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14th June 2014 – Book Review: It Had To Be You by Lynda Renham

 

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Summer’s here, the sun’s out, the birds are chirping and everyone has their sunnies and flip flops out! To mark the coming of summer, there are some amazing summer reads out and one of these happens to be Lynda Renham’s hysterically funny, witty and mood lifting novel ‘It Had To Be You’. Lynda’s forte has always been humorous romances and she does not fail to impress this time around with her latest offering.

‘It Had To Be You’ is hapless heroine Binki Grayson’s story. Binki is down on her luck as on a particularly disastrous Christmas Eve, her life unravels. After being sexually propositioned by her odious boss, she is fired unceremoniously when she turns him down in no uncertain terms. On coming home early, she finds her boyfriend Oliver ‘in flagrante delicto’ with his own boss in their shared apartment! Out of work and out of a boyfriend, Binki leaves the apartment she shared with Oliver to find solace with her parents. Once there, she discovers that she has inherited a house from her deceased Aunt Vera. However, Aunt Vera, it seems did not quite make up her mind and has also left the house to her financial advisor, the rich, handsome and infinitely arrogant William Ellis.

Unfortunately for Binki, William has already made his home in ‘Driftwood’, the house that Aunt Vera bequeathed to one of them and what follows is a story of comic mishaps, dodgy dealings, jilted lovers, sex shop shenanigans and loads and loads of chocolate (for those of us who love chocolates).

Binki is a loveable, scatty heroine who does not fit the size zero ideal. She loves her chocolate and is charmingly self-deprecating. I absolutely loved her observations in the novel, right from her descriptions of Oliver’s man-hunting boss Amanda’s ample assets and her detailed analysis of her lecherous ex boss, wart-nosed and all, down to her candidness about her failed attempts to diet and her hilarious thoughts on William Ellis’s vitamin taking and condom collecting habits. Similarly, William Ellis is the ideal hero, slightly mysterious and arrogant at first but the reader gets to know more of him as the novel commences and they cannot help but start to like him.

Renham’s writing hooks the reader and the story flows as Binki and William’s initial hostility with one another gives away to lasting and easy friendship and ultimately things start to get complicated as deeper feelings develop. A further spanner in the works is thrown, when Oliver, Binki’s cheating boyfriend goes on a mission to win her back and ultimately make her his wife. William has a complication of his own in the form Andrea, his own ex-fiancée who loved him and left him due to his workaholic tendencies but now wants him back.

The story is hugely entertaining and will appeal to fans of Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes and Jenny Colgan. It has plenty of humour, a huge dash of romance and amazing chemistry between the hero and heroine. For me the chemistry between the lead pair is the most important aspect of any chick lit novel and it is for this very reason that I feel chick lit aficionados everywhere will adore this book. This book is entertaining from start to finish and you must watch out for the soap opera-like ending and a mini cat fight in the end, which would give any current Hollywood feuds a run for their money! A sweetly nostalgic touch is added as Tony Bennett’s ‘It Had to Be You’ plays an important part in the story.

I give this novel a very apt four and a half stars and urge you to read it! ‘It Had to be You’ is published by Raccous Publishing and is out now.

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18th May 2014 – Book Review – Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon

Hello to my lovely blog readers, I am reviewing a very special book today, after a gap of nearly two weeks.

I know I have been a little inactive on my blog, but its been a manic two weeks for me due to busy times at work and in my personal life.

That said, lets get to the important business of reviewing an amazing book….

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There are books that make you laugh, there are books that make you cry and then there are books that make you do both and make you think’ This has happened to me….I can relate to this’. Paige Toon’s Thirteen Wedding is such a book. While reading this, I was so engrossed in the story that I felt one with the characters, rooting for them, feeling with them and ultimately wanting that perfect happy ending for them that are usually a feature of all good chick lit novels. Let me say at this point that I love Paige Toon’s novels, her stories have a perfect combination of love, longing and angst combined with feisty heroines and swoon-worthy heroes.

Thirteen Weddings is Aussie picture editor and part time wedding photographer Bronte’s and her new but all too familiar colleague Alex’s story. Bronte meets and has a one night stand with Alex at her close friend Polly’s hen night when Alex is on a break from his long term relationship with girlfriend of 10 years, Zara. Although both Alex and Bronte feel a special connection that night, they part ways and then meet again, out of the blue at their place of work.

What ensues is a tale of unrequited love, yearning, life lessons, sacrifice and making difficult decisions, all set amongst the thirteen weddings for which Bronte is assistant photographer. Enter Lachie, a handsome, fellow twenty something Aussie wedding singer, who instantly takes a shine to Bronte and you have love triangle that could give the Jen/Brad/Ang one (in its heyday) a run for its money. We also find that our heroine, despite being multi-talented and confident individual, has a very dysfunctional family who have some skeletons in their closet. This novel is a perfect summer read and although it is light-hearted at places, Bronte and Alex’s dilemma is described with an intensity and passion that you would not normally find in chick lit novels.

I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written, meaty read and I must say, in a couple of places, I was so drawn into the novel that I was actually cross with the heroine for making certain rash decisions and behaving in the way that she did. But for this very reason, this is a good novel, because the story has been concluded very realistically and it does have a few unexpected twists, especially in the end which the reader does not expect. I also loved the well-described hugely entertaining thirteen weddings that Paige photographed, a few memorable ones featured reluctant spouses, a runaway bride, bratty children playing pageboys as well as Bronte’s friend Marie and Russ’s small but beautiful wedding in the sun. The most poignant and heartbreaking moment in the novel is when Bronte has to photograph that one wedding that she never thought she would or could. Serious issues such as her childhood friend Polly’s battle with alcohol are also tackled and Bronte’s other friendships with Marie, Rachel and Bridgette give a warm feel to this novel. Also, watch out for cameos of characters from Paige’s previous novels, ‘Pictures of Lily’, ‘Lucy in the Sky’ and ‘One Perfect Summer’.

For me, both the heroes of the novel, are intriguing in their own way. Alex is the distant, sometimes closed and unattainable but immensely attractive man that stole Bronte’s heart and Lachie is the charming, handsome, larger than life lover and friend to Bronte who is there for her during happy and sad times. You feel for both Bronte and Alex when they struggle to fight their burgeoning attraction for each other and you can’t help but fall a little in love with Lachie, so full of warmth and charm and obvious adoration for Bronte.

This lovely novel deserves all of its five stars and is published by Simon & Shuster UK, out on the 22nd of May 2014. Pre-order yours now!

 

 

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27th April 2014 – Book Review : Sealed with a Kiss by Rachel Lucas

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A book should be all about escapism. A good novel is one where, whilst reading, the reader is transported into a new, exciting place, transfixed by the characters of the novel to such an extent that they are unaware of their surroundings.

Rachel Lucas’s charming tale ‘Sealed with a Kiss’ manages to do exactly this, as while reading the book, I found myself being transported to a remote but lovely Scottish island of Auchenmor, where our heroine Kate decides to take on a job as Girl Friday to Scottish Laird Roderick, after being dumped unceremoniously by her long standing but boring boyfriend Ian on her best friend’s wedding.

This is Kate’s chance to get away from it all, and believe me, if you as a reader also want to get away from it all for a few hours, then read this enchanting novel. This book is quintessential chick lit; it has humour, romance, a tall, dark and handsome but brooding hero, a wicked rival, loyal friends and to top it all of loads of cute animals, including a very naughty puppy and also a sweet little seal pup!

The author has described the island of Auchenmor with great detail and clarity, giving the reader a real taste of how the life in a remote Scottish island would be like and the novel has some winning and memorable characters in the form of Bruno at the coffee shop, Susan and Tom, the much in love couple who live on the island, the ever present Jean and Billy who work on the estate, Kate’s best friend Emma and her husband Sam and their precocious daughters Katherine and Jennifer and lastly, Elizabeth, Kate’s doting but over-protective mother. They make this novel even more special.

There is good chemistry between the Laird Roderick and Kate and the dark, brooding and occasionally grumpy Roderick, often reminded me of the heroes from the novels of yore. You could very easily liken him to the mysterious Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre or the darkly attractive Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights. I love the way how the author described the tentative, uneasy friendship between Roderick and Kate and how this very slowly developed into something more, despite the plentiful obstacles and misunderstandings that came their way, in form of the island’s resident lothario Finn and Roderick’s vampish ex, Fiona. A real highlight in this novel is the celebration of Hogamany, where Roderick hosts a very Scottish New Year’s party in his castle, cue some very cute men wearing kilts!

All in all, this is a very special novel and one that the reader will not forget in a hurry not only due to its picturesque description of Scottish isles and wildlife but also because it has a lot of ‘heart’ in it. It is a ‘feel good’ novel and I had a warm, fuzzy, ‘awwww’ feeling when I finished it.

This book gets a well-deserved five stars from me and I highly recommend it to lovers of all things chick lit!

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