The Wives – Lauren Weisberger

40183012The Wives, from The Devil Wears Prada series, focuses on Emily Charlton (Miranda Priestly’s ex-assistant) in her life after Runway. Following the decline of her image consultant business, Emily finds herself in the suburbs with her oldest friend, Miriam. Then, when Miriam’s friend, Karolina, is publicly dumped and shamed by her husband, Emily finds herself a new purpose: clearing Karolina’s name, getting her son back and restoring her superstar image.

First things first, this book is filled with truly ghastly characters. Our lead three (Emily, Miriam and Karolina) aren’t too bad most of the time, but every single other character is just awful. Karolina’s husband, Graham, is clearly evil, while the side-characters mainly consist of dreadful, middle-aged, suburban mums. On the whole, the book wasn’t particularly enjoyable because I just hated everyone.

The Wives’ saving grace was the relationship between the three women. They have very different views and personalities but are able to come together and support each other without falling out or tearing each other down. It is, I suppose, supposed to be a story of female empowerment, but it was a bit boring on the whole.

Chick-lit, it seems, is still not for me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

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It Started With a Tweet – Anna Bell

35091775Daisy lives her life online. Everything she does is broadcast to the world via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Then, one day she forgets to log out of her work’s Twitter account and sends a hugely inappropriate tweet, resulting in her immediate dismissal. At a loss, Daisy allows her sister to convince her to go on a digital detox. What she doesn’t expect is to be roped into renovating an old farm in Cumbria. But, as Daisy will find out, it’s amazing what you can find when you switch off.

I came to an important realisation when reading this book: if a book starts at a hen party, I probably won’t like it much. That being said, It Started With a Tweet was not terrible. It’s a light and reasonably entertaining romance, with a meaningful message about our obsession with social media.

The main downfall was the characters. They’re all pretty fickle, and our main girl, Daisy, was quite annoying. She didn’t seem to be able to fully commit to anything. She agrees to do this digital detox, but keeps trying to get back online in secret. Except her attempts are pretty half-hearted. If she really wanted to get online, she just had to try a bit harder and she’d manage; she gave up too easily every time.

The best part of the story was when Daisy returned to London and saw how obsessed all her friends were with their phones, and realised how much she didn’t want to be like that anymore. Unfortunately, after that the ending came on rather abruptly. She went back to her sister’s new farm and everything was sorted out like that *snaps fingers*. It’s like the author finally reached the end and gave up.

It Started With a Tweet was a decent read, but by no means a work of literary genius.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Thrill! – Jackie Collins

18861584Thrill! tells a story of love, obsession, passion and desire among the Hollywood elite. Beautiful actress Lara could have any man she wants, but what she gets is a passionate affair with a mysterious actor with a shady past. As if navigating this newfound love isn’t enough, Lara also has to cope with her own traumatic past and fend off the unwanted affections of her ex-husband. All the while, a hateful stalker sits in prison planning her revenge.

Jackie Collins is the queen of romantic thrillers. Thrill! is dark, engaging, entertaining and excellently written. In true Jackie Collins style, the plot is raunchy and packed with sex, but it isn’t overly graphic or explicit and is entirely relevant to the story, which makes it completely bearable (enjoyable, even).

But there is so much more to this book than sex and romance. The plot is dramatic and surprisingly complex. There are so many different threads, with each character having their own individual storyline, and yet it is very easy to follow. The characters are well developed with unique personalities and distinctive voices.

Thrill! is exciting and addictive, with shocking twists and an almighty climax. Fans of romance/drama/thrillers, look no further.

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The Cows – Dawn O’Porter

32594947This novel follows the lives of three different women, living very different but connected lives. Cam is a successful and single lifestyle blogger who chooses to do what she wants, when she wants, without the ties of a husband or children. Tara is a single mother who’s life takes a dramatic turn after she is filmed masturbating on a train. Stella’s mum and twin sister have both been killed by cancer, and she is left facing the choice between life-altering surgery or facing the same fate. The whole premise revolves around being female, and examines the intricacies of women’s life choices in family, careers and friendship.

The three storylines are equally engaging and link together in an understated but completely plausible way. The narrative voices of the three women could have been more different. They were all a bit too similar which made them blend into one and made the book slightly harder to follow, but they each had a good story nonetheless.

The message of this book is not even remotely discreet, but it’s not pushy or intrusive either. Dawn O’Porter manages to make a clear point about feminism in the guise of an engaging and entertaining story, which is, frankly, very effective.

I was attracted to this book because of the cover and the title, and I’m very pleased to say that the inside is almost as good the outside.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Fifth Letter – Nicola Moriarty

32599703.jpgJoni, Trina, Deb and Eden have been friends since school. Every year they go on a trip away, to maintain their friendship. In an attempt to reconnect, they decide to each write an anonymous letter revealing a secret about their lives, to be shared with the group. But as the secrets come out, the four women seem to become further apart, and then Joni discovers a fifth letter. A fifth letter revealing a deep and vicious grudge against another member of the group – but who wrote it?

Now, this book isn’t fantastically written. It’s not bad and there’s a good story in there, but the writing style could use some improvement, and the story itself lacks excitement and – for a large amount of the book – drama. What it doesn’t lack, however, is suspense. I couldn’t work out who’d written the fifth letter until the very end (which is a good thing for this type of book, in case that wasn’t clear).

The story is written from the viewpoint of Joni, as she tells a priest about the trip and the letters. This was a really fun way of telling the story (the priest was actually my favourite character), but it did sometimes get lost in parts where time jumps were unclear and took some working out. My main problem was with the characters. As I said, the story is told from the point of view of Joni, who is very self-obsessed and I didn’t like her. Nor did I like Deb or Eden particularly. The only one I really thought was okay was Trina. This made the book a little bit harder to enjoy, but overall it probably didn’t make too much of a difference.

The ending was pretty anticlimactic. The content of the fifth letter wasn’t really all that shocking, and the revelation of who wrote it was undermined by other events. And I hated the little twist at the end with Trina (if you read this book, you’ll understand what I mean).

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Food of Love – Amanda Prowse

30333119.jpgFreya and Lockie live a charmed life: 19 years of happy marriage and two lovely teenage daughters, Charlotte and Lexi. They are the perfect family, until Lexi develops severe anorexia and everything falls apart.

The Food of Love has good point and bad points. Freya is annoying I didn’t like her. She seemed to be far more concerned with not upsetting her daughter than with helping her get better. And everything is about her, about what she’s done wrong as a mother, rather than about her daughter who is ill, or her poor other daughter who she is neglecting. And she won’t let her husband help which is stupid because they’re his children too. Basically, I disagree with everything Freya does, which stopped me from loving the book because it’s written from her perspective. The turmoil the family are put through is quite moving, but the story is repetitive and I didn’t find Lexi very relatable, which made it hard to understand or sympathise with her.

FORTUNATELY the story is pretty engaging despite Freya’s narrative voice being so annoying. I don’t know much about eating disorders and it is a very interesting read. It is clear that the author did a great deal of research for this book, which I respect. It’s a hard book to judge because I wouldn’t say I particularly liked or enjoyed the story, and yet I couldn’t put it down. Something to be said for the quality of writing: it’s quite a feat to engage your reader so much into a story they don’t really like.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After – Jenny Colgan

27258100When she’s made redundant from the job she loves, librarian Nina makes a drastic choice: she buys a van, leaves Birmingham and moves to a rural town in Scotland to run a mobile bookshop. Her new life in Scotland turns out to be everything she’s ever wanted, including – possibly – a real life romance.

Books about people who love books are always great. It creates an instant connection with the character because we understand each other. It was really fun following Nina as she looked for her fairy tale romance, only to realise that what she really wanted was a real-life relationship. The story is light, and well-written. The characters are quite likeable. There are no parts that are dark or too serious, making it a lovely light read. It’s just the thing for lovers of cute and easy romance. However, it’s a long way from the best in the genre. There’s nothing in particular wrong with The Little Shop of Happily Ever After, it’s just not totally gripping or exciting and I’ve definitely read better kitsch romance novels.

Christmas at the Cornish Café – Phillipa Ashley

51PotjCREuLReally getting into the Christmas spirit with this one, the second part of the Penwith Trilogy. Now, I loved book #1 (Summer at the Cornish Café). It was essentially Poldark fan-fiction, which was fine by me, but for book #2 Philippa Ashley came up with some more original story lines: Cal and Demi are successfully running Kilhallon Park and Demi’s new café, all while trying to work out their personal relationship as well. In the run-up to Christmas, a writer named Kit comes to the park for a few months – an unusually long stay. Despite (or perhaps because of) Kit’s charming nature, Cal doesn’t trust him. But Kit’s not the only one with a secret.

I loved this book just as much as the first. It’s light and breezy, easy to read and well-written. The setting is as good as ever (it’s hard not to love Cornish scenery). I liked all the characters already, and the new ones slotted into the story seamlessly. The only real criticism I have is that Cal’s ‘dark secret’ seems to have come from nowhere. It’s meant to be something he’s been struggling with internally, but there was absolutely no mention of it in the first book, so it was a bit out of the blue. Cal’s particular storyline in Christmas at the Cornish Café also creates some confusion to the overall feel of the book, because it is actually rather dark and serious, where the rest of the story is light and romantic. On the other hand, it did give the book a bit more depth.

Really, I’m just being picky. Will definitely be picking up the last book when it’s out.

Infamous – Lori Sizemore

32722638After a sex-tape scandal, Justine Montgomery has become infamous. Determined to prove herself, she takes a job at her father’s entertainment company, partnered up with the attractive and mysterious Sawyer. Fighting against her unsupportive father, stalker ex-boyfriend and scandalous past, Justine and Sawyer must battle the odds to make their relationship work – business and personal.

Following the structure of classic women’s contemporary romance, Infamous is well-written and entertaining. The characters are all likeable in their own ways (expect the ones you’re obviously supposed to hate) and the story, despite being completely predictable, is full of ups and downs that make it worth reading. Justine and Sawyer were both incredibly frustrating the way they could never figure out each other’s feelings even though it was totally obvious. Still, I enjoyed the way they interacted with each other and the chemistry between them.

The plot is well paced and full of humour, drama, and sexual tension. It’s a bit more than just a flighty love story, and a good addition to the genre.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Enchanting the Fey – Rebecca Bosevski

ENCHANTING THE FEY FRONT COVER.jpgAfter an attempt on her life, photographer Desmoree is taken to the world of the fey – a world that her mother spent her life hiding from her, and that she is destined to save. It’s a lot to take in and a lot of responsibility, but there is more to stay for than just destiny.

This is a nice story. Fairies and magic and monsters – all things I love. I also just have to say I love the cover, it’s really simple and elegant. Alongside the magic and fairies, there’s also a fun underlying focus on shoes (it’s not entirely integral to the story but a relatable touch). The romantic aspect happens quite abruptly, which isn’t ideal. There’s a lot of detail on the rest of the story (Des’ destiny, her family history, and her learning about her powers and the world her mother took her from) and the romance seemed to be left a bit behind, thrown in wherever it would fit. This wasn’t too much of a problem though, the story still moved well.

The second half contained an unexpected amount of action. At times the story felt rushed and I wondered if I’d missed a few pages (I hadn’t, I checked) but it was still exciting and intriguing. I did enjoy reading Enchanting the Fey, but it does have a few flaws in pace and plot.

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.