Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley – Kelly Miller

Welcome back everyone, I’m continuing this week with another regency novel. This one is less of a romance than the Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquis and more of a reflection on what’s important in life.

At the beginning of the book Kelly gives a brief introduction to the language she’s chosen to use for the book, great idea! By setting me up with the expectation that the language is going to be different to what I’m used to hearing every day I wasn’t shocked and the transition to comfortably reading it wasn’t too long.

Based on my limited knowledge of the original Pride and Prejudice, which this is meant to be a continuation of, I’m assuming the choice of language was deliberate to ensure it remained as true to the original story as possible.

Given the blurb I was expecting Darcy to have a kind of three ghosts of Christmas experience. Yet Kelly surprised me by having the angel of death be surprisingly human and compassionate. By bringing more characters than just Darcy and Elizabeth into the fold Kelly was able to weave a story that reminded me of so many life lessons. The type that most people can only learn through experience.

By incorporating a raft of characters into this story Kelly was able to include more life lessons and considerations than would’ve been possible with just Darcy and Elizabeth. It felt so well done without being over the top that it really worked.

The key themes I felt expressed throughout were those of love, acceptance, forgiveness, thinking before acting and their impacts on others when either displayed, or not displayed. The little twist at the end was such a sweet touch that left me feeling really happy with how everything was left.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Cake Fairies by Isabella May. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Historical fiction author Kelly Miller discovered writing late in life, but it has quickly become a favorite pastime. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she may be found playing the piano, singing, reading, or walking. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets.

Single All the Way – Elaine Spires

Welcome back everyone, after a busier November than I’d anticipated I’m kicking off the Christmas month with a book set over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This one ended up being a bit of a disappointment to me. I went into it expecting a romantic comedy and was left quite underwhelmed. The story itself was mostly fine. It was the delivery that didn’t quite do it for me. However, as an inspiring, life lesson kind of read this is amazing.

The first thing I need to say about this book was that its chapters were “days”, meaning some chapters took me an hour or so to read. I think this could have been done better if the days were “parts” to the book, and the character’s points of view were the chapters.

I think this would give the reader a cleaner point where they could stop reading rather than hoping they remember what was said when they put it down halfway through a conversation because you don’t know when the next natural break is.

The next point I was to talk about is the amount of characters used. Usually, the books I read follow one or two characters and might alternate their points of view between those two characters. Or, you might have a few other characters thrown in, but the point of view sticks to the main two characters.

In this book I couldn’t figure out who the story was meant to be about and (if I can remember correctly) the point of view alternated between 10+ characters. The only other book I’ve come across that uses to many characters is Game of Thrones, and George R.R. Martin has a chapter to each character, titled as the character’s name, making it easier to follow. In this case the character changes happened at mini breaks in the chapters and because of the amount of characters used, I often struggled to figure out who I was reading about.

The final thing I want to mention is the feel of the book. When I finished this book, I left it feeling like “romantic comedy” is the wrong way to market it. Instead, I think it should be marketed as a story that shows the trials and tribulations people face in their everyday life. The key messages I felt resonating with me were that of acceptance and love for all — including yourself, forgiveness, honesty and communication.

Even though it wasn’t quite the fun read I thought it would be, I finished it with more of a life lesson, key take away kind of feel. If you want to read about how different people face a range of issues (sexuality, grief, guilt, family secrets, being single later in life etc) then this is an inspiring read I urge you to read.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Lasairiona E. McMaster’s The Good in Goodbye, the sequel to Intimate Strangers. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels.

Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.

Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019! 

Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

A Forgiven Friend – Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape

Welcome back everyone, we’ve got the final review for October with a Rach Random Resources tour.

First off, I want to note that this book is written by two authors which might explain one of my problems with the book. Before I go into the negatives though I want to talk about the positive points!

Rather than being a romance (like so many of my other books) it’s a straight up story about the friendship between two women. There aren’t too many books that explore this dynamic, so it was interesting to read this, especially since both points of view are written.

Unfortunately, other than the writing being well written there’s not much else I can say that’s good about it.

I wasn’t drawn into the story, although I think this has more to do with this being the 3rd book and there was no set up or recap at the start to tell me who’s who. It felt like each other had chosen a character each and written their side of the story without checking that they were writing the same thing when they wrote about the same interaction from both sides. There were at least 2 instances where this happened and the phrases they said differed, and even their reactions and movements were different for each character.

I also found Teri hard to relate to given she was so self-obsessed. But then again, I guess that lack of self esteem and her personality as a result was one of the things the authors wanted to explore. Instead I constantly found myself wishing I could bitch-slap her and yell at her to calm the F down and let other people get on with their lives without her needing to be the constant centre of attention.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I’ll be reviewing #Jerk by Kat T. Masen. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape are both former newspaper journalists with extensive experience of working for national and regional papers and magazines, and in public relations.

More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism – Sue at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity University.

The pair, who have been friends for almost 30 years, wrote two successful journalism text books together – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction (both published by Sage), before deciding to turn their hands to fiction.

The first novel in their Friends series, A Falling Friend, was released in 2016. A Forsaken Friend followed two years later, and the final book in the trilogy, A Forgiven Friend, published on November 19.

Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, and the most ‘gorgeous granddaughter in the whole world’, loves reading, writing and Nordic walking in the beautiful countryside near her Yorkshire home.

Susan is married and lives in a village near Leeds, and, when not writing, loves walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. She is also a member of a local ukulele orchestra.

Book Lovers Book List
Sue’s Twitter
Susan’s Twitter

You, Me and the Movies – Fiona Collins

Welcome back everyone, although this isn’t a Christmas story like last week’s review. It’s begins around Christmas. I’m calling it that it’s still in the spirit of this season!

I’m just gonna put it out there. This book is classified as a romance, but it felt more like a self discovery story to me. Yes, this centred around a romance. But I honestly felt like I was reading Arden’s story of growth, pain, change and her friendships.

Arden had her ups and downs, just like anyone does. Her life took unexpected turns that didn’t give her the big amazing life Mac imagined she’d have. But she kept going. She lived for her son. She had the courage to change in the face of adversity, for her son. She found the courage to renew friendships she thought she’d lost and didn’t deserve.

Those actions speak so much louder to me than the romantic connection and memories from her time with Mac. With each chapter swapping between the past and the present, you get a sense of who Arden was, while experiencing who she is now.

I may have imagined it, but it felt like the chapters written about the past were written in a reflective style. Whereas the ones set now felt like there were written in the moment. If I did imagine it then I’m sorry! But I did feel like there was a difference in the writing style which helped to grow and develop the story.

The main thing I loved about this story was the deep meaning and value of friendships that’s displayed throughout the book. The messages coming through during these times were so intense that it caused me to reflect on my own friendships, past and present, to see how I could be a better friend to others.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I go back to a typical Christmas book with Lucy Coleman’s Magic Under the Mistletoe.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Welcome back everyone, we move from a Christmas love story to an award-winning fiction novel. I was given this one for Christmas last yr and was sceptical about reading it but lots of people I work with assured me I’d love it.

The way people raved about this book I expected it to be profound and almost soul inspiring. Yet I was left hanging without ever finding out what was going on with Eleanor. It’s obvious something is wrong, but it’s never explained what it is.

For a book that felt like it was going to have a strong message around mental health awareness it felt like it missed the mark by a long way. Other than the fact that she suffers yet also feels many of the same feelings as others there’s nothing unique or informative about what she’s going through. I would’ve loved to have found out what exactly she was suffering with and then seen those around her support her in a way that shows mental illness can’t hold you back.

In the end the only reason I finished the book was because I’d been assured that all Eleanor’s oddities would be explained because it’d be shoved in my face so much it’d be impossible to miss. If I had have known that I wouldn’t get any answers I would’ve DNF. But I was assured all the answers would be given to me.

If you’ve read it and can help me out, please do. Because I honestly think there was so much missing.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Saturday I’ll be reviewing A Cosy Christmas in Cornwall by Jane Linfoot.

Brooklyn – Colm Toibin

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed the latest instalment of the Shift series. The rest of my reviews for that series will be coming out over the coming month! This is my VERY FIRST book box ever! So I of course had to take some photo’s when it arrived. And I gotta say, the people who pick what to send me are GOOD.

Writing Style

I feel like I’ve been learning a lot about writing in the past week (thanks to an editor at work who keeps telling me to make changes to my work until it’s “good enough” lol) but at the same time learning nothing. (Case in point, that sentence started with a “so” and I just removed it coz I got told off for doing that too much!)

Anyway! Brooklyn feels like it was written in the style that people in the 1940s-1950s thought and behaved. It was very much formal, with properly structured sentences and thoughts throughout the story.

If I was reading this going to and from work, I’d probably find the writing style a bit dull. Since I was reading this to chill in the evenings with a glass of wine before going to bed, I found it perfect. There was nothing too complex going on, what I was reading was what was happening.

Perfect to just relax with when your brain and eyes are tired and just want to go to sleep. On that note, I did stay up late 2 nights in a row because I couldn’t put the book down.  

Initial Thoughts

Going into this after reading the blurb, I thought there’d be some serious drama, intrigue etc going on throughout the book.

What I got on the other hand was a story written like a journal of a very plain, boring girl in a quiet, country town of Ireland. Her sister Rose on the other hand sounded like quite the character, and the one I’d normally expect the story to be about.

As I read more and more about Eilis, I wondered how on earth she ended up along in Brooklyn. Turns out her sister secured her passage and a job there through an Irish priest.

Not so interesting, but I figured the interesting stuff would happen once she got to Brooklyn. So, I kept reading.

Final Thoughts

Up until Eilis went back home and ended up meeting Jim, I was really liking the book. When Jim was introduced and they struck up a friendship (progressing towards marriage), I was getting more and more confused.

Honestly, I didn’t like what Colm did with that relationship. I know when people are young, long distance relations can have the feelings diminish a little with distance. But that just felt weird.

Without spoiling the story for you I can’t explain exactly why this left such a bad taste in my mouth. Up until the last section of the book when Eilis extends her stay in Ireland, I quite liked the book. If I could re-write that last section or just end it just before it turned bad, I’d be much happier.

Since this book doesn’t even use chapters I can’t tell you where you might as well stop reading. Sorry guys.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing One? by Jennifer Cahill.

A Conversation with a Cat – Stephen Spotte

Welcome back everyone, I hope you’ve been enjoying all the posts that have been coming out recently. Today’s review is another one from BookGlow, and I feel like I started off strong with the Autobiography of Satan and I’ve reached a point where I really struggled.

I went into this book thinking I’d be reading about some fantasy style version of the world where we can talk to cats. So, I was quite disappointed when it turns out that you just have to be high and drunk.

We started off the story hearing about how the main guy went fishing and ended up needing to get his gall bladder removed once he got home. And how from that he was high on pain killers and spent quite a bit of time drinking. Until he was outside one night and his cat suddenly starts talking to him.

Then the next challenge I faced while reading this was that I didn’t find the story engaging. The style of the writing was bad enough for me. But then the fact that there were very few paragraph breaks and there were only 8 chapters meant I didn’t have any natural spots to stop.

And what made it even worse for me was the fact that there were multiple times where one sentence spanned 1-2 pages. How does this even happen?!

I will allow that I had my Kindle zoomed in slightly, so I didn’t have to wear my glasses while I read. But I didn’t have it zoomed in THAT much! I even showed a friend who agreed the sentences were way too long.

And then at the end of the story, after spending pretty much the whole book focussed on Cleopatra, we all of a sudden are finding out about the cat’s life before he was adopted by the guy he’s been talking to.

As much as I wanted to oy this, because the idea sounded really cool, I really felt there is a lot of improvements that need to be made. Firstly, by having an editor go through it thoroughly. Those sentences, paragraphs and chapters need to be shorter. Hopefully that will help create some natural breaks and give it the improvements it deserves.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Saturday I will be reviewing The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke.

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