Tag Archives: romance

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Review 

The Beautiful Ones is the first novel I have read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia but I’m really glad I decided to give it a try. 

Hauntingly beautiful this novel tells the story of unrequited love from the perspective of the lover and the loved. 


Set in what is presumably based on historical France (although the time period isn’t clear). Antonina (Nina) is a naive girl from the countryside taking part in her first grand season in the city of Loisail. Nina is staying with her favourite cousin and his wife who seems to inexplicably dislike her. Nina is used to dislike though, her telekinetic powers are why she couldn’t find a suitable husband at home and her less than perfect manners and lack of ability to be ladylike in public just seem to make things worse. 


But Nina’s attention and affection are captured by the enigmatic if slightly distracted Hector Auvray a telekinetic performer, as they become closer she is certain that a marriage proposal is imminent but there are other things at play that Nina knows nothing about. She has become a bit player in a game that goes back more than a decade. 


I found this book to be very engaging. It was an interesting take on a historical novel with the addition of the characters telekinetic powers. It sssms to be more of a play on the usual historical novel, while some things remain true to the times, others show a decided change. Valérie’s spite and malice make her an excellent villain against the naive and yet lovable Nina. This novel highlights the saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. 


I really liked the characters of both Nina and Hector and I was rooting for them the whole way through, I won’t say if they had a happy ending though, as always I won’t give any spoilers! 

I’ll definitely look into reading more from this author in the future! 

Reading Challenge 2017 Week 7 

Picking my favourite female author was a toughy I must admit! Although it’s not something I do on purpose, the writers I read are mostly female. 

It wasn’t all that hard though I must admit. Katie Fforde dominates my bookshelves. I’m not kidding. Here’s a photo to prove it! 


Not to mention my kindle being full of all her short stories as well. Katie’s stories are happy stories. That’s the best way to describe them, they’re romantic sure, but they’re more than that too. Her characters are strong, independent women. Feminist women. No they’re not bra burners, nor is the word feminism ever really mentioned from what I can remember. But they are everything a feminist should be. Not to mention they have amazing jobs! 


Here’s some examples: 

  • In Love Letters Laura Horsley gets involved in organising a literary festival when the bookshop she works in closed down. 
  • Sarah in Wedding Season is a wedding planner.
  • Anna in Practically Perfect is an interior designer. 
  • Second Thyme Around’s main character is Perdita who has her own organic gardening business. 
  • Jenny Porter in A Highland Fling is a virtual assistant! Bet you’ve probably never heard of one of those! 
  • Paradise Field’s Nel is organising a farmer’s market while Life Skills’ Julia Fairfax unexpectedly becomes a cook on a boat. 

I could go on but I’m guessing you’re getting the idea that these are pretty cool books! When those that don’t have a job still get involved in really cool things, like restoring paintings or looking after old stately homes. 

Katie has a beautiful way of writing. She draws the reader in and makes them truly root for her characters, characters that you fall in love with and want to be friends with. 

She is and will remain my favourite author indefinitely!  

See Me by Nicholas Sparks. Review 

I love Nicholas Sparks books, they’re always enchanting. He has a way of writing which is delicious to read (fellow readers will understand what I mean). 

See Me is a tad different to the other novels I’ve read by Nicholas though. Effectively it starts off with the same sort of premise; Colin has been in trouble with the law in the past, he was heading for a different kind of life until he got a second chance at life. Now he’s channeling his anger with excercise and MMA fighting and studying at college to become a primary school teacher. 

Meanwhile Maria is a 28 year old insurance lawyer trying to make her parents proud of her and all she has achieved. But she’s busy dealing with her boss who’s sexually harassing her. Since splitting with boyfriend Luis she hasn’t been interested in another relationship, until she meets Colin who is the complete opposite of her type. 


The way that this novel is different to the others by this author is that it’s also kind of crime fiction novel as well. Maria is being stalked and nobody knows who it is or what their motive might be. 


It’s hard for love to blossom in an environment where danger is everywhere. Maria’s running scared and not just of her stalker but of Colin too, put under pressure who knows what might trigger the anger and impulsive behaviour he’s tried so hard to control?  


I really enjoyed this one, the thriller element to it made it much more of a page turner and the love story between Maria and Colin was engaging and lovely to read about. 

After You by Jojo Moyes. Review

After You by Jojo Moyes is the sequel to the acclaimed Me Before You which was recently released as a film. 

A warning here that there are spoilers for Me Before You. 


Me Before You tells the story of Louisa, a waitress who accidentally becomes a carer for Will Traynor, an ex-city slicker who becomes quadriplegic in an accident. Despite Louise’s attempts to make him love his life, despite the two of them falling in love, Will travels to Dignatis and commits asssisted suicide. After his death, Louisa discovers he has left her a lot of money in his will in order for her to make her life more exciting. We leave her in Paris reading a letter from him and planning her adventures. 


After You finds Louise living in a small flat in London and working at an Irish bar in Heathrow airport. Rather than ‘living’ as Will wanted her too, she can’t help but find her life has come to a standstill after his death. 


When Louise has a terrible accident herself it turns her life upside down more than she could have bargained for. A new love interest and a troubled teenager, not to mention a change of personality for her mother. 

After You is not as emotionally provacative as Me Before You but it is a good book in its own right. Not only does it have its own troubled story it also gives an insight into exactly what the title suggests. What happens in Louisa’s life after Will dies. I cannot doubt that like me, every reader of Me Before You imagined that she would have an exciting life travelling the world and loving life the way Will wanted her to. The fact that the opposite is true instantly draws the reader in and makes them want to find out more. Definitely worth a read for lovers of Me Before You. 


My Top 10 Valentine’s Day reads 

It’s the month of love and romance and so… it makes sense for me to recommend my favourite romantic/love related books to get you in the mood for the most romantic day of the year. 


10. Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes 


By the author Me Before You and After You this cute little collection of short stories features undeniably romantic tales from the city of love; Paris. As well as some set in jolly old England as well. Damsels in distress rescued by hot Frenchmen abound. 

9. All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll 


Witty, warm and akin to cuddling up in your favourite chair on a winters evening. Tessa is unexpectedly called to jury duty just weeks before she’s due to get married but it’s as much a journey of self discovery for her as she tries to prepare for the big day. 

8. A Miracle at Macy’s by Lynn Marie Hulsman 


Don’t let it put you off reading this just because it’s set at Christmas. Lynn Marie Hulsman has a witty and delightful way of writing and this romantic story featuring a baker and her lost dog will pull the strings of even the hardest hearts. 

7. The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay 


A fast paced and delightful story featuring not only romantic love but the love of books too! What more could you want? Another tug of the heartstrings here and the perfect novel where everything turns out right in the end. 

6. How to Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern 


How to Fall in Love is a beautiful story about loving life as well as a romantic partner. Christine saves Adam’s life when he tries to commit suicide and she is determined that before his 35th birthday she will show him why he should embrace and love his life. 

5. 

Four very different women are brought together in this sweet story. Lucy, Autumn, Nadia and Chantal meet up in Chocolate Heaven to discuss everything from work, to friends, to love. There’s a gambling husband, a cheating boyfriend, a flirtatious boss and a loveless marriage. But of course there’s also a happy ending. 
4. 

Well let’s face it, it had to make the cut! What would Valentine’s Day be without a bit of romance S&M style? But for those who haven’t read it, you should know that beneath the smut there’s a true love story which develops throughout the trilogy. A damaged man just looking for someone to love him better. It’s irresistible. 

3. 

Hughie Venables-Smyth. He’s irresistible and he’s not the only one who knows it. Distraught husbands often pay him to use that irresistability and flirt with their wives to help bring back that spark. It’s going so well with his newest ‘wife’ Olivia that he decides to employ the same techniques on his own longed for love – Leticia. There’s some shocking revelations ahead! 
2.

In a way this is not a romantic novel. In some parts in fact it’s a little disturbing. But it wouldn’t be Marian Keyes if it didn’t give us life in real time! Paddy is a famous politician but it’s the broken hearts he’s left behind that are the secrets he doesn’t want the public to know about. This is more a story of loving yourself than loving the wrong man. 

1. 

Sian is not a reckless person. Ok, so she was, but only once, and when that recklessness resulted in her beautiful son Rory how could she possibly regret it? Like all the women in Katie’s books, Sian has a super cool job as a furniture restorer. 

When Sian leaves the City for a quiet life in a beautiful cottage in the English countryside romance is the last thing on her mind, but fate has other thoughts in store….

The Girl in the Glass Tower by Elizabeth Fremantle. Review 

It’s a little known fact that I have a deep love for historical fiction particularly about the Tudors. 


The Girl in the Glass Tower is about a little known woman of history, often referred to as the ‘lost queen’. Arbelle Stuart is heir to Elizabeth Tudor’s throne. Living between Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall, her grandmother Bess of Hardwick prepares her to be a Queen. 

But things don’t always go to plan, religious conflict is rife and not everyone is happy when Elizabeth I changes her mind and names James Stuart of Scotland her heir. 


The story juxtaposes between that of Arbelle in the past and that of of Aemilia Lanyer someone Arbelle once considered a friend. 

Now fallen from grace Ami has been banished from James I court and is living with her illegitimate son Hal in an unsavoury part of town. As she reads Arbelle’s discovered diary she begins to recall their friendship and the events which led to her friend’s death. 


The stories weave well together creating a build up of suspense and intrigue. Living in Derbyshire I’ve always been interested in Bess of Hardwick and this was a very different perspective of her. Although not that different considering she has always been known to be ambitious. 

I found the story to be very engaging and interesting, I’ve definitely garnered an interest in Arbelle and I’ll be looking up her biography to get more information about the ‘lost queen’. 

If you have a love of books by authors like Philippa Gregory or just a general interest in the lost names of history, then you should definitely read this! 

Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes. Review 

Paris for One and Other Stories is a collection of short stories by Me Before You author Jojo Moyes. 

Some of the stories were shorter than others but all of them equally engaging and definitely relatable from a woman’s point of view. Like the story about the woman who wants a new coat and can’t afford the one she really wants. 


It’s a simple story but one that resonates because there’s an underlying story to it. It’s not really about the coat, it’s about the recession. It’s about the changes to people’s lives when the country falls into financial difficulty. 

There’s the romance of the main story Paris for One. The old story of an unsuitable boyfriend letting you down, only for your whole life to be turned upside down when your regimented life becomes impulsive and full of excitement. 


Paris features heavily in Other Stories as well. 

Overall I found this collection of stories really enjoyable. The subject matters covered everything from affairs to new shoes. Right through to my favourite story of all: The Christmas List. 

Love, loss, liberation, friendship. These stories have it all!