Breathless by Amy McCulloch (#Thriller) and The Weding Season by Katy Birchall (#RomCom) | Mini #bookreviews

Breathless by Amy McCulloch

Genre: Thriller

Book Blurb: Journalist Cecily Wong is in over her head. She’s come to Manaslu, the eighth-highest peak in the world, to interview internationally famous mountaineer Charles McVeigh on the last leg of a record-breaking series of summits. She’s given up everything for this story—her boyfriend, her life savings, the peace she’s made with her climbing failures in the past—but it’s a career-making opportunity. It could finally put her life back on track.
But when one climber dies in what everyone else assumes is a freak accident, she fears their expedition is in danger. And by the time a second climber dies, it’s too late to turn back. Stranded on a mountain in one of the most remote regions of the world, she’ll have to battle more than the elements in a harrowing fight for survival against a killer who is picking them off one by one.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Breathless by Amy McCulloch is the story of journalist Cecily Wong’s hike to the top of one of the tallest mountains on the planet, Manaslu. The famous climber Charles McVeigh tapped her for his team, and he would not give her an interview until they reached the top. For personal and professional reasons, a successful climb means everything to Cecily. Still, with a murderer on a killing spree and all of nature’s challenges, her chances of success have become marginally thin.

Initial Expectations:

My first impression is that Breathless will be an intense thriller with man versus nature and man versus man themes. The title speaks to the intensity – almost like it is commenting on the reader’s experience. I expect to be left absolutely breathless. Also, the snow falling on the cover speaks to the challenges nature will provide. Lastly, the book description seems to confirm all of this. I’m expecting a harrowing climb!

Actual Reading Experience:

From the very beginning of this story, the atmosphere is so pervasive that it is almost claustrophobic at times. It definitely sets the mood for the natural dangers and experiences of mountain climbing in a way that feels genuine. I could tell that the author had actually been on this mountain and made it to the top, and her descriptions were vivid and real.

The third-person narration, focused solely on Cecily Wong, tells a story that I experienced viscerally in a way no other type of narration could have as effectively told it. Cecily is a journalist who needs an interview with Charles McVeigh to establish herself in the journalistic world. Her desperation to be successful at climbing Manaslu and interviewing Charles McVeigh is not just known by the reader. But still, it felt as if it was my struggle along with Cecily’s. This makes the story uncomfortably immersive and effectively so.

The murder mystery, on top of the natural challenges, is very complex and has lots of surprising twists. I didn’t even come close to suspecting the right person or the reasons. I loved that a story taking me on a naturally harrowing journey also took me on a suspense-filled path to stop a killer who found the perfect spot to kill without getting caught.

To Read or Not to Read:

If you are interested in finding out the details that go into mountain climbing and love an excellent murder mystery full of twists, turns, and surprising revelations, you must pick up Breathless and go on the hike of your life!

The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall

Genre: Romantic Comendy

Book Blurb: Freya Scott is getting married. Her wedding to Matthew, her long-term boyfriend, is the first of eight in her calendar this year, and as someone who prides herself on being meticulously organized, Freya is intent on making it the perfect day to remember.

But when Matthew calls things off hours before they walk down the aisle, Freya’s entire life plan goes up in smoke. Humiliated and heartbroken, the last thing she wants is to attend a summer of other peoples’ nuptials on her own.

Fortunately, her friends have an idea: together they devise a series of outrageous challenges for Freya to complete at each event, designed to distract her from Matthew and what might have been. From getting stuck in an old church bathroom and needing to be rescued by the vicar to making out with a barman at a French chateau, Freya realizes that despite herself, she might just be having fun.

By the time the final wedding arrives, she will discover that the road to a happy ending sometimes has unexpected detours, that “I do” is only the beginning––and that perhaps her own love story isn’t over just yet.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall is a sparkling romantic comedy about Freya Scott and how she navigates a breakup with Matthew in a broom closet the day before their wedding.  Thanks to Freya’s friends, her tragic event becomes a fun romp to discover who she is and what she wants for her future.

Initial Expectations:

When I first saw the cover, I immediately thought that this looks like a fun story – the cartoony artwork and a young woman having way too many bridal bouquets around her.  The blurb on the front (which I love) says, “when life hands you something blue, turn it into something new.”  That makes me think of taking on new adventures, which also sound fun and potentially laugh out loud funny.  The book description sounds poignant and then entertaining.  So, my initial expectations are that this will be a somewhat poignant turn of events turned into a fun romp through many weddings.

Actual Reading Experience:

My initial expectations were spot on.  I loved this totally relatable story and the way Freya finds her way past one of the worst things that could have happened to her at that moment.  Freya is a well-developed character who is an independent, strong woman that I easily empathized with.  She tells this tale with first-person narration, and her voice is sharp, witty, and flows with ease.  But the best thing about this story is Freya’s group of friends.  They rally around her and come up with challenges for her to come out of her comfort zone and find who she is and what she wants.  I laughed aloud more than once as Freya completed each challenge with humbleness and dread.  Lastly, there is a slow-burn romance that I just adored.  Mathew might be a cad, but there is someone who comes in and out of her life; that is the real deal.  Is this a happily ever after?  You’ll have to read it to find out!

To Read or Not to Read:

If you are looking for a relatable, witty, and sharp story, The Wedding Season is the perfect book for a laughing-out-loud good time.

20 Replies to “Breathless by Amy McCulloch (#Thriller) and The Weding Season by Katy Birchall (#RomCom) | Mini #bookreviews”

  1. Nice reviews, Tessa. I just loved The Wedding Season too! I had slightly different expectations, the blurb makes it sound like it’s going to be funny, but also maybe silly too, but it was just about perfect for me. The balance of emotion and humor was excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Having both thrilling challenges makes for one intense read. Add in the atmosphere and that amps it up even more. Definitely a thriller of note.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved both of your reviews, Tessa💜 I already added Breathless, unsure if it would match my expectations, too, and I’m thrilled you found it to be an immersive reading experience.

    Definitely checking out Freya!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You will enjoy poor Freya. I can’t even imagine having my engagement broken the day before the wedding and in a broom closet, nonetheless. Matthew is such a cad!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Both of these books sound really good Tessa. I have Breathless to read, but I am going to see if I can find The Wedding Season. Wonderful reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Breathless sounds like it’s right up my reading alley. I especially love the fact that the atmosphere is almost claustrophobic. I love books like that. Great reviews on both, Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

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