When I heard about Mother of the Year by Karen Ross, I wasn’t entirely sure it was my kind of read. I’m not a mother, as I so often mention, and kids...moreWhen I heard about Mother of the Year by Karen Ross, I wasn’t entirely sure it was my kind of read. I’m not a mother, as I so often mention, and kids are the last thing on my mind. But then I saw the synopsis, and the beautiful blue cover with a cupcake on it, and I found myself very intrigued indeed, so when I received a copy of the book I was rather thrilled and couldn’t wait to dive it. It really is such a pretty looking book, and the cupcake even has a sparkler in it that’s all glittery. It’s a book that will most definitely pop on the shelves once it’s released, and the best part about it is it’s a fantastic read to boot.
When I initially heard the book and saw the synopsis, I thought the novel would focus more on Beth, than her daugther JJ. I thought JJ was (quite possibly) just a whiny teenager looking for affection from her mother, who works a lot, but that’s not true at all. Instead, JJ is a perfectly competent 24-year-old, with a steady job, steady boyfriend, and who just struggles with the concept of what her mother Beth does for a living, and sees it that her mother is always taking the mickey with the things she writes in newspapers, and the things she shows on TV. The first line is killer, “I think my mum would prefer a colonic irrigation to hanging out with me,” and that sets the tone of Beth and JJ’s relationship. I could hardly blame JJ, either, because the last thing in the world I would want is my mother airing my failings and other things that should be kept personal to the nation. I would probably hide in a corner, rocking back and forth, or move to another country entirely.
I thought the novel went at quite a pace. JJ was juggling a lot of stuff – her mother, a topic all of itself; her boyfriend Rob’s sudden desire to start a juice business; the fact her roommate Theodora was kicking her out of her room so she could build a sand sculpture; and vying for promotion at work. There is never a dull moment in JJ Jackson’s life, let me tell you, and I lapped it all up. I especially enjoyed reading about her work, at an advertising agency, I thought it was super interesting, to learn about a job I know very little about and which sounds massively rewarding (especially when you’re as clever as JJ). I was actually super disappointed when I reached the end of the book, I felt like I could have kept reading about JJ and her family and friends for another 420 pages, which is no mean feat; it’s not often I say that about a book, but in this case it was very true. JJ felt like a friend, like she was confiding in me and I thought her voice was really, really great.
Mother of the Year also allows us to see into Beth Jackson’s life, as sometimes near the end of chapters it would diver to a third-person perspective to catch up with Beth, and I enjoyed it. I also thought the addition of the newspaper articles was fantastic, allowing us a glimpse into what JJ had to put up with when she was a child, but it also showed how much Beth had put into being a successful, working mother. I was so absorbed in the novel, and I loved the addition of Asbo, a particularly naughty dog who belongs to Rob’s best friend Danny. Dogs in novels are always a winner as far as I’m concerned and all the bad bits Asbo does just endeared him to me even more. I can’t wait to see what Karen does next, she is a fantastic writer, who really got us into the heart and mind of the Jackson family, and JJ is particular was such a lovely, warm character. I would love to see a sequel, I think there’s loads of mileage left there, and I just loved the Jackson family! The narrative was amazing, it even made me LOL a few times, which is always a bonus (and a VERY difficult thing to do in writing, let’s be honest) and Karen is a bright new voice in Chick Lit, and long may she continue writing because this was a fantastic read.(less)
When I got an email from Penguin Australia about three of their new Destiny titles, I was pleasantly surprised to see they were actual Chick Lit title...moreWhen I got an email from Penguin Australia about three of their new Destiny titles, I was pleasantly surprised to see they were actual Chick Lit titles I could review (you have no idea how many emails I get for romances that are more bodice-rippers, books I just don’t read and don’t review showing that people sometimes don’t pay attention to the sites they’re emailing), I happily downloaded all three titles to my Kindle, and had to pick one to start first! I decided to start with Tweethearts because I absolutely love books set around the world of reality TV – reality TV is always fascinating, and when done right can be quite spectacular and offer insights on things you would never suspect.
Right off the bat I would like to say that I really liked Jemima Starler. I admire ANYBODY who is brave enough to go behind her boss’s back and set up a Twitter acount that basically slays her boss with every Tweet. That’s brave, and I liked it. I admire anyone who stands up for themselves and shows people that you can’t go behind someone’s back and try to stab them, as Jemima’s editor attempted to and I was so glad she got her comeuppance. I was so pleased that Jemima and Evie teamed up to get their own back on Georgia, because she was so horrible. I also have to admit that I read this novel because I love novels about celebrities, and Evie is a really sweet accidental celebrity – famous for going out with a footballer, but soon forging her own path, like being the host of new reality show Dance Like No One’s Watching and that’s pretty much what the book is based on, as Evie is hosting the show, Jemima gets a job as the social media girl, and Samson, Jemima’s flatmate, is a contestant.
Tweethearts was a fun, sweet read. Longer than I expected, but I very much enjoyed the glimpse into the reality show world, and I loved that it was set in Australia. Another plus about the book, because I love books set in Australia. I’ve never been, but I want to go, and getting to read a book set there is undoubtedly the next best thing to being there. I enjoyed getting to know Evie, Jemima and Samson. I do wish Jemima and Samson had had a chat about their relationship sooner, sometimes that’s all is needed, and they didn’t do that, until it became embroiled in the show. It would have made their lives so much easier if they’d been a bit more honest with each other earlier, it’s the same old tale! But, I enjoyed Tweethearts for the most part, and I very much enjoyed getting to know the characters.(less)
JoJo Moyes has rather risen up the Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction ranks in the past few years. Her hit novel Me Before You was read by literally everybody...moreJoJo Moyes has rather risen up the Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction ranks in the past few years. Her hit novel Me Before You was read by literally everybody and sold millions of copies and was just stratospheric, let’s be honest. It really launched JoJo as a major writer, and I can actually see why because it was amazing. I’ve only just read it a couple of months ago, but I totally see why all the hype was there for the novel, because it was simply amazing. So I’ve jumped onto JoJo Moyes’ amazing bandwagon and when I heard about her new novel I thought it sounded great, and I couldn’t wait to dive in, and was rather pleased to receive a copy to review (I almost squealed when I got it).
The One Plus One is such a clever, enjoyable novel. I think there’s a real lack of novels set in the real world, with characters who aren’t well-off, who DO struggle day-to-day, and for who life isn’t all happiness and roses, and I really enjoyed getting to know Jess, Tanzie and Nicky. They’re such real, honest characters, and I loved their funny little family. How they weren’t the regulation 2.4 family and I very much admired Jess for taking on Nicky, despite the fact he wasn’t even her child, it takes a special person to do that and I loved how she treated Nicky as if he was her own. I was reading the book and I felt so bad for them – Nicky, being bullied, which is awful, no person should ever have to go through that; Tanzie, this brilliant maths whizz, the smartest kid you will ever come across, and since maths was my thing at school, I totally felt an affinity with her (although she is WAY smarter than me, I could barely understand any of the maths stuff Tanzie was dealing with, with ease, may I add?) and then there’s Jess, working two jobs and just trying to put food on the table for the kids. Her spirit and determination to do the best for herself and her kids was amazing, and I loved her never-give-up attitude.
I love road trip novels, they’re actually my favourite kind of novel, and I like road trip novels with strangers even more! And Ed, who comes into the novel, like a knight on a white horse (or, rather, a man with a functioning car) and helps Jess, Nicky and Tanzie get up to Scotland for Tanzie’s competition that will hopefully see them get a bit of financial help. I loved their road trip, how it was awkward in the beginning and how it just sort of started to make sense the more they were all stuck in the car together, going a sensible 40mph so Tanzie didn’t get car-sick. I was even more excited that Norman, Tanzie’s dog went on the road trip! I love when dogs are included in road trips, and in EVERYTHING basically because my dogs mean the world to me and I’d take them everywhere if I could. I just flew through the novel – I just wanted to know what would happen next, and I couldn’t believe that just when everything was looking up it all went rather pear-shaped, which made me so sad. But there were so many good bits, and it’s probably the most feelgood novel of the year, despite the troubles everyone is in.
The One Plus One is such an amazing novel. It made me so happy to read, and I could barely put it down, I just simply had to keep reading, JoJo is a stunning writer, so good at making you care for her characters, and she always writes such interesting, clever characters. Although it also made me cry. There was rather a moment that I thought I wasn’t going to stop crying, and I have to admit, I was quite relieved when it wasn’t what I thought it was. Let’s call it a hiccup. But, I do rather hate JoJo Moyes for putting me through that! (Although the relief after it was rather nice…) I can’t say enough about this book, it’s warm and witty, and it was just so real. I love novels about down-on-their-luck characters, characters who are proper down-on-their-luck, not just mourning the loss of a husband, or a job. What Jess goes through is something LOADS of people are going through at the moment, and this just highlights the fantastic attitude people like Jess have toward surviving. It’s not a want, it’s a need and I loved The One Plus One so much. Such an incredible cast of characters, so unique and amazing, people you can really root for.(less)
When I spotted The Guestbook by Holly Martin on Netgalley, I had no idea what the book was going to be about. I knew the title, I knew the beautiful c...moreWhen I spotted The Guestbook by Holly Martin on Netgalley, I had no idea what the book was going to be about. I knew the title, I knew the beautiful cover, but I didn’t know how it was written, which meant that when I dived into the novel it was quite the surprise to find it wasn’t written like a normal novel, but is actually entries into a guestbook (perhaps the title should have warned me of what was to come?). But I actually love books written in varying mediums and so I was quite excited to get stuck into The Guestbook and to meet it’s (very) varying characters, along with owner Annie Butterworth (awesome name).
I actually enjoyed The Guestbook way more than I expected! It was a bit like opening up a random page on the Internet and reading everybody’s comments and opinions, but in the best way possible! Let me tell you, that Annie’s cottage, Willow Cottage, sounds like heaven on Earth. I find myself regularly saying this, as I keep reading books in houses/countries I would die to live in, but Willow Cottage definitely tops that list. I loved the sound of the cottage, and I loved that the community of Wells-By-The-Sea would stick their necks out on the line (or keep schtum) about any kinds of goings on. They’re my kind of people!
As for the actual guests at Willow Cottage, they were such a mixed and varied bunch, but I loved hearing from all of them. My favourite (and most memorable) was probably the lady with all the pets. Not regular pets, oh no! She had a goat, a snake, a tarantula (a tarantula which elicited screams every time it escaped and someone found her, no less!). I enjoyed getting to know Annie, Oliver and Sophie, too, they were the constants in the novel, and I was very much on the will-they-won’t-they see-saw of Annie and Oliver. (I totally wanted them to, obvs.) It was such a thoroughly enjoyable novel, with such a unique concept and one that never fails to make me happy. Holly Martin is a wonderful writer, and I enjoyed every page of The Guestbook, it was so sweet and so lovely and such a fantastic idea! I rather call for a sequel!(less)
When Portia MacIntosh emailed me and asked me if I would like to review her novella Between A Rock Star and a Hard Place, it was a no brainer. I love...moreWhen Portia MacIntosh emailed me and asked me if I would like to review her novella Between A Rock Star and a Hard Place, it was a no brainer. I love books set in the music world, I love books where people are best friends with rock stars and I love it even no when there’s no agenda there (ie. them sleeping together). It’s nice to read a book about a rock star and his best friend and there be no shenanigans – although I can’t think it’s too hard for Nicole considering the sheer amount of people Dylan managed to get through in such a short novella!
I thoroughly enjoyed Between A Rock Star and a Hard Place, Portia has a fantastic writing style which made feel like Nicole was a friend, rather than someone I had only just met and I rather liked her devotion to trying to find Dylan before it was too late – anyone else would have simply left him to their own devices and no one would have been all that bothered, let’s be honest, but I like that Nicole was there for her friend, despite his actions, and despite the fact she was sent on what was a wild goose chase, from pillar to post and back again.
I cannot wait for the first full-length novel Starstruck. I already love Nicole, so I can’t wait to tag along with her as she goes on the ride to wherever she’s going (presumably on tour with Dylan’s band The Burnouts?). I REALLY hope we’ll see more of the delectable Troy, and that he’s not just a one-novella wonder, because I looooved him and I think he and Nicole got on really well and one thing I definitely don’t want is Dylan and Nicole to happen. They’re friends, and Dylan’s a skank and Nicole deserves way better and Troy could be that way better! I can’t wait for more from these guys, they’re ace!(less)