Tag Archive | chick lit

The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell

thesingalongsociety

Length: 235 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

A charming, feel good novel about the healing powers of friendship…and Frozen!

Monique and Issy are teachers, housemates and lovers of musicals! Their Friday night routine consists of snacks, wine and the Frozen DVD. So when Monique’s boyfriend moves to America for a year and her sister Hope moves in because of her own relationship woes, Friday nights get a new name… ‘The Singalong Society for Singletons’!

It’s a chance to get together, sing along to their favourite tracks from the best-loved West End shows, and forget the worries of work, relationships and love (or lack of it). But when Issy shares the details of their little group further afield, they get some unexpected new members who might just change their opinions on singledom for good….

The Review: You may remember by review of Three Men and A Maybe (review here) where I said that it was just a bit of a standy outy one for me (no it’s not an actual phrase and yes, I am still going to use it;)) and I’m happy to say that this pretty much matched it in terms of a book with that smile out loud factor. I really, really enjoyed this. As you can see it’s the story of Monique (I’d take her to be the main character in it anyhoo, although the blurb seems to say differently!), who opens the story with the planning of a proposal (beautifully and brilliantly done), that doesn’t quite go to plan.

Trying to figure out what to do, her and her housemate, Issy (who I love!) happen upon an excellent (and it really is!) idea, that instead of doing the whole pub/ night club thing, they’ll start up a Friday night get together where they watch their favourite musicals and sing along to them. I have to jump back a little actually, because the real start of the book is the list of musicals, which excited me so much (I’m not a theatre goer, I enjoy the film version more, I know, this is sacriligous to say, but I do!) as it had Singing In The Rain in there, Frozen (must be watched even if you don’t have kids!), Little shop of horrors and so much more. The cast listing told us the characters of the book and I was interested to see who had a leading role, and who was sidelined.

The characters were perfection (I adored issy AND Connie AND Hope!), each with very different personalities that matched and clashed in just the right places (I have to admit my least favourite was Monique as I found her to be a tad self absorbed, you’ll see that from the fact that she’s the only one I didn’t mention above and I feel guilty for that, I really do!), and all with something going on (I loved that each of the characters had their own issues, which were vivid and funny, dramatic and sad). I have to admit I did wonder how this would work out romance-wise, and I wasn’t disappointed when the male party was introduced (superbly done, in my humble opinion!)

I won’t lie, this is more of a book for later in the year, and I regret I didn’t review this earlier (damn rural internet!), possibly nearer to Christmas, but you can bookmark or buy at any time of the year so, in that respect, I’m setting you up for a good Winter read. This is one for the die hard musical fan, who will appreciate the nod to the musical that is named at the beginning of each chapter, or the person, like me, who isn’t totally, but just appreciates a bright, sparkly story that has just enough grit to hold it’s own joined with an excellent host of characters. Thanks to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister

inneedoftherapy

Note: Cover image leads to a universal amazon buy link.

What they say: Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?

While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can’t stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.

When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she’s left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart.

The review:I had heard a lot of good things about this book, but was very nervous about reading it, because I know Ms Banister from social media, quite a big thing when you’re a blogger. She introduced me to and is one of the organisers of an amazing chick lit author and blogger group I’m a member of, and frankly I was terrified in case this wasn’t my cup of tea (a silly phrase for me to use in this case because I’m an anomaly, an irish person who doesn’t actually like tea!) Anyhoo, I needn’t have worried because I really enjoyed this and have in fact held off on reviewing because I wanted people to add it to their Summer reads list.

We begin with a report on a patient, a girl who suffers from abandonment issues,and so looks to romantic partners for the love that she missed when growing up. These reports were repeated with a variety of patients throughout the book, and it was a satisfying little quirk that I hadn’t seen done before. The patients were a nice mix, some of who crossed over into her personal life and I enjoyed all of  her sessions.

In fact, all of the characters were chick lit perfection, Pilar, a Latina tower of strength, well educated and able to steer others in the right direction, yet feeling inadequate with herself and her family’s problems, Izzy, whose devil-may-care attitude and unconventional dress sense and choices in males flummoxed Pilar. Then there was the overly dramatic, extremely well-to-do mother whose english would lapse into Spanish when she just couldn’t take any drama presented to her, and her ex, Victor, a man on a mission to get her back, no matter what. I loved the banter between the family, with their wealth providing the perfect setting for dinner party battles. I also loved that the book wasn’t solely romance and am always a sucker for work issues that add to the pile on a lead’s plate and these were done brilliantly, with Pilar trying to figure out how to grow her business, which was floundering. This, coupled with  the other main character, Ford, that provided a sounding board and a shoulder, was done very nicely. A special mention for the epilogue that tied things up perfectly. All in all a brilliantly witty, over the top, fun yet intelligent romantic comedy which ticked all the boxes for me. Definitely recommended for Summer and roll on a forthcoming sequel centred around her sister, Izzy. Can’t wait. (Phew).

Rating: 4.5/5

 

The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza

the girl int he ice

What they say: Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

A page-turning thriller packed with suspense. If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter, discover Rob Bryndza’s new series today – at a special launch price.

Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster

She’s fearless. Respected. Unstoppable. Detective Erika Foster will catch a killer, whatever it takes.

The Review: You know the phrase ‘you had me at “hello”?’ Well this book most certainly did:

“The pavement glittered in the moonlight as Andrea Douglas-Brown hurried up the deserted high street.”

(Note: I’m afraid to quote more as it could be labelled a spoiler, though to be honest if I could I’d actually quote the whole prologue, so maybe you’re lucky!)

So you’ve guessed it, this is going to be one of those gushy reviews where I’m going to be a bit all over the place because I just want to FORCE you to read this book! It’s apity because it’s a book I’d love to do justice to, but, well, I’ll try my best.

As Andrea moves along we are given hints of how affluent Andrea was as she struggles to decide on whether she should call her father’s driver and then we are hit with some action that made me want to lock the door and suck in the whole book there and then.

Actually our introduction to the characters were extremely well done, brought about purely through events they were involved in, and I was nervy fairly on in the book and soon quite nervous. Detective Erica Foster was a very strong character, albeit one with her own issues and I took to her straight away, her ‘nothing to lose and so willing to lose everything’ demeanor that was essential in order to solve the cases that came before her were really well done, as were the scrapes she got into and I was reminded of why Robert Bryndza’s books are so popular and why he has made the move from chick lit to thriller so flawlessly.

There were multiple points of view in this book, however most of the job of telling us what happened descended on Erica, although it was told in third person which I have to admit, I generally enjoy more. The characters were so alive from the very first words and the descriptions of the locations, some so decadent, others dank and filthy, were amazing. The book was gripping from start to finish, with a humdinger of an ending, although I have to admit I found myself to be slightly disappointed with the identity of the killer, I could missed something but I’m not sure I could have guessed it was them, which I think is always half of the fun of thrillers.

A great great book, and one that readers of most contemporary genres will fly through, very satisfied, as I was, after they reach the end (where they are greeted by a brilliant letter from the author himself.) After this book I have to admit, I dove straight in and signed up for his newsletter (something I don’t do a lot), and went to check out his back catalogue of books (which seem to be right up my street, by the by so yay!) and his new one ‘The Night Stalker,’ the second book of this series, which I will without doubt be reading soon. As for ‘The Girl In The Ice?’ Most definitely one to read asap.  Thanks to Netgalley for the book in exchange for an honest review and as always the image links to a universal buy link for the book. Go get.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Weekend Immune System (a choose your own ending book) by Holly Tierney Bedord

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First off, welcome to chick lit May, the month where I will do my very best to convert those of you who don’t do chick lit by showing that chick lit comes in many shapes and forms, and that there’s something for everyone!  And what better way to do it than with a ‘choose your own ending’ chick lit book from the ingenious Holly Tierney-Bedord?

What they say: Remember those awesome Choose Your Own Ending books from childhood? Weekend Immune System is like that, but for adults. It’s the story of Juniper, a woman in her early twenties. Over the course of a three day weekend, You’ll make decisions to steer her life in dozens of different paths. Some paths are happy. Some are devastating. Choose wisely. Juniper’s life depends on it!

The Review: I defy anyone to not be interested by the premise of this book. I myself well remember ‘choose your own ending’ books from my childhood and when I saw this I was uber-intrigued! So as said above, we meet Juniper(first off don’t you just love the name?), a twenty something who’s in the process of moving with the help of her stoner boyfriend(how I saw him anyway!), Ozzy. I have to admit I didn’t warm to Ozzy one bit. The other person who was very difficult to like was her sister, Maura, who had a plan in mind for the way Juniper’s life should go.

It says above that some paths are happy, and that’s the way I went. I psychoanalyzed all of my choices, coming to the conclusion that I was taking the exact path I myself would take, as opposed to the way I thought Juniper should go (I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing!) and was nicely satisfied with the ending. My only issue at all with this book could present a catch 22 for the author, should she decide to go on and produce more of these books (which I hope she will!). It is this: For adults who read a lot and come across a book such as Weekend Immune System, they will find both the path to the finish and the ending itself clipped, which of course it has to be or else it would be a monster of a book. I found it hard to go with the sudden jump of occurrences which were inevitable but saying that I still loved both the premise and the story. A very kooky, alternative book for people who like their chick lit, their characters and/or their stories with a bit of an edge and one that will send me over to Holly’s considerable back catalogue of novellas and books (I am now firmly a fan!).

Make sure you join me tomorrow (Tuesday)  for an interview with Ms. Tierney Bedord herself and on Wednesday for some more chick lit with a difference, a novella about wrestling (Boots On The Ground) from said author too!:)

Rating: 4.5/5

Note: As always the book cover image will link you to a universal buy link for the book on Amazon.

Connect with Holly Tierney-Bedord! The Links:

hollytierneybedford

Website

Blog

Twitter:  ( @hollytierney)

Facebook

Holly’s Amazon Page

Survival of the Christmas Spirit (a short story) by Aimee Horton

 

SurvivalOfTheChristmasSpirit

What they say: “Cooking for nineteen people will be a cinch!” Ever-optimistic Dottie Harris is preparing for the biggest and best Christmas celebration ever, and nothing—not even unexpected guests or running out of gin—will get her down.

But as always, things don’t run smoothly for Dottie, and it’s not long before her two energetic children, hapless husband and a nasty stomach bug wreak havoc on her carefully planned spreadsheets.

Can Dottie throw the perfect family Christmas (without so much as a swig of gin to help her through) or will preparing for the festivities get the best of her? One thing’s for sure: This will be a Christmas to remember!

 

The Review: Oh how I enjoyed this! There are some stories that are so easy to read and the pages turn in your hand so quickly that you begin to worry what will happen when you get to the end. This was one such story. Dottie Harris is hit on Christmas Eve with extra guests for Christmas Day and it is taken with both positivity and frustration! I had heard of ‘Survival of The Christmas Spirit’ described as ‘mom lit’ and I suppose that’s what it is, it’s for those of you who are looking forward to Christmas because of the kids and at the same time looking forward to the sigh and breath you get to take at the end of the evening when the children are asleep and you finally get to take the weight off your feet. The change of moods throughout this story were hilarious as Dottie battled to get somewhere between Christmas cheer and Chrismas frustration. I warmed to her straight away, and empathised with all her predicaments while laughing as they occurred.

The Christmas descriptions were beautiful and warm and contrasted brilliantly with the craziness of dragging children about in the manicness of the festive season. There is also, of course, a Christmas surprise, which was very well done. One warning is that at around the seventy per cent mark, the story ends and changes to the opening chapter of another of Aimee Horton’s books. I have heard people complain about this with other books so just a warning. Personally I had no problem with it, and really enjoyed the preview!

By the way this is part of The Survival Series but I read it as a stand alone. Saying that in an author interview Aimee Horton states that they generally go in this order: Survival of the Ginnest, Mothers Ruined, Survival of the Christmas Spirit then Lush in Translation. I had no problem with not having read the others however I will be going back for more. Add to this it was a free download on Amazon and only fifty seven pages and I was happy out!

Light, warm, quick-witted, smart and funny, if you are at this very second reading this while trying to bop a child to sleep and willing another to settle down, then this one’s for you!

Rating: 5/5

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

What they say: An uplifting, beautiful story about never letting go of your dreams, the special magic of a family Christmas… and the rush of falling in love under the mistletoe.

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the chance. How hard can it be?

Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit – and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multi-million dollar business – even if it is Christmas.

When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble…

With the snow falling all around, can Abbey take the chance to make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?

The Review: We meet Abbey Fuller as a hardworking mother of one who has a job caring for Caroline Sinclair, a charming elderly lady. Abbey is employed by Nicholas Sinclair, Caroline’s grandson, who is an extremely rich businessman, with an extravagant house that comes complete with a range of staff. Abbey leads a very different life, happy and in love with her son, Max, and with a close knit family of a very helpful Mum and a granddad that lives close by. Abbey’s problems are purely financial as she worries about how to cater for Max’s Christmas wishes and some medication that her granddad cannot afford to help with his Parkinsons. When, by chance, she’s offered an opportunity to decorate Nick Sinclair’s house she takes it, purely for the money, even though she only has experience of decorating one home.

The Christmas descriptions were absolutely beautiful, amplified by the fact that she was decorating a house at Christmas time with a lavish budget that afforded her the ability to make it truly magnificent. I could see it all and it was wonderful.

Abbey was a gorgeous character, outgoing, charming and very warm. The story-line with her granddad was very touching and I loved that Abbey was so selfless in wanting to give anything she could to help him. The pacing was great too and, although I had to leave the book for a day or two, I welcomed settling back down with it and enjoyed it thoroughly. I suppose my only problem was actually with Nick, who I couldn’t stop seeing as Christian Grey (disclaimer: I have neither read the book nor seen the movie!). Abbey was very naive and a bit too forward with him while he seemed to find her something of a novelty and so that took away some of the magic for me. That being said there were some lovely moments between them that contributed to a very light read that will be welcome for many as they sit in the armchair by the fire surrounded by Christmas finery. Many thanks to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

Life or Something Like It by Annie Lyons

lifeorsomethinglikeit

What they say: Step into someone else’s shoes for a day…

And it will change you for a lifetime.

Cat is very good at her job. She runs a PR company with her best friend (and secret crush) Jesse, and is never happier than when her high-profile celebrities are glittering in the spotlight.

But when her footballer client gets in the press for all the wrong reasons, Cat’s career takes a sudden nosedive. So when her brother Andrew unexpectedly needs her to look after his kids for a few weeks, she can hardly say no. She’s happily single, hasn’t exactly been the ‘World’s Best Auntie’ over the years, and what she knows about looking after children would fit on the back of a postage stamp. But it’s only temporary until she gets her real life back on track – isn’t it?

From the bestselling author of Not Quite Perfect comes a hilarious story that will have you wondering just how perfect your life is!

The Review: The book begins with Cat Nightingale, who works hard and, while she lets her work define her, has no qualms about it doing so. She is a strong character who grabbed me from the start, I found her really refreshing. We are told how much she lives for her job, but then suddenly: bang! Cat is told that maybe she should stay away for a little while as part of the fall-out of a publicist’s nightmare, the faux pas of a bad boy footballer. Suddenly Cat has time on her hands which works to her brother, Andrew’s advantage. He enlists Cat to help mind his son, Charlie and daughter, Ellie. Cat is very much not a children person and she battles to befriend the two who aren’t very open to the idea of Cat being there. She is also left to deal with problems that Charlie has, issues that broke my heart and put it firmly in my stomach for a portion of the book. This all take place whilst dealing with Finn, a constant presence who is uncle to their friend and who seems to find Cat’s trials amusing. I adored the interactions between the two of them, their personalities matched the other in terms of smartness and speed and added to an already ever present wit and humour.

Then there’s the small issue of someone in Cat’s job trying to make things different for her. This was dealt with brilliantly, and I was on edge to find out what exactly was happening, and who she could really trust.

The characters in this were gold and performed their duties to perfection. I adored Cat, loved her best friend Ava, Finn, the kids … the only character I couldn’t warm to was her brother, Andrew. I loved where the book went in terms of showing the issues Cat was keeping inside, it was dealt with beautifully and also brought about showing us just how nicely Ms. Lyons does romance. The pages flew by and the comic moments put a smile on my face, as did the story.

This book is interesting in that it brings up the age old question of how people assume that females of a certain age are pre-disposed to want children. I cannot recommend this book enough for something light, yet thought provoking, definitely one to get the conversations going, though also one to make you smile. All in all, some very sweet, sad, melancholic moments, that gave me a jolt as it reminded me of times gone by. Highly recommended and I look forward to looking up ‘Not Quite Perfect’ by the same author.

Rating: 5/5