The Last LaughTitle: The Last Laugh

Author: Tracy Bloom

Pages: 294 Pages

Publisher: Bookouture

The Blurb

‘I’ve googled it, how to die,’ Jenny says to Maureen. ‘It was full of climbing this mountain, swimming that sea, becoming a marathon runner and raising millions for charity.’

‘Sounds like bloody hard work. You can make it more fun than that surely?’

Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair…

Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago.

And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.

Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990’s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?

From No. 1 bestseller Tracy Bloom, The Last Laugh is both hilarious and heartbreaking, a book about how to find happiness and live your life as though every day is your last. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and The Kicking the Bucket List.

The Review

I have spoken before about how certain books completely overtake you. They are the books that stick with you long after you have turned the last page and they are the books that you recommend to anyone and everyone (usually a random stranger in a bookshop). Tracy Bloom’s latest book, The Last Laugh, has become one such book.

I was hooked from the get go and I found it very difficult and inconvenient to put down. The Last Laugh tells the story of Jenny, a put-upon mother of two and an unappreciated wife; she has just found out that she is terminally ill. Oh and that her husband is cheating on her (this isn’t a spoiler, it tells you this information in the blurb).

Jenny knows she is dying but instead of putting on a brave face and following medical advice, she decided to live. Really live. Go back to her happiest time and recreate it. Live like it is 1996. And she does so with aplomb.

The character of Jenny is truly inspirational. Faced with the news of her illness she doesn’t just get on with life she is determined to make herself happy. This is a message that we should all try and do on a daily basis not just with the thought of death hanging over us.

There are parts of this story that truly resonated with me and I am in awe of how Bloom managed to articulate feelings that I have had but I have never been able to express. I was both broken and healed by The Last Laugh.

The Last Laugh is a fantastic read that will make you laugh until you turn the last page.

The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom is available from the 23rd February 2018.

For more information regarding Tracy Bloom (@TracyBBloom) please visit www.tracybloom.com.

For more information regarding Bookouture (@bookouture) please visit www.bookouture.com.

5 Stars

The Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendThe Blurb

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended.

Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life.

But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town.

Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

The Review

Firstly, let me just say that I am full of warm and happy feelings right now. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is a lovely, wonderful and heart-warming story and one that was a pleasure to read.

The story focuses on a small Podunk town in Iowa called Broken Wheel. Sara, a young Swedish girl has gone to visit her pen-friend Amy. Unfortunately, on the day that Sara arrives she finds out that Amy has recently died. The whole town take Sara under their wind and Sara pays them back in the best possible way…through the love of books.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend appealed to me based wholly on the title. I’m not ashamed to admit that I am swayed by title and book cover. What was completely wonderful is that the inside of the book was just as lovely as the outside. It had warmth to it, a gentle build up of story. It wasn’t all bells and whistles with mindboggling escapades so if you are looking for the thrill factor then this isn’t for you.

What I loved more than anything is that Katarina Bivald (and indeed translator Alice Menzies) has managed to verbalise the love of books. It is one that I, myself, have often struggled to describe in an adequate way.

Overall, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is lovely. That is probably the best way to describe it. Lovely.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is available now.

4 Stars

One Wish in ManhattanThe Blurb

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…to fall in love

The temperature is dropping, snow is on its way and Hayley Walker is heading for New York with one wish on her mind…to start over.

With her nine year-old daughter Angel, Hayley is ready for an adventure. From hot chocolates and horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park, to ice-skating at the Rockefeller Centre, and Christmas shopping on 5th Avenue – they soon fall in love with the city that never sleeps.

But there’s more to New York than the bright twinkly lights and breathtaking skyscrapers. Angel has a Christmas wish of her own – to find her real dad.

While Hayley tries to fulfil her daughter’s wish, she crosses paths with billionaire Oliver Drummond. Restless and bored with fast living, there’s something intriguing about him that has Hayley hooked.

Determined to make her daughter’s dream come true, can Hayley dare to think her own dreams might turn into reality – could A New York Christmas turn into a New York Forever?

Travel to the Big Apple this Christmas and join Hayley and Oliver as they both realise that life isn’t just about filling the minutes…it’s about making every moment count.

The Review

Oh how I love a good contemporary Christmas romance. And, my friends, that is exactly what you get with the latest Mandy Baggot Novel.

Having read many Mandy Baggot novels, I knew that I would enjoy One Wish in Manhattan. What I wasn’t expecting was to enjoy it so much that it just made me feel happy. Even in its moments of high drama or sad scenes, the writing is just so warm that you feel your heart expanding with happiness.

Essentially, the book is about relationships. Not just the loving kind though they do feature in it but also familial relationships. Central to the storyline is Hayley’s relationship with her daughter Angel. You read about how these characters are not only mother and daughter but best friends too. For me, this was one of the best things about the novel. Some stories will focus on the romantic relationship – it is a modern romance after all – however, the mother daughter bond is never put on the back burner. The story is essentially about Hayley trying to be the best mum that she can be.

We watch them go through the trials and tribulations of trying to find Angel’s dad; Hayley owning up to how she acted when she acted as an irresponsible teenager and how both Angel and Hayley deal with burgeoning relationships.

Hayley’s romantic dalliance with Oliver almost seems like a secondary story. The two plot threads are evenly balanced and you do really get some book bang for your buck with One Wish in Manhattan.

The one thing you can say about Mandy Baggot is that she always delivers the good…like Santa.

Everyone needs to put One Wish in Manhattan on their Christmas wish list.

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot is available now.

Follow Mandy Baggot (@mandybaggot) on Twitter.

Dont Get Me WrongThe Blurb

Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, David Nicholls, and Sophie Kinsella. Here is a Pride and Prejudice for the modern era: Londoners Kim and Harry can’t see eye to eye…until the life of the person they both love most hangs in the balance.

Kim and Harry are total opposites who happen to have the same favourite people in the world: Kim’s older sister Eva and her young son, Otis. Kim has never seen what her free-spirited big sister sees in a stuck-up stockbroker like Harry and has spent her childhood trying to keep him out (must he always drive the most ostentatious cars and insist on charming everyone he meets?), while Harry’s favourite occupation is provoking Kim.

Both Harry and Kim are too stuck in their prejudices to care about what’s really going on beneath the surface of each other’s lives. They’ll never understand each other—until the worst of all tragedy strikes. Faced with the possibilities of losing the person they both love most, long-buried secrets come to a head in ways that will change both Harry and Kim forever.

Marianne Kavanagh tackles the bonds of family, friendship, and love through sophisticated storytelling. Don’t Get Me Wrong is a witty and heart-warming book that will charm readers everywhere.

The Review

Oh boy.

This is a tough review to write because I have very mixed feelings.

Don’t Get Me Wrong wasn’t brilliant. In fact, I really struggled to finish it. The reason for this is very simple and clear to me. I absolutely detested the protagonist. Kim was whiney and petulant all the way throughout the story. Her attitude, hatred and demeanour did nothing to curry favour with the audience. I can honestly say that I have never disliked a main character more.

On the flip side of this, Don’t Get Me Wrong had some truly well written, emotional scenes; these scenes, had Kim been likeable, would have saved the story for me. In theory the plot is really good but in practice I really could not get into the story. I persevered but it did take me a week to finish which is unlike me.

Maybe it was just me but I couldn’t understand why a writer would make her protagonist so unlikeable and difficult to relate to; especially when the theme of death is one we can all identify with.

Don’t Get Me Wrong was definitely not my favourite book of the year.

Don’t Get Me Wrong is available now.

 

The Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee

The Blurb

Scot ‘Scat’ Delaney is a world famous jazz singer. He has ample opportunity to stray and his girlfriend, Alice, needs to know she can trust him.

Introducing Florence Love, Private Investigator.

Florence has just ten days to entrap an A-Lister. Whilst sticking to her cardinal rule:

One kiss, with tongues, five seconds – case closed.

A master of body language, evolutionary science and nifty disguises, her approach is unconventional, her success rate excellent. But targets are rarely as beautiful as Scat. Never fall for the target.

That is very bad form indeed.

The Last Honeytrap marks the energetic launch of a brilliant new series. Once you’ve met Florence Love, you’ll see the world in glorious technicolour at last.

The Review

Florence Love is a private detective who specialises in entrapment cases. When she is hired to entrap hunky superstar Scott ‘Scat’ Delany she plans to make sure she gets the scoop. She is a professional gumshoe after all what she doesn’t bank on is her falling in love with her latest target.

Amidst all this someone from Florence’s past is trying to get in touch and tell her something. Can she keep her professional head on as she tries to solve a deeply personal case? Only time will tell.

I had heard that The Last Honeytrap was a feel good, funny novel; a bit like chicklit but with more sass. To be fair it was good. It was entertaining and in a very basic way, it is a damn good detective story that kept me guessing from the beginning right to the very end. I personally did not see any of the twists and turns coming. I would make a woeful detective.

However, I found it hard to like our protagonist Florence Love. Sure, she had been scorned and had decided to become a private detective because of being scorned by a man (ok, her mum influenced her as well). She just wasn’t very likeable. Louise Lee tried to give her back story some extra elements to make us empathise with her but her actions made her come across as selfish, demanding and a little unhinged.

To be fair to Louise Lee, The Last Honeytrap is extremely well written and it will make a fantastic series. And to a large extent I did enjoy the story but when I am reading a book I have to like my leading lady. Heck, I have to want to be her but with Florence Love I just didn’t.

The Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee is available now.

The Last Honeytrap