Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Blurb: “The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body 

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?”

Genre: Thriller, Murder Mystery, Fiction

Goodreads Rating: 3.8/5

My Rating: 3/5

THIS REVIEW DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS


I read this book after being recommended by my boyfriend, he said it was good but not fantastic and I have to admit I absolutely agree with him. I found this book quite a reach. For me personally it was all over the place but I enjoyed the way it was written and the journey it took us through. the anticipation for what was to come was within me form the very start.

So the book is based on a small island off of Ireland known for death and the bodies under the ground. Here Jules and Will, both incredibly popular and high profile, decide to get married! The Island is completely uninhabited other than the two who are running the manor where the wedding was going to take place, Aoife and Freddy. Already it introduces mystery and suspicion, it’s written in a way where you’re always questioning whats going to happen? Where is this going? Once everyone is on the island, no one can leave?

I enjoyed the fact that we got multiple perspectives through the book. We got Hannah’s perspective, her husband Charlie is Jules’ (The Brides) best friend, which at the start I felt was unnecessary but the ending revealed why we got this. We also got the POV of Jules, Olivia the bridesmaid, Will the groom, Johnno the best man and Wills oldest friend and Aoife the wedding planner. It was fun going between each character and getting their perspective of the situation especially because there are so many different links to each other. Johnno and the group of Ushers, Charlie and group of Ushers, Olivia and Will, Jules and Charlie. BUT, there were so many different links it was really hard to get to grips with what was what and also really difficult to connect with each character. I could definitely connect with the odd few characters though, like Olivia, Johnno and Hannah.

So the characters I did feel something for, Hannah and Charlie, something happened at the Stag do that we don’t know about and because of that there is already tension between the two. Then we also notice that Hannah lost her sister around this time of the year, Charlie is nasty when he’s drunk and that their marriage has gone stale.

Then we had Johnno, always seen as the bum of the group, not very successful and also closest and oldest friend of Will. He likes to smoke and lies about creating a whisky brand to appear successful. He also feels eternally guilty for what is potentially murdering a boy who him and Will went to school with after a prank with Will went wrong. I really sympathised for him, trying to be something he wasn’t just to impress these boys he used to go school with who think themselves so high and mighty.

TW: Suicide.

I can also feel sympathy for Olivia. She has had her heart destroyed by a man who we later find out is Will. Jules’ husband to be. She’s in an awful personal position. She’s left uni, she’s depressed, she is tormented by the fact that she knows who Will is and what he is like and Jules has absolutely no idea because Olivia can’t tell her and Will won’t let her. So when she opens up to Hannah about her situation but changes the mans name, Olivia and Hannah really resonate with each other because Hannah’s sister killed herself because a man leaked a video of a sexual act online. which is what Olivia had been faced with threat wise from Will, so you can see the relationship for the two blossom because Hannah is protective over Olivia. Later, we learn that Will was also the one who brought Hannah’s sister to her demise. So all of their stories interlink.

There is a huge crescendo at the end where all of their stories interlink and I understand that we needed all the contact to get to this point. But I found it all incredibly far fetched and a real reach. So I’m going to try and sum this up as easily as possible so you can make sense of this journey. Jules (The Bride) and Charlie (Hannah’s husband) Have had sex, but this was years ago but news to Hannah when it’s revealed fractioning their relationship even more. Will used to be with Olivia (The Bridesmaid and Jules’ Sister) and is now blackmailing her to not tell Jules anything about their relationship. Although Jules overhears him threatening her so learns everything. Will is also the one who brought Hannah’s sister to her demise. Johnno is accused of the murder, even though the murderer is the sister of the little boy who was accidentally killed by Will and Johnno in school, Aoife, the wedding planner. And Johnno discovers that his big break into TV and his future was scuppered because Will lied to him.

It’s a lot, right? I just it very all at once. Although I enjoyed the concept of the fact these people who knew so littlest so much about each other were all linked in some way or another.

The only good thing to come from this was the development with Olivia and Jules’ relationship at the end, where it’s revealed who is dead. That for me was a positive note, because their family and sisterly love overcame everything. But It did make me wonder how Jules would have continued to act towards Olivia had what had happened, not happened.

I rated this 3/5 because although the journey to the cresendo was good and it really was emotive for my emotions and feelings, I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone!

Book Review: The Foundling by Stacey Halls

Blurb: “Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst – that Clara has died in care – the last thing she expects to hear is that her daughter has already been reclaimed – by her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why. Less than a mile from Bess’ lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.”

Page Count: 370

Genre: Gothic fiction / Historical fiction.

Goodreads Rating: 4.05/5

My Rating: 4/5

THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.


This book was an impulse buy after going to Tesco’s and seeing their two for one book offer, I mean its a must right? And I am so glad I picked it up to the point where I am absolutely going to pick up the Author, Stacey Halls, other book ‘The Familiars’ which is also rated just as highly as this book! SO let’s get into it.

My first impression of this book was that I was expect tears and being upset. The story premise makes my heart race as you are transported back to the 1700s, imagine going back to collect your child to find someone had already claimed her? I’m not a mother, but I am sure if you are it would definitely cause a different type of distress reading this book. Although its a happy ending which did make my heart swell and I didn’t cry as much as I thought I would (I’m an emotional person okay? It doesn’t take much to make me cry!).

It was really, really interesting to learn about The Foundling Hospital and the fact that in the 1700’s this was a real place where if mothers could not afford to look after their child or they lived in poverty etc, they knew they were in good hands until they were fortunate enough to collect them, although unfortunately not all mothers and children are so lucky and eventually when the children are old enough and not collected they are placed into foster care. But at least there is hope for them still and they are cared for. I also enjoyed the historical chapter at the end where it tells you more about it, I never knew something like this existed and next time I am in London I am going to have a look at the foundling building and hopefully visit the museum also!

A strong point in the book was getting the perspective of both women. I felt I could connect and understand both women and how they felt better. I really loved Bess all the way through. Her character was smart, cunning and fantastic. not only that but strong too, to be able to deliver her child to the foundling hospital knowing she cant provide for her properly, I rooted for her throughout the entire book. Stacey Halls really showed that a mothers love knows no bounds as they say.

Therefore I feel there is also a small argument that she is a liar and deceiver when she starts to work for Alexandra, the widow and the woman who stole her child in the first place, as Charlotte’s nanny. This is Bess’s daughter. Of course Alexandra doesn’t know anything about Bess and the two come from completely separate world. But two world very easily merge into one, It’s an unfortunate story of two women who got tangled up in a mess they never expected and all because of a man. When Bess does steal her child back I quite frankly don’t blame her. But she did deceive Alexandra, who trusted her.

I feel character development for Alexandra is also quite significant all the way through, with her confined habits changing towards the end of the book I really feel she came into her own and more confident than the hermit/recluse she was before. Both women really contrast to each other completely, obviously in lifestyle but in personalities too. I thoroughly disliked Bess’s brother from the start, the top deceiver and drunkard. He deserved everything he got.

The storyline itself is incredibly gripping and I read this book in two days. I just couldn’t wait to know what happened and how the story went. I am so grateful for a happy ending and I know I said I was impressed with Alexandras character development and I firmly believe the ending contributes so massively to this. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I closed the book and recommended it to my mum straight away. I knew she would enjoy it.

For the fact I couldn’t put the book down and the storyline was so interesting and gripping, I gave this book 4 out of 5! Highly recommend you get it on your reading lists now!

Places to Stay in Dorset, Somerset & Cornwall!

Brad and I went off on a week long South West coast UK road trip and it absolutely did not disappoint. But, with planning the road trip also came finding places to stay and all things considered? We did really well between the two of us. We looked mainly at Airbnb and 2/3 places we stayed were booked through Airbnb! We also used Booking.com for our final night, I’m quite apprehensive when it comes to Booking.com as someone who works with reservations and hotels they can be sometimes quite unreliable. But, it surprised me and it was the most beautiful accomodation.

In total between us we paid roughly £200 each, £400 in total for 4 different airbnbs and hotels. And for what we got and where we stayed? Absolutely brilliant on price! So below is a list of recommendations of where we stayed. I highly rate them all as does my boyfriend as they were perfect for our trip! Also we are students fresh out of uni with not a whole load of money so our standards aren’t exactly high but we expect comfort and what is shown on the photos. We definitely were not disappointed at any point.

Location 1: Winton, Bournemouth, Dorset

Link: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/44549362?source_impression_id=p3_1600185846_ltzd7EsjWbt2D50Q

Price we paid: £38 for 1 night and x2 guests, The room itself is no longer available but alternative accommodation on the same premises is available at a great price, see the link!


Now this Airbnb above is out the back of the house that we stayed in. Our lovely host Ana was at the time renting out one of her double bedrooms and we stayed inside the main house. This is no longer available on Ana’s profile but this little gem in her back garden certainly surprised us! We didn’t even know it was there until we were enjoying our breakfast (which was included). It was booked out the night we stayed but the next morning she had already refreshed this studio with a porch so we got to have a look inside!

It was huge and spacious with an en suite, kitchen and very modern inside with a lovely outdoor decking area to sit if you wanted. The area itself in Winton is really lovely and only a 10 minute Uber away from Bournemouth beach and the centre which worked out really well for us as we didn’t want to spend too much on cabs/Ubers.

Ana’s Studio I’ve linked above for 1 night is £51 which is really cheap especially with the quality of the studio. When we stayed in one of the bedrooms in the house it was £38 for the night but Ana was also having her kitchen renovated at the time, hence why this room may not be available currently! There is also on street parking for free.

Location 2: St Ives Glamping, Cornwall

Link: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/5367297?source_impression_id=p3_1600186424_NTFRJiv5ts2U1OvQ

Price we Paid: £111.09 for one night, x2 guests.


Once we jumped in the car again on our road trip we were off to our Hobbit Home! Yes you read that right, A Coastal Hobbit Home! It was so cool. The lane to the location once we arrived was small, narrow and windy and if anything a little bit dangerous but fine once you’re parked up on the field (which is free for guests!). Once we arrived we grabbed our wheelbarrows, popped our luggage in the barrows and trekked our way across the field to our hobbit home.

The Hobbit Homes themselves were super cosy. There was a double bed and inside was a hamper with blankets inside if we needed them for around the fire. There were fake candles which were cute and fairy lights all around the cabin which gave it such a homely feel and there was plenty of room for our bags and belongings.

We had our own hammock outside and a log fire too for us to prepare which accompanied an honestly box at the entrance where we could pick up a bag of wood. £5 down later and cracking fire we absolute could not complain. That same evening we used the communal kitchen and living space to cook up an easy meal of tortellini. The shared kitchen was amazing, wonderfully decorated and literally had everything you could ever need. The only things we brought was our food! Really resourceful. There was also perfectly clean and functioning toilets and showers but if you didn’t want to do the trek from your hobbit home or cabin up to the communal areas you had the option of a compost toilet. Personally, I chose the communal area toilets because the smell of the compost one nearly knocked me clean out. You also have to supply/bring your own towels.

Location 3: Far Horizons, Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall UK

Link: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/20025693?source_impression_id=p3_1600187206_Y2fNCfnikmNfa7gH

Price we paid: £162.54 for x2 nights for x2 guests.


This Airbnb was without a doubt the most beautiful Airbnb I have ever stayed in, not only was our host Kylie so so welcoming and lovely but the room was immaculate as well as the bathroom, there was a tea and coffee station in the room, a coffee machine and kettle, glasses and bowls and the decor was all matching and it was just so nice and cosy. The bed was SO comfortable. Wifi and towels were provided which was another bonus.

My favourite part about this stay was not only were we 5 minutes away from Fistral Beach where we were surfing, but one morning I woke up at 6am to nip to the toilet and there was a small ball of fluff by the open kitchen door. THEY HAD A RABBIT. It was SO cute and it was the best thing to wake up too! (This is stated on the listing I just missed it but it was absolutely no stress to us at all). There is a self check in option also when you arrive so you have your own key as well for when you’re nipping in and out which was really handy and when you leave you simply post the key through the letter box or put it back in the outdoor lock box.

I thoroughly enjoyed being able to walk into Newquay for dinner and breakfast, the location was ideal and there is also on street parking as well for free. The best thing was after 5 long hours of surfing coming back to a lovely room, a cosy bed and being able to relax and watch TV and feel at home. I was really really impressed and it was absolutely worth the money for 2 nights, I completely understand why Kylie is a Superhost and I absolutely will stay again given the chance!

Location 4: Broad Street Townhouse, Bath, UK, Somerset

Link: https://www.booking.com/hotel/gb/broad-street-townhouse.en-gb.html?aid=304142

Price we paid: £85 Bed & Breakfast.


This B&B room was right in Central Bath and absolutely beautiful. Not only was the location amazing but the room decor was the most beautiful. With lovely different shades of green and the huge big windows and ceilings to let in plenty of light this spacious and modern room had everything I could have ever wished for especially for our last night on our road trip. It had your usual amenities, TV, coffee machine, towels, kettle and tea facilities as well as a large wardrobe. My favourite part of the room was all the beautiful plants!

We were within walking distance of basically everything central to the City. We walked out of the front door and immediately hit the Cathedral, turn left and there is Pulteny Bridge. We walked to our dinner and it was even better exploring the next day. It also had breakfast included in the pub which is attached to the property and my lord was it delicious, we both had a Full English and it was so tasty! Totally worth the money.

No parking facilities but thats to be expected right in the centre. There is a long stay car park literally a 10 minute walk from the B&B, really easy to find and get too plus plenty of parking spaces!