Tuesday 9 April 2024

Somewhere In The Sunset by Estelle Maskame | Book Review

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My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Ink Road
Publication date: 11th April 2024

Two perfect strangers in San Francisco. Gracie and Weston have their futures mapped out.

Gracie's future is glossy, glam and loved-up. Flawless like her influencer lifestyle. Weston's is all tattoo parlors, hitting the bar on the regular, and earning his police officer's badge. Tough guy, or so he tells himself.

What they have in common is heartbreak. In the aftermath of shattered romances, they're reeling. Gracie's been unceremoniously dumped... by the guy who promised to be her forever. While Weston is realizing he never showed his ex quite how much he loved her.

When two sets of friends stage an intervention - no more pity parties - worlds collide in a downtown club. There's spilled drinks, thrown punches and ugly tears in the back of an Uber. Not exactly a cute meet-cute.

Their futures uncertain, Gracie and Weston gravitate toward one another. The chemistry between them is undeniable - but they're just friends, right. Right?

Cue unexpected - and blush-worthy - lessons in dating etiquette, life skills and forging a connection to make your heart stand still. Somewhere in the Sunset has all the feels.

Oh, and the sex is fire.

Oh, this book is beautiful. This is the author's first foray into adult fiction having previously written YA novels and it is just gorgeous. I had read a lot of heavy books recently so was looking for a light palate cleanser. I didn't expect my heart to be broken!

It's Gracie Taylor's twenty-second birthday and her boyfriend of seven years has just left her. She is understandably heartbroken. They lived together, ran a popular couple's YouTube account and had amassed a huge following across their social media. It feels like she's lost everything.

Weston Reed is a twenty-three year old rookie cop and his girlfriend of four years has broken up with him. She didn't feel appreciated by him and he realises just how much he took her for granted. 

Their friends take them out to a nightclub and Weston and Gracie's paths cross. Both in similar situations, they find themselves supporting each other and getting each other through this tough time in their lives. They soon realise that it might be more than just a friendship.

I don't want to give too much away with how the book ends but I absolutely devoured this in less than 24 hours. I loved the characters and I could feel the turmoil that they felt of still being in love with their exes but feeling guilty for potentially starting a new relationship so soon.

My heart aches but the ending is beautiful. Gracie's character development is just what she needed.

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Flawless by Elsie Silver | Book Review

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Title & Author: Flawless by Elsie Silver
My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication date: 10th February 2023

The rules were simple... Keep my hands off his daughter and stay out of trouble.
But now I'm stuck with her. There's only one bed. And, well, rules are made to be broken.

I'm the golden boy of professional bull riding. Or at least I was until it all blew up in my face. Now, my agent says I have to clean up my image, so I'm stuck with his ball-busting daughter for the rest of the season as my "full-time supervision."

But I don't need a goddamn babysitter, especially one with skin-tight jeans, a sexy smirk, and a mouth she can't stop running.. A mouth I can't stop thinking about.

She says this means nothing.

I say this means everything.

She says there are boundaries we shouldn't cross. That my reputation can't take any more hits-and neither can her damaged heart.

I say I'm going to steal it anyway.

My review:
I bought the entire Chestnut Springs series because of the hype then proceeded not to start it for months... because of the hype. I am kicking myself because I flew through the other four books in the series within two weeks. I became obsessed with these characters!

Rhett Eaton is a bull rider in his early thirties. It's all he's ever known and could never imagine giving it up. After a PR disaster, Rhett's agent Kip Hamilton has his work cut out for him when it comes to cleaning up his reputation.

Kip's daughter, twenty-five-year-old Summer has recently graduated law school and is working with her father. Kip decides to assign Summer essentially as Rhett's babysitter to ensure he stays out of trouble and to coach him for interviews.

Of course, a romance develops and I absolutely love how it was paced. It felt so real and unrushed. Both of these characters had their own issues but stayed true to themselves throughout. I would never really class myself as a cowboy romance girl but I was really interested in those aspects too.

It is a little spicy in parts and I adored the entire Eaton family and Rhett's protégé Theo Silva. 

Saturday 16 March 2024

Blessings by Chukwuebuka Ibeh | Book Review

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My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Viking Books
Publication date: 22nd February 2024

When Obiefuna's father witnesses an intimate moment between his teenage son and the family's apprentice, newly arrived from the nearby village, he banishes Obiefuna to a Christian boarding school marked by strict hierarchy and routine, devastating violence. Utterly alienated from the people he loves, Obiefuna begins a journey of self-discovery and blossoming desire, while his mother Uzoamaka grapples to hold onto her favourite son, her truest friend.

Interweaving the perspectives of Obiefuna and his mother Uzoamaka, as they reach towards a future that will hold them both, BLESSINGS is an elegant and exquisitely moving story of love and loneliness. Asking how we can live freely when politics reaches into our hearts and lives, as well as deep into our consciousness, it is a stunning, searing debut.

This novel is beautifully written and heartbreaking at the same time.

Blessings is a coming-of-age story following Obiefuna in Nigeria. He is caught in a compromising position with his father's assistant, Aboy, and he realises that he is gay. His father instantly sends him to a seminary, keeping the reason for this secret from Obiefuna's mother and brother. 

The novel follows his life at the seminary and into university when he meets his partner Miebi, the criminalisation of homosexuality in Nigeria in 2014 and what that means for their relationship.

Obiefuna's relationship with his mother Uzoamaka is beautiful and the novel really focuses on his Obiefuna's loneliness, surviving a strict Christian boarding school and love. Stunning. 

Saturday 17 February 2024

Mayluna by Kelley McNeil | Book Review

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My rating: 5/5
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication date: 1st February 2024

In the 1990s, Carter Wills was the lead singer of the English alt-rock band Mayluna, securing his place among music legends. His tortured-heart lyrics struck a chord. And so did his secret connection to a woman whose love changed all their lives. Who was she?

Evie Waters’s two grown children discover an iconic photo in an old magazine of a “mystery girl” with Carter: their mother. It all started in a wistful time and place for Evie, her twenty-fifth summer. A young columnist forging her career. Backstage euphoria. A long-shot interview. And an almost cosmic connection with an enigmatic musician on the rise.

What happened between them is a hidden story no one, not even Evie’s family, knows. Until now. Worlds apart, Carter and Evie finally reveal the story—joyful, regretful, and unforgettable. It was a time when the stars aligned for a love so profound the whole world felt it. It was as if it would last forever.

At the time of writing this review, I have just finished the book, my eyes are full of tears and my heart is beating hard against my chest. This book is beautiful and heartbreaking.

Mayluna, a British alt-rock band are telling their story to a journalist on the way to their next gig in Rio. When questioned about a particular photo with a girl known simply as "mystery girl in studio", frontman Carter Wills finally shares who Cameron Leigh was.

Through alternating chapters, Evie Waters' husband Steve has just died and their adult children Lucas and Lainey are reminiscing through boxes in their childhood home. They discover a lot of magazines featuring Mayluna and upon landing on the same photo, they realise "mystery girl in studio" reminds them a lot of Lainey.

Evie finally recounts the story of her life before children to them and it feels like a completely different person in comparison to the mother they knew. How she went by a pen name and was trying to make a name for herself in the world of journalism. How she fell in a deep love with Mayluna's Carter Wills and the story right up until present day. It is sort of a "one that got away" tale but the love was never gone. 

Kelley McNeil writes in the most beautiful way, I have highlighted so many stunning lines. I absolutely fell in love with these characters and although some tough decisions were made, the exploration of them were handled very well. 

I was fully immersed in this world and felt every emotion. I got 92% into the book before my heart plummeted into my chest and I realised how it was going to end. The very last two chapters were absolutely perfect. Kelley McNeil, you have shattered my heart into a million pieces.