Dinner Party by Tracy Bloom

dinnerparty

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

What they say: Never has an unexpected guest caused such chaos!

Three couples take it in turns to host a monthly dinner party.

Beth, Sarah and Marie have been friends forever. Now they are grown up, with busy lives, busy husbands, busy kids… but they still find time to meet up over dinner once a month. A cosy, comfortable gathering of happy couples – or so they thought.

Until one night, someone brings along a last-minute guest whose wife has just left him.

Simon is standing on the doorstep in floods of tears. While the women do their best to console him, their husbands feel the need to mark their territory.

And as Simon becomes more involved with the group, his presence changes everything these three couples thought they knew about each other, leading to a final dinner party that no-one will ever forget.

From Amazon chart bestseller Tracy Bloom, Dinner Party is a funny and moving read that will make you see your marriage and friendships in a whole new light… and make you think twice about inviting your best mates round for dinner. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Nick Spalding and Gill Sims.

The Review: So I reviewed The Last Laugh only the other day but I felt the need to get straight to this, The Dinner Party, which sounded like exactly what I was int he mood for. And it totally was! Sorry to tell you but the link will lead you to a pre-order link, so you’ve a little bit to wait before its release, but I think, at that time of the year, ie end September, a comedy such as this will be a treat to randomly arrive into your Kindle in-box, so I’m thinking of you here;)

As you see above, Beth, Sarah and Marie are old friends, but ones that don’t catch up that often anymore. There may be a reason for this as we are given three very different women, all with their own insecurities and all with ranging personalities. The book leans more towards Beth than the others, but we are nicely put into the shoes of the others and, in a nice twist, we get to meet their husbands too. Now I know people who read my reviews are about to say ‘oh no, here we go again,’ but it has to be done. I love love love multiple povs and a cast of characters that’s done well and they most definitely are here! Depending on your personality you’ll empathise with different people, but I have to say that the people I considered bang on were the husbands, and in particular Chris and Duncan. The women, on the whole, weren’t really my cup of tea and I have to say I was so disappointed that I leaned towards a full on dislike of Beth and could not get what everyone was saying about her being so amazing. Beth was one of these people who decided that everyone only saw her for her weight, and we heard about it very regularly. We were constantly told how lovely and helpful she was, but actually all I saw was someone who was meddling and way too critical of everyone else. Her blurts were mean and cruel at times and I got a bit tired of everyone acting like it was endearing that she was so upfront. Marie, was an, um interesting character, obsessed with how she looked and Sarah, well actually I loved Sarah who was having a crisis of confidence of her own.

The guys were brilliantly done, from Chris, who was so underappreciated, to Duncan who reminded me of one of the side characters in Notting Hill to Tony who played his role to a tee! Then there was Simon, lovely Simon, who I nodded along with. I loved the concepts of the dinner party and laughed along with the guys as they were aghast at all the etiquette involved (reminds me of previous rants I’ve had on how things have gone so crazy in terms of food and drink, how Gin and Wine are treated as if they’re not alcohol, breadsticks are acceptable while your sliced pan isn’t, people use the term ‘pan-fried’ and ‘rustic’ to make things sound posher -that sort of thing!) and the comedy flowed along. I’ll admit that (in the same way someone on eg the X Factor might give someone who sings like Leona Lewis a bit of advice-they know she’s the best at what she does but it’s just a little aside), the ending was a bit rushed or something, I’m not quite sure what it was, but I felt it could have been a bit more neatly parceled, and I think Duncan’s story could have flowed a little bit more and been rounded up nicer so we saw it happening, but as I’ve just said, this is just an opinion and all in all I loved this book. Very much recommended. Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom

thelastlaugh

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

What they say: Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair…

Frankly, she had enough on her plate already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago.

And now this. Enough is enough! Jenny vows to keep both revelations a secret. She takes her life into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?

The Review: I have to admit I put this book off and off (very oddly as I agpred Ms. Bloom’s ‘No On Has Sex on Christmas day’ read review  here

). I dreaded the fact that most people seemed to be laughing through the tears, and had had a few weeks of tough things happening to all of those around me, and this coupled with a lack of sleep had left me both fragile and not feeling very ‘me.’

The odd thing, so, was that I should choose the ten year anniversary of my dad’s death and a weekend of knocks and bumps in general to say ‘eff it’ and read both this and The Happiness List by Annie Lyons (another excellent book- read the review here ). Maybe I thought I was all cried out. Maybe I was challenging myself. Either way I’m so happy I read both. But enough about me-this is all about Emma. Lovely Emma who we meet first in the prologue on the 25th June 1996 in Bataria Beach Kassiopi in Corfu, where she is celebrating her 25th birthday and having the time of her life. It actually is the time of her life because fast forward to present time and she uses that day as a placemark for when she was at her happiest. The prologue leads you with a one-liner that says ‘boom! You’re in for one hell of a ride!’ (It doesn’t ACTUALLY say this, but you know what I mean).

Now, twenty years later she’s at her birthday dinner and it isn’t quite as special. We get the impression that the love of her life is the same guy from before, but things aren’t so rosy and Emma has potentially devastating news. This book drops a large cold boulder into your stomach with Emma’s health, her lovely dad’s dementia, a mother who doesn’t realise her daughter’s worth, a daughter who needs a mother and a son who’s growing up. As Emma decides to make the end count, you are met with a cacophony of images that bring you back to your own old friends, your own life, while making you appreciate what you have.  It is fun, funny, beautiful and devastating and reminds me that Tracy Bloom is at the top of the pile for rom com authors. Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

 

Stacking The Shelves

staackingtheshelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, where you share the books that you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks, audio and paperback books, including books you’ve bought, borrowed or received an ARC of.

So given #ChickLitMay I’ve gone a bit chick lit nutty this week, and am looking forward to all of them (there’s one outlier;))!

singlewoman

To start with Tracy Bloom because, to be honest, she’s romantic comedy/ chick lit royalty in my book at this stage! Can’t WAIT to read!!

What they say: What do you do when you find your love-life in ruins? Get revenge on every man who ever broke your heart of course….

Suzie Miller, a disillusioned agony aunt, can’t believe she’s been dumped from a great height yet again (this time by text, straight after they’ve had sex… twice!). So she decides the time is right to make every one of her exes feel the pain she felt when they carelessly cast her aside.

Her methods are unusual but humiliation on a grand scale is no less than they deserve.

Euphoric that she’s finally stood up for herself she starts suggesting outrageous ways for her readers to deal with their relationship nightmares too. Suddenly everyone wants Suzie’s advice. Finally content with being single and enjoying her blossoming career it seems as though happiness is within her grasp. That is until a man gets in the way.

Single Woman Seeks Revenge is a romantic comedy with a kick: a kick up the backside to any man who believes he got away with treating a woman badly and to any woman who doesn’t fight back.

 

ottercombe bay

If I was ever to visit anywhere it’d be Devon. It seems to be the setting of so many gorgeous descriptive chick lit books! Looking forward to this!

What they say: Escape to the Devon coast, with Part One of a brand-new four-part serial from the author of Willow Cottage.

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

 

thecottageathope

I ‘met’ Hannah Ellis some time ago now when I got a review copy for her first book, and have stayed in contact and continued to read her warm, feel good rom coms since!

What they say: Lizzie Beaumont has it all: a great career, a wealthy fiancé, and the wedding of her dreams just months away. But when her fiancé puts work before her again, she sets off for a week in the picturesque town of Hope Cove. She’s hoping for time away from the chaos to find herself.

Instead, she finds Max.

When the gorgeous guy next door asks her for decorating help, Lizzie finds herself all too eager to please. The week she expected to drag suddenly flies by, and before she knows it, she has to return to her other life. The life with the impending marriage and the fiancé she loves.

Or does she?

One week with Max has left her questioning her life choices. Is her fiancé the man of her dreams, or just the man who asked? Now Lizzie must decide what her life will be. Will she go for the safe and predictable route, or take a chance on a man she hardly knows? No matter what she does, someone’s heart is going to break. She just doesn’t want it to be hers.

 

thewindmill

Have heard so many good things about this!

What they say: As Rosie Barnes serves glasses of tangy lemonade and ice-cold prosecco at her summer garden party, she couldn’t be happier. The Windmill Café, with its peppermint green sails is a roaring success and has given Rosie a chance to escape the heartbreak of her busy life in London.

But then disaster strikes when popstar Suki Richards is taken unexpectedly ill at the party. Now all eyes are on Rosie…have her famous raspberry cupcakes poisoned her most high-profile guest? Or is someone else trying to damage Suki’s chance of stardom?

If Rosie wants to save her picture-perfect life, and the reputation of her beloved Windmill Café, she’s going to have to get to the bottom of the mystery…and fast!

 

sunshine at the

(whispers) I’ve never ACTUALLY read a Debbie Johnson book, despite having a number on my Kindle (shuffles away shiftily … )

What they say: Come to the Comfort Food Café this spring for sunshine, smiles and plenty of truly scrumptious lemon drizzle cake.

‘As cosy as a buttered crumpet’ Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson

‘Summer wouldn’t be Summer without Debbie Johnson!’ Jenny Oliver

My name is Willow Longville. I live in a village called Budbury on the stunning Dorset coast with my mum Lynnie, who sometimes forgets who I am. I’m a waitress at the Comfort Food Café, which is really so much more than a café … it’s my home.

For Willow, the ramshackle café overlooking the beach, together with its warm-hearted community, offers friendship as a daily special and always has a hearty welcome on the
menu. But when a handsome stranger blows in on a warm
spring breeze, Willow soon realises that her quiet country
life will be changed forever.

Curl up with this gorgeous novel and make yourself
at home at the Comfort Food Café.

 

appleby

 

This next one is one of those books I’ve been hearing about forever! It was originally published as a four-part serial but this is the full thing.

What they say: Sometimes the life you want isn’t the one you need…

Freya has skirted through life, drifting from place to place and job to job. Always restless, it seems she’s finally found a place to settle down (with a sexy boyfriend to match) in a small and cosy town. But she still finds herself thinking of the rolling hills of her Cumbrian childhood home: Appleby Farm. They’re only dreams though… there’s a life right here ready to be lived.

But a phone call rocks the new life she has built. Tragedy has threatened Appleby Farm and Freya makes the choice to return home, leaving her lovely boyfriend and safe job behind. But maybe the grass at Appleby Farm will be a shade greener this time…

Now, ever-restless Freya must finally make a choice about what she’d like her life to be. With two lives, two men and two futures to choose from… who does she really want to be?

Appleby Farm is a charming, funny and romantic story for anyone looking for a feel-good, light-hearted read, from the author of bestselling Ivy Lane.

 

plotting

I’ll admit I actually thought this one was a book on plotting but then the actual plot got me and so I bought anyway!

What they say: A Novel for New Beginnings….. set in the Derbyshire Peak District

“Women reach fifty and think they’re on the verge of liberation and excitement, and their broken-down men just want to stay home and fart. Or in my case, go and live in a cabin in the Rockies and fart.”

Sally Howe plans to spend her husband-free year trying her hand at becoming a wildly successful author. But she’s beset by distractions – the first being a queue of local lotharios, led by young Billy Bathgate, the village postmaster with a tartan trouser habit and an obsession with drain rods. Then her delightfully empty nest fills up again – her younger son boomerangs home with a new-found vegan-activist agenda, and her DIY-crazy brother comes to stay.

Warm, wise and funny, Plotting for Beginners offers a wry evaluation of long-haul marriages, plus a lesson on how to hit the menopause running and seize your freedom when the family has gone.

And the outlier- very excited to have this land into my Kindle- One Click by the brilliant Andrea Mara …

oneclick

What they say: When Lauren takes a photo of a stranger on a beach and shares it online, she has no idea what will come of that single click.

Her daughters are surprised that she posted a photo without consent, but it’s only when she starts to get anonymous messages about the woman on the beach that she deletes the photo. It’s too little too late, and the messages escalate, prompting Lauren to confess to the woman. The woman has her own dark story, one that might explain the messages, but Lauren isn’t convinced. Then her ex-husband begins to harass her, telling her she shares too much online and brought this on herself.

She’s also dealing with other problems. A difficult client at work starts to show up in places he shouldn’t be. Her younger daughter is behaving out of character and Lauren can’t work out what’s wrong. And the cracks are literally beginning to show in her old South Dublin house, mirroring the cracks in her carefully curated life.

Meanwhile, the messages from the internet troll become more personal and more vindictive. Her friends feel she should stand up to her stalker, but Lauren isn’t so sure. And then she makes one small mistake that brings everything tumbling down.

No One Ever Has Sex On Christmas Day by Tracy Bloom

What better way to start December than a Christmas read? So here’s one that’ll be hard to beat!

noone

Length: 298 pages

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

What they say: A dream family Christmas or a total nightmare? Katy and Ben are about to find out…

Katy’s been stuck in the office away from her family so she wants it all: snow (fake or real), the Michael Bublé Christmas album, whatever it takes.

There’s only one thing missing as far as her husband Ben is concerned: another baby to complete their family. But Katy isn’t so sure she’s ready yet…

Ben may be playing the role of Master Elf in the pre-school nativity but he is struggling to master his own family life. With romantically-challenged friends, an ex who refuses to go away and Katy’s mum’s 64-year-old toy boy thrown into the mix, Christmas looks like it could be going off the rails… Never mind family planning, can Katy and Ben even plan to make it to the end of Christmas Day?

From the no. 1 bestselling author of No-one Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday, this book will make you cry with laughter, and then book your flights abroad for the festive season. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Milly Johnson.

The review: I know I’ve said this before, but how frigging excellent is it when you go looking for an author on Amazon because you loved their sense of humour, settings and everything else and find they have numerous books out?! (Yes, it’s gonna be another gushy one, everyone beware!)

So, to start off with, this is a book that has a smattering of characters, all with different roles, and all equally memorable, which is just how I like it. We begin the story with a  lead up to Christmas. Katy’s husband, Ben, has decided to pull out all the stops in terms of Christmas decorating, and we receive the news that Katy’s mum has been having a fling with a younger Spanish man, and wants to bring him to theirs for Christmas dinner.

From the off I found the humour to be loud, but not crude, which is exactly what I love and by only eight percent in I had already laughed (properly) or smiled about six times! I highlighted on and on which was ridiculous, but from the sense of being IN the story, to the comedy, to the characters-well, I just couldn’t stop!

There was Katy and Ben, where Katy wasn’t sure which should take precedence, her career or another baby, which was what her husband, Ben wanted. Ben was a stay at home dad, and I adored his little flip outs that reminded me of the crazy days- the ones where things don’t go to plan and you feel like you’re juggling everything on your own but don’t want to upset the bread winner, as they’ve so much on their plate too.

We also got to see into other people’s homes, Alison and Matthew, with Alison, hmm, let’s just say she was a little bit het up over things that may or may not have been necessary to get so upset over (her twins ‘ place in the nativity play ruining their whole future for one!). This also led us to meet the brilliant Ian, a well known womaniser with eyes for their nanny, much to Alison’s horror!

Their was also Ben’s best friend, Braindead who I adored (adored, adored!) who had decided that maybe he was one for committment with his long term girlfriend, another excellent character!

This is perfect for people who heart films such as ‘This Years Love’ with laugh out loud moments, heartwarming ‘aww’ moments, all put together with some nailbiting ‘what are they going to DO?!’ bits. Loved it! Thanks so much to Boookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Note 1: My only problem was that I hadn’t read Tracy Bloom’s other books first and met the characters. I had read it as a standalone but wished I’d read in order. But you can (and I will go back!)! Find them here!

Note 2: Watch out for where the title is mentioned in the book. You won’t expect it!

Rating: 5/5