The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan

The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan

 

34734391Publisher: Pan

Publishing Date: 2nd November 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 496

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Set on the beautiful island of Islay, The Christmas Secret is a gripping story filled with emotion from Karen Swan, author of Christmas Under the Stars

Alex Hyde is the leaders’ leader. An executive coach par excellence, she’s the person the Great and the Good turn to when the pressure gets too much; she can change the way they think, how they operate, she can turn around the very fortunes of their companies.

Her waiting list is months’ long, but even she can’t turn down the unorthodox but highly lucrative crisis call that comes her way a few weeks before Christmas, regarding the troublesome – and troubled – head of an esteemed whisky company in Scotland: Lochlan Farquhar, CEO of Kentallen Distilleries, is a maverick, an enigma and a renegade, and Alex needs to get inside his head before he brings the company to its knees.

It should be business as usual. She can do this in her sleep. Only, when she gets to the remote island of Islay, with the winter snows falling, Alex finds herself out of her comfort zone. For once, she’s not in control – Lochlan, though darkly charismatic, is unpredictable and destructive, her usual methods gaining no traction with him – and with Christmas and her deadline fast approaching, she must win his trust and find a way to close on this deal.

But as she pulls ever closer to him, boundaries become blurred, loyalties loosen and Alex finds herself faced with an impossible choice as she realizes nothing and no-one is as they first seemed.

 
Rating: five-stars

 

I love Karen Swan’s books, and I can’t imagine Christmas without this author’s new novel, and here it is – “The Christmas Secret”, and it’s another winner! It is actually really hard to put into words how much I adore Ms Swan’s books, this one included, they are always so complex, full of secrets, twists and turns, filled with multi – faceted brilliant characters and you can always be sure that the author is going to deliver an utterly compelling story that is only getting better with every page turned.

There is not a single thing that I didn’t like about this book, guys, so probably I should just finish my review right here, right now telling you that it was a brilliant read, go and buy it and you don’t even have to thank me for the recommendation. But I wouldn’t be myself if I did this, so be prepared for some gushing. Let’s start with the characters. They were my favourite kind of characters. They felt like real people and I didn’t always agree with their choices and decisions but it didn’t mean that they were wrong. Sure, sometimes they were but it only made them more human in their eyes. Both our main characters, Alex Hyde and Lochlan Farqhuar, had better and worse days, had tempers, made mistakes and I adored it in them – it seemed so realistic and also it didn’t leave me indifferent about them and their futures. I wanted to slap them sometimes, to shake them or to pat them on their shoulder. I love how Karen Swan creates her characters, they are not immediately likeable, you must sometimes get used to some of them but it’s great that they’re not straightforward, that they have complex and complicated personalities. She gives us time to get to know Alex and Lochie, and when we think we know all about them, she starts then to introduce us to their past and it is like, oh wow, there is so much more to them than I thought! The motions of those two were so brilliantly captured, they were full of secrets and surprises and I loved following them on their journey. We of course can’t forget the background characters, which – no matter if they entered one or two or three scenes – were created with a lot of love to details, had their own personalities and added tons to the whole story.

Setting. Karen Swan is a queen of setting her novels in the most beautiful locations. I wouldn’t say that they are the most unusual ones because she also takes us to Paris or Rome for example, but no matter where we find ourselves, and this time on small and remote island of Islay, west coast of Scotland, she brings all the settings to life and offers us the most gorgeous views and descriptions. The scenery of this Scottish island is breathtakingly beautiful, and I loved how realistic the descriptions were, how they highlighted how dependent the islanders were on the weather, how harsh could it be for them. But also the distillery was a part of the setting, and well, you could ask how much can you write about whisky, but believe me, you can, or Karen Swan can – it was incredibly interesting to find out about the steps of making whisky. The way the distillery was the heart of the community, how much depended on it was brilliantly brought to life.

Plot. Absolutely brilliant! I know that when I read Karen Swan’s book I am for surprises, twists and turns that can change everything dramatically. I love how her books, and also “The Christmas Secret”, are like puzzles, with the missing elements slowly, in the right pace, falling into places. This time one of the background subplots was a sinking of one of the liners transporting American troops to Europe during the First World War, that was torpedoed by the Germans, and so Alex’s story intertwined with chapters full of retrospections. At first glance those stories has nothing in common, but slowly you start to see the whole picture, and you see in what way the stories are connected.

Writing style. Karen Swan knows her way with the words and her writing style is simply gorgeous, guys. She knows perfectly well how to write a complex, deep book. She touches upon so many issues in “The Christmas Secret” but no matter what it is she writes about it’s not only brilliantly researched but it’s also brought to us in the most beautiful, rich descriptions and you immediately feel like part of the story.

“The Christmas Secret” was a gorgeous story about life on a small island and its community, about love, friendship, forgiveness, family bonds and – let’s not forget it – whisky. It was an impressive piece of fiction. It was filled with emotions and feelings, hot and cold, it was honest and genuine and it was also a great love story, both in the present and the past. I really loved every single page of this book, and I loved how Karen Swan made me think (as usual!) that I knew what’s going to happen and then dropping a surprise or two on my not expecting it self – I love this, when the plot is unpredictable, you can’t see through it, when there are moments that you don’t expect, and this is this kind of plot – you know, the one with the “BAM” or “Yesss!” moments. This is another winner from this author and I highly recommend this book to you – Karen Swan at her best, and there really wouldn’t be Christmas without a new Karen Swan!

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The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle

The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle

 

35565382Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 1st July 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 363

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Dear Readers,

I hold my hands up: I’m stuck in a rut. For three years and counting I’ve been hopelessly in love with the same guy – and the closest we’ve ever got is a drunken arse grab (NB: this doesn’t count). My favourite hobby is googling cats for spinsters and I’m sick of my shoestring salary that barely pays for my shoebox flat.

I need a head-to-toe life makeover. Enter my ‘Year of Saying Yes’, which is where you come in. To help me sort out my sorry life, I need you to #DareIzzy. For the next 12 months I’ll be saying ‘yes’ to your challenges, no matter how wild, adventurous or plain nuts they are. ‘No’ is not an option!

Here goes… Wish me luck! I’m going to need it.

Love,

Izzy x

Hannah Doyle’s THE YEAR OF SAYING YES will make you dirty-laugh, feel warm and fuzzy, and rediscover life’s magic – all thanks to one little word: ‘yes’. Fans of Lucy’s Vine’s HOT MESS, Cathy Hopkins’s THE KICKING THE BUCKET LIST, Sophie Kinsella’s MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE, Suzy K Quinn’s THE BAD MOTHER’S DIARY and Fiona Gibson’s THE WOMAN WHO MET HER MATCH, this one’s for you!

 
Rating: five-stars

 

At the beginning of this year I read the first part in “The Year of Saying Yes” series, “It Started with a Dare”, and I totally loved it. This novella has totally taken me by surprise actually – I haven’t expected it to be SO good, so hilarious, so light – hearted and full of laugh – out – loud moments and I loved it! I planned to read all the other parts as soon as they’re published however it never worked out – you know how it is, life getting in the way, no time at all, and somehow, somewhere my huge plan of reading them just disappeared. Imagine then my surprise when one day I’ve opened an envelope and found there the whole “The Year of Saying Yes” in one big gorgeous book – just this kind of surprise that I adore 🙂

Hannah Doyle’s writing style is brilliant, it flows so effortlessly, it’s full of humour and I immediately felt drawn in. She describes events and situations in a way that makes you feel you are watching a sitcom, adding a gesture here or dropping a hilarious one – liner there. She can also create lovely characters that I adored from the very beginning – well, who wouldn’t relate to Izzy and the pressure she’s putting on herself? I also felt so comfortable with all her friends, but Izzy is a special character, with her very own unique voice, huge personality she’s bubbly, quirky and full of life. She was a brilliant lead character and I think I loved everything about her: her sense of humour, the way she was so incredibly down to earth and relaxed, the way she viewed the world. In my eyes she was also incredibly brave, I think I wouldn’t dare to take part in such a kind of challenge, just imagine how much it costs to get out of your comfort zones, and poor Izzy needed to do this twelve times. Of course it was for the best, she’s grown, learnt so many things but still it was a great challenge, and she couldn’t say no to them, no matter how crazy or unfeasible it was. She pushed her way past breaking points on more than one occasion and I just wanted to get up and give her a standing ovation. She was not perfect, oh no, I personally couldn’t stand her infatuation with George and there were moments that I wanted to shake her so badly and tell her to open her eyes but well… heart wants what the heart wants and I really, truly adored her. It would be great to have Izzy as a friend.

This was a brilliant, light – hearted book that you can re – read every time you’re feeling low and it’s assured it’s going to make you feel better. It was hilarious but it also touched upon more difficult aspect of life and it was very well balanced. It was a funny, refreshing read and I loved the idea behind it – maybe I should try this say yes approach as well. I think that somewhere in the middle the story slowed down a little and felt a bit slower and quieter than the beginning and then the end, but nevertheless it was still a great, amusing read about taking chances.

Altogether, “The Year of Saying Yes” was a story about learning things about yourself, pushing your boundaries, learning that impossible is nothing. It shows that no matter what we think about ourselves, we’re strong enough to face the challenges – in a brilliant, hilarious, light – hearted way. I really can’t wait to see what Hannah Doyle has in store for us, because this book was a real winner and it is a novel that should be shouted about from the rooftops. Highly recommended!

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Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews / #BlogTour + Giveaway

Carole Matthews belongs to the authors that I have on my auto – buy list. I don’t have to read a blurb, for me it’s enough that it is Carole Matthews’s book – I can be certain that she’s going to deliver a beautiful, poignant and funny story at the same time. “Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights” is Ms Matthews’ thirtieth (!) book and let me tell you, it was as delicious and gorgeous as all her previous novels. I have already read it and my review will be posted very soon, so keep your eyes peeled pretty please, but let me tell you that I have adored it.

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And now you also have a chance to read this book! Thanks to the lovely folks at Sphere (thank you Stephanie!) one lucky follower can win a SIGNED copy of this gorgeous hardback! The giveaway is open to the UK and Ireland only (publisher request) and the book will be sent directly from the publisher.

The only thing you have to do is either to post a comment telling me what’s your favourite Carole Matthews’ book ever, or go to my Twitter (@Agi_mybookshelf) and retweet the competition tweet (or do both!). The competition closes at Sunday at midnight and I will draw a name out of the hat then. Good luck!

 

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The Country Set by Fiona Walker – #BlogTour + Extract

Hi guys, hope you all have wonderful Friday. I am thrilled to be hosting Fiona Walker’s fiona-walkerblog tour on my blog today and I have an extract from her newest novel, “The Country Set”, for you. The book sounds brilliant and I am incredibly looking towards reading it – would be done already and apologies for not being able but I am really poorly and reading is the last thing on my mind. Though I promise to get into the story asap. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the extract!

 

‘…and there’s a John le Carr. film on BBC One we can all watchone night next week – or is it Jim Carrey? The one you both like,’Pip was saying loudly to an out-of-sight Lester as she filled nets planning a few evenings of company for him and the Captain.Both men claimed to prefer to be alone, the stallion man drinkingcaramel-dark tea in his stable cottage while his boss downed claretin the main house, but she didn’t believe it, and they loved theirtelevision. It must be terribly lonely here nowadays. The Captainwas deeply antisocial, rarely stepping across his threshold, tooproud to use the walking frame Pip had acquired for him on loanfrom the NHS, along with a shower seat and grab-rails. He hadonce been a regular at the Jugged Hare, she’d been told, always talking horse, part of a ribald farming and hunting set who hadbeen yesteryear’s wild men of the Comptons. It was hard toimagine that now: her curmudgeonly charge had his beady eyesfixed on the television screen all the time.

 

The Captain’s fierce raptor of a wife, Ann, had employedPip, reluctantly taking on her only applicant for the role of part-timehousekeeper, a thirty-something former job-centre manager. Pip had recently started up her Home Comforts carer serviceafter taking voluntary redundancy to look after her ageingparents: ‘You obviously didn’t do a very good job as they’re bothnow dead, but at least English is your first language and you livein the village, so you’ll have to do.’ There had been impatience inAnn Percy’s manner, which Pip took to be typical of her breed,but it turned out her need to find someone to look after her gout-riddenhusband was urgent: she’d underplayed her on-off battlewith cancer to family and friends for almost a decade and the disease was spreading into her lungs and liver. Just three monthslater Ann Percy’s funeral had brought so many mourners to thevillage they’d opened the church meadows for extra parking.

 

Pip was honoured that the immensely practical, no-nonsenseAnn Percy had entrusted her house and husband to her care, theformer’s beauty more than capable of making up for the latter’sbeastliness. She gazed lovingly out from the hay store now at thegolden-stone tiles, tiny top dormers and tall chimneys visible overthe stable-yard roofs, the fast-climbing sun creeping across them.

 

In the village, the stud was a star attraction architecturally, itsclock-tower and pretty house a landmark that visitors saw first asthey approached Compton Magna along the die-straight narrowlane up from the Fosse Way, causing many a hire car to veeronto the verge towards its paddocks. The oh-so-handsome face,with its symmetrical sash windows, flirty dormers and limestonequoins was like a perfect doll’s house.

 

The main house at Compton Magna Stud had never been givena name. Unlike its Stables Cottage and Groom’s Flat, it wasn’tseparately listed in the records of the Eyngate Estate to which ithad once belonged. For years, it was commonly known as PercyPlace, and so many letters were addressed thus that it was assumedto be historically correct, but family accommodation was officiallyindistinguishable from horse. Pip rather liked its anonymity, likethe mares in its oldest stud books with only stable names writtenin. Lester had explained that their bloodline was more importantthan their individual merits. That was how she felt as its part-timechâtelaine. Just Pip. A tiny part of its history, and a seed that mightfind a place to root there.

 

Whenever she introduced herself to somebody new, Pip wouldtell them, ‘My dad nicknamed me Pipsqueak. Everyone calls mePip.’ It wasn’t strictly true. Both parents had always addressed heras Pauline. Even after their deaths, she could still hear their voicesin her head when someone called her by her given name. She hadchosen to bury Pauline Edwards with them and Pip, the village’shappiest helper and bounciest baker, had been born.

 

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The Little Village Christmas by Sue Moorcroft / #BlogTour + Extract

Hello, hello you lovely folk out there. Today I have a fresh blog tour for you – one of my 36368810most favourite authors, and namely Sue Moorcroft, has written a new book. “The Little Village Christmas” is a lovely read – I haven’t finished it yet, as yours truly is really, really poorly, so I can’t share my review with you, but I am deep into the story and I am really enjoying it. So please keep your eyes peeled, the review is coming asap, and in the meantime I have an extract for you. Enjoy!

 

Accepting her help unquestioningly as he moved through his morning’s chores, Gabe didn’t ask Alexia why she was there. It wasn’t because he didn’t care, she knew. Gabe just had an uncanny knack for letting people be.

It wasn’t until they stopped for elevenses of homemade mint tea with Eccles cakes, consumed leaning companion­ably on Snobby’s gate, that he enquired whether Ben had spoken to her again. Snobby rested his head on Gabe’s arm because Gabe was the one person he’d come to without a bribe.

‘Nope.’ She sipped her steaming drink and stroked Snobby. ‘Looks like his coat’s thickening for winter already.’

He nodded. ‘Probably it will be a hard one.’ He sighed, making Snobby sigh back. ‘Alexia, I’m not excusing Ben’s clumsiness but he has had a dreadfully shitty thing happen to him. He pretends he’s coping but I can’t tell you how unBen-like it is to isolate himself in the woods.’ He gave Alexia a nudge to encourage her to look at him. To read the sincerity in his brown eyes. ‘All the people he loved most let him down. He’s full of anger and he doesn’t know how to let it out. I think I understand why he was so maladroit yesterday and then didn’t seem able to retrieve the situation. It was like he was a boiler with a tiny crack. The steam that escaped was under pressure.’

Alexia put down her Eccles cake as she relived the stomach-plummeting feeling of being made to feel like a criminal by the man whose body she’d caressed. ‘Are you talking about his divorce?’

Gabe hesitated. ‘It’s a hard thing to face, not being able to keep your wife. But there’s so much more to Ben’s situ­ation than that.’ He finished the final bite of Eccles cake before continuing. ‘I’ve always had a special relationship with Ben. I see him as a bit of a kindred spirit. For most of my life I tried to conform. I let my parents influence me into joining the bank, a very stuffy institution in those days, just because I was good at maths. I tried to give my wife the kind of marriage she wanted, with dinner parties and a modern box of a house. I was thrilled when the bank gave me the opportunity to retire early but she was horrified that I wanted to get an allotment and animals. I wasn’t trying to winkle her out of her precious six-bed detached in Orton. I would have carried on with all that nonsense if she’d given me a bit of understanding, but she wanted me to fritter away my days on bridge parties and coop myself up on cruises. We had the most extravagant rows about it.’

His laugh held an echo of an old relief. ‘When we finally gave up on the marriage, I came here to the simple outdoor life I’d always wanted and my wife was happy with that as long as she got the lion’s share of the money in the divorce settlement. Ben was the only one of my family who seemed to understand, who glowed as he explored every inch of the place, asking question after question. The rest of our family looked down their noses and said they were wearing unsuitable shoes.

‘In time, it was me who supported Ben’s wish to study arboriculture instead of whatever boring subject my sister Penny had earmarked for him. Because I recognised a square peg in a round hole when I saw one.’

Despite herself, Alexia was interested. She still tried not to show that her interest extended to Ben, though. ‘Do you think of your wife much?’

He gave her a wink. ‘I called my pony Snobby, didn’t I?’

 

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No – One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day by Tracy Bloom / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Wednesday! Today I am über – thrilled to be a part of Tracy Bloom’s blog tour – she has just gone and released a third book in the No – One Ever Has Sex series, and it couldn’t be more hilarious and feel good if you asked for it. I absolutely loved this story and I’m crushed that it should be the last in the series, as I would LOVE to see more from Ben and Katy, and Braindead of course! Really, if you haven’t read the three books, go and treat yourself to them, they are brilliant!

No – One Ever Has sex on Christmas Day by Tracy Bloom

 

35918407Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 24th October 2017

Series: No – One Ever Has Sex #3

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 296

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Don’t you always plan the perfect Christmas?
Don’t you always think it will be the best one ever?
And doesn’t something – usually one of your loved ones – always come along and screw it up?

Katy’s been spending too much time in the office and not enough time with her family so she wants it all: snow (fake or real), the Michael Bublé Christmas album, whatever it takes.

There’s only one thing missing as far as her husband Ben is concerned: another baby to complete their family. Katy isn’t so sure…

Ben may be playing the role of Master Elf in the pre-school nativity but he is struggling to master his own family life. With romantically-challenged friends, an ex who refuses to go away and Katy’s mum’s 64-year-old toy boy thrown into the mix, Christmas looks like it could be going off the rails… Never mind family planning, can Katy and Ben even plan to make it to the end of Christmas Day?

Rating: five-stars

 

Oh guys, it was so great to be back with Katy and Ben and the chaos that surrounds them! This book was Tracy Bloom at her best and I raced through this story, not wanting it to end – yes, this is this kind of a book that you want to finish, and at the same time you don’t want to finish because it’s that good. I admit, the last few books by this author seemed to lack in her characteristic sparkle and brilliant, sharp sense of humour but I am incredibly happy to report sir, yes sir that “No – One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day” is filled with everything that I have expected from Tracy Bloom and even more.

This is the third book in the No – One Ever Has Sex series, following Ben and Katy, but what I so adored in this book is that, next to Katy and Ben’s story, there are tons about Braindead, Alison, Matthew and his friend Ian. Sure, this is mostly about Katy and Ben but the other stories also takes up much room and this is just brilliant, guys – so hilarious and so entertaining, and it was so great to see that all the characters didn’t change, they were just as I left them last time – I absolutely loved it.
I felt immediately at home when I started reading this book. It was great to be back, and I didn’t even need any reminders or retrospections. Ben and Braindead’s antics are brilliant, and the scene when they told Katy about their Christmas tree shopping was absolutely hilarious – just like many others. Then there are some tricky situations for Katy, there is not only THE job offer, but she’s also hassled by her mother and her new toy boy, and there is also this thing that Ben wants from her, and moreover, Ben gets two new pupils at pre – school who turn out to be the children of… You probably guessed who are the parents but if not then just go and treat yourself to this brilliant book. And this all was written in the best possible way, the situations were so relatable and so easy to imagine, I am sure that putting inflatable Rudolf in the garden happens in many houses around the world around Christmas time, right? Also, all the dilemmas, troubles and problems were so brilliantly written – it is really hard to put into words how great this was, so really, just read it for yourself and thank me later for recommendation.

“No – One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day” was a hilarious and fast – paced read and I found myself laughing my head of so often! It was so funny and feel – good, and it would be perfect to turn into a film, and if I’m saying this it means really something, as I don’t watch films, and I’d be the first in the virtual queue for this one. The dialogues were brilliant and the scenes were written in such a way that you could easily picture them in your mind, the characters and their body – language and it made the reading such a pleasure.
It was a feel good Christmassy story, already with a festive spirit to it and some great ideas for the next Nativity, with plenty scenes that made me laugh out loud. It was full of embarrassing situations, cringe-y text messages and exceptional proposal, and I knew that I’m going to like it but I didn’t have any idea how much – it has fulfilled all of my expectations. It was a great story about families and friendship and I am already looking forward towards a new Tracy Bloom’s book. Highly recommended!

 

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Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

 

32498973Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre

Publishing Date: 29th June 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Meet Robin Wilde! You’ll make a friend for life and she’ll take you on a journey you’ll never forget …

Single mum Robin Wilde adores her six-year-old daughter and loves her job as a make up artist’s assistant. She has a wonderful best friend and an auntie who is bonkers, yes, but loves her to the moon and back.

But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things just feel … grey. And lonely. She struggles to fit in with the school mum crew. Online dating is totally despair-inducing, and she worries every day about raising her little girl with self-confidence, courage and joy.

What Robin longs for is someone (over the age of six) to share with – someone who’s always on her team.

After 4 years (2 months, and 15 days!) of single-mum-dom, it’s time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life.

Exciting new opportunities are about to come Robin’s way … Perhaps a man, perhaps the chance of a lifetime …

What will Robin do with the possibilities she creates for herself? And what potential will she unlock if she takes the leap?

Rating: four-stars

 

Before reading “Wilde Like Me” I didn’t know about Louise Pentland, and I had no idea she is a well – known youtuber, as it is totally not my thing. I was only incredibly intrigued by her book because I’ve heard tons of great things about it, and I loved the synopsis. It took me some time to find some spare time to eventually read it and even though the book turned out to be a little different to what I was expecting, I did enjoy it – I’ve finally got a very realistic, down – to – earth story about a single mum, with all the ups and downs that life brings. Honest and genuine – Robin might have come across as depressive, feeling down all the time but hell, this is life, this is the truth, and I could only admire her honesty and the way she tried to pick herself up and give her incredibly adoring daughter Lyla wonderful time.

I think the author has done a great job with the main character, Robin. She was not an easy person to like, me thinks – she was surrounded by wonderful people, incredible aunt and had a brilliant daughter, yet I had a feeling that the only thing that Robin wants is to have a man, that without a man she won’t feel fulfilled. There was also the issue of never – ending self – deprecating. But all of this somehow worked, she seemed realistic and incredibly honest and it just felt genuine. There was not beating around the bush with Robin, we got her just like she really was, there were no hidden masks, there was only her true face and this is why I think Robin worked for me. I also got The Emptiness – yes, it seemed as if she was having depression and more than a man she’s rather needed a therapy perhaps – maybe because I also got a period in my life when I felt exactly the same, so I could absolutely and fully relate to Robin and her feelings, and all I wanted was to cheer her on, not to tell her to pull her socks up.

The writing style was really not bad for a debut novel, though there were moments it felt a little rough and not too well rounded but I could really live with it and altogether it was fun and light – hearted and the poignant and heavier moments were very well balanced. It was not a book that is going to change my world but it was a light and entertaining read that more than once rang a bell or two. I liked that the story focused so much on the emotions and feelings of the main character and bitter – sweetly told things as they really are, with all the ups and downs of being a single mum. Roll on book 2!