#BookReview The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

I’m so torn on this book!

The Hypnotist’s Love Story is a marvelous stand alone by the author of Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty. This book is full of deceit, stalkers, a very strange love story, and life lessons. Oh, and did I mention a little hypnotherapy? It’s kind of obvious, since it is in the title, but it’s one of the biggest parts of this novel!

I found this book to be an interesting mix of chick lit, drama and contemporary fiction. There were times I was laughing, there were times when I was cringing, and at the end I felt like I was missing something. I wanted just a little more of Ellen and Patrick’s story instead of the abrupt ending. There was so much strange insanity in this book (Patrick having a stalker, Ellen being a hypnotherapist, Patrick’s former wife Colleen, Saskia’s past…) that I was left feeling slightly empty. All of these story lines were epic, but none of them had the big follow through I was hoping for (especially in a book as long as this one!).

Ellen starts dating Patrick and their relationship moves very fast. Soon enough, she learns that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend Saskia is stalking him and that he is a widower. He idolized Colleen and the son, Jack, that they shared together. Ellen gets the feeling she doesn’t live up to Colleen and she seems to be intrigued by this stalker. All throughout the book we follow some of Ellen’s hypnotizing shenanigans and meet some of the clients. Of course, that doesn’t go too well either.

This book has the best concepts – all of that paragraph makes me really excited! To me, I just wanted more follow through. Why does Saskia feel the need to stalk? Why does Patrick feel like the type of guy Ellen should have just dumped? How did Ellen become a hypnotherapist? Why was hypnotherapy working on certain clients?

All of that being said, this book was still a real treat. If you love drama and a splash of romance, this book would be perfect for your shelf. Not every book can be utterly perfect in a reader’s eye and I do expect a lot (I grew up watching soap operas, so I kind of expect the real dramatics). Liane also has a wonderful writing style that makes the book fluid and easy to read (and man, having a 400 page book as an easy read is a real feat, so don’t underestimate this woman!). I will one hundred percent be reading more books by Liane Moriarty. Her ideas are incredible, her writing style is flawless and she writes realistic, believable characters REALLY well!

Three out of five stars!

P.S. “Knit, don’t stalk” is the most solid life advice I’ve ever read from a book. It is also now my favourite line I’ve ever read and I’m going to live by it.

 

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#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
#BookReview The Inside Track by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner

 

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#BookReview More Than a Feeling by Sara Richardson

More Than a Feeling is a marvelous continuation of the Heart of Rockies series by Sara Richardson.

Years ago I managed to get my hands on one of the first books in this series, and then I bought the sequels! Silly me lost them among my shelves until I recently managed to clean my little library up. Of course, I had to pick this book up and continue the series (I’m sure #2 is hiding somewhere in my house. Whoever said you had to read these in order?!).

I really enjoy this series, but it is an R rated book – sex scenes, abusive pasts and a miscarriage are just a few parts of this story that make it a “tougher” read. It felt like an adult romance novel, which is what it was intended to be. That being said, this book could be a potential trigger for some readers.

I like that Sara didn’t hold back with Ruby’s story. Her story is rough and tough and isn’t all sunshine and roses. She’s lucky to find a man like Sawyer and a beautiful, unconventional family to fill her heart with. Oh, and the sex scenes made for a good romp too!

This book has a lot of tug and pull. Ruby wanted Sawyer, but didn’t want to tell him her secrets. Sawyer was very similar, but he was all in for this relationship. The ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ was a little annoying, but that’s because it’s one of those specific cliches I get bored with. That part of the book didn’t go on for a long time, but it’s still there. This little cliche made this book a slow burn romance, but when it hits the hot parts… wowza, it is hot!

I like contemporary romances like these. For whatever reason, they are really hitting all of the notes I want them to hit this year. There were some cons though…

1. Potential animal abuse. I strongly dislike animal abuse. Fortunately, a lot of the potential abuse isn’t shown in this novel. There’s just a little bit and it’s used to show Ruby’s compassion. Still… it’s a touchy topic for me.

2. Abusive exes. Yeek… These do happen in real life but they still make me shiver. Some readers might not enjoy some of the comments said in relation to this topic! So, reader beware…

3. Miscarriage. It happened in the past but I know it’s a very touchy subject for some people. Again, reader beware!

4. Sawyer is a really horny man. It’s not necessarily a giant con (it’s a romance novel, you kinda have to expect it) but I know a good friend of mine did not enjoy that part of the novel. So, it’s a potential con? Not for me, but for some readers.

If I had to pick the good things, they would be as followed:

1. Foster families and happy endings. I like seeing the positive side of building trust and making friendships! I’m glad this book put foster families in a good light.

2. Stand-alone versus series. This book could easily have stood alone, yet it’s apart of a series. Sara gives you just enough info to be able to jump into this book without knowing the rest of this series.

3. NO CLIFFHANGER! Thank goodness there was no cliffhanger. Those kill me.

Overall, I liked this book! The touchy subjects dropped one star off my rating, but realistically they can happen! So why not put them into a romance novel and use them for a happy ending?

Four out of five stars!

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Check out some other reviews and books you might enjoy:
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels
#BookReview Something Like Love by Sara Richardson
#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin

 

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#BookReview City of Friends by Joanna Trollope

City of Friends is a lovely story by Joanna Trollope following the interconnecting lives of women.

This book focuses on the trials and errors of middle aged women being women. Lost jobs, children to take care of, parents to take care of, struggling romantic relationships, family drama and friendship drama all mash together into one well written tale. It’s everything you’d expect from a contemporary, women’s fiction novel!

There are four women who were once friends and now all of them are middle aged. Each of them have their own struggles to deal with, and somehow all of their problems relate to each other’s problems. As with most female centered books, there is a pinch of feminine drama that makes me question if women are just bound to be dramatic and gossip (as a woman, I haven’t seen too much of that as an adult – maybe it’s just me though). Examples of this drama: One woman offers her friend’s “mistress” or new lover a job but not her best friend, two of the women’s children start seeing each other, a husband tells a woman to pick between their relationships or her mother’s health. Yeah… this book felt petty at times.

Even with some of these interesting plot lines, I did enjoy this book. Buuuuuut… it wasn’t a hit out of the park for me. I found it was a lovely, soft read that wasn’t hard to jump in and out of. The worst part was that it got very slow at times. There were entire chapters that could have been left out and the story still would have progressed. I also didn’t feel like there was a real “end” to this book, it just stopped. That’s how life stories go there – there never is an “end”, something just “stops”.

There are some really strong parts of this book, for those looking for my positives! There are strong women characters who are facing realistic problems. I know many girls and women who have faced some of these troubles – like a sick parent, dealing with a lost job, and trying to balance work and family life. I like seeing books like this that bring about real issues so people realize that everyone goes through this stuff. Our lives aren’t what we see on Instagram – life isn’t perfect.

It may be because I’ve read a lot of women’s fiction lately (on accident) or maybe it is just the plot of this book – I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. The synopsis sounds awesome, the cover is gorgeous and the first half of the book really peaked me interest. At half, I kind of just wandered off in my brain and had trouble getting through it.

That being said, I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary novels and women’s fiction. It’s not a bad book, it’s just not a good book for me – mainly because it couldn’t hold my attention the way other women’s fiction has. I think Joanna Trollope has a fantastic, easy reading, writing style and I want to read more books by her! This is just a blip on the book radar!

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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If you enjoyed this book (or review!) check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview A Cup of Redemption by Carole Bumpus
#BookReview Coming Out by Danielle Steel
#BookReview Tempting Faith by Susan Mallery

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#BookReview Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber is a lovely tale woven with friendship, romance and care!

I love to knit, even though I’m not very good at it, so a book like this is right up my alleyway! A knitting group, a flower shop, a love affair, a baby, a wedding and endless amounts of girl drama fill the pages of this book! Lydia, Colette and Alix are the three main leads, and wowza did Debbie do a good job making this story! I one hundred percent need to read the rest of this series – especially since I love Colette!

Debbie Macomber’s writing style is very lovely. It’s soft, sweet and easy to read. There are times where the plot took sudden turns that seemed out of character (someone magically being in love when before it seem a bit sinister…?), but she somehow makes it work and be believable. She writes a woman’s tale so easily, and makes it feel like they could be my friend, sister or mother. These women face real problems that many of my friends have faced themselves! This relatable factor makes this book so much better than I would have anticipated.

Despite being over four hundred pages, it truly didn’t feel that way. I was so connected to Alix and Colette’s story that I managed to binge this book in under two days. For me and my busy schedule, that’s quite the feat! But that just shows how great Debbie is at making an addicting story! I wouldn’t have been so interested in these characters and their stories if Debbie hadn’t done such an awesome job of writing the book.

I did have some “major” negatives about this book though:
1. I didn’t enjoy Lydia’s story because it does mirror some of my own past horrors and demons. Due to the loss of my Father, it was really hard to read her struggles with her Mother. Instead of pushing through it, I decided to lightly skim past that part. Should this affect other readers and their score against the book? Absolutely not! For me, it was just a little too hard to read, emotionally. It doesn’t affect my score at all, but I do have to admit I wasn’t as connected to her.
2. Christian just suddenly changed his mood. I would have liked to see a more gradual movement in his feelings, but the book is already over 400 pages long so I can understand why Debbie didn’t.

To list some of the amazing positives (that I haven’t already included):
1. The knitting quotes were fabulous! They really added a fantastic touch of personalism to the book.
2. The cover is gorgeous and colourful. If you’re going to judge a book by it’s cover, judge this book!
3. It was the perfect mix of contemporary, drama, women’s fiction and romance. I wouldn’t change a thing (minus some more Christian, of course).

Overall, this book was truly lovely! I’m glad I picked this book up years ago at a local department store! Although, I’m slightly upset it took me so long to read it! This book is a true gem that I’d recommend to ladies who love knitting, want a light, fluffy story or just want to dig into a sweet book!

Five out of five stars!

 

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#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
#BookReview Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin

 

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#BookReview Babyland by Holly Chamberlin

Babyland by Holly Chamberlin felt like a soap opera of emotions!

I’m in this weird adult phase where I feel like an adult and want to think about marriage and babies but also feel like a child still (college does that to you, I hear). Picking this book up was part of my ‘I’m an adult who likes babies and marriage and soap operas’ phase. I have to say, it didn’t disappoint on what I wanted it to deliver.

I nabbed this book as a discount book store and I was stoked. I love getting books from random authors I’ve never heard of and I love sales. After reading the reviews for this book, I figured I needed to go in expecting a dramatic ride full of babies and girl gossip, and it delivered on that front!

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book! I wanted exactly what it delivered on and I couldn’t ask for much more. I want to read more by Holly Chamberlin because she does have her own style, and I dig it.

Anna is married to Ross (think Ross from friends) and they decided they aren’t going to have children. Then, TA DA!, she gets pregnant. The drama coming from this event, plus his family being rich, stereotypical jerks and her questioning her life brings out my inner soap opera addict. It’s full of silly drama, insane gossip and twists you can probably guess if you’ve ever watched a soap opera. Will she stay with Ross? Will she want another baby? Duh, duh duhhhhhhh. There’s lots of questions and this book doesn’t end up answering half of mine, but I still liked it.

My negatives for this book was that it felt a little too long and that I didn’t get to see the final happy ending shot of Anna and her man. I really wanted to hear about the happily ever after, but I didn’t. Oh well.

Overall, I liked this book. It was a nice change and it was easy to read. I was able to binge this book within a couple hours even though it’s so long, but that’s because Holly knows how to write a good book that’s easy to read.

Three out of five stars.

 

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#BookReview Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

I love exploring new cultures, so having the opportunity to pick up Dear Haiti, Love Alaine was absolutely thrilling for me!

This novel follows the lovely Alaine as she gets sent to Haiti to fulfill a school project. Along the way she helps out her Tati’s PATRON PAL app/company, meets a cute guy, learns who her real friends are, and deals with some large, life altering issues. Oh, and did I mention this book felt so darn real?!

It was a true gift to receive the opportunity to read this book. The authors make Alaine feel like a real person and present this book in a really unique matter. Emails, letters, postcards, diaries, text messages and so many different mediums of communication are present in this novel! All of these mediums make it so easy to jump in and out of the book and I felt like I lost nothing! It truly was a marvelous feat and it makes me want more from these lovely sisters and their writing abilities.

The big standout for this novel is Haiti. Obviously, it’s in the title, but Maika and Maritza make it feel like you’re there. The cultures and traditions are presented so beautifully and naturally. I didn’t feel like anything was forced, it felt so REAL. It’s hard sometimes – being a Canadian who has only visited the U.S.A and Canada because I don’t know what other places are like. Sometimes reading a book like this, you get caught up and wonder if the authors actually knew what they were talking about. But this book? It read so wonderfully and you could tell the authors weren’t just making up what they thought Haiti was like. I LOVE it when that happens.

The other lovely standouts of this book are:
1. Alaine’s sassiness is legit how I felt as a teenager. She did have some worrisome moments (like the reason she was sent to Haiti to begin with), but she had the teenage angst we all had back in the day. Other words you might use to describe her are: feisty, fierce, and fabulous! She’s such a strong lead and she has flaws which makes her more lovable. She’s no Mary Jane/Mary Sue!
2. Jason, Estelle, Roseline and our large assortment of characters didn’t feel like background characters. They were used effectively and written in a way that made them have a point to being there.
3. Alzheimer’s. Medical issues SUCK, but having a book that shows the good and the bad sides of these diseases is PERFECTION. This book wasn’t just ‘boo hoo Alzheimer’s’, it also showed the hope people can have.
4. The relationship between Alaine and her parents made me feel really connected to her. I had a parent that worked more than I wanted too and I am sad to say I lost a lot of time with them. Seeing that exact feeling put into a book (but have a more happy ending) made me have butterflies and feel really affectionate towards this novel. Maika and Martiza connected with teenage me SO HARD with this plot thread.
5. PATRON PAL. I’m always down for a plot line that brings up actual, real-life issues and presents them in a manner that makes sense. How can we help people? Make an app! Donate! Help people who need help! This book also presents helping poorer countries/nations in a really smart way – we want to provide them a sustainable way to pull themselves back up and take care of themselves, not just give them money forever and wish them luck. I’m glad they pointed that out in this book because it’s a REALLY important lesson for people to learn.

I would love to hear the thoughts of reviewers who are Haitian, Haitian-American or have lived in Haiti. I think this book is pretty darn swell, but my background isn’t of this culture. One thing that I hope comes out with this book is more people want to read about other cultures. Books like these make me want to know and learn more!

Do I have any negatives? Yes. I would have liked a couple of more chapters to see what happened after the project, but the book wasn’t set up that way. I really grew to love these characters and I wanted a little more time with them. Other than that, my negatives are non-existent. I think this book is unique, beautiful, and full of stories that need to be heard. I truly respect these authors and love that there are books like this out there. We need more authors and books like this.

Also, the cover? Oh-my-gosh it is stunning! Having a physical copy of this book in my house is a real gem for me! It’s eye popping and gets your attention but at the same time it’s really fabulous and subtle. I LOVE IT!

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find out more about this book on:
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http://www.maikaandmaritza.com/
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
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If you enjoyed this review (or book!) check out something else you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Rainbow Vintner by Geza Tatrallyay
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

 

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#BookReview Tiny House, Big Love by Olivia Dade

Tiny House, Big Love is a super cute, property show-inspired story.

I love myself a sweet, little book! Especially books that pack on the cutesy romance in a fast-paced environment. This short novel by Olivia Dade hit all the right notes with me!

This book follows Lucy, an enviromentally friendly massage therapist, and Sebastian, a Guatemalan-American engineer, as they pursue a tiny house for Lucy. They go on a Property Brothers, House Hunters or HGTV-esque show to try to find Lucy a cute, mobile home that she can live in. Along the way, sparks fly (to no one’s surprise)!

There’s so many sweet parts about this book. Olivia’s writing style is fast paced, easy to read and wildly addicting. She also has some marvelous quotes that made me giggle at her word choice. “First butt to butt contact” is just one of many quotes that had me laughing. The fact that there was a former nudist’s house and a school bus also made this story absolute hilarious. I’ve watched many of these house searching or building shows, and this book felt spot on. There’s always some weird background to the houses that make you cringe!

Lucy and Seb’s relationship was lovely. The friends to romance plot line was used here and I think it was used well. It wasn’t too fast for a book of this size, but it didn’t leave me hanging either! I think it was really well written and felt very soft and sweet. The fact that the space between them was the main reason they started growing closer was ironic. But it did work really well! How could one resist when he’s describe to be gorgeous?!

This book is a lovely read if you’re looking for a short romance novel, a soft book, or a book that’s positive. It really lifted my spirits on a very anxious day! Happy books like these deserve spaces on more shelves! And to top it off, the dialogue in this book didn’t feel forced. It felt like I was actually listening in on the characters’s conversations (not in a creepy way… I swear!).

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author, Olivia Dade, in exchange for an honest review.

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Find out more about Olivia Dade:
http://oliviadade.com/
@OliviaWrites

 

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