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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: 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

Book review: Never Google Heartbreak by Emma Garcia

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

Actual rating 3.5/5

It usually doesn’t take me long to settle for a rating, but this particular book gave me a bit of headache. While it had great potential to be even a 5* one, there were couple of things that did trouble me. At the end, I’m rounding it to 4 stars while it’s more of a 3.5*.

It does still mean I liked it, because I really did. I don’t have a different criteria for debuts and I always try to approach a book totally unbiased, even those that are written by my fave authors. I have to admit I’ve read quite..ummm…not good debuts and every time I pick up one I get strangely nervous and a bit anxious. But good thing from reading lots of debuts is discovering new authors, fresh stories, different writing styles. So it’s a bit of challenge, but overall is a pleasant experience.

I would never tell ‘Never Google Heartbreak’ is a debut. The writing is fantastic and you can tell the author sure put all her heart into this book. The title is brilliant and the cover is stunning, and as much as everyone says those stuff don’t matter..still they are a great bonus right?

All Viv wants is to marry Rob, the love of her life. But seems every time they get close to an engagement, Rob gets cold feet. Viv is full of understanding, but the last time Rob says they need a break, she fears something else is happening. Is a new woman involved? Was he unhappy with her all this time? Why would anyone need a break from a steady, lovely relationship? She’s devastated and appears she’s not able to let go of Rob. Is Rob the right guy for her, or is there someone else waiting to give her the love and respect she deserves?

Some parts of this book were simply hilarious! I was laughing and laughing, I just couldn’t stop myself. I loved the whole idea of setting up a website to ‘heal’ and help other heartbroken people. But when it comes to the characters, I have to say as much as I wanted to LOVE Viv, I simply couldn’t. I did like her and sympathized with her (and am forever grateful to her for making me laugh so hard) yet at times all these attempts to get Rob back felt too tiring. She’s trying so damn hard and obviously he didn’t appreciate it, so those bits really annoyed me a bit.

As for the story, as much as I enjoyed it, I was surprised with some parts (not in a good way), but I wouldn’t like to spoil the book for you and I’m not gonna comment on them.

Overall it was an enjoyable and funny read, one I’d definitely recommend. I’m not sure if there’s a sequel coming (I read that some place) but if there is one, I’d definitely want to read it.

My rating: 3.5/5

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Book review: The Single Girl’s To Do List by Lindsey Kelk

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I’ve been feeling rather crappy lately and been under great pressure. I was looking for an easy, uplifting, funny book that will get me out of this shit mood. I have a huge TBR list and yet I found myself asking for people’s help in finding THAT book that will lift my spirits. At the end, they suggested couple of books, but I had a strong feeling I should FINALLY read this book. Being a big fan of Kelk’s I pretty much knew what to expect (which is comforting, when you know the author writes fantastic and you’re obviously gonna enjoy the book), but this book exceeded all my expectations.

First off, as much as I enjoyed The I Heart series (though I have not finished all parts) I have to admit I enjoyed this book more. It could be the fact I’m not that crazy about series’. BUT frankly, one could tell when comparing the first 2 books from I Heart series with this stand alone, that Lindsey certainly polished her writing style, got more original and grown as a writer.

Now don’t get me wrong, the books in the I Heart series are great, however in this book I liked the MC more. In my opinion, Rachel just felt more real, I could relate to her though I’m not going through the same stuff she’s going through. But she’s fantastic, I’m telling you! Now some of the parts, like the time frame in which she’s to complete her to-do list which her friends made for her, might be a bit unbelievable, I still didn’t care. She’s hilarious and so are her two besties, Emelie and Matthew. What I appreciate the most is the fact that you can see Lindsey put as much effort in creating fantastic and well developed side characters, as she did in creating the MC. Honestly, I can’t say who’s my fave of them all, they are just such a jolly bunch, each adding to the story.

The list they create for Rachel is simply hilarious, some stuff being maybe over the top. Yet, they will make you laugh out loud! I started reading it last night, went to bed and this book was the first thing on my mind when I woke up (of course after…ahem… bathroom and teeth brushing). I literally devoured it in less than 24 hours, it was that good. And the best part…It totally brightened my day, even energized me and definitely made me forget about all the stress I’ve been feeling lately. In one sentence, if you’re feeling crappy and looking for a laugh out book – THIS is the one for you! Trust me, it’s the BEST THERAPY you could get!

My rating: 4.5/5

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Buy ‘The Single Girl’s To Do List’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Book Review: Checking Inn by Emily Harper

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

And Emily Harper does it again! Once again she creates a fantastic page-turner with funny, brilliant characters.

I recently read Emily’s debut ‘White Lies’ and totally loved it. I’m so glad Emily didn’t disappoint me, and what’s even better she created a totally different story from her debut, adding mystery elements. So, ‘Checking Inn’ is great mixture of chick lit and cozy mystery, with lots of lovable characters you’ll root for.

The story is centered around Kate Foster, who runs the Summerside Inn with her hilarious mom. Now Kate and her mother can’t be more different. While Kate lives her life according to to-do lists and is a proud owner of an OCD, her mum seems to never do the right thing (even the tiniest things Kate tells her to do). I absolutely loved their dialogues and their relationship. They had me laughing out loud on so many occasions.

Kate practically lives for her Inn, she’s a workaholic and her dream is to make the Inn a fantastic plastic everyone will wan’t to visit. And she’s so close to fulfilling her dreams, till one day an acclaimed hotel critic arrives at the Inn and ends up dead. To make things worse, this acclaimed critic is no other than Samantha Manning, an evil bitch Kate has history with. Kate is terrified she’ll be No.1 suspect once everyone finds out that she and Samantha didn’t really get along (said mildly).

Things get even more serious when police steps in and Kate soon finds out she’s never been in a more difficult situation. Jail, losing her Inn..everything seems possible. She needs to prove she’s innocent as well as save her Inn, but boy, there will be lots of drama.

As I said, ‘Checking Inn’ is somewhat different to ‘White Lies’, there’s more drama and action, and I loved the fast pacing. I loved Kate from the minute I was introduced to her. I’m not actually like her, but she’s such a fun and funny person, you really can’t help but love her. I admit, there were times when I thought she cares too much about her Inn instead of the fact that someone she knew died, but once you understand her relationship with Samantha you might even approve of her behavior. And OMG, I hated Samantha, she’s way too arrogant and evil.

There’s a bit of romance too, but it’s not in the center of the story, and is rather gradually built. But that’s what I like most about Emily’s writing, she’s so subtle, adding just about enough romance to make the story better.

Overall, this was yet another brilliant chick lit novel by Emily Harper. She’s fast become one of my favorite chick lit authors and I can’t wait to read something new by her. She really knows how to create uberfun, easy to read stories with characters that will make you lough out loud. I absolutely and wholeheartedly recommend both books by Emily Harper. Trust me, you’re gonna love them.

My rating: 4/5

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Book review: Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes by Sue Watson

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

Do you believe in love at first sight? Well, I’m pretty realistic so I’d say that’s a big fat NO for me. But when it comes to books and their covers, OH LA LA! I fell in love with the cover of Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes head over heels! I saw it and immediately thought THIS IS THE BOOK FOR ME! The cover is so chic and girly, and the colors are so vibrant. I’ve seen so many book covers, yet this one is definitely my favorite.

But it’s not only the cover that is stunning and delicious, the content is even better! It’s one of those books that will lift your mood, make you laugh out loud and…ok, make you crave for food, yet you won’t be able to put it down.

The story follows Stella Weston, a TV producer who’s mighty good at what she does, but is suddenly transferred to work in another ‘area’. Ok, it might not be that suddenly, because Stella could foresee it coming, knowing MJ (her nasty boss) would do ANYTHING to destroy her. Working long hours, not being able to pick her daughter after school, missing out on family dinners etc, oh and the feeling of GUILT, that’s what Stella’s life suddenly turns into. I swear to God, MJ is worse than the devil itself, she’s evil, arrogant, lazy..BH with one word! I think Stella deserved a medal for working with her in the first place. It’s MJ that arranges this transfer for Stella, she’s to leave to work on another area, covering gardening and religion! She wants to see Stella go down, but the question is – will Stella allow her that?

Revenge is sweet my friends, and in this case, it was hilarious too! I laughed out loud and was so happy when I saw Stella transforming in front of my eyes. I was rooting for her from the start, she’s one tough lady! There were some parts, especially those when she had to leave home for a longer period that really made me sympathize with her. She’s not the cruel workaholic business type of woman, yet she loves her job and of course she has to make some sacrifice on the way. But my heart was breaking every time she’d feel left out, every time she thought of her daughter going to bed without her kiss, every time she had a fight with her husband Tom.

I also loved the baking part, though to be completely frank, I’m a lousy baker. No matter how hard I try, I always seem faster (and better) in eating than cooking or baking.:)

Overall, this was a fantastic book with strong feel-good factor. I loved each of the characters (even the crazy vicar’s wife) and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Sue. She’s definitely a talented chick lit author with fresh and unique voice and going on my list of all time faves.

My rating: 4/5

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Book review: A Beginner’s Guide To Salad by Jennifer Joyce

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

Before I start with the actual review of this book, I have a confession to make. It happens rarely that I ask an author a review copy. I do request from NetGalley, but when it comes to requesting books from authors, I guess I’m pretty old fashioned. It’s not ’cause I’m shy or anything, but I prefer being contacted by authors themselves. Could be I’m playing safe, but the truth is I assume that way these authors know already which genre I prefer and what kind of reviews I write.

BUT! When it comes to this book, I simply couldn’t resist requesting a review copy. I did try my luck in winning one over at the author’s blog, but was not fortunate enough. So what was I left..then shamelessly (but kindly) request for one. And boy oh boy was I happy and excited when I got it!

I had a strong feeling I will be able to connect with the MC and once again, my feeling proved right! I’m such a huge sucker for books with plus sized heroines. I’ve been kind of struggling with my weight too, especially now after having my second child. But I guess we all want to read stories where the MC is going through some similar experience, and after reading the blurb I knew I HAD to read this book.

First off, I’d like to point out this is a debut, but I was pleasantly surprised with the writing. It’s told from different point of views, which sometimes doesn’t work for me. But Jennifer’s writing skills are excellent and the stories didn’t feel disjointed at all. There was some repetitiveness yes, but it all worked fine in the big picture.

I was also mesmerized by the MC, Ruth which reminded me a lot of Jane Green’s Jemima J (just a happier version). It might seem childish to want to lose weight just to be all gorgeous and sexy for a high school reunion, but I could understand Ruth. She’s been through hell in her teenage years, being called names, laughed at, bullied – all because of her looks. I sympathized with her and even had my eyes teary while reading some of the things she went through at school. Stuff like this shouldn’t happen to anyone, yet I know there are many teenagers going through the same experience. And Zack! That son of a bitch who broke her heart, mocking her the worst way possible! I swear to god, I felt like slapping my kindle…he was such a bastard.

Anyway, I didn’t slap my kindle, but I did however scream – YOU MORON! Thankfully, no one was around at the time I was reading it.:)

But back to my lovely Ruth now. She’s nice, caring and living with two housemates, who are very unique and oh so different as characters. Billy and Theo, they were so much fun, though Theo was sometimes very annoying.

This was indeed a very fun journey and if I could have a BFF as in BEST FICTIONAL FRIEND Ruth would definitely make the top of that list. She’s so sweet and so well portrayed, I felt as she was next to me while reading. Telling me all about her numerous attempts to lose weight, encouraging me to maybe try one out.

I laughed out loud on some parts, I had teary eyes the next moment, but overall, this is a book that spoke to my heart and I’m so happy I read it. It’s uplifting, well written story with characters you can relate to. The romance part is built gradually and I love how things turn out in the end.

At the end of the book, the author says it was Ruth who made her start going to the gym. Well, I’m not a fan of gyms, but I did start a new diet. I think Ruth would be very proud of me.:)

My rating: 4/5

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Book review: Younger, Thinner, Blonder by Sue Watson

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

Tanya Travis seems to have everything. She is a Daytime TV Show star, has a gorgeous boyfriend and a designer’s kitchen. But being over 40 in show business is not easy. The TV set decides to replace her for a younger host, her boyfriend, music-star-to-be, is accused of being a father of young starlet’s unborn baby, and she loses her house. Her last chance is winning the reality show Celebrity Spa Trek where former stars are climbing the mountains in Nepal. So, how can someone like her survive in Nepal’s wild?

OMG! Tanya Travis is my new favorite character. She is so funny and always gets herself in so many ridiculous situations. Poor Tanya, always misunderstood by the paparazzi, she made me laugh out loud. One moment she has everything, a gorgeous house with a cook from Sweden, her own TV Show, a boyfriend that she loves, designer’s clothes. But do all these things really matter? So, when she loses everything, she grabs the very last chance to come back. Celebrity Spa Trek is not what she wants in life, but seems she has no choice. But, deep in the jungles of Nepal, high in the mountains, she starts to change herself. She realizes there’s more to life than designer’s shoes and dresses.

Another character that I loved is Astrid, Tanya’s cook. She has a really dirty mouth, but that’s because she learns English from the movies. Astrid is that BFF that you always need. So funny, so hilarious, so naive. I adored her.

Nathan is Tanya’s boyfriend. The tabloids say that he is just a boy-toy, that he is with her just for her money and fame.

So, reality TV fans, tabloid fans, good book fans, get ready. Climb the mountains of Nepal with Tanya Travis and don’t worry about cellulite. Having wrinkles is not the biggest problem in the world. Hope you’ll enjoy this hilarious book as much as I did.

My rating: 4.5/5

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Buy ‘Younger, Thinner, Blonder’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Sue Watson on her blog, facebook and twitter

Book review: White Lies by Emily Harper

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

Well, well, well… Helen Fielding’s fans, Sophie Kinsella’s fans, there’s a new chick lit author ready to conquer the stage! Emily Harper might be new on the chick lit scene, but trust me, she KNOWS what readers want and what’s more important, this debut really feels like breath of fresh air.

I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I saw the cover, which by the way I think is very chic and girly. When I was asked to review it, I couldn’t be happier. I mean, discovering new authors and brilliant fresh reads is the most interesting part of a blogger’s life.

I didn’t have any expectations, but I did have a strong feeling this will be a good chick lit read. I was close because it’s not just good, it’s FANTASTIC!

The story is centered around Natalie Flemming, an accountant in a shoe-designing company. Now Natalie is sure one of the loveliest, funniest, cutest MC I’ve read about lately. She’s just so upbeat, I could literally feel her energy bursting out of the pages.

She’s on her quest for Mr.Right and even decides to write an ad in the papers. But wait, she’s NOT desperate or whiny, so don’t you dare go that way. Once you meet Natalie you’ll see she’s one of the happiest fictional characters you’ve come across with.

But back to the story now and sorry for getting a bit distracted (it does happen when a book leaves a strong impression on me). Her company is going through some hard time and a new guy steps on the scene, Oliver, who’s supposed to get everything back on track. But the thing is, Natalie is not aware of who he is or why he’s been employed by the company. But she’s sure about one thing, he’s drop dead gorgeous and she might be a bit attracted to him. Seems both Natalie and the management of Makka (the shoe company she works for) will need to make some decisions while going through so many changes.

This is such a feel-good read, a typical summer read you’d definitely want to have on those lazy days offering you lots of laughs and fun. Natalie is a totally lovable character that will win you over from the first page. She’s like Kinsella’s Becky, but less obsessed with shopping (though she’s still mad about fashion). But there aren’t really that many references to brands (I remember only ones for Makka, which is fine considering it’s the company she works for). I’m saying this, because I’ve met many people who dislike this constant mentioning of brands in books, but in this case, you have nothing to fear my dears.

You’ll root for Natalie, you might even drool over Oliver (or the Makka shoes they design)…but anyway, you’ll devour this book in one sitting, I’m quite sure of that. It’s funny, easy read, hilarious at times, and will leave you with a big smile on your face. The romance part is brilliantly written and gradually built (which is very important for me) and each of these characters feel very real.

I wonder if the author is planning on a sequel? I’m not sure, but I do hope I get to see Natalie and Oliver once again. I loved them both THAT much!

In the mean time, I sure will be checking out Emily Harper’s new novel ‘Checking Inn’, because I’ve already heard fantastic comments. If you’re a chick lit fan or generally, looking for an easy and feel-good read that will make you relax after an exhausting day, THIS is the book for you.

My rating: 4.5/5

ImageBuy ‘White Lies’ on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Find Emily Harper on her site, facebook and twitter