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Welcome beautiful people! I am Laura, a beauty lover and chocolate addict. I love to share my thoughts on the best (and of course the worst) of all things beauty related.

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The Book Wrap Up : Vol VI

I feel like it's been a while since I've done a book wrap up, and I know that it is one of your favourite posts, but it feels like the perfect time seeing as holidays are coming up and I know everyone is on the hunt for a good read. I have been very fortunate in the last few month that I have received a number of books as advanced reading copies, and there are some exciting books coming out soon.

Without further adieu, lets dive into it...

The House of Brides : Jane Cockram

Miranda’s life and career has been a roller-coaster ride. Her successful rise to the top of the booming lifestyle industry as a social media influencer led to a humiliating fall after a controversial product she endorsed flopped. Desperate to get away from the hate-spewing trolls shaming her on the internet, she receives a mysterious letter from a young cousin in England that plunges her into a dark family mystery.

It was not a book I expected to love, but once Miranda went back to the house from her mother's past, I couldn't put it down. Once there, Miranda is surrounded by secrets and a dark family mystery. The descriptive writing works so well in this story. The storyline is original, and the pacing kept my thoughts churning. It's captivating and haunting and I loved it. Each chapter leaves you on an almost cliffhanger, leaving you wanting to keep reading. The stories and mysteries that will come out of the water works will leave you wanting more. Beautifully written!!

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Dilemma : B.A. Paris* (available 30th Dec)

It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie. But Livia has a secret, a secret she has been keeping from her husband Adam. Little does she know, that Adam also has a secret. A secret that could destroy her.

B.A. Paris has done it again! Another book that I can't put down. As the party begins to unfold, you watch both Livia and Adam fight through things they know will tear each other apart, but don't want to ruin the party. I had a real visceral reaction, realising how challenging these conversations would be to have with your partner. It was so well written that it was like you were feeling the emotions alongside the characters. I bawled my eyes out and felt angry about it all with them. Would highly recommend!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Love, Jane : Kate Blanchard*

Jane is an abused wife. She is hit, humiliated and literally thrown out the door. With nothing left but two boxes of personal items, she turns to her cop friend to save her. Also her world starts to crumble around her, Jane has to decide whether to put herself first or dive back into the darkness to help others.

A heartbreaking, but wonderful book. It does have a trigger warning attached - and while it doesn’t directly talk about abuse, it does reference it on numerous occasions. You will fall in love with the characters, have your heartbroken (more than once) and probably want to scream at some of the other characters. A great psychological thriller!

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Perfect Dress : Louisa Leaman*

Fran’s wedding dress shop isn’t like any other. A treasure trove of history, filled with gowns from every decade for every type of bride. But not as you’d expect. No matter your expectations, you’d never guess your own perfect dress. But Fran knows… she feels the wisdom woven into every gown, a gift from the previous owner waiting to be handed down to the next bride.

When Fran finds a dress that seems to be perfect for her she can’t wait to know its complex history which starts with her getting to know the son of the previous owner…

Such a lovely romance novel. Nothing new or innovative, but a love story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's heartwarming and beautiful and everything I look for in a romance novel. As you watch Fran try to break (and melt) the ice with Rafael, the son of the mysterious wedding dress, you will fall in love with her quirky and colourful personality. Everything that Raf needs a little bit more of.

Fran is the type of person I wish I had when I was choosing my wedding dress - someone that could pick something that would suit me completely, both physically and emotionally. Love love loved this book.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Fake : Stephanie Wood*

Women the world over are brought up to hope, even expect, to find the man of their dreams, marry and live happily ever after. When Stephanie Wood meets a sweet, sophisticated man who owns land and businesses, she embarks on an exhilarating romance with him. He seems compassionate, truthful and loving. He talks about the future with her. She falls in love. She also becomes increasingly beset by anxiety at the lavish three-act plays he offers her in the form of excuses for frequent cancellations and no-shows. She begins to wonder, who is this man?

I won’t lie, I had high expectations of this book. I was expecting big things and I was expecting to be wowed. All in all, I wasn’t. Fake had some really great bits and some bits that bored me so much I actually skipped over them. The introduction didn’t grab me too much, but as Stephanie started to get into her story about Joe, I was curious. It was like a thriller, when I was dying to know what happened. It all came out about half way through the book, and then it left me feeling a bit lack lustre. She met up with other women that had been tricked by the same man. But as something I can’t relate to (and I’m very fortunate for that), I just got a little bored unfortunately. I know some people have loved this, but it didn’t give me as much as I’d hoped.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Never Have I Ever : Lucy V. Hay* (available 12th Dec)

Sam is doing well in her career, she has a husband and a baby and life is going well. That is until she gets the note through her door that stops her heart in her chest. Never Have I Ever Been Punished For What I Have Done.

Sam is catapulted back to those teenage years spent with her best friends, teasing out each other's secrets by announcing things they had Never, ever done. Pushing each other's boundaries, growing closer and growing up. If only they'd stopped there.

I don't know why, but I do feel like I was reading this at the perfect time of year, with Halloween quickly approaching and everything. It was a good book, with thrills you don't expect and a plot twist at the end (that I didn't expect). I will admit that Sam frustrated me as a character, but more for the way she treated her husband through all of this. To some extent I can understand it, now knowing the ending, but there were times where I did want to shake her and go 'WHAT ARE YOU DOING JUST ASK FOR HELP'. Maybe that's the point though. But overall it was a great book, not my favourite thriller, but it was well written and I did want to keep reading it, so that's a good sign.

Rating: ★★★☆☆  

Postscript : Cecelia Ahern

When Holly Kennedy is approached by a group calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, her safe existence is turned on its head. Inspired by hearing about her late husband Gerry’s letters, the club wants Holly to help them with their own parting messages for their loved ones to discover after they’re gone. Holly is sure of one thing – no way is she being dragged back to the grief she has left behind. It’s taken seven years to reinvent herself, and she’s ready to move on with her life.

But Holly comes to realize that when you love someone, there’s always one more thing to say..

I will admit I had quite high expectations of this book, considering how hyped and popular her first book was. I found the start quite slow and was honestly a little frustrated by Holly and some of the decisions she was making (whether Cecelia Ahern had this plan or not, who knows). However, I did absolutely love the end. It was heart warming and uplifting and filled my heart with so many positive emotions (but also a few sad). If I could give it 3 and a half stars, I would, because while it was a good book, I think they hype around it and expectation for it bring it down a bit. It is your typical journey book, where the main character has to come to terms with who they are and what they want, before the positive ending. But I did enjoy what you will from that

Rating: ★★★☆☆   

Tweet Cute : Emma Lord* (available 21st Jan)

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war.

Such a sweet little read! Witty, funny and heart warming. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I’m sucker for a sweet rom com and this did not disappoint. Perfect for young adults who are finding the relationship and expectations with their parents challenging (younger Laura can relate). It has the awkwardness of young relationships, mixed with the challenges of school. The perfect YA novel!

Rating: ★★★★★

The Strangers We Know : Pip Drysdale*

Imagine seeing your loving husband on a dating app. Now imagine that’s the best thing to happen to you all week…

When Charlie sees a man that is the spitting image of her husband on a dating app, her world is flipped upside down. Suddenly other signs of betrayal begin to add up and so Charlie does the only thing she can think of to defend her position – she signs up to the app to catch Oliver in the act.

Pip Drysdale is just getting better! I didn’t mind her first book, The Sunday Girl, but this one captured me even more! It’s the perfect thriller for those who don’t love thrillers. It’s a little bit slower and a little less creepy. It’s written beautifully, with flashbacks to her time with Oliver, as she searches for clues. With an ending that is a little surprising (I say a little because I know some may find it predictable). Was a big fan of this one!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Let me know what books you have been reading recently and loving! I am always on the hunt for new books to read!


*DISCLAIMER – Products with * have been sent for trial/review purposes. Although this product was sent for me to trial and review, all views and opinions are 100% honest. All opinions are based purely from my own experiences. The Life of Laura is not by a professional or expert. Please do not confuse my opinions with professional advice.
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