More Than Just Mum by Rebecca Smith

More Than Just Mum by Rebecca Smith

 

Publisher: One More Chapter 48228095._sy475_

Publishing Date: 7th December 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre: General Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 20.02.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Hannah Thompson loves her family beyond words… but sometimes, just sometimes, she wishes she could be recognised as more than just ‘mum’.

Eldest son Dylan is soon to be flying the nest, sixteen-year-old Scarlet keeps asking about penalties for worryingly specific crimes, they’ve forgotten world book day and Benji absolutely will not be Where’s Wally again, and it’s at least two days before she and hubby Nick can sit down for Wine Wednesdays… and even longer until Fizzy Friday.

Determined to find herself a job that she loves, earn a whole lot of money and to have her teenagers respect her as ‘Hannah’ as well as ‘mum’; it might sound like a tall order, but she’s a mum on a mission.

A laugh-out-loud read of self-discovery, family chaos and love. Perfect for fans of Gill Sims, Fiona Gibson and Nick Spalding.

Rating: five-stars

 

Hannah Thompson is in her forties, married, has three children and is a biology teacher turned into an English teacher to a class nine students more interested in writing on each other’s clothes with felt – tip markers than learning about George Orwell. At home, her eldest son Dylan is soon off to University, the middle one, Scarlet, not only bothers her parents about her name all the time (have you noticed the single “t”? Exactly!) but also asks rather suspicious questions about specific crimes and the youngest Benji loses his hamster. Hannah and Nick try to not only to tame this chaos but also desperately need money. As an avid reader, Hannah decides to write a book and channels her inner E.L. James, writing erotica and researching some of the scenes on her husband… Can Hannah make it to Wine Wednesday?

It was probably one of the funniest books out there about motherhood, and what’s more, this humour didn’t feel forced, no, it run smoothly and naturally and this is what makes the book so brilliant. I loved how the author always found humour, even in the most dull situations but without being patronizing.

Hannah was a great character, and if you’re a mother yourself you’re so going to completely understand her and relate to her. She was actually my hero, juggling everything that comes her way, but still with her dreams, ambitions and with finding the courage to fight for her dream come true. And she’s not alone in all of this, as she is supported by her lovely, though rather clueless husband Nick, who’s always ready to help, even if it’s about trying new positions from Kamasutra for Hannah’s book, and her children who were brilliant and written in a great way, especially Scarlet with one “t”, but all three of them were really well developed: Dylan spends a lot of time in his room revising (albeit with his new girlfriend) and the lovely Benji is still the baby of the family, and even though he’s the patsy of his siblings, he’s still innocent and all he wants to do is play. I loved Hannah’s relationship with them, it was so natural and I would love to stay as cool as she was in some of the more burning situations with my daughter. She treated her children also like partners, depending on their age of course, and I could really put myself in her shoes, and my daughter talks also so much, and Hannah had it thrice multiplied. They are dysfunctional, full of flaws but it makes them so true to life and I really wouldn’t have wanted them different – they had me in hysterics, honestly. The banter, the interactions between them were not only incredibly funny but felt so natural and real.

The author is such a great story – teller! Her voice is distinctive and funny, and she describes Hannah’s life so well, vivid and colourful, with all its ups and downs, but making all the small details of daily live double interesting.

“More Than Just Mum” is an absolutely brilliant read to lighten up your day. And for me this book has ticked all the right boxes: humorous insights into real life, where the sink is full of dishes? Check. Lovely kids that are in turn absolutely charming and the next second whiny and argumentative? Check. Forgetting world Book Day costume? Check. Ordering take – aways because you can’t be bothered about cooking? Check. Rebecca Smith has written a book about me, ha – mum, wife, daughter, friend, teacher – how funny that usually all the scrummy mummies are teachers, no? Ladies – we are not ALONE! We all make mistakes, our children will do whatever they want, no matter what we say, we are absolutely not in control but it’s not the end of the world! And there is always place for love, friendship and fun. It was a warm, witty and laugh – out – loud story not beating around the bush what it’s like to be a mum and that I can’t recommend enough!

It Won’t be Christmas without You by Beth Reekles

It Won’t be Christmas Without You by Beth Reekles

 

Publisher: One More Chapter 47315629._sy475_

Publishing Date: 30th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 203

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 31.10.2019)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the smash hit Netflix romcom The Kissing Booth!

Eloise, a self-confessed Christmas obsessive, can’t wait for the big day. Devoted to her Michael Bublé playlist, she’s organising the school nativity play and even her gorgeous Grinch of a neighbour, James, can’t get her down.

Her workaholic twin sister, Cara, on the other hand, plans to work over the holiday – and figure out what secrets her seemingly-perfect boyfriend George might be keeping from her.

The sisters used to be close but since Cara moved to London, everything’s been different. Only, Eloise isn’t giving up just yet, and with a white Christmas on the cards, Cara can’t fail to be moved by the magic of the season … can she?

Rating:  two-half-stars

 

Cara and Eloise are twins, living in London and Doncaster. As their parents have decided to go on holiday for Christmas, it’s up to them to spend the day together, following all the traditions. But while Eloise, a primary school teacher, is obsessed with Christmas and can’t wait for her sister to come and spend time with her, Cara on the other hand is a workaholic who can hardly find time to meet with her boyfriend, let alone visit her family home for a one day only.

I got into this book full of expectations – let’s be honest, the synopsis is promising, right? However, it turned out, that this novel is an OK, average read. The two main characters were sisters and they couldn’t be different even if you asked for it – while Eloise was full of Christmas cheer, Cara was the absolute opposite of her, focusing hard on her work and not having time – or not wanting to find time and changing her mind in every second chapter – to spend this festive time with her sister, finding out many different excuses, one more unlikely to the other. Eloise could also be a bit annoying with her demands but I could understand her, she was waiting  for Christmas all year long and it’s not a wonder that she wanted to spend this time with her closest. Nevertheless, they both could be much better developed, they needed more depth to them, more to their personalities – they simply felt too one – dimensional and too flat and it was hard to connect with them.  The romance aspect in this story was also not too… romantic. It felt too chopped, like an after – thought, and it needed a bit more fun for my liking.

It’s a story that once read is quickly forgotten – it may sound harsh but it’s the true. Please don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable enough but there was nothing new and the dynamics between sisters quickly became tiring. There was a lot of potential but it lacked in delivery, which is a shame, and I don’t know, despite being full of festive spirit it somehow also lacked in festive spirit, as everything felt so contrived and clichéd. However, if you are in a need of a light – hearted, easy, Christmassy read with a happily ever after, simply give this book a go.

 

Four Christmases and a Secret by Zara Stoneley

Four Christmases and a Secret by Zara Stoneley

 

Publisher: One More Chapter 45175398._sy475_

Publishing Date: 27th September 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 28.11.2019)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Except for Daisy Christmas means another of Uncle T’s dreaded Christmas parties, complete with Christmas jumper and flashing antlers.  And Oliver Cartwright.  Gorgeous Oliver Cartwright. Who she hates.

Every year Daisy has to face insufferable Ollie and hear all about how BRILLIANT he is.  Whereas Daisy has no job, no man and no idea how to fix things.

This Christmas however Daisy is determined things will be different.  There will be no snogging Ollie under the mistletoe like when they were teenagers.  No, this year she’ll show Ollie that she’s a Responsible Adult too.

But as the champagne corks pop, and the tinsel sparkles, Uncle T has news of his own to share…and it could change Daisy’s life forever…

Rating:    four-stars

 

Daisy has just lost her boyfriend, her job and probably her dog. The only thing keeping her sane is the annual Christmas party at Uncle Terrence’s bookstore. She loves these parties, they bring all her favourite people together, and they are in her favourite place, bookstore. However, every single Christmas party, she has to endure hearing of Oliver Cartwright – they grew up together and were best friends for ever, but now they are not as they went their separate ways after Ollie went to university and became a doctor and Daisy… well, Daisy’s dreams of being a vet have never came true. Her mum and Oliver’s mum are best friends but they both love to boast about their children, and Ollie, well, Ollie wins at life, right? But then, after 13 long years, Oliver also comes to the party and oh boy, he’s hot! And lovely, and friendly and soon Daisy finds herself sharing an apartment with him…

As usual, the book is full of brilliant, sharp and witty banter between the characters, especially between Daisy and Oli. I loved their dialogues, they made me smile so often, and it always makes reading so much nicer and lighter. There is a lot of character development in the story but I think that the biggest self – discovery journey was Daisy’s one, she for sure was a totally different person at the end, a person that I liked much more than at the beginning – as I only had a teeny, tiny problem with Daisy, to be honest, as I had a feeling that the author has tried too much with her – to make her too funny, too dramatic, too lost, and this altogether has made her simply too overdone. I liked her, oh my word, I really liked her but because of all these “too” I couldn’t warm to her completely. Also, I am not a biggest fan of creating holly characters, characters who could do no wrong, who are always right and full of wisdom, and so the whole subplot with Uncle Terence, instead of making me weak at the knees, made me roll my eyes a bit.

The read was so engaging that I honestly haven’t spotted the three Christmases. Oops. The writing style so sentimental and light and chatty that I haven’t noticed time is passing by. The author has so easily drawn me into her characters’ lives and worlds that I really didn’t want to leave.
Altogether, it was a fun, witty and heart – warming rom – com, filled with quirky characters, some secrets, embarrassing situations, just what you could expect from this kind of book and from this author. However, it is not only a light – hearted, not too demanding read, it’s full of deeper and more serious moments, and I loved this perfect mix of fun and poignant. It was the perfect Christmas story to start getting you in the festive spirit. Let’s be honest, Zara Stoneley has did it again, she delivered another brilliant read full of great characters, the perfect blend of will they/won’t they, filling the book with a self discovery journey full of secrets, discoveries, friendship, love and stealing dogs. Truly recommended!

Motherwhelmed by Anniki Sommerville

Motherwhelmed by Anniki Sommerville

 

Publisher: One More Chapter 47194568._sy475_

Publishing Date: 5th September 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 395

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 02.04.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A laugh-out-loud funny and confident must-read novel that everyone will be talking about! For fans of Dawn O’Porter, Bryony Gordon and Daisy Buchanan.

Rebecca is 42, has a beautiful child and a wonderful husband. But she just hasn’t been feeling herself recently…

Rebecca thinks a great night out should involve a packet of Marlboro’s, six double vodkas and snogging a colleague. Not gormlessly drinking a zero-alcohol No-hito while Instagramming a vegan chicken wing.

Rebecca wants to ride on a Harley Davidson, to crowd surf till dawn, then collapse in a heap after swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels . . . not sit in a soul-destroying meeting surrounded by ‘blue sky thinking’ and men half her age who interrupt all the time.

She’s had enough of commuting to an office that is so cold people have to wear blankets all day. And she can’t help asking herself why her adorable daughter must spend all week in a containment zone for pre-schoolers.

Rebecca wants to feel that there’s MORE coming her way, rather than less . . .

In short – Rebecca wants out.

But where to?

Rating: three-stars

 

In “Motherwhelmed” we follow Rebecca through her daily life: jumping between job that drains the life out of her, feeling guilty of missing so much from her daughter’s life, frustrated and unhappy with her marriage… Just all the normal things that are called life.

I had a feeling that the author wants to throw off all of her problems on the fact that she’s a mother. I’m sulky and bad tempered – because I’m a mother. I have a bad hair day – because I’m a mother. I had a row with my husband – because I’m a mother. As if those things would have happened if she wasn’t a mother. What I missed in this book were most certainly the simple things that make motherhood special. Yes, it’s exhausting, being a mum, juggling work and home and shopping and thousand other things, but it is also satisfying and having your daughter put your arms around you must be the best feeling ever. Rebecca would be much more believable and likeable if she showed an emotion or two towards her daughter, in her presence. Other than that, she was an okay character, trying to keep calm while wanting to explode and worrying about everything, doing her best to juggle being a working mum.

I also didn’t find it funny. I’m sorry, but I found it flat and lifeless After seeing the huge hype about this book I was hoping I’m going to love it, that it’s going to be another hilarious novel about motherhood, but it turned out to be self – absorbed and dry. Not humorous. I wasn’t expecting twists or turns, as in real life there are not many of them, but I was expecting a coherent and solid story. I had high hoped for this book, being sure that it’s going to be so relatable to me, but sadly not this time. However, do not feel put out by my review – you may enjoy this novel much, much more.