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The Break By Marian Keyes

The Break‘The Break’ is the delicious new book by Marian Keyes.

Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her. He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in south-east Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it. Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet. However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge. For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns if he returns, will he be the same man she married? Will Amy be the same woman? Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn’t she?

Marian Keyes is back with another fabulous book, a book that made me lose track of time as well as let numerous cups of go to waste and go cold.

In her latest book, we meet Amy, a deliciously kind and outspoken woman who works in PR, mother to three daughters, her life is rarely a routine and when her husband Hugh announces that he wants to take a six month break to travel the world to help him through his grieving process after losing his father. Amy’s reaction and mine was WTF?

As Hugh travels the world, Amy is left with the worry that he’ll cheat on her, leave her for a younger model, never return and this will be the end of their marriage.

But whilst Hugh is discovering himself, Amy is also finding a new appetite for life. She’s refusing to accept pity from her neighbours and give up on her marriage, even though her heart is breaking.

Amy is also on her own path of self discovery, embarking on new affairs, tackling with being a single parent and being the mother of a successful video blogger with an attitude.

I absolutely adored this book. The book is filled with Marian’s charm and wit as well her warmth. The characters are similar to the Walsh family, their dysfunctional, outspoken and there is never a dull moment, with their larger than life mother and a father who battles Alzheimers. In her light hearted tale, Marian delivers a story that has serious issues, Alzheimer’s and the effect it can have on a family, the pressure and stress. Teenage pregnancy and the legality of abortion in Ireland plus the surge of video blogging and how anyone can do it, no matter the age.

Amy is a fabulous character and one that I could never tire of reading. As the story progresses, Amy becomes a stronger and more confident woman and this is a joy to witness. Hugh was a different story altogether, I wholeheartedly hated him and the rage he invoked in me was astounding. His selfishness to find himself whilst Amy was left to look after the family and deal with the sympathy and the gossip that he left behind, it enraged me!

The characters are engaging and all have their own quirks that made for such enjoyable reading plus all the chapters are short, so one chapter can rapidly become seven or ten.

Deliciously fun and warmhearted, this book is an enchanting story that was impossible to put down, filled with charm, drama and plenty of Irish wit, ‘The Break’ is most certainly Marian Keyes at her very best. I dare you not to enjoy it!

You can pre-order The Break from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 7th September.

The Story Of You By Katy Regan

The Story Of You‘The Story Of You’ is the latest book by Katy Regan.

There is no story of me without the story of you. I want to explain it all to you. How this happened. How that summer – the summer I was 16 – made me the person I am today. I want to share my memories with you: the happy memories are like sunbursts, sparkling on the sea. But then, like a current dragging me under, there’s that summer of 1997.

The summer my life exploded.
The summer I had to grow up.
The summer you came into my life.

And so this is the story of you.

‘The Story Of You’ is a story of a woman struggling with life and a couple wanting to give their relationship another chance.

The story is seen through the narrative of the leading lady Robyn. The middle daughter of three sisters, her life has never been the same since her mother dies and her father so quickly moved on and forged a new relationship with a woman who is the polar opposite of their mother. The daughters relationship detoriate with their father, all distancing themselves and keeping secrets. Through the story, it is told in the past tense. There are flashbacks to the summer, seventeen years ago that changed Robyn’s life. She met and fell in love with Joe, the love of her life and thought that she would spend the rest of her life with him but fate had different idea. Fast forward to now and Joe gets back in touch with Robyn, when his own mother dies and requests for Robyn to attend the funeral. Having been there when her mother died, Robyn returns home and all the feelings that she thought had long since been buried and gone, resurface and finds herself reminiscing with Joe, remembering the good times when death didn’t get in the way. But things step further, when they end up together resulting in Robyn becoming pregnant. Joe is delighted at the thought of giving their relationship another go, whilst Robyn is terrified that history is going to repeat itself.

Robyn is a psychiatric nurse, working with people that she see as more than patients and wants to create trusting and safe relationships with them so she properly help them with their issues. Robyn has problems of her own, a past that won’t leave her alone and is constantly in her thoughts and causes her to have secret panic attacks, especially with an unexpected pregnancy, she is terrified that something will go wrong. Hiding her panic attacks, insecurity and flashbacks from her past, Robyn has more in common with the patients than she lets on and that is why she has gets on so well with them. A caring, considerate character and a lot more patience and understanding than her fellow colleagues. She has a particularly heartwarming relationship with a young woman called Grace, a troubled woman who has bad episodes brought on by her abusive past. Grace is outspoken and gruff, but has a soft sweet side when talking about her daughter who was taken away from her. The main love interest in the story is Joe, a man who has never let his love for Robyn waver. He is fun and vibrant and distracts her from the fears in life.

Another interesting addition, is the letters that Robyn writes throughout the story, confiding worries and remembering times past, these inclusions in the story adds a sweet sentiment to the story. At the start I thought it wasn’t terribly clear who the ‘you’ was in the story but thought that the ending chapter, it was revealed and captivated the innocence of the story wonderfully.

With one of the most prettiest cover of recent times, this book is a beautifully written story that is an compelling and an emotional tale, which highlights serious issues as teenage pregnancy, rape and mental health. ‘The Story Of You’ is a story warm that flows at a gentle pace and is filled with heartwarming characters, witty dialogue and tells the story of moving on and second chances.

You can buy The Story of You and will be available in paperback from 25th September 2014.

How To Love By Katie Cotugno

How To Love‘How To Love’ is Katie Cotugno’s debut book.

Serena has secretly been in love with Sawyer for as long as she can remember, but since he started dating her best friend Allie, she has had to find ways to distract herself. That gets difficult in her small town, especially when all she wants is to get out of there and leave for college or travel to far-away places. But when Allie dies and Serena suddenly finds herself together with Sawyer, their relationship is bittersweet and complicated, to say the least. One minute Sawyer is around, the next he’s not. At times he’s so genuine, but there is something off and they never talk about Allie. When Sawyer suddenly ups and leaves their stuffy Florida town, leaving her behind, Serena is devastated and her world is turned upside down, for more reasons than one.

Fast forward three years and we meet Hannah, Serena’s baby girl. Sawyer is the father, but he left town before he found out. Now that he knows, he’s back and wants to part of their lives. But there is so much that hasn’t been said, so much that has happened in between and so much that Serena still wants. Will their love survive the ghost of their past and their life in the future?

When I started this book, I honestly had no clue what it was about. I purely just picked it up, started it and then slightly fell in love with the story.

I try not to be one to judge books, but this book does have a cover that does make it out leap out from the shelves, printed in a rich orange hue and black, it promised that the story would be a rocky one and as I delved into the world of Serena and Sawyer, I discovered that the first love isn’t always the sweetest.

The story is seen from the perspective of Serena, in chapters alternating between before and after. Before being before Sawyer left Serena unaware that she was pregnant and the after is three years later when Serena’s daughter, Hannah is two, as Serena struggles to get over the boy that she had always loved and Sawyer adjusts to suddenly being a father and making amends.

I’m really glad that I impulsively grabbed this book and started reading as it is a worthwhile story. Written in a raw and factual style, it captivates the essence the heartbreak and teenage love down to a T. Serena is an intriguing character, a strong headed young woman, who had a dream of becoming a travel writer and worked hard to reach the grades, but when Sawyer and she become closer, family and school take a nosedive. Sawyer was a complex character that Serena seemed determined to fix. Battling drink and drug problems, he seemed to regularly have his finger on the self destruct button and sometimes he brought Serena down with him, which frustrated me. As Sawyer was a such a charming and caring boy, it was easy to be swept by the handsome musician and every time Serena’s heart would skip a beat with Sawyer, mine sometimes would also, as Katie’s description of the character was so vivid.

In the chapters that followed after, I found that Serena became a different character. Battling tragedy, heartbreak and her fathers disapproval for becoming a mother at such a young age, she became harder, distant and never let her guard down to let others in. Although her love for Hannah was evident and I found these scenes with mother and daughter particularly heartwarming.

‘How To Love’ is an incredibly honest and raw account of first love, the consequences and emotions. Beautifully written about hard subjects, it tackles the issues of life in a gritty and frank style. A story that I consumed in a day, this fresh book is an emotional roller coaster and one that I was sad to get off.

You can buy How to Love from Amazon and is available to buy from other good bookshops

A Merry Little Christmas by Julia Williams

A Merry Little Christmas

A Merry Little Christmas is the second Christmas novel by Julia Williams.

With four children, a Christmas cookbook to write, and her mum suffering from dementia Cat has plenty to deal with but when her eldest daughter Mel starts going off the rails, she finds life has become even more difficult.

Pippa Holliday adores her family, although often finds her hands full and when Dan is involved in a terrible accident, Pippa’s world is suddenly turned upside down.

And finally Marianne North is busy balancing her work and family lives, which is proving a bit tricky at times especially when her husband’s ex wife starts to interfere.

As the three women battle one of the hardest years of their lives, they all hope for a much brighter Christmas.

“A Merry Little Christmas” is the first book that I have read by Julia Williams and I thought it was the perfect seasonal read that warmed the cockles of my heart during the brisk weather.

Smoothly written, the story revolves the lives of three women as they are faced with the hardest withe the hardest struggles of their lives. Pippa has to deal with her disabled daughter but suddenly her world is capsized when her husband is injured in a farming accident whilst Cat’s mother is battling Alzheimers and her eldest daughter Mel is rebelling at every opportunity and Marianne is trying to balance work and home life but her husband’s ex-wife is trying to make life difficult. All three women are strong and vibrant characters that seem to thrive in drama and mayhem and will do anything to keep their family together.

With the occasional glance into the world of the teenage mind, there are chapters seen from Mel’s perspective on the world as she has to struggle with the pressure of life and boys.

Dealing with the harsh issues of disability, Alzheimers and teenage pregnancy, “A Merry Little Christmas” is a wonderfully written coming of age story about love and friendship packed with warm and bubbly characters, this book was impossible to put down.

You can buy A Merry Little Christmas on Amazon and other good bookshops.