‘Country Heaven’ – Ava Miles

I love it when you find a new book series that you really lose yourself in! That is exactly what happened when I came across book one in the Dare River series. This is one of those books that makes you smile. It is easy to read and really enjoyable. It also has recipes throughout which I can’t wait to try!

Tory is a cook with crippling debts to pay off. When she meets Rye, a country singer, he gives her an offer she can’t refuse. Cook for him when he’s on tour and be paid. Perfect! Apart from the fact that Rye’s PR team decide she is perfect to improve his image…

Before they know it Rye and Tory form a bond over her food and his family. Tory helps Rye become the man he forgot he was. But nothing is ever that simple…

Tory is a brilliant character. She’s strong, kind, loyal and honest. Exactly what Rye needs. Rye begins as a typical bad boy but soon becomes a strong, family man who they can depend on. 

After finishing this I immediately bought the rest of the Dare River series and I can’t wait to get stuck in!

Definitely found a new favourite author. 

‘Unravelling’ – Elizabeth Norris

unravelling

I was sucked in from the start of this book. It’s not often the heroine gets killed as soon as you open the book! Janelle Tenner dies… but she is brought back to life by a mysterious boy at her school. Her Dad works for the FBI and there is a countdown that is counting down the days until the world ends. Simple enough?

I loved the character of Janelle, she’s a strong heroine and battling her own demons as well as looking after her family. I also loved Ben. Tall, handsome, mysterious, romantic, what is not to like? There are some great characters in this book, characters you care for and don’t want something bad to happen to. That’s part of why I was so eager for them to figure out the countdown, I started to really like the little group of people I had been introduced to.

I loved that the chapters, like the countdown, were counting down to the the climax of the novel.The short chapters also created a great sense of urgency and made you want to keep reading and hope they figured it all out before the countdown ended.

The plot twist did take me by surprise but I liked it, it wasn’t what I expected and that was a good thing I think. It’s good to be kept on your toes! 😉 I sped through the last hundred pages as I needed to know what was going to happen. I’m definitely going to read the sequel at some point.

Have you read Unravelling? What did you think?

‘The Final Empire’ – Brandon Sanderson

The Final Empire

Where to begin. Wow. Just wow. I love this book. A friend recommended it to me just after Christmas and told me to buy the box set. She was so confident that I would love it that she said she would buy it off of me if I didn’t. Of course, that didn’t happen because I fell in love with this book and it is now one of my favourites of all time!

The Final Empire is the first in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. It tells the story of Kelsier, the Survivor of Hathsin, who is hired to start a rebellion against the Final Empire. It also follows Vin, a new recruit, who learns she is a Mistborn and powerful Allomancer like Kelsier. The story is brilliant, it is gripping and once you start you don’t want to stop. You get invested in the characters and root for them and the fall of the Final Empire. The Allomancy is really interesting too and Vin’s training with Kelsier is one (of many) of my favourite bits. This was my first real fantasy read and it has opened a can of worms. I have so many more I want to read now that I have discovered this genre.

There are so many great characters but Vin and Kelsier and my favourite and my ship. I was rooting for them throughout the book. They have such a great relationship. Kelsier teaches Vin how to trust again.

The ending almost killed me. No one warned me how emotional it would make me but I am warning you. The ending is… Just be prepared. This is a must read. I could ramble about it forever but I honestly cannot recommend it enough. My first Brandon Sanderson novel but by no means my last.

‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ – M. R. Carey

The Girl With All The Gifts

I received this as a gift and had never heard of it before but I was hooked from the start. The story follows the character of Melanie, a young girl who has classes most days and loves to learn. The difference is that she is strapped to a chair and locked in a cell when she isn’t in class. Melanie is a zombie and studying her and a group of similar children is the only hope of finding a cure.

It is a brilliant read; really thought provoking. I really felt for Melanie, she is just a little girl who loves to learn and doesn’t understand, at first, why people are so afraid of her. I don’t want to spoil it but she turns out to be the strongest character in the book. You won’t be able to put this down. I couldn’t. Give it a try.

‘The Girl at the Lior D’Or’ – Sebastian Faulks

Girl at the Lion D'Or

I loved this book! I went to buy another Faulks novel (‘Charlotte Gray’) and was disappointed to find that they were sold out. So I picked this book up knowing it was one of three books, which included ‘Charlotte Gray’, that Faulks refers to as his France Trilogy as they are all set in France and have the common character of Charles Hartmann.

The character of Anne is so real and honest that you can’t help but relate to her and invest yourself in her journey. More than anything I wanted her to get her happy ever after. She has experienced so much tragedy in her life that she deserves to find happiness, and she does to an extent with Charles Hartmann. Hartmann is married but finds himself in love with Anne and wants to protect her from tragedy and hurt.

The love story of Anne and Hartmann is both beautiful and frustrating. Ultimately it’s downfall is Hartmann’s conscience. Knowing he must stay with his wife and that it is not fair for Anne to be second best, he ends the relationship though it causes him much pain to do so. Whilst I understand why he does what he does, and I admire him for it, the romantic in me also hates him for not picking Anne and giving her the happy ever after she so deserves.

I could not put this book down. It’s short but wonderfully written and engaging. I just hope ‘Charlotte Gray’ lives up to it!

‘Pride and Prejudice’ – Jane Austen

Where to begin? I should warn you that I am a massive Jane Austen fan and love all her books. Nothing makes me feel better after a tough day then to curl up with an Austen novel, or to put an Austen adaptation on.

Pride and Prejudice is a classic. It is a story about love, social status and pride. Elizabeth Bennet is a strong, independent young woman who knows what she wants. Mr Darcy is a very proud man who slights Elizabeth at their first meeting. As the title suggests, both characters overcome their pride and prejudices to be together. It is humourous at times, sad and sweet. All women want their own Mr. Darcy, a perfect gentleman who overcomes his pride for the woman he loves.

Jane Austen mocks society, the very first line illustrates this perfectly: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ Her writing is witty, emotional and just brilliant.

My favourite adaptation has to be the BBC version with Colin Firth. It is long and incorporates as much of the book as it can. It is faithful to the book and the cast are brilliant. (Of course it helps that Colin Firth is a gorgeous Mr. Darcy!)

If you haven’t read a Jane Austen novel I highly recommend that you do. This may not be the easiest one to start with, but it is the most well-known. Perhaps try Northanger Abbey first.

‘The Color Purple’ – Alice Walker

This is one of those books that you will never forget. I first read this as it was a set text for my University degree. I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about reading it; I hadn’t heard of it before. However, I found that once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

The protagonist is Celie, a young girl. She writes letters to God which is how we hear her story. Her father beats her until she is married to a man we know as ‘Mr’. He also beats her. Celie meets Shug, a glamorous singer, whom she looks up to. Shug helps Celie find herself and God. It is a story of hope and finding oneself.

It is so emotional and inspirational. It leaves you wanting to be a better person, or at least that is how I felt when I finished it. I felt like I had learnt something and that I was somehow different after having read this story.

The film adaptation by Steven Spielberg is also incredible. The brilliant cast includes Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey. It is well worth seeing, although I would advise you read the book first. Goldberg does a fantastic job of showing Celie’s naivety, innocence and sadness.

Another of my favourite books. If you haven’t read it, now is the time!