ARC Review: The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara
Published: July 2017
Publisher: Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group UK)
Format: Ebook
Pages: 368
ISBN13: 9780751566215

Amazon UK


My Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for copy, in exchange for my honest review.  I’m so glad I got to read this, I’ve loved other books by Ali McNamara and this one does not disappoint.

I found this to be a magical story, full of folklore, history, mysteries and romance.  It was interesting to read the different legends.  I know it’s a fictional place, but it made me realise that everywhere has these little stories, legends, rumours, whatever you want to call it.  They all stem from somewhere don’t they?

Written well, as always for Ali McNamara. The characters all had feeling, depth, and a likeability that touches you.  There is a lot of eye-rolling though, and winking. What’s that all about? Anyway, I liked all of the characters.  The setting was beautiful, as is all of Ireland.

Ren is determined, stubborn, but a very likeable woman.  Kiki plays well against Ren. For Ren’s matureness, Kiki is the opposite. She’s ditzy, doesn’t get a lot of Ren’s references, but she’s still very likeable.  Finn.  I’ve been trying to find the right words for Finn but I’m struggling.  He’s likeable, you get to see a little of his history, his backstory but on the other hand I don’t know…  I felt like I didn’t get a lot from him.  I don’t know.  All the characters worked well together, there is chemistry between all the characters, a fondness between them.  Kiki and Ren found their home in Ballykiltara and it shows.

It makes a nice change that the loss that a character’s suffers is an animal.  Many stories centre around the loss of a person, not an animal.  People’s lives are affected by the loss of a pet or like Finn, a business.  it shows that it does change the way people are.

This book was just great.  I loved how it was written, I loved the majority of the characters, and I just really enjoyed it.  I give it 4/5.



June Wrap-Up!

Well, another month down, well and truly half way into the year, and another stack of books building up on the bookcase.  Yes, I know it’s not officially the end of June but I have a busy few days coming up so while the Child is sleeping – finally, a daytime nap!! – I thought I’d get this in quick!

I’ve not been as bad this month with buying books, instead it has been books from Netgalley.  I’ve read a few of them, and reviewed, but I still have 10 – I think – on my Netgalley shelf/collection.  I’ve also got a few to read from Bookbridgr as well – I’m currently working my way through Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick.  I’m not sure if I’m enjoying it but I will finish it. I’m more determined if anything else to finish it.

So my month of reading.  It’s a grand total of 18 read, 20 purchased, and 17 from either Bookbridgr/Netgalley/Author.  That’s quite horrific to see it put into simple terms like that and not a list – that’s the amount to read, not read.

What’s even worse is that I have only reviewed 5 books in total.  5?? That’s pathetic compared to the actual 18 I’ve read!

My favourite book of the month: Hmm…. it’s either between Can’t Buy Me Love by Jane Lovering or One Hot Summer by Kat French.  First one what would come to mind if put under pressure would be One Hot Summer.  I loved it, cannot praise it enough, and still would very much like to put in an order for my very own Robinson if possible? Please, thank you, pretty please with a cherry on top?  I also really enjoyed We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman – that book was a whole different kind of special.

Least favourite book of the month: Break Up Club by Lorelei Mathias.  This book dragged for me, it wasn’t spectacular or highly funny, just a little amusing.  I dragged my way through it and through a little brain party when it finished.  I sort of wish I hadn’t read it, the amount of time it took me to read it would have been filled with 2 other books that I could have loved even more than this one.

Thoughts for July:
To make a dent in my piles of books, if not a huge dent then a small dent.
I want to get my Bookbridgr books read this month, hopefully anyway.  I’ve got about 10 of them altogether I think but not entirely sure. Maybe I should keep them separate from my other books.

My Naughty List (Including ARCs/Bookbridgr):

The Light Behind The Window by Lucinda Riley
The Things We Never Said by Susan Elliot Wright
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
The Dress by Kate Kerrigan
The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths
The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan
Another Night, Another Day by Sarah Rayner
The Dandelion Years by Erica James
A Love Like This by Maria Duffy
The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths
A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore
The Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant
Spirit Legacy by E.E Holmes
Time After Time by Hannah McKinnon
The House at Sea End by Elly Griffiths
A Room Full of bones by Elly Griffiths

ARC Copies:

The A to Z of Me and You by James Hannah
The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown (READ)
Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet by H. P Wood
A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi
A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install
Break-Up Club by Lorelei Mathias (READ)
The Story of Our Life by Shari Low
One Hot Summer by Kat French (READ)
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Daemoneum by Laney McMann
Crystallum by Laney McMann
Escape to the Riveria by Jules Wake


The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale
The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle
The Rumour by Elin Hilderbrand

Other Books for Review:

The Madam by Jaime Raven (READ)

Books Read:

Summer by the Sea by Jenny Hale
Can’t Buy Me Love by Jane Lovering (Review Here)
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
The Madam by Jaime Raven (Review Here)
One Hot Summer by Kat French (Review Here)
The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown (Review Here)
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Everlasting by Candace Knoebel
The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews
The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths
The Snow Angel by Lulu Taylor
We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman
Break-Up Club by Lorelei Mathias (Review here)
The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths
A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths

Book Trilogy Review: The Angelfall Trilogy by Susan Ee.

Angelfall Sypnosis: It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.
Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.
Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

17849112World After Sypnosis: In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what’s left of the modern world.
When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.
Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.
Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

18500665End of Days SypnosisEnd of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy. After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.
When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?


So… I stormed through the first 2 books, and had to wait to read the third.  I’ll say my bit on each book in order, and try hard to mix it all up.  I’m quite surprised on how I took to these books,

Angelfall: The beginning just dropped me straight into it.  I instantly had a liking for Penryn, Raffe and Penryn’s sister Paige.  Even her Mum who is a bit.. challenging? I liked the style of the book, and even the storyline.  Penryn and Raffe work off each other well, and I ended wanting them to get “it” over and done with, it was sort of painful!  Anyway, I was hooked!! I wanted to know how it was going to end, and how it was going to work out.  I didn’t have a choice but to carry on!! Well written, gripping and it just sucked me right in to it!! A well deserved 4/5!

World After: Picking up immediately where Angelfall, it dumped straight into the thick of things and made me continue my very unexpected journey with Penryn and Raffe.  I stilled liked them, still wanted to get “it” over and done with, but then also didn’t want them to. If it had happened, then I think it wouldn’t have continued to work as well as it does.  Again, it was well written, enchanting and just instantly great!! Another 4/5!

End of Days:  I’ve come to conclusion I need to read slower. I zoomed through this, desperate to find out how it ended!! I did find it rushed in places, and didn’t have the same oomph as the first 2 books but I thoroughly enjoyed it just as much as the others.  The ended was what I sort of expected, sometimes it annoys me that people think Love will break all barriers down, for once I’d like a book that didn’t happen in.  Anyway, although rushed in places, it was wonderfully written, the right amount of drama and enough cheesy romance to make me cringe. Yet again, a very well deserved 4/5!



Reading Slump..

So, I’ve been on a bit of a reading slump the last few days, well week anyway.  Before Monday, I hadn’t read anything properly since reading Another Love by Amanda Prowse. Since then, I’ve found the other ARCs I’ve got a little difficult to get into.  I don’t know if its because I didn’t think very highly of Another Love of what but it’s been difficult!!

So, after struggling with 2 ARCs last week, I decided I needed something that was just easy reading, something light and a it romancy – not a word I know!!! I ended up choosing The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene.  This is her debut book, having already had another 2 published since.  I loved this book, it was what I needed to get me back into the swing of things.  It was everything I wanted, no scrap that.  It was everything I needed to see that not all books are awful.  I enjoyed the idea of them (Jenny, Maggie and Alison) going around collecting vintage teacups after sharing the first one they all discovered at a boot sale.  It follows their joint journeys up to Jenny’s wedding, and the things that they  have to overcome and build a reliable, strong friendship.  Just maginificent.  I gave this 4/5 on Goodreads. I also have to say I read this in just a few hours.

The second book this week was The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes.  Yet again, she’s written a delightful book.  This one follows Ellie (Present Day), and Jennifer (1960-Present Day).  Ellie finds a love letter to Jennifer, unaware of who it is too and from.  The book switches between them both, with us learning about Jennifer’s affair, being the married person, and Ellie’s affair, being the mistress.  It was wonderful, and makes me confirm that Jojo Moyes knows what she’s doing with these books!!! This i gave another 4/5 on Goodreads.  This one I mainly read while waiting at the hospital for the Man-Child’s consultant appointment, it kept me entertained. So much so I ended up finishing it last night and brings me to….

…. My Third book this week, My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan.  This I’ve just pretty much just finished.  I enjoyed it, it was steady going, easy to read and flowed pretty good as well.  It switches between Willow and Charity (Willow’s Mum).  I can’t really say much without giving anything away really.  The twist towards the end of the book did take me by surprise but didn’t totally shock me.  It was more of a “oh, i suppose that makes sense!” than a “Oh My God I Did Not See That Coming!!!!” sort of thing.. Well written and I’ve just added The Atlas of Us to my kindle collection.  I rated this 4/5 on Goodreads but I’m thinking it was more of 3.5 for me.

January Review.

So, January. The first month of the year has come and gone, if not a bit too quickly.  Some awful things have happened in the last 31 days but also some amazing things for so many people out there.  Just a shame that their stories are overlooked by dreadful things! I hope your month was an amazing month!!

Anyway, my month in books!!

January 2016

  1. The Undays of Aralias Lyons by K.L Horvath. ARC. E-book. 1st January – 3rd January. 2.5/5
  2. The Wolves of London by Mark Morris. E-book. 4th January – 7th January. 5/5
  3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. E-book. 4/5
  4. Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín. DNF.
  5. Pop Goes the Weasel by M. J Arlidge. Paperback. 3/5
  6. Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey. E-book. 5/5
  7. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Paperback. 5/5
  8. Another Love by Amanda Prowse. ARC. E-book. 3/5

Surprisingly, I only had one DNF.  I just wasn’t feeling it after a few pages so will eventually go back to it.  It probably doesn’t help that I don’t know a lot about the book, or the story in general. I also managed to get 2 ARC’s in, even if one of them was released in E-book format whilst i was reading it.  What I found strange was that it isn’t released in Paperback format for another few months yet.

I made a great start to my 26 Themes challenge, reading A book I meant to read in 2015 but didn’t (Outlander), a Goodreads Choice Awards Winner (Red Queen), and a murder mystery (Pop Goes The Weasel).


My plans for my February reading is pretty much the same as January’s.  To read what I fancy, not pushing myself to read too much so i suffer from a major book hangover!! I’m currently reading my first ARC of the month, There Will Be Stars by Billy Coffey. I’m only 7% into it but it’s got a lot of promise so far. I’ve got 3 mote ARCs to read this month as well, but I’ll list them as I read them.

For my 26 theme challenge, I’m planning on reading A book set on mainland Europe (The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall), Seen the movie but not read the book (Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan), and lastly A Banned Book (American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis).

Have a good month people!!