Review: The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Happy Halloween everyone!

This year seems to be really flying in. As it is Halloween I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share my review of one of my favourite reads from the last couple of weeks, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen. It’s You’ve Got Mail but with zombies, well kind of. There’s an enemies to lovers, grumpy sunshine type romance at the centre with a truly unique world and some wonderful secondary characters.

What’s the story…

Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.

After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most – Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares – each other?

My thoughts

I really, really liked this book. I was very tempted to give it 5 stars based on the ending but I don’t think I can quite justify a perfect rating. It did come very close though as it has all the things I love in a fantasy romance.

I originally spied this on booktok and just loved the sound of it. It’s very much based on the movie You’ve Got Mail with a fantasy twist. Some of the scenes and plot lines could have been almost lifted directly from the film. I just love the whole enemies to lovers thing so it was right up my street. I loved that they hated each other and couldn’t have a single civil conversation but formed such a true connection through their letters.

I liked Mercy a lot but I think I loved Hart the most. He is the grump in this grumpy sunshine relationship but it’s largely surface grumpiness driven by grief, loneliness and fear. Underneath it all he’s a big marshmallow. I really wanted to give him a hug (even though he’d hate it).

Mercy was much more open, upbeat and positive but still a little bit lonely and isolated and carrying so much responsibility with no one to lean on or confide in. Basically they were perfect for each other but were completely clueless. I adored the letters they sent each other. I could very happily have read more of them but I guess then I would have missed out on the fun of the other relationships and secondary characters.

The other characters were for the most part equally lovable (there are a couple of villains in there) and I loved the relationships between them. Highlights for me were Mercy’s sister Lil who is not afraid to speak her mind and is pretty bad ass and the relationship between Hart and apprentice Duckers. The teasing is a lot of fun and it was great to see Hart lightening up and also opening up.

My only slight niggle and the reason I don’t think I can quite give 5 stars is the world building. I do think the world the author has created is wonderful. It’s clear a lot of thought has gone into it and it’s really original. The problem I had is that it was probably too original and there was just too much going on and not all of it was really explained or described.

There are a lot of place names, a whole religion and belief system and a lot of new words and language. Forms of transport, days of the week all seem to have these different words and there are certain things that I never really understood what they were and couldn’t picture.

The story is however strong enough that I could skim over these without it affecting my enjoyment too much. I do think it would have been better if kept a little simpler.

Overall though a very enjoyable read and one I’d definitely recommend

4.5 of 5 stars

Review: The Dead Romantics by Ashley Posten

Hi lovely people

As it’s spooky season it seems like the perfect time to post my review of The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston. I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of this via NetGalley and actually read it back in July of this year (safe to say I’m a little bit behind on posting reviews) however I feel like this is more of an autumn read anyway and I think is perfect for anyone looking for a ghost story that’s more romance than spook fest.

So what’s the story….

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead… but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

My thoughts…

While I was extremely excited about this book, I have to confess that having now finished it I’m a little unsure what I think about it. I guess overall I did enjoy it, it has the quirky premise I love, some funny and emotional moments and is quite sweet. However, I found my attention occasionally wandering while I was reading, particularly at the start, and it was only really at the end I found myself fully engaged in the story.

It’s possibly a personal taste thing rather than an issue with the writing itself but I found it a little too heavy on the narrative and descriptions in the first part of the book. My brain does not like lots of descriptions (they go in, then straight back out and I remember nothing) so detail on character appearance and setting is lost on me and I have a tendency to lose focus. Skip the descriptions and give me lots of action and dialogue and I’m a happy reader.

Anyway, once I got past the bit at the beginning it becomes a much more enjoyable story. I’m sure I saw a synopsis or review saying it was like the movie Ghost but for me it was probably more a combination of The Sixth Sense and, one of my favourite films, Just Like Heaven. Main character Florence Day, is a ghostwriter for a famous romance author who has the ability to see ghosts. Having had a really bad break up, she believes love is dead which is not great when you’re on a deadline to write the big ending of a romance novel and your new hot editor refuses to give you an extension. When tragedy strikes and she has to return home to the town she fled 10 years ago she gets a bit of a surprise when the ghost who turns up on the doorstep of her family’s funeral parlour is that of her editor.

For the most part I did find Florence pretty likeable. Given her unique ability she is a little bit different and I do like a quirky and different character. I did at times feel like this quirkiness was played up a little too much in the story and certain aspects of her personality seemed a little contradictory which made it difficult to really understand her. Ghostly editor and love interest Benji was much easier to like. He has his own baggage but generally seems a lot more straightforward which was nice.

I really liked the relationship that developed between them. It’s a bit of a slow burn, probably necessarily so given he’s a ghost, which is definitely a plus and I thought they complemented each other perfectly. I will say however that I didn’t feel any real spark between them, and the spice is fairly minimal (although I guess that’s also ghost related).

The highlights of this story for me though were Florence’s other relationships and the way she develops over the course of the novel. I really enjoyed reading the sections with her family and the relationships between Florence and her siblings in particular. I also loved that Florence’s family ran the local funeral home and were very much at the heart of the community. I thought the way that affected their lives and view of death was incredibly well portrayed by the author. It definitely brings a different perspective to things.

This is an emotional read at times but there are quite a few funny moments too and it never gets too heavy. The overall feel of the book is hopeful and uplifting rather than a sob fest. Yes, I did shed a few tears here and there (although not at the parts you may expect) but I also laughed out loud.

Overall an enjoyable read that I’d recommend to anyone.

Thanks to Netgalley and publisher giving me the opportunity to read an advance copy. This has in no way influenced my review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review: He Will Be Mine by Kirsty Greenwood

He Will Be Mine

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I am a huge fan of Kirsty Greenwood. Her previous book Big Sexy Love was one of my top reads in 2017 and I’ve been actively trying to foist it on pretty much everyone I’ve ever met. I was therefore very excited/nervous when I heard there was a new book coming. Could it possibly live up to expectations?

Well yes it did. He Will Be Mine, is an absolutely hilarious story about following your heart, believing in the fantasy and going after what you want. It’s touching, it’s romantic and it’s a whole lot crazy. Basically it’s the perfect bit of escapism. I loved it.


The brand new full-length standalone romantic comedy from the bestselling author of Big Sexy Love!

Nora Tucker is an admin assistant from a tiny English village.

Gary Montgomery is Hollywood’s hottest new star.

After seeing him on the silver screen, Nora believes that Gary is her soulmate, her one true love, the man she’s supposed to grow old and wrinkly with. She knows it sounds nuts, she knows it’s completely crazy. But sometimes love is crazy, right?

Only… how on earth is this Plain Jane introvert supposed to get to Los Angeles, infiltrate Gary’s inner circle AND convince him that they’re meant to be? Throwing herself into this mission might be a tall order but it means Nora can stop thinking about that one awful day, two years ago, when everything in her life fell apart…

With the help of a sunny Californian weather girl, a super hot but super grumpy script writer, and a very passionate Adam Levine tribute act, Nora is about to try the impossible and let fate decide her future…


As a long time fan of Kirsty Greenwood the wait for a new book by her has been almost unbearably long but He Will Be Mine was definitely worth waiting for. It’s laugh out loud funny, a whole lot crazy and pretty much the perfect bit of escapism for these difficult times. I read the whole thing more or less in one sitting as I just couldn’t put it down.

The premise of this book is pretty unusual, 20 something woman working as a virtual admin assistant in a small village in England decides a famous Hollywood actor is her soul mate and heads off to LA to convince him of that fact. It sounds completely unbelievable and a bit nuts, but somehow Greenwood makes it work. Yes there are some ridiculous scenes and possibly a few too many convenient coincidences but they’re so funny it’s easy to just go with it and enjoy the ride.

Main character Nora Tucker is surprisingly relatable for a crazy stalker and there’s something very likeable about her. Her somewhat hermit lifestyle, working from home, staying in reading romance novels and eating junk at the start of the story is probably very relatable to many of us living in lockdown right now and I could definitely see myself in her. There are tragic reasons why Nora lives the way she does and I really felt for her. I will admit to struggling a little with the “famous actor is my soulmate” thing but other than that she seems like a normal, nice and down to earth person. And while her trip to LA is for a slightly crazy reason I loved the way it opened her up, gave her new experiences and led to some self discovery.

Her adventures in LA are absolutely wonderful and often had me laughing out loud or cringing with embarrassment for her. I loved the way the city is portrayed in the story. I’ve never been but the author really brought it to life and made me want to book tickets to go immediately. I also loved the different characters Nora meets along the way. Some have bigger parts than others and some are on the quirky side but all of them are memorable. It was also fantastic to catch up with a couple of characters from one of Greenwood’s previous books and there’s a cameo from an actual famous Hollywood actor in there too that made me giggle.

I loved that as well as the chapters from Nora’s pov we also got to hear Gary’s side of the story. I loved the similarities between them, the near misses and how his chapters often mirrored hers. It kept me wondering if maybe, just maybe they were in fact meant to be and it wasn’t all in Nora’s imagination. It’s definitely a story that keeps you guessing and there are more than a few unexpected twists along the way.

As always Greenwood’s writing is wonderful, the story is pacy and full of humour and heart. If you can’t tell by now I absolutely adored it and am seriously considering reading it again. I just hope we don’t have to wait so long for her next book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review: The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez

The Happy Ever After Playlist
The Happy Ever After Playlist
by Abby Jimenez turned out to be the feel good read I really needed. Laugh out loud funny, a little sad but completely adorable I sat down and read the whole thing in one go, smiling the whole time.


Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?


This was very possibly a case of right book at the right time but I don’t care. I loved it and read the whole thing in one Saturday morning with the biggest smile on my face.

I had no idea when I started it that it was a sequel to The Friend Zone but while the author does recommend you read them in order the fact that I hadn’t made absolutely no difference to my enjoyment of this story. Would I have gotten more depth from knowing more of the characters’ backstory? Maybe, but it works perfectly well as a standalone.

From the very start when main character Sloan rescues dog Tucker this story is just ridiculously adorable. I loved each and every character and I adored the relationships between them. Sloan and Jason are so cute together. I loved the banter between them, especially before they meet in person. There’s a lot of teasing and flirting and sooo much chemistry. They seem to have an instant connection but unlike a lot of insta loves this one feels believable and real.

I liked Sloan a lot as a character, she’s kind, funny and tough, but Jason is swoon-worthy book boyfriend material. You could maybe argue that he’s a little too perfect or too good to be true (he’s sensitive, patient, generous, charming, funny and gorgeous) but I was more than happy to just go with it.

There was a lot to like in the secondary characters as well. I really want Kristen and Josh as my best friends, they were absolutely hilarious and sound like they’d be a lot of fun but I loved how they were always there for Sloan. They tease her, embarrass and push her but it’s clear they would do anything to protect her and want her to be happy.  The highlight of the story for me though was dog Tucker. He was a real character, stealing more or less every scene he was in.

The writing is wonderful, witty, fun and packed full of emotion. It made me stupidly happy reading it and I found myself smiling a lot. There are a few sad moments, Sloan is grieving and the new relationship is not all smooth sailing, but while I did shed a couple of tears it is an upbeat and positive story.

I also loved the song titles at the start of each chapter and yes I did listen to the play list as I was reading. Music seems to have become a much bigger part of my life during lockdown, it’s picked me up, calmed me, kept me motivated and helped me let off steam so listening to the tracks while reading really added to the whole experience (and I’ve fallen in love with a few of the tracks).

As you have probably guessed I loved pretty much everything about this story and I highly recommend to anyone looking for a bit of light relief.

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. This has in no way influenced my review.

Review: Just As You Are by Kate Mathieson

Just As You Are by Kate R. Mathieson

Taking its inspiration from Bridget Jones Diary, Just As You Are by Kate R. Mathieson is a warm and funny story about trying to settle down and meet the one. It took a bit of time for the story to get going but once it did I found myself completely hooked, hoping that main character Emma would get everything she wanted. It’s not the most original or memorable story but it certainly cheered me up on a rainy February afternoon.


Emma Londstown spent her twenties travelling, and now needs to make up for lost time. All her friends are married, having babies, and settling into domestic bliss. Determined to catch up, Emma plunges herself headfirst into the online dating world, and discovers single men in Sydney are one of three things; tossers, illiterate, or nerds that work in IT (she must be sending out subtle hints in binary code.)

This story, set in the bustling city of Sydney, is a humorous, light-hearted novel for every woman who has ever wanted to find The One. With a clear underlying message – be yourself.


As you can possibly guess from the title, Just As You Are is a little bit of an homage to Bridget Jones Diary. It’s a warm and funny story about working out what you want from life, accepting who you are and following your dreams. It took me a little while to warm up to this story but once I did I found it a laugh out loud funny and enjoyable read.

I do think the synopsis is a little bit misleading as this isn’t really a light and fluffy read full of funny stories about online dating (there isn’t actually any online dating at all) but instead goes much wider than that. Main character Emma Londstown is returning to Sydney after years spent travelling the globe. After much nagging from her Mum and feeling left out by her friends who are all married with children she decides it’s time to settle down. She comes up with a three part plan, 1) get a job, 2) find a house, 3) meet the guy she’ll spend the rest of her life with.

Parts 1 and 2 of her plan come together quite quickly as, after a great deal of creativity with her CV, she lands a job at a top PR firm and her mother finds her a cheap (albeit dingy and damp) place to live. Part 3 however proves more difficult as the crazy hours she ends up working and limited options in the Sydney dating scene make finding Mr Right seem like an impossible task. Emma starts to wonder if she made a mistake in throwing away the number of the guy she spent an incredible night with in Fiji.

There is definitely something very Bridget Jones like about Emma. She’s constantly worrying over her weight, her clothes, her makeup. She feels left behind and lonely as her friends all seem to be focused on their own families and they can’t hang out the way they used to. She drinks too much has a terrible diet and is killing herself trying to pretend that she’s something she’s not (confident, qualified career woman who knows what she’s doing). It’s tough to read at times and incredibly frustrating as a lot of her problems are those of her own making. She’s lied her way into a job she’s in no way qualified for and keeps on lying even when well out of her depth.

Despite this, there is something relateable and likeable about her. Yes, she blunders about, says and does the wrong thing but her heart is in the right place and when it comes down to it she’s willing to work and to fix her mistakes. She’s funny and loyal and trying to be what everyone thinks she should be. I may have been frustrated with her but I did want her to succeed.

I also very much wanted her to get together with Nick as it’s clear from the start that they’re absolutely perfect for each other. Even in that one night in Fiji they have an instant connection and the scenes where they were together were the highlight of the book for me. I loved the banter between them and the awkwardness and the sparks.

So why you may be asking if I loved this so much did I only give three stars, well, in addition to there being a lot to love there were things I thought could have been better. Firstly it’s pretty slow to get going, for the first third of the book not very much happens.

I also felt like much more could have been made of the secondary characters. Other than Emma and Nick the others feel a little stereotyped and don’t make much of an impression. There’s the overbearing mother and under the thumb father, the maneating coworker, the gay best friend and the overly demanding boss. I don’t necessarily mind a stereotype but it also seemed like many of these characters had a big part then disappeared never to be seen again. Emma’s parents for example disappear as soon as she moves out of the family home. I found it odd too that Emma doesn’t spend any time with her best friend’s families.

Finally I think the story could have gone a bit deeper and had a little more emotion. Yes it made me laugh but instead of spending so much time on Emma’s job it could have dug a little more into why she felt like she had to conform. It is obvious that she’s lonely, she admits it herself, but I didn’t feel it.

Anyway, overall I thought this was a really fun read and I’d recommend to anyone looking for a light holiday (or rainy afternoon) read.

I received an advance copy of this from the publisher via Netgalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review: 99% Mine by Sally Thorne

99% Mine
99 Percent Mine
by Sally Thorne

As a huge fan of The Hating Game I was a little nervous going into this but I needn’t have worried. It’s a very different book but is just as brilliant. It’s packed full of feels and I laughed, I got angry and I cried (a lot). Sally Thorne is now safely on my list of auto-buy authors.


Crush (n.): a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach . . .

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that he’s her twin brother’s best friend – oh, and that 99 percent of the time, he hasn’t seemed interested in her. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty – ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around – just to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. But sparks start to fly – and not just because of the faulty wiring. Soon, a one percent chance with Tom is no longer enough. This time around, Darcy’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.


As a huge fan of the author’s first book The Hating Game (I’ve read it a LOT) this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year but I have to confess that for a fair amount of time I was too scared to read it.

I put it off and put it off, I read some of the reviews, and then I put it off some more. I think I was worried it wouldn’t be good and that it would somehow take the shine off THG. It was only receiving an ARC from Netgalley that forced me to take the plunge and I’m so glad I did as I kind of loved it.

This is not The Hating Game and if you go in expecting it to be you will be disappointed. It’s a very different story about very different characters but is just as brilliant for different reasons. For me this may not have had the same romantic spark or be an upbeat fun read but it was packed full of feels. I laughed, I smiled, I shouted at a certain overbearing brother and I cried a lot.

I suspect I am a bit of an odd bod in the number of times I cried while reading this but I just related so much to Darcy and what she went through I couldn’t help it. She seems tough as nails, independent and determined but she’s just a mass of fear, loneliness and self recriminations. She has a heart condition that means she’s used to being left behind or made to feel like a liability so she pushes everyone away to avoid being hurt.

There are very few people she trusts and one of those she relied on the most, her grandmother, has died leaving her and her twin brother her house on the stipulation they restore it before they sell it.

Weirdly I think it was Darcy’s relationship with her grandma and her grief over her loss that got to me the most in this story. I could relate so much and it absolutely broke my heart watching her try to let go. It also frustrated me no end that both her brother and romantic interest Tom couldn’t see this and stomped all over her feelings at times.

I also really liked how determined Darcy was not to let anything hold her back, and to live her life to the fullest. I liked the dynamic between her and Tom and that it was for the most part her pursuing him. It’s good to see an alpha female for once although that’s not to say Tom doesn’t turn the tables on her.

The realness of the relationship between Darcy and her brother was another highlight for me. They bicker and they squabble but deep down they depend on each other. He comes across as absolutely horrible at the start and I thought there was no way he could redeem himself but he kind of does.

The one bit I was less sure of was the romance. There are some brilliant scenes but there were also some that were a little uncomfortable and awkward. There was chemistry but at times it’s difficult to see what the attraction is. They are so different personality wise and there never seems to be a moment where they really get each other.

Thankfully for me however the other aspects of the story made up for it. Thorne’s writing is as wonderful as you would expect, warm and funny but with a little bit of an edge this time, and it was so easy to settle in to this story.

I think she’s proved with this book she’s not a one hit wonder and I look forward to whatever comes next.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an ARC. This has in no way influenced my review.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan
The Bookshop on the Shore
by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Shore is a wonderfully cosy, funny and sweet story about family. Colgan’s writing is as witty and warm as ever and the characters are very likeable and relateable, making this the perfect reading escape.


Escape to the Scottish Highlands where a tiny bookshop perches on the edge of a loch!

Dreams start here…

Zoe, a professional child care worker, and single mother to Hari, 4, who has selective mutism, is sinking beneath the waves trying to cope by herself in London. Then her ex sister-in-law suggests she move to Scotland to help run a bookshop…

There her path crosses that of Ramsay Urquart, a widower and antiquarian bookseller, who has a band of difficult children he can’t manage. Can two very damaged people help heal each other?


It feels like forever since I’ve read a Jenny Colgan and I’d kind of forgotten just how much I love her writing. Like all of her novels there’s something very comforting about sinking into The Bookshop on the Shore and it made for perfect holiday reading. It’s a quick and easy read that’s sweet and funny but it also has some depth to it, something I wasn’t wholly expecting.

I think I was anticipating the standard romcom fare but while there is some romance in this it’s much more about family. Main character Zoe is the struggling single mother of a four year old boy with selective mutism who ends up moving to the Scottish Highlands to work in a mobile bookshop and as an au pair for Ramsey Urquart, father of three very unruly children. Parents and children are all damaged in some way and in need of help.

There’s a bit of a mystery around what happened to Ramsey’s wife who disappeared a few years ago but the story very much focuses on the initially difficult relationships between Zoe, Ramsey and the children. It’s a little reminiscent of Jane Eyre or The Sound of Music (both of which are jokingly referred to) but with a contemporary Scottish Highland setting. Zoe is no Jane or Maria but I thought she was a wonderful character. There’s something instantly likeable about her, she’s struggling but she’s absolutely devoted to son Hari and will do anything to protect him.

I loved the portrayal of the bond between mother and son and I also loved how she slowly developed relationships with each of the three Urquart children who have been allowed to run wild. There may be quite a bit of conflict between them as Zoe starts trying to set boundaries but there’s also a lot of humor which I loved.

I also really loved the setting and all of the local characters that Zoe meets. The descriptions make it easy to imagine yourself there (although as a Scot it’s probably not too much of a stretch for me) and I could certainly recognize a lot of the bookshop customers and tourists.

Where I struggled though was with Ramsey, I know he’s supposed to be mysterious and distant but I’m afraid his reserved and quiet nature meant I never really warmed to him. Even now having finished the book and understanding him more, I’m still not wholly convinced I like him and I didn’t really buy into the supposed connection between him and Zoe. He has reasons for being how he is but I’m not sure they justify some of his actions.

Thankfully however the focus isn’t too heavily on the relationship between Ramsey and Zoe but seems to be much more about the children which I loved. Patrick stole pretty much every scene and made the whole story so warm and funny.

Overall this was a wonderful read that I’d recommend to anyone looking for a cozy and warm story about families in all shapes and sizes.

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. This in no way influenced my review.

Review: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
The Bride Test
by Helen Hoang

As someone who absolutely adored The Kiss Quotient I wasn’t sure The Bride Test could possibly live up to expectations but Hoang has done it again. It’s sweet, funny and very hot. I love how she uses her own experiences and background to take a common romance trope and turn it into something so much more.


Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.


I absolutely adored The Kiss Quotient so when I heard Hoang was writing a sequel I knew I had to read it and it did not disappoint. Just like her previous book it’s sweet, funny and hot, hot, hot. Oh and if you’re wondering if you need to read the Kiss Quotient before picking this one up, you do not (there’s a little bit of crossover but the focus is very much on different characters).

This is a story about Esme and Khai (who popped up briefly in TKQ). Khai is autistic and believes he can’t feel emotion so has no intention to ever marry or have children. His mother won’t accept this however and travels to Vietnam to find him a wife. Esme is a single mother living in poverty in Hoh Chi Min city and working as a cleaner when she meets Khai’s mom. After some persuading she agrees to travel to the US to spend the Summer living with Khai in hopes that he’ll agree to marry her.

I loved that yet again Hoang took a common trope and created something very unique and unputdownable. It’s wonderful to see non standard characters, a hero with mixed heritage and autism and a heroine who is an immigrant from a background of real poverty. The way the author draws on her own background and her family history makes this feel very authentic and she covers a lot of difficult issues with sensitivity and heart.

I loved both Khai and Esme, he’s very sweet and thoughtful but completely clueless and she’s strong and determined but feels like an outsider. The highlight as it should be however was the chemistry between them. Every single interaction between them was a joy to read and I shipped them soooo much. I loved the clash of cultures, the misunderstandings and how considerate they were of each other. They are absolutely perfect for each other, if they can just overcome the obstacles in their way.

If I had one criticism of this book it would be similar to my criticism of the Kiss Quotient in that a lot of the drama and obstacles could have been overcome if they communicated more. Khai tells Esme that he’s autistic and that he struggles with things but not once does she look into it, something I found odd considering she was trying to understand him and be what he wanted her to be.

I also felt like his family could have stepped in to explain things to her rather than leaving her thinking she was doing something wrong. I mean Michael and Stella feature briefly but not once do they speak to Esme about how they made their relationship work. It’s frustrating.

Anyway, it is still a wonderful story and it made me both laugh and cry. I can’t wait to read what Hoang comes up with next.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an advance copy. As always all views are my own.

Review: I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

I Owe You One

Main character Fixie Farr may have frustrated me but I very much enjoyed Sophie Kinsella’s latest rom com. It’s funny, it’s sweet and reminded my just why I love this author’s books so much.


The irresistible new standalone from Sophie Kinsella is a story of love, empowerment and an IOU that changes everything . . .

Fixie Farr can’t help herself. Straightening a crooked object, removing a barely-there stain, helping out a friend . . . she just has to put things right. It’s how she got her nickname, after all.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course Fixie never intends to call in the favour.

That is, until her teenage crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and needs her help – and Fixie turns to Seb. But things don’t go according to plan, and now Fixie owes Seb: big time.

Soon the pair are caught up in a series of IOUs – from small favours to life-changing debts – and Fixie is torn between the past she’s used to and the future she deserves.

Does she have the courage to fix things for herself and fight for the life, and love, she really wants?


Do you ever get so frustrated with the characters in a book you want to reach in and give them a shake. That’s pretty much the way I felt while reading I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella. This may sound like a bad thing, and for a lot of people it probably is, but for me becoming that invested in a character is a very good sign and I very much enjoyed this story. I mean it’s written by Kinsella so you know it’s probably going to be fantastic but this is for me was one of her best. Yes it’s frustrating but it’s also funny and sweet and just a pleasure to sink into.

I absolutely adored the meet cute at the start where both main characters are in a cafe when disaster strikes and Fixie’s rescue of Seb’s laptop means he feels he owes her a favour. In fact I loved the whole central concept of them constantly helping each other out in an escalating series of IOUs. They’re very cute together and with the chemistry between them it’s obvious they’re perfect for each other, if only they’d realize it.

I may have been driven nuts by Fixie but that was only because she was too darn nice, and there was a lot I could relate to. Not the need to fix everything (I’m quite happy with mess and chaos) but more her inability to assert herself and her feeling of not being good enough. What’s frustrating though is that she’s usually right, she’s good at what she does and she has good ideas, she just won’t stand up and insist others listen. I was desperate for her to take a stand and speak her mind but instead she lets everyone else walk all over her. If you want to know whether she does take a stand I’m afraid you’ll need to read the book but what I will say is I loved how her character developed.

As for romantic interest Seb, I have to admit I didn’t have any particularly strong feelings about him. He also seems nice (most of the time), he’s funny and sweet but it never really felt like we saw too far below the surface. I did however love all of his interactions with Fixie, they’re super cute together and he’s pretty much the only one who builds her up. I did want them to get together so badly.

The secondary characters were also very well done and I loved what an eclectic mix they were. I particularly loved some of the customers in the family store. They may only have appeared briefly but they certainly left an impression.

So with all of this combined with Kinsella’s always wonderful writing you may be wondering why this doesn’t get a full five stars, there are a couple of reasons. Firstly I didn’t like that Seb wasn’t single and I’m afraid I don’t like when one couple becoming involved breaks up another regardless of how horrible the girlfriend is.

The second issue was Fixie’s family. I loved that family and the family business was such a big part of the story. I loved the way the relationship between the siblings was portrayed and I loved how it developed and shifted. What bothered me was her mother whose actions didn’t really match up with the way Fixie described her. She’s absent for the majority of the book and never seems to give Fixie much credit or even to particularly appreciate her.

I can feel a rant brewing so I’d better leave it there, particularly as it’s such a small part of what is a fantastic read. Despite an unusual concept the story is a little on the predictable side but I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t stop reading and devoured it in one sitting.

If you’re a fan of Kinsella or if you just like a good romcom I would most certainly recommend this.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me an advance copy of this book. This has in no way influenced my review.


Review: Spandex and the City by Jenny T. Colgan

Spandex and the City

Spandex and the City by Jenny T. Colgan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars for being so hilariously funny, brilliant and a little bit mad.



Mild-mannered publicist Holly Phillips is unlucky in love. She’s embarrassed beyond belief when the handsome stranger she meets in a bar turns out to be ‘Ultimate Man’ – a superpowered hero whose rescue attempt finds her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day.

But when Holly’s fifteen minutes of fame make her a target for something villainous, she only has one place to turn – and finds the man behind the mask holds a lot more charm than his crime-fighting alter-ego.

Can Holly find love, or is superdating just as complicated as the regular kind?


This book is out of this world…

Or should that be “involved in some kind of industrial accident that gave it super powers”??

I really, really loved this book. I am a big fan of Jenny Colgan but I’m an even bigger fan of Jenny T Colgan. This book has the usual mix of fun, humour and romance but with the added bonus of Ultimate Man. Yep we’re in super hero territory.

Have you ever wished you could be involved with a super hero or have you, like main character Holly, realized that actually being romantically linked to a man who wears a purple costume and is on a mission to use his superpowers to save the world is a little bit rubbish. Saving the world is admittedly more important than going on a date but being ditched is no fun, the costume is kinda naff (does everything really need to be purple) and let’s face it you’re going to end up as the damsel in distress. On the other hand though, if you’re single in the city with not many options you could probably do worse.

I absolutely loved how Colgan poked fun at the whole superhero world (in the most affectionate of ways) and how completely unimpressed Holly was by Ultimate Man. It had me giggling away on more than one occasion but is oh so true. Holly was a brilliant character and very relatable. She’s a little bit ditzy and seems to spend an awful lot of time embarrassing herself but she knows what she wants and despite having no powers she’s willing to get stuck in.

The romance is pretty sweet and funny as you would expect but there are also a few unexpected complications and bit of a love triangle which makes it a little bit unpredictable. It’s by no means certain how it’s all going to end. The whole superhero vs his nemesis storyline is fun and I loved how Colgan managed to sneak in a little dig at our current obsession with technology. If I had one minor niggle (and it is very minor) it’s that I thought some of the action scenes could use some work. It may just be me but I found it a little confusing trying to figure out what was going on.

Overall though I absolutely loved it. It may not be for you if you’re looking for Colgan’s usual cosy food related romances but if you don’t mind something a little bit different and a lot funny I’d definitely recommend.

I received a copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my review and if it helps I also bought a physical copy.