#Chicklitmay #Guestpost Why romantic comedy loves a klutz and why it was important for me to write a character like Olivia in A Girl Like Me @BettinaHuntAuth

I am so excited to have Bettina Hunt, author of the fantastic ‘A Girl Like me’ here for Chick Lit May! Not only is Bettina a social media goddess, her books are fun, vivid, vibrant and unputdownable really! But first … the review!

What they say: Cute and clumsy bumps into train man in a meet-cute that readers have described as ‘brilliant.’ She’s been asking the question, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ He holds the answer, but will knowing the truth change anything?

When perennially clumsy thirty-something,Olivia, falls into the arms of a stranger, she thinks nothing of it, after all, this sort of thing happens to her all the time. You see ordinary, everyday, tasks that other people seem to manage with ease have always been a struggle for Olivia so over the years she’s developed coping strategies. And, if they don’t work, well she can always rely on her friendly support network to help her out, right?

But when a new boss arrives at the advertising agency where she works, Olivia’s forced out of her comfort zone and fighting to prove herself.

And when Caspar, the mysterious and perfectly together stranger who saved her life, begins appearing everywhere she goes, she can’t help wondering, could she also be falling in love?

Not your (neuro) typical boy meets girl story.

A Girl Like Me is a romantic comedy that celebrates the power of love, the beauty of differences and the courage to be yourself, flaws and all.

Perfect for fans of Bridget Jones’s DiaryThe Rosie Project, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Sophie Kinsella books.

The Review:

I have to say the marketing for this, A Girl Like Me, had me from the off- it said not your (neuro) typical love story -and I was one million percent in!

It is the story of Olivia, who lives by lists to try and organise a fairly chaotic life. Olivia made me exhale, she honestly was so relatable and real that I wanted to hug her and tell her that she wasn’t the unlucky klutz she thought herself to be.

The characters were fantastically done, and at one stage I wondered what way the story was going to go. I absolutely felt for Olivia as she struggled with a trying to figure out who she was while trying to balance work with the possibility of romance. This book kept me guessing unlike most rom coms-I normally have the ending figured out but I had two possibilities in my head. All in all a stunning book that just took hold and wouldn’t let go. Beyond recommended!

And the Guest Post …

Picture the scene, the heroine is rushing around, she’s got to be somewhere and fast and then disaster strikes, she spills her coffee, her heel breaks, she bumps into a stranger and all her paperwork goes flying. A familiar scenario right, and a recognisable character trope. Cute and clumsy has traditionally been a device used in romantic comedies to make the attractive female lead more approachable and relatable. The klutz provides many comedy moments, they can set off a chain of reactionary disasters/events, but the klutz (cute and clumsy) character rarely does serious harm to themselves. And inevitably the clumsiness of the character will result in the meet-cute moment of the story/film. 

In A Girl Like Me, the opening scenes show Olivia as the familiar klutz character but as the story progresses you soon realise there is much more to Olivia than first impressions. Yes, there is the ubiquitous klutz meet-cute moment but, unlike the usual ‘little harm to themselves’ scenario, in my novel, the consequences could be catastrophic. And this sets the character off on her journey of self-discovery with the aid of Caspar, the stranger she met. I wrote the character of Olivia because I have enjoyed many of these books and films, one that immediately springs to mind is the hugely popular Bridget Jones’s Diary, and I too have laughed along at the heroine’s mishaps. I identify with these characters and think ‘Oh yes that’s happened to me,’ or my husband will point out parts in the movie and say, ‘That’s so you!’ 

I was so excited at the prospect of writing the character of Olivia, who has undiagnosed Dyspraxia, as her story somewhat mirrors mine in that I only discovered I had Dyspraxia when I was the ripe old age of 40. It was important for me to write a character that represented me, humorous incidents happen to me every single day but also accidents occur daily too and sometimes it can be dangerous to be me. I want to present myself as someone who is perfectly together and I do try my hardest in everything I do but my Dyspraxia very often betrays me as I bump into people, spill food and drink onto my clothes, knock over whole book displays… 

I wanted the character to be relatable and fun, she is after all a romantic comedy character. Yes, she’s cute and clumsy right from the start and yes, we do laugh with her but importantly not at her. I wanted to take that standard romcom trope and take it further, there is a reason for her klutz, but it doesn’t define her. Olivia’s bright and intelligent, she possesses inner strength and determination but above all, she’s a survivor. Her whole life she has struggled, she knows her limitations, but she also knows and plays to her strengths when challenged. When it comes to love, her past experiences have made her believe no one could love her but through the story, she learns that she is indeed immensely loveable, she just hasn’t met the right person yet. In A Girl Like Me, I wanted to cover Olivia’s life, family, and friendships with the focus being on her career and relationships as I know that neurodiversity has a huge impact on these aspects of life. 

In writing a neurodiverse character it’s essential not to make them a character to be pitied but to show their inner vulnerability and I show this through Olivia’s thoughts and feelings as and when incidents occur and as she explores her potential diagnosis. Being neurodiverse myself I wanted to write a fictional story about the day-to-day struggles someone with Dyspraxia has to contend with and to represent these issues sensitively and authentically, whilst simultaneously creating an enjoyable and entertaining read. I hope I have done it justice.

About Bettina ...
An avid reader, from a very young age she wrote her first story whilst in primary school and was invited to take it into reception and read it to the class. The positive feedback she received that day made her aspire to be an author and that childhood dream is now a reality.

Bettina loves comedy, cocktails and afternoon tea. She can't dance but loves to sing. She does all her own stunts but rarely intentionally. She has dyspraxia and is on a mission to raise awareness of what it's like to have this condition, starting with her latest fiction novel - A Girl Like Me. Bettina lives in the East of England with her husband and two young sons. She writes uplifting romantic comedies and women's fiction with fun and relatable heroines.

You will find her on all the usual social media channels where she'd love to hear from you. 

Social media links 
A Girl Like Me - mybook.to/AGirlLikeMe
Twitter - @BettinaHuntAuth
Facebook - BettinaHuntAuthor
Instagram - @bettinahunt_author
TikTok - bettinahuntauthor


#ChickLitMay #GuestPost @umbrellacafe Raindrops in the Umbrella Cafe by Jodie Homer

You’ll remember I reviewed and adored Raindrops On The Umbrella Cafe by the wonderful Jodie Homer, and was blown away a little by the whole prettiness of it all, and a fantastic feel good element. Well I decided for chick lit may to remind them of this fact (see review here ) and send people to reach for this for their Summer read and also to ask Jodie for a guest post for chick lit May. So without much ado … here we go (and thank you to the lovely Ms. Homer for this fab insight) !

What they say:

The man of your dreams is one umbrella away.

On inheriting her uncle’s beloved Umbrella Café, Sarah packs up and leaves the busy city of Birmingham for her childhood seaside village of Cobble-Heath.

Discovering life at the Umbrella Café is not as idyllic as it was when she was a child. Sarah has to contend with getting to grips with managing a café, accepting her two childhood best friends falling in love and a handsome Australian stranger who has come for the summer. Throw in a family secret with an unexpected arrival and Sarah’s life is turned upside down.

Can Sarah keep the cracks in her life sealed up or will she be the next thing to crack up?

What Jodie says! :

So the idea for Raindrops on the Umbrella Cafe actually came from watching one of my favourite musicals, Singin in the Rain. I absolutely love the film and the idea of umbrellas came before anything else and then I developed that into a cafe where anyone can find a blind date by picking an umbrella out of the stack. I love the idea of finding your true love with an umbrella. The rest of the story came after that with the setting being a seaside village. Cobble-Heath is entirely fictional and not at all based on anywhere. Then the characters Christy and Arthur, the mum dad and brother and Tyler was actually one of the last characters and at first he was American but then I changed it to Australian. I knew exactly how I wanted Tyler to look even more than Sarah. I based him on what I would want someone to look like not necessarily being Australian but the dark hair and eye colour. 

Aunt Maggie is based a little on my Nan and when I used to visit her when I was younger but I’ve obviously changed some of her mannerisms. The nostalgia in the book is based on my own love of 90s and early 00s music. The playlist is full of my favourite songs that I’ve managed to weave my way into the book through a lot of karaoke scenes and no, I don’t do karaoke at all. I used to when I was younger and my karaoke song was Hopelessly Devoted to you.

I feel like my characters especially Christy are like me. I say things how they are and don’t have much of a filter and I feel like I create characters like that who reflect on me. I don’t give them my anxiety because I secretly wish I could be more like them. 

I hope you liked the insight into Raindrops on the Umbrella Cafe. 

X Jodie

Jodie’s bio 

Jodie lives in a small village in Solihull with her husband and two children. She loves nothing more than dancing around embarrassingly to 90s music and eating mint chocolate. Jodie enjoys reading and writing books full of romance and swoon-worthy fictional men. 

Twitter https://twitter.com/umbrellacafe 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jodietheauthor/ 

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jodie_loves_books/

#chicklitmay Forget Me Twice by Carina Taylor #forgetmetwice #bookreview #NetGalley.

So yes, I’m going to cheat in #chicklitmay and have what I’d consider more rom coms too but anyhoo- enjoy!!!

What they say:

Have you ever brought your ex-husband home and pretended to still be married?

Yeah, me either.When my local hospital calls to say “I’m sorry to tell you this, but your husband has been in an accident” I try to explain the basics to them.

  1. I am not married—anymore. (Archie Dunmore is a thing of the past.)
  2. If there’s a husband in the hospital, it’s not mine.

Except Archie is back, and he’s been in an accident. One that has left him with amnesia. Yup. He believes we’re still happily married. Oh joy.

Too bad for me, the doctor believes it would be best for Archie to remember things on his own. He needs familiar surroundings to heal.

No big shocks.
No emotional trauma.

Which means I can’t tell him the truth.

Archie bursts back into my life with all the warmth and joy of a freshly married man, confident that I’m the love of his life, and determined to fix the rift between us.
Except how do I tell him that he walked out on me?
Especially when Archie is desperately trying to remember what I’ve worked so hard to forget.

What’s a girl to do with an amnesiac ex-husband at her breakfast table?

The Review: Beyond adored this: The story of Meyler, who gets a phone call to say her husband has been in an accident and has amnesia. Trouble is- they are no longer husband and wife, they’re divorced. 

I loved the simplicity of the premise- Meyler can’t upset him or mess with the natural return of his memory and so has to pretend all is as it was before they split. I’ll admit I’d put this off too long as I’d been afraid it would be a tear jerker, and was nicely surprised that is was so much lighter. 

Fab premise, fab book, gorgeous story, gorgeous ending! Beyond (beyond beyond!) recommended! Thanks to the publisher for the book in return for an honest review.


#chicklitmay  #NotetoSelf #NetGalley #BookReview Note to Self by Anna Bell

It feels like too long since the last time Chick lit May came to BRMaycock’s book blog, so … You’re Welcome!!! It’s Chick Lit May!!!!!

What they say:

It’s never too late to follow your heart. 

One summer’s day seventeen years ago Edie and Joel meet.

Their connection is instant and a friendship is born, although Edie can’t help but wish for more. But just as she builds up the courage to lay her heart on the line, one night changes everything…

Edie’s moved on from the heartbreak of years ago. So the last thing she expects to receive on her thirty-fifth birthday is an email… from her eighteen-year-old self. As more emails arrive, she starts to remember what – or rather who – she left behind.

Following her own advice, Edie heads back to the place where it all began, and finds her path unexpectedly crossing with Joel’s once more. Could this finally be their chance at love? Or are some things better left in the past?

The review: One of the most stunning books I’ve read in some time as we follow Edie, who receives an email from her past self on her 35th birthday. So begins a series of emails that make her stop to wonder what her 17 year old self would think of her life now and spurs her on to make changes.

This book really sucker punched me, I was simultaneously nervous and buoyed, in awe and terrified of where we’d finish. It was vivid and vibrant and sparkly and yet so sad and incredibly thought provoking as it was peppered with life lessons.

All in all a standout book that made me sad and happy, and that I’ll not only be rereading, but recommending and gifting all over the place. Adored adored adored!

Thanks to the publisher for the book in return for an honest review.


Remember Me by Lynda Renham @Lyndarenham @Bloodhoundbook

I’m thrilled today to reintroduce you to a book that I read a few years ago, now brought out by Bloodhound books!!

What they say: A young mother befriends a new neighbour—but soon finds her an unwelcome presence, in this psychological thriller with a powerful twist.

Sharni and her husband have just moved into 24 The Pines, and they appear to be ideal new neighbours to Clare and Chris. Sharni seems especially fond of Clare. She admires her and is always there to help, especially with childcare for Clare’s two-year-old son.

But Clare is starting to wonder whether Sharni just wants to be a good neighbour—or wants something more. Like Clare’s husband. Or her child. Or her life. And her anxiety starts to build every time Sharni comes near.

Is she just being overprotective, or are her worries justified? As Sharni’s influence touches everyone around her, Clare finds herself fighting for both her sanity and her family . . .

What I said: I must say I really enjoyed this book. As you can see it’s the story of Clare, a lady who with her husband Chris, and beautiful son Ben. When Sharni and Tom move in next door they quickly become friends although rather quickly it’s apparent that Sharni perhaps looks up to Clare too much, beginning to seemingly copy her appearance and interior design. It was nicely done that we had in Clare a character who was so nervous and on edge, and this, coupled with her being on prescription medication meant that we weren’t sure if what was real and what was paranoia. Add to this that you’re also getting Sharni’s point of view and it made for a real page turner!

The friendship of the two women, and the trust that was built up was great, with Clare’s questioning and self doubt very believable and I liked that anything time-line wise that people may have questioned was quickly put to bed. I also like how you questioned everything, in particular the husband’s part in the story. My only issue was that the ending seemed rather abrupt, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. I think this is another one for people who don’t read thrillers a lot and want to slip into the genre without having to read anything too tough. All in all I’m beginning to be a big fan of the big switch from rom com to psychological thriller with such a well done ‘debut’ and I look forward to more of same from Ms. Renham.

This Book Kills by Ravena Guron #minireview

What they say: When Hugh Henry Van Boren, one of the most popular and richest kids in Jess Choudhary’s school, is found dead, the student body is left reeling and wondering who the murderer could be… Jess, a student under strict instructions to keep her record clean or risk losing her scholarship, finds herself at the centre of the investigation when it’s revealed that Hugh died in the exact same way as a character in a short story she wrote.

And then Jess receives an anonymous text thanking her for the inspiration.

With time running out, Jess knows if she doesn’t solve this mystery she’ll finally have something in common with Hugh Henry. 

The Review:

I am truly loving ya thrillers at the moment! This is the story of Jess, who begins this book by telling us who the murderer of ever popular, very rich Hugh, is, only it was never going to be that easy, was it? We follow a huge rage of people in a very rich boarding school where Jess is a scholarship student, and are sent all around as we try to figure out who the murderer is, as other murders happen and tick other people off the list! There’s a nice touch that you can scan a code near the end of the book and play detective. Of course this caught me unaware and being sick in bed without a phone I couldn’t do this but I did guess the killer. (I lie, the killer was in my head at one point then I discounted them lol!!) With threatening text messages and notes adding to the attempts to throw us off, and the dodgiest school illuminati type set-up-I was so invested and am definitely recommending!
Very enjoyable. Thanks so much for the book in return for an honest review.
Rating: 4/5

#Minireviews The Man I never Met by Elle Cook

What they say: Two lives are about to be changed by one phone call.

When Davey misdials Hannah’s number, at first they think nothing of it.

After all, Davey lives in Texas and Hannah lives in London.

But when Davey gets a job in London, their paths are sure to cross. As messaging turns to video calling, this feels like the start of something.

Weeks later, Hannah is waiting for Davey at the airport, but he never walks into Arrivals.

When Hannah finds out why, her world is turned on its head. And with their future so uncertain, each must pick up the pieces of their lives.

Will fate intervene once more to bring them together? Or will Davey always be the man that Hannah never met?

The Review:

A book for no reason at all I kept bypassing, then randomly opened one evening to be absolutely mesmerised! This is the book of Hannah and Davey, who one day begin to chat on the phone purely by accident. What starts is then a long distance friendship, one that reminded me how lovely long telephone chats can be (we’ve lost them a bit, haven’t we?) When they’re finally about to meet … nobody arrives at the airport (no spoilers, this is in the blurb!)

This had been touted to me as a bit of a weepie and my God it most definitely is, there’s some tough going in there, including, it has to be said, the subject of cancer, but there’s also some fab sparkle, and lovely humour, as well as the will they-won’t they perfection I needed.

Very much recommended, and thanks to the publisher for this gem in return for an honest review.

Rating 5/5

#minireview Rock paper Scissors by Alexia Mason

What they say: The brand-new addictive thriller that fans of Karen M. McManus and Holly Jackson will be DYING to read. 
The ROCK she fell from . . . 
The PAPER she clutched . . .
The KILLERS she thought were friends . . .
When five Dublin teenagers arrive at a rural coastal college to cram for their final exams, their most pressing concern is the prospect of a month with no partying. Little do they know that one of them will never make it back home . . .
A page-turning and gripping thriller with a shocking twist, Rock Paper Killers is perfect for fans of RiverdaleOne of Us is Lying and We Were Liars.

The Review: This was a book I’d seen people get excited for over and over so I purposely took it this morning when I couldn’t sleep post new years celebrations but couldn’t get up to write either due to the fear of waking our poor dog who was up way too late last night!!

It is the story of a group of teenagers who go to the Gaeltacht, a kind of summer Irish college where people have to speak Irish the whole time to help them improve the language. We followed these teens with their demons and worries as they navigated the drama that being on your own in a converted asylum with your phone away brings!!

Even given that, this was a somewhat light read more about building tension and making you wonder what would happen. Extremely enjoyable. Thanks to Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.


A Magical Christmas on the Isle of Skye by Jodie Homer @umbrellacafe

What they say: It takes a village to fall in love.

Set in Scotland, on the Isle of Skye, we meet Harry and Emilia, who have always been best friends, well, until they complicated everything by sleeping together.
Drunk and alone on New Year’s Eve, Emilia phones up the TV’s psychic and spills out all of her sorrows.
When her friends propose to stay in a cabin in the middle of nowhere for Christmas, Emilia jumps at the chance, but the atmosphere quickly dampens when Harry announces his girlfriend will be joining them. What will happen to Harry and Emilia’s relationship when they discover the island is full of old myths and a time loop they just can’t escape from?

The Review: Given that I’m starting to see people signing off all Christmas reads now I thought it was the perfect time to review one of my favourite favourite books this year.

The Review: When I heard Jodi Homer had another book coming out I was so excited! The first book, which was set at the wonderful umbrella café, was so beautiful and unique and had me gobbling it up. So when I heard that not only has she done a Christmas book but that there was also something a little bit magical about it I jumped straight in there!

This, as the blurb says, is the story of Amelia and Harry who are best friends. As with most relationships there is a point when there is a question of whether there could be something more and this is where we are as we hit the awkwardness of Harry bringing his new somewhat entitled girlfriend to a group Christmas stay-over and everything being turned on it’s head but with an added road block- the same day is now repeating itself over and over!

This book had it all- set on the stunning Isle of Skye, the Christmassy vibes were wonderful, the group of friends vibrant enough to pull you in with them, and of course the will they, won’t they and where will it stop! vibes!

Cheeky and cheery, warm, fun, lovely and fantastically magical (I mean, come on, actual magic in a Christmas book?! How perfect is that?!) with the perfect rom com moments- this is one that is now being considered as one of my best Christmas reads ever!! Totally recommended to finish up your Christmas/New Year hols!!

Rating 5/5

New Beginnings at the Old Bakehouse by Christie Barlow @ChristieBarlow

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what 

‘A letter, a goodbye, and a baby girl whose name will begin with “L”…’

When Heartcross’ resident clairvoyant tells Molly McKendrick to expect a whole lot of scandal and upset to blow in with the approaching winter storm, Molly doesn’t know what to think.

With a baby on the way any week now, and Christmas not far off, the last thing Molly needs is drama, but when she crosses paths with Bree, a sixteen-year-old homeless girl, and takes her in from the cold, secrets from the past flood the present and Molly, her partner Cam, and their son George, are soon experiencing a holiday season filled with unexpected festive surprises…

The Review: I hadn’t read a Christie Barlow book in ages and was craving a really nice- just- like- watching- a- Hallmark- movie type book. And that was when I came across this!

I love Christie Barlow and I heart Love Heart Lane! I had read only the first book of this series but didn’t feel I’d needed to read the others although they’re books I’ll most definitely be getting back to!

Here we follow Molly McKendrick, who is busy all the time working in a bakery and helping for a charity. Molly was so lovely and always out to make things right and I egged her on as she began to think about helping Bree, a sixteen year old with no home. There were mysteries surrounding Bree, and at times I crossed fingers that I could trust her and that she didn’t have ulterior motives! I also wondered about Cam which kept me on my toes and turning the page.

All in all a book that has you following along, waiting for the next surprise and praying you’ve got it right. With snow storms and bakery settings, it has it all as a Winter read and is beyond recommended! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the book in return for an honest review.