Blog Archives

Book review: Having a Ball by Rhoda Baxter – Blog Tour + Giveaway

ImageBlurb

When the going gets tough, the tough throw a party.

Stevie has always relied on her brother to bail her out of trouble. Now she needs to prove to him that she can be independent and mature. When she takes a job organizing a charity ball for some slightly barmy retired academics, she’s not expecting to fall in love with the rambling old house, the even more rambling family that lives there and Tom, the boss’s son. If she can make the ball a success she could show the world, and herself, that she’s her own woman. She doesn’t need anyone else. Nope. Not anyone. Not at all.

Review quotes

“Another thing that stands out with this book is the author’s obvious knack for dialogue. It’s quick, witty, descriptive and certainly packs a punch.” The Romaniacs

“A fun page turner that will pull you in from beginning to end.” 5/5, Iheartsbooks.com

Book buy links:

amazon.co.uk

amazon.com

Kobo

All other formats (including non-DRM PDF) from the publisher’s site

Our review

Twenty-two-years old Stevie has to grow up. She is mature enough now to live on her own and get the job of her dreams. She has always relied on her brother, her only family since their parents died. But now he is married and has a family of his own, so Stevie can’t call him in the middle of the night when she has a nightmare.

Starting the job of her dreams, Stevie has to organize a charity ball. With no money for the organization, she has to use all her skills to do this as good as she can. The lady that organizes the ball is very nice. But, there is a catch. Her son is Tom, a friend of Stevie’s brother from college. The very same guy that she embarrassed in front of when she was thirteen. She got drunk in his room and tried to seduce him.

Now, Stevie has grown up. She is responsible person and very good at her job. She makes good choices. But, Tom is so cute, would she be able to resist him?

At first I didn’t like Stevie much. It is childish (at least for me) to get mad just because you are not your brother’s number one anymore. He has a family on his own now, a family that depends on him and comes first. But, after a while I could actually see Stevie change and grow up as a character. She respects herself and knows how to gain respect from others. She shows that she is not someone’s one-night-stand and knows she deserves more. So, page after page, Stevie did grow on me. She is responsible and a totally cool person with so many creative ideas. She also can handle any situation, and I was impressed with this part of her character.

As for Tom… well he seems to be more reserved. He keeps his feelings all to himself. You can’t see that behind that arrogant look is a man who wants a house, a wife and children. Maybe, Stevie can change that.

So, overall, really enjoyed this book. I had no idea that organizing a ball can be so fun. And Stevie and Tom are such a cute couple. So, if you are looking for a light and fun read (lots of e-mail correspondence and ice cream included), then this is a book for you.

My rating: 3.5/5

Image

About Rhoda Baxter

Rhoda Baxter started off in the South of England and pinged around the world a bit until she ended up in the North of England, where the cakes are better. Along the way she collected one husband, two kids, a bit (ahem) of extra weight and a DPhil in molecular biology. She has a day job working in intellectual property and writes contemporary romantic comedies in whatever spare time she can grab. Her first novel Patently in Lovewas shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon award 2012. Her third novel will be published by Choc Lit in 2014. She can be found wittering on about science, comedy and cake on her website, Facebook and twitter.

GIVEAWAY

Rhoda Baxter is giving away 2 e-copies of Patently in Love and this giveaway is open Internationally! Enter through Rafllecopter form and good luck guys!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Advertisements

Book review: Calling All Services by Tara Ford

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

I just love discovering new chick lit authors and must say I was thrilled when I was contacted by Tara Ford for a review of Calling All Services. I was especially pleased to hear this is part of a series, and we will be able to read the next installment very soon.
But back to Calling All Services. I must say, I was pretty surprised by this book. Baring in mind this is a debut I really had no expectations, all I was hoping for was a fun read (since the cover, title and blurb implicate a fun and easy read). BUT this book and Ms. Ford surprised me, of course pleasantly.

It’s fun and entertaining, and had my attention till the very last page. And what was even more surprising was the plot and turn of events. You see, those that read (and love) chick lit know well what I mean when I say chick lit can be (and is allowed to be) predictable to certain extent. We all want to get our happy endings and few (or more) good laughs and pretty much ‘feel’ how things will turn up at the end. This is not bad, I repeat NOT BAD AT ALL. There’s something really comforting in knowing the characters you love to read about will be/stay together forever and ever and all is gonna be great for them.
When it comes to Calling All Services I really had no idea what will happen next, and there are just so many things happening.
We are introduced to Alex Frey, a successful businesswoman, a mother and a wife who’s got a lot on her plate. One day she’s hospitalized with a mysterious illness and weird symptoms NO ONE knows how to interpret. After reading the first chapter I thought this was gonna be a sad (even a depressing) book, and really, I’m not much of a fan of those.

But I was wrong! This is not a sad or depressing book, far from that, it’s really fun and funny actually. The focus is not Alex’s illness but how her family manages to take care of themselves and the house while Alex is away. The story is told from different perspectives and usually I have difficulties with it, but in this case it worked. We get to see what each of the characters thinks (and feels) about the situation they’re in and we really get to know them. I have to say, I especially had fun reading those parts told from Grant’s POV. Grant is Alex’s husband and really an ordinary funny guy who finds himself in few very weird situations. He needs to take care of the kids, the house..and of course, ‘report’ to his annoying mother in-law which doesn’t really like him. However, he disappointed me with few actions by the end of the book, but I really hate spoiling it for you and telling you why. Despite this, he remained my favorite character, he’s sloppy, silly at times, and sometimes ends ups doing the wrong thing but has a good heart.

But there were few things really bothering me, especially Alex’s illness. I don’t know how to actually explain it without putting any spoilers, but I’ll just say that Ms. Ford could’ve given a better explanation about the symptoms and the illness itself. Some questions still remain hanging and I really would’ve enjoyed it more if I knew all the WHYs. Even if the focus is not Alex, but the Fray family as a whole, I really think readers would love to have those answers to enjoy and understand the story, especially the ending.

Ok, wrapping up now. It’s really an eventful week in the lives of Fray’s and seems like EVERYTHING can go wrong. They will need the help of all services – but you will need to read this book to find out why;)

Calling All Services is funny and entertaining and full of action and drama (but in a good way). If you’re a fan of chick lit or humorous books, I think you should check it out. I’ll definitely be checking out the next part, which I heard is gonna be called ‘Calling All Dentists’.

My rating: 3.5/5

ImageBuy it on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com
Find Tara Ford on her site and twitter

Book review: The Great Panty Caper by Tawna Fenske

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

JJ and Lori are two sisters who travel to Seattle. Lori is a fashion designer who’s supposed to attend the Pacific Northwest Fashion Trade Show. She designes handbags and now has a brand new product: a discreet pouch containing all things a woman needs during an unexpected romantic date. A handbag that contains lip gloss, a fresh pair of panties, a packet of make-up remover, a mini toothbrush with paste, ibuprofen, a pouch for cab fare and a breath mint. And there is the third companion, The Blue Cat, JJ’s pet, who constantly sleeps on Lori’s clothes spread all over the room.

When Lorie and JJ come back to the hotel room, Lori realises that her brand new design is missing. The panties are missing, but who on earth would steal underwear?

After constant arguing about Blue Cat sleeping on Lori’s clothes, JJ has previously decides to set up a video camera on her laptop to monitor the room. Seems it wasn’t a bad move after all, because the camera definitely captured something.

Is it Blue Cat?

Or is it someone else?

Who and why would steal panties, for god’s sake?

Ok, I haven’t read a book like this since I was a child. It’s a light-hearted read perfect to read after a long and draining day at the office. Or after a long day doing housework and running after the kids.

I loved both JJ and Lori, and definitely Blue Cat. They are all great and so easy to love. Their constant fights over trivial things were just too funny, but what I loved the most is the fact they stick to each other no matter what. They are great friends and the dialogues they had made me laugh so hard.

Overall, this is quite an entertaining read. It’s funny and easy to read, and I’m certain those who like chick lit and cozy mysteries will enjoy it.

My rating: 3.5/5

ImageBuy it on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Tawna Fenske on her blog and twitter

Book review: Starstruck in Seattle by Juliet Madison

Image*ARC Provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

This is not the first novella by Juliet Madison that I have read. Few weeks ago I read and reviewed ‘I Dream of Johnny‘ (Read my review here) and as you can see I really really enjoyed it. Naturally, I was thrilled to get an arc of ‘Starstruck in Seattle’ from NetGalley and I won’t lie – I had high expectations.

I’m not the biggest fan of novellas, because either
1. I strongly dislike it cause I feel the author didn’t have enough space/time to express him/herself in so little pages, or
2. I do like it so much and wish there were more pages to it, but since it’s a short read I end up frustrated saying good bye to the characters.

But Juliet Madison is a great author, and she sure CAN write interesting short reads. Even in this one, there was a lot of meat to the story (despite being really short). Don’t get me wrong, I did like it (hence the 3.5* rating), however I didn’t love it as much as I loved ‘I dream of Johnny’

The plot is centered around Anna Hilford, an aspiring actress who’s waiting for her big break on the TV screens. She’s talented and good at her job, but there’s always something lacking, right? Well, she’s had enough of being single, so she seeks the help of Lulu, a Love Guru who’s supposed to tell her who her soul mate is and when she will meet him.

About Anna..hmmmm…
Let’s get something straight, Anna is a loveable character however she’s not that memorable. As much as I love Juliet Madison’s writing style, I think she definitely could have created a stronger or more memorable leading character.

However, the romance part was great and I love how things turned up in the end. Speaking about the ending, I swear to God I had no idea things will go that way. (Sorry, not gonna spoil it for you, you’ll have to read for yourself to find out). But I’m just gonna say, if you love HEAs I think you will definitely be pleased and I’m 100% sure you will enjoy it.

Sometimes you wish for that other half so much, and yet it seems like you will never find it. And sometimes life has unexpected turn of events and a different plan for you. But magic happens only to those who believe, so tell me now…Do you believe in Magic?

This sure is a sweet and enjoyable read, and a short one too. So I really don’t see a reason for not checking it out. Especially if you’re a fan of romance and HEAs.

My rating: 3.5/5

Image

Book review: Three Way by Daniel Grant

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

When I got this book for review I was so trilled. After ‘Sex Lessons’ (author’s debut novel), I couldn’t wait for the second book to be out.

So, here is the plot: Ollie Hayward shares apartment with his best friend from childhood, Parker. Also just broke up with the love of his life-Svetla.  After couple of months suffering for his lost love he meets Lauren. At the same time, an old friend of his, Ashley, moves into the apartment.  So, there are three women in his life and he feels torn between them.

I liked Ollie a lot. He is so clumsy and has such a good soul.  There are always some silly situations that can happen only to him. I don’t want to reveal the interesting stuff, but, who falls asleep on the nearest hobo? Don’t answer that.  Also, he works as a news producer and makes interviews with important people. But only Ollie can make that mistake to spread in the air the moment when the Prime Minister says “shit”.

I also liked his flatmate Parker. He is a writer-to-be with very unique ideas in his mind. I was thrilled that his bestselling book is going to be translated in Macedonian. His character reminded me of Spike from Notting Hill movie. Do you remember Spike, William’s flatmate?

The women in the book weren’t that interesting. Svetla was cheating Ollie, left him, then wanted to come back to him. The relationship with Lauren was always on-off, and Ashley was his BFF since childhood. But there was nothing interesting about any of them.

I liked the book, it had some really great moments, but unfortunately it didn’t make me laugh so hard as ‘Sex Lessons’ did. I mean, the book is funny and entertaining, but less funny than the previous one.  Overall, I did enjoy reading it.  Will Ollie choose the right path in his love life? Well, you’ll have to read the book.

My rating: 3.5/5

Image

Book review: Desperately Seeking Heaven by Jill Steeples

Image

*ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I actually thought of reviewing this book on Friday 13th, but that would’ve been weird in a way. WHY?
Well, the story in this book starts on the very Friday 13th, when Alice Fletcher finds herself in quite a strange situation. While driving, she sees a wrecked car by the road, and an absolutely gorgeous stranger next to it. Could it be she escaped a car accident just in few seconds? Why is this gorgeous man not calling the police? And why does he seem so familiar to her?
Very soon after exchanging few lines with him, she discovers what exactly happened to him and where she has seen this handsome guy before.
Jimmy Mack is a celebrity, a famous TV presenter admired by everyone in the UK. Alice still can’t believe how on earth it is possible that their paths can cross, especially in this strange situation.
But soon she finds out that Jimmy passed away in the accident and she’s actually talking to (and seeing..eekkk) a ghost.

So, what’s Alice’s role in all of this? She’s the one that’s supposed to help him cross over.

This really was an interesting read.Despite the paranormal aspects present, I wouldn’t classify it as paranormal or paranormal romance. The plot was somewhat original, at least from my POV, but it really reminded me of Sophie Kinsella’s ‘Twenties Girl’, because of the ghost part of course.
For the most part, I really enjoyed the book. It’s an easy read and there were some very cute romance scenes. However, I had some issues with it.

But, I’m gonna start with the things I liked. The characters – I liked Alice (liked – not loved), though at times I really couldn’t figure her out. Her reactions sometimes were just so unbelievable and I was constantly asking myself – would any person on earth react like this??
But Jimmy – ahhh, Jimmy is AH-MAZING. I don’t usually drool over book characters, but Jimmy won my heart. I even tweeted to Ms. Steeples saying if there were more men like him in real life, the world would be a better place. You see, Jimmy might seem even too good to be true, but who cares, I loved him nevertheless. He’s sweet, gentle, a true gentleman who respects women.

There’s a twist by the end of the book, that took me completely by surprise, and I’m not gonna lie – I expected a different ending. I’m not saying that the ending is bad, it’s just I definitely didn’t expect that turn of events.

There were some lines in the book, that almost brought tears in my eyes, they were that emotional. But it’s not a sad book, don’t worry.

And now for the dislikes: The pacing is way too slow for my taste. I wish there was more going on in the book, or maybe if there were more twists or characters introduced..I don’t know, but at times the book seemed too slow.

The paranormal aspect – as much as I enjoyed it, I didn’t buy some of the stuff. Like, Alice is the only one who can see Jimmy, ok I get that. But then, she’s talking to him and even dancing with him, and no one around her finds that strange? I really don’t buy this!

Listen, it could be some error of which Ms. Steeples was not aware of before publishing, or maybe I misunderstood some parts, but I think that these scenes needed to be ‘polished’ a bit, because some (if not all) readers will find them hard to believe. The romance seemed also very strange, very unrealistic. Yes, I know falling in love with a ghost IS unrealistic, but still, I didn’t get those love vibes from Alice. I didn’t ‘feel’ she’s madly in love with Jimmy, though she says so.

Overall and despite the remarks I just mentioned, this was a cute and easy read. If you’re a fan of chick lit I definitely advise you to check it out. I would love to hear your thoughts on it, so do comment.

My rating: 3.5/5

Image

Book review: Click by Lisa Becker

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

Now, this was a FUN read! I had a strong feeling I will like it ever since I read the blurb. And I’m glad I was right. But I must admit, I was a bit worried if I will like it because of its format. The ENTIRE book is written in the form of e-mails. So far, I’ve just read one book in this format, and to be frank, I hated it!

And for a while, I actually thought I hated that particular book because of the format. But oh no, after reading “Click” i found out that I actually have no problem if the entire book is written in the form of e-mail correspondence. Lisa Becker pulled this off, and created a fun, entertaining story with hilarious characters.

*Applauds to author*

The story is centered around Renee and her search for Mr. Right on the internet. It was Mark, one of her best friends, who told her she should give this online dating a go and provided her all the best online dating sites (Mark is such an OCD as you see).
But who said online dating is easier than real dating (and less humiliating if it doesn’t work out) is one big fat lair. OMG, the guys..the guys!!! Some of them were just hilarious.
I must admit I was not a huge fan of Renee, I mean I did root for her in her search for the ONE, but as much as her friends said she’s awesome and a-girl-every-guy-would-die-for (SUPERMODEL RENEE!!!) I couldn’t really picture her like that. She seemed not too confident, so she needed a constant reminder from her friends about how great she is, and let me tell you, after few pages (e-mails) this started to annoy me a bit.

But, Shelley..oh Shelley is a maneater! But she’s hilarious, reminded me a LOT of Samantha from “Sex and the City” series, and if you ask me, Samantha was the star..not Carrie. I know, I know, she seems slutty, but she was so funny, so out spoken, so…wild!!!

Now that I think of this series and make comparisons to this book, I realize I would enjoy this book more if the story was centered around Shelley…she and her Cuddlers, Toddlers, even while writing this review I can’t help but smile.

Mark was great, but we don’t get to see him that much in this book (maybe there will be more about him in the sequel), and Ashley was…meh…I really didn’t care about her. She is too judgmental and weak.

Overall, this was a fun book! It’s such a quick read, you will read it in just couple of hours. If you’re looking for a light hearted, beach read, that will make you laugh out loud, no need to look any further.

I’m most definitely looking forward to the sequel, Double Click and am so glad I discovered another awesome chick lit author.

Review originally posted on Goodreads

My rating: 3.5/5

Image