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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

2014 Netgalley Reading Challenge

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The 2014 Netgalley Reading Challenge is hosted by Ariel Avalon, and it goes from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014. The goal of this challenge is to not only to read all those books we’ve requested from NetGalley but also to review them so as to get our feedback ratio up to the recommended 80%. I went to NetGalley today and literally got depressed the moment I saw my feedback ratio is only 13.6%! I guess my fingers were faster than my brain and I always seem to forget I already have other books I’m sent for a review by authors. But I literally was over the moon the minute I saw this challenge posted by my friend Kristin @alwayswithabook who also joined this challenge. So thank you Kristin and thank you Ariel for this challenge and fingers crossed I’ll get closer to those brilliant 80% we all want.
I’m joining at the Medium level, which means I need to read and review 6-10Netgalley books in 2014. I’ll keep track of them here. I think that’s manageable, and as a matter fact I already read and reviewed one book today (feedback ratio now at 15.9%) so GO ME!:)
Now at 18.2%! This challenge is working!
1. ‘The Parisian Christmas Bake Off’ by Jenny Oliver (1/10/14) Read my review here
2. ‘Fast Forward’ by Juliet Madison (1/13/14) Guest review @ChickLibraryCat Read my review here
3. ‘Doubting Abbey’ by Samantha Tonge (1/15/14) Read my review here
4. ‘Stuck in a Downward Dog’ by Chantel Guertin (1/16/14) Read my review here
5. ‘One Hot Mama’ by Erin Cox (1/17/14) Read my review here
6. ‘The Best Thing I Never Had’ by Erin Lawless Read my review here
7. ‘The January Wish’ by Juliet Madison Read my review here
8. ‘February or Forever’ by Juliet Madison (3/18/14) Read my review here
9. ‘Take Mum Out’ by Fiona Gibson (3/20/14) Read my review here
10. ‘If this is paradise, I want my money back’ by Claudia Carroll (1/20/14) Read my review here
11. ‘Ivy Lane:Spring’ by Cathy Bramley (5/4/14) Read my review here
12. ‘Four-Leaf Clover’ by Charmaine Ross (5/17/14) Read my review here
13. ‘In the Mirror’ by Kaira Rouda (5/27/14) Read my review here
14. ‘The Breakup Doctor’ by Phoebe Fox (6/17/14) Read my review here
15.  ‘The Life You Left’ by Carmel Harrington (6/22/14) Read my review here
16. ‘The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me’ by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice (6/23/14)  Read my review here
17. ‘The Teashop on the Corner’ by Milly Johnson (6/24/14) Read my review here
18. ‘The No-Kids Club’ by Talli Roland (7/4/14) Read my review here
EDIT – As you see I finished my challenge and read/reviewed 10 books! I’m really proud of myself for raising my feedback ratio from 13.6 to 33.3&. I know it’s still far from those ideal 80% we’re all striving for, yet it’s a small victory for me and definitely a motivation to speed things up with my NG copies. I’m definitely in for the next round of this challenge which is starting soon. Many thanks to Arial Avalon for the boost!
4/2 update: 
I decided to change my level of difficulty to HARDCORE, meaning I need to review +21 NG titles. Since I already read 10, I don’t think it will be much difficult for me to read +11 more till the end of the year. Anyway, wish me luck guys!
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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

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Book review: Desperately Seeking Heaven by Jill Steeples

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*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

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Book review: I Dream of Johnny by Juliet Madison

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

Be careful what you wish for…
… and be extra careful when you type

The first time I heard of Juliet Madison was when she published her novel, Fast Forward in February this year. Every now and then a comment from some of my Goodreads friends would pop up in my feed saying how much he/she enjoyed it. Naturally, I was over the moon when I got approved by NetGalley, because I was so eager to see why all of my friends LOVE Ms. Madison’s writing.
And yeeeessssss, now I understand why they love her. Ms Madison is a brilliant author and I can seriously see her rocking the chick lit charts.

What I loved the most about I dream of Johnny was the original and well-crafted story. Mandy receives a high-tech magic lamp one day…and puffff, her life is changed forever. She’s given the choice to make three wishes, so naturally she wishes for the things any girl would love to have –
a house which never needs to be cleaned,
unlimited funds on her account
and A GREEK GOD!

You go girl, I would make exactly the same wishes! But, you see, she makes a tiny mistake leaving “R” from the word ‘Greek’ and Voilà, she’s given A GEEK GOD. LOL
Of course she wants to cancel that wish, but until that happens she’s stuck with the geek god that literally adores her.

This is really a short read but had me laughing so hard on few occasions. I absolutely LOVED Mandy and the way she’s handling the new situation. She’s nice, friendly, and cares for other people’s feelings. I loved how things turned out for her, and the ending sure took me by surprise.

To sum it up, this really is a cute story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it’s about time I read Fast Forward, now I’m pretty sure I will like it.

My rating: 4/5

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