Addition: Paperback

Genre: Chick-lit, fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

Eight years ago, Nova Kumalisi agreed to have a baby for Mal and Stephanie Wacken. Halfway through the pregnancy, the couple changed their minds and walked away, leaving Nova pregnant, scared and alone.

Eight years ago, Stephanie was overjoyed at the thought of becoming a mother – until she found a text from Mal to Nova saying, “Goodnight, beautiful”. Terrified of losing her husband to his closest friend, Stephanie asked him to cut all ties to Nova and their unborn child.

Now, Nova is anxiously waiting for her son, Leo, to wake up from a coma, while childless Stephanie is desperately trying to save her failing marriage. Although they live separate lives, both women have secrets that will bind them together for ever…

Dorothy Koomson is one of my favourite authors, and this book did not let me down. Koomson never shies away from reali life, hard hitting issues, and in Goodnight, Beautiful she looks at pregnancy, jealousy and the fear of having a child in a coma.

Mal and Stephanie can’t have children, so Mal asks his best friend, Nova to be a surrogate mother. Nova and Mal have been friends for so long that Nova can’t say no. During the pregnancy Stephanie finds a text Mal had sent Nova, simply saying “Goodnight, beautiful”. Jealously soars through her and she makes Mal give up the child. She gives a string of excuses as to why they can’t take the baby…leaving Nova pregnant and without a best friend. Eight years on Nova has fallen in love with her boy, Leo and has married. Yet the unthinkable has happened – Leo was in an accident and been in a coma for weeks. Supported by her family, and Mal’s family – but not Mal, Nova has to struggle through this, while Stephanie and Mal are trying to resolve their marital issues, ones that spout out of Stephanie’s jealousy and Mal’s hurt and anger. Will Leo wake up? Will Mal ever see his son? Will Stephanie and Mal resolve their problems?

This book is so touching. I loved the characters and the storyline is gripping and realistic. Koomson is an amazing writer and her books always move me. This story isn’t just set in the present, we watch Leo grow up and the problems this pregnancy caused between Mal and Nova – and their friendship before Stephanie. We see a full picture of what happened and the story is told by different people.

In this book Koomson explores what jealously can do relationships, what effect surrogacy can have on the person carrying the baby and those around them, and how having a child in a coma can effect your whole world. This book seemed thoroughly researched and was very well written. I was gripped, I was almost in tears in many parts and as I reflect on the book I remember a beautiful book by a great author.

My favourite character was Leo. He was so cute! I was willing him to wake up all through the book. Nova was brave, strong, scared and a lovely character. Her relationship with Mal was gorgeous – friends forever. It was horrible reading the effect one jealous person could have on a friendship – although I found myself feeling sorry for Stephanie as she battled the jealousy. That said, she was manipulative and lied – so sad to see what insecurities can do to a person. I wanted Mal to man up and see Leo regardless of Stephanie. Nova was his friend and Leo his son – he needed to be bold. I think all the characters were well thought out and well written and made the story come alive.

I say this every time I write about Koomson: she writes female fiction – but it isn’t girly, easy-to-read chick-lit, it has meaning and substance. She writes about issues facing people these days and attacks them viciously. She writes really well and I am yet to read a book by her that I don’t like. I am so happy I read this book, and can easily give it 4 out of 5.

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Synopsis:

As teenagers Poppy Carlisle and Serena Gorringe were the only witnesses to a tragic event. Amid heated public debate, the two seemingly glamorous teens were dubbed ‘The Ice Cream Girls’ by the press and were dealt with by the courts.

Years later, having led very different lives, Poppy is keen to set the record straight about what really happened, while married mother-of-two Serena wants no one in her present to find out about her past. But some secrets will not stay buried – and if theirs is revealed, everything will become a living hell all over again . . .

This story is narrated by Poppy and Serena, who had their lives changed by a man called Marcus. He is a teacher who lets them fall in love with him, and then abuses them. And then he is murdered. Poppy is jailed but is adamant she was not his killer. When she is realised she is determined to make Serena confess, but Serena is trying to keep her past hidden. She is now married with two children – although her husband does not about who she is – one of the “Ice Cream Girls” as the media dubbed them. She is terrified her past, and Poppy will catch up with her and ruin her life.

Well I did not like Marcus! As I reflect on this novel that is the first thing that comes to mind. The girls were only 16, and in Poppy’s case, in a very vulnerable place, and he took advantage of them, and then kept them trapped in an abusive relationship. To be honest, he had it coming! As for Poppy and Serena, I just felt so sorry for them. Poppy because she was jailed and because when she was out she struggled to connect with other people; and Serena because she lived in fear and had everything to lose.

I love Dorothy Koomson. She writes really engaging and entertaining novels. I loved this book because of the crime twist in – the murderer wasn’t hard to guess but I loved how Koomson wrote it. I felt many emotions reading this, which I think is important when reading. I was hooked to the story and it didn’t take long to read. This is chick-lit with a twist and I loved it!

Can I just add, this book is set in Brighton, and Poppy often speaks about her beach hut. Now I live in Brighton and loved this, so thought I would add a photo of myself outside of one! This is on my hen day, with my mum, my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law 🙂

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I read 11 books in May:

John Piper: Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Save
Sarah Dessen: Just Listen
Vikas Swarup: Q & A
Nicholas Sparks: The Choice
Jessica Green: The Diary of a Would-Be Princess
Terry Pratchett: The Wee Free Men
Dorothy Koomson: The Ice-Cream Girls
Neil Gaimon: Stardust
Mary Naylus: The Dresskeeper
Erica James: The Queen of New Beginnings
Sarah Dessen: The Truth About Forever

I don’t think I read a bad book last month, which is always a pleasure.

Review Books:

The Dresskeeper

Library Books:

It seems that most of the books this month came from the library:

Sarah Dessen: Just Listen
Vikas Swarup: Q & A
Nicholas Sparks: The Choice
Jessica Green: The Diary of a Would-Be Princess
Dorothy Koomson: The Ice-Cream Girls
Neil Gaimon: Stardust
Erica James: The Queen of New Beginnings
Sarah Dessen: The Truth About Forever

Audiobooks:

I love audiobooks! Am listening to one as I type in fact:

John Piper: 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Save
Terry Pratchett: The Wee Free Men

Young Adult Books


As you know I am a reviewer on the Pretty Little Young Adult Books site, and here are the books I read for the site:

Sarah Dessen: Just Listen
Jessica Green: The Diary of a Would-Be Princess
Neil Gaimon: Stardust
Sarah Dessen: The Truth About Forever

New Authors:

This month I have discovered one new author, who I now love! It is:

Sarah Dessen

Top-Rated Books

Here is the most important part of the month round-up. These are my favourite reads of May:

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

The Ice-Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson

The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

All in all, this has been a good month!

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marshmallows for breakfast

Synopsis from Amazon:

When Kendra Tamale returns to England from Australia she rents a room from Kyle, a divorced father of two, and begins a new job. She’s looking forward to a fresh start and simple life. Kyle’s five-year-old twins, Summer and Jaxon, have other ideas and quickly adopt Kendra as their new mother – mainly because she lets them eat marshmallows for breakfast. Kendra eventually becomes a part of their lives, even though she’s hiding a painful secret that makes her keep everyone – especially children – at arm’s length. Then Kendra bumps into the man who shares her awful secret, and things fall apart: she can’t sleep, she can’t eat, she’s suspended from work, and the kids are taken away by their mother. The only way to fix things is to confess to the terrible mistake she made all those years ago. But that’s something she swore never to do …

This is a truly beautiful book which touched a whole range of emotions. This is chick-lit, but with hard issues that add amazing depth to this book. Kendra is good at running away. Something bad happened to her when she was twenty. It changed her. She became someone who didn’t really feel, she became jumpy and she locked away her feelings. When a chance to leave England arose, she leapt at the chance, and off to Australia she went. But she fell in love over there, with someone who she couldn’t have. So she returned to England when she could, and move into the studio in the Gadsborough’s back garden. She has the shock of her life when she wakes up on the first morning to see Summer and Jaxon, six year old twins standing in her flat. She soon grows attached to them, as she realises their life is falling apart because their parents are getting a divorce. For someone who wanted to keep away from children, she quickly becomes their “other mumma”, and can’t live without them. So when their mum kidnaps them she is distraught. alongside that, she has to face up to what happened to her when she was young, and the reason why she left Australia.

There is so much addressed in this book. Ashlyn, the twins mother is an alcoholic, there is attempted suicide, rape and divorce. Brave issues to tackle in a novel, but Koomson handled all of them well, and she brought believable and realistic conclusions to each issue. She dedicates sections and memories to each issue and storyline so they are thoroughly examined. This in effect means Koomson can look into these issues properly, but it also allows the characters to develop in their own right.

I loved the characters, and Koomson writes in such a way that I was completely in tune with them. When the twins were upset or scared my heart broke for them; when they went missing I felt Kendra’s pain and anguish – this is just a well written novel. I loved the twins. They were easily my favourite characters. They were so vulnerable and so easy to love. They were just gorgeous children.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a gripping book that I didn’t want to put down. Well worth reading even if chick-lit is not a genre you usually enjoy.

9/10

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the chocolate run

Synopsis from Amazon:

Amber Salpone thinks in chocolate – talk to her for three minutes and she’ll tell you what kind of chocolate you’d be. In fact, most days, if she was asked to choose between chocolate and relationships, there’d be no contest. At least chocolate has never let her down. Unlike her family. Growing up in the Salpone household has taught Amber to avoid conflict – and love – at all costs. So, when she does the unthinkable and has a one-night stand with womaniser Greg Walterson, her uncomplicated, chocolate-flavoured life goes into meltdown. Especially when Greg announces she’s the love of his life – and Amber finds it hard enough to decide if she wants plain or Fruit & Nut …Meanwhile, her best friend, Jen, seems to be launching a bid to become Bitch Of The Year and Amber’s family are making unreasonable demands. Amber has two choices: to deal with her past and the people around her, or to go on a chocolate run and keep on running …

Amber is not a chocoholic – if you ask her – she is just a chocolate sniffer, needs chocolate to think, and compares everyone to chocolate. It is her constant in life, her safety net.  But running for chocolate is not going to help her this time. She has been off relationships for 18 months, and has loved it. Yet she is falling for Greg, the womaniser. As she pursues this line she realises that her best friend is being turned into skinny, selfish, horrid person, who Amber doesn’t know, or want to know. The some dark secrets come out – not only does Amber have to confront her childhood fears, but she must make choices about friends and lovers.

I really enjoyed this book. This is the second book by Koomson I have read and liked it so much I have bought a third novel. Koomson is a great writer. She is exciting and gripping. I didn’t want to put the book down. The story flows easily off the page and incredibly readable.

I loved the characters. Koomson writes in a way that you feel how Amber feels – so when she was sad you were too; when her heart broke, so did yours. I really liked Renee and Martha her work collegues – they were funny but good people – great friends to have around.

This is chick-lit, but anyone who likes a good story of friendship, love and family should read this book.

9/10

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my-best-friends-girl

Synopsis from Amazon:

What would you do for the friend who broke your heart? Best friends Kamryn Matika and Adele Brannon thought nothing could come between them – until Adele did the unthinkable and slept with Kamryn’s fiance, Nate. Worse still, she got pregnant and had his child. When Kamryn discovered the truth about their betrayal she vowed never to see any of them again. Two years later, Kamryn receives a letter from Adele asking her to visit her in hospital. Adele is dying and begs Kamryn to adopt her daughter, Tegan. With a great job and a hectic social life, the last thing Kamryn needs is a five year old to disrupt things. Especially not one who reminds her of Nate. But with no one else to take care of Tegan and Adele fading fast, does she have any other choice? So begins a difficult journey that leads Kamryn towards forgiveness, love, responsibility and, ultimately, a better understanding of herself.

Meet Ryn, an independent woman, who works long hours and parties hard. Living in Leeds, she tries to distance herself from her past and the life she could have had. Two years before she discovered her best friend Adele and her fiance Nate slept together – the result being Adele’s child Tegan. Swearing to never see or speak to either again, Ryn is shocked when she discovers a birthday card from Adele telling her she is dying. After rushing to London, she realises what Adele’s dying wish is – that Kamryn adopts Tegan. This completely changes her life. She tracks down Tegan at Adele’s father’s house, in a shocking state, and leaves with her. When Adele dies, Ryn faces a long struggle alone. She battles with adjusting her life, getting Tegan to trust her, grief, love, Nate and the issue of adoption.

This is the first Dorothy Koomson book I have read and I really enjoyed it. I was drawn in emotionally and didn’t want to put the book down. What Ryn did deserves a medal – she took in Tegan, having not seen her for two years, even though she reminded her of why she left London and why she hurt so much. I loved Tegan, what a beautiful little girl. My heart ached when we first met her and saw the abuse she had suffered, and when she cried for her Mum, yet she was a bubbly and warm girl who you couldn’t help but fall in love with.

There are so many issues in this book, and Koomson dealt with them all wonderfully. Death, child abuse, adoption, race and love. I didn’t feel let down by the way she wrote these issues, nor how the story turned out. I think Koomson did a superb job.

This is a heart-warming and touching book. I could have cried throughout the whole book. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

9/10

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