Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Review: True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop (Lonely Hearts Bookshop #2) by Annie Darling

Title: True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop (Lonely Hearts Bookshop #2)
Author: Annie Darling
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: August 10th 2017
Page count: 416
Buy The Book: Amazon | Book Depository
Rating: 4/5


It's a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good job, four bossy sisters and a needy cat must also have want of her one true love. Or is it?

Verity Love – Jane Austen fangirl and an introvert in a world of extroverts – is perfectly happy on her own (thank you very much), and her fictional boyfriend Peter is very useful for getting her out of unwanted social events. But when a case of mistaken identity forces her to introduce a perfect stranger as her boyfriend, Verity’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.

Johnny could also use a fictional girlfriend. Against Verity’s better judgement, he persuades her to partner up for a summer season of weddings, big number birthdays and garden parties, with just one promise - not to fall in love with each other… [Goodreads]

My Thoughts

"You build a relationship on laughing together, discovering new things you never even imagined you might like, Pride and Prejudice for example, and being welcomed into the heart of each other's families. And, say, you find a woman who likes quiet and won't hold your hand and doesn't believe in love...well, when she finally lets you hold her hand, you'll do anything, anything, to persuade her that love can actually be rather wonderful." 

I loved this book - I was completely absorbed from the start all the way to the finish. I was initially interested in this book because of the synopsis (it totally had me at the Pride and Prejudice reference), it seemed to be my kind of book. And I wasn't wrong. It had me hooked right off the first chapter, and I just couldn't put it down.

Verity Love was a character I warmed up to very quickly. Verity is smart, kind and funny - and she is also an introvert. I think Annie Darling did a very good job of explaining the characteristics and challenges that come with being an introvert, and beautifully wove it into Verity's story. What I really appreciated was the glimpses into Verity's journey, and how she came to understand herself, and in turn overcome her obstacles. I really connected to Verity and could empathise with her struggles.

There were many things about Johnny that I loved, one of them being the way he understood Verity and there was this gentleness and ease to him that I admired. But, there were honestly some moments where I was so frustrated with him and was mentally face-palming myself. However, to a certain extent I did understand why it was taking him so much time to get out of the vicious cycle he was stuck in. And I couldn't have been happier when he was able to get himself out.

Verity's loud and crazy family which includes her four sisters were so much fun. There was never a dull moment when they were around, even just the presence of one sister brought with it never-ending chatter and a lot of laughter. I wholehearted cheered Verity and Johnny on throughout, and by the end I had the biggest smile on my face. The ending was beautiful and cute.

I did not realise that this was book two of the Lonely Hearts Bookshop series. However, it is a book that can be read as a standalone. I definitely recommend this book to anyone that enjoys romance and chick-lit. I am very sure that I will be picking up the first book!

One last thing, a song that I think describes Verity's character to an extent is Tori Kelly's 'Dear No One' - the lyrics really do remind me of Verity. 😊 Here's a link to the lyrics if anyone wants to check them out:

Friday, 25 August 2017

Book Blogger Hop - (August 25th - 31st) #6

This Week's Question:

Have you ever read a book written in a foreign language you might be fluent in, and then read the same book in English? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)

My Answer:

Unfortunately no I haven't. I am conversationally fluent in a foreign language of which my parents are native speakers - I picked it up from them growing up. However, my reading and writing in the language is very much lacking. I don't think I would be capable of reading a whole book in the language! Though, I'd like to someday be able to, I think it would be a very interesting experience to read a book in English plus another language, and then compare the two. I'm really curious as to whether a reader's experience differs depending on the language they are reading it in.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Review: Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

Title: Can You Keep a Secret?
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publication date: March 2003
Page count: 368
Buy The Book: Amazon | Book Depository
Rating: 3/5


Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets: Secrets from her boyfriend: I've always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken. Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur. Secrets she wouldn't share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is. Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company's elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her... [Goodreads]

My Thoughts

This was my first Sophie Kinsella book, and I think I can understand why many people really enjoy her books. 

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? had me laughing out loud throughout - it was the kind of humour I've been looking for. This is a perfect summer read (very much rom-com). The main character Emma is definitely an 'irrepressible spirit' as it says in the synopsis - she was a character who had good intentions but made me cringe quite a number of times. However, Emma and her silly antics had me laughing, the type of laughing where you have tears in your eyes, yes LITERALLY! I had to put the book down a few times so I could calm myself down. I even read some of the funny passages out loud to my sister because of how much I loved them. There were moments where I felt Emma's sincerity, and could understand her vulnerability - her insecurities were relatable and very real. There's a whole cast of characters; people at Emma's work, her family and her roommates - there are characters you will love but an equal amount of those you will hate, but it all adds to the fun. All in all, the book was very entertaining, and I may pick up another book by Sophie Kinsella, in particular if I am in need of cheering up or want a good laugh!

Favourite Quotes/Moments

OK, so I don't understand some of the terms they're using. But then I didn't understand most of my GCSE French Oral either, and I still got a B.

I connected with Emma at this moment - it spoke to me so much 😎 (reminded me of my secondary school days).

The plane suddenly drops again, and I give an involuntary shriek. "I don't think we're going to die," he says. "They said it was just turbulence--"
"Of course they did!" I can hear the hysteria in my voice. "They wouldn't exactly say, 'OK, folks, that's it--you're all goners'!"

Loved the turbulence scene! 

“Emma, I'm sorry, I can't help you. This is a disaster. You're completely vulnerable. It's like going into battle in a nightie.” a...nightie...😭😭

“She believes in love and romance. She believes her life is one day going to be transformed into something wonderful and exciting. She has hopes and fears and worries, just like anyone else. Sometimes she feels frightened." He pauses, and adds in a softer voice, "Sometimes she feels unloved. Sometimes she feels she will never gain approval from those people who are most important to her."
(sums up Emma perfectly)

Friday, 18 August 2017

Book Blogger Hop - (August 18th - 24th) #5

This Week's Question:

When you enter an unfamiliar house or apartment for the first time, do you feel disappointed if you don't see any bookshelves, or books on the coffee table? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)

My Answer:

I don't think I've ever felt disappointed not seeing bookshelves or such in someone's house. It's not something I have ever looked out for specifically. For all I know, the person may just like to store their books out of sight, or they solely read E-books, who knows! But, when I do notice books in someone's house I do get excited, mainly out of curiosity and wanting to find out what they enjoy reading. They may just happen to like reading a similar genre or share an interest in a particular book - it would definitely make for an awesome conversation.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

What I Am Currently Reading #3

The past week has been crazy busy, I have not been able to get some serious reading done or unfortunately write a post. But thankfully things have started to quieten down, and I'm currently engrossed in a new book. 

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

I felt I needed a fun read so I decided to pick up Sophie Kinsella's 'Can You Keep a Secret?'

This is actually my first ever Sophie Kinsella book. I can't quite believe it - for some reason I thought I had read at least one of her books in the past. I think I can partly blame my watching Confessions of a Shopaholic way too many times!

I am about three quarters through the book and I am coming to understand why people enjoy reading Kinsella's books. It is 100% a fun read, nothing serious, perfect for summer. I am whizzing through this one right now and I can't wait to see how this book wraps up.

What are you all currently reading? Have you read anything by Sophie Kinsella before? If so, what are your thoughts?

Friday, 4 August 2017

Book Blogger Hop - (August 4th to 10th) #4

This Week's Question:

Do you ever go "way back" to when you first started blogging and look at your old review posts? Do you see any differences from then to now? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

My Answer:

Yes I do go back to read my old reviews every now and then. Previously when I used to go back to them, there was always something I wanted to change, or a sentence I needed to fix. Nowadays I avoid doing that and try to appreciate what I had written (including all the bad writing). In some of the reviews I notice a greater difference than others but I wouldn't say the difference is too drastic. I think the way I go about reviewing books and expressing myself is still the same, only my writing has become a little better, only a little!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Publication date: First published 1813
Page count: 279
Buy The Book: Amazon | Book Depository
Rating: 5/5


When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

Some of my favourite moments in the book!

"There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense."

I really enjoyed the conversation between the sisters (Elizabeth and Jane) at this point. In particular, I was compelled by what Elizabeth tells her sister. So much of it I could relate to, especially as it's the sort of thoughts that pass through your mind as you're growing up. However, I feel you need a balance, you need some of Jane's optimism/positive outlook because there is always some good to discover around you.

"In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."

I stopped breathing for a few seconds and had to put the book down! It was like this moment let loose a storm of emotions but most of all the tension between Darcy and Elizabeth was at its peak. I had to take a break after finishing that particular scene.

"'Tis an etiquette I despise,' said he. 'If he wants our society, let him seek it. He knows where we live. I will not spend my hours in running after my neighbours every time they go away and come back again.'"

This is exactly what I wanted to say to Mrs. Bennet, and in this case, Mr. Bennet put it perfectly to her.

"After tea, Mr. Bennet retired to the library, as was his custom, and Mary went up stairs to her instrument. Two obstacles of the five being thus removed, Mrs. Bennet sat looking and winking at Elizabeth and Catherine for a considerable time, without making any impression on them. Elizabeth would not observe her; and when at last Kitty did, she very innocently said, 'What is the matter mamma? What do you keep winking at me for? What am I to do?'
'Nothing child, nothing. I did not wink at you.' She then sat still five minutes longer; but unable to waste such a precious occasion, she suddenly got up, and saying to Kitty, 'Come here, my love, I want to speak to you,' took her out of the room. Jane instantly gave a look at Elizabeth which spoke her distress at such premeditation, and her intreaty that she would not give in to it. In a few minutes, Mrs. Bennet half-opened the door and called out,
'Lizzy, my dear, I want to speak with you.'
Elizabeth was forced to go."
This was ONE of my biggest laugh-out-loud moments of this book. I just couldn't stop laughing imagining Mrs. Bennet winking away at the table to get her daughters to leave so Jane and Mr. Bingley could be alone. What was most funny was the way Kitty casually exposed her mother!

My Thoughts

I can't believe it took me so long to finally read Pride and Prejudice. I had watched the adaptations and remakes, read books that were inspired by it but had never picked up the original. I thought I knew exactly how the original would play out, and nothing would surprise me. But I was swept off my feet. There were so many things I loved about it - the characters, the pace, the humour, and the interactions. I only picked a few of my favourite moments above, but I assure you, there were many more.

The pace is important to me because I tend to find myself easily losing interest if the story moves too slowly. But I enjoyed how the story unfolded, how it took the characters to different places and engaged the reader at every point. What I really came to appreciate is how even today I could relate with the story, that I found myself nodding along to some of the conversations in agreement, that some of the family dynamics/interactions from back then instantly reminded me of moments and events I had with my own family. 

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy's relationship was a rollercoaster of emotions - they both came face to face with their shortcomings and overcame them during the course of the book, this in turn brought them together. The ending was beautiful and it truly warmed my heart, I couldn't stop smiling for ages after reading the book. 

The Aftermath

The first thing I did after finishing Pride and Prejudice was re-watch the film (2005) - I saw it all in a new found light, it was even more beautiful than all the other times I had watched it! I am tempted to watch it again, but I want to watch all the other versions too. One of my all-time favourite Pride and Prejudice related things is the 'Lizzie Bennet Diaries' on Youtube. I watched it about 4 years ago and there are 100 short episodes - and it is honestly so much fun. It is set in the modern day and Lizzie tells the story in the form of vlogs. It is super addictive and I very much recommend it, I might even re-watch that too! So much re-watching to do.

P.S. I made sure to take pretty pictures of the book too 💓

Books To Read [August]

Did July not just fly by? Summer break always manages to slip away so very quickly! I hope I can get lots of reading done in August before I am bombarded with my studies in September. Also, this month I have my driving theory test and I have a lot of preparing to do for that (I am procrastinating like a pro and trying to avoid picking up the revision book, help!)

Onto the main part of this post, here are a few of the books I plan to read this August. Hopefully I will successfully get through some of these. 

Books For Review

Books I Would Like To Read

If I can get through at least three of the books above in August, I will be super happy!

What books are you hoping to read this August? Any new releases this month that you can't wait to read? Anyone else's summer break going by too fast?