Tag Archives: Romance

Review: About a Girl by Lindsey Kelk

Cover image from Goodreads

Title: About a Girl
Author: Lindsey Kelk
Genre: Chick-Lit
Series: #1 A Girl
Publisher: Harper
DOP: 2013
Pages: 402
Rating: 4/5
ISBN: 978-0-00-749800-0
Twitter: @LindseyKelk

Tess Brookes has her life planned out. She works a crazy amount of hours for her job to receive the promotion she’s been dreaming of and although her best friend of ten years Charlie hasn’t noticed her yet, she’s convinced she’ll end up marrying him and live the happily ever after. That is, until the plan falls dramatically apart. After answering a phone call meant for her annoyingly stupid and bitchy roommate Vanessa, Tess decides to take the job and become Vanessa, traveling across the world to Hawaii, leaving the plan behind. What she doesn’t know, is that she’ll find a new Tess in Hawaii, a Tess that might change her life forever.

About a Girl is Lindsey Kelk’s first book in a new series and with her international I Heart-series being a hit, she’s set the bar high; extremely high for herself. Kelk is my favourite Chick-Lit author and with Alex having been my book boyfriend for such a long time, I wondered if Kelk could add another book boyfriend to the list with this brand new series and bring back the humour and adventures I fell in love with in her other books.

Of course, having read Kelk’s other books, I couldn’t resist comparing them, especially when they are all written in the same genre that, like it or not, has a few elements that are bound to reappear. Just like the I heart-series, our protagonist has to deal with her life falling apart, forcing her to reassess previous goals. Instead of dealing with this in a more acceptable and convenient way, the protagonist runs off to a different continent (Angela ran to New York, Tess goes to Hawaii). And just like Angela in the I Heart-series, there’s not one man but two added to the whirlpool of figuring out what to do next in Tess’ life and making everything a tad more difficult.

But that’s where all comparison stops. Whereas Angela tries to forget about her cheating boyfriend and meets two different men in New York, Tess is not forgetting her best friend while she meets cocky but handsome journalist Nick who’s everything that Charlie isn’t. Unlike the I Heart-series where I instantaneously fell in love with Alex, I couldn’t make up my mind between bad boy Nick and cute and loyal Charlie. This time, Tess creates her own mess right from the start, waving a web of lies that she might regret in the end. She will have to face the consequences of her impulsive decisions and whatever may or may not happen, that’s entirely up to you to find out.

Naturally, this wouldn’t be a Kelk book without some added drama that includes “fairy godmuggers” and “cockwombles” and some disrespect to the iPhone industry. Truly inspirational, that Tess. She’s funny and impulsive and loses her train of thought on more than one occasion until Tess believes she can be a person she’s clearly not (e.g. Tess the cocktail drinker and then, expressively retching to show how she’s not a cocktail drinker and won’t become one in the near future). It’s Tess but so much like Kelk too and why I love her books so much.

Kelk combines humour with drama and a few male characters along the journey that, not unlike her other books, About a Girl is the perfect read when you need an escape from reality and want to cuddle on your sofa when it’s snowing outside and you need to remind yourself that there is a place where temperatures above freezing point are possible…and if you come across this series during the summer, take it along for a nice, relaxing beach read!

Once you’ve finished reading this book, you can continue Tess’ adventure in What a Girl Wants, where the story takes place in fashion city Milan.

Have you read this book? Are you team Nick or team Charlie? Who do you think Tess will end up with? Would you choose for a new exciting life or would you rather stick to what you know and feel comfortable with?

More from Lindsey Kelk:

I Heart Series

I Heart New York // I Heart Hollywood // I Heart Paris // I Heart Vegas // I Heart London // I Heart Christmas*

==> Spin-offs: Jenny Lopez Has a Bad Week // Jenny Lopez Saves Christmas

A Girl Series

What a Girl Wants

Standalone

The Single Girl’s To-Do List // Always the Bridesmaid

*book reviews

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Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Cover image by GoodReads

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: YA, contemporary
Series: #1 If I Stay
Publisher: Speak
DOP: 2010 (originally 2009)
Pages: 234 (story itself) – the rest is extra content
Rating: 3.5/5
ISBN: 978-0-14-241543-6
Twitter: @gayleforman

It’s a snowy February morning when the local radio station announces the school closures, bringing Mia’s family together in a “wrong place at the wrong time” kind of situation but heartbreakingly, it is an every day’s reality. When Mia wakes up, the horror of what has happened slowly reaches through, putting her in a position with only two choices left: will she stay or will she let go?

Tainted with the hype coming from the release of the film adaptation and trailers on the Internet, I had formed a basic idea about this book. I already knew what was going to happen, hard to miss when watching the trailer, and the only thing that was left for me to discover was how this story would unfold itself in the book. Needless to say, I started reading this book with a certain level of expectation.

If I Stay begins with a sense of foreboding, the first sentence immediately warning that something isn’t as it should be and yet, the scene is so pure and homey when we meet Mia’s family this particular snowy morning. It’s the perfect family (maybe a bit too perfect?) and in that sense, it adds to the contrast of what’s to happen and increases the element of shock. The moment tragedy hits and the state Mia wakes up from, is so beautifully described that the scene was touchable and easy to imagine as if I was right there along with Mia. From that moment, the story alters between present time and the memories Mia has about her life, her family and her boyfriend Adam while she searches for the right answer to her question: what will happen if I stay?

There were several moments in this book that caused me to tear up, and I have two particular moments in mind: the one with Mia and her grandfather when he’s the first to acknowledge that Mia’s facing a tough decision and then the moment when Mia sees Willow and realises the meaning behind it. Along with the description of the event that has caused everything, these were my favourite moments of the book that made me appreciate the writing. With not many words, Gayle Forman managed to shock me and bring me to a set of teary eyes.

However, there were a few points that disappointed me. I can’t bring them all up out of fear for spoiling you in case you haven’t seen the film/trailer yet or haven’t read the book either but there’s one thing that I can mention and that’s Adam. I had expected so much more from him. Not him as in his character, but more like the purpose of his existence in relation to Mia’s condition. Does that make any sense? It took him so long to get to Mia that I expected him to be a part of that final decision and he wasn’t. Not really.

I liked this story, enough to continue watching the film adaptation last night and I’m confident I’ll be reading its sequel to find out more about Mia’s story. Maybe I expected too much from this based upon the hype and the trailer, I don’t know, but there were parts and scenes that made me hold my breath nevertheless. It was my first Gayle Forman book but definitely not my last.

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Image by GoodReads

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Vintage
DOP: 2012 (originally published in 2010)
Pages: 490
Rating: 4/5
ISBN: 978-0-099-57029-5
Twitter: @erinmorgenstern

When Celia, Prospero the Enchanter’s daughter, shows up after her mum’s suicide, he quickly finds out that Celia is anything but ordinary. He dares the man in the grey suit for a game, already convinced of his victory. Both Celia and Marco are raised, trained for the day when the game begins and they have to compete against each other.

Erin Morgenstern created a mysterious and magical story that elevates you to the world of The Night Circus. Divided into five parts, each having different chapters written from different point of views, the enchantment starts straight from the beginning as it is written in second person singular, immediately dragging you in the story. That, combined with the beautiful cover and the way the parts are illustrated, finalises the magical feeling.

If I had to choose a favourite character, it would be Poppet and Widget. From the moment they were introduced, the story gained a new level. Their enthusiasm was catching and their talent interesting. Their input was playful and serious at the same time but they were open to accept someone from outside the circus, breaking through the boundary that is the night circus.

However, although I could appreciate the writing, I had a hard time finishing the book.

One of the issues I had, was the fact the story was slow paced. I know it never meant to be rushed, giving us the time to enjoy the details and mysteriousness of the night circus but at the same time, it created a wall for me to climb every time I had to pick up the book again. A lot of things happened but I had the idea of everything standing still and not moving forward.

Some actions and motives weren’t thoroughly explained either and although this adds to the mystery of the story, it had me confused at some moments too. What was the purpose of the game? What did Prospero and Alexander gain while holding it?

I loved the dynamic of the circus and how the individual tents were conjured. The descriptions of the magic were different, inventive and inspirational in The Night Circus. Morgenstern succeeded in creating such a special story that will be remembered and take you on a magical adventure the moment you turn that first page.

Review: You’re the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

Cover by GoodReads

Title: You’re the One That I Want
Author: Giovanna Fletcher
Genre: Chick lit
Publisher: Penguin Books
DOP: May 22, 2014
Pages: 372
Rating: 4/5
ISBN: 978-1-405-90997-6
Twitter: @MrsGiFletcher

Maddy is minutes away from getting married to Rob, her childhood’s best friend, and she couldn’t have been happier. When her eyes stray to his best man Ben, her heart aches. If he’d give her one look, one signal, then she could be marrying him, her other best friend.

Compared to her debut novel, Billy and Me, this book was more emotionally developed, focusing on the characters’ growth whereas Billy and Me was more focused on the actual story.

You’re the One That I Want is one of those stories that take you on the life journey of three friends: Maddy, Ben and Rob. Since their first meeting, friendships develop and eventually blossom into love. Ben has been in love with Maddy since he first saw her but is too afraid that telling her will ruin the dynamics of their friendship. Maddy starts noticing Rob and Rob, well Rob is an enigma. He just happens to bounce along. But like any other love triangle story, something must go wrong.

Falling in love with Ben and the story was the easiest thing to do. Before I realised it, I was investing all my spare time to read this page-turner as fast as I could, hoping, begging and crying for some kind of epiphany! When that moment finally came, my world exploded/collapsed. I knew something was bound to happen in order to mess up our main characters’ lives but I didn’t see it coming until it did and when it did, the story truly began. Suddenly, I was taken on a wild flight of emotions racketing from one page to the other. What will happen? What will she do? What will he do? How are they going to fix this? were questions roaming inside my head. Maddy’s indecisiveness left me in the dark until the very end. It was amazing.

While I enjoyed reading this, I couldn’t help but dislike Maddy however. Maddy didn’t love until she was nudged into the right direction, making me question the sincerity of her relationships. She claimed love, betrayal and jealousy while before that moment she never showed any hints of feeling more. It would have been easier to accept her feelings if they had grown towards the explosion and hadn’t come afterwards.

Something else I’ve been wondering about: why write the story in alternating point of views of Ben and Maddy and not include Rob’s? Was it done on purpose? Probably. Was it brilliant? Sure! And yet it annoyed me. It felt incomplete to not being able to read how Rob experienced falling in love. It was a sneaky way of unconsciously portraying Rob as inferior compared to Ben and by doing this, manipulating us to root for Ben (at least I’m 100% team Ben even if I could have whacked him on the head sometimes). Unlike with Rob, we were privileged to be part of Ben’s thoughts and were able to form a connection with him.

In hindsight, it was mean to be pushed into a certain feeling but I say this with the best of intentions because it was brilliant. The feeling afterwards though…well, I suppose you’ll have to read the story and find out yourselves!

Are you team Ben or team Rob? What do you think about Maddy? 

Review: I heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk

I heart xmasTitle: I heart Christmas
Author: Lindsey Kelk
Series: I Heart (#6)
Genre: Chick-lit
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 347
DOP: November 2013
Stars: 4/5

Angela Clark is back and ready to celebrate Christmas in New York, Angela style. But then she gets a new job and Jenny’s got the idea she wants to have babies. If that’s not making her panic yet, Alex decides it’s time to grow up and gives Angela an early Christmas surprise. Louisa shows up with Grace, and her parents invite themselves over for the holidays. Angela’s Christmas promises to fall apart and so Angela does what only Angela does well: ignoring it all.

I stumbled upon this series by a friend’s recommendation a few months back but it wasn’t until the Christmas holidays when I started to read the books, and I fell in love straight away! I couldn’t put them down and once I finally managed to get my hands on a copy of I heart Christmas, it happened all over again.

In this instalment, Angela stays in New York, which differs from the previous five books when she travels to a different city each time. At first, I was a bit sceptical. Why change a vibe that everybody knows (and likes)? We already know New York and we had a Christmas (sort of) there as well. So what could Kelk do to make this one different and still likeable for her fans? The answer is simple: this, and the fact that we already know all the characters, gave Kelk a chance to take it up a notch. The daily drama of Angela’s life is still present but Kelk has added more grown-up related issues in this book. Angela’s story became more developed and kicks away from dramas such as exploding Louboutins (I’m still in shock about that though).

Although some of the issues Angela has to deal with are more evolved, it feels as if she’s stuck, making the same mistakes all over again. She isn’t learning nor growing up. She never seems to realise that the decisions she makes, affect other people too and Alex, bless his perfect little soul, puts up with it every time. I’m sure Kelk does this on purpose but I can’t help but hope that Angela stops making rash decisions or acting spontaneously without thinking of others. Otherwise I fear she might become a flat character and she’s already starting to annoy me. It is easy to hide a flat character if there’s only the one book but in a series, people expect growth and Angela doesn’t do any of that.

Besides that, Lindsey Kelk has a cunning way of making my heart swell with love and warmth for Alex (there’s never enough of him in the books). She makes me snort unlady-like at some of the things Angela gets herself into (something to do with a ventilation system) and she makes me laugh out loud in public, earning me the odd stare. But it’s so worth it! I would recommend the series (and the book!!) in case you haven’t read it yet. It’s fun, it’s heart breaking, it’s sometimes ridiculous (in a good way) and Alex is the boyfriend we all want but can’t find. It’s a great book to settle down with after an exhausting day.