Book Review: You And Me On Vacation by Emily Henry

I loved Emily Henry’s last book – Beach Read – and so when I was offered an ARC of her new book, I jumped at the chance!

Here’s the blurb:

“*From the bestselling author of Beach Read comes a new sparkling novel sure to leave you with that post-holiday glow, also known as People We Meet On Vacation*
12 SUMMERS AGO: Poppy and Alex meet. They hate each other, and are pretty confident they’ll never speak again.
11 SUMMERS AGO: They’re forced to share a ride home from college and by the end of it a friendship is formed. And a pact: every year, one vacation together.
10 SUMMERS AGO: Alex discovers his fear of flying on the way to Vancouver.
Poppy holds his hand the whole way.
7 SUMMERS AGO: They get far too drunk and narrowly avoid getting matching tattoos in New Orleans.
2 SUMMERS AGO: It all goes wrong.
THIS SUMMER: Poppy asks Alex to join her on one last trip. A trip that will determine the rest of their lives.
You and Me on Vacation is a New York Times bestselling love story for fans of When Harry Met Sally and One Day. Get ready to travel the world, snort with laughter and – most of all – lose your heart to Poppy and Alex.””

The book follows the present day – when Poppy and Alex have been estranged for a couple of years, but end up going on a trip together – and then flips back in time to the first summer they meant and their subsequent annual trips.

The present day trip is to Palm Springs (which I only know is where John Barrowman and his husband live #randomfact) – whilst the historic trips are all over the place – so there are plenty of different settings for the book. You know that something ‘bad’ happened 2 years ago – but it’s quite late on in the book before you discover what that was (and I have to say I was a little underwhelmed with that part of the storyline).

Poppy is quite outgoing and up for anything – whereas Alex is a lot more restrained – and the story uses these traits, and when they act out from their ‘normal’ behaviour really well.

I liked the descriptions of Poppy’s childhood home and her parents – who clearly loved her very much, even if she was slightly embarrassed about them (but isn’t that the role of parents of teenagers to be embarrassing?!)

It is a fairly predictable ‘will friends become lovers?’ story – but with enough twists and turns to keep you interested and intrigued. Perfect as a simple holiday read with a cocktail in hand at the same time.

Overall I didn’t love it quite as much as ‘Beach Read’ but it was still a very enjoyable book. Thank you to the publisher for my ARC – but I’m a few weeks behind the times, so if you fancy the sound of it, it’s already available to buy.

Book Review: The Man Who Died Twice (The Thursday Murder Club Book 2) by Richard Osman

I, like literally millions of others, loved the first ‘The Thursday Murder Club‘ book by Richard Osman – so when the publisher asked if I’d like an advance review copy of the second book in the series through NetGalley I danced a jig around my office! I downloaded it immediately and it took precedence over the ever increasing TBR pile. I devoured it in days.

Here’s the blurb:

“It’s the following Thursday.
Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life. As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?
But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?”

It was so brilliant to be reunited with the Thursday Murder Club Gang! It felt like meeting up with old friends again. I guess the book would stand up on its own – and you don’t HAVE to have read the first book – but let’s face it, you probably have anyway! And it would make much more sense with all of the back story in place too.

You are not only reunited with the main 4 characters of Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron who live in the Coopers Chase retirement village and are members of the Thursday Murder Club – but also the supporting cast of Chris and Donna from the local police (and Donna’s Mum who is now seeing Chris!) and the septuagenarian’s ‘fixer’ Bogdan.

Whilst the missing diamonds and the relationship to Elizabeth’s past is the main storyline – it is interweaved with other stories too – the local mafia, local drug dealer, violent street crime, Chris and Donna’s love lives and classic entries in Joyce’s diary (her foray onto Instagram is amazing – and I do feel she is channelling my late Nan!!)

It romps through – again with Richard Osman’s voice loud throughout the writing – but I have to say I loved it.

I liked the fact you already knew the characters, and it felt like you were moving forward with the story and their relationships. Again – this would make an excellent film / TV series (and given the rights for the first book were snapped up by Mr Spielberg – I suspect this book will be too!) There was no ‘difficult second album’ about this sequel at all – it was as good, if not better, than the first in the series.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my ARC – I’m looking forward to book three already!