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Search tags: Womens-Literature
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review 2017-10-05 14:38
More of a 3.5 Star Read
It Started with Paris - Cathy Kelly

Honestly, I am going to say that if Kelly could dial back the number of side characters she introduces in her books, these would be five star reads to me every single time.

 

I loved the idea of the people closet to a newly engaged couple starting to think about their own lives, marriages, divorces, or in one person's case, singledom. But once again Kelly throws in a baker with a tragic story, her new romance and his ex wife. It didn't fit this book at all and it kept dragging me out of the reading to go back to that character and the other characters in her story. In the end they (baker, boyfriend, ex-wife, and stepkids) all fell out of the story with an almost audible thump. 

 

The book shifts leads throughout, but I would say the main characters are Leila (Katy's best friend), Vonnie (a baker from America that has moved to Ireland) and Grace (Michael's mother). One of these characters is not like the others. As I said above, Vonnie the baker and her entire story-line could have been cut. I don't know why we didn't just include more about Leila's sister actually. 

 

"It Started With Paris" begins with Michael proposing to his long time girlfriend Katy at the top of the Eiffel Tower. 

 

Image result for eiffel tower gif

 

Weirdly though the book decides to start focusing on Katy's best friend Leila and her subsequent heartbreak from her husband leaving her for another woman. I have to say that it took me a while to even realize the connection between Katy and Leila since Kelly doesn't come right out and say it. I was baffled. 

 

Leila besides still reeling from her husband's betrayal is realizing that she has not been present for her sister or her mother for a very long time. Her older sister is a single mom and is struggling with trying to handle everything. When Leila's mom is in a bad car accident, her sister just throws up her hands and tells her she needs to deal with things, she's over it. 

 

Grace is a school principal who is now starting to regret choosing her work over her husband 15 years ago. 

 

Vonnie who fell in love with the perfect man and lost him, is struggling to deal with a new romance that is causing her all kinds of angst.

 

The book jumps around to so many other characters that I don't think I can list them all. We get Leila's boss's POV, Leila's husband, Grace's ex-husband's POV, Grace's ex's current long time partner's POV, etc. It just got to be too much. 


The writing I thought was really good and I did enjoy the book enough to finish it. But I can see why so many people DNFed it. You can't really follow a character straight through since you are jumping back and forth so much. 


The ending was a bit of a letdown. As I said, Vonnie's story ends abruptly, we never get a feeling for Leila's sister at all and the way she is portrayed makes her into some kind of harpy. We don't get to see the repercussions to Katy's parent's marriage, I still don't get what Michael's sister Fiona's deal was. I could go on. 

 

I think if Kelly is going to write books like this, it may make sense to have characters make appearances in her future books like Maeve Binchy started to do. It just feels like you are checking in with the people so you can feel like you get to keep reading their story. 

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review 2016-12-02 12:00
A Touching Story to Remember
Three Amazing Things About You - Jill Mansell

There are way more than three amazing things about this book. Actually, too many to count! Jill Mansell has written an absolutely charming tale about several people whose lives all intersected in spectacular and astonishing ways. With her trademark hints of humor and emotional integrity, this proved to be a touching story to remember.

‘Don’t be sad that it’s over, be glad that it happened.’

I adore Jill Mansell’s writing style. She has a way of spinning a story that is lush with intriguing characters and filled with their honest reactions. Never has that been more true than with Three Amazing Things About You. I will admit that it took me a little while to get the gist of who each person was and how they related to the story overall (there were a lot of characters) but once I did I couldn’t put this book down. I found their individual situations all equally interesting and when they started crossing paths with one another, it made things even more compelling.

 

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review 2016-12-01 12:00
A Stunning, Powerful Novel--But It Might Not Work For Everyone
Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things was a powerful, gripping story of racial injustice told from three very different points of view: the nurse accused, the public defender, and the white supremacist father. And let me just that it was an eye-opening experience that will stick with me for a long time.

‘People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.’ –Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Wow. This was my first time reading Picoult’s work and what a way to begin, with a book based around such a controversial subject as racism. I know it will be uncomfortable for some readers as they delve into Ruth, Kennedy, and Turk’s story. Especially with how emotionally-charged people currently are about this issue. But I think Picoult did a fantastic job painting a picture of each character’s life, their views, their background, and even the different options they had (or didn’t have) based on race. It felt real and very raw, to the point that I had to cringe a few times with some of the personal experiences the characters had.

 

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review 2016-11-29 12:00
Lovely Story, But That Ending...
The Flower Arrangement - Ella Griffin

‘A flower shop…was an emotional revolving door and you never knew what would come through next–love, sadness, guilt, joy. Lara could barely cope with her own feelings. The thought of trying to cope with someone else’s was too much to bear.’

The Flower Arrangement was a highly emotional novel lush with details and full of sentimental, almost spiritual, moments. The intricate storyline was told from multiple characters’ POVs, all of whom crossed paths at some point thanks to Lara and her charming flower shop.

 

I will start off warning readers of two things. First, this did not have a traditional HEA, being that it was women’s fiction and not contemporary romance. It ended rather abruptly, with a lot still left hanging in the balance. Secondly, it was a story that might be difficult for some readers to handle. It deals mainly with various types of grief and loss, delving into some dark subject matter that could be triggers for some. (Miscarriage, loss of loved ones due to cancer and other illnesses, infidelity, drug use)

 

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review 2016-11-19 09:02
So This Will Likely Be A Love-It-Or-Hate-It Book For Readers...
Two by Two - Nicholas Sparks

‘…The heart wants what it wants. Hope might leave me crushed in the end, but losing all hope somehow seemed even worse.’

Nicholas Sparks is one of the most popular authors out there today for a reason. And Two By Two is a prime example of why that is. With emotional richness and a complex, evolving storyline, this newest release was spot-on and evoked a depth of feelings that was absolutely incredible.

 

There are some stories that just really touch your heart, whether it’s the characters, the situations they find themselves in or even in the honesty with how they’re portrayed. In the case of Two By Two, it was all of those things and so much more. I’ll be honest though, this was a book that wrung me out emotionally. But in a good way.

 

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