The Blurb

Sun, sea and a sexy stranger – a whole lot of fun just got a lot more complicated…

Capable, confident and career-driven, Ellen had her dream job and a marriage proposal from boyfriend Ross. Life was good, her future set. Until it wasn’t and everything fell apart…

Whisked off to the beautiful island of Corfu to plan her sister Lacey’s big, fat, Greek wedding, Ellen is hoping some time out will help clear her head and heal her heart.

But letting go of her past is not going to be easy.

With Lacey in full on Bridezilla mode, Ellen is soon distracted from her own problems. And when the all-inclusive treats on offer at hotel Blue Vueinclude one gorgeous, brooding Adonis – Yan – Ellen finds him difficult to resist.

But Ellen isn’t looking for love or lust, or anything involving too much ouzo…or is she?

The Review

Ellen, along with her sister Lacey, has travelled to Greece scouting the perfect location for Lacey’s wedding. Ellen spends the first part of her holiday worried about her life back home: her job, where she lives and also about a secret that she is keeping that could have life changing implications.

Then she meets Yan.

Yan works on the hotels entertainment team and knows that it is forbidden to fraternise with the guests yet he is drawn to Ellen. Equally, she can’t seem to resist him. But can they keep their want for each other a secret?

Baggot’s tale of sisters on holiday is a real feel good read with likeable characters and an interesting storyline. Besides your basic holiday romance the storylines within Truly, Madly, Greekly also have a lot of depth. Baggot always manages to tackle unusual and quirky (yet very realistic) plot lines.

In Yan, she has created a perfect hero. He has all the attributes that you would want in a male lead. Ellen is perfectly flawed. She has moments of strength that ooze on the page but enough vulnerability to make you empathise with her.

Truly, Madly, Greekly is the story of self discovery and acceptance; a book that is chock full of heart and good feelings. More than anything, Truly, Madly, Greekly will make you want to go on your jolly holidays; this book is the perfect accompaniment for those long days lying on the beach. So don’t delay, grab a towel, a drink with an ice and a slice because you are about to go on a romantic Greek holiday and it is going to be one that you won’t forget!

Truly Madly Greekly by Mandy Baggot is available now.

Follow Mandy Baggot (@Mandy Baggot) on Twitter.

Truly Madly Greekly

The Blurb

Haven’t you ever told a little lie in the name of love?

Vivia Grant couldn’t be happier. She has her dream job and is about to marry her dream man. Does it really matter that she’s led him to believe she’s a virgin? After all, being in love makes every experience feel like the first time anyway! But an unexpected encounter with an ex-lover is about to expose her embarrassing lie…

When Vivia’s fiancé discovers the truth, he ends their engagement—via text—and uses his connections to get her fired. Unemployed and heartbroken, Vivia begins planning her new future—as a homeless spinster. But her best friend has a better idea. They’ll skip the Ben & Jerry’s binge and go on Vivia’s honeymoon instead. Two weeks cycling through Provence and Tuscany, with Luc de Caumont, a sexy French bike guide. Too bad Vivia’s not a big fan of biking. And she’s abysmal at languages. Will she fib her way through the adventure, or finally learn to love herself—and Luc—flaws and all?

The Review

I’m going to be really honest with you, I requested Faking It from NetGalley based entirely on the book’s cover. I’d never read anything by Leah Marie Brown before and on the cover was a picture of the Eiffel Tower and since I am a bit of a Francophile I decided that I wanted to read it. This is one of those serendipitous moments in the life of a book lover because damn this book was really good.

Faking It was a quick light-hearted read that constantly left me with that feel good feeling. It follows the adventures of Vivia who has recently been dumped by her fiancé, Nathan. To get over Nathan she decided (well is encouraged by her best friend Fanny) to go on the honeymoon to France. Vivia had many expectations of her trip to Europe but none of those expectations included falling for fit cyclist Luc, learning things about herself and having a life epiphany.

In hero Luc, Brown has created the most fanciable male in a story that I have read in a long time; I send Leah Marie Brown many a kudos for sending him into my life.

If I’m honest there was one small thing that did bother me about the book. I felt that there was an awful lot of product placement that was unnecessary. This didn’t bother me enough not to read the story and it really is just a personal preference. I would still implore people to pick up Faking It because it is a really entertaining read that is damn good fun. Vive le livre!

Faking It by Leah Marie Brown is available now.

Follow Leah Marie Brown (@leahmariebrown) on Twitter.

Faking It

The Blurb

Life’s great when you’re 29 years old with a gorgeous girlfriend and fulfilling job. Until you have to move back in with your mum . . . Dan and Gemma have found their dream first home, but the asking price is the stuff of nightmares. The only way they’ll ever save enough for the deposit is by moving in, rent-free, with Dan’s mum. It’s a desperate solution, but it’s only for six months. And Gemma’s determined to make it work, no matter how bad things get. But between Dan’s mum’s kitchen karaoke, her constant innuendos, irrepressible argumentative streak and – worst of all – her ham and pineapple curries, life back at home would test the patience of two saints. Which Dan and Gemma most definitely are not. Then, as they’re trying to convince themselves it will all be worth it, Gemma’s past comes back to haunt her. And suddenly the foundations of their entire relationship are shaken to their core…

The Review

Gemma and Dan have a great relationship but it is put to the test when they make the very grown up decision to buy a house. To save money, they move in with Dan’s mum Belinda and it is then in the claustrophobic environment that the cracks begin to show.

Along with the house being a massive money pit it also has awkward sellers and an estate agent who doesn’t seem to be on Gem and Dan’s side. To throw in further complications Gemma’s past catches up with her; thus making the already fraught situation seem worse.

The Love Shack is a story of love. It may sound cheesy but real love. Love that is complicated by reality, the things in life that you can’t always control and I think that is why it is so good. Jane Costello has created characters that you genuinely care about and wish you were friends with so you could give them the advice that you are so intently shouting at the book, hoping that they hear what you have to say…but you know, them being fictional makes it a tad hard to do.

Personally, there was another element of the book that I enjoyed greatly was the Liverpool setting. This probably won’t titillate everyone who reads it but being a girl who was born and raised (and who still resides) in Liverpool I loved that I was able to connect the dots and really visualise actual places and to see that Costello was true to their beauty (seriously, Liverpool has some fantastic architecture) throughout The Love Shack.

I really enjoyed The Love Shack. It was a fun and to some extent easy read that did deal with some gritty issues. I think that shows Costello’s skill as a writer. As this is the first of her book that I have read I can safely say that it won’t be my last. One thing is for sure, I am now genuinely terrified about ever buying a house.

The Love Shack by Jane Costello is available now.

Follow Jane Costello (@JaneCostello) on Twitter.

The Love Shack

The Blurb

John Green meets 500 Days of Summer meets Nick Hornby.

Darren hasn’t had an easy year. His parents divorced, his brother left for college, and his best friend moved state. Also, he still doesn’t have a girlfriend. Then his dad shows up at 6am with a glazed chocolate donut and a pretty world-shaking revelation. In full freak-out mode, Darren ditches school and jumps on a bus to visit his brother, Nate, at college. But someone weird / amazing comes along for the ride. Told entirely in lists, this hilarious novel perfectly captures why having anything to do with anyone is: 1. painful 2. unavoidable 3. ridiculously complicated 4. possibly, hopefully, the right thing after all.

The review

Sometimes I like to get stuck into a big meaty tome of a book. A door stopper that will keep me hooked from the first to the last page. Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You was not that book.  At over 600 pages I expected something magical when in reality what I got was a bold stylistic choice that didn’t really work.

The story is about Darren; a young, somewhat naïve 15 year old who is trying to figure things out. Like most teenagers he is facing his own particular problems and to be perfectly honest he isn’t handling things all too well. Besides having some serious family issues he is also trying to control his hormones and get over the one…well the one that is always the one when you are fifteen.

So far, so good; the premise is promising. The problem comes in the way that Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You is presented. It is not in traditional narrative form; it is told almost entirely in list format. To begin with this seems like a quirky style choice, however, it soon becomes tedious.

Another problem I felt that the book had is that it went on for far too long. It could have been shortened so much and I feel would have been all the more better for it. It is frustrating because the storylines threaded through the novel are interesting and I personally feel could have been done justice if it had been written in a more conventional style.

Hasak-Lowy does need to be given praise for the story idea but Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You was stylistically not for me.

Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy is available now.

Me Being Me

The Blurb

Sneak out. Make out. Rock out.

Riley and her best guy friend, Reid, have made a pact: they’ll help each other pursue their respective crushes, make something happen, and document the details in a shared notebook.

While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over a girl’s heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, the guy she’s been obsessed with forever. His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But between a chance meeting with a fellow musician in a record store and a brief tryst with a science-geek-turned-stud-not to mention Ted’s own tentative attentions-cute guys are suddenly popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! As their love lives go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid’s pact may prove to be more than they bargained for.

Filled with cute dogs, cute boys, and a few awkward hookups, this hilarious tale from Amy Spalding chronicles the soaring highs and embarrassing lows of dating in high school.

The Review

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) is an entertaining YA novel that focuses on the life of drummer girl Riley who is completely butt-monkey in love with Ted Callahan. However, in her attempt to woo Mr Callahan happens to become embroiled in a variety of romantic trysts. All of which are great until Riley manages to actually snare Ted Callahan and then she has some serious decisions to make.

Throughout all of this, Riley is sharing her boy adventures with best friend Reid in a notebook. When this notebook goes missing, panic sets in and almost destroys everything.

Ok. Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) isn’t a book that is going to change your life but it will provide a few hours of entertainment. It is well written and Spalding has not relied on clichés to drive the story such as Riley and Reid realising that they liked each other all along. I would have found that extremely jarring.

Whilst the story was told from Riley’s perspective, the interludes from Reid were interesting and helped break up the narrative. I think this was necessary because there wasn’t a whole lot of rise and fall in the narrative. I felt that there were only two plot points that raised the narrative.

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) is an enjoyable read that focuses on the problems of a young adult. It is good but in the grand scheme of the books that I have read this is definitely a filler not a killer.

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding is available now.

Kissing Ted Callahan