Meet Me In Paris – Juliette Sobanet (Review)

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If there’s one thing I can’t resist it’s a book about Paris. My two great loves are reading and Paris and having already read some of Juliette’s previous work and loving it, I jumped at the chance to read her latest book, her very own memoir.


Meet Me In Paris follows Juliette (real name Danielle) through her divorce and her struggles to find what she wants from life while everything she has known as an adult begins to change.
Early on we find out that towards the end of her divorce, Juliette meets a man, also married but in an open relationship, who she begins an affair with and this plays a huge role throughout the book. At times I found this subject hard to deal with as I’ve never agreed with cheating while in a relationship but I tried to keep an open mind and understood that I shouldn’t judge a situation that I’ve never been in because in reality I have no idea what I would do. I’m glad I kept this open mind as the further I got the more I understood Juliette’s thoughts behind the affair and I began to understand why she finds it so hard to stop. I did however hate her lover more and more as the story progressed, to me it felt like a typical married man who will never leave his wife but doesn’t want to give up his lover and I struggled to empathise with him when he was upset about the affair as I felt like he knew exactly what he was doing and I couldn’t take his tears seriously.
Although the affair plays a major role in the book, I found the main aspect was Juliette’s self discovery, realising what it was that she wanted from life and I loved this theme. I think ultimately what she needed in life was to be in a city where she felt happy and surrounded by good friends and for her that place was France. Between Paris and Lyon Juliette is able to see some close friends and with there help she is able to sort through all the thoughts in her head and realise what is important to her. I loved Juliette’s version of France, her thoughts on why Paris and Lyon are so beautiful and why she enjoys spending time there so much.

There was one particular theme that I can want to mention, Juliette meets a couple and one half of said couple is a writer who believes in reincarnation. This is something I’ve thought of from time to time but never in depth yet the subject stuck with me. They mention that Juliette will have lived lives before and in her past life she probably lived in Paris as when she first travelled there she felt a connection with the city and instantly felt at ease. This is something I understand completely as I felt exactly the same when I went to Paris, a feeling I’ve never felt with any other city that I’ve travelled to. Exploring this idea was something completely new to me. I’ve never read a book where the author talks about reincarnation in any sort of detail and I adore the fact that Juliette has the confidence to do this.

I would pre warn any potential reader that there are constant sex themes but in reality they are done so well and I never felt like they were grotesque or unnecessary, mostly I felt they were there because that is just real life. The constant reminder that Juliette and her lover would meet up and spend the majority of their time in a hotel room just made me feel even more that this relationship wasn’t going to last, I constantly felt that for her lover it was nothing more than sex even though it was portrayed to be a lot more than this.

Meet Me In Paris was a great read and I applaud Juliette for actually being able to write this because it must take a lot of courage to pour your heart into pieces of paper that you know the world will be able see. Her journey was heartbreaking at times and I can only imagine what it must feel like to have to say goodbye to a life you’ve known for years and start afresh. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and meeting the people in Juliette’s life who helped her through the tough times. If you love romance and you love Paris then I’d say to pick up a copy of Meet Me In Paris, the true story is actually quite lovely and tells a great tale of how with good friends you can make it through anything. Now all I need is a ticket to Paris.

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Disclaimer – Renée Knight (Review)

It’s going to be hard to write about Disclaimer without giving anything away, the whole book is full of twists and surprises and almost every chapter shocked me.download (2)

There are two main protagonists to the story, first we meet Catherine who at first glance lives the dream, she is well known in the film industry for making documentaries, she has a husband who she loves and a grown up son who leads an independent life away from home. Next we meet Stephen, a retired teacher who has lost his wife and seems to live a solitary existence.

At first, it’s not clear how the two are linked but Catherine soon finds a book on her nightstand which, as an avid reader, she picks up to read only to find that she is the main character within the book and she realises it holds a secret to her past that if her family found out about, it could destroy them. Shortly afterwards it is revealed that Stephen is the author of the book and knows a part of Catherine’s past that no one else has ever heard.

When I started reading Disclaimer, I found it a little slow to begin with. Catherine’s chapters are in third person while Stephen’s are written in first person and I found it somewhat hard to grasp what was happening due to the chapters constantly switching between the two plots. As soon as I started to understand what was going on with both characters I was gripped. I read this on my Kindle and when I got to 30% I honestly didn’t know how there was still 70% left because I felt the story had almost been told that there was nothing more to happen. Another 5% in and I realised there was so much more to this book and I wanted to know everything.

As soon as things started to progress, I found I had more and more unanswered questions, I would find myself staying awake longer than I had meant to so I could read ‘just one more chapter’ in the hope that it would answer at least one of my questions, what I generally found however is that the one didn’t answer any of my questions, instead it usually presented me with new questions.

Of course the questions weren’t fully answered until the end, about 70% in and we start to learn the truth, questions started getting answered and I finished the last 30% in one sitting because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep without having found out the end of the story.

Was the end predictable? Yes and no, I went through one hundred different theories in my head while I was reading so one of them was bound to be the right conclusion. When I got the answers I found that it was what I was expecting yet somehow it didn’t find it any less shocking, if anything I was gripped by the revelations. I can’t say much more about the outcome because even the smallest detail will spoil the book but I can say that it was well done and I was heartbroken by the ending (if you have read it, I was mostly upset by Stephen’s conclusion.) It wasn’t on par with Gone Girl for me, with that I honestly could never have predicted the middle; I wasn’t expecting it and was completely shocked. Disclaimer did shock me to an extent but it was the aftermath of the truth that really hit me.

The way the two narratives came together and slowly started to unravel a story, was beautiful to me. Although at times the story was complex, I found the book in whole really easy to read and would certainly describe it as a page turner. On top of the two main narratives, at times we got to hear from lesser talked about characters which added excellent insight and new perspectives.

If you’re looking for a book that has an interesting plot but is still easy to read then I’d highly recommend Disclaimer.

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Book: Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neill

downloadLouise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours gave me an overwhelming sense of gratitude. The dystopian novel tells the story of a future where women can’t be conceived and instead are created. In a world ruled by men, ‘eves’ are now created and schooled with only one aim; to become a perfect wife. When we pick the book up we find ourselves reading about the ‘eve’s final year, the year where they find out if they will become a companion to their dream husband or not. Within five minutes of picking up this book, I was hooked.

Our protagonist is Frieda, to be honest I wasn’t a huge an of her, I found her needy and whiney throughout the entire story however I sympathised with her from time to time, understanding completely how it feels to grow up in a society where people don’t feel good enough and are constantly pressured to be better. The ‘eves’ are constantly competing against each other and finding flaws with their own bodies, so much so that they have a class where two girls go head to head and get comments from the rest of the class on how they should improve themselves.  I found this aspect of the book heart-breaking as addresses an issue that the majority of adolescents, male and female, feel today.

Frieda’s best friend, Isabel, was by far my favourite character. For her first fifteen years at The School, Isabel had been the top girl. She was treated differently by the chastity’s (women who run the school) but when it comes to her final year she goes off the rails. While reading I completely loved Isabel, she seemed a much stronger person than the rest of the eves and I could understand why the others looked up to her… She seemed to have her own mind and own opinions. It’s amazing to see as the book progresses how the girls distance themselves from Isabel because she is different, something many can relate to. Although I felt like Isabel was a strong minded character, she still had her doubts; she still competed with the other girls and compares herself to them. By O’Neill addressing the fact that even the strongest girls have doubts and that the girls who look like they don’t care being the ones who care most, it made the novel more real to me.

For me, the most interesting aspect of the novel was the idea that men rule the world. Living in a society where women are constantly fighting for equality, it seems foreign to me, the idea that women can sit back and be happy with men dictating how they live. The women in Only Ever Yours aren’t given a capital letter in their names as they aren’t deemed important enough. When the eves are created they are designed by men with the aim to make them look perfect and when it comes to their final year in school it is the men who chose their companion. The eve they will spend the rest o f their life with has no say in the matter. I loved this universe as it gives a glimpse of how many people used to live and still live today, being ruled by someone else. After reading the book I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the life that I alone am in control of. Although at times it made me feel like I needed to lose a few pounds, it reminded me how lucky I am to have people in my life who like me for more than just my looks, that people like me because they know my personality.

★★★★☆