How To Get Hitched in 10 Days (a short story) by Samatha Tonge

Tour banner HTGHITD for JENNY

 

howtogethitched

Amazon UK

Amazon US

What they say: HOW NOT TO GET THE GIRL… Meet Mikey, every girl’s best friend – he bakes the creamiest cheesecake, loves movie nights and is a great dance partner. For Jasmine, Mikey is the perfect flatmate – he owns a 50s diner that turns out the best food around, gives the best bear hugs and amazing romance advice – after all they’re scoping out the same hot guys! So when her boyfriend proposes in the worst possible way, Jazz knows her best friend will be there to pick up the pieces with gourmet popcorn, Pinot sleepovers and a shoulder to lean on. But Mikey isn’t about to let Jasmine give up on love, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to mend her broken heart – even if it means helping the one person who sees him as the enemy… Because at the end of the day, all’s fair in the pursuit of true love… right?

 

The Review: First off how exciting is it to be part of a blog tour of this magnitude on VALENTINE’S DAY?! Talk about happy out, especially since it’s Samantha Tonge, whose book Game of Scones  was a sensation over the Summer in blogging circles, and who is always so vibrant and lovely on social media in both blogging and author circles. The greatest of thanks to Ms. Tonge, Carina UK,  Jenny In Neverland and NetGalley for this book in return for an honest review.

I loved this book. It began with us getting an insight into the friendship between Polka Dot Diner owner Mikey, and Jasmine Jarvis, his flatmate and best friend. They have one of those uber relaxed, no-holds barred friendships where they lounge around together and plan their evenings around each other. From the start it was easy to see that this, coupled with Dave, Jasmine’s boyfriend’s apparent dislike for Mikey, was not going to make things easy.

Nevertheless when Dave proposes to Jasmine, and it falls extremely flat,  Mikey jumps in to help out. He will help Dave propose in the best possible way before Jasmine leaves to go to New York for her career. This of course brings with it the issue of Dave and Mikey not getting on and with it some heart-rending back-stories on Mikey’s part showing how he’s been a victim of homophobia, as Mikey (and we the readers) try to figure out Dave’s dislike for someone so nice, while somehow we begin to suspect that Mikey may or may not be as he seems. This was where the book excelled for me: at times you were so wary. It was one of those ‘who do you like’ and ‘who do you trust’ books because you felt you had to pick a side. Sometimes you were surprised, at others not, and this was what led to a short story that had very few pacing issues, for me it was a lovely page turner.

The nice little trick of multiple points of views also showed us why Jasmine was so upset with the proposal, leading us to some home truths about her past also. The settings were great, in  particular I loved the vibrancy of the Polka Dot Diner, with its appropriate jukebox choices to accompany the mood. The characters were excellent, I fell for Dave big time, then Mikey, then Dave, then Mikey … well, you get my drift. I’m afraid I guessed the ending, but that was fine, I still really enjoyed it. Any book that has friendships, relationships, drama, misunderstandings, comedy, romance, as well as twists and turns that keep you guessing? Highly recommended, and since it’s only 89p at the moment on Amazon, I’d say, off you go! Happy Valentine’s Day:)

Rating: 4.5/5

About Samatha Tonge:

Samantha lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat that thinks it’s a dog. Along with writing, her days are spent cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. A love of fiction developed as a child, when she was known for reading Enid Blyton books in the bath. A desire to write bubbled away in the background whilst she pursued other careers, including a fun stint working at Disneyland Paris. Formally trained as a linguist, Samantha now likes nothing more than holing herself up in the spare room, in front of the keyboard. She has sold over 80 stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, “Doubting Abbey”, from CarinaUK HarperCollins, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Game of Scones won the 2015 Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.

Find Samantha Tonge on:

Goodreads

Website

Twitter

Facebook

 

 

 

The Valentine-Free Zone: A Love Maybe eShort by Fiona Gibson

thevalentinefreezone

Amazon UK

Amazon US

What they say: The Funny One: Part of the Love…Maybe ebook short story collection.

Jenny’s teenage son Cameron wants her out of their flat while he cooks a special Valentine supper for his girlfriend… so how on earth is she supposed to spend the most romantic night of the year?

A laugh-out-loud Valentine’s read, perfect for fans of ‘Outnumbered’ and Fern Britton.

***This is a short story, which you can also buy as part of the Love…Maybe Eshort Collection***

 

The Review: First off change ‘Jenny’ to ‘Sally’ and ‘Cameron’ to ‘Riley’ in the blurb above (wires crossed somehow)!!!! When I was looking up Valentine’s reads this jumped out at me after reading and adoring ‘As Good As It Gets‘ by Ms. Gibson, as well as while looking forward to ‘The Woman Who Upped And Left‘ by the same author (out soon and I can’t wait!).  Here we meet 39 year old Sally, a full time beauty therapist, who is with Michael, a man whose interests don’t quite mirror her own. Wandering around an art gallery on Valentine’s day, listening to Michael bemoan all things romantic, and thinking about her son Riley’s impending departure from the family home, Sally wonders if this is all there is  is to her life. Cue Valentine’s evening and Sally has been told to vacate the premises so Riley can have a Valentine’s night in. Michael is busy and Sally is at a loss. Enter a night out with some friends where a ‘Valentine’s free zone’ is declared and Sally begins to realise what life is all about.

There are books, or in this case short stories, that cause you to gush and exclaim and proclaim and then there are tales that don’t need it. This e-short, part of a larger collection that I’m sure to check out later in the year, is simple, easy going, cliched (in the best possible way) chick lit at it’s very best. We have an idea where it’s going and yet we want to head along on the journey anyway, and savour and enjoy. I sat down with it and then didn’t move until it was finished. There was romance, fun, misunderstandings … everything you want with a short such as this. Very much recommended and I’ll continue to watch for Fiona Gibson’s work.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Somewhere Only We Know by Erin Lawless

 

somewhereonlyweknow

What they Say: Boy meets girl…

Alex Bradley can’t help but feel that life is rather passing him by. And not just life – promotions, invitations, romance; the girl he loves only has eyes for his flatmate and his 9-5 job as the Immigration department skivvy is slowly numbing his soul. Until he meets Nadia.

Girl meets boy…

Nadia Osipova is running out of time. With no money, no lawyer and a totally fictitious boyfriend, she’s got one last summer and one last appeal before the British government deport her back home.

Girl gets deported?

It’s going to be a bumpy ride, one she’s dragging her new friend Alex along for. As Nadia races through a list of all her favourite London adventures, for what may be the last time, Alex can’t help but start to see the city, and his life, through Nadia’s eyes.

From hazy summer days on the Common and heady nights in Soho’s basement bars, to twilight walks along the Southbank, will Alex realise what he’s got before it’s too late?

Funny, addictive and always honest, this is a love letter to London, friendship and the unexpected from the author of the bestselling The Best Thing I Never Had.

 

The Review: I’m afraid I’ve been sitting on this one a long, long time. A huge pity considering at the time I wanted to talk about it, tell everyone that it was one of those reads that was perfect for locking yourself away from the world for and just settling down and enjoying. Then again, at least it will remind people it’s out there and one to go for!

As you can see from above, we meet Alex Bradley, sleepwalking from day to day, in love with someone who does not return his affections, and not really feeling his job in the Immigration department. The book grabbed me straight away, as Alex appeared vividly in front of my very eyes. I loved that the author not only put us in his shoes, but allowed us to read a file as he read, containing a letter requesting that a deportation order not be served. We got to hear Alex’s disillusionment with the system in general, and see how people become faceless numbers after they are victims of assumptions made about their lives and so either tick the boxes or don’t.

Meanwhile we meet Nadia (Nadezha) , stressed out because she is sure she is to be arrested and deported at any time. We hear her hopes and dreams in London, and see how she is living her life in a way that will let her experience as much as possible as she knows her time is limited. The thing that grabbed me the most was how we got to see her through Home Office’s eyes and then experience the true Nadia. If Alex was vivid, then Nadia was painted in technicolour. She shone and jumped off the page, and I nicely settled into life with her and her band of friends who were also bright and interesting, with a loyalty and devotion that was so lovely.

This book contains a fair amount of coincidences which are very nicely done. The meeting of Alex and Nadia in the first place could be a ‘oh come on’ moment and yet it wasn’t at all for me. There were misunderstandings and mix-ups that were really well done and I was carried along by the story-line of Nadia, trying to show Alex how to enjoy life, while she prepared for the end of hers as she knows it. There are twists and turns, the pacing is great, the book lively, fun, enjoyable and intelligent. My only gripe would be with the ending which for some reason was just suddenly ‘there,’ it was as if it were an afterthought. All in all ‘Somewhere only we know’ will be predictable for some, not for others. Me? I loved it. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5/5

 

4 in the Afternoon by Geralyn Corcillo

4intheafternoon

What they say: Bestselling and award-winning author of romantic comedy Geralyn Corcillo has just released this collection of 4 RomCom short stories. Dates, dogs, football, monsters in the attic, misunderstandings, and unexpected discoveries abound in these tales of modern love.

***All Summer on a Date: The gorgeous Kyle Hunter is taking reformed iconoclast Summer Hodiak to the party of the year. But when an unexpected dilemma slams into their exquisite evening, will Summer follow her date…or follow her heart?

***Random Acts of Violet: Cautious loner Violet Parker needs a new playbook when her quiet summer on campus collides with an unexpected eight year-old, a monster in the attic, and Noah…

***Miss Understanding in the Ballroom with the Wrench: Jesse and Peter meet at a party, but each is hiding the one thing that they think makes them un-dateable. Will their subterfuge and all the ensuing misunderstandings wreck everything, just as the spark between them is about to ignite?

***Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants: The NYT Bestselling true story of true love that kicked off Geralyn Corcillo’s writing career.

 

The Review: I have to admit I had a couple of things making me wary of this collection, I know Geralyn through social media and find her to be so bright, friendly and helpful since I’ve started writing. Obviously it was only a matter of time until I went looking for her work and I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to expectations and then what do you do? It didn’t matter, I was glad I did! This leads me into my other worry, that Geralyn is from the US and so I was afraid that there would be a disconnect in terms of language and content but you know what they say, that good writing transcends boundaries (Disclaimer: I may or may not have made that up myself!). It first came to my attention with talk of the NFL, which obviously we don’t have over here, then again with the description of the temperature, but to be honest, in general, I didn’t notice much of a difference.

Each of the stories were unique, and when I say unique I mean stand alone individuals as you’ll see from the descriptions above. They each had their own little bite to them that made them stand out and me sit up. The misunderstandings were textbook and yet not clichéd, I could see some coming and missed others, getting a nice surprise when I realized what was going on. The dialogue was very clever, and the romance was perfect, that brilliant kind of sparkling sweetness that some would ‘swoon’ for! I loved how each of the lead characters were so strong and independent, and at one stage I had the vision of a female Bruce Willis (he wears a vest all the time in Die Hard, the lead here was just in a vest and boxer shorts in her attic, so you have to kind of see where I’m going here? No, oh, okay, sorry then!)

Then to finish, the final story speaks of Jane Austen and then brings a modern day story about what happens when all that’s left in a relationship is the modern day humdrum all back around, so the modern day story is mirrored in the narrator’s thoughts on Jane Austen. It was so lovely! All in all a very satisfying read, plus the dip in dip out aspect that’s perfect as a weekend read! Very much recommended. Go get!

Rating 4.5/5

My Christmas Wrap up (and an extra little something for Christmas…)

Well, all that’s left is to give an overview of all the Christmas books on my blog. I have to say I enjoyed the books of the festive season so much, they really brought forward all the excitement and cheer of Christmas so that I got into the mood in early October! They were so diverse that I have a few favourites. Not only that, but there’s a few I have no doubt I’ll be recommending a few years on, they dragged me in and wouldn’t let me out of their warm, beautifully festive clutches! You’ll guess what they are from the reviews.

So here it goes. Obviously the list isn’t complete due to the demise of my right hand, my Kindle, but I’ve covered those that I would have gotten a chance to read had my one year old not been curious about the device he sees in my hand most days (read all about it and take a look at the books I had to leave behind here!) The reviews are linked in with the name of the books to make it easier for you. Enjoy and merry Christmas!

If you like them a little bit dark,  geeky … and brilliant The Art Of Christmas (a short story) by Jane Lovering is for you

the art of christmas

If you like them warm, beautiful and magical, with lashings of fairy dust and charm, then Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington is for you

everytimea bell

If you like them charming, funny and gorgeously festive, with romance and a nice hint of suspense, then Snowdrops at the Star and Sixpence (a novella) by Holly Hepburn is for you.

Snowdrops

If you love a bit of a dash to the altar, coupled with warmth, beauty, festiveness and all in between then Snowed in For Her Wedding (a short story) by Emma Bennet is for you.

Snowed In For Christmas

If you like short, hilarious, mad cap ‘mom lit’ that’ll make you laugh out loud and while away the hours after the kids are gone to bed, then Survival of The Christmas Spirit by Aimee Horton (short story) is for you.

SurvivalOfTheChristmasSpirit

If you like them spooky, kooky and yet warm, christmassy and funny then Make A Christmas Wish by Julia Williams is for you.

make a christmas wish

If you like books with  beautiful characters, stunning Christmas scenes and gorgeous romance with some comedy in there too, then Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan is for you.

ChristmasEverAfter

If you like a warm, magical, festive ‘dreams can come true’ romantic comedy, then Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale is for you.

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

If you like them to be all about family getting together at Christmas, with pandemonium and brightness and festiveness, tears and smiles, then An Endless Christmas (a novella) by Cynthia Ruachti is for you.

Anendlesschristmas

If you want to go on a Christmassy road trip, that’s bright, festive, and all about goodwill and cheer, with a reminder of the holy side of Christmas, then The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson is for you.

TheChristmasJoyRide

I’ll finish with All I Want for Christmas, a piece I’m very proud of as it was written by our Imagine, Write, Inspire writing group led by the amazing Carmel Harrington (I know, blatant self promotion here, but I honestly think you’ll enjoy!). So if you like one long festive, quirky romantic comedy, narrated by different people to give different parts of our lead character’s story, then All I Want for Christmas is for you!

alliwant

 

 

My ‘to do’ blogging list … scuppered!

I posted this to Facebook this morning (sans pictures with links embedded of course!):

To do list for blogging before Christmas:

Review Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

everytimea bell
Review The Art Of Christmas by Jane Lovering

the art of christmas

Finish reading:
My Big Fat Christmas Wedding by Samantha Tonge (which am loving so far!)

mybigfatchristmaswedding
The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas by Carole Matthews (I won’t lie, I’m struggling with this one)

thechocolatelovers
A beginner’s Guide to Christmas (book before the Beginner’s Guide to Salad, which was one of my favourite books this year, still to be reviewed, by Jennifer Joyce)

abeginnersguideto chrisbeginnersguidetosalad
The Mince Pie Mix up also by Jennifer Joyce. Loving this!

 

the mince pie mix up

Read
Wish upon A Christmas Cake by Darcie Boleyn

wishuponachristmascake
and
The Boy Under the mistletoe by Katie Lovell (a short, have read all the others in the ‘Meet Cute’ series and they’re so handy and lovely

theboyunderthemistleto
So this is all narrowed down from all the Christmas books I accumulated recently. I had such plans but just didn’t have the correct timeline in mind. I can now see why people have Christmas during the year segments to help them catch up but I’ve narrowed down the above because they’re special to me and the only one am struggling with is Carole Matthews, which is a pity as I have so many of her Christmas paperbacks at home from when I was younger, perhaps it’s a case that I’ve grown out of her work:(

Lastly, sit down and write my ‘wrap ups’ for Christmas and 2015. Really looking forward to this!

 

About five minutes after I posted this, I looked over to see my one year old had my Kindle. You can guess what happens next. As I was thinking ‘I’d better grab that off him,’ he threw it to the ground and now the screen has gone. Long story short I’m taking it as a sign from the gods and now I will be reviewing and wrapping up only before launching into the paperbacks I’ve had waiting for eons from Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes and a few glitzy magazines and Sunday papers I haven’t been able to relax enough to read!!! My Christmas reading list is gone. As I said above I had narrowed down my Christmas reading list and was sure I’d have had my final books done by Wednesday at the latest to give readers a chance to use my reviews to pick their Christmas read. I was so close. So very close. Gutted.

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

Bride Without A Groom by Amy Lynch

Bridewithoutagroom

 

What they say: Single, coupled-up or married, this laugh-out-loud summer read is the perfect anecdote for the wedding season!

Rebecca has chosen the most luscious, five tiered, wedding cake. The engagement ring that she has selected is celebrity inspired. The wedding singer is on speed dial. He doesn’t usually do Michael Bolton, but as it’s for a first dance he’ll make an exception. Father Maguire is checking dates for the parish church as we speak. The deposit on the white sand honeymoon is paid for in full on Barry’s card. She has fallen for an ivory lace couture gown that is to die for. The down payment may require her to sell a left kidney, but it will be worth it. Isn’t that why you have two?

There’s one teeny tiny problem. It’s nothing, really. No need to panic! It’s just that Barry has yet to propose. Says he’s not ready! He can be a bit of a kill joy that way. It’s time to face the harsh reality – Rebecca is a bride without a groom!

 

The Review: To start, I promise I will try to get through this without too much gushing, as I really, really enjoyed this book. So here we go! Bride Without A Groom starts with the pre-empting of a proposal that doesn’t come, followed by the dramatics of one who believed their happy ever moment had arrived only to have their hopes shot down and stamped out. We quickly find out that one of the reasons for the hysterics is that our lead, Rebecca Browne, has already organised the planning of the bulk of the wedding, down to the tiniest details.

Rebecca reminds me of a mixture of Elle (Legally Blond), Becky Bloomwood (Confessions of a Shopaholic) and Cher (Clueless), in that she’s what would traditionally what would be viewed as selfish, and yet you can’t not like her (see note *), you just clickety clack along with her (my impression of high heels there, NOT a train), as aghast as her when things don’t go her way.

Her boyfriend, Barry, is what some people may call gutless (I would be one of those people) and yet you can easily jump between empathizing (sympathising!) with him and not liking him at all. This is consistant with the characters in Bride Without a Groom which are generally done very well, and play their part in leading you to various conclusions or just surprising you.

This book felt like it was made for me, or maybe it was just built for my generation. It is set in Dublin and so we quickly hear names such as Brown Thomas’ (large exclusive department store) and Dundrum Town Centre (large exclusive shopping centre). On the entertainment front we hear of Fair city (Irish version of Eastenders which is a british soap opera where nothing goes the way of the always unhappy residents of Albert Square), Legally Blonde, Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze and Michael Bolton and Top Gear (Barry not Rebecca), with a hilarious letter sent when she realises The Young and The Restless is due to be cancelled. A point to note is that although the settings and backdrops are mostly Irish, this book is definitely translateable, I think it could be popular anywhere in the world.

One thing I would say to you would be in terms of character development, as in the journey the character goes through to get to a point whre ethey might figure something out that changes themselves. There is none. None at all. But, before this bothers you, look at the bottom of this review. I’ll give you a hint, the rating I gave it was 4.75/5. So I took off .25/5 for that fact, because I was waiting for a certain something to happen and it didn’t, and it bothered me just a little but I would assume that there will be a sequel and if there is it doesn’t really matter (if there isn’t, yes, it will continue to bother me just because I’m like that!). To date this is possibly one of my standout books for 2015. When someone’s looking for a commercial, light read that will make them laugh and keep them interested, this is a serious contender (for the right person, mind, again, see my note marked *)

Rating: 4.75/5

*This is a marmite one. If you look at the reviews on this you’ll see it’s a love it or hate it type of book and people seemed to find Rebecca to be a love her or hate her type of character. The people who didn’t like it/ her went for it tooth and nail, but to be honest if you take a look at the cover, blurb and the first few pages you’ll know. I love it. I cannot gush about it enough and as I read it I had at least three people in mind who would flip for it. It is pure unadulterated chick lit at its best!

 

 

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

The Eight Mistakes of Amy Maxwell by Heather Balog

Theeightmistakesofamymaxwell

What they say: Amy Maxwell’s got four kids, a useless husband and crusted applesauce on her yoga pants that haven’t seen the inside of a gym in over a decade. She’s convinced her teenage daughter is up to no good, her ten year old can’t stop chattering in her ear and her oldest son has befriended a teenaged boy twice his age who is a tad bit strange. And don’t even get her started on having a toddler when you’re in your late thirties. She just can’t keep up. Forget tired; she’s exhausted and feeling unfulfilled, dissatisfied and like a disappointment to everyone; her kids, her parents and most of all, herself.

To relieve her stress, Amy finds herself fantasizing about everything from the pool boy next door to finding out that her daughter was switched at birth. She can’t help her thoughts, but she figures, if they’re in her head, they can’t hurt anyone else, right? When Jason, a very sexy forty something year old single father moves in across the street, Amy finds her fantasy world has gone into overdrive. When Amy and her 13 year old daughter, Allie, stumble upon the body of their neighbor, shot to death in her living room, Amy finds herself thrown together with Jason in the most unpredictable way. Amy finds herself bumbling around Jason, trying desperately to stop her fantasies and her underlying attraction towards him as this who done it mystery slowly unfolds. And Amy soon realizes, nobody is who she thinks they are…even Amy herself.

The Review: First off, thanks so much to the author for a copy of the book in return for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book, however I’ll start with the reason I found it tough, and wouldn’t recommend for anyone who hasn’t kids (for those who do, there will actually be a lot you can relate to). I was at a talk recently where the author said that there was a common idea that all books should be set on an atypical day, that is a day that repels the norm. I’d actually never heard that, though of course it’s common sense, if we want anything interesting to happen at all! This sprang to mind when I started this book, I thought it showed a bit too much of the everyday struggles. Let me explain. We meet Amy, who’s starting to feel like she’s on a merry-go-round of Groundhog day syndrome, consisting of the everyday trials of being a parent to four children. Things are also lukewarm with her husband in terms of how they interact. I didn’t warm to Amy until near the end, I just found her so negative, I know we all have days where we find things so hard and irritating, but she was so non stop, there was no light and shade with her, she rolled her eyes and cursed at everything, and I couldn’t believe that anyone would wish their husband dead (I have four boys and an, em, interesting husband and I don’t think I’ve ever even come close!;))

The second half of the book, though, changed everything. On one occasion where Amy was having one of her daydreams, things shifted in real life and she found her and her daughter embroiled in one hell of an adventure. Cue woodlands, a chase, guns, the works!! It came out of nowhere and hit me over the eyes and I loved it!
I enjoyed this book, and with tweaking, it could be 5 star gold! The ending was so different to anything I’ve read, it was really kooky and the pages flew by to reveal some of the most heartwarming moments I’d ever come across that made me happy I’d started to read.

Rating: 3.75/5