Book Review: The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even by Anna Bell

the-good-girlfriends

Title: The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even
Author: Anna Bell
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
Date: January 26th, 2017
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): ‘Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella’. Another hilarious and heart-warming romantic comedy from bestselling author Anna Bell

When Lexi’s sport-mad boyfriend Will skips her friend’s wedding to watch football – after pretending to have food poisoning – it might just be the final whistle for their relationship.

But fed up of just getting mad, Lexi decides to even the score. And, when a couple of lost tickets and an ‘accidentally’ broken television lead to them spending extra time together, she’s delighted to realise that revenge might be the best thing that’s happened to their relationship.

And if her clever acts of sabotage prove to be a popular subject for her blog, what harm can that do? It’s not as if he’ll ever find out . . .

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Review:

Anna Bell is an author who has been on my tbr list for a very, very long time.
Ever since I found out about her book The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart and heard so many amazing things about her work, I wanted to give her a chance.
After putting it off for the longest time, I was lucky enough and got a chance to read her newest novel, The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even.

I am so glad I read this funny novel with the longest title ever, because I fell in love with Bell’s writing style, and with the positive atmosphere she created, that was present through the whole story.

This book follows the story of Lexi, a 29 old woman who’s boyfriend (Will) is obsessed with sports.
Dating him and watching all the games is not always easy for Lexi, but she found her way to deal with that (like reading books on her e-reader when her boyfriend watches a game she is not interested in), but when Will fakes stomach flu so he wouldn’t go to Lexi’s best friend’s wedding, and goes to the game instead, Lexi decides it is time for her to get even.

First of all, let me just say that egocentric in me enjoyed reading this book and my approach to this story is 100% subjective.
You see, I could relate to Lexi so much, because her Will reminded me of my boyfriend. I mean it, they are so alike, it’s like the author based Will’s character on him.
Even their whole relationship situation was almost the same as ours, and when I was talking to my man about this book, he was sure I was making it up, just to entertain him.
“No”, I said “but Anna Bell wrote the story I should have written (because sometimes I like to think I was destined to write a good book one day), because it’s like reading my life on those pages. I KNOW what she’s talking about, to the core!”

The writing style was really, really good!
The story itself was great, but the way the author told us the story is even better. It reminded me of Sophie Kinsella’s style in a way.

I laughed so many times while reading, was entertained the whole time.

I was also curious (and because of subjective reason a bit worried how the story’s going to conclude) because, even though to some readers this story was predictable, I really had no idea in which direction it was going.

The things I think could have been better in this story are:
– I wish we got more romantic/cute scenes with Will and Lexi.
– I wish there was stronger character development. We said goodbye to the same Lexi and Will we met at the very beginning of the story.
– I don’t think Will’s reason to miss the wedding was strong enough.

I am so glad I read The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even, and I am looking forward to read more of Bell’s work.

If you’re a chick lit lover, this book is the one you don’t want to miss.

4,5

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Book Review: The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas by Carole Matthews

chocolate-lovers-christmas

Title: The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas
Series: Chocolate Lovers’ Club (#3)
Author: Carole Matthews
Publisher: Sphere
Date: October 22nd, 2015
Pages: 496
Format: Paperback
Source: purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Christmas is just around the corner but the women of The Chocolate Lovers’ Club have more to worry about than present shopping . . .

Lucy loves running Chocolate Heaven but she hasn’t spent time with her boyfriend, Aiden, in weeks. And then her ex-fiance turns up and things become even more complicated.

Nadia hasn’t let herself get close to a man in a long time, yet she can’t help feeling drawn to Jacob. Will he be her last chance for a happy ending?

Chantal and her husband, Ted, are besotted with their baby daughter Lana – but she’s not sure that’s enough to base a marriage on.

Autumn is dealing with a tragedy that has hit too close to home. But when she doesn’t get the support she needs from her fiance, will she look elsewhere for comfort?

Can friendship overcome all in . . . The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas.

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Review:

If you’re into chick lit, you’re probably familiar with an author Carole Matthews.
She’s one of the most known writers of women’s fiction, with (I think) 30 novels written.
Also, her stories always come within the most adorable covers, so it’s hard not to pay attention to her work.

Being devoted reader of women’s fiction, I wanted to read her work for the longest time.
After few years of putting it off, I decided it was about time to finally grab one of those gorgeous paperbacks and start reading (plus TBD bargain section helped me to decide which one to choose).

The Chocolate Lovers’ Club is the third book in the series but it can be read as standalone.
However, if you want to read this book, I encourage you to read previous books first.
The reason why is because so many things happened in the first two books and, although an author mentioned them through the story and tried her best to keep new readers on track, I think that if I’d read the series in order, I would understand the characters better.

The story follows four women who are best friends whose love for chocolate connected them.
As the author herself said it in her letter to readers at the end of the book, the reason why she wrote this series is to show how women can be there for each other without judging one another.

I understand where she was coming from and I can say she solidly succeeded in her goal, but yet these women were so much different from where I come from, that even though I tried to go with an open mind into this story, at times it was really hard for me to understand them.
There is no girl code (one woman was one’s guy mistress and now her friend is dating him), with questionable morals (cheating and not knowing who your baby’s father is) and easy to fogive approach (becoming fast friend with your husband’s ex mistress who has his child (who’s by the way the same age as yours)).
If you’re a type of reader who avoids all of the above in their books, maybe this book is not for you.

The writing style is really, really good. I’d say it is the best part of this piece. Carole Matthews uses her words in a way that makes you fly through the story. That only is enough reason for me to want to read more of her work.

However, I wasn’t the biggest fan of how this book was concepted.
It follows four POVs, one of them (Lucy’s) written in first person and others all written in third person.
To be honest, I still don’t understand why Matthews chose to write her book that way.
For a really short period it gave me that Sex and the City vibe, in which Carrie tells the story, but then I realized that in those chapters that were written in third person when Lucy was mentioned, she was being Lucy, and not the person who tells the story, so that’s what confused me.

And while we’re talking about Sex and the City, I can say The Chocolate Lover’s Christmas is like a lighter version of it, only set in London and without parties.
Even some scenes reminded me of ones from that show. They would be amazing, if only they were original.

Overall, The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas is a quick read perfect to put you into the festive mood, but if you don’t like not-so-smart protagonists nor promiscuity, you probably won’t like this novel either.

3

Book Review: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

miracle-on-5th

Title: Miracle on 5th Avenue
Series: From Manthattan with Love (#3)
Author: Sarah Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin
Date: November 29th, 2016
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): It will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this perfectly festive fairy tale of New York!

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she’s given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn’t appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

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Review:

If you know me or follow my reviews for a while, you probably know, as all the birds on branches do too, that festive stories are my favorite ones.
There’s just something magical about stories that talk about love during Christmas season.

Yet, for an avid reader (as I like to call myself) who’s in love with Christmas stories (especially festive chick lits), it is unforgivable not to read a queen of Christmas chick-lit: Sarah Morgan.
But here I am, writing my first ever review for one of her books (but it definitely won’t be the last, I assure you that!).

My very good friend Ananda from This Chick Reads told me I should try Sarah Morgan, because she is her favorite author, and since we have the similar taste in books, she knew I would like her writing.
As soon as I started reading Miracle on 5th Avenue, I understood why Ananda loves Morgan so much.

The writing style is astonishing and compelling that it easily makes the reader lose the sense of time.
Mark my words!
What will seem like just 20 minutes or reading will probably be 1 hour, because the story is so entertaining, you will not be able to let it go.

Everytime I picked up the book, I had a hard time to part my ways with it (but I had to because, you know, real life and stuff…).

The story follows Eva, a hopeless romantic who always looks at the bright side of life.
When she gets an opportunity to house-sit an apartment of a criminal writer, she can’t pass it.
Only the thing is, Lucas isn’t away from his home as she was told he would be, and we find it out in a pretty interesting and slightly humorous way.

Eva and Lucas couldn’t be more opposite, but yet, they are so right for each other.
In Miracle of 5th Avenue, we get to witness how attraction turns into love slowly but surely.

Incredible descriptions of New York during Christmas Time, loveable side characters you will probably fall in love with, and fairy tale vibes this story will give you are what highlights Miracle on 5th Avenue from other festive pieces of work.

I am so thankful I had an opportunity to read this book, and I am so grateful that Ananda recommended this author to me, because now I want more. I want to read as many books by Sarah Morgan as I can (read: all of them!!).

5

Book Review: One Christmas in Paris by Mandy Baggot

one-christmas-in-paris

Title: One Christmas in Paris
Author: Mandy Baggot
Publisher: Bookouture
Date: October 7th, 2016
Pages: 394
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): They say Paris is the City of Love, so bring your je ne sais quoiand don’t forget the mistletoe!

Ava and her best friend Debs arrive in Paris just as the snow starts to fall. The Eiffel Tower glitters gold and the scent of spiced wine is all around, but all Ava can think about is Leo, her no-good, cheating ex.

Debs is on a mission to make Ava smile again, and as they tour the Christmas markets, watch lamplight glittering on the river Seine, and eat their body weight in pain-au-chocolat, Ava remembers there’s more to life than men … Until they cross paths with handsome, mysterious photographer Julien with his French accent and hazelnut eyes that seem to see right inside her.

Ava can’t ignore the intense chemistry between them, but her fingers have been burned before and she can’t forget it, especially when her ex, Leo, starts texting again. Can Ava really trust Julien – and what exactly is his secret?

Will Ava go home with a broken heart, or will she find true love amongst the cobbled streets of Paris?

Join Ava and Julien in the most romantic city in the world this Christmas, as they discover the importance of being true to themselves, and learn how to follow their hearts.

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Review:

When it comes to books, there’s nothing I like more then to read them on cold days, with a cup of chocolate coffee in my hand, while the Chirstmas (or Disney piano) music is playing.
And you know what kind of books I love to read the most?
Festive reads! They are my favorite, and I could read them all year long.

Now when the Christmas is officially approaching, Christmas books have overtaken my reading schedule.
I have already read more then few books that take part during winter, but One Christmas In Paris is the best festive read I had this year so far.

The story follows a woman called Ava. Her life has not been easy lately. She broke up with her boyfriend, lost her job and fights with her mom who’s dream is for Ava to be a supermodel.
When her best friend Debs invites her to spend Christmas in Paris with her, Ava accepts and they start their wintery adventure.

The story is written in third person and it follows Ava’s perspective, but it also follows Julien, the guy who Ava meets in Paris.

The writing style is really good. At first it took some time for me to get used to it, but after 50 first pages, I was totally invested in the story.

I feel like I have to mention that at the very beginning I found myself resented by some things that characters said.
At one point, there was an argument in which I felt like Ava was shaming rich people for being rich, but the rich guy responded by shaming Ava’s look with sentence (this in not a quote but I’ll do my best to write it as I remember) „By your hair I can tell you are probably interestied in girls.“, but he said it in a mean way, and I thought to myself „What is this, LGBT shaming?“
As it turned out, Ava actually wanted to look like that, but I was a bit put off with those comments.
I have to stress out it was mentioned only that one time, so I decided not to hold on to it.

The story was good, but the setting in amazing.
I love how Paris was present the whole time. By reading the story, the reader explores the city of lights along with characters and there’s no way to forget where the story is taking place.

I happened to be in Paris during Christmas vacation few years ago, so I had no problem imagining streets of that wonderful city during winter, as I saw it mayself and, in my opinion, Mandy Baggot did an astonishing job describing it.

If you’re looking for a festive read that not only will entertain you, but will also show you Paris during winter time, and will make you crave for french food, One Paris In Christmas is a perfect book for you.

4

Book Review: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

the one that got away

Title: The One That Got Away
Author: Melissa Pimentel
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: September 22nd, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren’t.

Ten years later, Ruby’s single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There’s barely time for a trip to England for her little sister’s wedding. And there’s certainly not time to think about seeing Ethan there for the first time in years.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can’t help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago? Because there’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past . . .

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Review:

When I first heard about The One That Got Away few months ago I was very excited.
The premise sounded like something right up my alley and the gorgeous cover made it even more appealing.
Saying that I was happy when I got a chance to read an early copy of this novel would probably be an understatement. I was beyond thrilled.

As you can probably imagine, when it comes to my expectations for this book, they were pretty high.
But guess what?
I finished this book satisfied with what I read.

The One That Got Away follows the story of Ruby, a woman in her early thirties who has to attend her sister’s wedding where she’ll meet Ethan, her ex boyfriend and the only man she ever loved, who she broke up with ten years ago.
Will the feeling she once felt come back to light or is it really over with her and Ethan?

I had so much fun reading this book.
The writing style was pretty good and easy to read, with fine sense of humor and pop culture references it made the reading experience rather pleasurable.

The story is told in, to me, somewhat unusual way. It follows two different times simply reffered as Now and Then.
Now is written in first person, from Ruby’s point of view.
Then is written in third person and it tells the story of Ruby and Ethan’s relationship.

My favorite part when it comes to The One That Got Away are characters Melissa Pimentel created.
They were believable, gray as I like to say, with their good and bed sides that made them realistic.
While I was reading about their lives I couldn’t help but feel like I knew them already.
I welcomed that feeling because it, in some strange way, reminded me of home.
My favorite was definitely Ruby’s father who would probaby go on some reader’s nerves, but from my perspective he was captured like the most realistic one. I think Pimentel dosed the right amount of his greedines, his atypicall sense of humor, the way he cared about people close to him and brang one certenly interesting and lifelike character to life.
I’d also like to mention that I liked Ruby’s and Piper’s relationship with their stepmother.

The story takes place in Edinburgh.
I was never there, but the way the author described that place, with all the castles and nature, made me go and google images of  that city.

This book did not just put me into happy place, but, at times, it also wretched my heart.

According to publisher, The One That Got Away is a „A smart, funny and modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.“
In my opinion, they got it right. It was smart, and it was funny.
I can’t say how close to original Persuasion it is because I have never read it.
But I can tell you that bacause I haven’t read it, I wasn’t sure how the story’s going to end, and it made me nervous. The closer to the end I got, the more and more I was afraid of absence of Happily Ever After I so wanted to happen’.
In the end, I was satisfied with the way the story ended.

Overall, this was pretty enjoyable read that I would recommend to women’s fiction fans.
I’m not sure how long the story will stay with readers after they  finish it, but I am pretty sure that they will have a pretty good time while reading this novel.

4

Book Review: The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club

the lost cats

Title: The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club
Author: Nic Tatano
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Date: August 26th, 2016
Pages: 250
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Swapping Prada for purrs…

While covering a story, feisty network reporter Madison Shaw gets more than she bargained for when she rescues a box of orphaned kittens. Suddenly the glamazon of the Manhattan news room is doing two am feedings to keep these furbabies alive!

This is certainly a change of pace for the high maintenance workaholic she’s become and taking care of the kittens makes Madison realise how far off track she’s come—after all, she was a stray once too…

When a video of her caring for the kittens goes viral, she knows her image as a hardnosed reporter is shot to hell. What Madison doesn’t expect is the media circus that propels her and the kittens to stardom. And the domino effect that has on her, her career and her love life—especially when she meets sexy Officer Nick Marino…!

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Review:

Imagine finding four little orphan kittens, too small to take care of themselves and without a mother to feed and bath them. What would you do?

If you’re a person with a good heart, you would take them under your roof and do your best to give them what they need to survive.
And that is exactly what Madison did.

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Disclaimer:

I will have to start this review with a disclaimer and say that I will be totally subjective when it comes to expressing my thoughts. This story is very special to me and I observed it from a different angle then usual because I experienced (almost) the same thing as the main character of this story, but was also in a situation that in parts reminds of the one  character Nick was in.

I really don’t want to make this review about me, but I think it would be fair to tell you that, because my personal experience is what led me to percieve the story in the way I did.
So I will just briefly mention that I have two cats that were only 13 days old when they lost their mother and I bottle fed them and took care of them. They are healthy now and are best cats in the world.
Also, five years ago I had a car accident and I was unable to move for weeks. Those days all I could do was lie in bed and sit with someone’s help, so I know how the recovery process looks like.
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Now, on to the real review…

Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club tells the story about a reporter called Madison. She is a real career woman. One day when reporting from construction aera, she and her cameraman find four kittens and a dead cat. In order to save kittens’ life, she takes them home and starts taking care of them.

Although she did not plan to, she keeps them and becomes their second mother because she got atteched to them, especially  to the tortoiseshell one.
For Madison, cats are not just company. They (or should I say tortiseshell one) help her see what kind of person people around her are so she ends up breaking up with her cold hearted boyfriend the same night cats move in.
As the story progress, we follow Madison and her three friends living a life in New York, dating and helping the world make a better place.

This book warmed my heart. When I say it, I really mean it.
There were so many memories that came back to me thanks to this novel.
And although it wasn’t the best read ever, I certenly enjoyed reading it.

The writing style was really good, easy to read and you can read this novel pretty quickly.
It is written in first person, from Madison’s point of view.
What surprised me is the fact that the writer is male.
I don’t usually pay attention whether I read male or female authors, but it really blew my mind how Nic Tatano perfectly described women’s way of thinking.

Character development plays a big part in this story.
Madison really changes through the story and even if that change is mentioned more then few times by side characters, readers can also see it in Madison’s behaviour.
However, I have to mention that I wasn’t on best terms with some of her actions.

The story itself was naive in parts in a way that everything went so easy for Madison, but I will assume that the purpose of this book is to bright reader’s mood.

It also had some flaws and unexplained things that I just feel like they have to be metioned.
I will write them down in the spoiler section  so I wouldn’t ruin anyone’s reading experience without their permission.

Overall, this book was pretty good and it really left me in a good mood.
I think that cat lovers would enjoy it so if you are one of them, I suggest you to give it a try.

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Spoiler Alert!!!

  1. We never got an explanation why mother cat died. I know some things we’ll never know, but somehow I wish we got to know what happened to her.
  2. Tortoishell cats are basically always female. Male tortoishell do exist, but they are so rare, finding one is like finding a niddle in haystackes, and male can’t produce due to their chromosomes. I wish vet said that to Madison bc I have a feeling many readers will just assume that the writer didn’t do his homework because „all tortoishells are female“.
  3. Nick had an accident where he lost the ability to walk and had to use wheelchairs. I feel like his situation was described unbelievably too easy. Madison could have just leave him alone for hours and it was like there was no fact that he is human and therefore has to use toilet, has to take a bath. Madison once told him he can just roll into the shower but guess what? He has to take off his clothes, wash himself and use a towel. Without help, that is impossible.
    I feel like the whole thing could have easily be fixed if there was a nurse to help Nick.
  4. Although it maybe is not a big deal, I wish getting rid of parasites was also mentioned.
  5. I wish tabby, rushian blue and tuxedo cat were more present in the story. They were in the tortoishell’s shadow.

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3,5

Short Story Review: In A New York Minute by Claudia Carroll

in a new york minute

Title: In A New York Minute
Author: Claudia Carroll
Publisher: Avon
Date: March 26th, 2015
Pages: 30
Format: ebook
Source: Freebei

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Love isn’t always like it is in the movies … or is it?

Amy has moved to the city that never sleeps, and now she’s looking for love.

But after a string of dating disasters it seems that finding Mr. Right isn’t quite as easy as Amy first thought.

Following in the footsteps of her favourite New York movies Amy is determined to have that romantic Manhattan moment. But like all good romances – love often turns up in the most unexpected of places…

A heart-warming, 23 page short story from best-selling author, Claudia Carroll, this is the perfect read for Valentine’s Day.

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Review:

In A New York Minute is a short story, so I’ll try to make my review as short as it can be.

Claudia Carroll is an author I can’t help but notice on my Goodreads page every once in a while, in a „similar books“ section. As a devoted chick lit reader, browsing books is what I do on regular basis, so it is no surprise that her books cought my attention with their beautiful and sweet covers (all of her covers are gorgeous, that is a fact! Even this one is so astonishing, I could stare at it and forget about time).

The one and main reason why I decided to pick In A New York Minute as my first Claudia Carroll read is that it was short and it was free.
From that, I figured out I can decide whether I should buy some of her already released work.

In 23 pages Claudia Carroll managed to grab my attention, make me appreciate her writing style and won me as a reader.

The story follows woman named Amy who moved to New York and is trying it’s dating scene.
The writer described New York so well that the whole time while reading I had that New York vibe (you know, the one you have when watching Sex and the City).

It would be a shame if I’d talk too much about this story since it is pretty short and giving anything away would be a sin, but I willd tell you that out of all the reads I had last month, In A New York Minute was my favorite.

I liked everything about it and the only thing that I would change is a little detail closer to the end, but even with that it was a great read that I am glad I picked up.

I highly recommend it to every chick lit fan.
It is free and short, so it is a win case.

As for me, I can’t wait to read Carroll’s full lenght novels and it makes me so happy to see that there are a lot of them to choose from.

4,5