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S. Shamma "Suad" (Abu Dhabi, UAE)
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Sandman TP Vol 01 Preludes & Nocturnes New Ed (Sandman New Editions)
Sandman TP Vol 01 Preludes & Nocturnes New Ed (Sandman New Editions)
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.59

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best stories I've read ever, let alone this year, 17 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
One of the best stories I've read ever, let alone this year.

So, here's the thing. I'm not a huge reader of comics or graphic novels. In fact, I can honestly say, I've only read a handful of them, very carefully selected or recommended by people I know and trust. However, with this series...it was a mood. I was in the mood to delve into the world of graphic novels, but not the usual Superman, Batman stuff, and The Sandman series happen to be one of the top rated series of all times. I went for it on a whim. Ordered the whole thing! Crazy, I know, for someone who's never even been interested in this type of thing.

Once the set arrived, I immediately began reading the first installment, which seemed to be a collection of seven issues. I was amazed at how engrossed I became in the happenings of Morpheus - Lord of Dreams - and his captivity and all that it led to. It was such a dark and thrilling tale, going off on tangents here and there, only to have it all tied up and connected quite nicely in the end. When I finished it, I reached out for the second book, but stopped myself. It was so good, a world so brilliantly created, that I wanted to prolong it for as long as I possibly could. The only way I knew how to do that was to spread out the readings rather than devour them all at once. So I picked up another book, and forced myself out of this world, with the knowledge that I will be back there soon.

The series begins in the 1900s with Roderick Burgess, a man who dabbles with magic, as he attempts to summon and capture Death in order to achieve immortality, only to find that he had instead captured Dream. With no way out of the circle of dark magic that Burgess created, Dream is unable to free himself and therefore decides to bide his time until a time when he can, knowing that eventually, Burgess will have to slip somehow. However, it isn't Roderick Burgess who slips, but his son - after his death. When Roderick dies, his son Alexander carries on his father's imprisonment of Dream, not knowing what else he could possibly do. After almost a century of captivity, 70 or so years to be exact, Alexander inadvertently breaks the spell that holds Dream in the circle allowing him to access the sleep of his captors and free himself, punishing them in the process. And what greater punishment is there than to have them live in a constant nightmare for the rest of their lives?

As Dream proceeds to return to his Dream realm, he finds that a lot has changed in the years he's been gone. His world has been destroyed, some people have been caught in a coma of dreams and his 3 totem of powers have gone missing. He realizes he cannot fix anything until he gains back his totem of powers, and so begins the search for them as he travels to restore his power one piece at a time.

What a dark and mysterious world, and what incredible character development. You can tell that this installment is meant to act as a backdrop to the rest of the series, introducing us to Dream and other characters and slowly setting us up for what's coming next. The end of this book brings us face to face with none other than Death...Dream's older sister. Yes, Death is a female and is a sassy, young and attractive one to boot, and you can tell that she will be playing a very integral role in the parts to come.

Neil Gaiman slowly builds up Dream's characters, allowing us to see bits and pieces of him, one story at a time. Although strangely alluring, there's also something dark and twisted about him. You root for him, but you're not sure why. You realize there's more to him and it's not all good.

He's a hero, but a flawed one for sure.


Titanborn
Titanborn
Price: £1.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant scifi!, 24 Jun. 2016
This review is from: Titanborn (Kindle Edition)
No. No, I refuse to believe the book ends this way!! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?! WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE?! How could you, Rhett Bruno? How could you do this to me?

I cannot believe it ended that way. I am so upset!

When I first started reading this book, I did not think that I would become so invested with the characters. In fact, the first part of the book I was constantly irritated by Malcolm Graves - a collector - which is basically another word for "assassin" or "bounty hunter". I won't go into all the scientific details, as I was more interested in the human aspect of the story, but Malcolm works for a company called Pervenio Corp, and they hire collectors to kill people who they deem a threat or danger to the peace of their planet(s). Malcolm Graves has been a collector for this company for as long as he can remember, and he does it mainly for the handsome profit he gets out of it. Killing people for so many years has made him desensitized to the act and to pretty much any emotion.

He is a very complex human, who tries to get by in this world one paycheck at a time. He has an illegitimate daughter, who used to be his partner of sorts, training her to become like him, but they've had a falling out and she's disappeared. In fact, last he's heard of her she was working for Pervenio Corp's nemesis - Venta Co. He likes his drink, and his gun, and nothing else really. However, with age, he seems to have become a little less careful and has had a few stumbles in his missions. So when he is assigned a new partner, it is the least ideal situation Malcolm could think of. Especially given the fact that this new partner is very young, and almost robot-like in his actions. Zhaff seems to have this uncanny skill to know when someone is lying or isn't lying, his instincts and reflexes are out of this world - literally - and whether Malcolm likes it or not, this kid really knows what he's doing. After so much resistance, where Malcolm acts like the most infuriating brute ever, he finally learns to work with this new partner, almost forming a bond with him that he never thought he'd have with another human being again.

They are both on a mission to find out who caused the explosion/bombing on Earth, which resulted in fatalities and injuries. They travel to different parts of the universe - Saturn, Mars etc. - following different leads to unearth the leader of what they call the Children of Titan, a terrorist group that need to be stopped.

However, Malcolm realizes there is a lot more than meets the eye with this mission, and certain sacrifices need to be made.

What started out as a regular sci-fi adventure mystery, turned into something so much more profound and exciting. I am still very overwhelmed by that ending, and I hope to God there is some sort of sequel that explains things more clearly and perhaps...just perhaps...it is revealed that all is not what it seems.


Seventh Most Important Thing
Seventh Most Important Thing
by Shelley Pearsall
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Strange story, 13 Jun. 2016
This was a bit of a strange story for me. It was gripping in terms of the general premise of the story and it was well-written with interesting characters and solid character development, but I had no idea that it was based on a real artist - James Hampton - who was similarly determined to create an art piece that illustrated his version of "heaven". I doubt that knowledge would have made much of a difference though, given that every other aspect of the story was fiction.

This book centers on 13-year-old Arthur, who had recently lost his father and is grieving in his own way. In a moment of rash judgment, he throws a brick at the junk man's head when he finds that he is wearing one of his father's beloved hats that his mom had thrown out along with the rest of his stuff, and gets himself thrown into juvenile court where he is sentenced to work for the junk man rather than go to juvie. This sentence takes place after the junk man asks for the boy's redemption, rather than severe punishment.

Arthur isn't sure what redemption means, but as his sentence begins, he realizes that the junk man means for him to take over his job of collecting scrap from around the neighborhood. This irks him and embarrasses him, that he can't even tell his mom what his actual sentence really requires him to do. However, there's a specific set of things that the junk man asks Arthur to collect for him, in fact, those are the seven most important things. They cannot be replaced, substituted, alternated, exchanged or swapped for anything else. When the junk man asks for a lightbulb, he expects a lightbulb - not a lamp.

In the beginning, there is little to no interaction between him and Mr. Hampton - the junk man. However, as the story goes on, we find out more about these items Arthur is required to collect, and why he is collecting them. He realizes that Mr. Hampton is in fact building this massive piece of art out of these items and he refers to it as heaven. Soon enough, Arthur becomes just as invested as Mr. Hampton in completing this art piece and seeing it through to the end. Unfortunately, Mr. Hampton does not live long enough to finish his creation, and as the landlord almost destroys it when he attempts to take his garage space back, Arthur finds ways to continue paying rent for that space until he can get the art piece somewhere safe.

Eventually, and as per true events, the art piece is taken to a museum and showcased there - apparently, to this day.

So all in all, a good story with a great ending. My only concerns were the whole idea of heaven and this piece of art. I didn't get it. There was never any proper explanation, there was never an elaboration. I didn't understand the concept of these seven things in building heaven, I didn't understand the relevance or importance of creating an entire fictional narrative based on this artist. I also wished there was a little more racial discourse, given that the story was based in the 60s and Mr. Hampton was a black man, while Arthur was white. It seemed an important enough point to mention at the beginning of the story, but Shelley Pearsall never took it any further as the story suddenly shifted and focused primarily on the collection of those seven items and that art piece.

It was all a bit odd, to tell you the truth. I liked it, but I'm not sure what I just read.


Liars, Inc.
Liars, Inc.
by Paula Stokes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.60

2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable...lame, 12 Jun. 2016
This review is from: Liars, Inc. (Paperback)
I really thought I would like this book. When I purchased it based on the brilliantly interesting synopsis and great reviews, I encouraged many others to get it as well, sure that it would not disappoint. Unfortunately, I was very wrong...and should have waited until after I read it to make any recommendations.

Liars, inc. revolves around 3 friends: Max, Parvati and Preston. Max and Parvati are an item, with Max seemingly more invested in the relationship than her, although for the most part their relationship seemed to be mostly physical. Preston acts like a third wheel, and goes around filming everything on his phone for whatever reason. Max lives with foster parents who adopted him and several other children, and we know he comes from a very difficult childhood, which he explains is the reason he does not let anyone get too close - even his parents - so far as to refer to them by their given names. On a normal school day, he takes the fall for one of his classmates in order to earn himself detention and stay back at school with his girlfriend, Parvati, whose parents forbid her from seeing Max. This classmate of his is grateful and decidedly pays for his troubles. This forms a new idea in Parvati and Preston's minds and they go around starting this club called Liars, inc. which basically consists of students asking Max, Parvati and Preston to lie for them for a fee, in order for them to get away with things - you know, silly things like sneaking out to see their partners, or sneaking out to go to a party, or getting their homework done, and so on.

Until one day, Preston comes to Max and asks him to cover for him as he wants to go to Vegas to meet with a girl he's been chatting to online. Max, naive, Max, doesn't ask for any details, and just does it. Obviously, we know from the synopsis that things start to go wrong there. Preston disappears, no one hears from him, and then they find blood in the trunk of Max's car among other pieces of evidence, which all point to Max, automatically making him the number one suspect for Preston's disappearance. Preston's father is a politician, which makes things more difficult for Max.

As Max first sticks to his lie and his story and denies everything, he realizes he's just digging himself a hole. If he tells the truth however, he'll just sound like he's backtracking at this point. With the help of Parvati, he makes a run for it and goes to Vegas to try and find his friend. One thing leads to another and he begins to find out certain things about Preston and he realizes it is all somehow, mysteriously linked to his past.

The thriller was so weak, the characters so contrived that I just couldn't get into the story at all. I did not like any of the three friends, Parvati with her annoying, sexual, femme fatale attitude, and Max with his constant doubting himself and belittling himself and treating his family poorly and Preston...the mysterious disappearance of Preston. The storyline takes a bizarre turn and becomes so farfetched that it had me laughing. It was ridiculous. The twists and turns at the end and the resolution of the mystery was so badly executed that I could barely finish reading the book - only, I can't not finish reading a book, so I kept going - and I wish I hadn't.

I was really looking forward to reading my first YA thriller, but it was a huge letdown. Everything was so predictable, so typical of a really lame thriller film, that I'm surprised at all the positive reviews it received.


The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (The Detective Club)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (The Detective Club)
by Agatha Christie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars What a twist!, 11 Jun. 2016
Shocking turn of events, nothing I could have imagined could have prepared me for this ending. The deception and genius of Agatha Christie's work leaves me speechless. To tell you the truth, I am relieved. After several letdowns I was getting nervous about the next Christie novel and whether I'd enjoy anything after And Then There Were None.

Hercule Poirot strikes again, and this time, he does it in the most incredibly ingenious way. The novel starts out very ordinarily, the way mysteries usually do, with Roger Ackroyd's female friend committing suicide and writing him a letter of confession. This letter reveals two things: a murder she committed in the past, and it identifies a person who has been blackmailing her since pushing her to finally end her own life. Dr. Sheppard, who is narrating the events of this story and is a close friend of Roger Ackroyd, is invited to his house so that he can be present when Roger reads the letter. However, as soon as he reaches the part in which the blackmailer's identity is to be revealed, he chooses to stop reading and not share this information with anyone - including his trusted friend Dr. Sheppard. As the doctor goes home to his extremely curious sister, a murder is being committed simultaneously. Few hours later, the Dr. receives a call informing him of Roger Ackroyd's death. When he returns to Roger's residence, he finds him in fact murdered and the letter missing.

In steps Dr. Sheppard's mysterious neighbor, none other than Detective Hercule Poirot himself. As Poirot works on discovering the perpetrator, he requests the company of Dr. Sheppard, who takes on the role of Hastings and follows him around as he attempts to solve the mystery.

Of course, in true Christie style, every single person in this book becomes a suspect. You almost believe you have it nailed, only to find you are very wrong. I must have suspected every single person of the murder never even considering the one true culprit. When Poirot reveals all in the end, I was flabbergasted. I was actually in genuine shock, my jaw dropping, cursing loudly...thinking, what a twist.

The book starts out as an almost mediocre mystery, but that ending just took it to the next level. When I could have rated it 3 stars, I have now easily given it a 5 star. A fantastic mystery that will surely keep you guessing until the very end.


My Life Next Door
My Life Next Door
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and endearing, 11 Jun. 2016
This review is from: My Life Next Door (Paperback)
This was definitely a sweet, quick read that works well when you're looking for something to get you out of a reading funk. I enjoyed it immensely, and enjoyed the characters and interactions between them. I've always been a sucker for the-boy-next-door-speaking-through-windows-sneaking-out-onto-the-roof romances, and this one did not disappoint.

Sam is a very nice girl, raised by an ambitious, superficial and arrogant, albeit well-meaning, mother, who is extremely judgmental of their next door neighbors lifestyle. Sam's mom raised her two daughters on her own after their father bailed on them many years ago, and ever since, she's used that as an excuse for pretty much everything she does throughout the book. She also suffers from a mild case of OCD, in which the house needs to be in tip-top condition at all times, and there are certain meals eaten at certain days, the same regular table booked at the restaurant and so on. Being raised by that kind of mom has not been easy for Sam. She learns to control her emotions, keeps her thoughts to herself, becomes somewhat of an introvert, and never takes any risks. She is the typical "good girl".

Sam has been fascinated by the Garret's ever since they moved in, but has never dared approach them or speak to them...that is until Jase suddenly decides to break that barrier. She has always yearned for their family dynamic, and Jase, taking her into his life makes her want it that much more. However, all is not as it seems from her bedroom window...the Garrets lives are a lot more complicated than she imagined. With 8 or 9 children, it is hard to keep up with all of them, it is hard to secure a stable life for all of them...it is hard to even ensure that they would all receive a proper education. Sam experiences that directly with Jase, who is considering not going to college in order to get a job and help his family.

Obviously, there's romance. And obviously it is the sweet, cheesy, make-your-heart-melt kind of romance. I really loved how Jase was able to bring Sam out of her shell. How she grew and developed as a character and was a completely different person from the naive, quiet girl we met at the beginning of the book. Her best friend - whom I can't even remember her name right now - irritated me to no end. The way things unfold between them at the end really surprised me and angered me. Tim - the best friend's brother - was a pleasant surprise however. At first, I really couldn't handle him and found him completely unnecessary, but as things progressed, I was pleased at the turn of events his character took.

The one thing that kind of nagged at me the whole time about the Garrets situation is the fact that they just kept popping kids despite their circumstances. I'm not one to judge, I come from a big family myself, and I love being a part of a big family, and have no qualms with families who choose to have as many kids as they want. What does bother me though, is that if you cannot equally provide for each and every one of your children, then it is not fair to have that many in the first place. Even towards the end, when things are so bad for the Garrets, Jase's mom finds out she is pregnant once again - with a 9th child. NINE. Jase is number 3 I think in the family, and he is worried about not being able to go to college, and you are on your 9th child? How is that right or fair? I'm all for free will, but this is just completely bonkers in my opinion. I couldn't get past that storyline, because I felt as if Huntley Fitzpatrick was really shining a bad light on Sam's mother for thinking it and victimizing the Garrets for their situation. The truth is, the Garrets situation didn't have to be as bad as all that had they chosen to settle for 5 children instead of 9. Every one of those children are wonderful, and I loved their different personalities, but realistically speaking, as parents, you make certain decisions that alter the lives of your children. It is a responsibility that you cannot take lightly. Use protection, for God's sake.

A good story. Entertaining and endearing. Although I did have my misgivings on some of its aspects.


Made You Up
Made You Up
by Francesca Zappia
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance!, 11 Jun. 2016
This review is from: Made You Up (Hardcover)
This was one of my favourite YA novels that I've read this year - in fact, that I've read in a very long time. The synopsis alone made me buy it on the spot, no questions asked. I knew I was going to like it, I just didn't know how much. I must hand it to Francesca Zappia, she succeeded in subtly creating a complex world for a complex character, while adding mystery and romance and made it work seamlessly.

A schizophrenic girl, Alex, who lives in constant paranoia as she attempts to lead a relatively normal life, finds it extremely challenging when she can't seem to distinguish between what's real and what's not. She walks around with her camera, taking pictures of everything in order to keep track of what's real and what's a hallucination, making her unreliable in her storytelling, but that's what kept things interesting. You never know when everything was going to go the other way and you suddenly realize that everything you thought you knew or learned about this character is void.

I really enjoyed the interactions between Miles and Alex, I loved their chemistry, and their strange yet fated attraction to one another. It's worth noting that despite Alex's condition, she is one bada** chick. I admired how she stood up for herself, how she was a match for Miles' attempts at bullying her and how real and relatable she was.

What really keeps you hooked is how unpredictable this book is. You think you know something, and then, just like that, Zappia takes it away from you. Some things you could see coming, but others took me completely off-guard that reading it from Alex's point of view, I could completely understand and relate to how she was feeling. I was left bereft and grieving and shocked and breathless, and all those emotions combined made me want to read this book forever. It has been a while since I've really felt attached to characters in this way.

I was saddened that it ended the way it did, but I respect the way Alex dealt with it all. I don't want to give any more away, I will say, this is a book worth reading. There's something for everyone in there.


All the Answers
All the Answers
by Kate Messner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.04

4.0 out of 5 stars To know or not to know, that is the question..., 18 May 2016
This review is from: All the Answers (Paperback)
This was a very decent read. It is targeted towards preteen or middle grade readers, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Messner succeeded in creating a very simple story with quite a poignant message, so it does appeal to many readers.

It begins with Ava Anderson, who is hurriedly rushing to school, slightly panicking about her Maths test and looking for a pencil or she won't be allowed to take the test. She finds one at random in a drawer filled with junk, and goes to school with it. She soon discovers whilst taking the test that the pencil answers questions she writes down with it. At first, she thinks it's a fluke, and just her head playing games with her, not long after though, she realizes that this magical pencil does in fact answer every "factual" question she asks of it. Her best friend, Sophie, immediately takes advantage of the situation and uses the pencil to find out things she wants to know about boys, school and friends. However, Ava begins to realize that having all the answers isn't as enjoyable as it looks, and is in fact making her more paranoid about events in her life. She worries about her parents getting a divorce, she worries about loved ones getting sick, and so on.

But then the pencil gives her the answer she's been dreading the most, and suddenly, the book takes a very serious turn. She finds herself struggling to keep the information to herself, while simultaneously trying to help those around her. In the end, Ava decides that the best course of action is to get rid of the pencil, but not after finding out the reason it has all the answers and who is supplying them to her.

Interesting, light read, that you will easily breeze though.


The Infernal Devices 1: Clockwork Angel
The Infernal Devices 1: Clockwork Angel
by Cassandra Clare
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.20

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Do not recommend this series, 18 May 2016
This book annoyed me to no end. It started off well enough I suppose, but a few chapters in and I found myself getting infuriated with every single character in the book. By the time it was over, I closed it with utter relief and had no intention of buying any of the other installments in this trilogy or the other series, The Mortal Instruments. This was my first Cassandra Clare, and I must say, it fell short of any and all expectations I had going into this.

I was really in the mood for a great YA fantasy read, and worked myself up to get to this book that I've been saving for the right moment for a very very long time. I've heard the hype, and read the raving reviews, and so I was giddy with excitement as I finally sat down to devour it. As soon as I started with Tessa traveling across the oceans from America to meet her brother in England, and then getting enslaved by two crazy old hags who were training her for some secret mission and all that magical stuff comes into play, I thought wow...this is exciting. I can't wait to see what happens.

Then Tessa is rescued by the dashing Will, and things go downhill from there.

Tessa's character was hard to like. When she was imprisoned, I really respected her and admired her courage and the pride she displayed in the face of danger and torture. Afterwards though, it felt like Clare opted to demote Tessa's character to this annoying, whiny, head in the clouds heroine that gets herself into the typical YA love triangle that I am so sick of. I actually cheered Will on every time he snapped at Tessa because she can act very snobby and bratty sometimes, and needed someone to let her have it! And Jem. Angelic, perfect Jem. I mean...you really overdo it with the characterization don't you? Jem is this perfect being, who comes off as a drama queen even though he really has no intention of being one. And forgetful, messy, genius Henry. So sweet, but so stupid. I would go crazy if I had to live with someone like that for the rest of my life. Even Charlotte grated on my nerves at times. She is supposed to be the leader of pack, a strong woman, who made it to her position despite all the odds being against her, and yet she came off as extremely sensitive. Getting visibly hurt and upset every time someone made an insensitive comment her way. If I had to read "Her face paled..." one more time, I was going to rip the book to shreds. You're the boss! You're supposed to act fearless and like you don't give a sh** what people think of you - even if you really do. Finally, Tessa's brother and Jessamine are brats that deserve each other.

Also, why does every fantasy heroine need to find herself caught up in a love triangle? What does that achieve? The romance wasn't even great!

I admit, Tessa and Will's first kiss was sizzling hot, but then Tessa and Jem have a moment, and then Tessa finds herself one minute kissing Jem, the other minute kissing Will, then when she's mad at Will, she runs back to Jem and so on and so forth. Give me a break. It's ridiculously overrated romance, and people actually fall for this stuff? Not to mention, the typical anti-hero Will who is charming and sweet one minute and being a jerk and pushing away everyone - except for Jem - the next minute. Then of course, you have all those classic cliche moments in these books...the "I can't read his eyes" or "His jaw locked" and "She swallowed a lump in her throat...", not to mention how "His eyes blaze..." every time they're angry and suddenly when that happens their eye color magically changes! His ocean blue eyes turn a stormy gray when he's furious...wow...beautiful prose right there.

And how DO you read someone's eyes? Especially when "something shifts in their eyes but was gone before I could be sure..." And everyone is always super gorgeous in all these books. I really just want to hear of a normal looking, flawed character that is just as fantastic without having to be beautiful or orphaned or any of the other typical stuff they plug into these stories.

Then comes the action, what is supposed to be the focus of this entire story. All the villains and shadowhunters and other creatures were so by the book that it didn't feel like I was reading anything new that would keep me interested long enough in this series. There was nothing in there that Cassandra Clare added to keep me hooked in this world she created.

In fact, one reviewer phrased it best when they said, "The bad guys were so archetypal mannequins, moustache twiddling, rubbing their hands in glee I'm surprised there wasn't a big flashing arrow over them. The reveals were clumsily done and at no time was anything a shock. Everything was just so convenient and utterly frustrating.

I'm well used to rolling my eyes at stereotypes so the fact that CC seemed to have gotten her "The Big Book of British Stereotypes" and "This is What Victorian England Was Like" out as reference books when writing was another tear-my-hair-out moment."

And I think I'll just leave it at that. Do not recommend this series.


The Beach Cafe
The Beach Cafe
by Lucy Diamond
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars I'm going to be on the lookout for more Lucy Diamond books in future., 2 May 2016
This review is from: The Beach Cafe (Paperback)
After the last few books I read, I was really craving some lighthearted material to pass the time. I looked through my chick-lit books that I had lying around waiting to be read, and found this little gem. I had it for many years now, and I remember I bought it because of the rave reviews, so it seemed the perfect choice to get me going. Given the title, and the beach weather we've had here, it was exactly what I needed.

The Beach Cafe was a very well-written book, with interesting characters, the right amount of humor, pain and romance intertwined with a storyline that I found myself quite invested in. Evie Flynn is in her 30's living with her five year steady and extremely sensible boyfriend and working at a temp job that she hates but needs. Evie "seemingly" has everything any girl could ask for, right? Wrong.

Her 'sensible' boyfriend is a little too sensible, bordering on boring and tightfisted as he makes all the plans for their future and continuously puts Evie down for being more spontaneous and opinionated. Evie has been with him 5 years now, and he did save her life when she almost caught fire waitressing at a bar he was at, and she does love him...she's quite sure she does. Or does she?

Since meeting him, she's stopped her spontaneous trips around the world, she's stopped trying out new things and living her life to the fullest, instead she's found herself becoming more "ordinary" as she planned for a future that seemed to be going nowhere.

When her aunt Jo suddenly dies in a crash, Evie is devastated. She used to spend most of her time at her aunt's, and now she can't even remember the last time she's visited or seen her in Cornwall. When she drives up there along with her family for the funeral, they are all shocked to find out that her aunt had left Evie the Beach Cafe she owned. Her family, with little to no faith, encourage Evie to sell it as they are certain she won't be able to manage it and besides, she can't keep making the trip up and down between Oxford and Cornwall. Evie is torn though, she feels a unique pull towards this cafe, towards this town...and its people. And yet, she knows her family is right, even though she resents it.

Of course, we can all guess what happens next and what she decides to do and where it all leads. I'm not saying this is the most exciting unpredictable story with all these twists and turns...no of course not. It's a chick lit and as such, certain elements are expected to be present making it quite predictable, but no less enjoyable.

I loved Evie's character. She frequently frustrated me, but I really respected her and liked her. The frustrated mainly stemmed from the fact that I could never be as nice and as reasonable as her under the circumstances. I mean, she gets it from all sides. Her idiot boyfriend, who ends up leaving her because she chose the cafe, her sister, who is a complete and utter witch that I would have probably pulled her hair out and then stuck it where the sun don't shine, her parents who really just have no faith in their daughter and the employees at the cafe, who I'd have fired from day one. Not to mention the townspeople, who also had little faith in Evie taking over their beloved Jo's cafe.

The way she handled it all though, and was able to control herself was, well...admirable. Something I would never be able to. I'd lash out, and speak my mind, and probably create a lot more problems than needed. Evie's nice. She really is, and nice people usually annoy me, but not in this case. She was the kind of nice that I could tolerate and almost envy. And being nice took her a long way, so it sure as hell worked for her.

A great, entertaining read and comes highly recommended. I'm going to be on the lookout for more Lucy Diamond books in future.


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