Posts Tagged ‘Women’s fiction’

Not That Kind of Girl

Siobhan Vivian
Slut or saint? Good friend or bad friend? In control or completely out of it?
Life is about making choices, and Natalie Sterling prides herself on always making the right ones. She’s avoided the jerky guys populating her prep school, always topped honor roll, and is poised to become the first female student council president in years.
If only other girls were as sensible and strong. Like the pack of freshmen yearning to be football players’ playthings. Or her best friend, whose crappy judgment nearly ruined her life.
But being sensible and strong isn’t easy. Not when Natalie nearly gets expelled anyway. Not when her advice hurts more than it helps. Not when a boy she once dismissed becomes the boy she can’t stop thinking about.
The line between good and bad has gone fuzzy, and crossing it could end in disaster . . . or become the best choice she’ll ever make.

Natalie Sterling had always made all the right decisions; she has stayed clear of boys, drama and gossip, all whilst remaining top in her class and playing a key role in the student council. However, as she embarks on her senior year it becomes obvious things aren’t going to plan and a series of events force Natalie to reconsider what it means to be good and what type of girl she really is. We follow Natalie on journey of self-discovery as she encounter issues of sexuality, feminism and what it means to be a “slut”.

When I picked up this book I was expecting a light and fluffy romance but what I got was so much more. The book explored difficult and hugely relevant social issues in a way which retained a light, and at times comical, value. I found the male protagonist to be extremely sweet and most definitely swoon worthy, whilst his relationship with Natalie served to establish how being in a relationship doesn’t make a girl weaker.

The plot was hugely driven by the characters, specifically the supporting roles of which had been skilfully constructed by Siobhan. She has created highly relatable and loveable characters that I found easy to empathise with. However, I found Natalie to be the weakest character, at best slightly irritating and at worst both manipulative and quite one-dimensional. Even so, the plot serves to be hugely compelling and vastly enjoyable.

Siobhan successfully created an evolving and fun plot line, which had me sitting at the edge of my seat from the first to the very last page. However what I found mist enjoying about the story was Siobhan clear voice and narrative that ebbed from every line.

Verdict: Overall, ‘Not that Kind of Girl’ served to be a highly enjoyable and refreshing twist on the typical high school romance. I would recommend it for fans of The DUFF by Kody Keplinger and Burn for Burn by Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han.

Reviewed by Evie (15)

Publisher: Push
Publication Date: September 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Genre: contemporary, feminism
Age: YA
Reviewer: Evie (15)
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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Where Love Lies

Julie Cohen
where love liesLately, Felicity just can’t shake a shadow of uncertainty. Her husband Quinn is the kindest person she knows and loves her peculiarities more than Felicity feels she deserves. But suddenly it’s as if she doesn’t quite belong.
Then Felicity experiences something extraordinary: a scent of perfume in the air which evokes memories that have been settled within her for a long time, untouched and undisturbed. As it happens again and again, the memories of a man Felicity hasn’t seen for ten years also flutter to the surface. And so do the feelings of being deeply, exquisitely in love . . .
Overwhelmed and bewildered by her emotions, Felicity tries to resist sinking blissfully into the past. But what if something truly isn’t as it should be? What if her mind has been playing tricks on her heart?
Which would you trust?

What were your overall thoughts?
I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book. So when it quickly grabbed my attention, I was truly relived. This book is one of the most unique books I’ve read in a long time and I found it difficult to stop reading. I really just wanted to know what was going on. Then there was worry and tension and fear. I honestly went through so many emotions while reading this book which helped to make it feel completely refreshing. Plus this book has a super sweet ending, making it all worthwhile.

What was your favourite aspect of the book?
The mystery of it all. I loved being put on the edge of my seat throughout this book. I also really enjoyed that I had no idea what was going on because the topic was so unique and something I have definitely never heard of before. This book kept me curious throughout which is a difficult thing to do. The curiosity even stayed after the reveal which was fantastic. There is such a wonderful feel to this book when you get to the end.

Who was your favourite character and why?
I’m going to have to say Felicity. This book is her story so I know that makes it hard to not choose her but I love Felicity because she was such a fascinating character. She wasn’t straight-forward but had an interesting background and she was just full of flavour. Felicity was a strong character that you couldn’t help but wish for. She made some odd choices but it was all explained eventually and I just think she was a fantastic protagonist who really carried the story.

Would you recommend this book?
I am certain that this book is not for everyone but if you enjoy complex, mysterious, human stories then I would highly recommend this book. If you’re looking for something with depth that will move you to feel a lot of things and cause you to really think, then this should be a book you read. It is captivating, interesting, and a little scary to boot! So if you want a book like that, you must read this book.

Summarize this book in one sentence. (Verdict)
Where Love Lies is an intense, emotional, powerful, original piece of fiction that is sure to stay with you long after you’ve finished the last page.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Bantam Press
Publication Date: July 2014
Format: Hardback
Pages: 384
Genre: Romance
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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I Should Be So Lucky

Judy Astley

I should be so lucky cover artViola hasn’t had much luck with men. Her first husband, Marco, companion of her youth and father of her only child, left her when he realised he was gay. Her second, Rhys, ended his high-octane, fame-filled life by driving his Porsche into a wall. No wonder her family always believes she needs Looking After, and her friends think she really shouldn’t be allowed out on her own…
Which is why, at the age of thirty-nine, she finds herself shamefully back at home, living with Mum.
Viola knows she has to take charge; she needs to get a life, and fast. With a stroppy teenage daughter, a demanding mother, and siblings who want to control her life for her, where is she going to turn?

We were sent this to review and I was more than happy to take it on. Even though Judy Astley is a well established author I hadn’t actually read any of her novels before, so it was great to get to read someone new to me and even better to know that if I liked it there are at least another 15 of her books out there to track down and devour. I love it when you discover lots of new books to read!

This story is centred around Viola who, to say the least, has been unlucky in her love life! Having married Marco after having become pregnant when they were both very young, he has come out and moved on, now living happily with James. Rhys, her next husband, was a soap star and womaniser whom she probably should never have married. He finally left her for his true love, but was then killed in a car crash on that very night. Viola has a lot of pieces to pick up and we meet her about 18 months later when she is really beginning to get herself back together.

I liked Viola, she has a good sense of humour, is a loving daughter to her mother and tries hard to get it right parenting her and Marco’s now teenage daughter Rachel. She puts up with her friends and siblings interference in her life sometimes with a lot more grace than I would and yet has the ability to stand up for herself too. But sometimes Viola is a bit ditzy and she is definitely a bit slow to catch on sometimes, particularly in one on-going situation. I was mentally shouting at her sometimes!

Viola has plenty on her plate to deal with. She has been living at her Mum’s after Rhys’ crazy fans were horrible to her when he died, but now feels ready to move home. So she has the house to get ready and so on. But she also has to face opposition from her older sister and brother who want her to stay and look after Naomi (mum) as she is getting older – not to mention use Violas money to upkeep the house they expect to inherit! Thankfully Naomi doesn’t want to be pushed around and knows her family well. This was a great family set up, it feels very true to life with all the tensions that can exist in families and I enjoyed willing on Viola and Naomi whilst inwardly ‘booing’ Kate and Richard.

Rachel also provides her own area of interest as she grapples with growing up and falling in love for the first time. Seeing some of the story through her eyes was an interesting change.

Of course there is a potential love interest (or two) for Viola, although she is adamant that there will not be any husband number 3. Her friends are trying to set her up, and considering what some of the friends are like I’d steer well clear of any of their ideas too! But as Viola sticks to her promise to herself and gets out more she has some interesting, (I did love the midnight gardening) amusing and even quite gross encounters. Well this is a story and the path of true love never does run smooth!

This novel has a very contemporary feel, with references to our current culture that will date this as time goes by, but it makes it feel very rooted now.

Verdict:So I did enjoy this, a lot. I will indeed be looking out for more by Judy Astley now. A great light read that includes real life issues that will resonate with many people.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Bantum Press
Publication Date: July 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
Genre: Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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