Thursday, September 6, 2018

Summer at Hollyhock House by Cathy Bussey



Faith Coombes should have been over the moon when her long-term boyfriend proposed to her. But instead, she broke up with him. Rob was safe, reliable, nice and … boring. Nothing like the only person who had ever broken her heart… 

Unable to afford the rent on another flat and desperate for a new start, Faith takes the plunge and moves back to the village she grew up in, returning to the house that holds so many memories for her. 

Hollyhock House, the family home of her best-friend Minel, also belongs to the boy who meant so much to her all those years ago… 

As Faith falls back in love with the sprawling surroundings at Hollyhock she also finds herself falling all over again for the only person who has truly hurt her. 

Can Faith come to terms with her past? Did she make the wrong decision in breaking up with Rob? 


Or does her heart really lie at Hollyhock House? 

Summer at Hollyhock House is a charming romantic comedy full of lost loves, missed opportunities and second chances. This summer read, perfect for the holidays, will have you laughing-out-loud in parts, close to tears in others, and above all, championing Faith as she searches for what is most important to her. 


My Review: Summer at Hollyhock House is the perfect book to end your summer season. With vivacious characters and terrific memories embedded in the details of the story, this summer season closer will leave you with nostalgia of first loves and lasting loves. Bussey crafts a well-told narrative in her protagonist Faith and encourages the reader to become a part of this story. We all remember the beginnings of love, the insecurities, the niggling envy, the boiling butterflies of time gone by - and Bussey takes the reader back on this journey. Bonus- there's a dog to adore! 

I give this fun and endearing novel a solid 🍷🍷🍷🍷and wish you a few warm nights that still remain in the summer season to enjoy!


About the author:

Cathy is an author, journalist and hopeless romantic who wrote her first book at the tender age of six. Entitled Tarka the Otter, it was a shameless rip-off of the Henry Williamson classic of the same name, and the manuscript was lost after she sent it to her pen-pal and never heard a jot from her since.

Fortunately reception to her writing became more favourable and she spent ten years working for a range of newspapers and magazines covering everything from general elections and celebrity scandals to cats stuck up trees and village fetes. She has been freelance since 2011 and written for The Telegraph, Red Online, Total Women’s Cycling and other lifestyle and cycling publications and websites.

She is the author of three non-fiction books and her debut and thankfully non-plagiarised novel Summer at Hollyhock House has been published by Sapere Books.

Cathy lives on the leafy London/Surrey border with her husband, two children and a dog with only two facial expressions, hungry and guilty. Her hobbies include mountain biking, photography, wandering around outside getting lost, fantasising about getting her garden under control, reading, looking at pretty things on Instagram and drinking tea. You can find her there @cathybussey1 (https://www.instagram.com/cathybussey/?hl=en), on Twitter @CathyBussey (https://twitter.com/CathyBussey?lang=en) or visit her website www.cathybussey.com.




Monday, September 3, 2018

As the Shelf Turns...

So my reviews have really become more "suggestions" as I struggle to stay on top of reading what I want and doing that whole pesky job thing called "teaching." But honestly, love the job thing :-)

All books summaries from Goodreads (because why reinvent the wheel?)

1984 by George Orwell

Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell's nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell's prescience of modern life--the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language--and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.

My review: Terrifyingly prophetic. 1984 had me underlining and gasping and holding my breath. The downfall of the human connection and the degradation of language are shockingly similar to modern society - and folks, this is NOT a good thing. 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷



The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

Emily thinks Adam’s perfect; the man she thought she’d never meet. But lurking in the shadows is a rival; a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.


Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

The Other Woman is an addictive, fast-paced psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between Emily, her boyfriend Adam, and his manipulative mother Pammie.


My review: Eh....it was okay. I didn't find the "plot twist" shocking because it was a touch obvious to me. Additionally - no way on God's blessed green earth would I date a man like Adam - we'd have been "donesies" a long time ago. I'm tired of the psychological thriller always portraying women as so stupid and needy and clueless. A general 🍷🍷🍷for some interesting moments, but overall I wanted to smack Emily upside her little head and shove Pammie down the stairs. #brutal


Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.


My review: This was cute and there was some lovely family dynamics, but it was trying to hard to be interesting and diverse. And the narrator is unreliable at best - her incessant need to force a family get together only emphasized the naivety of her - family's change and grow and those dynamics change with it. And seriously - if one more thing went wrong with the wedding I was going to throw the book through a window - it's never that bad. C'mon. Sorry - my reviews are cheeky this time. 🍷🍷🍷for the sheer amount of characters you have to keep up with throughout the book. 

Currently reading:




Sunday, August 12, 2018

Back on the Shelf...again

The school year has started and I am definitely MIA on the blogging. Exhaustion - pure exhaustion!



But I digress.

I did squeeze in a few books before the rig-em-roll hit (but no lie, there will be definite lull in the updating over the next thirty-five weeks, but who's counting????) All book summaries from Goodreads. 

Murder on Mulberry Bend by Victoria Thompson (Gaslight Mystery #5)

Sarah Brandt, a midwife in turn-of-the-century New York City, has seen more than her share of joy and sorrow, birth and death. Now she will see for the first time how the squalor of the streets can breed madness and murder…
The Prodigal Son Mission on Mulberry Bend stands as a refuge for girls who otherwise would have to live by selling the only thing they have of value—themselves. The work being done there so impresses Sarah that she volunteers to help out however she can—with clothes, with medical assistance, with the organization of a benefit dinner. And when one of the girls is found dead and refused burial because of her former life, Sarah’s passion for justice is aroused.
Reluctantly, Sergeant Frank Malloy agrees to look into the death, if only to keep Sarah from endangering herself by pursuing the matter. But Sarah cannot be kept out of the investigation—and just as Malloy feared, her attempts to find the cause of the unfortunate girl’s death in the circumstances of her life put her in deadly danger—from an unexpected source…
My review: Continue to love Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy as a mystery solving duo. I appreciate the historical context of this novel and the race-based relationships between the Irish and the Italians that are explored here. In the end - we are all simply human and deserving of dignity. I believe this book sends this underlying message of integrity embedded in the mystery solving game. 🍷🍷🍷🍷
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein
Oct. 11th, 1943 - A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.
My review: Don't - please just don't. I rarely give less than three stars on any review because I support the author and the work it takes to write a book, but this - just no. 🍷I had to DNF this book and maybe that's not a fair review, but I simply could not read anymore. It is a long and drawn out account of a pilot's experience in WWII focusing mostly on the plane - not the story, not the depth, not emotion, just planes. And the twist in the end isn't really a twist. It's obvious and not well-done. I love WWII era books, but not this one. And I realize my opinion is quite unpopular in this, but seriously I can only read so much about WWII planes before I simply doze off. 😴😴😴😴😴 I felt nothing when reading this book - nothing. I'm sorry, but I must speak this truth if I save just one reader from cracking this spine. #donthateme
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
Her ridiculously long name is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. And she is flat broke. As the thirty-fourth in line for the throne, she has been taught only a few things, among them, the perfect curtsey. But when her brother cuts off her allowance, she leaves Scotland, and her fiancΓ© Fish-Face, for London, where she has:

a) worked behind a cosmetics counter—and gotten sacked after five hours
b) started to fall for a quite unsuitable minor royal
c) made some money housekeeping (incognita, of course), and
d) been summoned by the Queen to spy on her playboy son

Then an arrogant Frenchman, who wants her family’s 800-year-old estate for himself, winds up dead in her bathtub. Now her most important job is to clear her very long family name.
My review: This was a fun start to a series and the historical detail is excellent. A solid 🍷🍷🍷for me and I'll add it to my list of book series to read. I have several going - all murder mystery except for one YA series. I love reading the twists and turns and this book was no exception. Plenty of intrigue, plenty of characters, and a lot corgis - which always makes a book better. Enjoyed it and will read the next book in the series (as soon as I have time!)
What's coming up???
Currently reading Save the Date by Morgan Matson and How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster (I'm making my students read it, too!) I also have The Other Woman by Sandie Jones on the horizon.

Happy Reading Folks! Cheers! 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷












Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Books on the Shelf

Hey folks! I'm back...I've been traveling and reading and not updating. So today I'm going to give you a smorgasbord of books I've read over the last two weeks or so; really, just a general summary and a statement of rating. Fast and furious - so here we go! 

*All summaries come from their respective entries on Goodreads.

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

The summer of 1963 begins like any other for nine-year-old Starla Claudelle. Born to teenage parents in Mississippi, Starla is being raised by a strict paternal grandmother, Mamie, whose worst fear is that Starla will turn out like her mother. Starla hasn’t seen her momma since she was three, but is convinced that her mother will keep her promise to take Starla and her daddy to Nashville, where her mother hopes to become a famous singer—and that one day her family will be whole and perfect.

When Starla is grounded on the Fourth of July, she sneaks out to see the parade. After getting caught, Starla’s fear that Mamie will make good on her threats and send her to reform school cause her to panic and run away from home. Once out in the country, Starla is offered a ride by a black woman, Eula, who is traveling with a white baby. She happily accepts a ride, with the ultimate goal of reaching her mother in Nashville.

As the two unlikely companions make their long and sometimes dangerous journey, Starla’s eyes are opened to the harsh realities of 1963 southern segregation. Through talks with Eula, reconnecting with her parents, and encountering a series of surprising misadventures, Starla learns to let go of long-held dreams and realizes family is forged from those who will sacrifice all for you, no matter if bound by blood or by the heart.


My review: 🍷🍷🍷It hurts my heart that I didn't like this book more, but frankly, it was trying too hard. They characters were weak in almost every aspect and it simply didn't hold my attention. I think it was trying to "mockingbirdesque" but it doesn't make it. However, Susan Crandall's greatest novel (IMHO) is The Myth of Perpetual Summer. That is a 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷read if there ever was one!

The Darling Dahlias and The Cucumber Tree by Susan Witting Albert

The good old ladies of Darling, Alabama, are determined to keep their town beautiful. The Darling Dahlias garden club is off to a good start until rumors of trouble at a bank, an escaped convict, and a ghost digging around their tree surface. If anyone can get to the root of these mysteries, it's the Darling Dahlias.

My review: I loved this book! 🍷🍷🍷🍷and will be reading the rest of this series in the near future (of course, I have about ten series I'm currently into so, there's that...). The characters are so great, the time period is so well-done, and the story line is excellent. I love the all female cast and the strong women portrayed in the book. This is a great series!




Princess Elizabeth's Spy, A Maggie Hope Mystery (#2)  by Susan Elia MacNeal

Susan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed dΓ©but, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain’s beloved royals against an international plot—one that could change the course of history. 

As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5. Spirited, strong-willed, and possessing one of the sharpest minds in government for mathematics and code-breaking, she fully expects to be sent abroad to gather intelligence for the British front. Instead, to her great disappointment, she is dispatched to go undercover at Windsor Castle, where she will tutor the young Princess Elizabeth in maths. Yet castle life quickly proves more dangerous—and deadly—than Maggie ever expected. The upstairs-downstairs world at Windsor is thrown into disarray by a shocking murder, which draws Maggie into a vast conspiracy that places the entire royal family in peril. And as she races to save England from a most disturbing fate, Maggie realizes that a quick wit is her best defence, and that the smallest clues can unravel the biggest secrets, even within her own family.


My review: I love Maggie Hope! She is every woman's heroine. This series is phenomenal and one I will continue reading. The details in the research for the WWII time period are flawless and not only do I love the stories surrounding real life characters, but I'm also learning as I read and is always a bonus! 🍷🍷🍷🍷

Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Edward Douglas

He has hunted some of the most notorious and sadistic criminals of our time: The Trailside Killer in San Francisco, the Atlanta Child murderer. He has confronted, interviewed and researched dozens of serial killers and assassins, including Charles Manson, Richard Speck, John Wayne Gacy, and James Earl Ray - for a landmark study to understand their motives. To get inside their minds. He is Special Agent John Douglas, the model for law enforcement legend Jack Crawford in Thomas Harris's thrillers Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, and the man who ushered in a new age in behavorial science and criminal profiling. Recently retired after twenty-five years of service, John Douglas can finally tell his unique and compelling story.

My review: Well this is a must read! WOW! People ARE CRAZY!!! And I found it fascinating. Makes me wonder if I should have gone into psychology - I love the idea of catching these sadistic crazy people and putting them away for good. But, this book definitely lets the reader in on the gory details of them and it's frustrating beyond words. If you are interested is real crime drama, this is the book for you! 🍷🍷🍷🍷






The Gaslight Stalker by David Fielding

Looking for your new favourite historical mystery series? Perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Rory Clements and Antonia Hodgson…

Jack the Ripper is stalking the streets of London. Can anyone stop the serial killer before more women are murdered? 

London, 1888 

Whitechapel is full of the noise of August Bank Holiday celebrations. Everyone is in high spirits until a woman – Martha Turner – is discovered brutally murdered

Her friend, Esther, a lowly seamstress turned female sleuth, is determined to find the killer

A young police officer, Jack Enright, takes the lead on the case, and he and Esther soon embark on a professional – and personal – relationship. 

When another murder is committed and whispers of a slasher calling himself Jack the Ripper start flowing through the London streets, the search becomes even more desperate. 

The police are on the wrong track and the young couple take matters into their own hands, and soon find themselves navigating through London’s dark underbelly

Can they find the murderer before he kills again? Will anyone listen to their suspicions?
Or will this dark presence continue to haunt Whitechapel…? 

THE GASLIGHT STALKER is the first crime thriller in an exciting new historical series, the Esther and Jack Enright Mysteries, a traditional British detective series set in Victorian London and packed full of suspense. 


My review: I love a good Jack the Ripper story! And this one has a strong female lead with super sleuthing skills included. I enjoyed the tension in the novel, the accuracy of a lot of the details, and the sweet relationship that blooms between Esther and Jack. I look forward to more books in this series! 🍷🍷🍷🍷

The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White

Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.

Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.

Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world.

In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women....
 


My review: A resounding "O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful, and yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!" This book is excellent! The southern details, the southern charm, and the feisty southern women. This story boldly tells of revenge and how it will destroy your life, if you let it. The characters were phenomenal and I enjoyed reading about each one of them. I highly recommend this novel and others by Karen White! 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean’s love life gets complicated in this New York Times bestselling “lovely, lighthearted romance” from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series. 

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? 

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.


My review: I read this book because I saw the film preview and thought it looked cute. I tend to shy away from YA novels because I find them often trite and cliche, but not this one! I'm so glad I read it. It is an adorable book about love and friendship and learning how to grow up. It also ends with a great cliffhanger and I'm already on hold for the next book in the series! Even if you don't read a lot of YA, this one is just cheeky enough to make you love your teen years again - or at least relive them in a new light. 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷



And that's all folks. I currently have five library books checked out, another one I'm reading on this side, and a book tour coming up for Sapere books. And school is starting back! So - get ready for another smorgasbord when I get through it all! 

Happy Reading! πŸ·πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ·

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Another Double: Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan and Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan


***Spoiler Alert***

About this novel (From Goodreads):

For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jojo Moyes, and Jennifer Weiner, a moving, laugh-out-loud novel—with recipes!—about a young woman who begins her life anew as a baker in Cornwall.
Amid the ruins of her latest relationship, Polly Waterford moves far away to the sleepy seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives in a small, lonely flat above an abandoned shop. 
To distract her from her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, and the local honey-courtesy of a handsome local beekeeper. Drawing on reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes . . . and discovers a bright new life where she least expected it.
My review:

This is my second Jenny Colgan novel, and it will probably be my last. It’s not that I don’t care for her stories, I just don’t seem to really connect with her characters. The first one I read was The Bookshop on the Corner where the woman had a traveling bookshop and used libraries just gave away their stock as the libraries were closing. This premise was not believeable - libraries don't give away stock, at least not in the states. The premise of Little Beach Street Bakery was better and I liked the idea of the protagonist struggling to reclaim her life after the downfall of not only her relationship, but also the business and what she shared with her boyfriend. But there were just a few things that went off track for me.

Firstly, I have to comment on the best friends name, Kerensa. I realize that Colgan is a British author and I realize there some different names over across the pond (like Hermione which many of us pronounced wrong over here in the states until we actually saw Harry Potter in film), but her name was just reaching.  I actually did a little research to figure out if this is a common name over there like Jennifer or Katie here in the states, and it isn't. It means "forever exotic" and that just isn't the vibe I got from Kerensa..."forever annoying" was more like it. I know harsh...and I’m not one to comment on weird names because, let’s face it my name is Cresta and it sounds like a toothpaste, but it’s phonetically sound. The name just really irked me and her personality was so brash -  and I’m not talking Lorelai Gilmore in your face brash - I’m talking rude. And I know there’s the old adage that your meanest friend is probably your best friend, but I swear she wasn’t really anybody I would put in the "friend" category. She was not supportive and she droned on and on about the mistakes Polly was making and then in the end it was all "I knew you could do it." Really? Because it sure didn’t seem like that as we were going through the pages.

Secondly, I must comment on the protagonist Polly's random mid-book affair with Tarnie. Really? You’ve been with one guy for five years in a deeply committed relationship and after what seemed like a few weeks (it may have been longer but it didn’t seem like longer) on this island and flirting with the fisherman here or there you’re off on some sort of romantic getaway and you haven’t even questioned his past or what he’s doing, and then you sleep with him?!?!  Then come to find out he’s married? And has a kid? AND FURTHERMORE the whole town finds out and everyone is still best-buds with Tarnie?!??! Come on. I know this is supposed to be women’s fiction and it was all about her finding herself and letting herself go after being in a relationship that held her back for so long but ladies do we really need to jump into bed with the first eligible bachelor that we seem to come across? I mean the guy actually wasn’t even eligible. That really frustrated me and then when she found out he was married she just forgave him like the rest of the town for what he did (and they did) as if it was no big deal that he was married because he was unhappy. So that’s the standard? Good to know.  It's okay to sleep with a married man as long as he’s not happily married. I'm sure Ms. Post would agree. 

So admittedly those two things bothered me the most. But there are still other little things that just didn’t set right: the American beekeeper, Huckle, was just so wishy-washy. And when he finally puts the moves on Polly at the funeral for Tarnie (sad - yes. And she is still pining for the married man -also sad - yes) and it isn't well received, he takes it as an end all be all to everything they could’ve been and just packs it up and moves on back across the pond. And the super super rich guy flaunting his money everywhere - also not really attractive. 

HOWEVER - The premise of the novel was good. It met every clichΓ© of women's fiction that is supposed to be there. Relationship goes south - check. Business goes under - check. Struggles and has to live in a dumpy apartment that she has to fix up and make livable - check. I mean it’s all there; the list is perfection – the story just wasn’t. I didn’t really feel sympathy for the main character and the people she surrounded herself with just seemed so tragic and not in a good way. Mrs. Manse was the only character that I really felt a genuine connection with; the way she was as a result of her tragic story, and then her ability to learn to let that go. She was the only character that I felt really developed growth over the course of the novel that I could applaud.

And now for the best part of the book, the baking. I’ve never wanted bread so much in my life and I’m a big bread eater, if there’s bread available I will eat it. But it has to be good bread, and Polly baked good bread (I can pass on a plain white loaf). The passion Polly had for baking and the way that she use that as a medium to regain her life was excellent. I appreciated that she left a job that she did not love in order (by force basically) to pursue a job that she did love and in turn created a life for herself that she didn’t even know she wanted until she had it. That was good, that was really really good. So in the end it’s a pretty standard women’s fiction novel about overcoming your circumstances and learning to stand on your own two feet - which is exactly what anyone reading a women’s fiction novel is craving.

I give this a solid 🍷🍷🍷for the premise, finding passion, and the scenery. The lack of depth in characters and the surface-level relationships of not only the protagonist, but also the supporting characters left me wanting more from not only the novel itself but from the people involved. 


Best line in the novel: “bread, the cornerstone of eating, one of the fundamentals of life!” 
― Jenny Colgan, Little Beach Street Bakery
Worst editing mistake in the novel: “I could do with a bit of piece and quiet.”
― Jenny Colgan, Little Beach Street Bakery

Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews

** Spoiler Alert ** 

About this novel (From Goodreads): 
Such wonderful children. Such a beautiful mother. Such a lovely house. Such endless terror!

It wasn't that she didn't love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake--a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.

So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.

Just for a little while...

My review:

So this was a re-read for me. I came to know this story in middle school like most teenage girls, and we read it because it was scandalous. But-what I didn’t realize back then is that it was a series; therefore, the reread to see if I wanted to pursue further. I do not. 

I think I liked it as a youth BECAUSE it was taboo-as an adult, I’m bored. The villains are solid-I mean seriously who does not hate that bitch of a mother and the grandmother? But the ending is so unsatisfying because they get away scot-free – how is that supposed to happen? I realize that Andrews is probably trying to tantalize us into reading the next book to see if their fate is ever sealed in the depths of hell where it should be, but it’s just not enough to end this book without any reprimand of the worst people on the planet. 

The incest thing, nasty and creepy and ludicrous- and I have a brother and I know that that would never ever ever happen no matter our circumstances. I guess as a teenager you can suspend that reality for a little while because you’re unaware of real life but as an adult it is just too far-fetched for me. 

The arsenic poisoning is pretty predictable from the very beginning, and I admit I had forgotten about that but then as I started thinking about the food and the way that the grandmother always brought it and it just seemed sketchy, I quickly remembered how that plays out.

In short, I’m sure the average teenager would probably still find this book to be something to sneak under the covers right up there with Valley of the Dolls (which by the way was fantastic and scandalous and well written and awesome), but as a grown-up this book just doesn’t hold my attention and so I’ve had to let it go yet again.

A solid 🍷🍷🍷 Just because in general the characters are fairly well drawn and I appreciate Cathy’s aggressive personality and Chris’s academic ambition, but with those two personalities combined it seems they could have figured out how to get out of that room... at least learn to shimmy down the drain pipe. And as far as bad guys go you can’t beat that mother and grandmother so your villains are absolutely sound, but not punished. The book probably would get 4 to 5 stars if those two horrid humans had gotten it in the end; so only three glasses of wine from me. 

Happy Reading folks 🍷