#Middle Grade Monday #Book Review # The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner

“Remember, my dear, you do not really and truly exist.”

Made of dust and bone and imagination, Irréelle fears she’s not quite real. Only the finest magical thread tethers her to life—and to Miss Vesper. But for all her efforts to please her cruel creator, the thread is unraveling. Irréelle is forgetful as she gathers bone dust. She is slow returning from the dark passages beneath the cemetery. Worst of all, she is unmindful of her crooked bones.

When Irréelle makes one final, unforgivable mistake by destroying a frightful creature just brought to life, Miss Vesper threatens to imagine her away once and for all. Defying her creator for the very first time, Irréelle flees to the underside of the graveyard and embarks on an adventure to unearth the mysterious magic that breathes bones to life, even if it means she will return to dust and be no more.

With echoes of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, debut author Heather Kassner crafts a gorgeously written story humming with magic, mystery, and dark imaginings. (From Book Synopsis)

My thoughts: What a flight of imagination! A spooky story full of magic, adventure, friendship, and hope.

The protagonist of the Bone Garden Irréelle (‘ Unreal’), made of bone dust and her creator’s magic imagination is so loveable. She is a pure soul, ever mindful of the needs and feelings of the others. The beginning of this eery, Gothic tale transports you to dark and drafty underground tunnels under a graveyard, and Irreelle is on her mission to collect (extract) bone dust that will permit Miss Vesper restore her vitality. All Irréelle wants is to be a real girl, like little girls with pigtails in the neighbouring garden who she quietly observes, making sure nobody notices how deformed, unaligned and crooked her limbs are.

Nothing ever pleases Miss Vesper who is always quick to remind Irréelle that she doesn’t really exist and can be easily replaced. When Irréelle tries to protect herself from a strange creature, brought into life by Miss Vesper’s magic, and accidentally breaks it, Miss Vesper wants to destroy her in a really painful and cruel way. After all, Irréelle is disposable, she is neither loved, nor appreciated. Irréelle manages to run away and hide in the tunnels she knows so well by now. Here she helps to free another creation of Miss Vesper, a boy who defied her orders and was buried under a pile of boulders moved by the sheer will of Miss Vesper’s ire and revenge. Guy becomes Irréelle’s first friend who helps her to make their way outside and challenge her inexplicable connection to her tormentor. But if you think the scary part is over, you’re mistaken. The adventure only begins. Together, Irréelle, Guy, and two other fugitives Lass and Hand (who seem to be more assetive and proactive than Irréelle ) must solve the mystery and origin of Miss Arden Mae Vesper’s dark magic.

Irréelle undergoes a huge transformation from a quiet, obedient, awkward girl, who wants to do everything in her power to please her creator, even if, deep down, she knows it is wrong. Gradually, she begins to accept her own worth and the fact that she is a brave, smart, tenacious, perceptive girl ‘with a big heart and a will of her own’.

The setting is really dark (most of it happens either undergound or in the graveyard), so it might not be suitable for young children, but midlle graders will appreciate the dark Gothic charm of the magic world created by Heather Kessner.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Henry Holt and Co. for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read The Bone Garden or is it on your tbr?
  • What are the best Middle Grade books you have read recently?
  • Are you a fan of Tim Burton’s and Neil Gaiman’s work?

#Book Review # Because you’re mine by Rea Frey

The truth will set you free. But it’s the lies that keep you safe.

At the beginning of the book a woman dies, falling down from a treacherous mountain path and leaving her child motherless. Who is she? what kind of secrets and frustrations made her go on the fateful mountain climb when she was clearly not in the right kind of shape and state to do it?

And so our guessing game begins… We meet Lee, a single mom of Mason, a delightful and amazingly gifted child with a sensory processing disorder, which means Lee has to run hairstyling business from home, so that Mason can be homeschooled and given occupational therapy. We also meet Grace, Lee’s best friend, who is a kind and symathetic divorced mother of seven year old Luca. Lee became friends with a few playground mothers long time ago when Mason was still asymptomatic. They all want to help Lee, and they all have different strengths and roles, but it is Grace that Lee confides in and feels safe around. It does help that Grace adores and understands Mason better than anybody else.

Lee’s life is full of relentless responsibilities, so when her friends suggest a weekend away, she doesn’t even take it into serious consideration. Eventually, Noah, Mason’s tutor and occupational therapist, persuades her to go by saying he will take care of the boy and send hourly updates all weekend. But as we know forty-eight hours later a tragedy strikes.

We get three points of view in this book, as well as two timelines of present (before and after the fall) and past. Fairly quickly, we realise that Grace, lee and Noah are all keeping secrets from each other, secrets that they are not willing or not ready to share, because they can destroy the lives they have been carefully constructing.

Rea Frey’s writing is compelling and you get drawn into the book from page one. We see that the narrators are unreliable for various reasons, and the clues left by the author may or may not be leading us to the truth. I must admit I didn’t see the final revelation coming, which made it all even more fascinating, although not entirely believable.

What I liked the most about this book is the emotional engagement the author carefully creates. Any mother will recognise the worry of having a child diagnosed with a disorder that will require special care, the worry of not being able to meet their physical, emotional or developmental needs. How do you make sure your child is going to thrive and live their life to the fullest without exposing them to unmitigated risks? Similarly, any reader will understand a single mother’s desire to meet ‘an appropriate, responsible, honorable’ friend or a future partner.

A well-crafted domestic thriller with twists and turns that will keep you reading compulsively.

Thank you to Edelweiss and St.Martin’s Griffin for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read Because you’re mine? What did you think of the ending?
  • Is it on your tbr? Have you read Rea Frey’s previous book? Did you like it?

#Book Review #A Highlander walks into a Bar by LauraTrentham

An entertaining read just perfect for summer when my head stubbornly refuses to concentrate on merits of literary fiction, but wants romance, romance, romance….

And I got plenty of it with two lovely Scottish-American couples exploring what home, tradition and love is under the hot Georgian sun.

Isabel (Izzy) Buchanan is such a mix of contradictory character traits. A passionate redhead with unruly curly hair, wild imagination and a very practical job of an accountant, Isabel is both thoughtful and hilariously outspoken. Isabel’s father started Highland Games in his little southern town with higher than usual percentage of Scottish descendants. The festival was designed to help local businesses and bring in tourists, so you can see how important it is for Isabel to continue her family tradition after her father’s death. However, she would also love to travel and write a great Southern novel. It’s just that her writing is lacking something and she doesn’t know how to re-capture the magic flow of her childhood stories.

Izzy is usually helped by her mother, but this year Rose Buchanan ( a great southern lady, elegant, wise, hospitable) might be a bit negligent in her duties of the festival organiser. She’s just come back from Scotland accompanied by a guest. Gareth is the caretaker of a real Scottish manor and is a real gentleman as far as Rose is concerned. But Izzy’s suspicions are only doubled, when another Highlander walks in and claims to be an old mate of Gareth’s. It’s just that Alasdair Blackmoore is way too young (Izzy’s age) and heart-stoppingly gorgeous with his dark wavy hair, a hint of stubble and sexy brogue (okay, here I am picturing my favourite Dr Who, can you blame me?). We quickly find out that Alasdaire is based in London and works for an investment company. Are they here to trick Rose and Isabel out of their beloved Stonehaven property? and what would happen to the festival if the Buchanans were not there to safeguard the tradition?

I love the way the novel is written from two POVs and Alasdair’s intentions are more similar to Isabel’s than she gives him credit for. He is here to protect Uncle Gareth, both his property (his origins are not as humble as he led Rosie to believe)and his heart.
As the events unfold (Alasdair unwittingly complicates the situation by involving his London boss), there are plenty of fun moments, tension building and yes, romance.
I enjoyed the first and the last third of the book a bit more than the hot and steamy scenes. Maybe I appreciated more the humour, banter and inexplicable attraction between two almost strangers. Maybe the traditional me doesn’t expect insta-love to last and I really was rooting for these two couples to overcome their geographic incompatibility and Izzy’s rueful lack of coordination (which resulted in a few accidents). Not that Alasdair proved to be much more athletic, just more determined to woo his lass.

As it was the few hours I spent with this book flew by too fast and I was sorry to leave Highland, Georgia. Fortunately, this is just the beginning and the second book is brewing somewhere (I wanted to say in Scottish moors, but I’m not sure where the author resides and comes up with her wonderful ideas). All we have to do is wait for the ancient magic and modern romance to make its appearance again.

Thank you to Edelweiss and St.Martin’s for the review copy provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read this book or is it on your tbr? Would you like to know more about Rosie and Gareth’s future?
  • Is Izzy right sacrificing her dreams and ambitions to keep up her family tradition?

#Book review # Escape Room by Megan Goldin

On Monday morning a security employee hears two gun shots coming from a largely unused elevator. He calls the police who manage to open the door…and retreat in shock at the amount of blood covering the small space. What exactly led to this situation? Who were the four people confined in this elevator and why did they hate each other to this extent?

To answer these questions we have to go back to Friday evening when four investment bankers Vincent, Sylvie, Jules and Sam receive identical e-mails requesting them to participate in a meeting outside their office. Things haven’t been going that well recently, the threat of losing their lucrative positions and being fired is real, and they all feel they cannot afford to miss this particular meeting, which turns out to be a kind of a team building exercise, known as an escape room. In a classic escape room scenario, you get clues to decipher, situations to show your leadership skills and promote team spirit and…what was the word…Trust (they have well and truly forgotten the meaning of this word)? If you manage to solve the mystery in 60 minutes, you get a round of applause and a pat on the shoulder. If not, the door opens anyway, you get a message of encouragement, a pat on the shoulder, and everybody is ready to go for a Friday drink.

If only this was a classic escape room! Or at the very least, if only the four people locked in it, could trust each other. Oh they do get a series of clues, but the aim of the game is different this time: try to stay alive and work out the mystery behind this set-up.

The Escape Room is an incredibly addictive read. You’d think that the ruthless world of ridiculuosly overpaid, overworked and overstressed bankers is something that has been described and discussed to death and there’s nothing new to add. Yet, the much more personal narrative of the second POV (there are two: one giving a blow-by-blow account of what was happening in the elevator, and the other one that gives you an insight into more distant past events that led to the deadly game) is what made this book so fascinating.

Well-written, compelling, gripping?– yes! Believable?eh, no, not really. Oh, I do believe the descriptions of long hours, glass ceiling, gruelling work hours, sacrificed relationships and totally absent work-life balance, sexism, elitism, alcoholism and drug abuse. It’s the details of the revenge set-up that required me to suspend my belief. I didn’t care – it was way too entertaining.

Thank you to Edelweiss and St.Martin’s for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

The Escape Room is out on the 30th of July 2019.

  • Have you read The Escape Room or is it on your tbr? What did you think of it?

#Book review # Someone we know by Shari Lapena

What would you do if you accidentally discovered your lazy but so loveable teenage son has a dangerous hobby of breaking into your neighbours ‘ houses and hacking into their computers?

Would you consider writing an anonymous letter to apologise for his wrongdoing? Just to make sure that his prank e-mails do not have serious consequences? Isn’t it a decent thing to do? and if we, parents, do not do what is moral and decent, how can we expect our children to learn what is right and wrong?

This is what Olivia Sharpe thinks. Her husband and son, and their family lawyer are of a completely different opinion. The anonymous letters she has secretly sent her neighbours have enormous repercussions on the life of everybody in this close-knit suburban neighbourhood, because everybody here has their own secrets.

We know from the very beginning of the book that a horrendous murder has taken place. We know the murder weapon used and the fact that the murderer was male. We also learn the identity of the victim: Amanda Pierce, a new neighbour, is reported missing by her husband Robert. Two weeks later her beaten to death body is discovered in the trunk of their car that was sunk in a nearby lake. The murderer is someone who lives in one of these houses. It is in all likelihood someone we know… But to discover who it was and why, we’ll have to doubt every single person, no matter how nice and friendly they appear to be.

Despite its relative simplicity (there is a limited number of people involved), the plot is complex and frighteningly realistic. A husband is cheating on his wife after twenty years of marriage and grown-up kids. A bored and lonely housewife gets infatuated with a much younger neighbour after he shows her a morsel of attention. A teenager who used to be so well-adjusted and ‘problem-free’ is suddenly showing signs of teenage alcoholism. Another teenager gets a thrill from snooping around and spying on other people’s secrets. A couple who have always taken trusting each other for granted, but do not seem to be able to speak to each other about things which are important. All these characters and their lives are interlocked and interconnected in this superbly-written mystery.

The police are there and they are doing excellent work by continually discovering new clues and putting pressure on the right people. They also know when the suspect (or rather the suspects, because there are several) they arrested appears to be innocent and is to be released, because new evidence and new leads keep appearing and need to be checked out.

This is my first book by Shari Lapena and now I can see why her previous titles became bestsellers. The writing is incredibly compelling. ‘Someone We Know’ is a clever fast-paced whodunnit that will keep you entertained and might even give you the satisfaction of guessing the identity of the murderer before anybody else.

When the mystery is finally resolved and it all makes sense, you will still be asking yourself questions about how far people are willing to go to cover a crime committed by someone they know and love.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Pamela Dorman Books for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read ‘Someone We know’ or is it on your tbr list?
  • Have you read any other books by Shari Lapena? Since this is my first book by this author I’d be grateful for recommendations.
  • What do you think of Olivia Sharp’s decision to write anonymous letters and apologise for her son’s wrongdoing?

#Book Review #The Silent Ones by K.L.Slater

This morning, I was packing up lunches, ironing, putting on the laundry I should have done last night. Now my precious daughter is accused of murder.

When ten-year-old cousins Maddy and Brianna are arrested for a terrible crime, Maddy’s mother Juliet cannot believe it. How could her bright, joyful daughter be capable of such a thing?

As the small village community recoils in horror, the pressure of the tragedy blows Juliet and her sister’s lives apart. And things get even worse when their daughters retreat into a self-imposed silence. Can anyone reach Maddy and discover the truth before her fate is sealed?

Juliet is crushed. Nothing will ever be the same for her darling girl. But she knows that to find out what really happened that day, she and her sister must unlock the secrets of their own terrible past, a past they swore never to speak about again …

The most unputdownable psychological thriller you’ll read this year from the bestselling author K.L. Slater. If you love The Wife Between Us or Gone Girl, you’ll be totally hooked on The Silent Ones.

(From the book blurb)

My thoughts:

The premise is extremely interesting. Imagine a horrendous crime and two children involved, children who wouldn’t say a word to explain what happened, not even to defend themselves. Maddie and Brianna are first cousins. We know they are quite different (as any two children, even siblings, would be), but we also get slightly different descriptions coming from their respective mothers Juliet Fletcher and Chloe Voce. Is Maddie an intelligent, quiet animal lover or is she secretive and sneaky? Is Brianna a spontaneous, wear-your-heart-on-the-sleeve bubbly, joyful little girl or has she got a mother of all tempers? Is it ever possible to see your child absolutely objectively? What if one of them is innocent, but is protecting the other one. What if it is your child who is guilty, would you be ready to accept the truth and the subsequent blame and punishment?

‘She’s ten years old. She’s not equipped with the tools needed to get through this relentless pressure; she doesn’t know how to steady herself, control her emotions.

It’s crushing me to watch her slowly fading away.

Gradually, the tension builds, the secrets come unravelling and we understand that there is something else, something dark and sinister, buried in the family past that made the mothers’ characters what they are. But is there a possibility of redemption and do they even believe in it?

Whenever a crime like this is concerned, there are rumours and wild accusations, and pointing fingers. In our day and age, when the latest news is just a click away and social media are ready to lynch the parents with hateful comments, you still have to trust that the investigation is going to be proper and unbiased.

Other people are peddling inaccuracies that mean nothing to them but have the power to wreck our lives.

There are special procedures, designed to protect the rights of minors and they are there for good reasons. Guilty or not, children are vulnerable members of our society and this book brilliantly shows this vulnerability and the part families play in dealing with situations like this.

The book is so fast-paced, there’s never a dull moment. There are twists and turns, and you do want to get to know what exactly the two girls did (or didn’t do?) on that afternoon, even at the expense of your own sleepless night.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

The Rocking Book of Rocks #Book review # Children’s non-fiction

This book is a fantastic introduction into the world of geology and gemmology. Comprehensive, clear, beautifully-illustrated, well-organised– everything I could have ever asked from from a non-fiction book.

It starts with basic definitions. What are rocks and minerals and why do we study them? The short answer is because they let us have a glimpse into the past and help us predict our future. What else do geologists study? It turns out they study a huge variety of things, including earthquakes and even sharks!

It is impossible to discuss geology without having a brief look at the structure of the Earth. And here was the fun fact that I had somehow overlooked before: the temperature of the inner core of our planet is the same as the temperature of the Sun! We literally walk on our own little Sun!

Then the book gives an overview of the three main kinds of rocks: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic with beautiful examples helping the young reader identify and remember them.

Another fun fact: Pele’s hair is not named after the legendary Brazilian football player, but rather after the Hawaiian Goddess of volcanoes! ‘It forms when lava is thrown out of a volcano and stretched into thin wispy golden strands by the wind’.

Being a very visual person, I loved the spreads that dealt with these world wonders: Kilauea lava flows (Hawaii), Giant’s Causeway (Northern Ireland), Mount Erebus, Halong Bay (Vietnam) and, of course, The Wave (Arizona, the USA).

It isn’t only the Earth rocks that are discussed in the book. Mars and the Moon get their own special mention. Fun fact No3: Did you know that because there is no wind on our sattelite, the Moon dust called regolith preserves in extraordinary detail the footprint of Neil Armstrong?

The section on gemstones could have easily been expanded into a book on its own. I just swooned at the wealth of information and the beauty of these treasures.
More fun facts:

  • Diamonds come in all sorts of colours, including black.
  • Did you know that ruby and sapphire are actually the same mineral called corundum?

I could continue and continue, but I think by now you already see that I am totally in love with rocks and this wonderful book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Wide Eyed Edition for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Title: The Rocking Book of Rocks

Authors: Amy Ball and Florence Bullough; Illustrations: Anna Alanko

Published by: WideEyed Editions

Expected Publication date: 6th of August 2019

  • Are you interested in geology and gemmology?
  • What’s the best children’s non-fiction book you have read/seen recently?
  • What are the ingredients of a successful children’s non-fition book in your opinion?
  • Have you been to any of the wonder places mentioned in this post?

#Book review # The other Mrs Miller by Allison Dickson

Phoebe’s recently lost her wealthy father Daniel, so she can probably be forgiven for keeping to her suburban house in a quiet cul-de-sac. She has no desire to interact with other people and would definitely like to avoid journalists and paparazzi. Since his death, Daniel has been accused of various kinds of harrassment and even rape by numerous women who were too afraid to talk about it earlier for the fear of retribution. Phoebe did not exactly have a happy childhood herself. Most of the time her father didn’t acknowledge her existence, and when he did, it was only to put her down or label as worthless.

Phoebe had her moment of rebellion when, having got accidentally pregnant, she got married to Wyatt. Unfortunately, the baby died, numerous fertility treatments proved to be futile, and Phoebe gradually realised that becoming a parent was her husband’s dream, not hers, as she is not a maternal type. Phoebe’s marriage is on the rocks, she doesn’t want to leave her house for any other reason apart from grocery shopping. Slowly, but steadily, Phoebe is letting herself go

She’s rediscovered the grace in being childless, and how it affords limitless opportunities for poolside reading and day drinking. She has also found nirvana in wearing yoga pants with no intention of doing poses, peace in ignoring ingredient lists, calories and macro counts. Her favourite synonym for serenity is French: cabernet sauvignon.

A new family moves in the house next door, and Phoebe gets involved with the Napiers family life in all sorts of predictable and unpredictable ways.

In the second part of the book we see a different Phoebe Miller, somebody who is bold and resourceful, and is willing to act. I kept thinking about The Likeness by Tara French, where the murder victim was also somebody who kept reinventing herself and trying out diffrent lives, friendships and relationships. Of course, if you lead this kind of exhilarating life, what you cannot afford is trust in other people, which is earned and built over time. Is the other Mrs Miller ready to pay this price?

The Other Mrs Miller was a fast and engaging read. I just had to know what was going to happen next. At several points I wrote a note for myself with what I thought the future had in store for Phoebe Miller, and, of course, I was wrong! This dark and humorous book may not be particularly realistic (do you know many rich and socially disgraced heiresses?!?), but it is an interesting example of a domestic thriller. It definitely kept my attention until the very end.

Thank you to Edelweiss and G.P.Putnam’s sons for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Book Blurb:

In this unputdownable domestic suspense debut, a lonely suburban housewife finds her life entangled with the family that moves in across the street at the same time that she becomes convinced someone is watching her–perfect for fans of The Couple Next Door and The Last Mrs. Parrish.

Once a darling of Chicago’s social scene, Phoebe Miller fears she’s become irrelevant and cliché: just another miserably unfulfilled housewife who drowns her sorrows in Chardonnay and ice cream and barely leaves her house. Maybe it’s her dark thoughts and fertile imagination that lead her to believe the worst about everything she spies going on in the exclusive suburban cul de sac she calls home. But surely that rusty blue sedan that keeps idling by her driveway is a sign that she’s being watched. And that new family that just moved in across the street–Dr. Ron Napier, his vivacious wife, Vicki, and their handsome college-bound son, Jake–can’t be as perfect as they appear. Especially not with the bruises on Vicki’s arms and the fear in Jake’s eyes.

When a chance introduction to the exuberant Vicki–and a forbidden encounter with Jake–draws her out of her shell and deeper into the Napiers’ orbit, Phoebe’s life finally gets the infusion of excitement she’s been missing. But when anonymous threatening notes begin landing on her doorstep, she’ll have to ask herself just how well anyone can truly know their neighbors…and how close to home unforeseen danger sometimes lies.

  • Have you read the other Mrs Miller or is it on your tbr?
  • Do you like reading domestic thrillers? Do you expect them to be realistic?

# Sunday Morning For Kids # Don’t drink the pink by B.C.R.Fegan and Lenny Fen

What kind of magic ability did you wish for when you were a child?

Sweet, lovely, original… reading this book made me feel quite emotional, although it is almost impossible to explain why without giving away the secret of the pink potion

Madeline is very close to her grandfather. Everybody considers him a bit crazy, but, for her, he is just full of wonderful surprises. On her first birthday, he brings her a box of little potion bottles and asks her to choose one. She can choose any colour apart from (you guessed it!) pink. What happens next is the fulfilment of every child’s wishes for magic in their lives. Just for one day Madeline breathes fire, turns into a mermaid, controls the skies and creates fun fair rides with the power of her mind, any magic ability you wished you had as a child, Madeline gets it, as one by one, she drinks her multicoloured potions. Madeline’s birthdays are filled with sense of wonder, as she explores the magic world of child’s imagination.

Gradually, Grandpa, who has always been there for his little girl, is growing more and more frail, slower to move, unable to walk until he passes away just a month before Madeline’s fifteenth birthday. Having been close to my own grandfather for all my life until his death, I could immediately relate to Madeline’s grief and confusion.

Nothing ever is going to be the same, even though the happy days are there, stored safely in our memory. And the pink potion is there, together with our grandfathers’ message of unconditional love and understanding.

The artwork is lovely and captivating. There is so much going on that you can spend ages exploring every page of this little gem of a book. The costumes suggest that the story is set some time in the past, although the book has a timeless quality of a good fairy-tale.

This short and gentle book may help children understand better what growing old means and that their beloved family members will not be always there, which is not an easy topic to discuss, albeit inevitably necessary.

Thank to NetGalley and TaleBlade for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Title: Don’t drink the pink
Authors: B.C.R.Fegan, Lenny Fen (Illustrations)
Publisher: TaleBlade
Expected Publication Date: 1st of August 2019

# Sunday Morning for Kids is a variation on the meme started by Rae Longest at Powerful Women Readers.

#Book review # The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

Looking for a modern and diverse romance for your summer read? Read and liked Jasmine Guillory’s The Proposal and The Wedding Date? The third book in the series called the Wedding Party is coming out on the 16th of August.

The plot of The Wedding Party is pretty straightforward. Theo and Maddie have the same best friend Alexa. Unfortunately for Alexa, they themselves didn’t hit it off with each other at all. Maddie thinks Theo is pompous and boring, while Theo is convinced Maddie is as shallow as it gets. Despite all this, they suddenly find themselves madly attracted to each other to the point of starting a secret sexual relationship. They both agree to keep it secret from their best friend, but can they pull it off? and what’s the point of a relationship with a definite expiry date looming in fornt of them as Alexa’s wedding day approaches.

Maddie and Theo are way too comfortable with each other and quickly discover they might have been too hasty to judge each other. On second thoughts, Theo’s problem is that he is rather insecure and over-responsible, while Maddie really has a heart of gold and wants to help unemployed women look their best for a job interview which might help them turn their lives around.

I must admit I didn’t connect with the characters straightaway. Not until I read about Theo alphabetising Maddie’s spice rack (how organised is that?!?) and Maddie living in an uber-messy house with piles of clothes scattered all over the fllor in a haphazard manner. Of course, this was the real reason why she didn’t dare to invite Theo over. When Theo suddenly turns up on her doorstep, she has no choice but go into a panic mode and start shoving everything into her wardrobe. The characters suddenly became more relatable, although I still felt a bit annoyed with them for not giving up their pretense and just admitting they need each other.

What I liked the most about this book is Jasmine Guillory’s impeccable writing style. Not a single false note in the whole book. I will definitely try to read and review the previous books in the series as well as the sequel.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read The Proposal, The Wedding Date or The Wedding Party? Are any of these books on your tbr list?
  • How do you feel about enemies to lovers trope? what’s your favourite book using this trope?
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