Review: The Last Kiss Goodbye by Tasmina Perry

The Last Kiss GoodbyeThe Blurb

Everyone remembers their first kiss. But what about the last?

1961. Journalist Rosamund Bailey is ready to change the world. When she meets explorer and man about town Dominic Blake, she realises she has found the love of her life. Just as happiness is in their grasp, the worst happens, and their future is snatched away.

2014. Deep in the vaults of a museum, archivist Abby Gordon stumbles upon a breathtaking find. A faded photograph of a man saying goodbye to the woman he loves. Looking for a way to escape her own heartache, Abby becomes obsessed with the story, little realising that behind the image frozen in time lies a secret altogether more extraordinary.

The Review

Sometimes a book will come along and completely sweep you away; it will suck you up into its world and there is no turning back. Tasmina Perry’s The Last Kiss Goodbye was such book. From the first page, I felt like I was part of the story. I was a character on the periphery. The events that were infolding affected my life, my friends. It takes a powerful and extremely talented writer to create that kind of magic.

The story is told in two separate time periods with two female protagonists; both ladies – Abbi and Rosamund – have loved and lost. The Last Kiss Goodbye is the story of how they handle these losses. How the losses have made them stronger, more independent but also about how that loss has left a gaping hole in their lives. Their story was ridiculously engaging. Their lives sort of paralleled each other and you could not help but champion both Rosamund and Abbi. You want them to be happy.

Having never read a book that was written by Tasmina Perry, I really didn’t know what to expect. Now I know that she is a writer who will have me gripped until I turn the final page. I love finding a writer who captures my heart (and my loyalty as a reader) with their stories. If you like your books to have engaging characters, heart-warming stories, intense mysteries and massive twists then drop whatever you are doing, go to your local book shop and pick up The Last Kiss Goodbye. You need to read it. Do it, go on, off you pop!

The Last Kiss Goodbye by Tasmina Perry is available now.

Follow Tasmina Perry (@tasminaperry) on Twitter.

Thank you to Bookbridgr for sending me a review copy of this title.

5 Stars

Review: Just One Night by Gayle Forman

Just One NightTitle: Just One Night

Author: Gayle Forman

Pages: 48 Pages

The Blurb

Everything will happen in just one night . . .

After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace.

Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter. Perfect for fans of John Green and David Levithan.

The Review

You know that feeling when you read a book or watch a movie and the good stuff happens right at the very end? Yes, I hear you cry! It is called a ‘Happy Ending’ for a reason. Well, I’m one of those people who like to know what happens next. And thankfully, after reading Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman, I got to find out what happened to Lulu and Willem after they were reunited at the end of both of these novels. Reading Just One Night was like getting happy closure.

Forman wrote a short story to tell fans of Willem and Lulu’s just exactly what happened after their year apart. It is glorious. It is magical and it is perfect.

Read this series of books people. You will be awfully glad you did and you will get that pleasantly full feeling that only a good book with no loose ends can give.

Just One Night by Gayle Forman is available now.

Follow Gayle Forman (@gayleforman) via Twitter.

4 Stars

Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One YearThe Blurb

Twenty-four hours can change your life . . .

Allyson and Willem share one magical day together in Paris, before chance rips them apart.

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents life throws at us.

But is one day enough to find your fate?

The Review

I first met Willem and Lulu (Allyson) approximately two years ago. I was having an awful flare up with my chronic illness: I couldn’t stay awake; I had intense pain and all I couldn’t leave the house. One thing I could do was read. One book that helped me feel a little bit better was Just One Day by Gayle Forman. I swear, reading the story was what falling in love feels like. It was just gorgeous.

Two years later, I read the sequel Just One Year. Whereas Just One Day was told from Lulu’s perspective, in Just One Year we see how Willem felt after their one day together. When I read Just One Day, you could feel just how desperately that Lulu needed to know what had happened, why had Willem just left her? You felt the raw emotion drip off the page so intensely that it was heartbreaking. We have all been there, when someone rocks your world but then having the realisation that the little world in which you are both living is so very fragile; the slightest gust of wind can make everything fall apart. So it was somewhat relieving to known that Willem felt the same way. His search for Lulu also led to a search for self discovery and helped him mend a few emotional bridges.

I love a good love a good love story and one thing is for certain is that Gayle Forman knows how to write a good love story. You ache and yearn for these characters to find each other and complete one another. This is the kind of love story that makes you melt and gives you hope.

Read this series, read it now!

Just One Year by Gayle Forman is available now.

Follow Gayle Forman (@gayleforman) via Twitter.

4 Stars

Review: A Second Chance at Paris by Cole McCade

A Second Chance at ParisThe Blurb

One week in Paris. One chance with her childhood crush. And one lie that could ruin it all.

Before she was Dr. Celeste London, Astrophysicist, she was Mary Celeste Haverford: dork, loser, the geek formerly known as Hairy Mary. But she’d left all that behind—and left Ion Blackwell behind, nothing but an unrequited crush and the memory of a high school field trip, a night in Paris, and the words Celeste had never had the courage to say. She’d never expected to see him again…until a surprise encounter on a Parisian riverboat tour brings him back into her life, and gives her the opportunity to start over as someone new. Someone Ion doesn’t recognize, transformed from a social outcast into a polished, professional woman that Ion doesn’t realize is the girl he’s been longing for since childhood, the ideal he’s dreamed of his entire life.

Suddenly this vivacious (if charmingly awkward) “new” woman is teaching him that real love is better than any dream—but Celeste is hiding more than her identity. Hiding something that makes it hard to trust her increasingly erratic behavior, and her frequent secretive phone calls. When the truth comes out, the deception could shatter them both…unless they can give each other a second chance, and take a risk on love.

The Review

A Second Chance at Paris is a cute love story. It is about socially awkward Celeste London who spent her formidable years known as “Hairy Mary” and pining over the most beautiful guy in her class. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? It is this story hook that makes A Second Chance at Paris so relatable. We have all felt like that ugly duckling.

When Celeste bumps into her high school crush, Ion Blackwell, her world comes crashing around her. She recognises him instantly but he doesn’t have a clue that she is the nerdy girl from his graduating class. This is the perfect opportunity for Celeste to live out her high school dream and finally get the hunky Ion. Surely such subterfuge can only end badly.

So the truth of it is that A Second Chance at Paris is a really enjoyable read and having recently bumped into my high school crush after 16 years I felt with acute intensity the awkwardness of Celeste’s situation. Fortunately, the years since high school have been a lot kinder to me and I am no longer the walking freckles and fringe that I was then but this is what I mean. We have all crushed on someone we never quite got with and we all carry demons from high school and wish we could change things or relive them a different way and it is this very thing that makes A Second Chance at Paris a good story.

Admittedly, I found a few things very cringe-worthy and the ending really wasn’t to my personal taste but I can understand why McCade ended it in this fashion. Give it a read! If you are a lover of romance fiction then you will enjoy A Second Chance at Paris.

A Second Chance at Paris by Cole McCade is available now.

3 Stars

Review: A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi by Chloe Rhodes

A Certain Je Ne Sais QuoiTitle: A Certain “Je Ne Sais Quoi”: The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English

Author: Chloe Rhodes

Pages: 177 Pages

The Blurb

A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi is an accessible and entertaining treasury of information that ‘connoisseurs’ (French) of the English language will love!

The Review

Ok. So technically this isn’t a book set in France. I was misled by the title and my crazy inability to read a blurb but oh well.

A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi was actually really interesting. It is about the origin of words and the history behind them. As an English graduate and a really big word geek (that is a geek for words, not just really big words – yes, that was a hanging modifier) I found this rather fascinating.

If, like me, you love words then this is a simple and funny book – a light-hearted read which is made all the more fun by the accompanying illustrations.

A Certain “Je Ne Sais Quoi”: The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English by Chloe Rhodes is available now.

3 Stars

Review: How to Climb the Eiffel Tower by Elizabeth Hein

How to Climb the Eiffel TowerThe Blurb

A moving, surprisingly humorous, sometimes snarky novel about life, friendship… and cancer

Lara Blaine believes that she can hide from her past by clinging to a rigid routine of work and exercise. She endures her self-imposed isolation until a cancer diagnosis cracks her hard exterior. Lara’s journey through cancer treatment should be the worst year of her life.

Instead, it is the year that she learns how to live. She befriends Jane, another cancer patient who teaches her how to be powerful even in the face of death. Accepting help from the people around her allows Lara to confront the past and discover that she is not alone in the world. With the support of her new friends, Lara gains the courage to love and embrace life.

Like climbing the Eiffel Tower, the year Lara meets Jane is tough, painful, and totally worth it.

The Review

I chose to read How to Climb the Eiffel Tower because I am currently running a French February theme on my book review site. I can admit that I didn’t actually read the blurb of the book and that I just saw the Eiffel Tower on the cover and being the Francophile that I am I requested it straight away on NetGalley. Normally, I would scold myself for being so laissez-faire with my NetGalley book requests and not actually researching the book beforehand but How to Climb the Eiffel Tower was one of those serendipitous requests: as it turned out I really enjoyed the book.

The story focuses on Lara: a young woman with a bucket load of issues. The narrative tracks her diagnosis with cervical cancer and subsequently how she deals with her illness. Cancer is such a sensitive subject and no two people experience it in the same way and the way the character that Lara Blaine tries to deal with it is pretty intense. It is harsh, it is raw and it is a little heart-warming. I cannot claim to know what a cancer patient goes through but as someone who has a chronic condition, I do know that trying to handle something that you have no control over is frightening, frustrating and downright lonely. These are the emotions that you get from Lara.

Whilst the title How to Climb the Eiffel Tower is somewhat misleading, I am happy that I stumbled on this little gem of a book. This is definitely one of those books that will leave a lasting impression.

How to Climb the Eiffel Tower by Elizabeth Hein is available now.

You can follow Elizabeth Hein (@_ElizabethHein) via Twitter.

35 Stars

Review: Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey

Paris Time CapsuleThe Blurb

New York–based photographer Cat Jordan is ready to begin a new life with her successful, button-down boyfriend. But when she learns that she’s inherited the estate of a complete stranger—a woman named Isabelle de Florian—her life is turned upside down.

Cat arrives in Paris to find that she is now the owner of a perfectly preserved Belle Époque apartment in the ninth arrondissement, and that the Frenchwoman’s family knew nothing about this secret estate. Amid these strange developments, Cat is left with burning questions: Who was Isabelle de Florian? And why did she leave the inheritance to Cat instead of her own family?

As Cat travels France in search of answers, she feels her grasp on her New York life starting to slip. With long-buried secrets coming to light and an attraction to Isabelle de Florian’s grandson growing too intense to ignore, Cat will have to decide what to let go of, and what to claim as her own.

The Review

Paris Time Capsule is a stunning story with roots found in real life events. The story centres on Cat, a photographer from New York who inherits an apartment in France from a distant friend of a deceased relative. She embarks on a journey to give the rightful heirs their inheritance. Along the way she has to deal with handsome men, difficult sources and follow the trail across France to figure out the mystery of the abandoned apartment. It is such a rush.

The plot is so seamlessly interwoven with the real life historical events that you cannot help but become completely immersed in this world and indeed the mystery. You become desperate to find out some answers and it keeps you turning the pages long after you should have closed the book and turned out the lights.

Cat is a perfect heroine: giving, loyal and utterly confused – we like a few flaws – and she tries her hardest to be a good person but she cannot deny her true feelings and her emotional connection to Paris. So when things go a bit pear shaped we forgive her actions.

Overall, Paris Time Capsule is a truly escapist novel with a fascinating history attached to it and a thoroughly good read.

Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey is available now.

35 Stars

Review: Parisienne French – Chic Phrases, Slang & Style by Rhianna Jones

Parisienne FrenchTitle: Parisienne French – Chic Phrases, Slang & Style

Author: Rhianna Jones

Pages: 210 Pages

The Blurb

THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE FOR THE GIRL WITH JE NE SAIS QUOI

You’ve dreamed of Paris your whole life. You’ve imagined yourself sipping a cafe au lait at an outdoor bistro in the Jardin de Tuileries, or browsing a fashionable boutique on the Champs-Elysees, or strolling along the banks of the Seine, hand in hand with your handsome French lover. Now is the time to realize that dream.

Parisienne French will have you cultured, chic and, most importantly, casually chatting with locals as if you were raised in the City of Lights. With refined phrases to express yourself at the Musee d’Orsay, posh vocabulary for catching up on this season’s couture fashion and hip slang for flirting at the hottest nightclub, you’ll effortlessly navigate the social scenes of Paris.

Your new eloquent French will win over any vrai patriote, who will warmly welcome you to la vie parisienne.

The Review

There is only one way to describe Parisienne French – Chic Phrases, Slang & Style by Rhianna Jones and that word is charming. It is a charming little handbag sized book that has everything French in it. Jones talks about Paris as if the city is her best friend, her lover and part of her soul.

The easy to read book is broken down into sections such as culture, fashion and food etc. Her knowledge of Paris the city is only rivalled by her knowledge of the French language. However, don’t fear that you are about to get a high school tutorial in which you learn useless phrases such as le souris sur la table – I won’t lie, I stole this quote from Eddie Izzard…of topic but never mind – oh no, you are going to learn how to speak like a local. You will learn slang, current vernacular and even text talk.

If you are a Francophile and you want to feel more at one with the French way of life then Parisienne French – Chic Phrases, Slang & Style by Rhianna Jones is the book for you!

Parisienne French – Chic Phrases, Slang & Style by Rhianna Jones is available now.

3 Stars

Review: A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore

A Week in ParisThe Blurb

A captivating story of love, courage and survival set in wartime Paris and the early 1960s, by the bestselling author of The Silent Tide

1961: Born on the day that WW2 broke out, 21-year-old Fay Knox cannot remember her early childhood in London, before she moved to a Norfolk village with her mother, Kitty. Though she has seen a photograph of her father, she does not recall him either. He died, she was told, in an air raid, and their house destroyed along with all their possessions. Why then, on a visit to Paris on tour with her orchestra, does a strange series of events suggest that she spent the war there instead? There is only one clue to follow, an address on the luggage label of an old canvas satchel. But will the truth hurt or heal?

1937: Eugene Knox, a young American doctor, catches sight of 19-year-old Kitty Travers on the day she arrives in Paris, and cannot get her out of his mind. She has come to study the piano at the famed Conservatoire, and lodges at a convent near Notre Dame. Eugene and Kitty will fall in love, marry and have a daughter, but France’s humiliating defeat by Germany is not far behind, and the little family must suffer life under Nazi occupation. Some Parisians keep their heads down and survive, others collaborate with the enemy while others resist. The different actions of Eugene, Kitty and their friends will have devastating consequences that echo down the generations.

The Review

I’ve never been an avid reader of historical novels. In part, this is due to the fact that I only have interest in certain parts of history (I know, I’m awful). I think my aversion to historical fiction, in particular to wartime fiction has been that my mother tends to read nothing but. However, I am not one to be prejudice and I gave Rachel Hore’s A Week in Paris a read.

I must say, A Week in Paris is a wonderful, heartbreaking, and harrowing story of a young family trying to survive occupied France and the repercussions that are still felt nearly two decades later. The characters are wonderfully crafted as is the tale of mystery.

However, I personally found sections of this book a bit of a chore to read. For me, the pacing was all wrong which is a shame because the actual story is rather interesting and the factual element made it all the more compelling.

If you like historical fiction then please give A Week in Paris a read – more so if you are interested in wartime France.

A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore is available now.

35 Stars

Review: Seven Letters from Paris by Samantha Verant

Seven Letters from ParisThe Blurb

Twenty years, seven letters, and one long-lost love of a lifetime

At age 40, Samantha Verant’s life is falling apart-she’s jobless, in debt, and feeling stuck… until she stumbles upon seven old love letters from Jean-Luc, the sexy Frenchman she’d met in Paris when she was 19. With a quick Google search, she finds him, and both are quick to realize that the passion they felt 20 years prior hasn’t faded with time and distance.

Samantha knows that jetting off to France to reconnect with a man that she only knew for one sun-drenched, passion-filled day is crazy-but it’s the kind of crazy she’s been waiting for her whole life.

The Review

Well, wow. Samantha Verant is living in her own romantic movie. Who manages to reconnect with a past love, whom lives in a whole other continent, after twenty years and have it all work out? This is exactly what happened for the author of Seven Letters from Paris. She lived the freaking fairy tale. I’m not going to lie, this is the fairy story I have always wanted to have…except for the living twenty years apart…but all the other stuff, I am totally on board with.

Strangely, I had recently read a very similar book (reviewed last week on LisaTalksAbout) by another writer. A memoir of someone in a loveless marriage who finds love – all with a Parisian connection, so I was a bit put out by that. Obviously, this is no one’s fault. It is just a freaky-deaky coincidence. I must admit that it did make me enjoy the book less. Not because Seven Letters from Paris isn’t good – it really is – but more from the fact that I felt I was reading another writer’s version of a story I had already read. Both books were memoirs. It couldn’t be helped.

Seven Letters from Paris is a great story for the hopeless romantic, those who have been scorned by love but still believe in the magic of love. This is the kind of book that gives the loveless hope. It is enjoyable and who doesn’t love a happy ending?

Give Seven Letters from Paris a read. It is well worth it.

Seven Letters from Paris: A Memoir by Samantha Verant is available now.

35 Stars