Survival of the Richest – Skye Warren

Welcome back, this week I managed to read one of the books in my TBR pile. This book is about a young girl who is rich, but not in control of the money and has two rich guys competing for her attention. It sounds intriguing doesn't it?

Well we started out with a 15 yr old girl heading to her dad's yacht for spring break hoping for once that there isn't a new wife. Unfortunately there is a new wife, and this some there's a college aged kid involved as well. Given that she's still in high school I'm not sure it's entirely appropriate for two rich guys to be fighting over her...

Luckily it turns out that this was setting the scene for the rest of the book. Through a series of letters between Harper (the young girl) and Christopher (the college aged kid) we fast forward 3 years to when Harper is going to college. It feels like they might get together at this point in time. But Christopher always being the "good man" doesn't take advantage of Harper and let's things be. This felt a little silly to me given that he'd just travelled all the way to NYC to see Harper's art exhibit and kissed her. But boys will be silly and mess things up for themselves.

Since her dad died that night I can kinda understand why he backed off. But his treatment of her at the reading of the Will seemed a little over the top. Getting Harper to dislike him wasn't hard, but I don't think he needed to quite dig the knife in her back in quite the way he did. Harper understandably stays with her mum and does everything she can to ensure they are supported so that she doesn't have to marry a rich guy just to get by. Which is going to be pretty hard to do since the Will stipulated that she can access her trust for things like education and living costs. So long as it's used for her, and her alone. With Christopher to oversee it and ensure no money is spent to care for anyone other than Harper.

By this part of the book we've barely started. Does that give you an indication of how much more there is in this book? I really do love a book that gives you enough back story to get what's happening, without focusing on it too much so that we can still enjoy the rest of the story. In this case the story is 4 years later, Harper is now 22, and Christopher hasn't paid a credit card bill like he was meant to. And Harper is pissed. Cue the introduction of guy number two. Sutton. Turns out he's Christopher's business partner and loves to see shit hit the fan and is helping Harper so he can see Christopher lose his shit.

Which doesn't happen. At least not immediately. Sutton pursues Harper, and they do get pretty hot and heavy without doing the deed. It seems every time they get close, Christopher interupts them and makes a big song and dance about how Harper should stay away from Sutton because he's a bad guy. Since Christopher is a pretty controlling guy who always expects things to be done his way I can understand why Harper doesn't want to go to him. Even though she is still in love with him. Just coz she's in love with him doesn't mean she has to put up with that controlling behaviour. So good on Harper for getting out of there!

On the other hand Sutton takes her out, holds her hand, let's her make decisions and plays around. He seems like the obvious choice for Harper. But love is a strange thing. Especially when Sutton is willing to hurt himself to try and make Harper happy. I mean, in reality how often does that happen? For the sake of leaving some mystery to the book if you chose to read it I won't tell you what he does that leaves me completely confused and unsure where the book was going. But if you read it I'm sure you'll know where I started to get lost and unsure. It was bad enough I actually wasn't sure if I'd finish the book because it just seemed so weird and out of place and just wrong.

But I decided to finish it since I was about 80-85% of the way through the book already. And I can say, it doesn't end up being what I thought it'd be, but it's still weird. Harper ends up going back to her mum and she tries to move on. Except she has to go back one more time and do one last painting. And I love the work she does. She paints Cleopatra who was in a similar situation as an act of defiance and feminine power against the patriarchy. I love the passion behind her drive to paint her even though she knew she'd get destroyed anyway. It just felt so right and so powerful in the only way she really knew how to be.

And I loved that the book ended on the same note as this final painting. It just felt right. There is a second book that I think I will get and review in the coming months. This one is a duet so there is only the two books and I really want to know what happens next!

In the mean time I will be reading "Sweet Addiction" by J. Daniels next week. I hope you enjoyed this review and I look forward to seeing you all again next week!

When Good Friends Go Bad – Ellie Campbell

Welcome back all, this week's book's theme is a little bit different because it's looking at friendship relationships rather than sexual relationships. I hope you enjoy this one like I did, it was a great change of pace for me.

Jumping into this book I got a little confused because we jump between 3 different times; during high school, 10 years after high school and then nearly 20 years after high school. But I think this had more to do with me not paying attention to the chapter names than it being written poorly. I kinda barely glanced at them because I was so intent on just reading what happened next. Throughout this time however we're focused mainly on Jen's point of view out of all 4 girls.

So when we're jumping between the year's we learn little bit's and pieces of what happened during their years in  high school together, which I gota say sound pretty bad! My school was nothing like this, but at the same time I do see news reports of some of those things happening in some schools in Australia so it wasn't completely foreign to me.

But then they all lose track of each other after "something" happened at the end of one year and they all got pulled in separate directions by their parents. They don't expand on what this is until much later in the book, and in all honesty I don't think it was bad enough to separate them that completely and wholly. However, one of them, Rowan, wants to reconnect with them after about 10 years and so calls them and organises to meet up and reconnect. Unfortunately that experience doesn't work out so well.

Rowan never turns up, Georgina is pregnant by Jen's high school sweet heart, Meg is typically a little bit crazy and drags off some woman's man in an attempt to land some acting gigs. Jen on the other hand realises she's pregnant by her boyfriend who's 8 years younger than her and starts freaking out. As she's panicking about this potentially being true her high school sweetheart knocks on her door in the middle of the night wanting to "talk". Needless to say Jen ignores him, leaves early in the morning to get a pregnancy test and go back to her boyfriend to break the news to him. Throughout these chapters I was a bit shocked at how the girls were treating each other buy also trying to figure out why Rowan never showed. Was she in a car accident driving there? Was she really as forgetful as they all say? But my gut was telling me it was something more sinister.

Fast forward to "now", which is almost 20 years after high school and Jen's marriage to Ollie (the younger boyfriend) is falling apart, Georgina is a success but not at all happy in her marriage to Jen's high school sweetheart, Meg is broke and Rowan is missing.

Cue the main storyline for the book! The quest to find and save Rowan. The girls work together in a number of ways while trying to hide certain aspects of their life out of shame of appearing to be a failure. After quite a few up's and downs, confusion on my part on why they were treating each other that way and conflicting gut feelings we finally find Rowan.

And it was NOT what I was expecting! To be honest, after all their research and lack of finding any trace of Rowan I was expecting to find her buried in a grave somewhere. So to find her alive and in hiding was a big shock for me. I mean, why would someone willingly put themselves back into the pre-technology time in the middle (ok technically she was outside of the township) of some rural Wale's town?

And then we find out about how she was abused sexually before entering into a relationship that resulted in domestic violence. Even though he didn't beat her silly, he still controlled every aspect of her life. Which is a part of domestic violence that a lot of people forget about, which is a shame because that is often much harder to walk away from than physical violence. But I'm really glad that her friends stuck by her and they faced her attacker together and managed to fend him off. I'm hoping it's for good but in reality I doubt it. In reality I feel like he'd just try to be sneakier about it.

But the part of this book that I really enjoyed in the end was Ollie and Jen realising that they both still loved each other. And that they both just needed to find their love of life again for the relationship to feel better, more alive and overall feel the love again. I really loved this ended after spending the whole book on a rollercoaster of emotions changing directions constantly.

Thankyou for reading this weeks review and I look forward to seeing you again when I review "The Makings of a Lady" by Catherine Tinley next week!

Lightweight – Kirsty McManus

Welcome back all. I seem to be reading at an even faster pace than I expected while on holiday's so I'm working myself further and further ahead on my schedule than I had originally anticipated! Normally I work about 3 weeks in advance to make sure reviews are ready to go, but I seem to have worked myself into over a month in advance! Which is not normal for me!

Anyway, I'll just into the book because I really enjoyed reading this while flying from NZ to Brisbane, and then from Brisbane to Fiji. My first thought when I started reading this one was "is this Australian?" because a few things jumped out immediately as locations I'd been to when visiting my mum in Brisbane. Turns out my hunch is right and this is set in the sunny (if not spider infested city, not that that's mentioned anywhere in the books!) relaxed city of Brisbane in Australia's north eastern state of Queensland.

Jumping into the book we join Isla on the day she finds out her ex uploaded a nude photo he took of her onto a revenge porn website. And even though she's tried, the website is run out of a country that doesn't care about women's rights and so the photo is left sitting out there in cyber space for anyone to find if they want.

Then fast forward a few months and Isla has gained a number of kilos (we find out later it's about 25kgs) and is constantly indulging her sweet tooth. Until that is someone who works for a bakery Isla is buying more sweets from asks her when she's expecting her child, obviously mistaking her for being pregnant. Like women have to put up with that kind of crap from men enough as it is. Why do we have to take it from other women?

And this is the moment her cousin Grace calls her "Kawasaki moment". The moment she realises she's hit rock bottom and decides to change her life for the better. And I think we've all been those those moments in regards to some part of our life at one time or other. I know for me it was when I was needing to buy size 12 clothes (my body size naturally should sit in a 6, and don't judge! I'm short as and short tends to means skinnier!) and that's when I realised I needed to get back to my normal size. Or at the very least into a small 8! So Isla calls Grace (who btw is a model and super into fitness) and Grace starts coaching her on nutrition and healthy habits including exercise.

So Isla starts this journey and it was so refreshing to read about someone who fell off the wagon, didn't always go to the gym but kept eating healthy etc. Because I know it's really hard to keep up those habits when shit hits the fan and work gets so busy you don't have time or motivation for the gym. I love the feeling of being fit and looking good but that doesn't mean I don't feel like going straight home to a glass of wine, or a tv show, or a book or a game sometimes. I'm not saying I don't try to go but sometimes one little thing going wrong is enough to make those other options way more enticing than going to the gym! So it was really reading about someone else who faced the same struggles as I constantly do.

And on top of that she's trying to navigate her way through multiple job changes and challenges (just like me) and try and maintain a relationship (ok, so I don't quite fit the bill here but sometimes it feels like it as every relationship has it's ups and downs. I'm lucky mine is mostly up 🙂 ) and make her life the life she wants for herself.

To hear about how she can face her fears head on and get through it in a way that feels real is amazing as well. I know I for one don't face my fears as gracefully or maturely as Isla does. I'm prone to hissy fits and tantrums when it come's to facing my fears so kudo's to Isla! And kudo's to Kirsty who has written this in such a way that it feels really real to me. Even the comment about fashion in Australia being about 6 months behind America and Europe! Little details like that really made this book so much more enjoyable.

Throughout this book I really felt like I could relate to Isla which got me way more emotionally invested in this novel. I hope you've enjoyed this post, if you have please like or comment!

Thankyou for reading and I will see you next week when I review the "Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine World's" by Columbkill Noonan.

Reinventing Mona – Jennifer Coburn

Welcome back all, I will be back at work by the time this post gets published and while writing this right at the start of my 2 week holiday (literally first thing I did when I got home was put a load of washing on, get some alcohol for the night and then sit down to finish this book!) I can honestly say I wish my holiday was longer.

I started this book only a few days ago and I really enjoyed it. This one follows a girl named Mona who is like a total introvert and has basically never dated. We start of the book hearing about how the guy she buys coffee from every morning can't remember her order but can remember most other people's order. That's how nondescript she is. At this stage I kinda feel sorry for Mona. I mean, I'm kinda an introvert as well but never to the point that Mona is described as.

But the one thing Mona did that I can say I don't have the guts to do, was to leave her job when redundancies were announced. I faced a similar situation only a few months ago (for context there's at least 3 big companies in Australia doing the redundancy thing atm) and was petrified. I realised at this point in time that other than work and my boyfriend I didn't really have much going on in my life and realised how boring I am. And yet Mona is in an even worse position in that she doesn't even have a boyfriend.

So I have gota tip my hat to that woman for having the guts to realise when her life sucks and taking the bull by the horns to change the path her life was going down. After taking the package she hires a chauvinist pig to help her "woo" the guy of her dreams, takes a pole dancing lesson and starts taking boxing and singing lessons. the pole dancing was to introduce her to her sexy side, but the rest were all for her. Since she's from a rich family I can see how the need for an income isn't as stressful for her as it was for me. But those are still massive changes to make in your life.

Not only did she do those, but she found a whole new group of friends (or should I say 2 groups?) and turned her life around within 12 months. She really found herself, learnt to be comfortable with who she was and made something of her life. To read about how she did this really inspired me. Especially when the guy of her dreams professed his love and she didn't instantly say yes to a marriage proposal. She did the smart thing whereby she said yes to dating him and seeing where it went. Just to make sure he was being sincere.

There were quite a few moments where I felt like doing a face palm because of how silly Mona's moves were. But hey. She got to where she wanted to be in the end. Surrounded by family, being loved and being happy. It wasn't quite the picture she had planned. But sometimes life takes those turns and you gota just roll with it and see where it takes you.

So I'm really glad this one focused on making yourself happy and while you're at it finding the guy of your dreams. And when you find him, take it slow and make sure it's real. I feel like too many people jump in too quickly and then they end up with a failed relationship where they've lost themselves somewhere along the way. Whereas with Mona, I don't think that will happen.

I kinda wish there was more to this story but at the same time I really enjoyed how it ended and I can honestly say if another one of Jennifer's books comes up for sale I would be happy to read them.

So until next week, I hope you've enjoyed this post. Don't forget to like and comment if you enjoyed this one. I will see you next week with "An Unconventional Affair" by Mollie Blake.

The Wedding Season – Samantha Chase

Welcome back to another week and another new book! This book was centred around a girl, her best friend (who's a guy) and his brother. Without even getting into the book we've already got a love triangle going on!

As we get into the book it turns out that our girl (Tricia) leads a rather boring life of work, friends weddings and talking to her best friend via Skype. Where we kick off Tricia has just received more wedding invites meaning that she's up to 6 weddings to attend that summer. Luckily her best friend Sean was due back before the first wedding and said he'd go to all of the weddings with them. And as part of this, they could pretend like they were dating so that both could avoid all the annoying set up situations and questions. I was pretty surprised at this stage that a single guy would be willing to do this. I can't say I know any guys that would pretend to date me if we were single to attend weddings for friends to avoid all the annoying setting up stuff that goes with them.

So the fact that Sean is willing to do that is quite a surprise. Instead his brother ends up going with Tricia to carry out the plan to save her the embarrassment of going alone. While executing this plan they end up getting involved romantically only for it to end up on the rocks with Sean coming between them. While all this was playing out I was so confused. Trying to figure out how this had happened, how Sean's mum had made sure it happened. And in the end how Tricia and Sean's brother end up making it work.

It's not 100% figured out at the end of the book which I liked. But they felt like they were on their way. One of my pet peeves with a lot of romance books is how everything is going amazingly well, then something happens to derail the whole relationship, only for them to figure things out JUST IN TIME for the end of the book. Often in ways that are so over the top and unrealistic I'm left going "ahhhh when and how does that ever actually happen?". So to have a book bring in the issues of family and distance among other things and the fact that they aren't 100% resolved by the end of it is a refreshing change. I really enjoyed that perspective and I can see how Samantha can build on that in the rest of the series.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks post. It was a little shorter than normal because I didn't want to spoil the book for anyone. When I see you next week I will be reviewing "The Viscounts Mistress"  by Claire DuLac.

As always, please comment or like the post if you enjoyed reading it.