Don’t You Forget About Me, by Mhairi McFarlane


cover144744-medium.pngDon’t You Forget About Me
by Mhairi McFarlane

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If there’s one thing worse than being fired from the grottiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else.

Reeling from the indignity of a double dumping on the same day, Georgina snatches at the next job that she’s offered – barmaid in a newly opened pub, which just so happens to run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas McCarthy. And whereas Georgina (voted Most Likely to Succeed in her school yearbook) has done nothing but dead-end jobs in the last twelve years, Lucas has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but also has turned into an actual grown-up with a business and a dog along the way.

Meeting Lucas again not only throws Georgina’s rackety present into sharp relief, but also brings a dark secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows the truth about what happened on the last day of school, and why she’s allowed it to chase her all these years…

 

I received an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love a good rom-com in book form so I couldn’t wait to get stuck into Mhairi McFarlane’s latest book, ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’.

I find that one of McFarlane’s biggest strengths as a writer is creating characters who feel like your best mates and/or your worst enemies. With these sorts of novels (and in all books, but particularly within this genre for me) I find if you aren’t invested in the characters the story can drag- who cares about the plot if it revolves around someone who you couldn’t care less about! Thankfully, this story was full of people I either loved or completely detested and that made the reading experience really fun and just a bit infuriating at times.
Georgina is a gorgeous character and the fact she is surrounded by so many IDIOTS caused me to curse aloud at times. I found myself speed reading passages desperate to see how situations with her ex-boyfriend and stepfather would be resolved, wanting to reach into the book and give them a thump on the head on her behalf.
I was hooked on the plot from the first chapter (which is set 12 years in the past) desperate to understand what had happened and how it had impacted Georgina’s life since. The story unravels really well and explores really important topics such as grief, peer pressure and societal expectations. Most importantly I like that the story concentrates on Georgina needing to find happiness within herself, and her love story was additional to her personal development. She stays strong in the face of abhorrent treatment and extreme gas-lighting from her ex and her stepfather and fights back time and time again without giving in.
Amongst the serious topics within the book is a lot of humour, and the scenes between her and the McCarthy brothers in the pub she works in are some of my favourite in the book. Not to mention that fact that her blossoming connection with Lucas is ridiculously romantic and sexy.
Don’t You Forget About Me is a fantastic chick-lit novel. Hilariously funny, full of emotion and fantastically romantic, I loved Georgina from the first page to the last.

Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles

Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an e-ARC of this manuscript via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books set in bookshops always get put straight to the top of my to-be-read list, so when I heard about “Bookshop Girl” I couldn’t wait to read it.

When the regional manager of Bennett’s bookshop comes for a meeting the staff are devastated to learn that their branch of the store will be closed. Sold to them as a fait accompli, they resign themselves to the idea- all except Paige Turner (don’t worry, the obvious jokes are addressed and it isn’t as cheesy as it seems!) and her best friend Holly who decide to become activists to prevent their only haven in their hometown from being closed.

I’ve never worked in a bookshop myself, but I have experienced the soul crushing sadness of seeing yet another beloved bookshop disappear from the high street until the only place left to buy books is an hour away or online.

I loved the friendship between Chloe and Holly and how silly they were together whilst also being supportive of each other. Their antics whilst attending their still life course were hilarious, and exactly how two sixteen year old girls would behave in such an awkward setting.

There was some romance in this book, but it really took a back seat to the main plot which I think was really positive. The girls had their crushes but the bookshop and their friendship was far more important. Paige and Holly’s efforts to save the bookshop are so earnest and determined and their love for books is infectious. By the time I finished reading I was desperate to visit my nearest bookshop!

Bookshop Girl is a really fun, light, easy to read contemporary. The main characters are strong female leads and the whole message of the book is really positive. I’m looking forward to reading more in the series and continuing to get to know Paige and Holly.
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The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae: A perfect read for those who loved ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Stephanie Butland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I absolutely loved Stephanie Butland’s last novel, “Lost for Words” (it was set in a bookshop so no prizes for guessing why it appealed to me so much) and when I saw her book available on Netgalley I couldn’t click request fast enough.

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae follows Ailsa just a couple of months after the heart transplant she had been waiting for her whole life. We join Ailsa as she learns how to live, how to be an adult and how to navigate a life in which she suddenly has a future that involves more than hospital stays and dying.

I thought the premise to this book was really interesting. I’ve read a lot of books which focus on long term illness, but never a book which explores how somebody starts to rebuild their life once they have that operation they’ve been waiting for since birth. I don’t think I’d ever considered what it would be like for someone in that position, so used to waiting by the phone to hear of a possible organ and having people look after you as if you were a child, to suddenly be better and have to completely rebuild how they thought about themselves and develop some independence.

The book is written with the use of flashbacks to before the heart transplant and I enjoyed these glimpses into Ailsa’s previous life which helped to make me feel as if I knew both versions of Ailsa- with her old heart and with her new heart (which she names Apple).

I also really liked the use of Ailsa’s blog as a story telling device. It was in these sections that I felt Ailsa was being the most true to herself, and it added another layer to her personality.

The writing was completley addictive and I found myself swept into the story quickly. It was such a life affirming story and I really felt like I was with Ailsa as she experience new things and grabbed her new chance at life with both hands.

I absolutely loved the romantic storyline, but I also loved that having a boyfriend wasn’t Ailsa’s main priority and her career, hobbies, friends and family were much more her focus.

I would recommend this book to fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jojo Moyes and anybody who loves reading the equivalent of a hug in book form!

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