#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.

 

You can find this book on:
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Amazon.ca
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Check out some other books and reviews you might enjoy!
#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 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.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

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!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

If you enjoyed this book (or review!) check out another you might enjoy:
#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.

 

Check out this book on:
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Indigo, Chapters, Coles – Canadian Retailer

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#BookReview The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that I have been debating over since high school. Everyone I know from high school absolutely HATED this book (with a ridiculously strong passion) yet I had this feeling that I should read it anyways. After watching the 2017 television adaptation and LOVING it, I decided it was probably best to just bite the bullet and pick up this book. Of course, I had to remember to buy it to be able to read it and that took some time.

So, during this wonderous break from school and work I decided to indulge myself a little and pick up a book I REALLY wanted to read. Luckily, this book was within sight and reaching distance so I devoured it in under two hours. I binged this book SO HARD and it was SO WORTH IT.

If you’ve watched the television show, you know the basis. The show expands a lot more on the content (and changes some) but you’ve got the jist of the story. Offred is a Handmaid to the Commander and Serena Joy. Her “goal” is to get pregnant and give them a baby, and that isn’t going to well. So she hatches a plan with Serena Joy to be able to have a baby to get out! But… nothing ever goes to plan, and chaos ensues. That is the non-spoiler synopsis.

This book feels all too real even all these years later. It faces political, environmental and religious tones in such an amazing way that it really blew my mind. Margaret Atwood’s writing just adds to this story and gives it way more depth than I ever expected. Every little twist and turn makes me question who you can trust, if Offred is a reliable narrator (at times) and if this world can ever change. Unfortunately, you don’t find that last point out in this novel. The book ends rather abruptly and leaves me feeling cheated. I want to know what happens OH SO BAD. That’s the only reason I enjoy the television show just a little bit more – it expands a lot on the narrative and we will most likely get some kind of ending (eventually… it’s only at two seasons currently at the time I write this review).

You could definitely tear this book apart for “plot holes” – like… how did society crumble so fast? How could these women not over power some of these leaders? How did people let this happen? There’s so many questions that I want answered, but I don’t think that’s the purpose of this book. It felt like a warning tale, like 1984 by George Orwell or any of the Shakespeare tales. It’s a different take on society as a whole and is criticizing it in some way (and it’s also just really good fiction, let’s be honest).

My biggest flaw is how short this book is – I want more and I want to understand more. This world is just way too good, complex and big to not explore! I hear there’s another book coming out soon (oh please give us a sequel I want mooooore) but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Overall, this is a book that makes you think. I love books like that because I can sink into my chair (or couch… or bed…) and just let myself fall into the story. I escape this world and all of my worries and just take in this whole new world. I think Margaret Atwood is a seriously good author with ridiculous amounts of talent and I will for sure be looking for more books by her. Books like this make me SO happy that I love to read and have the time and ability too. Books like this make reading an absolutely breath taking hobby!

Seriously, if you love dystopian fiction, books that you can theorize and form conspiracies over or books that you probably would have read back in your high school English class- PICK THIS BOOK UP!

Five out of five stars.

 

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If you enjoyed this review (or book!) check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

#BookReview A Cup of Redemption by Carole Bumpus

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If I had to describe this book in one word, I’d use the word “journey”.

This incredibly breath-taking tale by Carole Bumpus wow-ed me more than I can say in a few words. When I started reading this book, I just figured it was another Women’s Fiction novel that would be a great ‘on the side’ read to keep my mind off of my homework. Once I got into the book, I was instantly hooked and amazed at how Carole can weave words into the most beautiful and heart breaking tale I’ve ever read! It’s an Oscar-worthy book that is shockingly under-appreciated! Seriously, this is in my Top 10 reads now from how freaking fantastic is was!

A Cup of Redemption follows multiple generations in one family. Sophie’s Mother (Marcelle) has just passed and she is asked to investigate her family tree. She goes on this wild adventure about her heritage with her friend Kate, and enlists the help of some of her siblings. Along the way, we learn about the haunting past of her, her mother and her grandmother. These tales are seamlessly written and tie in with one another throughout the story. This book will break your heart, warm your heart, and then make you believe in familial love all over again.

There’s a splash of history in this book, since it goes over the World Wars and other historical events that occur behind the scenes (or during the scenes!) of the story. There’s a wee bit of romance, a whole lot of drama, and a splash of mystery as well! If you like fiction where the story slowly unfolds and everything comes into view, then you will love this book! The ending isn’t right out there, you have to learn through Sophie and the other characters what really happened in the past – and I loved that aspect. I’m glad the ending wasn’t obvious like some mystery novels.

I loved the characters and how they interacted with each other. Even when Carole is changing back and forth between the decades, she makes these characters lovable and feel real. At times, I could relate way harder to these characters than I ever expected to. That realism is what really sets this book apart from other stories like this. I almost felt like this could be a non-fiction retelling of a woman’s life. Seriously, it’s that good.

The downfalls of this book are as followed:
1. There’s a lot of characters to follow, and if you put down this book a few times like me – you might forget who’s who!
2. There are some plot points that don’t end up resolved, but they aren’t major ones. I would have liked a few more of my questions answered, but the story does come to a close so I guess that’s a bit of a positive…
3. This book can be quite…upsetting. There’s rape, sexual assault and other dark occurrences in the book that aren’t for the light of heart.

By the end of this book, I couldn’t put it down! I absolutely loved it! Even with the slow start, it slowly burned a hole into my heart and I absolutely need more by Carole Bumpus! If you haven’t picked this book up, seriously, get on it! I’m utterly surprised by how well this book connected with me and I want to make sure more readers are able to connect to books with this much talent in it!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find this book on:

Kobo

Indigo/Chapters/Coles – eBook

Indigo/Chapters/Coles – Paperback

Barnes and Nobles – Paperback

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

 

Find out more about Carole Bumpus on:

Goodreads – Carole Bumpus

http://www.carolebumpus.com/

Twitter – @CaroleBumpus

If you enjoyed this review, give me a shout out on Twitter: @ReviewAlholic or check out my Facebook page: @BriarsReviews

 

While you’re at it, check out another book review you might enjoy! #BookReview Driving on the Left by Gail Ward Olmsted

#BookReview Second Guessing by Gail Ward Olmsted

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Second Guessing by Gail Ward Olmsted is a lovely sequel to Guessing at Normal that shouldn’t be missed!

I thought this book was a fantastic addition to this series – this time with Jill falling for Ben (a much younger guy). It was a nice twist on the story of older woman, younger man with lots of sweet romance scenes in between the dramatic bits. Add in another boy band, Lynsey and teenage drama with Jill’s daughter Carly and you’ve got a soap opera-esque women’s fiction novel!

One thing that really hit me was that Carly accurately described how I feel about the loss of my own Father. Sometimes you forget they are gone, or you just forget – it’s tough! I totally bonded with Carly over feeling like everything is okay, and then one day you wake up and realize (again) that he’s gone. It was right on the nose!

I also really enjoyed the final newspaper/magazine articles that worked better than an epilogue (if I’m being honest). It was a nice change and was a fun glimpse into life right after the novel finishes.

One ‘con’ for this book was that having the names of actual recent bands and singers could potentially age the story. It wasn’t a bad thing to have, because right now it’s recent and makes sense. But for me, thinking about this book ending up in someone’s hand in the future… will they know Maroon 5 or Nick Jonas? Will they be just as big then as they were now? The rest of this story felt like it could have aged well (maybe not the texting, but who knows where that will go in the future), but the name dropping of recent bands worries me. Older bands I can understand (I mean, they have become legends) but will those recent singers and bands be legends? That’s more of a psychological question I had about this book that didn’t ruin it by any means.

This was by no means an R rated novel – it’s a fun, sweet yet sassy PG-13 novel. I could easily see teenagers going into this book even if it is intended to be read by adults.

Overall, this book was another fun women’s fiction novel packed with romance and drama. Gail Ward Olmsted has hit it out of the park with another sweet hit! I highly recommend this novel to those who want romance (but no erotica), women’s fiction or some soap opera-esque story lines.

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this novel from the author Gail Ward Olmsted in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this novel, Second Guessing, on:

Goodreads: Goodreads – Second Guessing

Amazon.com: Amazon.com – Second Guessing

Amazon.ca: Amazon.ca – Second Guessing

 

Check out Guessing at Normal (the first book!) on Amazon:

Amazon.com: Amazon.com – Guessing at Normal

Amazon.ca : Amazon.ca – Guessing at Normal

 

Find out more about Gail Ward Olmsted on:

Her website: http://www.gailolmsted.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/gwolmsted

 

Comment below – what is your favourite romance novel?

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Photo from Goodreads.