BOOK REVIEW // Johnny Be Good - Paige Toon

I'm going to confess to being a fully fledged Paige Toon addict as you may see from a number of reviews that I have coming up, I've completely fallen in love with her the way she writes and also all of the characters, I never used to be a chick-lit kind of gal, tending to prefer fantasy or dystopian type books but I read this as I just wanted something easy and nice to read and I've found that it's a good way of upping my reading and also keeping myself in a reading routine. So, anyway, back to Johnny Be Good, I put off reading this one for a little while based on the blurb as I sort of thought it would be a cliche, girl falls for rock star manages to tame him but this one throws out lots of twists and turns and as with most of Paige's books that I'm now finding out, they don't always finish the way you think they will which I love - however, with this one, there's a follow up book and also a short story spin off so I'm interested to get stuck into those to see how this does end up playing out.

I loved the lead character in this, Meg, PA to Rock Star Johnny Jefferson, she's very honest and likeable as a character, Johnny Jefferson, our rock star is a bit flawed and troubled, in my head, he reminded me of an early 00's Robbie Williams, and I like seeing how that plays out throughout the book, learning more about what makes Johnny tick and the reasons for his flaws. Meg gets the role to be Johnny's PA early on in the book and leaves her London life behind her to fly out to LA and take on the Glamorous role of PA to a Rock Star. It doesn't all go smoothly and Meg soon finds herself falling for her new boss...The background setting of sunny LA definitely helps make this book the ultimate summer read, although, I read this in the deepest darkest depths of Winter and still loved it as it makes for a great escape from the constant ice and rain we seem to be getting in the UK at the minute. As you would imagine, everything doesn't run smoothly for our lead character Meg and her new boss as she navigates the crazy lifestyle of being the worlds biggest rock star. 

I'm definitely going to be reading the follow up next which is rare for me as I normally like to move into a different genre of book once i've finished one but I don't know, the characters in this just stuck with me. As with all of Paige's books, there's little links to other characters in other books so this one links to Chasing Daisy as well as Lucy in the Sky, I love the way this works and I quite often wonder if some of the stronger side characters will end up in a book of their own at some point! You don't have to read Paige's books in order (and I haven't) but those I haven't read yet, I will start reading in order from now on. If you're in the market for a good Chick-Lit and haven't yet ready any Paige Toon - definitely give this one a go!

Do you guys have any recommendations on any other good authors I should be checking out in this genre? It's fairly new to me and I will have worked my way through Paige's books soon so need something else to get stuck into.

Soph x

BOOK REVIEW // Practical Magic - Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman is one of those books that I have been meaning to read forever, literally, the book was first published in 1995 when I was just a teeny tiny 7 year old but I bought the paperback a few years later when I must have been about 12 or 13 and just never got round to reading it, when I saw last year that Alice Hoffman was revisiting this and releasing a prequel to the book, I knew I had to read this one quickly. I'm so annoyed I hadn't read this book sooner, it's literally the most perfect book to curl up with on a cold winters day, once, I started reading this, I really struggled to put it down, the story itself is fairly slow paced if I'm honest, although there's plenty to keep you reading along, the real crux of this book is the two main characters and their stories and how they develop throughout the book, the story follows two sisters Gillian and Sally who tragically lose both their parents and are sent to live with their two aunts who just so happen to practice magic and we soon learn that the girls themselves have magical tendencies too, the book takes the girls from their childhood and being bullied and essentially outcasts at school right through to their adult years navigating relationships and life as they go.

There is definitely a key incident that happens that forms part of the central plot line for the book but the main thing for me that I loved about this book was the relationships, be it romantic relationships, the girls bond as sisters and also the various family relationships that are included as well. The book is so beautifully written, it's almost poetic at times and one particular reference to the lilacs in the garden almost made me feel like I was actually standing in Sally's Garden, which honestly, on the cold January day that I was reading this, I really did want to be transported to the balmy, summer garden. Another key point for this book is that, despite the fact it's now over 20 years old, it doesn't feel dated at all which was something I was a little concerned about before reading this.

If you're after a high action, fast paced read, this may not the be the one for you but if you want to get lost in another magical world for a little bit, grab a cup of tea and a blanket and give this one a go. I can't wait to read the prequel now which focuses on the lives of the two Aunts before they became guardians to Gillian and Sally and I'm hoping it will be as much of a dream as this one.

Soph x

BOOK REVIEW // Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

Ah, where to start with this book, I didn't want it to end, although I'm pretty sure I think that with any good book but this one just sort of captures your heart, the characters, the storyline, the under currents throughout the book that all build up to the final few chapters of the book, it's so well written, sucks you in and you start to really care about the characters and what happens. Essentially the book follows the story of Eleanor Oliphant, the main character who has worked at the same company for the past 10 years, each weekend consists of the same routine and her main contact is a weekly call that takes place with her mother, very little changes in Eleanor's routine which is how she likes it until one day something does change and thus we follow Eleanor's story. 

This book has been talked about all over the place and for good reason, I first heard of it before it was released as did many as this book was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize before it was even completed, I remember reading the blurb and immediately wanting to read it. I bought it as soon as it came out but I was already part way through a book and for some reason kept putting off reading it until later on in the year. I think because it had been so hyped both in the press and in my head, I didn't want it to disappoint. Eventually, when I did pick it up, I managed to read it in three days, it really is one of those that sucks you in. There's something about Eleanor Oliphant that you really warm to, to a certain extent I think we all know an Eleanor or certainly come across people like Eleanor in daily life, someone who comes across as being difficult or weird when in reality they're actually just struggling with something, be it trauma or mental health, there's a moral element in this book about judgement, no matter how someone acts or looks, until you truly know them, you have no idea of who they really are and I loved that, it was subtle but it was one of the themes that I really took away from this. 

Although the storyline is somewhat darker than you originally think, there's a real element of humour in the book, albeit somewhat subtly, Eleanor's views and opinions of people are so cutting at times, they really make you laugh out loud.
I'm going to really miss Eleanor even though she's only been part of my life for a few short days but I'm already so excited to read more from Gail Honeyman who I think is going to be a bit of a treasure of an author.

Have you read this, what did you think?

Soph x

UPDATE // Wolf & Maine

Hello there - It's been a little while since I last posted on this, I first started this blog back in 2012 when blogging was still a fairly unknown thing, it originally started as a nail art blog then as my love of all things beauty kicked in, it eventually became more of a skincare and makeup blog, essentially I just wanted a little corner of the internet where I could feed my passion of writing and share my love of beauty. Work and life took ended up taking over a few years back and this little blog got forgotten about. My passion for writing and blogging is still there and whilst you will definitely still see makeup and skincare posts occasionally, I want to introduce other elements such as book reviews, reading is my other big passion, baking and recipes, life updates etc - to be honest, anything I fancy writing about, so I've relaunched the blog under the new name Wolf and Maine because OCBeauty felt like it was just too focused on the beauty element, there's not much meaning behind the name other than I like it!

I'm looking forward to welcoming old and new readers back - I hope you like the new layout and if you have any things you'd like to see on here, please let me know.

Soph xx