Thank you to author Hugh Macnab for my copy of this book. I am very honoured to say that my quotes from this review have been used as part of the authors Amazon blurb.
This is another book club read. I am having fun with this book club. 😊 I didn’t choose this book, but I did like the sound of it and had hoped that it would be a book I would enjoy. Unfortunately the book chat with the other girls is what I enjoyed best.
The story of a solitary green notebook that brings together six strangers and leads to unexpected friendship, and even love
Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes–in a plain, green journal–the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It’s run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the others who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves–and soon find each other in real life at Monica’s café.
The Authenticity Project’s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends–is by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness.
The Authenticity Project is just the tonic for our times that readers are clamoring for–and one they will take to their hearts and read with unabashed pleasure.
The Authenticity Project had such a good premise. I was expecting the book to be thought provoking, hopeful and inspiring. In actual fact the book to me was kind of like a fairy tale.
The plot consists of a notebook which is found and left again for strangers to write their truth, not perhaps how they portray themselves. Sounds good doesn’t it? And although I started off the book liking and finding some of the characters interesting and quirky, as the pages turned I found them to be silly and a bit unrealistic.
This book has many great reviews and I wonder if my higher and different expectations spoiled my read of this book?
On a positive note for the book, it was easy to read and I could fly through the pages as there was not a lot of food for thought. ( although my book club friends and I did find plenty to talk about).
We discussed as a group about how we see ourselves is often not the way other people see us. The author does show that with this idea of the truth notebook seeing yourself as others see you, in a wider more positive way can open more doors for you. I would have liked this book to have more inspirational characters and chat than it did.
Although I couldn’t relate to any of the characters, I found one of the characters called Monica very much like Monica from Friends. I wonder if that is coincidence or if the author modelled the characters on people she knew of.
I read that the author took some of her own experience and added it to this book. And despite the author having a previous book called The Sober Diaries, ( based on her experiences) I am of the opinion that one of the characters who had an addiction problem was written in a way that other addicts may find annoying and perhaps offensive. The addict in the book seemed to me to find it far to easy to overcome his problems.
Sadly this was not the book for me and I won’t be reading anymore from this author. However that is just my opinion and as I previously mentioned many others loved it. I would recommend The Authenticity Project to readers who like an easy breezy read with not much substance to it and a kind of “happy happy “ read.
Isn’t the name of this book just enough to make you want to delve in!? I received my copy of this from netgalley and with many thanks, I share my unbiased thoughts.
From an early age, Grace Dent was hungry. As a little girl growing up in Currock, Carlisle, she yearned to be something bigger, to go somewhere better.
Hungry traces Grace’s story from growing up eating beige food to becoming one of the much-loved voices on the British food scene. It’s also everyone’s story – from treats with your nan, to cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, to the exquisite joy of cheaply-made apple crumble with custard. It’s the high-point of a chip butty covered in vinegar and too much salt in the school canteen, on an otherwise grey day of double-Maths and cross country running. It’s the real story of how we have all lived, laughed, and eaten over the past 40 years.
Grace Dent shares with her readers her beginnings in Carlisle where highlights included yellow sticker goods from the new big Asda and pink wafer biscuits.
Throughout Hungry we hear the authors love of food and her cravings for fame and cuisine. I love a good foodie book and this one has so many aspects to devour.
I think I must be a similar age to the author as there were so many parts of this books that I could relate to. If you grew up in Britain in the 80’s here is a reminiscence for you. From Findus crispy pancakes to Neapolitan ice cream, of course most of these memories include food. As Grace grows up her travels take her away from Carlisle and the foodie talk becomes much more distinguished with dishes sounding weird, wonderful and some just downright odd.
Hungry is written as a kind of memoir to the authors start in life until she becomes the much loved food writer that she now is writing for The Guardian amongst other places. The book is written with humour, emotion and mostly with the love of food.
The first half of this book brought back lots of memories for me. The second half showed a slightly different side of the author, which didn’t go amiss by her family.
A really enjoyable book that I recommend to everyone who loves a foodie tale.
It was also lovely to see Grace Dent back on Uk MasterChef recently.
The Silent Patient was another book club read for me and a few other girls. Thank you Irena and Monika for a great choice and a really enjoyable read and book chat.
The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….
First published 5 February 2019 by Orion.
Wow, just Wow! This book is fantastic, so clever and gripping and just Wow. I loved it.
I enjoy books that have a psychological element to them and this book involved Alicia being locked in a secure institution. So already I was intrigued just by that part. There were many questions throughout this book.
Was Alicia choosing not to speak or was unable to?
Did Alicia shoot her husband and if so why?
Why is Theo so interested in her?
This book was perfect for a BookClub chat because of the questions, the intrigue and the thrill of the words and pages.
Highly recommended for those who like twisty thrillers.
Thank you to Author Elliot Miles Emery for my copy of his recently published book – ” Why Did You Go There? Stories of an English Teacher in Russia”.
When I read the title of this book, my first thoughts were also, why would he choose to go there! This inspired me to read the book, so great title! I have also taught English abroad but never thought of going to Russia. I wondered if this book would make me consider Russia as a country to visit.
In the winter of 2018, lawyer, Elliot Emery, is sat at his desk at the law firm in the UK where he has been working for the past few years. He has just handed in his letter of resignation, deciding to embark on a new career as an English teacher in Moscow, Russia. Shortly afterwards, his manager comes rushing over and asks him one question: “Why are you going there?”. Several months later, having just slipped on the snowy steps leading out of his Moscow apartment building and landing on his stomach in a crumpled heap, Elliot asks himself the same question. However, in the remarkable year which follows, Elliot parties with a Russian model, battles with cockroaches in a university dormitory and tries to stop a Russian and Georgian child from strangling each other during another unsuccessful ‘Maths’ class. A year older, and perhaps wiser, he reflects on what has been a bizarre yet remarkable twelve months in one of the world’s most enigmatic and fascinating countries. “Why are you going there?” is a humorous, tongue-in-cheek account of the everyday life of a British expat in Russia. However, more than this, it is a story of culture, language, friendships and life in an often misunderstood country.
A tale of an British man in Russia. I hoped this book would give me tales about Russian culture, food, people and stories of teaching English in Russia. I was given, and enjoyed all of the above in this book.
Why Are You Going There? gave me everything I could want from reading a book about another country that I don’t know much about. Written in an entertaining and sometimes amusing way, Elliot tells of many different experiences throughout his time in this far away country.
The book had a few entertaining historical facts about Russia along the way. I don’t particularly like books full of historical facts when I’m reading for fun, so this was just the right amount for me.
The book has plenty of amusing tales of the cheeky children, which I was surprised at when I read them. My expectations of the schooling and conduct was not the same as I the experiences I was reading about.
Throughout the book the author adds photos of beautiful scenery and architecture.
There was one particular tale I was intrigued about. Elliot was recorded on Instagram doing a little dance which his students thought was most amusing and it sounded quite funny to me too. I might have to have a little search for this clip.
The writing was easy to read and flowed well. It felt like Elliot was telling me all about his experience in Russia which is just what I expected and what I wanted.
To sum up, while I still wouldn’t put Russia at the top of my ‘travel bucket list’, if the opportunity arose for me to work or travel there, then I would give it far more consideration after reading this book.
An enjoyable read , with culture, humour and adventure. A great book for anyone who likes to read about foreign adventures and learn about different cultures.
I chose to read The Wife Upstairs as a book from my local library. Having local libraries that you can borrow books from without leaving your house has been great during lockdown.
A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, Rachel Hawkins’s The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.
Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.
But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.
Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?
With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?
Published 5th January 2021.
I listened to the audiobook of this story thanks to my local library. The Wife Upstairs was an enjoyable listen with the plot, characters and atmosphere plenty to keep my attention gripped.
The plot to me was quite predictable as I knew the Jane Eyre story, but with the modern thriller twist the author put on it, I was brought to an American Ladies Who Lunch street.
Many of the characters were unlikable but as I’ve always said if an author can make you feel for a character then they are a good writer.
I would recommend this book to all who like modern twists on classics. But if you don’t like classics and like thrillers that are not to fast paced, I think you would like this too.
Thank you to publishers for my copy of this book. I was immediately keen to read this after reading the blurb. A legal thriller based in an American state where they have capital punishment. Interesting and exciting. I enjoyed reading this as part of a buddy read with my lovely bookish friend Irena.
The Guilty Die Twice is a legal thriller where two brothers take on the same case but different sides. Travis is a defence attorney that works for himself and Jake is the District Attorney.
Legal thrillers are one of my favourite genres and because this one involved capital punishment I was even more intrigued to see how the lawyers would argue and see the details of the case. I wondered if it would make me think about capital punishment and whether I agree with it or not. It is a very tricky decision to make. The book allowed good discussion between me and my book buddy reader Irena regarding this case and capital punishment in general.
I really enjoyed following the case and the way the two lawyers went about their work. They did it very differently primarily due to finance and staffing.
All the characters were well written and I could see development in most of them over the chapters. The person who was being charged with this offence was not a likeable character at all. It was like he didn’t really want to help himself. I think this showed great strength of character for Travis as he was offering practically free legal care. It should have been grabbed with both hands.
There are other secondary characters involved which are also very readable. We hear about the brothers Wives quite a lot and this gave a good family element to the book which broke up the whole legal case part. Having the lawyers whole life in a book is important to me so that we can see their full character.
Overall I loved this book and would definitely read more from this author. I recommend to anyone who likes legal thrillers but also family drama with thriller elements too.
A great read and I look forward to hearing more from this author.
This is the first Matt Haig book I have read, though I have heard lots of great things about his books, I’m only just getting around to reading one. This was a buddy read as part of a lockdown book club online. It was fun and motivating to read a certain amount of chapters each day then discuss as we went along.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
This is one of the best books I have read this year. I read this very early on in January, so it was great bookish start to 2021. It is very very good. I really enjoyed reading it and found it thought provoking, emotional and hopeful.
The main character Nora decides within the first few chapters that she wants to die as she has lost hope that her life will get better. I’ll give you a heads up for the first few chapters, it was not a pleasant read and felt quite depressing. Bear with it though as it doesn’t last long. When Nora reaches the midnight library, this is where I started to love this book.
The Midnight Library allows Nora to visit all the lives she could have had if she made different decisions. I’m not a lover of fantasy so I was unsure how this would work, but the author wrote it beautifully and so smoothly and it worked in the best way to tell the story and make me think.
Nora studies philosophy so there were quite a few philosophical quotes and thoughts from Nora as she goes through the different lives. I really liked this as it was uplifting and made me consider my life and the choices and have already and can still make.
I love the style of writing by this author and that and my enjoyment of this book has made me want to read more of his books.
I would recommend this book to everybody actually. Because I would not have picked this book up. I read it because it was my book club suggestion and I am very grateful that they showed me to this amazing author. The Midnight Library is a book that shows the reader that life takes many turns and we have so many options. The world is wide and hope is important, realizing what you want doesn’t come easy as there are so many distractions and obligations in life. But whatever we choose in our life decisions, sometimes the simple things are over looked, but actually they make so much difference if we choose to see them.
An amazing book, my first but not my last of Matt Haig.
Thank you very much to Author Cameron Bell for my copy of When The Night Is Dark. I was intrigued at first by his book as it started off in a town very close to where I was brought up. ( Port Talbot in Wales).Then the blurb continues with a great sounding plot based in Ibiza.
Ibiza – The White Isle, a party capital of the world. On a big night out beautiful 19-year-old Hannah Morgan vanishes. It is unexpected, out of character and no one seems to know anything.
Her father, a former British Paratrooper Jason Morgan is flying over to find her, and seeks the help of his estranged friend Will Cutter.
After 25 years on the Force the tenacious, no-nonsense Sergeant has left, and is working for himself as a Private Investigator.
Cutter agrees to ride shotgun and watch out for his old friend, and anyone stupid enough to stand in his way.
Together they uncover the dark side of the party where someone’s pleasure is another’s pain. The clock is ticking. The longer Hannah is missing, the sooner she is dead, or gone.
The two race to an uncertain finishing line battling deceit, perversion and violence.
Are they too late?
Are they in over their heads?
Will Ibiza get over the bloodshed?When The Night Is Dark is a gritty, hard-boiled crime mystery which readers of Dennis Lehane, Walter Mosley and Robert B. Parker should enjoy.
When The Night Is Dark is a dark, gritty crime thriller. I was intrigued to read this as it began in Port Talbot which is an area I know and continues in Ibiza. When Hannah goes missing, her Dad and his friend go out to look for her in Ibiza. You know when you get a former cop and a former military guy together on the hunt for bad guys you will get some grit and blood in a plot. When the Night is Dark certainly delivered on that point. We meet lots of bad guys as the plot to find Hannah plays out. Jason ( Hannah’s father) and his friend Will take us along with them to The Highlander, the Scottish bar in Ibiza and various other places which if you have been to Ibiza you may well know. I liked that the places were real and you could picture where you were throughout the book.
There are some quite violent parts in the book, but I was expecting this when I read the blurb. Perhaps not a book for the faint hearted but I like a good crime thriller with a bit of violence! It is not all violence, the relationship between Jason and Will is a part of the book that enjoyed. Will is willing to give everything he has to find and protect his friends daughter. They have that manly man’s friendship and this was fun to read. I didn’t guess what had happened to Hannah until they found out, and when they did find out the plot picks up speed and the race is on. This is a fast paced, gritty thriller which I recommend to those who like a dark plot with great characters.
You won’t see many Young Adult reviews here on ChocolatePages, but surprise here is one!
I have been doing some buddy reads as part of an online book club which is why I decided to read Love and Olives.
Santorini felt like an island holding its breath. As if it were keeping in a secret…
Liv Varanakis doesn’t like to think about her father much, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight, leaving her with just a few painful memories of their shared love for the lost city of Atlantis. So when teenage Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father, who explains that National Geographic is supporting a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and asks if she will fly out to Greece and help—Liv is less than thrilled.
When she arrives in gorgeous Santorini, things are just as awkward as she’d imagined. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. Liv doesn’t want to get sucked back into her father’s world. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo, her father’s charismatic so-called protégé, to witness her struggle.
Even so, she can’t help but be charmed by everything Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the sun-drenched villages, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important.
Love and Olives was a book club read for me with a few other bookloving ladies. The book wasn’t my first ( or second) choice but I thought it would be ok and decided to give it a go. Unfortunately I should have listened to my instincts and known this wasn’t the book for me.
After the first few chapters I thought this seems like basic young adult words with the main character being 17. Again I’m not a fan of young adult so I still had my doubts but kept going until I finished the book. For me it did not improve sadly.
I will try to give my thoughts as unbiased as possible as a firm YA non lover! If you enjoy YA books you may well love this. As far as I see there are plenty of very positive reviews.
The story is based on 17 year old Olive ( or Liv as she now prefers) having an absent father for many years, now receiving an invite from her father to stay with him in Greece. Her mum says she should go, so she goes. Liv’ s Dad is an Atlantis Hunter and asked for Liv’s help in a project.
I found the plot to be very slow and the characters to be quite bland. But as a lover of thrillers, did I expect too much? Sadly my book club readers agreed with me that this wasn’t so good in terms of plot and character.
In my opinion there was quite a bit of what I would consider to be unreasonable behaviour which was deemed ok in the book. I found the characters to take advantage of each other and be quite, what I would consider to be rude. But again this was all written like it was acceptable.
There are some positive things I can write and that would be the facts about Atlantis. I didn’t know much about this at all, so I did learn something from this book.
The setting of the island and where Liv stayed was lovely and I could feel the environment from the authors words. Because of this writing style, I felt that the book had far more potential than it gave.
There are a few quotes which I did like and I think this shows that the author writes well, but this plot totally let it down.
” old books had a smell…. It was old leather with hints of vanilla and must, and a dash of something else. Magic? Pixie dust?”
“You are never quite alone when you are in a bookstore. So many voices are jammed into one place, it is impossible to feel alone”.
I’m sorry to say I found that this book has put me off YA even more than already was and I’m now ready for a good thriller.