a bit of romanticisation but there’s also no glossing over how Scotland was in the 1700s, there’s clan warfare, anger at the English etc etc. On top of that there is some really funny parts of it that were really quite on point when it comes to the Highlands and how things are like here still to this day. We still gossip, we still know everything that’s going on in our community which most people wouldn’t know elsewhere. Things like that I’m amazed she had barely any resources for because that’s not something you know unless you live here. Even the Gaelic wasn’t poor.

I loved reading about Jamie, he’s such a sweetheart. Yeah he makes some mistakes along the way but it was out of ignorance as he is still young and I think people forget that when they criticise him. He’s had not much real experience with women and he gets thrust into a marriage so of course he’s going to listen to the things his married friends say regardless of whether they’re right or not. It’s also a sign of the times, history is gruesome so it’s important for accuracy. But if you’re upset by domestic violence, do not read this book. It only happens once but that’s still not good.

I loved reading Claire go from being a bit stuck up and annoying to caring for all the people she meets in Scotland and how she doesn’t want the Jacobite rising to happen, knowing how much of a bloodbath Culloden was.

As I watched the TV series first I’m quite amazed at how much the show kept with the book.

I was reading this on a train to Inverness and I was so embarrassed about it hahaha. Some American guy started talking to me about it and I was like I’M NOT A TOURIST I’M FROM SKYE. I’ve had customers come into my work saying they’ve come to Scotland after reading Outlander and oh man does it make my eyes roll.

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I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

I think you all know by now that I love British romantic comedy literature and Sophie Kinsella is one of the most famous writers of the genre but surprisingly I haven’t read anything of hers but this sounded like a really funny idea, I love the thought of people losing phones and finding someone because of that accident.

First Poppy loses her ancient engagement ring, then her phone gets stolen right out of her hand. Of course she also has to go to dinner with her future in laws the next day and as the days go by and she still hasn’t found the ring she comes up with crazy schemes to cover up. On top of all this she finds a phone in a bin and takes it to use in place of her stolen phone and ends up talking to the owner of the phone.

I’ve Got Your Number is so sweet and funny and I can see exactly why Sophie Kinsella is one of the biggest authors in the world for romance novels. I’ve mentioned it before but I love text conversations in contemporary fiction, I don’t know why but I just like reading it and so much of this book is based on text conversations and they’re so important to the plot.

I knew exactly who it was who had the ring the more we got to know the character because there was something so off about them, but I loved finding out everything that came with that discovery it was just so ridiculous.

The romance ark of this book as so adorable I was pulling for it from the start, I was dying to read to the end to see what happened. It was such a fast read and it was so fun to read, I’m definitely considering reading another book by Kinsella and if you want a gooey, British romcom to add to your TBR for summer I thoroughly recommend this.

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