Friday 28 April 2023

Book Review | It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover | prettylittlewriter

Lily and her ex-husband, Ryle, have just settled into a civil coparenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love, Atlas, again. After nearly two years separated, she is elated that for once, time is on their side, and she immediately says yes when Atlas asks her on a date.

But her excitement is quickly hampered by the knowledge that, though they are no longer married, Ryle is still very much a part of her life—and Atlas Corrigan is the one man he will hate being in his ex-wife and daughter’s life.’

Yet another novel by Colleen that had me hooked from the start.


This was a brilliant sequel to It Ends With Us, I loved seeing Lily and Atlas’ relationship blossom, and for them to finally have a normal dating life (in a way).


It wasn’t quite as emotional as the first book, but I don’t think Colleen meant for it to be. Sure, it had some bumpy parts (mainly when dickhead Ryle was around, and Atlas’ Mom) but for the most part, this was a more lovely and romantic story.


Lily was still the most amazingly strong character, and it was amazing to see her bond with Alyssa going from strength to strength, even in the face of Ryle’s wrath. There’s a particular scene where both Alyssa and Marshall get involved with Ryle (if you’ve read it you’ll know what I mean) and this scene almost made me cry happy tears for the support that they were giving to Lily.


It was also brilliant having Atlas’ POV. Finally knowing what went through his mind throughout his time homeless and having met Lily, and also getting a glimpse into his childhood trauma caused by his Mom and stepdad. There’s also a lovely surprise within Atlas’ life that although starts of Rocky, becomes something that is really sweet to read about, and I love that he got the chance to prove that sometimes blood isn’t thicker than water.


I won’t go into any more details as we’re at risk of spoilers, but this is definitely the perfect follow up to IEWU and if you’ve read that and enjoyed Lily and Atlas’ story, then you’ll definitely enjoy this.


4/5 stars

Monday 17 April 2023

Book Review | It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover | prettylittlewriter

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up — she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.’

This book took me on an emotional rollercoaster!


Lily is a wonderful main character, full of heart, determination and spirit. I was rooting for her to have the best life throughout, and when she was thrown a few curve balls, I was sad for her each time.

Her relationship with Ryle at the beginning was lovely, I was so happy for them and really wanted them to work, until he started doing things that are completely unacceptable, and then I wanted him gone.

The best part of this story is actually Lily’s relationship with Alyssa, Ryle’s sister. When Lily buys a property to open up a flower shop, Alyssa asserts herself into Lily’s life by taking a job she doesn’t actually need, and inadvertently becoming Lily’s best friend. They were bestie goals, and the support Alyssa gave Lily through the issues with Ryle, I was tearing up whilst reading (if you’ve read the book, you’ll know the scene I mean).

I loved reading Lily’s journals, to see her relationship with Atlas develop throughout was incredibly sweet, they were each other’s saviours, which I loved. The final journal entry surprised me quite a lot however, as there’s the mention of something that happens with Atlas and Lily’s Father, which was completely unexpected and personally, I don’t think it was needed (it’s never mentioned again!). It was cute having the moments with Ellen Degeneres as her journal too, and there’s a gift from Atlas to Lily that is just the sweetest thing that relates to her.

I’m also super happy that Lily’s relationship with her mum is still good, after all that she went through as a child, having to ignore her Mother being beaten by her Father and her Mother acting like it was nothing must have been incredibly hard, so it was nice to see them still having a relationship after everything.


I can’t really say any more about it as it would give the story away, but if you love a dramatic romance novel, Colleen certainly delivers with this one. I absolutely loved it.


5/5 stars

Monday 10 April 2023

Book Review | When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn | prettylittlewriter

'In every life there is a turning point. A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one's life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London's most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton.

After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing. Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca's surname was to remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer—the occasion of their meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin.

But that was then... Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but still she thinks of him as nothing other than her dear friend and confidant. Michael dares not speak to her of his love... until one dangerous night, when she steps innocently into his arms, and passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets...’

This is probably my second favourite of the Bridgerton novels so far! (#3 Benedict is still my fav).

It starts with Michael Stirling pining over his cousin’s wife, whom he’s been in love with since her first met her, and his internal monologue is showcasing his turmoil about how he can’t have her.


Then pretty soon after (maybe even the first chapter?!) his cousin John dies, and Francesca is left widowed.


Michael, ever the gentleman, still refuses to consider that he could now be with Frannie; it would be disrespectful towards John and Frannie didn’t feel that way about him, did she?


Francesca doesn’t consider Michael as a romantic prospect for quite a while throughout the novel, talking about him as her best friend, and like a brother to her. The relationship between them was quite special, and I loved seeing how close they were without any romance involved at the start, and it was quite apparent to me that John would definitely have approved of them together after his death (he even comments upon how Michael looks after her when he’s not around, before his death).


We skip ahead 4 years after John’s death, and Michael has been in India for the last 4 years, unable to cope being around Francesca knowing his feelings towards her.


Upon his return, he meets Francesca in London unexpectedly (she is ready to find a new husband), and it soon transpires that he has caught malaria on his travels.


This is the first time they both have some intimate relations, as Francesca takes care of him during his fever spells.


As the story progresses, Francesca starts to realise that she is beginning to have feelings for him, but is determined not to act on them to honour John’s name.


The one thing that infuriated me a little bit was how much they both refused to give in to their feelings. It took them nearly ¾ of the novel before they started having any romantic/intimate encounters, as they were both being incredibly stubborn that it wasn’t the ‘done’ thing.


I will say however, that once the spicy scenes started, they were brilliant. I would even go as far as to say that this is the spiciest of the first 6 books! The scene where Francesca is taking charge over Michael was *chefs kiss*.


I also really liked how much Michael considered Francesca’s feelings throughout, even though he knew she wanted him after their first encounter, he would always wait for her consent before doing anything.


Overall, I really enjoyed this one, and it’s definitely one that I look forward to seeing play out on the TV show!


4/5 stars

Thursday 6 April 2023

Book Review | The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston | prettylittlewriter

‘Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead... but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.’

This book was the loveliest celebration of life and of death wrapped in one.


Our lovely MC Florence has her fair share of heartbreak in this novel, from losing her father, to her vile ex who stole her life and memories, and then to top it off, her new editor who had potential to be something more.


After the shit meeting Florence has with her new editor regarding the half-finished manuscript, she goes on a night out with her best friend Rose, and she ends up bumping into her ex who destroyed her belief in romance, and then her new editor Benji ends up in front of her too! Just when you think she’s going to perhaps find her love for romance again after a little smooch with Benji, she gets an earth shattering call from her mum.


Upon returning to her hometown after her Father’s death, Florence has some figuring out to do, mainly in the way of what the hell she’s going to do about this half completed manuscript she needs to finish for Anne Nichols, the author she is ghost writing for. As planning her Father’s funeral gets underway (he has some very specific instructions for it, including Elvis!) editor Benji rocks up to cause even more chaos.


Ghost Benji isn’t sure why he’s still around, and what unfinished business he may have, and Florence believes it’s to help her finish the manuscript, but as she has no motivation for completing it at the present moment, Benji is just there to help her through this incredibly difficult time, and he becomes a source of comfort for Florence quite quickly.


I love that both Florence and her Father had the gift of being able to see and communicate with ghosts, it was a really special bond between them, but I must admit I was waiting for her Father to also pop up at some point as a ghost to offer her some Fatherly advice.


I managed to guess the twist to this story quite early on, as I picked up on something that best friend Rose, DIDN’T say, along with a couple of other hints from Poston about it, which I really enjoyed seeing play out. The only thing that upset me a little was how late on in the novel that this happens, as I would have liked more scenes from ‘after’ between Florence and Ben.


The relationship between Florence & Ben was the sweetest development. With Ben being a ghost, it was quite heart-breaking watching them both start to fall for each other, when they knew they couldn’t ever really be together, even if Ben managed to stick around as a ghost (although it didn’t stop them from having a couple of very sexy encounters; Ben certainly has a way with words!). Although they knew they couldn’t be together properly, they were both there for each other in the best ways they could be, especially Ben for Florence, as he became a beacon of light for her whilst she was wading through the depths of despair surrounding her Father’s death.


Florence’s ex Lee was the most infuriating character ever. I HATED him for destroying so much of her life, including her belief that she would ever find love again. So seeing his novel based on her life being published almost led me to throwing the book across the room a few times! I really wanted karma to come along and bite him in the ass.


Seeing Florence come back together with her remaining family was lovely, her relationship with her sister albeit complicated, was filled with so much love, that it was nice to see them find their way back to each other. The dynamics of the family were very different, with them also basically living and breathing death due to running a funeral home, it was nice to see them celebrating life in different ways, including dancing around the morgue to her Father’s favourite CD. It was a breath of fresh air.


There was a lot of love within the story, not just between Florence and Ben and her family, but also from friends around her. Although she had been away from her hometown for many years, the relationships she had with certain people in the town, including Dana and their partner John, were still very much in play, with some lovely interactions between them.

I also love that the Mayor was a dog! This was a very cute addition to the story.


There were quite a few pop culture name drops within the story (other authors mainly) and also my fav Taylor Swift, which I also really enjoyed.


This review is probably very scatty, I’m struggling to cohesively put one together as I just have so many random thoughts about it, but overall I really did love it and would highly recommend it to anyone that loves a rom-com with a difference. The only reason I’m not rating this 5/5 stars is I just wish the resolution of the story happened sooner, so we had a few more interactions between Florence & Ben afterwards.


4/5 stars

Tuesday 4 April 2023

Book Review | A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson | prettylittlewriter

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn't so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?’

This book had me hooked from start to finish! It was so good!


Pippa is the best MC, confident in her ability and not afraid to go against the grain. She’s also incredibly bubbly and I loved this about her! She definitely gets it from her family, as they are also incredibly fun and I loved her Dad!


When she begins her investigation for her school project, she starts off by visiting Sal’s family, and actually bonds with Ravi, Sal’s brother, and they team up as a double act to solve the case.


I was unsure how this was going to pan out, as one, she’s a teenage girl, how can she really expect to solve a murder that was an open and shut case with the police? And two, I just couldn’t picture what had really happened. There were multiple suspects for the murder of Andie, and let’s be honest, we don’t blame any of them as she seemed to be a complete bitch! But I found it incredibly difficult to pinpoint who I thought it was going to be. This is a sign of a brilliant mystery though, as it’s not quite as thrilling when you can guess who it was!


There were so many twists and turns, one minute you think it’s Andie’s dad, then maybe it was Sal? But then you’re back to another suspect because Pippa has discovered some new evidence. It honestly was incredibly well written, and I enjoyed that it was split into Pippa’s notes for her school work as well as the main story, as we got to see Pippa’s thought process whilst analysing the information she’d found.


There also wasn’t any waffling, I find that some murder mystery books can bombard you with lots of descriptive stuff to create atmosphere, but this was just bam, bam, bam with something new! It might be as it’s a YA novel, but I certainly enjoyed this more as it kept me wanting to read more.


I honestly can’t fault this novel in any way.


If you’re a fan of YA crime, then PLEASE read this! It was brilliant, and straight after I’d finished it, I ordered the next two books! Highly recommend!


5/5 stars