Chicklit

27th June 2015 – Book Review – I Followed the Rules (And Then I Broke Them) by Joanna Bolouri

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4 stars

All my lovely readers, its seems that summer is finally here!! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the car rooftops are down and the sunnies are out. The lovely weather would of course not be complete with the huge variety of summer reads that have recently been released for our reading pleasure.

One of these reads that will be hitting the bookshelves very soon is Joanna Bolouri’s ‘I Followed The Rules (and then I broke them).’ I must admit that this was an ideal, easy, summer read and I finished this in a day! The book features Catriona ‘Cat’ Buchanan, a journalist and single mother who is juggling motherhood and a career and as a result of this, has totally neglected her love life. The outcome of this is that she has been single for the past six years.

When her previously popular column as ‘Glasgow Girl’ for the Tribune starts to lose readership and ratings, inspired by an experience of one of her happily married colleagues, she decides to follow ‘ The Rules of Engagement’ written by Guy Wright, a book that she is secretly highly critical of as it is requires women to change themselves entirely in order to ‘ensnare’ a man. Her main goal is to prove that the ‘rules’ actually don’t work and the book is, to put it mildly a load of rubbish!

What follows is a tale of how certain preconceived notions meet their demise and how wrong stereo-typing can be, especially where gender roles are concerned. Cat is a strong, woman of today who is juggling a fairly successful, semi-freelance career while raising a bright, happy and confident child. She was acrimoniously dumped by her ex husband Peter, which she has still not quite gotten over, as the rejection still rankles and needless to say, they are still not quite on the best of terms. She speaks her mind quite often and quite eloquently and her language can be colourful at times. All these traits make her a very normal and relate able heroine. There is nothing ‘holier than thou’ about her.

The fun really starts when she starts to follow Guy Wright’s book and the subject of this man-snaring/book shaming experiment is her sister Helen’s drop dead handsome dentist Tom. There are quite a few comedic moments when Cat struggles with inner monologue while trying to be the anal prototype of the prim and proper lady that the book wants every woman who wants to keep a man in a permanent, lasting relationship to be. The tips given in the book on how to behave are the exact opposite to Cat’s actual personality and how she behaves in reality. She is an open and gutsy person, almost a modern day Bridget Jones, prone to bouts of swearing, a love of horror movies and country music and over-sharing, whereas the book advices her to be a closed up clam. The best part is that the book actually starts to work on the slightly old-fashioned and stuffy seeming Tom, who has the looks of a movie star but seems to be too straight-laced for the feisty Cat. The man does not even want to know about Cat’s daughter and the book actually advices her not to talk about children!

To make things more complicated, Cat meets Dylan, the attractive and charismatic owner of the local movie house and after a few too many drinks, things get seriously hot and heavy. Later to her dismay, she finds out that he is her own arch nemesis, the writer of the book that she has been following and criticising on her column. As part of column, she is asked by her boss to interview Guy Wright and get further tips from him to make her dating project a success. What follows makes this book the entertaining read that it is, as a war of wits ensues between Dylan and Cat, tips are shared, insults are traded, a rather tasty Italian dish is prepared by Dylan and some amazing chemistry is created between the two!

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and loved the very ‘real’ and ‘unapologetic for being herself’ heroine Cat with her ready wit, use of questionable language, taste for slasher/horror flicks and a penchant for country music. She is a good mother, with a humorous outlook on the rewarding, but often times challenging task of raising kids single handedly. Her relationship with her matchmaking sister Helen is endearing and she shares a great friendship with Rose and Kerry. She eventually comes to terms with her unresolved feelings on how badly her marriage ended with her ex husband Peter and even gives him her blessing when he re-marries.

One  thing that I would have liked to see in this book, however is more development of Dylan’s character, as although the reader does find out a lot about his character and personality, not a lot is shared about his background, his family and what makes him the person that he is. As a reader, I would have definitely wanted to know more about his background and what made him write the ‘rules’ book.

Overall, quite a great read and worth reading for the witty repartee between the lead characters, the comic mishaps that occur when Cat follows ‘The Rules of Enagement and to learn how, after six years of singledom, Cat finally gets her happy ending. ‘I Followed the Rules’ is published by Quercus and is out on the 2nd of July.

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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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5th May 2014 – Book Review: Chase by Jill Knapp

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I love reading novels written by authors from the Stateside, they offer a unique and fresh perspective and are somehow more honest and frank (no offence meant to British writing). An amazing new writing talent to watch out from the States is Jill Knapp and if you are a fan of Sex and the City and Rom Com movies, then you will absolutely love ‘Chase’.

‘Chase’ is the story of Amalia Hastings, a 23 year old Jersey Girl, who has moved to Manhattan to study in NYU but is finding the life and men in particular, fickle in her newly adopted city. The reader is also introduced to Amalia’s close friends Cassandra and Olivia who have ‘man problems’ of their own. Cassandra is oblivious and on occasion tolerant of her boyfriend Bryce’s wandering eye, but how long will it be before she wakes up to his misdemeanour’s? Meanwhile, Olivia is having a clandestine relationship with a man who may be out of bounds for her.

I really enjoyed reading Amalia and her friends’ story and this novel provided a keen insight into the Manhattan culture. Also, what made the book unique for me was the ending (you, dear reader must read the novel to find out what it is).

Amalia is a strong heroine, period. She learns a lot of life lessons throughout the novel and faces one relationship catastrophe after another. When her boyfriend of many years, Nicholas decides to break off their relationship, straight after her birthday, in the aftermath of a huge fight, she is left feeling lost. This leads her into an ill-advised relationship with her classmate and friend Michael, someone who she has found attractive for a long time. An added complication is that Michael already has a girlfriend and appears to be leading Amalia on.

As a reader, you know where all of this is headed but kudos to the writer for creating a heroine who makes the mistakes that anyone would make in the situation described and but rises through all of this, battle scarred and bruised but wiser and determined to pursue what she really wants in life. She is unashamedly honest, forefront and a true realist. She makes mistakes but she is not scared to admit to them. She is proud of what she is and likes to keep it ‘real’. I especially like one of the scenes in the novel, where she tells her ex-boyfriend exactly what she thinks of his pretentious new attitude and lifestyle!

Most of the men described in the novel are not very likeable….however there are more instalments in the Chase series which I am definitely looking forward to reading to know more about the adventures of Amalia and her friends and hope that we will see male characters as amazing as the female ones!

This novel is well worth reading and gets a well-deserved four and a half stars from me.

Watch out for Chase, out this summer, being published by Harper Impulse.
 

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19th April 2013 – Five Books of Summer that I am looking forward to!

As spring gives way into summer, we can look forward to some amazing chick lit novels. In truth, summer is the season of chick lit as many of us hit the beach, get out that deck chair, slap on some sun block, sit back, relax and out comes our lovely, irresistible chick lit novel and hours of reading fun!

To this end, I  have compiled a list of chick lit novels out his summer which I cannot wait to read, hopefully on a nice summer holiday to somewhere hot (we can all dream, can’t we!)

Written in the Stars by Ali Harris

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Book Description on Amazon:

One decision + two different paths = how many happy endings? Have you ever wondered ‘What if…?’ What if you’d taken that other job, gone on a date with that sweet guy, moved to a different city? Would an alternative life path have led to a happier ending? Now imagine if you could have taken both paths… When Bea Bishop slips while walking down the aisle on her wedding day, she is momentarily knocked unconscious. And in a flash, her world splits and two separate parallel lives take her on two very different journeys. In one, Bea flees back down the aisle and out of the church. In the other, she glides blissfully towards Adam, her intended. Each path will take her on a very different journey. And each will see her life change for better and for worse. But which story will lead to her happy-ever-after?

Out 5th June 2014

The Country Escape by Fiona Walker

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Book Description on Amazon

Hidden amid lush parkland, Eardisford is the ultimate English country retreat and it’s just been sold for the first time in its history. Romantic daredevil Kat Mason has been bequeathed the estate’s lakeside sanctuary, Lake Farm, until she dies or marries. But the new owners want her out now . . .

In rides charming playboy Dougie Everett, the man hired to sweep Kat off her feet and off the property. Dougie loves nothing more than the thrill of the chase, but does he risk losing his heart along the way?

Out 5th June 2014

What a Girl Wants by Lindsay Kelk

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 Book Description on Amazon

Tess Brookes was the girl with a plan.

Now she’s the girl with a choice.

Should she stay in London and start her own advertising agency with her best friend and potential boyfriend Charlie? Or should she head to exciting Milan to pursue both a new career as a photographer and a new man, the enigmatic and elusive (and highly irritating) Nick?

For the first time, Tess has to choose between the life she always dreamed of and a future she never imagined possible. With her heart and her head pulling her in different directions, Tess has to make a life-changing decision about What a Girl Wants.

Out 17th July 2014

It had to be you by Jo Carnegie

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Book Description on Amazon

The worst break-up ever . . .

 Lizzy Spellman has been dumped. On her birthday. In front of all her friends. By the man she thought was the one. Someone even filmed it, so now she’s a YouTube hit too.

. . Could be the best thing that has ever happened to her

 When she thinks things can’t get any worse, she meets the rudest and most cynical man in the world, and finds a new reason for living. To prove him wrong.

Love does exist, and she’s going to find it . . .

 Out 28th August 2014

One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond

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 Book Description on Amazon

Is Italian really the language of love? A new class of students hopes to find out.

Anna’s recently been told the father she’s never met is Italian. Now she’s baking focaccia, whipping up tiramisu and swotting up on her vocabulary, determined to make it to Italy so she can find him in person.

Catherine’s husband has walked out on her, and she’s trying to pick up the pieces of her life. But she’ll need courage as well as friends when she discovers his deception runs even deeper than infidelity.

Sophie’s the teacher of the class, who’d much rather be back in sunny Sorrento. She can’t wait to escape the tensions at home and go travelling again. But sometimes life – and love – can surprise you when you least expect it.

As the evening class gets underway, friendships form and secrets from Italy begin to emerge. With love affairs blossoming in the most unlikely places, and hard decisions to face, it’s going to be a year that Anna, Catherine and Sophie will never forget.

Out 5th June 2014

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11th April 2014 Book Review- Shot through the Heart by Matt Cain

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five stars 2

 

It is a rarity to find a budding new male author whose talents lie in writing Chick Lit. Matt Cain is one such rare find. Although Matt is not new to writing as he has written for The Times and contributes a monthly column to Attitude magazine, he is new to writing fiction. However after reading this novel, all I have to say is Jackie Collins, Victoria Fox, Tilly Bagshawe and the like, watch out….. you have competition!

I have just finished reading his fabulous book ‘Shot Through the Heart’ and couldn’t wait to start typing out the review!

The book is about the curious love triangle between Mia Sinclair, one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies, a hunky British-born paparazzo Leo Hendersen and gorgeous and supremely talented actor Billy Sinclair who has come to terms with his own identity but is scared of letting the whole world know his secret.

Mia is fed up with her image as the ‘First Lady of Love’, having starred in multiple money-making chick flicks that have done wonders for her career but have done nothing to make her acceptable in Hollywood as a serious actress. She longs to break out of this ‘mould’ and wants to make her mark as a serious ‘oscar-worthy’ actress. Concurrent with this is her desire to find a soulmate, who would be happy to share her crazy Hollywood lifestyle, without being overwhelmed or intimidated by the paparazzi that seem to follow her everywhere. Funnily enough, despite a disastrous first meeting, Mia thinks she has finally found ‘the one’ in form of Leo Sinclair, a Briton living in LA, working as a paparazzo. Although natural enemies due to the nature of their professions, the attraction between Mia and Leo is undeniable and the two start dating.

Further complication is thrown in when Mia starts getting too close for comfort to her co-star, the drop dead gorgeous actor Billy Sinclair, all as part of publicity for her and Billy’s new film ‘War of the Words’.

Billy has his own deep, dark, secret and is hiding behind a facade, too scared to own up to who he really is as he is too scared of losing his popularity as one of Hollywood’s top actors.

This novel reads like a perfect soap opera, with glitz, glamour and gossip aplenty. Mia and Leo’s love story is fresh, unique and charming. Billy Sinclair’s character is also well-described and the reader cannot help but feel for him when he describes his inner turmoil about hiding his secret life or when he describes the violent treatment meted out to him in his dark past There are some very interesting side characters in form of Hector, Mia’s gay lovelorn PA and Violet, the bitchy, manipulative, ‘Cruella De Vile’ lookalike publicist from hell. Matt’s writing is crisp and fast-paced and there is never a boring moment in the novel. Best of all, everyone gets a happy ending and all’s well that ends well.

Although the book pays homage to the ‘bonkbuster’ genre, it is fairly clean compared to the other books of the genre. Having said that, there is a decidedly tangible sexual chemistry between our hero and heroine and various references to the odd quirks, lifestyles, sexual habits and behaviours of the Hollywood jetset which make for juicy reading!

All in all, this is a great first novel which gets a full five stars from me. I highly recommend that you pre-order your copy today, available from 24th April 2013, link below.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shot-Through-Heart-Matt-Cain/dp/144723829X

 

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