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Book review: Love, Lies and Lemon Cake by Sue Watson

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

Wow, what a delicious, yummy book! It’s been a while since I’ve read a good chick lit book with a heroine who’s not in their twenties or thirties. It felt so so good and refreshing to read about someone in their 40s trying to have their life back, reinventing herself and living life to its fullest.

Now that I’ve read all of Sue Watson’s books I can say this has to be her best yet. Even though I really enjoyed her two previous ones, there’s something about ‘Love, Lies and Lemon Cake’ that screams with honesty, warmth pouring out of its pages. It could be the delicious cakes or yummy Aussie Dan, but honestly..I just think Sue went through a major make over as a writer, finding her unique voice which makes her definitely stand out in the sea of other British chick lit authors.

Not only is the MC in this novel mature, lovely, flawed and feels real, but Sue stretches even further, rising over the cliches we usually find in a chick lit/romance book. Faye is in her 40s and has a decent, yet pretty much grey life. But everything changes once she meets Dan, the handsome deli guy, who’s visiting from Australia, trying to help out his aunt run the deli. Dan seems to be everything Faye’s husband isn’t, for a start he actually listens to her and as crazy as it may seem to Faye, he actually likes her. But he’s 10 years younger than her, and she doesn’t want to be perceived as a cougar and be judged. And why is Dan all of a sudden making her realize she’s missed out on so many thrilling, wonderful, exciting things in life?

I adored every page of this book. It really was easy to connect to Faye, who’s lovely, warm, bubbly and yet so self-conscious. She’s a fantastic mum and I loved her relationship with her daughter. Of course, being a parent means you need to make some sacrifices along, but there’s got to be more to life than the routine especially once the kids get older. I’d hate to spoil this wonderful book to you, and I’m really trying hard to restrain myself and tell you more about Faye’s adventures. Once I got to the last page, I was so sad to say goodbye to her and I honestly think there’s enough space for a sequel.

There’s a certain comfort zone we all want to be in, but the thing is, once we step out of it we start gaining experience. Sometimes we fail, sometimes we rise to heights we never imagined we could reach. Sue Watson did just that with this novel, she stepped out of the comfort zone and the cliches in chick lit, and created a wonderful, original story full of heart. If you haven’t read anything by Sue Watson before, I can strongly recommend you start with this one then move down her other novels. Despite having a more serious tone than her previous ones, I can assure you there are many LOL and memorable moments. So finally, I strongly urge you to get comfortable, grab a cupcake, start reading this book and remember – LIVE, BABY LIVE!

My rating: 5/5

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Book Review: This Family Life by Jon Rance

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

Last year I accidentally ran into This Twentysomething Life, a short story that I totally enjoyed. The story was about a guy in his twenties and his point of view on life, job, dating, relationships, family, everything. It was such a fun and humorous read, it took me less than an hour to finish it and I didn’t stop giggling while reading it.
One year later, I received an ARC for This Family Life, and was thrilled to get the opportunity to read more from Mr Rance. This time, Harry and Emily have a baby, William. The story follows their first year of parenthood. They have a normal family life, well sort of when his or her parents are not around, with best friends moving next door, and noisy neighbours on the other side of the house. William is growing up, learning his first words (in Japanese, according to Harry) and waving goodbye (Nazi salute). Harry and Emily’s marriage is a little bit shaken and Harry is doing his best to make things better. With his mother fighting the cancer and his best friend living across the globe, Harry is doing his best to keep his family together. And imagine all that spiced with a lot of humor.
What a guy thinks has always been such an enigma for us, women. Reading Harry’s diary you can solve that enigma, or at least take a glimpse at guy’s thoughts. Harry is a decent, normal guy, married, with a child. Being a father is something new for him. He loves his boy so much, but this new role scares him to death. He is so afraid that he won’t be the best father in the world.
Between This Twentysomething Life and This Family Life, there is This Thirtysomething Life. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my TBR list, and I’m very excited to read more from this series. I definitely recommend these humorous books to anyone who wants a good laugh or just a peek into a guy’s mind.

My rating: 5/5

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Book review: The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson

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

This has got to be THE BEST book I’ve read this year, and I sure have read a lot of good ones lately. It’s amazing! It’s one of these books that despite being quite thick in pages, you’ll devour in on or two sittings. It’s PERFECT, from beginning to the end in every possible aspect.

The story might seem complex at first, with many characters and their stories overlapping, but once you get into it you won’t be able to put this book down. The Teashop on the Corner is a lovely spot owned by Leni, a pretty much upbeat person who loves serving delicious cakes and everything literary. Her little shop soon becomes a place where Molly and Carla come to escape from the their problems and cruel reality, but also a place where over Bronte and other classics they bond and form new interesting friendships.

All of these characters are going through a tough period, their life is pretty much at a crossroad, so Leni’s cakes and the goodies she sells in her shop offer them more than just comfort. It offers them peace and a sense of belonging. I honestly didn’t expect this book to get all these feelings out of me! I remember, when I reached the end, I had tears in my eyes, but at the same time I was so happy for each of these characters.

It happens rarely that a chick lit hits me so hard emotionally. It could be the fact that this story sounded so SO real, and the cast of characters is just fantastic. They each fight their own demons, they are flawed just like any real person. So, connecting with each one of them was really something inevitable.

Milly Johnson’s writing is pure perfection. She controls every situation and the development of her characters, and one could tell Milly has been very very careful in plotting her story. I follow Milly’s updates on twitter and recently read a tweet by one of her fans asking her how did she manage to create such wonderful, real characters. Her answer was she loves people, so it wasn’t really that hard for her. Brilliant and oh so true! From the first page, these wonderful characters will draw you in their lives and you’ll feel like you’re sitting next to them. You will be transported to this wonderful shop, devouring a delicious cake and being in awe of all the amazing stuff Leni is selling.

Honestly, I know it’s impossible to write a review that will do this book justice. I’ve read quite good ones by my friends/bloggers, however, seems all of us admits it’s truly hard to find the right words to describe just how amazing this book is. I’m sure of one thing though, it’s not gonna be easy to find a book that will top it and it’s very probable I will re-read it despite my massive tbr list. But, just like with classics whose beauty you discover each time you read them, each time finding a new dimension, I know I gotta be back at ‘The Teashop on The Corner’. I already miss the guys so much.

Brilliant book you MUST NOT miss out on! I know your tbr list never gets smaller, but trust me YOU NEED THIS BOOK. So, no matter how busy your life is or how many books you need to review, just get a copy and let Milly transport you to this wonderful place. And just feel the love, the hope and the warmth pouring from it’s pages.

Enjoy!

My rating: 5/5

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Book review: Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon

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

Paige Toon is a well known name in chick lit and has an army of fans, a whole ARMY I’m telling you! However, I’m ashamed to admit this is the first one by Paige I’ve read. Now I know many of you will feel a strong urge to yell at me or even throw a rotten tomato at the screen once you read this, but forgive me guys. I’ve made a mistake for waiting all this time to read her books, and I promise you I’m gonna read all her books soon. I already got them all after I finished reading ‘Thirteen Weddings’ anyway and I’m taking them with me for my hols because it seems only natural to read fun books at the beach. Right?

Phew! Now if you forgave me, I shall continue with my review. If I had to use only one word to describe this book, it would be FANTASTIC! If I could use more than one, oh well I’d say brilliantly written, uber fun and took me totally by surprise.

As much as I love chick lit, I have to admit it can be predictable to a certain extent. But hey, I don’t have a problem with that, as long as I get my happy ending and my heroine is fun, I can live with that.

But boy, what Paige did in this book is totally unbelievable! I tried to predict this book’s ending and first time in my life I was wrong! Damn, only a master of writing can do that! You don’t believe me, wait till you read this book then please come back to my review and share your thoughts. You’ll see what I mean.

So..The story is centered around Bronte, our lovely, fantastic heroine who goes on a wedding and meets this gorgeous guy, Alex. They’re both single and out of complicated relationships and have a fling loads of chemistry and stuff like that. A year later they meet again, but this time Alex is back with his ex-girlfriend and Bronte still has the hots for him. Apparently so does Alex, but it’s a complicated situation and he doesn’t want to admit it.

Bronte works for a mag and also does a bit of photography and seems she’s quite the natural when it comes to that, so does few weddings helping out her friend and assisting. One one of these weddings she attends she meets an Aussie guy, Lachie who’s just so upbeat and such a wonderful character. He lives life to its fullest and is probably my fave character. He’s fun, funny, caring, oh and gorgeous too! *drools*. He’s very different to Alex, who’s more serious and very reserved when it comes to emotions.

As I said, this book was a total surprise! I mean, I’ve heard Paige is a fantastic author however I didn’t expect this book to be soooo good. The ending, oh guys…I remember reading those pages 2 times because I simply couldn’t believe I didn’t predict the ending!!!

Overall, this is an amazing book, perfect for the summer so I strongly advise you to get a copy and enjoy in the sun!

My rating: 5/5

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Book review: Looking for La La by Ellie Campbell

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

You think that your life is perfect, you have a home, a loving husband and two adorable children. You think that your husband loves you more than anything in the world, and then suddenly postcards arrive for him signed with lipstick kisses. What would you do?

The story is centered around Cathy, a stay-at-home mum looking for a job. No one understands her or how hard it is to take care of the children and the house. And when her husband starts to receive love postcards from another woman, Cathy just snaps. She has to find that La La. But looking for the culprit is not that easy at all. Who the hell is La La?

I adored Cathy as a MC, she is such an extraordinary character. She is anything but boring. Looking for her husband’s mistress, she gets herself into so many embarassing and hilarious situations, you’ll need a tissue for the tears from laughing. It’s like Bridget Jones looking for Mark Darcy’s mistress. Poor Declan, her husband. He can’t prove he is innocent. Cathy wants to believe him, but postcards keep coming, signed with kisses. Everyone is a suspect. That secretary of Declan’s always talks how amazing he is. And they always stay late at work. Is La La just a joke, or there is something more going on?

The Campbell duo write in such a humorous way, I couldn’t stop giggling while reading the book. Trust me when I say your stomach will hurt from all the laughing. Just imagine Bridget Jones as a detective. I surely did. This story is not just a romcom, but also has some thriller and murder elements. Spiced with all that humor and mystery, Looking For La La is an excellent and such an enjoyable read. It’s exactly what you need at the end of a long and exhausting day.

My rating: 5/5

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Book review: The Love Detective by Alexandra Potter

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

I’m a HUGE fan of Alexandra Potter and I’m proud to say I’ve read (and own) almost all of her novels. The very first book I read by her was ‘You’re The One That I Don’t Wan’t’ and it was that brilliant book that made me fall in love with Ms. Potter and her beautiful writing. The thing is, no matter how many books by Potter you read, you can never get enough of her charm, humor and magical stories. Having that said, I was beyond thrilled to get the opportunity to read/review this book and even weeks after I read it, I still can’t get it out of my mind. That’s always good my friends, right?

Though I had high expectations, I was literally blown away by this book. It tells the story of Ruby Miller, a romance writer who just got her heart broken by her cheating, lying boyfriend. How inconvenient right? To earn your living writing romance, at times when you have zero faith in love and men! After being advised by her lovely agent to take a short (yet much needed) break from writing and home, she decides to leave for Goa, India. She’ll have the opportunity to visit a fabulous new country, see her sister Amy (who she misses so much) and come back fresh with loads of writing ideas.

But things get a bit complicated at the time she’s about the leave India. Her sister, whom she’s to meet at the airport, stands her off telling her she’s marrying Shine, her yoga instructor and is staying in India. Ruby has been taking care of her little sister for all her life, and though Amy has always been the sassy one, Ruby simply can not allow her to make such a HUGE mistake. So, she decides (once again) she’s to ‘save’ her sister even if she has no clue where exactly in India she is.

That’s when the real adventure for Ruby begins, followed by loads of very awkward and funny situations.

I truly loved every second of this book. It’s one of these rare books you admire everything about. The cover is gorgeous and eye catchy, and I don’t know of a single soul who hasn’t commented this is one of the most gorgeous covers they’ve ever seen. Second (and yes, most important) is the lovely story which is beautiful written, charming, interesting and will keep you glued to it’s pages. The fresh, efortless humor is one of the things I really admire Potter for. Everything just flows perfectly! The pacing is fast and there’s just so many things going on, making it a real page turner. Ruby and Jack are wonderful characters you’ll root for, despite the fact Jack seemed a bit annoying at first (both for Ruby and me).

But, I absolutely applaud to Ms. Potter for the beautiful, vivid descriptions of India! I LOVE that country and definitely want to visit it one day, to see the beautiful Taj Mahal and be mesmerized by it’s greatness. Ahhh, that would be wonderful! But in a way, I saw it through Ms. Potter’s (and Ruby’s) eyes, I was transported to India and oh so loved the adventure!

Overall, (and I say this rarely) this is a MUST read for all chick lit fans! Just like each of her previous ones, this book is wonderful WONDERFUL! Honestly, I didn’t expect anything less than brilliant from Alexandra Potter. She’s definitely one of the author’s whose books I can’t praise enough. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get this book, buy it, lend it..even steal it if you have to (ups, I don’t really want you to get in trouble though…but you know what I mean) and READ IT! Namaste!:)

 

My rating: 5/5

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Buy ‘The Love Detective’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Alexandra Potter on her site, facebook and twitter

Book review: Party Girl by Erin Shaw

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

Ladies and Gents! Cinderella is in town and she’s here to rock your worlds! Just like any other girl I guess I’m still after fairy tales, though I was pretty much a tomboy. Yet, I always believed in happily ever afters, in princesses who would find their prince, have his beautiful (always blond, not sure why, but I always imagined them blond) kids and so on and so on. Well, ‘Party Girl’ by Erin Shaw reminded me of those beautiful and carefree times growing up, when the only worry I had in this world was if mum would find out I was secretly trying on her shoes. 

Erin’s book is so sweet and original, and I must admit it surprised me how much I loved it. Much of the story is based on Erin’s own experience working as a party entertainer, and I always love those stories which reveal a bit about the author’s real life. The story is centered around Audrey who comes to The Big Apple to make all her dreams come true. But life is not always pink (though we’d all want it to be like that that), so she finds herself in a position to either succeed in this big, competitive city or go back home to her parents. After finding out party entertainers get well paid, she decides to take on this new venture and see where that would take her. But she’s a natural, let me tell you! She’s smart, young, talented and loves kids (and kids love her too) so these parties she attends become a huge success.

I really loved ‘Party Girl’. I felt a strong connection to Audrey and thought she is such a lovable character. She works hard, doesn’t whine, and makes one hell of a lemonade when life gives her lemons!
It’s an easy, quick and fun read yet at the same time it’s inspirational. Though sometimes our life doesn’t follow a certain path we thought it will, what really matters is we have fun walking on that path which will lead us to the place we belong. I’m sure there are many people out there who think they are on the wrong path, yet you gotta listen to that ‘little’ subtle voice inside of yourself, telling you which way to turn. And before you know it, a struggle will become fun and you’ll be leading your own show.

I can’t compare this book to any of those I’ve previously read (and I’ve read quite a few). I found the idea very original and the writing is great. It keeps you invested in the book throughout and I’m sure you won’t be bored even for a second. I really enjoyed Audrey’s adventures and am surely gonna be on a watch out for Ms. Shaw’s new books. Fantastic debut that will leave you craving for more!

My rating: 5/5

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Buy ‘Party Girl’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Erin Shaw on her site, facebook and twitter

Book review: Ivy Lane: Spring: Part 1 by Cathy Bramley

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

Cathy’s debut ‘Conditional Love’ became a HUGE hit after being released in October last year and it was just a matter of time before she snatched a deal with a great publisher. Needless to say, I was over the moon to hear she got a deal with Transworld and she’s about to publish her new novel in 4 parts. Tricky you may say, well I thought so too. But, you’re NOT to doubt Cathy’s writing skills, so publishing her novel in 4 parts (each for every season) proved to be very wise.

‘Ivy Lane: Spring’ is the first part and it’s absolutely charming. It’s the right length for a novella, so even those who have trouble reading long books can devour in less than an hour. It’s also the perfect opportunity for those who’re not familiar with Cathy’s writing, to check her out and get addicted to her (just like many of us already is).

‘Ivy Lane’ tells the story of Tilly Parker who settles in Ivy Lane discovering the beauty of not only her new allotment but of life once again. She’s been through quite a rough period (though Cathy shares very few details of Tilly’s past) and is all set to start anew. I must admit, I can’t wait to read the other parts in this novel because I so want to know what are the reasons Tilly decided to move and make such a drastic change in her life. So, a warning to those that will read this one – do not get frustrated if you don’t know all the answers to Tilly’s story, I’m sure they will be revealed ‘when the time is right’, maybe even in the next part.

I really enjoyed Ivy Lane, it’s short yet charming because I really could see Tilly transforming in front of my eyes. I’ve never been one for drastic changes, like moving after a heartbreak etc, but I get the whole idea of starting afresh. Tilly is a lovable character you’ll connect to from the first page, and even if you don’t like gardening and know zilch about potatoes/tomatoes/carrots/flowers etc, you’re going to enjoy this book. Because it’s not about gardening, it’s about new beginnings, making new friends, believing in life once again though you were burned before.

As you see, I’m really excited about ‘Ivy Lane:Summer’ and can’t wait to see what Cathy and Tilly have in store for us. I assume there will be some twists or huge revelations, which I AM anticipating. Short, sweet read perfect for these spring days.

My rating: 5/5

 

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Book review: Waiting For Prince Harry by Aven Ellis

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

OMG! THIS BOOK.. IS SIMPLY BRILLIANT!

I have the opportunity and honor to chat with Ms Ellis often and let me tell you, she’s one of the nicest authors out there. I was soooo excited to read this book (as many of my friends/bloggers), so when I got a copy I was over the moon. I started reading and if life (and kids) didn’t interfere, I would have read it in probably 3 hours. MAX!

No it’s not a short book and I’m not the fastest reader, but this book is sooo good, you won’t be able to put it down.

I haven’t read such a brilliant and addictive romance in quite some time. Everything about this book is simply amazing. The story is centered around Kylie, who’s the sweetest thing EVER! Honestly, I could relate to her so much, though I’m not that big of an OCD person (as she is). Anyhow, she won my heart from page ONE! When she’s introduced to us, she’s at her brother’s wedding and seems everyone is trying to hook her up with someone. But Mr Right could be (LITERALLY) just around the corner, waiting for her, to fall into his lap! Again, LITERALLY! Harrison is a hottie, there’s no doubt about it, but Kylie sees something more in him, he’s different, he’s a good listener and he’s fun! But, soon Kylie finds out that Harrison is a famous hockey player and things start to get crazy for her.

Ok, no more about the plot. You MUST read it for yourself, and what I already said is more than enough. But boy oh boy do I feel like gushing over the romance and the wonderful writing style. Though there’s an instant chemistry between Kylie and Harry, Ms Ellis doesn’t rush things. She’s building the romance gradually, connecting us with these two characters, making us feel exactly what they’re feeling. Everything seems so natural, despite the fact there’s a celebrity in this book. Both Kylie and Harry are such wonderful characters and they feel so real! That’s probably the thing I loved most about them.

Kylie loves personality tests, so each chapter starts with one, adding so much humor in this book. God, even the thought of this book puts a big smile on my face. I really can’t praise this book enough! It’s definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time. Totally recommend to every romance fan, you’re in for a treat!

My rating: 5/5

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Book review: Take Mum Out by Fiona Gibson

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

‘Take Mum Out’ is definitely one of the best and funniest books I’ve read this year. I was immediately drawn to it by the beautiful cover and fantastic blurb. The blurb itself might seem to say quite a lot about what’s happening in this book, but trust me, it’s not just about the story, it’s about the WAY this story is told and the amount of humor.

Told from the first person (which I do enjoy a lot) it’s a story that will get you hooked from the first page. Alice is divorced, starting out a meringue business (I didn’t know meringue could be such a HIT) and has two teenagers at home. As if her life is not already crazy enough, three of her best friends, talk her into getting back on the dating scene, each one of them trying to fix her up with Mr Right. But not everything goes to plan and these dates turn into some of the most humiliating, disastrous yet hilarious moments in Alice’s life.

There are just soooo many things I loved about this book. First off, the HUMOR. It’s so effortless, so fresh, so addictive. I have no idea how Ms Gibson pulled it off, but gosh..I couldn’t stop laughing. So though you might have read similar chick lits, the humor present definitely makes this book stand out. The dates were funny, Alice is a HILARIOUS character, her relationship with her sons is wonderfully written..should I go on? I told you, there’s just so much to like about this book, in my case..probably everything. I loved everything!

Having two boys of my own, though not teenagers, I could connect with Alice and understand all the things she was going through with her sons. But what I loved the most about all of them, is the fact Alice is a normal, down-to-earth person and has brought up lovely kids. Though they are teenagers, they are normal kids, unlike so many teenagers out there full of rage and anger.

I also loved her best friends and their relationship. Even their efforts to find Mr Right for Alice were too cute and I respected them more for trying so hard to make their friend feel ‘complete’. But don’t get me wrong, Alice is not the whiny type that can’t be complete without a man..OH NO! She’s strong and seems the last thing on her mind is to find a man.

Seems I could go on and on about this book, but it all comes down to this – if you’re looking for a hilarious book you’ll devour in one sitting (or two), look no further. The only thing I’m sorry about is the fact I was interrupted on so many occasions when reading this book, having so much happening in my life right now, it took me more than 2 days to read it. But the good thing is each free minute I’d happily run back to my kindle so I could continue reading. And in my book, this is the best thing that could happen to a reader. Running back to your book and shutting out from everything around you.

I wholeheartedly recommend this to every chick lit fan, or anyone looking for a fantastic, easy to read book filled with humor.

My rating: 5/5

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Buy ‘Take Mum Out’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Fiona Gibson on her site, facebook and twitter