Monthly Archives: October 2013

Book review: Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley

Image*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

All she ever wanted was a place called home. Nice and cozy place where she could be herself. Not that Sophie didn’t like her two flatmates, they were her best friends. And there was Marc, with that well-shaped body wrapped around her.

And then, Marc dumped her. On Valentine’s Eve. How cruel is that?

One letter changed everything. She inherits a property from an aunt she didn’t even knew she had. Talk about surprises life offers us e? But there is a condition: Sophie has to meet her father who abandoned her and her mother when Sophie was just a baby.

Struggling between making her dream come true, forgiving her father and not losing the trust of her mother, Sophie meets Nottingham architect Nick Cromwell. A guy who can give that old bungalow a name: Sophie’s home.

Sophie didn’t seem like much of a strong character at the beginning. It was all about Marc. “What would Marc think? Oh, my God, Marc can’t see me like this. Marc tells me to lose weight because he cares about my health. I’ll tell Marc about the inheritance, he will be happy for me and he’ll come back.”

I really felt like shouting out loud – Sophie, he doesn’t deserve you!

But despite being slightly annoying at the beginning, Sophie was a very interesting character. She’s naïve but in a cute way, and she always seems to want to make things right. She reminded me a little bit of Bridget Jones. Growing up without a father, with a mother who blamed him for everything that he did and he didn’t do, Sophie longs for a family, for people who will love her no matter what. With a background like this, it’s totally understandable she ends up in a couple of bad relationships and feels lonely most of the time.

I liked her flatmates, Emma and Jess, the two sisters. They were pretty down to earth and acted as Sophie’s guardians. They were fighting each other all the time, but they were always there when anyone of them got into trouble. They were the closest thing to a family for Sophie.

Let’s talk about the boys. I think I’ve said enough about Marc. I didn’t like him at the beginning. But, Nick, Nick was something different. He believed in Sophie and her dream from the very start. He loved the old buildings in town, and he fought for them with all his heart. But, he had some skeletons in the closet that had to come out. Is he just someone no better than Marc?

I thoroughly enjoyed this debut and would recommend it to every romance fan.

My rating: 5/5


Buy it on and amazon

Guest post: Sophie Ranald’s TOP 10 HOT fictional heroes

Today we have the pleasure and honour to welcome Sophie Ranald to This Chick Reads. We met Sophie on twitter and immediately fell in love with her fab sense of humor. She’s the author of ‘It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t it?)’, which we will be reviewing soon, and today she’s here to talk about HOT fictional heroes. Check her list of TOP 10 Hotties in fiction and see why we love this lady. Off to you Sophie.

Ellie in ‘It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend’ has Jacob from Twilight on her list of fantasy dinner party guests. “Call me lowbrow, but you so would, wouldn’t you?” she says. I don’t share Ellie’s crush on Jacob (step away from the weird paedo werewolf, Ellie!), but here are my top 10 shaggable fictional heroes.

Rupert Campbell-Black – Rupert features in 10 of Jilly Cooper’s fabulous bonkbusters, and has melted hearts and made knees wobble since the 1980s. He just gets better with age, but how gutting was it to learn that he was originally based on Andrew Parker-Bowles, much-cheated on ex of the Duchess of Cornwall?

Heathcliff – The hero of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is romantic, violent and deeply disturbed. Heathcliff is the kind of man your friends would absolutely hate you to go out with: imagine coping with that level of intense passion, possessiveness and moodiness? He’d be a nightmare in real life, but he’s a truly dreamy fictional hero.

Simon Ashby – The anti-hero of Josephine Tey’s clever murder mystery Brat Farrar. Simon is spoiled, evil, sly and ultimately deadly – so why was I madly in love with him as a teenager? I recently reread the book and was delighted to discover that Simon has lost none of his bad-boy appeal.

Jack Reacher – Lee Child’s leading man is the ultimate action hero. He arrives in a town where bad things are happening, hits lots of people very hard, drinks coffee, buys a new shirt and leaves again – but not before a night or three of passion with a beautiful, intelligent woman. Generally she is about the same size as one of his thighs, which is why casting Tom Cruise in the movie was such a dreadful travesty.

Ben Morgan – The hero of Mhairi McFarlane’s fresh, funny debut novel You Had Me at Hello is that rarest of beasts: a romantic hero who manages to be utterly real, three-dimensional and by no means perfect, but still totes adorable.

Mark Russell – One of my first fictional crushes as a child, from KM Peyton’s wonderful Flambards series. Mark is a snob and a shagger, but he’s gorgeous and a brilliant horseman (see Rupert C-B and Simon Ashby above – I’m spotting a theme here).

Boromir – Flawed but noble, arrogant but courageous, I think Boromir is the most complex character in Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings. He doesn’t get the happy ending bestowed on Aragorn or Faramir, and I love him all the more for it.

Rupert Psmith – Hilarious love triangles (and squares, and hexagons, and even more complex geometric forms) are a feature of PG Wodehouse’s wonderful comic novels, but sexy heroes are a rarity. Enter Psmith (“The P is silent”). Debonair, unflappable, intelligent and immaculately dressed, he gets the girl and some of the best lines.

Luke Costello – When we meet the hero of Marian Keyes’s Rachel’s Holiday, he’s something of a figure of fun, with his metalhead hair and timeshare in a pair of leather trousers. But Rachel soon discovers his intense sexiness, and as the book progresses the reader realises that he’s not only dreamy but utterly decent too.

Mercutio – Romeo, Schmomeo. I mean, come on – if you could choose between the doomed, drippy romantic lead and his witty, dazzling sidekick who has no time for navel-gazing and makes the ultimate sacrifice for friendship, there’s only one way to go. Mercutio is Shakespeare’s hottest hero by a mile.

About Sophie Ranald

sophie-ranald-1Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s.

As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) seemed to write itself.

Sophie also writes for magazines and the web about food, fashion and running. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat.

Find Sophie Ranald on her site and twitter

Buy ‘It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t it?)‘ on


Book review: Redesigning Rose by Lydia Laceby

Image*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

It all started with a lie. Rose’s husband borrowed money to her mother. But her mother didn’t have a clue about it. One lie after another, and Rose had to go out, out of that relationship, out of her marriage. Driving alone in the car, she stopped the car and tears came out. And suddenly, an angel knocked on the window of the car. Well, not a real angel, it was just a woman who lived in the neighborhood and took Rose at her home. Becky soon became her best friend.

Rose had to go on with her life and start all over again. She didn’t have a friend for such a long time. Her relationship with her mother had to be rebuilt on the level as a relationship mother-daughter should be.

And there is Becky’s younger brother who looks so hot.

I absolutely loved Rose’s character. I admired her strength to face the facts and move on. Not everyone can do that. To start all over again is not easy at all. And there is Becky, a weird woman who I would love to be my best friend. You’ll ask why weird? Well, she painted her house in pink, just because her ex-husband hated pink. She has some goofy moments, but she is always there when you need her.

And it wouldn’t be a great chick lit story without a boy in girl’s life. First, there was Frank, the husband, who was such a selfish bastard and wanted all her money for himself. Then there was Scott, Becky’s brother who is gorgeous, but you know the rule, never mess up with your BFF’s brother. And there was Alex, with his icy blue eyes.

Redesigning Rose is a must-read for every romance and chick lit lover.Once I started reading I simply couldn’t stop until I finished it. This lovely and heart-warming story is a fabulous read and definitely one you should check out. A story about life’s ups and downs, a story about friendship and true relationships in your life. Highly recommended!

My rating 5/5


Buy it on and

Find Lydia Laceby on her site, twitter and facebook.

United Authors of Chick Lit Promo

ImageFasten your seatbelts and put your tray tables in the upright and locked position. Over the next few days, some of your favourite Chick Lit characters will be jetting across the Atlantic to visit with fictional friends on the other side of the pond.

The event kicks off on Monday, 21 Oct and here’s a little sneak peek at the fun, frothy books and sassy gals featured in our international promo, all of which are priced at £2.99 or less:

On Tuesday, 22 Oct.: Read about Stella from Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes and Chloe from Lying to Meet You as they travel across the Atlantic to visit each other.

Stella will be on Anna Garner’s blog and Chloe will be on Sue Watson’s blog

On Wednesday, 23 Oct., It’s time to discover what happens when Emma from The Pollyanna Plan and Kim from Blogger Girl meet. Emma will be on Meredith Schorr’s blog and Kim will be on Talli Roland’s blog

On Thursday, 24 Oct: Izzy from Izzy’s Cold Feet and Jamie from Finding Lucas will be taking you on a trip alongside their characters. Izzy will be on Samantha Stroh Bailey’s blog and Jamie will be on Sarah Louise Smith’s blog

And on Friday, 25 Oct. Kate from Sealed with a Kiss and Pilar from In Need of Therapy will be chatting about their overseas experiences. Kate will be on Tracie Banister’s blog and Pilar will be on Rachael Lucas’s blog


 Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh BaileyDaytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the ”one who got away.” But are some loves best left behind? Available on Amazon UK and Kobo

In Need of Therapy by Tracie BanisterHandling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day’s work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself? Available on Amazon UK and B&N

Lying to Meet You by Anna Garner – Overworked New York fashion girl Chloe Lane has no time for a real relationship, but when her childhood pal asks her to play the part of his girlfriend in order to test a theory, she decides to go for it. The lies start piling up and things start getting crazy. Will Chloe be able to keep it together? Available on Amazon UK and B&N

Sealed with a Kiss by Rachael Lucas – Kate breathes a sigh of relief when she’s dumped at her best friend’s wedding. When she takes a job on the island of Auchenmor, she’s determined to have a year off men, but that’s before she rescues Flora the seal pup with the help of Roddy, her mysterious new boss… Available on and Amazon UK 

 The Pollyanna Plan by Talli RolandEmma Beckett has always looked down on ‘the glass is half full’ optimists. But when she loses her high-powered job and fiancé, Emma makes a radical decision: from here on in, she’ll attempt to see the upside, no matter how dire the situation. Can adopting a positive attitude give Emma the courage to build a new life, or is finding the good in everything a very bad idea? Available on and Amazon UK

 Blogger Girl by Meredith SchorrKimberly Long has two passions: her successful chick lit blog and Nicholas, her handsome colleague down the hall. But when her high school nemesis pops onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book and eyes for Nicholas, Kim has to make some quick revisions to her own life story. Available on Amazon UK B&N and Apple iTunes

 Izzy’s Cold Feet by Sarah Louise Smith – Izzy is engaged to Greg, who is everything a girl could want. The trouble is – all she can think about is the men she loved before she met him. In the week leading up to her wedding day, Izzy is forced to ask herself who she loves the most. And, given the choice, who would she want to spend her life with? Available on

Amazon UK B&N and UK Nook

 Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes by Sue Watson – TV Producer Stella is over worked, over weight and under fire battling to balance family, career and those weighing scales. In the past she’s always found comfort at the bottom of her mixing bowl but now the most delicious lemon sponge with zesty frosting has no effect. However, life is about to get even tougher… and Stella has to face some truths about herself, her life and her future. Available on and Amazon UK

Book review: It’s Got to Be Perfect by Haley Hill-Blog Tour+giveaway


When Ellie Rigby hurls her three-carat engagement ring into the gutter, she is certain of only one thing, that she has yet to know true love.

 Following months of disastrous internet dates and conflicting advice from her dysfunctional friends, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Although now, instead of just looking for a man for herself, she’s certain her life’s purpose is to find deep and meaningful love for all the singles in the world.

 Five years on, running the UK’s biggest matchmaking agency, and with thousands of engagements to her name, she has all the answers she needs. She knows why eighty-five percent of relationships fail. She knows why twenty-eight is the most eligible age for a woman. She knows that by thirty-five she’ll have only a thirty-percent chance of marriage.

 Most of all, she knows that no matter what, it has to be perfect. Or does it?

When Ellie Rigby hurls her three-carat engagement ring into the gutter, she is certain of only one thing, that she has yet to know true love.

Following months of disastrous internet dates and conflicting advice from her dysfunctional friends, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Although now, instead of just looking for a man for herself, she’s certain her life’s purpose is to find deep and meaningful love for all the singles in the world.

 Five years on, running the UK’s biggest matchmaking agency, and with thousands of engagements to her name, she has all the answers she needs. She knows why eighty-five percent of relationships fail. She knows why twenty-eight is the most eligible age for a woman. She knows that by thirty-five she’ll have only a thirty-percent chance of marriage.

Most of all, she knows that no matter what, it has to be perfect. Or does it?

Our review

D Day is finally here! We’re kicking off Halley Hill’s Blog Tour for ‘It’s Got To Be Perfect’ and This Chick Reads is so proud to be the first tour host. It’s our very first blog tour so it makes is even more special. Big THANK YOU to fab Sharon from Fiction Addiction Book Tours and Halley Hill for this lovely opportunity to participate.

Holy cow, I never imagined matchmaking could be so hard! I remember, back in the days when I was cool and young (yes, there were times like that:)) people would beg me to pair them with someone because I was such a social bee and the COOL girl (at least people told me that HA!).

But unlike Ellie, the MC in this novel, I never thought of turning it into a business (have to say it’s an awesome idea though). After a disastrous ending of her relationship, Ellie decides she needs a change. A new career, a new man – practically a new life! So why not try matchmaking, after all she could help other people find their soul mates and actually make some money of it, though money is not the primary reason for starting this business. Easy peasy right? You find a descent looking client, make a detailed list of all the things they love/hate doing and pair them with someone who shares sames interest.

Shazam! Not only you’ve made profit, but actually done a good deed! And it couldn’t be hard, I mean, there are so many great people out there looking for the other half.

Well…things are not that easy, and Ellie is soon to find out.

‘I don’t need a hero, just a descent guy. One who doesn’t have nasal hair, a porn addiction or a personality disorder’

I’m gonna be really honest with you, I didn’t like Ellie much at the beginning. I didn’t like the fact she’s dating someone that’s not officially divorced. It’s not just a question of morality guys, but it’s very rare that relationships like this work and most of the time someone gets really hurt. So, as much as I was sorry for what Ellie is going through, I must say she should have been more mature to foresee some things. I really couldn’t understand why she would want to be with Richard when he’s so disrespectful to her. But anyway, as the story continued Ellie kind of grew on me. I saw the fun side of her, she’s out spoken and really believes in love and putts lots of effort into matching her clients with the perfect ONE.

What I enjoyed the most was the humor. Some parts had me laughing really hard and even now, when thinking of them I can’t help but smile. The novel is inspired by the author’s experience in matchmaking, and that made it even more fun to read.

To sum it up, this really is an easy and entertaining read. If you’re looking for a fun read and some great humor – look no further. ‘It’s Got to Be Perfect’ could be just the perfect book for you.

My rating: 3/5


About Haley Hill

 Haley was born in London in 1977, with a big heart, big feet and big ideals. In 2005, she set up what turned out to be the UK’s biggest matchmaking agency. She has since sold it and drunk the proceeds. She lives in Battersea with her husband James, a wine merchant and consequent enabler of her habit, their twin girls and a scruffy hound called Rufus. She spends her days chasing her toddlers around the house, trying to write but mostly just messing about on Twitter.


And now for the part I bet all of you are dying to know:) THE GIVEAWAY! Yay, we have some fab prizes for you. 3 signed paperbacks are up for grabs, so just enter the Rafflecopter and GOOD LUCK:) Ohhh and make sure you visit the other hosts for more great posts. Giveaway open to UK residents only.

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Book review: Coming Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale

Image*Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*

WOW, what a brilliant and warm Christmas story! I first heard about this book on twitter and was really excited to read it. So many of my friends out there were already on a search for some great Christmas stories (yes, in September) and all of them were talking about this debut. After checking the blurb I was certain I was going to enjoy it. After all, I’m a huge sucker for Christmas reads and romance stories. BUT, ‘Coming Home for Christmas’ exceeded my expectations! It’s a beautiful story that will warm your heart and instantly get you in festive mood. Don’t believe me? Read on…

The story is centered around Allie, who just lost her job and moved back with her parents in Virginia where she needs to start from scratch. Her sister Megan tells her she has a client who is offering the perfect job – living in a dream mansion and being the in-house manager of the Ashford house.It’s not really Allie’s dream job but after much convincing from her sister, she finally decides to take it. The Ashford house belongs to the wealthy but pretty much disjointed Marley family. Though beautiful and huge, the house is nothing but a weight to Robert Marley and the main reason why he wants to sell it. For handsome but stubborn Robert, the house is just a reminder of the great tragedy that ruined the lives of the Marleys. After meeting the rest of the Marleys, Allie finds out she has more important things than manage a household. Could it be she has the chance to bring back a family together?

OMG, there are just so so many things I loved about this book.
First, the characters! Guys, let me tell you, I’ve read so many books yet I can’t actually recall reading a book with so many loveable characters. Strange but true! I’m usually pleased when I get to connect with one or two of them, but Jenny Hale did it! She made me care for all of her characters who were brilliantly portrayed. Honestly, I can’t make up my mind who I love more, Allie, Robbert, old and oh so wise Pippa or Kip the flirt? I can’t decide no matter how hard I try, they are all memorable and lovely. Even Robert, the biggest Scrooge in modern history made me fall for him despite his stubbornness and attitude.

But what I loved the most is probably the fact this is not yet another romance story. Coming Home For Christmas is a mesmerizing story about what really matters in life – family. The big tragedy that torn the Marleys apart was definitely the most emotional part and as much as I tried, I couldn’t help but shed few tears. Marleys have their ups and downs and despite being incredibly rich and disjointed at the beginning, you can feel they deeply care about each other. They are not snobbish (though one would expect that) and despite being so rich, they respect their employees, which made me love them even more.

The romance part was gradually built, and that’s just another thing that made this book feel more real. Coming Home For Christmas is definitely a warm and beautiful read. With Christmas coming soon, I think it’s the PERFECT time to read it. Strongly recommended for all HEAs addicts:)

My rating: 4/5


Buy it on and
Find Jenny Hale on her site, twitter and facebook


Book review: Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman

711F3HBVQrL._SL1280_*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Michele Gorman is a well known chick lit author and yet this is the first book by her I’ve read. What’s worse is that few months ago I bought two of her previous works, ‘Single in the City’ and ‘Bella Summer Takes a Chance’ and haven’t read them YET!
No, I’m not lazy or a slow reader. It’s just that lately I never seem to have the time for books I buy to read just for pleasure. I try very hard to keep up with the books I am sent for review, not to mention having a job and being a mommy to two.
But when I saw this beauty on  Notting Hill Press’ site I knew I HAD to request an ARC.

‘The difficult thing about Christmas is that it doesn’t come all at once. It builds up like a festive toxin until the immune system is overwhelmed.’

For many readers, reading a Christmas story in September can be crazy, but not for me. I can read them every day of the year and enjoy them the same. Now that I think of it, I may even say these holiday stories are my favorite, they always seem to get me in a good mood, make me smile and warm my heart. Because Christmas is all about smiles and love, right?

Well, not for Carol, the biggest Scrooge in modern history. She hates everything about Christmas and this year she’s supposed to spend it with her family and 3 ex-boyfriends – UNDER THE SAME ROOF!

You know what, I would never ever want to be in Carol’s shoes, because there would be so many unpleasant situations to avoid. And to be frank, I could never imagine myself to be in her position either.
But anyway, back to Carol. She’s soon to find out why all of her relationships so far have been nothing but a disaster, and what she will discover is not gonna be pretty. But life gives us lessons everyday so we better start paying attention, right?

I absolutely loved the beginning of the story. I simply couldn’t wait to find out how will Carol meet all of these guys from her past. But as I was approaching the end I realized I really couldn’t understand her. She’s indecisive and seems to like all of these guys. I just wanted her to make up her mind once and for all. Is it Robert she wants, Karl or Skate? She seems to feel the butterflies for each of them, and that my friends I couldn’t understand. I loved her sarcasm and sense of humor but it was really really hard for me to connect to her.

However, I loved the writing, all of the descriptions and the setting. I always wanted to visit Scotland and now I just feel like I want to even more.

Despite not connecting with the MC, I love the message this short read reveals by its end. Even the biggest Scrooges do have their miracles on Christmas.

If you’re a fan of chick lit or a sucker for Christmas stories I advise you to check it out. Strongly advised to consume it with hot choc and some Christmas music on. 🙂

My rating: 3/5