A Beginner’s Guide to Saying I do by Jennifer Joyce

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Length: 273 pages

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

What they say: Three women. Three weddings. But who will say I do – and who will say I don’t?

Ruth can’t quite believe she’s managed to snag The One but when he proposes, she can finally accept that she’s found her happily ever after. But when Ruth finds herself booking her dream church for just six weeks away, she starts to panic. You can’t plan a whole wedding at such short notice. Can you?

Trina has only just walked down the aisle, but she’s already starting to question whether they can make their marriage work. Will they survive the honeymoon period, or have they just made a very big – and very expensive – mistake?

Erin has somehow found herself agreeing to be a bridesmaid for the tackiest wedding known to man. With drunk hens, ridiculous outfits and a terrifying wedding planner, just what has Erin signed up for?

The review: I have to start by saying my notes on this have disappeared on this and I’m beyond gutted because this was my type of book and I wanted to convince those of you who like rom coms that are witty and cool that this was your type of book too!

We’re back with Ruth, who we met in A Beginner’s Guide To Salad (see review below) and boy was I happy to get back to her and her clan! The range of characters are brilliant, and I found myself empathizing with them, although if I’m honest the one I warmed to the least was Erin, I like characters that are sarcastic and witty, but found her mostly just negative, sure the bride and wedding plans were, em difficult, and not to her taste, but she just didn’t stop giving out! Saying that it took away from nothing for me. As for the other characters, Ruth was lovely as ever, and I felt so bad for Trina. Actually Trina stayed with me for some time after, I was gutted for her in nearly every way, not least because at the start of the book I think I assumed she wasn’t a nice person just because of her family and then I got to know her. The chapters alternate between characters and they flew by so quickly. Ms. Joyce is excellent at both comedy and music and with the two of them combined and totally up my street I was happy out. This is a short review but hopefully it’s enough! Rom com perfection! Go get!

Now. Please check out my past reviews: A Beginners Guide to Salad here and The Wedding Date here

Rating: 5/5

The wedding date by Jennifer Joyce

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What they say: Will you…date me?

Delilah James, singleton and smoothie-addict, has six months to find a date for her oldest friend’s wedding. Oh, and to prove to her ex, best man Ben, that she has totally moved on since he dumped her out-of-the-blue nine months, eight days and seventeen hours ago…

So, with her two BFFs playing Cupid, Delilah launches herself into the high-tech, fast-paced and frankly terrifying world of dating. Luckily there’s the hot new guy at work, Adam Sinclair, to practice her flirting on – even if, as a colleague, he’s strictly off-limits!

Yet time’s running out and date after disastrous date forces Delilah to tell a little white lie – and invent a fake boyfriend! But will her secret crush on Adam ruin everything? Does she even care about Ben anymore? And is it too late to untangle her web of lies and take a real date to the wedding…?

NOTE: As always the cover image leads you to a universal Amazon buy link for the book.

The Review: I don’t think I need to remind you how much I loved A beginners guide to salad (see gush here) and so I was very excited to read this. Although it didn’t make quite the impact A Beginners Guide did, I really enjoyed it. We meet Delilah James, aged twenty four, who, as you see above, has six months to find a date for her friend’s wedding. Fairly early on in the book I remembered Ms. Joyce’s easy, warm style of writing and smile out loud comedy and I was happy out.
In fact, some of the comedy was beyond genius, her and her friend’s non existent use of the gym, the comparisons between her place of work:Brinkleys biscuit factory, and McVities, and just the general tone of the book which was so satisfying.
The dates were mixed, mostly I enjoyed them, but in places I was reminded how much younger Delilah is than me and I found it all a bit more difficult. Age shouldn’t really be an issue with books, but at thirty five, and as an avid reader of chick lit, a genre which pretty much needs you to connect in some way with the protagonist, I’m finding a bit more of a divide and when there is I can’t relate to the characters as much. The only other issue I had was with the text messages that were shown at the beginning of each chapter. Although some of these were genius, and some hilarious, there was the odd one that could be confusing.
I loved that there were so many things going on in the book, plans to be implemented for work, and other love stories all running alongside Delilah’s attempts to find an acceptable date.
There are many nods to various shows that I watched in my teens, such as That 70s show and Dawson’s Creek, which give the book a comfy familiar feeling. The characters were great, very vivid and real, and I really enjoyed it. All in all I’d definitely recommend. Thanks to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

The Week Ahead In Books …

The Lost and Found of Rosy Bennett by Jan Birley

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What they say: Rosy loved her London life – her job in a designer shop, her gorgeous West London family house and of course her gorgeous family (although young sons are enough to test anyone at times). All that disappears when, one unremarkable morning, after one unremarkable school run, her husband collapses on a crowded tube carriage and dies.
As she struggles her way through the grief, she discovers her husband’s secret life: secrets accounts, secret deals that their solicitor knew nothing of, secret debts and what looks like a secret “very close friend” at least.
Totally unprepared and suddenly in debt, Rosy is forced to leave London to start a new life with her incredibly reluctant boys in the countryside. Can angsty urban teenagers cope with farm life, let alone enjoy it? More to the point, can their mother? It’s certainly not going to be easy but when you are at rock bottom the only way is up.

Am on 60% of this at the moment and cannot tell you how this is totally doing it for me. Brilliant story-line, great great characters, coupled with an unusual premise … loving, loving, loving:)

Natalie’s Getting Married by Rosa Temple

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What they say: Career minded, Natalie Spencer, had never been in love. She could never understand what all the fuss was about. But when she met Jackson Humphries during Fresher’s Week at university, that all changed.
Utterly infatuated, Natalie quickly discovers the meaning of love and, before she knows it, she’s heading up the aisle – for the first time, that is.
This is a tale about four wedding dresses, a runaway groom and a girl who got so carried away, she couldn’t see true love staring her right in the face.

I have heard so so much about this and was thrilled to be offered it to review. I adore wedding stories, and this sounds like the ultimate in matrimonial craziness. Happy? Me? Very:)

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

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What they Say: Sky has made an abominable mistake at work. Something so awful she doesn’t dare stay in the HR office of XIM Technics for fear of being lynched by her colleagues.

So she gets on a train…

What happens when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year?

Sky Candy is about to find out.

Talk about a simple blurb that reels you in! When I was offered this I couldn’t jump high or fast enough! Really looking forward to it:)

 

The Wedding Date by Jennifer Joyce

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What they say: Delilah James, singleton and smoothie-addict, has six months to find a date for her oldest friend’s wedding. Oh, and to prove to her ex, best man Ben, that she has totally moved on since he dumped her out-of-the-blue nine months, eight days and seventeen hours ago…

So, with her two BFFs playing Cupid, Delilah launches herself into the high-tech, fast-paced and frankly terrifying world of dating. Luckily there’s the hot new guy at work, Adam Sinclair, to practice her flirting on – even if, as a colleague, he’s strictly off-limits!

Yet time’s running out and date after disastrous date forces Delilah to tell a little white lie – and invent a fake boyfriend! But will her secret crush on Adam ruin everything? Does she even care about Ben anymore? And is it too late to untangle her web of lies and take a real date to the wedding…?

Have also started this, and as always, Jennifer Joyce is playing a blinder. Great characters, everyday normality tinged with a nice dash of nuttiness. Brilliant!

So there you go. My week ahead. Am looking forward to every single second of it (does a little happy dance)! Anyhoo, hope you all have good reading weeks, I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned, or indeed what you’re reading at the mo. Happy Monday everyone:)

Bernadette

Stacking the Shelves (12-19 March 2016)

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Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. So in my case it’s all the e-books I’ve received from NetGalley, as a request from an author, from Amazon, or as a physical copy from the library or bookshop. Thanks again to Tynga’s reviews in particular for stating that she didn’t mind what genre was involved, I know not all of these will be everyone’s cup of tea, plus thanks to Hayley at Rather Too Fond Of Books, as this is where I’ve become a fan of the stacking the shelves meme:)

To begin with I got the following from Netgalley:

The Summer We Danced by Fiona Harper 

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I loved The Little Shop Of Hopes and Dreams by Fiona Harper (excuse the post, it was my first ever!). Her characters are fresh and interesting and her descriptions vivid and so I was so excited to get approved for this!

The Wedding Date by Jennifer Joyce

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You all know how I felt about The Beginner’s Guide to Salad. Brilliantly homely, with ‘you want to make them your best friend’ characters, funny writing, and in general oh so satisfying. Jennifer Joyce is a legend in my book (not MY book, but, oh, you know what I mean!).

 

And from Amazon:

Saven Deception by Siobhan Davis

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The ‘True Calling‘ series was my first foray into YA and I ADORED it! Amazing writing, twists and turns with constant questions in the air as to who could be trusted. Siobhan Davis was in the IWI writing group with me and I’m so proud of how amazing she’s doing, but you’re hearing this from someone who is speaking as a reader not just a friend. Cannot wait to get back to these. (The first books of both her series are free on Amazon at the moment).

Love Muffin and Chai Latte by Anya Wilde

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‘Love Muffin and Chai Latte follows the journey of Tabitha Lee Timmons as she deals with financial stress, loony relatives, some crooks, an unhappy bride to be, a grumpy old man and two heartbreakingly handsome men.’ Yup, the blurb got me.

Any Way You Slice It by Monique McDonell

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A marraige of convenience to sort out PLUS is free on Amazon at the moment. Nuff said.

Izzy’s cold feet by Sarah Louise Smith

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I think the cover got me here, I remembered seeing a lot about Amy and Zach and was going to go looking for that but then got sidetracked when I ‘peeked’ inside this. As you’d guess from the title it’s about someone having cold feet on their wedding day, Izzy can’t stop thinking of the ones that got away. Add in that the blurb tells us her sister went missing when she was young and I had to click!

So, a good week (em, maybe too good-shifts nervously from foot to foot;)) Happy reading everyone:)

A Beginner’s Guide to Salad by Jennifer Joyce

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What they say: Ruth loves nothing more than curling up in front of the telly with a family-sized bar of chocolate. She doesn’t do diets and she certainly doesn’t do exercise. But all that changes when she’s invited to her school reunion.

Bullied at school for being overweight, Ruth’s first reaction is to rip the invitation into a million pieces. But then Ruth hatches a plan. She’ll lose the weight and arrive at the reunion looking gorgeous and glamorous, leaving her old classmates in awe. Especially her former crush, Zack O’Connell.

With the help of her friends and a new, unbelievably hot colleague, Ruth begins her transformation. With six months until the reunion, losing weight will be a piece of cake, right?

 

The Review: As a lot of you probably know, I only started blogging last year. On commencing, I looked at many book blogs, scouring for reads that different reviewers had in common, so I had a starting point in terms of what to read. ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Salad’ was the first book that jumped out at me and I downloaded straight away. The reviews also led me to Jennifer Joyce’s website (take a look at it here) and I was hooked, not only was it bright and inviting, with so many interactive posts, but there were reviews on books I’d read that I agreed with wholeheartedly, as well as stories by Ms. Joyce that were short but clever and satisfying.

Alas, then my Kindle began to fill up and it wasn’t until I did an author Q&A with Jennifer (I know, the first name thing seems too informal, especially when you’re talking about that kind of talent, but anyhoo!), that I jumped back to it, and quickly downloaded A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas, a (free) short story that, as far as I know, is the prequel to the Salad book, and The Mince Pie Mix up (both started and tragically abandoned, following the great Kindle break-down of 2015).

The book started with some scenes that tore my heart in terms of what Ruth faced daily

‘She wished she had a friend more than anything, even more than she wanted a boyfriend’

Now if I’d thought that was bad, what followed, the description of the heartless bullying that she went through actually stopped me in my tracks. It was disgusting. This theme continued throughout the book, with ignorant salespeople and the friend of an acquaintance belittling her because of her size. When Ruth decided to lose weight to attend her high school re-union I put my hand over my eyes (in my head of course, because otherwise how could I have continued reading?!) and then settled into reading some of the gut wrenching (literally) and hilarious diets she decided to undertake, as well as exercise routines, some of which were horrendous.

The book was told from several points of view and I loved the way there was some overlap between events happening, making it unfold easily before your eyes. It actually reminded me of a film called ‘This Year’s love’ (yes, it does Feature David Gray’s song, in fact he has a cameo), which also features various couples, all trying to find their way through life, with hilarious goings-on causing miscommunications and mix-ups along the way.

In particular, some of the scenes in Ruth’s office kept me very entertained. The different characters were brilliant, the lovely housemate Billy, her best friend, Erin, who was JUST what she needed, Theo, who reminded me of Spike from Notting Hill. The Beginner’s Guide to Salad was real. Ruth wasn’t perfect and neither were the other characters. They were vivid and loud and brilliant. Throw all of this together with love triangles, love venn diagrams, whatever they were and you had my type of book perfection. I have a post coming up on authors I’m following as a result of books I’ve read as a blogger and Jennifer Joyce is one of them. I am now firmly a Fan.

Rating: 5/5