Tag Archives: chick-lit

The Never Have I Ever Club, by Mary Jayne Baker

19 Jul
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Format: e-ARC, 326 pages

Publisher: Aria

Published: 18 June 2020

ISBN: 9781789546149

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: Robyn Bloom thought Ash Barnes was the love of her life – until one day he announced he was leaving her to fly halfway across the world.

Months later, Robyn is struggling to move on – but then she has a brainwave: The Never Have I Ever Club. Her handsome next-door neighbour Will helps her bring their fellow Yorkshire villagers together for some carpe-diem-inspired fun.

From burlesque dancing to Swedish massages, everyone has plenty of bucket-list activities to try, but it doesn’t take long for Robyn to realise what – or who – her heart truly desires: Will.

There’s just one problem: he’s Ash’s twin brother.

Make that two problems: Ash is moving home… and he wants Robyn back.

My review: This was a wee delight, just what I needed as the weather grows darker and colder in my part of the world. Baker is a new author for me, but I will be seeking out her other work because she can write great characters, favours showing over telling, and the humour shines through. I started off thinking this might have been a bit of a light version of Marian Keyes’ “The Break”, but Ash running off to Australia to find himself was only really a minor subplot. I loved the club and all its characters, and Will was adorable. Any book that references the “My Lovely Horse” episode of Father Ted is okay by me.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5



The Rejected Writers’ Book Club, by Suzanne Kelman

11 Jun

27256097Format: e-ARC, 261 pages

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: March 29, 2016

ISBN: 9781503934146

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: Librarian Janet Johnson is puzzled when she is invited—and practically dragged—to her first meeting of the Rejected Writers’ Book Club. This quirky group of women would much rather celebrate one another’s rejected manuscripts over cups of tea and slices of lemon cake than actually publish a book. But good friends are exactly what Janet needs after moving to the small town of Southlea Bay, Washington. Just as the ladies are about to raise a teacup to their five hundredth rejection letter, they receive bad news that could destroy one member’s reputation—and disband the group forever. To save the club, Janet joins her fellow writers on a wild road trip to San Francisco in search of the local publisher who holds the key to a long-buried secret. As they race to the finish line, they’ll face their fears—landslides, haunted houses, handsome strangers, ungrateful children—and have the time of their lives.

My review: I picked up this book purely based on the gorgeous cover, and the best way to describe its contents would be “cosy.” After a slow start, I really rather enjoyed the club’s road trip adventures, and Grace’s story at the end was lovely. The characters were all great, except Stacey, who was just a spoilt brat. I couldn’t help feeling, also, that Janet came across as much older than forty-something, especially given her husband’s favourite song was “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5





The Bronze Horseman movie update #4: It might be happening at last!

6 Oct

HUGE news from Paullina Simons overnight! She posted on her blog that the movie of her book trilogy is finally going ahead!

“Hello to my patient and wonderful fans! I know you’ve been asking me for an update on the film adaptation for The Bronze Horseman, and I’ve wished I could give one to you. And now, I finally can! So happy to tell you we’ve signed with Getaway Pictures for the series.”


If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know this has been an on-again, off-again project, but after the successful adaptation of Outlander to the small screen I have high hopes something as ambitious as The Bronze Horseman can finally be filmed.

So who do you think should be cast? I have a not-so-secret wish for Henry Cavill to play Shura. Even Ms. Simons has indicated she thinks he would make a great Alexander, in an interview here. Remember, whoever plays him has to live up to this quote: “He was more beautiful than that morning sun.” *sigh*


I once suggested Mia Wasikowska for Tatiana – what do you think?

And so we must wait and hope. Keep track of developments with me on IMDB and on Paullina Simons’ website.

Single Woman Seeks Revenge, by Tracy Bloom

10 Jun


Format: e-ARC, 209 pages

Publisher: Cornerstone Digital

Published: July 19, 2014

ISBN: 9781473506053

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: From the bestselling author of No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday … Another very funny romantic novel.

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.

My review: A fun, easy read about a woman who decides to exact revenge on all the men who have wronged her and shares her “wisdom” in a newspaper column. I really liked Suzie and warmed to her story immediately – although I have to admit that at the Christmas party I disliked her quite a bit. Drew was just lovely, and my favourite part was when he helped her at the football game. Just brilliant! The plot wasn’t difficult to guess, and the ending very predictable in a rom-com kind of way, but overall this is a great light read.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5





Techbitch, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

27 May


Format: e-ARC, 449 pages

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Published: May 27, 2015

ISBN: 9780718181666

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: An outrageously stylish, wickedly funny novel of fashion in the digital age, Techbitch is the story of Imogen Tate, editor in chief of Glossy magazine, who finds her twentysomething former assistant Eve Morton plotting to knock Imogen off her pedestal, take over her job, and reduce the magazine, famous for its lavish 768-page September issue, into an app.

When Imogen returns to work at Glossy after six months away, she can barely recognize her own magazine. Eve, fresh out of Harvard Business School, has fired “the gray hairs,” put the managing editor in a supply closet, stopped using the landlines, and hired a bevy of manicured and questionably attired underlings who text and tweet their way through meetings. Imogen, darling of the fashion world, may have Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg on speed dial, but she can’t tell Facebook from Foursquare and once got her iPhone stuck in Japanese for two days. Under Eve’s reign, Glossy is rapidly becoming a digital sweatshop—hackathons rage all night, girls who sleep get fired, and “fun” means mandatory, company-wide coordinated dances to Beyoncé. Wildly out of her depth, Imogen faces a choice—pack up her Smythson notebooks and quit, or channel her inner geek and take on Eve to save both the magazine and her career. A glittering, uproarious, sharply drawn story filled with thinly veiled fashion personalities, Techbitch is an insider’s look at the ever-changing world of fashion and a fabulous romp for our Internet-addicted age.

My review: I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. Firstly, the subject matter was right up my alley, as an ex-journalist who knows after her time out to raise children that she has been rendered seriously obsolete by new technology. In the book, Imogen is only off work for six months but returns from sick leave to find her fashion magazine has become an app. Although her job remains intact, her every move is usurped by her former assistant, Eve, back from Harvard with big plans and an even bigger ego.

Eve is one of the nastiest characters I have ever read, but I recognised her all the same. The number of times I said “yes!” to myself while reading was ridiculous. I cheered as Imogen came to grips with Twitter and Instagram and met new techie friends who didn’t consider her a dinosaur. The parallel storyline involving the cyber-bullying of Imogen’s daughter was well done, although it wasn’t too hard to figure out well before the end who the culprit was.

I laughed, I gritted my teeth, but mostly I smiled as I read. I highly recommend this book.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5






Stacking the Shelves #6

20 Apr

Stacking The Shelvesl_thumb2Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Welcome back to Stacking the Shelves, a regular meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the latest books you have added to your shelves, physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course e-books! Here is my haul from this week.

Purchased from Audible

Purchased from Audible

Audible‘s half-price sale continued and I just couldn’t help myself. I purchased Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge, Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch, The Madness Underneath and The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, Blood On Snow by Jo Nesbo, and The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire by Molly Harper. Whew!

Approved Netgalley requests

Approved Netgalley requests

Netgalley approved my request for Single Woman Seeks Revenge by Tracy Bloom and Heat Exchange, the first of Shannon Stacey‘s new Boston Fire series. Looks good, if the cover is anything to go by!

Downloaded from public library

Downloaded from public library

From the local public library, I downloaded A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray on audiobooks. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book.

Purchased from Amazon

Purchased from Amazon

My only other purchase this week was from Amazon, and was True Love Way by Mary Elizabeth.

Wow, that looks like heaps! Keep an eye out for my reviews of these in coming weeks. So what new books did you pick up this week? Let me know in the comments.

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, by Sarra Manning

13 May

Format: Kindle Edition, 560 pages
Published: February 3, 2011
Publisher: Corgi
Back cover blurb:
Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don’t get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve’s heart since university. But William’s been in LA for three years, and Neve’s been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he’ll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.

So she’s not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she’s an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she’d better get some, well, experience.

What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia’s colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he’s such a man-slut, and so not Neve’s type, she certainly won’t fall for him. Because William is the man for her… right?

Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve’s lost her heart – but to who?

My review:
I loved this and almost gave it five cupcakes, but the period in the book from where William phones to when Neve confronts Charlotte dragged a bit for me, so I felt I had to take half a cake off.

Honestly, though, I was surprised how much I did enjoy this story, and really couldn’t put it down. Neve is a believable character: a woman who has lost a lot of weight but who still sees herself as flabby and undesirable. On her sister’s suggestion, she embarks on a “pancake relationship” with Max – you know, you throw away the first pancake in the batch because it’s never perfect – so she can be ready and experienced when her “true love” William returns from California.

The plotline is contrived and cliched, in that it’s clear from the start there will be more to Max and Neve’s relationship than just fake affection and at some point there will be huge conflict, but I didn’t mind because Max is so damn yummy. The things he says… *sigh* He made me laugh out loud and go tingly all at the same time, and that is the kind of man you want to hold onto. Neve thinks he’s a cad when she first meets him, but in the end it is clear the cad in this story is not him. Far from it.

Hilarious and sexy, I’d recommend this book for Max alone!

My rating: 4.5/5

RSVP, by Helen Warner

22 Feb

Format: Kindle edition, 392 pages
Published: March 1, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Back cover blurb:
Four women, one wedding and a day to remember – or rather forget …
Anna’s world is rocked when she receives an invitation to her ex Toby’s nuptials – Toby was The One, The Love of Her Life, The One That Got Away. Will attending his Big Day finally give her the sense of closure she so desperately craves? Or will it only re-open old wounds? Clare is Anna’s best friend, the person who was there for her when she and Toby split all those years ago. But little does Clare know that Toby’s wedding day will also change her own life for ever. Ella is a classic femme fatale. She loves men and leaves them without a backward glance. But the one person who’s never fallen for her charms is Toby. As he prepares to get hitched, is it too late for a last-ditch attempt to win his heart? Finally, Rachel is the blushing bride-to-be. This should be the happiest day of her life. So how come she feels nothing but a terrible sense of foreboding?
My review:
This started out great, but by the end I was so annoyed with the main characters, Toby and Anna, that my enjoyment of this book had gone way down. All the characters – but these two in particular – whined, moaned and were so self-absorbed in the second half of this book it’s a wonder any of them found any happiness. Toby was one of the weakest male leads I have ever read, just doing whatever the woman in his life told him to do. I know a few men like that, which I guess made him realistic, but I prefer my fictional leading men to be alphas rather than omegas.
The ending was extremely obvious – so much so I wanted to slap Anna for being so dense – but it came slightly too early for my liking because we never found out what happened with Clare or Ella. I can only assume their endings were happy, but again I’m not sure if they deserved them after the way they behaved.

The first half of the book was excellent, though, and I enjoyed the interwoven points of view as the story was told in flashbacks. It’s just a shame all the momentum was lost once the wedding day – from which the title comes – finally arrived.

My rating: 3/5

Confessions of a Karaoke Queen, by Ella Kingsley

21 Feb

Format: Kindle edition, 400 pages
Published: December 8, 2011
Publisher: Sphere
Back cover blurb:
Maddie Mulhern is suddenly in charge. Her parents – former 80s pop duo Pineapple Mist – have left for the summer on a nostalgia tour, entrusting her to manage their struggling karaoke bar, Sing It Back. Panicking over the dodgy finances, Maddie takes a gamble: she signs up for a fly-on-the-wall reality TV series. With her faithful staff (divalicious drag queen Ruby, shy barman Simon and wannabe actress Jasmine) she’ll transform the bar into a huge success. Simple. Right? Executive Producer Evan Bergman knows that scandal sells. It’s no coincidence that he hires cool, attractive Nick Craven as director. Evan wants drama on screen – and he’ll do anything to get it. As the series builds to a live finale, will Maddie see the truth in a Careless Whisper? Will Nick be able to keep his Poker Face? One thing’s for sure: we all do things at karaoke that we regret …
My review:
First of all, any book which mentions so many fabulous 80s bands cannot be all that bad. There were even ones I had forgotten all about, like Baltimora. So I was totally in my element reading about Maddie and her 80s one-hit-wonder parents, aka Pineapple Mist, who get invited on a reunion tour and leave her in charge of their failing karaoke bar. In order to pay the bills, Maddie allows a TV crew in to film a reality show, which turns out to be a series of manipulated events by the producer with a hidden agenda, Evan.

The plot was a bit predictable, but the characters were engaging and I enjoyed the story a lot. I could have done with more Nick – it was hard to gauge his intentions because he was hardly in it, but I guess that was intentional so we didn’t know too much how he was going to act at the end. I can totally see this as a film or TV movie because the scenes all played out so clearly in my head.

Having said I loved it, I’m not sure how this book would translate to someone not so versed in British or 80s culture. Kingsley uses a lot of Brit slang and cultural references which I suspect many on the other side of the Atlantic wouldn’t understand, and I can only assume she is about my age given her love of Prefab Sprout and OMD. I loved that aspect, though, as it set the story firmly in London and the present day. There were a few typos in my Kindle edition, but I forgave those because the whole thing made me laugh out loud so often. The cover is also very pretty.

My rating: 4/5

Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

6 Jan

Format: Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published: April 14, 2011
Publisher: Orion
Back cover blurb:
It’s 1999 and for the staff of one newspaper office, the internet is still a novelty. By day, two young women, Beth and Jennifer, spend their hours emailing each other, discussing in hilarious detail every aspect of their lives, from love troubles to family dramas. And by night, Lincoln, a shy, lonely IT guy spends his hours reading every exchange.
At first their emails offer a welcome diversion, but as Lincoln unwittingly becomes drawn into their lives, the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realizes just how head-over-heels he really is, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say to her? ‘Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail – and also, I think I love you’.
After a series of close encounters, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . and find out whether there really is such a thing as love before first-sight.
Heartwarming, witty and unforgettable, ATTACHMENTS is an irresistible romantic comedy that has it all.
My review:
Some of my favourite stories are those where people fall in love via letters, where their words mean everything and they gradually reveal their personalities and feelings without taking any notice of physical appearances. So when I saw the blurb for this book I knew it was for me, and add in the newsroom setting and I was hooked.

Firstly, I must say I have worked in newsrooms with plenty of skeevy IT guys before, so it sent a shudder down my spine to find out Lincoln’s job involved reading intraoffice e-mails. However, he turns out to be a lovely, geeky guy working lonely nightshifts who becomes somewhat addicted to the correspondence between movie reviewer Beth and copy editor Jennifer which gets flagged by the office software for containing inappropriate words. In fact they are just discussing their lives – their partners, Beth’s sister’s wedding, Jennifer’s suspected pregnancy – and Lincoln decides not to reprimand them. Instead he keeps reading, and over several months comes to fall in love with Beth. Without ever having seen her.

Meanwhile, she has seen him, although she doesn’t know his name or what he does at the newspaper. When she tells Jennifer about the cute guy, and Lincoln eventually realises she’s writing about him, he dares to hope… *sigh*

I loved the way Lincoln came out of his shell as the book progressed. He made friends on nightshift, joined a gym, and all the while I was rooting for him to pluck up the courage to talk to Beth. There is tragedy, many laugh-out-loud moments, lots of pop culture references, and journalism in-jokes. Rowell is a reporter, so she gets all the newsroom eccentricities spot on and I recognised many of the colourful secondary characters from my own experiences. I also laughed out loud reminiscing at the Y2K subplot; like many I know, the newspaper was reluctant to change to computers and allegedly only got rid of its electric typewriters in 1992. At the newsroom I worked in in 1992, we only just got electric typewriters that year!

I loved this book. It’s so me I wish I had written it.

My rating: 5/5