REVIEW: ‘Perfect Girl’ by Michele Gorman

Perfect Gir Book Cover Perfect Gir
Michele Gorman
Chick Lit

Carol is perfect… at least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality
she’s sinking fast – her family treats her like their personal
assistant and her boyfriend is so busy with work that he’s got her
single-handedly running their relationship. Not that her job is any
easier. As the only woman on the bank’s trading floor she spends
twelve-hour days trying not to get sworn at or felt up by colleagues
who put the "W" in banker.

How long can she go on pleasing everyone else before she snaps and
loses it all?

I received a copy of Perfect Girl by Michele Gorman in exchange for my honest opinion. 

I’ve reviewed several of Michele Gorman’s novels this year (check out my reviews of The Curvy Girls Club and Single Girl in the City), and it definitely seems like she’s hit upon the secrets to successful chick lit. I’ve loved each book – and am pleasantly surprised to realise that the main characters have all been very different, and the story-lines unique. A traveller looking for the perfect career, a woman seeking body love, and a high-powered career woman struggling against perfectionism – each of these ladies is trying to find a path to fulfilment and happiness.

Perfect Girl‘s protagonist, Carol, is a people pleaser, problem solver, perfectionist. Immediately, this struck a chord in me – I am a perfectionist too. At first, Carol bends over backwards to help her friends and family without a second thought. But, as the commitments pile on, something has to give. When suddenly she starts saying ‘No!’, people don’t quite know what to do! Suddenly, the very thing that defined her – her perfect girl reputation – is the very thing she wants to rid herself of. So, if not perfect, then who is she?

I have personally faced this very dilemma. When I stopped bending over backwards to please everyone, because I quite simply didn’t have the energy to do more than get through the day, people literally decided that I was no longer worth hanging out with. It was a shocking way to discover who my ‘real friends’ were, and almost hurt me enough to send me scurrying back to my people-pleasing ways. I’m still a perfectionist, but I am better about saying ‘No’ to people (most of the time!).

I think that relating to what Carol was feeling made me like this book on a whole different level. However, I think any chick lit lover, regardless of a perfectionist streak, would be hooked on this book from the get go. Gorman crafted a cast of characters that very much enhanced the story. Carol’s family, though at times frustrating, is loveable and endearing. Her best friend, Harriet, had me giggling at her ability to attract the most bizarre men. And her male-dominated workplace left me seething in disgust at the sexist behaviour she was forced to endure.

I also liked that the book didn’t only centre around Carol’s love life. Her innovation in the workplace was also a big theme; how she dealt with being a woman in a male-dominated workplace, and how she had the skills to hold her own (even when things didn’t go to plan). I won’t give anymore away though!

I’m definitely a Michele Gorman fan, and would recommend her books to any chick lit lover. She seems to have a way of adding a spark to her stories that can sometimes be missing in other books in the same genre. Excitingly, I’m interviewing Gorman soon, so keep an eye out for that in mid-November. Also, her christmas book will be a part of my Christmas Round-Up, so if you’re hankering for another fix, you won’t have long to wait!

Overall: Perfect Girl was only released this week, so grab a copy, read it, love it – ad be the awesome person that gets to recommend a great book to your #readerfriends!


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REVIEW: When Girlfriends Let Go by Savannah Page

When Girlfriends Let Go Book Cover When Girlfriends Let Go
Savannah Page
Chick Lit

A novel about love, self-discovery, and realizing sometimes you have to let go. 

Jackie Kittredge is the consummate drama queen living the charmed life. She’s enthusiastic, outspoken, and is always looking for a good time. At twenty-seven she’s got a swanky Seattle townhouse, a wealthy husband, a designer wardrobe, the best of girlfriends, and a calendar filled not with meetings and deadlines, but spa appointments and happy hour reminders. On the outside, she’s got it all. 

On the inside, though, Jackie’s charmed life isn’t as it seems. She’s seeing a therapist, battling the demons of coming from a broken home and a past of promiscuity and heavy drinking. She can be selfish and demanding, sometimes even wearing her best friends thin. And now her marriage—what she thought could be her solid foundation—is on the rocks. Her husband Andrew spends nearly all his time at the office (and possibly with his secretary), and apologizes for his absence with lavish gifts and empty promises. 

Miserable and desperate, Jackie questions if her marriage is worth fighting for. Then a string of events begins to put things into perspective…into a perspective she didn’t quite anticipate. With her best friends by her side and some tough love, Jackie finds herself not only asking if she’s where she belongs, but if she’s who she’s supposed to be. 

This is a passionate story about having to answer some of life’s most important and difficult questions. It’s a story about fear, courage, and personal growth. About what happens when girlfriends let go. 

I received a copy of When Girlfriends Let Go by Savannah Page in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

Another instalment in the “When Girlfriends” series, When Girlfriends Let Go follows the first five books that chronicle the lives of six girlfriends in Seattle. All very different, each book focuses on one girl and the dramas she is facing at the time. This book centred around flighty, loyal, self-involved Jackie – and her fear that the only solution to her marriage trouble could be divorce.

Having read and reviewed the fourth book in the series earlier this year, I’m glad that I was already familiar with the characters. Otherwise, the many distinct characters would have been quite confusing. That said, I didn’t really connect with Jackie. Throughout the series, she is described as selfish and spoiled, in part due to her difficult childhood. While I can empathise with her past and how it may affect her personality, I struggled to come to grips with her lack of desire to do anything other than shop and socialise. That frustration overcame my understanding of her desire to fix her marriage. All too often it seemed like she was being childish and creating drama for dramas sake.

My other issue with the book was its length. Page took a long time getting to the crux of the story, and was at times overly descriptive, describing every outfit worn, etc. I think the book could have benefitted from being a little shorter.

On the whole, as a part of a series, this book is a good chick lit read. I’ll be picking up the seventh and final instalment, as I really like some of the other characters and want to find out how the girls are going.  But, as a stand-alone novel, I wouldn’t recommend it.


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Love Like The Movies by Victoria Van Tiem

Love Like the Movies Book Cover Love Like the Movies
Victoria Van Tiem
Chick Lit

In this irresistible romantic romp, movie fanatic Kensington Shaw is thrown into love—Hollywood-style—when her gorgeous ex presents a series of big screen challenges to win back her heart.

What girl wouldn’t want to experience the famous Pretty Woman shopping scene? It’s number two on the list. Or, try the lift from Dirty Dancing? It’s number five. One list, ten romantic movie moments, and a handful of shenanigans later, Kenzi has to wonder…should she marry the man her family loves, or risk everything for a love like the movies?

Victoria Van Tiem sounds like a pretty kick-ass lady (think artist, blackbelt, mum, and pig-owner), and I was super excited to read and review her novel, Love Like the Movies for you today – but, thanks to the snail-like pace of the postal system, my copy hasn’t arrived! So, you can expect a review as soon as it graces my letter box, and until then you’ll just have to wait!

I’ve found myself comparing my love life to those that I see in the movies on more than one occasion, so the premise of this book immediately caught my eye. I think the idea of recreating those famous movie moments would be lots of fun! I’m looking forward to reading about how everything pans out for main character, Kensington.

While you wait – on the edges of your seats, I’m sure -for my review, you can check out my Twitter and enter to win a copy for yourself. Or, you can get a copy via Amazon. If your copy arrives before mine, don’t give anything away!!

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REVIEW: French Toast by Glynis Astie

French Toast Book Cover French Toast
Glynis Astie
Chick Lit

Sydney Bennett is back! And her pursuit of perfection is alive and well. Naïve to the core, Sydney believed that when she finally married the man of her dreams, the hard part was over.

Following a civil ceremony as a means to keep Louis from being deported, Sydney continues to plan the fairytale wedding that she had dreamed of since the age of five. Much to her chagrin, she discovers that her mother-in-law is planning what seems to be a rival wedding in France that SHE has been dreaming about for her only child since before he was born.

How will poor Sydney be able to ensure two perfect weddings in the midst of Louis’ fruitless job search? Especially when her mother-in-law’s idea of perfection appears to be having Sydney embarrass herself in front of hundreds of French people that she has never met?

As if she didn’t have enough on her mind already, Sydney finds herself faced with the trials and tribulations of being a wife. Sydney had always heard that marriage was hard, but she thought that this was just a ruse that married couples portrayed in a bid to make single girls feel less desperate. But as the bills pile up and emotions run high, she realizes that there may just be some truth to this statement. And as she watches Louis’ perfection fade away before her very eyes, she begins to wonder if she made a rash decision in marrying a man that she had known for a mere six months.

With all of the obstacles that Sydney and Louis will encounter, will they be raising their glasses in celebration or watching their impulsive marriage crash and burn? One thing is for certain, Sydney and Louis Durand are headed for one hell of a toast…

I received a copy of French Twist and French Toast by Glynis Astie in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.

French Toast, and it’s prequel French Twist, by Glynis Astie tell the story of how she met and married her French husband in six short month… and then proceeded to have three weddings, in three different time zones!

The plot was almost too cheesy to bear – until you remembered that it was based on a true story. Astie actually WAS swept off her feet by a charming Frenchman, and married him six months later! The fact that the story was true meant that instead of feeling annoyed at the fairytale love story, you felt hopeful and happy for the unlikely pair.

In French Twist, we meet protagonist Sydney (based on Astie herself), a stress-head who constantly doubted that the cliché love story she was living, and thought it must be too good to be true. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I’d be thinking, so her over-analysing rang true with me throughout the book. Luckily, her amazing family was there to diffuse any explosions of Sydney’s crazy, and saw her through to her wedding day without too many disasters.

French Toast picked up where the first book left off, with chaotic preparations for weddings number two and three (I’ll let you find out for yourself why three weddings were absolutely necessary), and stress-head Sydney is in full swing. It turns out that a speedy marriage isn’t all romance, and everyday life starts to take it’s toll on the lovebirds.

French Twist by Glynis AstieI read both books in sequence, but I think you would still enjoy French Toast on it’s own. That said, when you find a good book, more is always better, so why not start at the beginning! Both books are written in a fairly casual style, with some little asides to the reader that make you feel as though Sydney is telling her story just for you.

I particularly liked the supporting characters in the novels, and think the books wouldn’t have been the same without them. Sydney’s cheeky father and perfect sister in particular were great, and I’d love it if my family were  more like hers!

I’m looking forward to reading the third instalment of the series, French Fry, upon it’s release. You’ve still got time to read the first two books before the third comes out, so I recommend you grab then ASAP! You can find them on Book Depository here and here, or the ebooks on Amazon here and here.

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REVIEW: “Strangely, Incredibly Good’ by Heather Grace Stewart

Strangely, Incredibly Good Book Cover Strangely, Incredibly Good
Heather Grace Stewart
Chick Lit

Cat Glamour is lost in a world of pain and self-imposed guilt. She hides behind her weight, her children, and a past she can’t forget. While her 91-year-old, decidedly different, grandmother provides emotional support, Cat needs to take control of her life which has been shattered by her abusive ex-husband and tragic events of the past. 

On the day Cat decides to start an exercise routine, the last thing she expects is a modern-day genie to pop out of her Wii machine. Unfortunately for Cat, her genie is somewhat unreliable in his wish-granting capabilities. In a series of hilarious misadventures, he sends Cat to a castle in France and back in time 20 years in an attempt to solve both Cat’s weight issues and emotional stresses. 

Cat’s journey is one filled with quirky adventures, realistic love, and above all, self-discovery.

I received a copy of Strangely, Incredibly Good by Heather Grace Stewart in exchange for a review of my honest opinion.

This quirky, modern twist on a genie-in-a-bottle fairytale surprised me. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a story about a man popping out of a Wii machine, but was pleased to find an unexpected story unfold throughout this short but sweet novel.

At first, I was a little worried about Cat throwing her wishes away on material things, and that the book was perpetuating the myth that skinny is successful. However, I soon realised that Strangely, Incredibly Good was curve-positive – enforcing the message that body shape isn’t what defines a happy life. Cat lived a hard life before her Genie appeared – with comic-relief provided by her hilariously quirky Grandmother. Most of the story focuses on her overcoming her past troubles, but Stewart cleverly added a genie to the mix, which stopped this story from blending in with so many others.

I read the book in one sitting – it was the perfect light read, great for a day at the beach. Sure, it was a little cliche, and the romance between woman and genie blossomed a little too fast… but a happy ending, with a little magic thrown in, can never go astray You can get the e-book from Amazon for less than $5 and see for yourself!

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REVIEW: “The Curvy Girls Club” by Michele Gorman

The Curvy Girls Club Book Cover The Curvy Girls Club
Michele Gorman
Chick Lit

A funny, heart-warming story about overcoming the prejudices we hold, no matter where we tip the scales.

When the pounds start falling off Katie, founder and president of London's most popular social club for the calorie-challenged, it seems like a dream come true. But as the overweight stigma recedes and her life starts to change, she faces losing more than the inches around her waist. Everything that's important to her - her closest friends, boyfriend, and acceptance into the club itself - are at stake in a world where thin is the new fat.

I received a copy of The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

The premise of this book was truly fantastic. From the start, you could tell that Gorman was passionate about the subject, and that it was more than just another topic for another book.

When Katie and her friends realise that their weekly weight-loss meetings are making them feel guilty and miserable, they start hitting the town instead. Realising that curvy girls need curve-friendly environments, they do their research and choose activities that have comfy seating or wider doorways. Soon, there are so many people wanting to join in on these activities that the girls start their own club – the Curvy Girls (and Boys) Club.

The women realise that when they’re enjoying the activities, surrounded by fellow curvies, they no longer feel as ‘fat’. In fact, for the first time in a long time, they aren’t self-conscious at all!

As their curvy-girl revolution gains momentum, they start becoming more well known – and then the TV stations get involved.

Throughout this book, the plot developments are unexpected, and intriguing. The fact that these woman are of a size that is now the ‘norm’, whether we like it or not, makes them so much more relatable. As a curvy girl myself, who has always struggled with body image, I heard the ring of truth in the harsh critiques these women were giving themselves daily. Then, as their activities gave them a confidence and happiness that they’d been missing for a long time, I felt both happiness and jealousy.

Refreshingly, this book was about real women, and real emotions. There was no storybook romance, or miracle weight loss. The happy ending wasn’t seeing four skinny women who’d achieved their weight loss goals – the book was about women finding happiness in themselves the way they are, and not beating themselves up for not meeting someone else’s standards of beauty.

The Curvy Girls Club told a story that needed telling, and that I appreciated hearing. I admire Gorman’s dedication to the topic – she has even created a Facebook group for women that shares daily inspiration for curvy ladies.

Women who are brave enough to write about why they are beautiful as they are, and encourage us to ignore the haters are inspiring. Women like Brittany Gibbons, from Brittany, Herself, who are making a living by boosting women up, instead of putting them down, should be celebrated!

I definitely recommend this book, for women of all shapes and sizes. These women are real women, who I see everyday, and who everybody should know and empathise with. You can find yourself a copy here or here. Go! Read it now!!

Don’t forget that I am giving away three digital copies of “The Job Proposal” by Wendy Chen – you can enter the giveaway here

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GIVEAWAY & REVIEW: “The Job Proposal” by Wendy Chen

The Job Proposal Book Cover The Job Proposal
Wendy Chen
Chick Lit

All's fair in love and work.

Kate is enjoying being engaged—that it's a hoax is beside the point. To succeed at her ultra-conservative finance job she needs to reform her flighty, party-girl reputation, and a good old fashioned marriage of convenience is exactly what she needs to put her one step closer to the promotion of her dreams. But when Adam, Kate's best friend from high school, arrives for a visit, her perfect arrangement suddenly isn't so perfect anymore.

The nerdy boy she remembers from her teen years has grown into a gorgeous and successful man, and he's vying for her affection. Soon all the things Kate thinks she wants will change, and everything she doesn't know she needs, she may not be able to live without.

But will she be able to let down the walls she’s built to guard her heart and trade her fierce independence for love?

I received a copy of The Job Proposal by Wendy Chen in exchange for a review of my honest opinion.

When I began this book, I’ll admit that I didn’t immediately take a shine to the main character, Katie. Despite her together, Sex and the City lifestyle, her single-minded focus on success and unwillingness to form attachments with the men she slept with made it hard to connect with her. She definitely wasn’t a warm, fuzzy character. Her ‘Legacy Friend’ (read the book, you’ll definitely know the type!) Adam, however, was boyishly charming and adorable from the get go. His ability to see the ‘real’ Katie was what convinced me to give her a chance, and keep reading!

Through Adam’s eyes, we see how Katie’s life growing up led her to put up walls around herself and not take them down for anyone. After so long, she doesn’t even remember putting any up, and Adam settles in for the long haul as he steadily starts chipping away at them. As he makes progress, Katie begins to share tidbits of insight into herself too. The finance shark who would do anything for a place in the company hierarchy loosens her chignon and looses the stilettos as she gradually remembers just how great being herself could be.

I’m always a fan of chick lit that’s told from both the main female and male perspectives. Perhaps it adds a layer of depth to the story, I’m not quite sure! In this case, it was definitely Adam that drew me in to the story, not Katie, which is unusual for chick lit. However, as the book progressed, Katie became a more complex, interesting character, and I wanted to know what she would do.

As ever, when I sat down to write this review and tried to summarise the plot in a few sentences, I realised that it was a fairly typical chick lit plot: girl thinks she’s happy without a man, but eventually can’t resist falling for her adorable platonic friend… a subcategory of chick lit’s leading theme: ‘love will find you when you least expect it’. That said, it’s not the happy ending that makes us read the book. Sure, it’s nice to go to sleep and not be crying because your favourite character just died in a fiery car crash – but it’s more about the journey, and HOW the main character overcame whatever issues she was dealing with and lives happily ever after. Let’s face it, we all empathise with many of those issues in our own lives, and it’s nice to read a story where everything ends well!

You can find this book on Amazon OR you can enter the giveaway below for the chance to win a digital copy for yourself! This is my first giveaway, I’m pretty excited!

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REVIEW: Chasing Athens – Marissa Tejada

Chasing Athens Book Cover Chasing Athens
Marissa Tejada
Chick Lit

Suddenly dumped, a heartbroken American ex-pat stays on in Greece, confronting culture shock, crisis, and the charm of Mediterranean men as she redefines the true meaning of home. 

When Ava Martin’s new husband unexpectedly ditches her months after they’ve relocated across the world to Greece, the heartbroken American ex-pat isn’t sure where home is anymore. On the verge of flying back to the States with her tail between her legs, she makes an abrupt decision to follow her gut instead and stay on in Greece. She soon discovers that the tumultuous, culture-rich Mediterranean country is coloring her life in a way no place else can, changing her forever. But is it where she belongs? 

Ava’s newfound independence throws her into the thick of Athenian reality, where she has brushes with violent police riots and gets a taste of both the alluring islands and the city nightlife. Despite pressure from her mother, uncertainty over her impending divorce, and unresolved issues with her long-estranged father weighing on her, she’s determined to make it on her own. With the help of two very colourful Greek friends, she laughs and learns while facing culture shock, language barriers and the charm of Mediterranean men, until a life-threatening medical emergency back home in sleepy Ithaca, N.Y., forces her to decide where she truly belongs – and what truly matters.

I received a copy of Chasing Athens – Marissa Tejada in exchange for an honest review.

Ava is a woman that I think most readers would recognise; she’s at an age where she’s supposed to have everything figured out – but she really doesn’t. Freshly heartbroken, unemployed, and in a foreign country, Ava has two choices. She can return to her small hometown, full of the easy and familiar, or she can take a risk and stay in Athens, learning the language and enjoying her newfound friendships.

Tejada wrote characters that were instantly loveable. Ava’s new Greek friends were so caring, and their individual quirks were instantly recognisable as ‘Greek’. Ava herself is easy to feel sympathetic towards, but she’s not pitiable, so she never gets annoying. The experiences she has in Athens are recognisable too; the handsome rebound stranger who disappears after one night, the adorably sweet but too young boy who won’t stop calling… and then the romantic older man who sweeps you off your feet (after rescuing you in a skinny dipping incident… oh wait, thankfully that’s not so recognisable!).

I was in Athens two years ago, and I thought that Tejada captured it perfectly – the wild nightlife, the protests on the streets at night, the delicious food and good company… It’s an amazing place, so I could easily understand why Ava was torn about whether to stay or go. I liked that Tejada didn’t shy away from discussing the political situation in Greece, and how it effects the people. I feel like many readers probably aren’t aware of the reality of the situation. While I was there, there were protests every Friday night, and I’ll admit that my first experience of them was pretty nerve-wracking; Uniformed men with riot shields blocked off all of the local streets, and I couldn’t get back to my hostel. Men with firecrackers crowded the streets. I quickly learned to either stay inside, or stay close to home. When in doubt, McDonald’s always proved a safe hiding spot! I spent a long friday night in one, overlooking Syntagma Square and the protesters, eating donuts until it was safe to leave. I have also found myself in an Athenian Police Station on one occasion, and can tell you that Ava’s experience sounds just about right! Including these details in the story, that could easily have been left out, really added a depth to the novel that chick lit can often overlook.

I thought that this book felt very real. The writing and plot weren’t forced or unbelievable. Tejada’s own experience living in Athens clearly helped bring the city to life in her novel. I’d definitely recommend it to those who are feeling a little wanderlust, or want to travel vicariously around Athens. You can find it on Amazon for $5, which is another pretty good reason to check it out!!
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REVIEW: “Woman in Bed” Jessica Keener

Women in Bed Book Cover Women in Bed
Jessica Keener
Short Stories

Jessica Keener returns with this collection of nine stories that thematically address variations of love -- love of self, family, and sexual relationships -- from loneliness and isolation, desperation and rejection -- to need and passion, forgiveness and, finally, to love found.

"Secrets" follows a young woman that gets involved with a female friend who pushes her boundaries around sex, love, and intimacy. In "Papier Mache," a college student who loses brother to suicide is grieving and gets entangled with a professor who is a critic and over-intellectualizes everything. The student challenges the professor and vice versa in a strange power dance with emotional fallout. "Boarders" tells the story of a young college student who drops out to be with her narcissistic lover. She lives in grim boarding house with desolate, lonely men until she realizes that she must flee to find something better, healthier, more nurturing and loving. "Woman with Birds in her Chest" involves a woman who leaves her social worker job and realizes she has never truly nurtured herself. Her ensuing breakdown puts her loving marriage to the test. "Recovery" tells of a young woman in a hospital room who witnesses death, escapes her own, and comes to terms with life's uncertainties and the unexpected power of sibling love. In "Shoreline," a woman leaves her husband, goes to a cottage on the beach, and has a flirtation with a client. She soon discovers that she must end her marriage before she can move on to find a new love. In "Bird of Grief," a grad student recovering from a broken relationship projects her anger and grief onto a new man, eventually coming to terms with letting go. "Forgiveness" is a spare, stark story of two sisters, family violence, and the quest for forgiveness. In "Heart," a woman meets her lover in a Paris hotel room and goes through a cycle of anxiety, worry, and the expectation that things will not work out, only to be surprised by the goodness that emerges.

Poignant, surprising, funny and profound, and always perceptive and gorgeously written, Women in Bed is a rich collection of moving tales that will engage you from the first page.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

I never quite know whether I like short stories or not. In some ways, I appreciate the snapshot-like aspect of the condensed story. On the other hand, I miss the extension, the detail, the closure of a longer, more resolved novel.

Jessica Keener’s Women in Bed contains nine stories about women and the relationships they have; with other women, with their families, with their peers and their superiors. Keener’s writing style is distinctive throughout; much of the time the writing is almost disjointed, and gives the impression that the reader is floating through life alongside the protagonists. It’s a strange experience, much like I imagine being inside the head of a character might be like, all broken thought patterns and emotion. However, the broken exposition could be frustrating, as it often wasn’t clear exactly what was happening – although, perhaps that was what was intended, as a nod to how we often don’t know how to make sense of our thoughts and actions.

Sometimes I wonder if there are two kinds of writers; the storytellers and the photographers. Equally talented, but both writing a different story. Storytellers are masters of expanding a narrative and giving it a life of it’s own. Photographers have the ability to capture a moment, or a period, in time; describing it in detail or with such truth that it is clear in the mind of the reader. A storyteller and a photographer could tell the same story in two completely different ways. Keener definitely seems more like the photographer-type.

While I still like my short stories a little more fleshed out, so as to get to know my characters more broadly, Keener’s collection was an interesting read; not just in topic but in writing style. A tribute to women, Women in Bed is a more a more existential, emotional read – if that sound like your cup of tea, definitely try it! You can find it here or here. I’d be interested to know what you think!

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REVIEW: ‘Conditional Love’ Cathy Bramley

Conditional Love Book Cover Conditional Love
Cathy Bramley
Chick Lit

Meet Sophie Stone, a thirty-something serial procrastinator. Tesco knickers, Take That and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets. Sophie’s life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much.

But when her boyfriend dumps her on Valentine’s Day and a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is a catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen.

With interference from an evil boss, bickering flat mates, warring parents and a sexy ex-boyfriend, Sophie has plenty to contend with without an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth.

She will have to face the past and learn some uncomfortable home truths before she can finally build a future on her own terms.

Sophie is a serial procrastinator, and is worried that she’s not achieving the things she dreamed of doing when she was younger. Both traits that strike a chord in me. I could win gold in the procrastinating Olympics, and go to sleep worrying about all the things that I ‘should have’ done by now. So, Bramley had me intrigued from the start – but I was well and truly hooked when protagonist Sophie got into the home renovation game.

Written with characteristic British wit, Bramley imbues her cast of characters with quirky personalities, giving each of them enough background for the reader to be interested in what’s happening with them, but not enough to detract from the main storyline. It took me a little while to get into it, but soon enough was drawn into Sophie’s life, and rooting for her to get it together. It was a little frustrating that she let herself be taken advantage of by her idiot ex for so long, but I felt that some of her push-over personality traits were due to low self esteem, so I tried to be patient with her!

A story about family dramas and growing up, Conditional Love is an aptly named novel about a woman finding her way in life. Check it out and grab a copy here or here.

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