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Book review: Scared Scriptless by Alison Sweeney

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

Alison Sweeney is probably most famous for hosting ‘The Biggest Loser’, a show even I have watched in my kingdom of far, far away. I was very excited to read this book since I really LOVE reading books by celebrities. However, that can always be tricky, since sometimes these celebrities would have been better off if they didn’t write those books and stick to their original call.

But not Alison, not Alison. She’s obviously not only great on TV, but really knows how to write. And she obviously knows well the whole back-stage thing of TV shows we are not familiar with. That being said, I did find this book not only fun but educational too. I realized I know zilch when it comes to production, so though some of the parts in this book seemed a bit overwhelming, overall I’m happy with the outcome.

The story follows Maddy, who is a script supervisor and such a workaholic. Sometimes, I would even get tired just by reading her agenda, that girl is just always sooo busy. Anyway, she’s super efficient, loves her work and has a great fresh idea for starting a new show which involves her home town. Of course, there’s some romance too and very hot celebrities involved, which were of course the parts I enjoyed the most.

Maddy is such a lovable character and one to get under your skin. She has a great family and I love their relationship. Nothing better than reading about a normal family, right? However, as much as the plot was interesting and as much as I enjoyed (to a certain extent) the many details of how to run a show, honestly…it felt a bit too much. But that could be just me. Me – the person who’s not that much into TV anyway. But I’m glad I finally read something by Alison and I’m definitely gonna be reading her other novel ‘The Star Attraction’. Very soon as a mater of fact.:)

My rating: 3/5

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Blog Tour: In the Mirror by Kaira Rouda Review + Giveaway

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

In the Mirror is the first book by Kaira Rouda that I have read. Not being familiar with her writing style, I didn’t have any expectations for this book. The blurb sounded great, and though I’m not the biggest fan of sad stories or stories about sicknesses I decided to give this book a go.

However, whatever it was I was expecting from the blurb, I got something else. The story itself was rather complex, at times even too complex for me to digest. Jennifer Benson is the main character and is facing a deadly illness while being only 34 years old. Knowing she might leave this world too early she decides to celebrate her life by hosting a party. Now, despite the fact that I love her attitude and the fact she’s fighting the illness and mocking it in its face, I have to admit this attitude seems a bit strange to me. It’s either that, or the fact I didn’t feel Jennifer as strong as the author tries to portray her. She’s also very indecisive and I must admit the love triangle left me disappointed.

It would be awkward to say this is an enjoyable book, because it’s serious and deals with a tough subject. However, it’s definitely thought provoking and one that will take you by surprise. I couldn’t relate to the main MC as much as a tried too, but I can totally see many readers connecting to Jennifer. Either way, even if you don’t really connect to Jennifer, you will be able to at least get a glimpse of her life, and all the horror she’s going through. You’ll root for her (or against the illness) and you’ll start thinking about your own life. I’m quite sure of this! I would read couple of pages, than pause and try to see all the good stuff happening around me, remind myself of everything I’m blessed with. 

In the Mirror is certainly a complex story and not your every day read. At least, it wasn’t for me. I stepped off my comfort zone with this book, but at the end, I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I picked it up and would definitely read Ms. Rouda’s other books.

My rating: 3/5

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 About the author

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Kaira Rouda is an award-winning entrepreneur and author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her books include: Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women EntrepreneursHere, Home, HopeAll the Difference; and the short story, A Mother’s Day.  She lives in Southern California with her husband and four children and is at work on her next novel.

Connect with her on Twitter, @KairaRouda, and on Facebook at Kaira Rouda Books. And of course, on Pinterest! For more about Kaira and her books, please visit her website KairaRouda.com.

GIVEAWAY

The US/Canada giveaway on tour is : a cozy throw,  a scented candle and a coffee or tea mug.

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The International giveaway on tour is: A signed copy of all of the authors novels, including In the Mirror.

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Blog Tour: Sinfully Summer by Aimee Duffy Review + Giveaway

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Here to put a little sizzling sunshine in your life is the Sinfully Summer Tour!

The smash-hit contemporary romance novel by Aimée Duffy has just been released in paperback so take a look at the details to find out why fans are loving it! There will be reviews and guest posts along the way, plus the chance to win a personalised signed copy of the book.

Unknown-415Sinfully Summer – Aimée Duffy

What they say:

A Summer Bonkbuster perfect for fans of Jackie Collins, Tilly Bagshawe, Jilly Cooper and Victoria Fox!

SUN, SEA AND SEX

FLINGS & FLIRTATIONS

Notorious heiress Alexa Green has certainly been enjoying her most recent girls-holiday in Marbella. Just as we thought, she’s been knocking back the cocktails and showing off her fabulous bikini body on the beach…

SECRETS & SCANDALS

But rumour has it she’s also been spotted sneaking out of Enrique Castillo’s penthouse in the early hours of this morning – in nothing but her underwear! Our question is, doesn’t this fiercely private billionaire know what he’s letting himself in for?
He’s got the millions… and she knows how to spend them! So lie back on your sun lounger and get comfortable, because this summer fling is going to be a sizzler!

 

Our review

 

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

I really should have read this book by the beach! Look at that summery cover and all those vibrant colors! Sinfully Summer is one of those books that should come with a cocktail and lots of sun. Unfortunately the weather out here is crazy and been raining and grey mostly, however Aimee managed to transport me to sunny Marbella and its beautiful beaches.

This is a rather short, but very much sweet read. It’s one of those you’ll finish in one sitting, cover to cover, maybe even on your lunch breaks. It follows the story of Alexa, a bit of a spoilt, wild party-girl who’s on a vacation with her girls. Under very strange and embarrassing conditions, she meets Ric the hotel owner, an up tight businessman who asks (or shall I say forces) her to help him out organize a charity ball.

The writing is easy to follow and I really liked the immediate chemistry between Alexa and Ric, however there were few things that bothered me. As much as I tried to, I couldn’t relate to Alexa and despite the fact she’s trying to act mature I still thought she’s very spoilt. I also didn’t like the way Ric is blackmailing her to help him out.

However, Sinfully Summer is definitely a nice beach read, perfect to get your mind off serious matters and every day problems. I wish it was a bit longer though, because maybe I’d got to see more of Alexa’s character and like her more. I loved the setting and think I should definitely re-read it for my summer holidays.

If you’re looking for an easy, romance read and a short getaway from all your daily troubles, look no further. I’m sure you’d love to visit Marbella, just make sure you don’t forget getting a nice cold drink.

My rating: 3/5

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Click Here To Buy The Paperback

Want the book instantly? CLICK HERE to download the eBook via Amazon UK or CLICK HERE to download the eBook via Amazon US.

images-257Author Bio:

Aimée writes steamy, contemporary romance for the 21st century woman who enjoys the 21st century alpha male. She’s addicted to reading, shopping and can’t go a day without music. When she’s not writing you can find her traipsing up the Ochils (weather permitting of course) or procrastinating on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Aimée
Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest / Google +

 

***GIVEAWAY***

Enter the giveaway and you could land yourself a personalised signed copy of Sinfully Summer, the book readers have dubbed “Sexy”, “Fun” and a “Must Read!”

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CandleLit Author Services and Aimée Duffy reserve the right to amend the giveaway details at any time and without prior notice. No responsibility is taken in the event of prize non-delivery.

 

Book review: Four-Leaf Clover by Charmaine Ross

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

Charmaine Ross is a new author to me, and I always get way too excited over an opportunity to check new writers and their work. So, when Chairmaine posted the NG link to her book in a thread in one of the GR groups I’m in, I immediately downloaded it. 

Clover Loveday is the owner of Four-Leaf Clover Café and is doing her best to make that place big and comfortable for the customers. She’s however soon to meet her biggest (but darn sexy) competition, Liam. So, though Clover really dislikes Liam at the beginning, things for her start moving into an unexpected direction.

Now this was a really short, sweet and predictable story. I am not one of those who gives a lower rating in case I find the story predictable, because most of the times it’s not the originality of the story that fascinates me, but the way it was told. I’m also one of those who likes to either LOVE or strongly hate the characters, I need to feel something for them even if it’s negative. It means they got me intrigued enough. Baring this in mind and seeing my rating, you’d say that while I did like this book generally, I did have some issues with it. Well, that’s totally true!

The format of the copy I got from NG was seriously annoying me, but that’s not the problem with the author or the story. So at the same time, it’s not the reason for the 3*. However, while the writing is good and I liked the story, I can’t say that it’s one of those that are memorable. It’s either that, or I read way too many books, so I just couldn’t say I found something which will make this book stand out from others and make me remember it even months from now. 
Also, as much as I like sweet reads, it was a bit too sweet at times. I know romance is supposed to make us all happy and stuff like that, but sometimes I just feel like reading a romance which feels more real and believable. Sometimes I don’t, but that totally depends on the mood I’m in. 

But I’m sure of one thing, it’s definitely an easy and sweet romance with a HEA, I’m sure many would enjoy.

My rating: 3/5

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Book review: How to Get a (Love) Life by Rosie Blake

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

I started reading this book with high expectations, whenever I would log in to twitter I’d see at least 50 tweets from people reading it/wanting to read it. I must admit, I was DYING to check it out and see what the hype is all about. I LOVE Novelicious (Rosie Blake’s publishers), LOVE Rosie’s tweets (which are hilarious!) and LOVE the cover of this book! It’s simple yet grabs your attention!
So, as you see, this book had a lot to prove to me. I remember the day I got my copy, my hands were literally shaking from all the excitement. I FINALLY HAD THIS BABY IN MY HANDS!

So now that I’ve read it I have to admit I’m slightly disappointed. NO, the book is not bad or anything, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

The story follows Nicola Brown on her quest to find Mr Right. Now we all know this is not an easy journey for any of us, and we’ve all experienced our share of horrid (sometimes humiliating too) dates, but Nicola here is really trying to do the impossible. It was actually her friend and colleague Caroline who dares her to find a boyfriend till Valentine’s day. Nicola didn’t even think she had such a depressing love life, she actually was not even bothering with having one, but the more Caroline talked about Nicole’s not so adventurous side, the more she realized she needed to do this. So she accepts Caroline’s challenge, and though there’s only 3 months before Valentine’s day, she does her best in finding her soul mate. Some of the dates were hilarious, I did laugh out loud while reading these parts. And Nicola is really something. Very down-to-earth type of gal, OCD owner, I liked her from the very start! It was very easy to relate to her and root for her.

What I did enjoy the most was her relationship with her brother Mark, who shows up at her place WHENEVER he wants. He’s a hilarious character and each time there wads a scene with him, I was literally flipping through the pages waiting to see WHAT THE HELL he’s come up with this time. Having a brother myself (and older one too) I really loved the closeness they had, Mark trying to fix her up with his mates and stuff like that.

But unfortunately, there were some things which did bother me, hence the 3* rating. First off, I expected few more laughs, and some parts were just too difficult to understand not knowing when they are happening exactly. I had no idea how much time she has left for her quest…I don’t know, I seemed a bit lost in the plot, having no time frame of the events happening in each chapter.

The writing was interesting, yet some parts felt dragging and irrelevant to the story. However, 3* rating for a debut is NOT that bad in my book actually. I just wish I got to see more of that charm and humor Rosie as a person possesses.

My rating: 3/5

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Book review: Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge

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

I am not a huge fan of reality TV shows, in fact I don’t watch TV that much except for kids shows which I kind of have to since I have two little ones at home.

Also, I’ve never seen Downton Abbey and this book was compared with that series. But as I’ve heard from many people who’ve also read this book, there isn’t any big connection with Downton Abbey except that both of them are set in mansions.

Originally, I was planning this book as part of the Christmas Feature on my blog, but once I started reading it, i realized it’s not a Christmassy read, despite the cover (which is gorgeous) which does have a winter-christmassy feel to it.

But still, it is an interesting read. Abbey and Gemma are best friends and flatmates. Abbey is all posh, descending from a long line of aristocrats while Gemma is a waitress with not as classy manners. One day Abbey asks Gemma to step in and cover for her on a reality show, pretending to be Abbey. Now, you say what show? Well, Abbey is supposed to take part in the TV reality show Million Dollar Mansion which is supposed to help out her family, the Croxleys, raise enough money to invest in their mansion (which is kind of falling apart). But Abbey won’t be able to make it since she’ll be away with her boyfriend helping kids in need abroad, and needs Gemma to cover her since they do resemble each other. Of course, she’ll need to dye her hair and learn how to talk all posh, but still chances are big they can actually pull this off. But no one is supposed to know about this, not even Edward, Abbey’s cousin she hasn’t seen in ages.

After hesitating for a while, Gemma accepts to step in for her friend, NOT aware of all the drama that will happen in the Croxley’s mansion. Can she pull this off and will there be any consequences if they found out?

Now hold on a sec, as an idea, I really like this whole Million Dollar Mansion TV reality. I did find it a bit silly at the beginning, but I admit it’s original. I’ve never read a book before with a TV reality in which aristocrats compete against each other, though I’ve read quite a few about TV reality shows set on different locations. So this part of the story, I really liked.

Even the idea of switching characters, Gemma pretending to be Abbey, I really enjoyed. It was funny to read about Gemma and her transformation into a noble, classy woman. I laughed out loud on few places, some things Gemma (now Abbey) was saying were just hilarious! But still, Gemma (Abbey) really didn’t grew on me as a character despite the fact I really wanted that. At times I even found her a bit annoying, but I guess that was the author’s intention. To create two very very different characters and show this transformation into a Lady. That was indeed the funniest thing about this book, so it really worked well for me. If Gemma was portrayed differently, I guess we wouldn’t be able to see that transformation so clearly.

But still, I had some issues with it. Despite being really funny and fun, it did take me longer to finish it. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, but found the second one not that amusing. And Edward’s blog…it was interesting, yet not very convincing since I really think a Lord wouldn’t be blogging about his competition. Well, at least not Edward, the way he was portrayed. It just didn’t feel right to me, but even if things like that could happen, his blog posts very really not that much fun. Totally unnecessary addition to the book if you ask me.

Overall, I did enjoy it to certain extent and would most definitely be checking out Samantha Tonge’s future books. I do have a feeling they’d get better, since this is a debut.

My rating: 3/5

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Book review: Double Click by Lisa Becker

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

‘Double Click’ is the sequel to ‘Click’ which I read last year (read my review here) and ever since I’ve been dying to get my hands on the second book. Naturally, I was over the moon when the author kindly has offered me to read it in exchange for an honest review.

I simply couldn’t wait to start reading and see what life turn out to be for Renee, Shelley, Ashley and Mark. They are such a jolly bunch and their e-mails…boy oh boy are they funny and interesting.
Speaking of e-mails, just like the first installment, ‘Double Click’ is also written in the form of e-mail correspondence. Now this format might not work for everyone, but worked absolutely brilliant for me. Since I was already familiar with the characters I didn’t have any problem whatsoever to follow their chats. So, if you love fun chick lit you’ll devour in just couple of hours and you want to check out this series, maybe it’s wiser to start with the first part, because the plot is strongly connected to the first novel (not just the same characters).

‘Click’ is still fresh in my memory, though I’ve not read it that recently. But I really liked the story and the characters left a strong impression on me, so I didn’t need to go back to the first part to re-read it in order to continue with this one. Renee is same Renee, romantic, nice, kind. She’s very much happy and in love with her boyfriend. Ashley is on her way to become a mommy and Shelley (my favorite character) is going through a radical change. Why radical? Well if you’ve read the first part you’ll know what I’m talking about.

This is an easy and light read about friendship and love. It’s actually more about friendship, the every day things friends talk about, the history of these characters which is to say the least, very interesting since they’ve been friends for quite some time.

However, though I really enjoyed it I admit I enjoyed the first part a bit more. I mean, I love the transformation Shelley is going through (though I’d still love to consider her as a WILD THING) and I loved the fact each of these characters has grown and became more mature, but somehow I found it less funny and amusing (when compared to ‘Click’). And as happy as I am that good old Mark found a girl he’s crazy about, I really disliked her and think she’s totally unnecessary addition to the book. It seemed to me she didn’t contribute to the plot in ANY way whatsoever. But, I’m definitely not sorry for reading it because it felt really nice being with the gang once again. And I’m beyond happy to hear there will be a third part coming this year, however I still don’t know the exact date.

If you’re a fan of light hearted reads or the TV show Friends (and I know many of you are) then I certainly recommend this book to you.

My rating: 3/5

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Book review: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

ImageSo I’ve finally read it. And I’m glad that from now on, when my friends from real life or virtual friends talk about this book, I can actually participate in the discussion. BUT I have to admit, either my expectations were really high or I wasn’t in the right mood for this book. OR (now don’t hate me for saying this) but this book is actually not as brilliant as most reviews/comments say. It could be any of this, or neither..either way, I’m glad I gave this book a fair chance and finally got it off my TBR list. Most of you with long TBR lists know the relief I’m felling for crossing this book off the list.

So I’m actually kind of surprised I’m in the minority with those who rated this book with *cough* JUST 3 stars. I know, 3 stars is not a bad rating, but I do feel a bit bad for seems all of my friends have loved it and gave it a higher rating. For me, honestly, this is an average book. I mean sure, the premise sounded really good and though I didn’t find the blurb interesting enough to make me read this book, I kept seeing it on my friends shelves and kept hearing about it…so yeah, I HAD TO check it out.

As I said, the beginning was fantastic! I mean, I was flipping through the pages late at night and kept thinking – this book definitely has the WOW factor! It seemed complex with 3 stories intertwining though these 3 characters had nothing in common (or so it appeared at the beginning). It did feel kind of weird (but in a good way) and I was dying to find the connection between them.

Cecelia seemed like one of those perfect little wives from ‘Desperate Housewives’, she’s super active in her community, she’s successful, she’s a good mother and wife everyone admires. She’s happily married and has lovely kids. ALL until that day she finds that letter her husband wrote years ago and that was hidden in the attic.

Tess is going through a rough period, and finds out she was betrayed by two of her dearest people. She decides it’s time to turn the page and make a point. For it seems she was living in someone’s shadow for quite some time.

And finally Rachel. Rachel was my favorite character I must admit, though she’s not perfect (and was not even trying to be perfect) I could connect with her despite the fact I’ve never been through her pain (Thank god!).

So, we have these 3 women and one letter, 3 stories, 3 histories, lots of sorrow, grief and guilt! But as for the connection, you’ll have to read the book to find out more about it. When said like this, perhaps it does sounds like Liane picked 3 random characters and tried to forcefully put them into one story, but believe me they are strongly connected. And it’s that connection that’s the core of the story.

But, being familiar with Liane’s writing style, I did have higher expectations for this book, not just because of the buzz around it. Those that have read What Alice Forgot know what I’m talking about. I loved that book, I was totally invested in the story and it had my interest till the very last page. With The Husband’s Secret…not so much (said mildly).

However it’s a 3 star rating so it still means I did like it to certain extent. It’s an interesting story and kept me guessing, there were few twists I didn’t see coming and though I didn’t really care for most of the characters, I loved Rachel. I really really cared about her.

I was surprised with the fact the author tried to include a bit (tiny bit) of humor in the book (though it’s quite a serious one) and in some parts that humor fitted well. Other times it felt a bit weird (again said mildly).

But it’s definitely a thought-provoking book. One that will constantly make you wonder WHAT IF? When I started reading it, I had a feeling it’s gonna be a book about infidelities and every day drama that could happen to everyone. But it’s more than that, and it sure is deeper than that.

So wrapping up, I can’t say I recommend it highly, but it was an interesting read. Sure, I disliked some parts hence the rating, but overall it was a decent read. It had mystery, drama, romance, everything I love generally. I will definitely be reading Liane’s future books, no doubt about it!

My rating: 3/5

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All I Want For Christmas: Day 22 – Book review: Christmas at Thornton Hall by Lynn Marie Hulsman

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

Reviewing this book will not be easy. To be quite frank I really have no idea even where to start. I feel slightly disappointed because the start was very very promising.

Juliet Hill is a chef, a mighty good one actually. She’s been offered a fab last minute offer to work at Thornton Hall, but she thinks she needs to decline because she’s planning on spending Christmas with her wonderful boyfriend. The only thing is, her boyfriend is not wonderful, actually he’s a cheating son a bitch. Looks like she won’t be spending Christmas (or rest of the life) with him after all, so nothing is stopping her to accept the generous offer (big bonus included) from her agency and Jasper Roth and go to Thornton Hall to assist their permanent chef, Edward. But it’s not the first time she’s meeting that family and their staff, and she’s feeling lots of drama will happen. And she’s damn right.

Now I come to the part when I need to explain all the pro’s and con’s, and it’s not gonna be easy. Well, for a start, I really tried to understand the MC, but Juliet seems too indecisive for me. I loved her at the beginning, honestly she’s the classic chick lit character, with a fucked up life but willing to start again. I absolutely loved the first 15-20% of the book, and if I could rate solemnly on reading those pages, I’d say this book deserves 10 stars! I laughed, I found Juliet fun and funny, especially her reactions when she finds out her boyfriend is cheating. BUT then she goes to Thornton Hill and all of a sudden I felt like she stopped being so fun. Maybe the fact I was introduced to soooo many new characters at such a short time didn’t help either. I know the idea of the author was to show each of the staff working in Thornton Hall, but really guys, it all just seemed a bit too overwhelming for me. I admit, I had difficulties remembering their names, their characteristics, positions in the household etc. I’m pretty sure I would enjoy it more if I was given more time to get to know them, meaning if they were introduced in the book step by step, or if it weren’t so many of them. Or maybe the problem was the pacing. I do love fast paced books, but I think things were moving too fast for me to actually feel all these personalities (and there are so many of them).

Another thing which honestly is a big no-no for me in every book, are the triangles, and here we have couple of them. It all seemed too much for me and I think just burdened the story. They were unnecessary and just made the MC seem like a very lost character.

BUT on a lighter note, it’s a debut and I’m sure Lynn Marie’s other books will be better. Her writing style is fresh and she did intrigue me enough with this book (twists I didn’t expect), which is good obviously. I did laugh on few places and there were some very fun and interesting situations the MC gets into. If you’re a sucker for fun, festive read you should definitely give it a try. As for Lynn Marie’s future books, I will definitely be on a watch our for them. I have a feeling she’s putting all her heart in writing, and that’s certainly a thing I really appreciate the most.

My rating: 3/5

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Buy ‘Christmas at Thornton Hall’ on amazon.co.uk

Find Lynn Marie Hulsman on her site and twitter

All I Want For Christmas: Day 12 – Book review: Weight Till Christmas by Ruth Saberton

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

I’ve always been a sucker for books with plus sized heroines. It could be because I myself have always struggled with my weight, so it’s always really easy for me to connect with these characters.
Ellie is a saleswoman and she’s very good at her job. However, she’s not been recognized for her hard work..sadly, she thinks the reason for that is because she’s not good looking. She’s had a rather difficult year, break ups, funerals and now someone else is getting the credit (and a big promotion) for all her hard work.And there’s Sam, her fabulous colleague who’s so much fun and becomes her dieting buddy. Will Ellie’s life become better and easier if she looses those extra pounds?

It’s quite a short read so I’m really afraid I’ll spoil it for you if I say something more about the plot. However, the topic might seem fluffy but it’s rather serious. It speaks about how people can get obsessive about their looks and how the society reacts to those that are not ‘perfect’. It’s so silly to think one can be perfect, and yet here we are, most of us never pleased with the way we look, striving to be thinner, look younger…it’s a never ending cycle and oh so tiring.

I admit, there were times I wanted to give Ellie a good shake, make her realize she’s trying too damn hard. Her lack of self esteem got me damn annoyed, but I still could understand her and definitely sympathized with her. I cheered for her and hoped she’ll get her Christmas miracle, because she deserves it. I loved watching her grow and transform.

Overall, this really was an enjoyable read. I just wish it was a bit longer though. I would definitely love to see more of Ellie and Sam. I’ll be checking out Ruth’s other novels too, I’ve heard all of them are fun.

My rating: 3/5

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Buy ‘Weight Till Christmas’ on amazon.co.uk

Find Ruth Saberton on her site, facebook and twitter