Book Review: A Year of Being Single by Fiona Collins

For my sixteenth book in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I chose to read Fiona Collins A Year of Being Single.

‘Best friends Imogen, Frankie and Grace decide to test whether the grass really is greener on the single side of the fence…

Imogen is supposed to be on the most romantic weekend of her life and instead she’s quickly realised that her current boyfriend definitely isn’t ‘The One’ and actually One Big Mistake.

Frankie is fed up. Fed up of her good-for-nothing husband and her four, unappreciative children. Well, they hardly notice her anyway, maybe it’s time to shake it up a little…

Grace thought she had the perfect life. Gorgeous little boy and perfect, hardworking husband. Or rather, she did, until she realised her husband was shagging his ‘work’.

It’s time for a change – and to ditch the men who are dragging them down! It’s time for a year of being single. Swearing off men, these single ladies don’t need to put a ring on it…right?’ (Thanks Amazon for that synopsis!)

This is the story of how when you’re not looking for something, it will find you.

Imogen, Frankie and Grace are three women, each of whom have their own problems with men.  Single life draws these already best friends together, as they swear off men for a year to become the independent women they know they can be.  As can be expected however, once they choose not to find men those men come looking for them.  The story follows these three women as they explore their relationships and find out what they want from life.

There are no surprises here – everything you would expect to happen in a novel like this, does.  However the characters are well-rounded and endearing, particularly Grace who finds herself thrown into single life completely against her will.  Frankie is a put upon wife that all wives and mothers will be able to relate to at some point, who just gets fed up of being the family slave.  Finally Imogen is the typical career driven woman, who has been hurt in the past and so has never been able to settle down.  You will laugh and cry along with these women as they fail miserably at remaining single whilst desperately ensuring neither of the others find out about their indiscretions.  Despite the predictability of the story, this is a sweet chick-lit novel that is perfect for the beach or just a cozy Sunday afternoon on the sofa.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Reading Challenges

As you all know I am attempting the Goodreads Reading Challenge this year, and I hope to read a grand total of 50 books by the 31st December 2016.  I am a self-confessed book addict, but even for me this is a tall ask when I have a job, 2 children, a husband and a cat all vying for my attention.  I am however, giving it my best shot.

Whilst working my way through my rather large reading list, I regularly get distracted by other book challenges – mainly ones I discover on Pinterest (I am easily distracted and I do love Pinterest).  So I have decided to incorporate one of these challenges into my Goodreads Reading Challenge just to see if I can do it.  My chosen challenge is as follows;

  • A book with more than 500 pages
  • A classic romance
  • A book that became a movie
  • A book published this year
  • A book with a number in the title
  • A book written by someone under 30
  • A book with non-human characters
  • A funny book
  • A book by a female author
  • A mystery or thriller
  • A book with a one-word title
  • A book of short stories
  • A book set in a different country
  • A non-fiction book
  • A popular author’s first book
  • A book from an author you love but haven’t read yet
  • A book a friend recommended
  • A Pulitzer prize-winning book
  • A book based on a true story
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  • A book your mum loves
  • A book that scares you
  • A book more than 100 years old
  • A book based entirely on its cover
  • A book you were supposed to read at school but didn’t
  • A memoir
  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A book with antonyms in the title
  • A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  • A book that came out the year you were born
  • A book with bad reviews
  • A trilogy
  • A book from your childhood
  • A book with a love triangle
  • A book set in the future
  • A book set in high school
  • A book with a colour in the title
  • A book that made you cry
  • A book with magic
  • A graphic novel
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before
  • A book you own but have never read
  • A book that takes place in your home town
  • A book that was originally written in a different language
  • A book set during Christmas
  • A book written by an author with your same initials
  • A play
  • A banned book
  • A book based on or turned into a tv show
  • A book you started but never finished

This is a fairly scary looking challenge, although I should be able to start ticking some of these off soon – I shall keep you updated on my progress! Have you tried a reading challenge? How did you get on?

Book Review: The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

Book number 15 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge is Genevieve Cogman’s The Masked City.  Amazon provides the following synopsis;

Librarian-spy Irene is working undercover in an alternative London when her assistant Kai goes missing. She discovers he’s been kidnapped by the fae faction and the repercussions could be fatal. Not just for Kai, but for whole worlds.

Kai’s dragon heritage means he has powerful allies, but also powerful enemies in the form of the fae. With this act of aggression, the fae are determined to trigger a war between their people – and the forces of order and chaos themselves.

Irene’s mission to save Kai and avert Armageddon will take her to a dark, alternate Venice where it’s always Carnival. Here Irene will be forced to blackmail, fast talk, and fight. Or face death.

The Masked City is the second book in Cogman’s The Invisible Library series. I read The Invisible Library (follow the link for my review), Cogman’s debut novel last year and loved it so had to read her next novel in the series.  The second novel did not disappoint.  This series is set across a number of realms, all slightly different from the next and all linked by The Library.  Irene is the Librarian in Residence in the alternate London, working alongside her assistant Kai when he disappears.  Kai is a royal dragon who chose to work, in human form, for The Library.  However the Fae are aware of him and kidnap him, hoping to start a war between the Fae and Dragons which would have catastrophic consequences across all the alternative universes.  Irene finds herself in an alternate Venice where she must fight her way through the chaos to save her assistant and stop a war that would change everything.  Due to The Library’s neutrality, Irene must work alone to save her friend from certain death, whilst also saving the universes from war between these two very powerful factions.

Anything that combines fantasy with books is already a winning combination for me.  I really enjoy the premise of this series, as with each novel I learn a little more about the mysterious Library, about those who work for The Library and the inhabitants of the alternate realms.

Irene is a strong female lead character, but not so strong that she refuses assistance from her male colleagues.  Sometimes female lead characters are portrayed as hard and a little too tough, however Irene shows herself to be someone who can certainly hold her own and fight for what is right whilst also accepting help graciously when it is needed.

Whilst Kai does not feature in this book as much as he did in The Invisible Library, he shows himself once again to be a character of great strength.  Despite this, his deep respect for Irene is clear to see throughout the novel even though his royal roots would justify him playing on is superiority.

If you are a fan of Terry Pratchett, I would highly recommend that you try The Invisible Library series.  I look forward to reading The Burning Page, the next book in this series due to be released in December 2016.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5