9 May 2018

book reviews: the girl before by JP delaney, trying by emily phillips and this could change everything by jill mansell

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

"Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price? 

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there - and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. 

As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma's past and Jane's present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession."

I do love a good thriller and The Girl Before looked to be a book that wouldn't disappoint. And it didn't.

The characters are all a little creepy and it was hard to know who to trust. The chapters just about alternate between the previous tenant, Emma, and the new tenant, Jane. And even with all this, it was hard to deduce who were the good guys and who were not. And with each character that is introduced, it muddied the waters even more. Just when you had one person figured out, a bombshell would be dropped.

When the house is first introduced, it sounds pretty cool - minimalistic, technologically advanced and in a good location. But over time, these features begin to seem more of a hindrance than a bonus.

I actually read this book really quickly but I have to admit that the ending felt really unsatisfying and like it wasn't really an ending.

Overall, 7.5/10. It is a good read and some parts actually sent a chill down my spine but marks taken off for the ending unfortunately!

Trying by Emily Phillips

"Olivia and Felix are trying for a baby. They even moved to the suburbs in anticipation of their future family. But despite approaching her cycle and their sex life with military precision, there's still no sign of what felt like the sure next step, whilst friends' broods seem to be growing by the week. Meanwhile, vying for a promotion at work under the (very attentive) watch of a new boss sends Olivia down a dangerous road of risking it all. Does a happy ever after, she starts to question, even have to include a baby?"

So I'll be honest. At the moment, I can't really relate to babies and marriage and all that stuff (I am most definitely not mature enough for either of those things at the moment - after all, I recently moved into a bachelorette pad!) but that doesn't mean I don't like a good chicklit book.

Trying is quite a long read ringing in at just under 400 pages. And at points, the texts and bits of calendar entries felt a bit tacky and too try-hard. I also found myself disliking Olivia as the book went on - her inability to feel happy for her friends dragged on for a bit too long. After all, most of us will have been in the position of being jealous of our friends before letting that feeling go and actually being happy for them. Towards the end of the book, she is more able to be pleased for friends rather than wallow in self pity and became a bit more likeable.

Some books can be hundreds of pages long and not feel that way (the later Harry Potter books for instance) but this book was almost 400 and you could definitely feel it. By about page 200, I stalled a bit but persevered with it.

Although I've been quite negative about Trying, it is actually pretty well written and the storyline isn't too far-fetched. The whole plot around Olivia and Felix trying for a baby sounds pretty realistic based on things I've heard from an experience I had as a medical student, sat in an Infertility clinic.

Overall, 5/10 as it wasn't really a book I enjoyed reading. However, don't let that put you off - it is well written and can be relatable if read by the right person! Just that this person isn't me :)

This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell

"If only Essie hadn't written that letter - the one that went viral... 

On the one hand, if Essie hadn't written that letter - the one that only her best friend was meant to see - then she'd still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding... 

On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn't accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn't have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas... 

And she wouldn't have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn't fall in love with..."

Jill Mansell is an author I turn to when I need a feel good story and what better feel guarantee of a good story for those lighter evenings than her latest offering of This Could Change Everything. Each of the main characters are lovable, realistic and relatable. We follow Essie's journey from an email that was a bit too honest to how she meets Conor, Lucas and Zillah and the adventures they have along the way.

It is quite a predictable storyline (aside from possibly one 'twist') and the ending is more and more obvious, the more you read. However, that's what I was looking for at the time and this book certainly satiated that need.

Overall, a solid offering from Jill Mansell and if you're a fan of chicklit books, this one will be right up your street. 8/10

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