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Book Addict Shaun (England, UK)

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The Sun in Her Eyes
The Sun in Her Eyes
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 21 May 2015
I started reading The Sun in Her Eyes one lazy afternoon and read almost half of the book in one sitting. Our main character is Amber and not long after being made redundant, she receives a phone call from Australia telling her that her father has had a stroke. She heads Down Under pretty much straightaway, leaving behind husband Ned and heading straight for Ethan, the gorgeous, green-eyed man she once fell for, but who never loved her back... Australia is a country that I really want to visit, and I was pleased to discover that the majority of the book is set there. I loved the descriptions of Adelaide which really helped me to visualise this place where Amber grew up, and despite it being May as I read, and the weather outside being cold and miserable, this book was just the summery little pick me up that I needed.

Unusually, Amber isn't an instantly likeable character. Her relationship with Ned isn't that typical relationship that starts off 90% of Chick Lit novels where the girl is treated terribly by her boyfriend, only to leave him for the insanely gorgeous stud who just so happens to be waiting in the wings. Instead what we have is a realistic portrayal of a marriage, a couple who are experiencing doubts and insecurities that many a married couple before them have probably experienced. Throw in the first man she ever fell in love with and as Amber herself says, she's in trouble.

The attraction Amber felt towards Ethan was understandable, and readers will probably end up wanting to throw themselves at him also. The way the story was written in the beginning meant that he was my favourite out of the two, forbidden love always being the most exciting kind of romance to read about. None of the characters in this book are perfect, but I think that was the great thing about it, because all of them felt real and believable. As the story progresses I think most people will firmly be on Team Ned! I especially loved reading about how their relationship formed, in the beginning it was almost like Ned was just second best, somebody Amber had settled for because her love for Ethan was one-sided.

I had a couple of ideas of where the story would go, and I was completely wrong most of the time. I think it's because I was expecting some brilliant twists, especially as the blurb hints at hidden secrets or some kind of mystery. That never really materialised but - without being able to discuss it too much - I think the story is about so much more than that, but you'll have to read it for yourself to see what I mean and in the end I really loved what the 'secret' turned out to be, and the real meaning behind it. Very early on I had a completely 'out there' thought at what I thought a twist could be, but as the book progressed, let's just say I was glad I was wrong! Ultimately The Sun in Her Eyes is a really enjoyable story, the beauty of it perhaps being a little bit understated and there are some rather emotional moments as story nears its conclusion. I really hope we might meet these characters again one day, which given that Paige Toon does like to let us know what her previous characters are up to, I think there's a fair chance that we will.

Addicted: A sexy, riotous summer bonkbuster
Addicted: A sexy, riotous summer bonkbuster
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, 21 May 2015
Regular readers of my blog will know that my favourite author is Jackie Collins, and so when Bookouture signed Nigel May, and I read that he has been called 'the male Jackie Collins' I was both excited and apprehensive to see how he would compare. I have actually had Nigel's books on my TBR since starting the blog last year when he first came to my attention, so his signing was the perfect time to finally read his books.

I was addicted to Addicted. Seriously, it has everything you would want from a bonkbuster, along with some rather incredible and outrageous main characters in the form of our four women. Nancy Arlow - fading entertainer about to develop a gambling addiction that could see her life fall apart, Lauren Everett - a woman who pretty much has no life since she became the wife of a politician, she is about to rediscover the life she left behind (and develop a drug addiction along the way...), Portia Safari - world famous diva, adored by millions, has a drinking problem that could cost her everything... and Martha Eclair - millionaire wine heiress with a sex addiction that could destroy her father's empire. All of these girls are about to collide, resulting in one of the most entertaining reads I have read this year.

Bonkbusters usually have a mystery element, and the mystery in Addicted comes at the very beginning when we witness the funeral of one of our four women, but it is kept from the reader which woman it actually is, before taking us back in time, setting the scene, introducing all of the characters, and showing us just how all of their lives come to converge. The very nature of stories like this means that they are hard to summarise, so much happens, but all I can say is that it's a hell of a lot of fun to read about. Also the sex. Any good? Yes. Let's just say Nigel has a very vivid imagination and he puts it to good use here.

I think what I enjoyed most was how Nigel May made the personalities of our four women really shine through, and not always in a good way. Not only that but that boring cliche of 'money doesn't buy you happiness', the saying that those of us without wealth can't possibly imagine to be true, is actually true because our leading ladies aren't always happy, and have the same worries and insecurities that women across the world face every single day. It's hard to discuss favourites without fully explaining why, but I must have changed my mind about who I liked the most a dozen times as I read, as the characters change so will your opinion, but as we neared the finish I was firmly on the side of some of the characters more than others. I'll say no more...

As the percentage on my Kindle got nearer to 100%, I couldn't read quick enough to discover how everything would conclude. To discover which of our characters would soon find themselves six feet under (despite having a fair idea of which one it would be...) and I was a little bit disappointed to finish this book. Aside from Queen Jackie I also love Victoria Fox, and I think Nigel May is about to sit alongside those two authors if Trinity and his upcoming new novel, Scandalous Lies, are as good as Addicted. I have no hesitation in recommending this book! It is the perfect read this summer.

The Samaritan
The Samaritan
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Move over Jack Reacher, 21 May 2015
This review is from: The Samaritan (Kindle Edition)
The Killing Season - the debut novel from Mason Cross - was a great success and certainly one of the more enjoyable books that I have read this year. I was incredibly relieved to have a review copy of The Samaritan to read rather than having to wait after the thrilling conclusion delivered by Mason in The Killing Season. Mason proves in The Samaritan that the comparisons to the various bestselling authors are not just marketing tools, he has created a character in Carter Blake that can easily stand alongside the likes of Jack Reacher.

In The Samaritan the mutilated body of a young woman discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains points LAPD detective Jessica Allen in the direction of a serial killer - the MO being the same as one she witnessed a couple of years ago on the other side of the country. 'The Samaritan' preys on lone female drivers who have broken down, and with no leads or traces left behind, the police are stumped. Enter Carter Blake, a skilled manhunter with an ability to foresee the Samaritan's next moves but a man who leaves Jessica and her colleagues with a couple of suspicions. Blake has his work cut out attempting to stop the Samaritan, and might just find his life once again on the line not least because he also recognises the MO as that of a man from his past.

The opening establishes to the reader just the kind of person Carter Blake is, as well as giving a little bit of background and insight as to what his 'job' is. What I especially enjoy is how refreshing he is as a character, making this series one of the most exciting new thriller series I have read for a long time. In The Samaritan Mason Cross tells the story in the present day, but interweaves Blake's past to add to the overall mystery and the story here is incredibly strong. If someone asked you to describe what you expect from a thriller I'm sure most people would list: fast-paced, relentless, action-packed etc and whilst it is a bit of a cliche to describe books in that way, that is exactly what is delivered in The Samaritan.

What struck me first in The Killing Season and again in The Samaritan is how truly American these books feel. Being written by a British author, you hope that they can bring to the story that authenticity, and Mason Cross definitely does. Add in some brilliantly vivid descriptions both of the setting and the scenes themselves and this is an incredibly exciting read. In terms of plot it is once again difficult to talk further than the blurb, but what I most enjoyed was learning more about Blake's history, and the way that it was used throughout the story. I actually thought I had a couple of the twists worked out, but I have to admit I failed to see a couple of killer twists that were revealed right before the conclusion. The Killing Season had a heart-stopping, thrilling ending and this was delivered again in The Samaritan and then some. Thriller fans looking for something fresh, and to feel that excitement you get upon discovering an author such as Mason Cross would be well-advised to check out this series.

The Mourner
The Mourner
Price: £3.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 21 May 2015
This review is from: The Mourner (Kindle Edition)
Susan Wilkins returns with The Mourner, the follow-up to probably one of the best debuts I read in 2014, The Informant. Second novel syndrome is not a term you can apply to Susan, as if anything The Mourner was even better than The Informant and it has left me extremely excited to read more from Susan who is reinventing the grit lit genre in a very exciting and intelligent way.

The Mourner packs a lot into its five hundred plus pages, and it is of course impossible to discuss in detail but it continues the story that left many a reader reeling when they turned the final page of The Informant. Karen Phelps is living in Glasgow under the witness protection scheme after delivering the testimony that saw her brother Joey receive a thirty year prison sentence. Joey has plans, which don't include remaining in prison for very long. Meanwhile, Kaz's ex-lover and ex-lawyer Helen Warner finds herself not in hot water, but the freezing cold waters of the River Thames, her body soon being discovered. Nicci Armstrong is an ex-police officer turned PI whose firm receives a not so subtle hint that the death of Helen Warner, deemed a suicide, is in fact anything but. You can see then why it's hard to summarise.

Susan Wilkins creates characters that immediately feel real, that come to life on the page. Susan doesn't just tell you how her characters feel, instead she has you experiencing those feelings yourself as you read. Her characters are believable, flawed, sometimes relateable yet often a complete world away yet you will be with them on every step of their journey. Kaz Phelps is perhaps my most favourite, but I did have a soft spot for the broken Nicci who plays a huge role in The Mourner as our two characters develop a fierce determination to find out what really happened to Helen Warner. This series has strong female characters in a genre that often portrays them in an atypical way, often making them appear superior to males but it coming across forced or alternatively making them a doormat for males. Instead Susan's characters are strong, but with real fears, insecurities and issues.

The Mourner uses the familiar writing style of each chapter following a different character before eventually the various threads begin to converge before resulting in a rather brilliant conclusion. I learnt reading this book not to even bother guessing where Susan was going to take the story, particularly in the twists that she delivers regarding our characters. In terms of the main story arc, the mystery surrounding the death of Helen Warner, what we have is a realistic tale, one that is all too believable and one that will leave many a reader quite angry. I do love it when an author can bring real emotion out of a reader. Susan bursts right into parliament with this story, shining a light on political cover-ups, shady politicians and long-buried secrets that are about to come tumbling out giving this story real depth and substance in a genre that usually tends to stick to one arena. A further highlight is the London setting, the city becoming a character in itself and it being a brilliant playing field for everything that happens over the course of the story.

Susan Wilkins truly is an exciting author, completely surpassing any bar that similar authors may have set before her and if anything, setting the bar for those authors to come along and try to beat. I hope she is writing more books for many years to come, and I have no trouble in very highly recommending The Mourner.

We Are All Made of Stars
We Are All Made of Stars
by Rowan Coleman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, 21 May 2015
We Are All Made of Stars was my first Rowan Coleman read, but I have read a couple of her books published as Scarlett Bailey. I had very high expectations going into this book, knowing how much some of my favourite bloggers love Rowan's work, and the excitement for this book weeks before its release was palpable. I imagine it will be a great success.

Stella Carey is a hospice nurse, and she works the night shift because her soldier husband, Vincent, locks himself away every night, along with the secrets he brought home from Afghanistan. He is wounded physically and mentally, pushing Stella away and not understanding why she continues to love, care and want to be with him when he is so consumed by guilt. In the beginning we don't fully know why, but I'm sure most people will have a couple of theories. Stella writes letters for her patients to their loved ones - some full of humour, love and advice, others steeped in regret or pain and she passes on those letters after their deaths.

I am a fan of letter writing, as much as it is a dying art. I became a teenager not long after the internet became accessible to most of us, and remember the teenage girls in class having letter 'books' which when they got into the wrong hands wasn't a pretty picture. I even remember writing a couple myself in my teenage years, looking back now they make me cringe. But the thing about letters is how personal they are, I don't know what it is but it's so easy to be more open on paper than you ever would face to face. I suppose this continues with emails and texts but actual written words on a page carry so much more meaning.

Stella was such a wonderful character, warm, friendly and so believable. Her fears and emotions regarding her relationship with Vincent I think were so true to life that at times you could have been reading a factual account of somebody's life as opposed to a fictional story. This was also the case for the various letters dotted throughout the book, I would love to know how Rowan set about writing this book for example when were the letters written, who decided where they fitted into the story etc. The whole book just flows brilliantly and some of the letters are really thought-provoking. Vincent also felt like a real character, his emotions so raw and gut-wrenching. He was an intriguing man, one I think it would be impossible to ever be able to relate to or fully understand.

I can't really discuss in all that much detail but Vincent's progression over the course of the book was a highlight. The relationship between himself and Stella I desperately wanted to overcome everything and what I particularly liked was nothing ever felt predictable, there might have been ideas of how the book would eventually end, but it's never an easy road. Stella and Vincent are just two of the characters featured, but Rowan also includes various other characters, all of whom have their roles to play in the story. I was reminded whilst reading to not take life for granted, it's such a cliche I know, almost like the 'always listen in school'. Often we take the best advice when it's too late to do anything about it. I do anyway. I also took from this book never to take loved ones for granted, and if things appear tough then resilience, determination and love can overcome almost any obstacle.

Slight spoilers so read on at your own peril but Rowan definitely saves the best letter for last. It gave me goosebumps, almost made me cry but ultimately left me with that warm feeling inside that you get from finishing a book like this. It was such a beautiful, fitting ending and I'm so glad Rowan finished the story in the way that she did. We Are All Made of Stars is one of those rare books that will move every reader that picks it up, readers who will almost certainly be recommending this book to all of their family and friends. It's powerful and extremely emotive, a truly remarkable book with a story that will stick with me for a while yet.

Always the Bridesmaid
Always the Bridesmaid
by Lindsey Kelk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, 7 May 2015
This review is from: Always the Bridesmaid (Paperback)
I can't even put into words the excitement I felt when this book arrived early. Lindsey Kelk is the Queen of this genre. In fact, let's make her the Queen of everything, she is pretty amazing after all. Seriously though, I read her books and wonder just how she does it. Picking up a Lindsey Kelk novel is the ultimate pick me up, I swear even just holding one in my hands makes me feel better about myself when I'm feeling down. Always the Bridesmaid was no different, I loved every single page of it. I finished it and immediately wanted to read it again.

Our main character is Maddie and she has a real time of it throughout Always the Bridesmaid. Just how many things can go wrong for one person? Answer: a lot. Maddie is a party planner finally being given the chance to receive a long overdue promotion. Meanwhile one best friend, Lauren, has just gotten engaged and of course expects Maddie to help organise it, and to be on call 24/7, while the other, Sarah, is getting divorced. Bad time to be asked to be a bridesmaid. Maddie documents the months that follow in her bridesmaid journal, and some of the stuff in that journal left me incredibly grateful that it's something I could never be asked to do.

I remember when About a Girl was announced and it wasn't an Angela Clarke book. I was apprehensive to say the least, would it be as good? Well, we now know that it was just as good and so I wondered just how Maddie would compare with Angela and Tess. I love how Lindsey manages to make each of her main characters so different but equally lovable at the same time and with a couple of similarities. I just loved Maddie to the point where I wished she was an actual person, that I knew her in real life, that we were best friends. Yes, I found myself wanting to stalk a fictional character. Everybody just took her for granted, her family and her two best friends and I wanted to kick the lot of them because she is brilliant. In fact she reminded me of my own best friend at times. I think female readers will have no trouble relating to her and everyone will be rooting for her throughout the book as she is just such a believable character.

Lindsey always achieves the perfect balance of humour (laugh out loud, obviously) and drama and there's also some truly heartfelt scenes between certain characters in Always the Bridesmaid. The friendship between our three characters was a highlight, totally believable especially in the arguments they all have throughout. Of course, there's a love interest (or two). And as much as I wish I could talk in detail about the romance elements in Always the Bridesmaid, it really is impossible to do so without giving away spoilers apart from to say everything about it is so accurately realistic and believable that I wondered just how I failed to see some of the plot twists coming. And I love how everything came together and resulted in one of my favourite endings to one of Lindsey's books yet.

I finish a Lindsey Kelk novel and immediately get my sulk on because it's over. Luckily we don't have too long to wait for more with another release scheduled just before Christmas. I am already wishing my life away. I feel it is important to say that I am a blogger that doesn't automatically love every book from my favourite authors (see Peter James) but honestly, the day I don't enjoy a Lindsey Kelk novel is the day the world ends, and the day that I stop reading forever. So, trust me when I say that Always the Bridesmaid is one of her best yet, and you will love it. If you don't? Well then I'm sorry but we can no longer be friends.

The Doris Day Vintage Film Club: A hilarious, feel-good holiday read
The Doris Day Vintage Film Club: A hilarious, feel-good holiday read
by Fiona Harper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED it, 23 April 2015
I start this review with a confession: I am a massive Doris Day fan (there, I've said it), and I was very excited when I heard about this book. Favourite film? Calamity Jane, quite easily given that I've probably watched it close to a hundred times!

Claire Bixby grew up watching Doris Day films at her grandmother's house, yearning to live in a world like the one on screen, where a happy ending was always guaranteed. Claire is basically muddling along through life, running the Doris Day film club and her very successful travel company. One day she meets the mysterious Dominic, a man full of secrets but their connection cannot be denied. Could he be the man to provide Claire with her Hollywood ending? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...

I loved that we got chapters from Dominic. All too often the male character in books like this is no different from any other, yet being able to see things from Nic's point of view meant that we understood him more, and knew what he was thinking (as opposed to our female main character telling us what she assumes he's thinking). Both are very believable characters, who readers will really be able to root for. Claire's introduction to Dominic is brilliant, and allows for plenty of twists, and hilarity as the book progresses. I loved how each chapter was titled with a Doris Day song, and I found myself picturing scenes from the films they were taken from numerous times as I read. An example and one of my favourites being Calamity Jane's I Can Do Without You as our two characters clash for the first of many times.

There's a couple of secondary characters that I really liked, I won't list them all but two that stood out were George, an older member of the film club, not gay as one would assume, but somebody who had fallen in love with Doris at the age of eleven, and felt that no other woman could ever compete. There's also Abby, a little bit of a tomboy her mother forces her to attend the film club, with the hope that it will make her more ladylike. The group show her a Doris Day film for inspiration (and all the time I was wondering why it wasn't Calamity Jane!).

I wonder just how many girls of today will even know Doris Day, let alone have discovered her movies, so hopefully anybody reading these books will take the time to check them out. What was a particular highlight of the book for me was the amount of research that has clearly gone into the book. The blurb gives the idea that Claire likes Doris simply because of the fluffy movies with their perfect endings, yet there's a number of reasons just why she loves Doris so much. I bought a copy of Doris Day's (yellowed and battered) autobiography from Amazon years ago, and was quite stunned at the life that she lived, and both the on-screen and off-screen Doris I feel are inspirations to women, and it's a shame that some of the women who are role models today don't always have the same level of class and elegance. Fiona picks up on things that I think a lot of Doris fans might not even know, and it gives the book so much authenticity, and it's so much more enjoyable because of it.

The Doris Day Vintage Film Club is a book that I could sit and talk about all day, and I have so many favourite scenes and moments from it that I could reel off, but that would of course ruin the book for potential readers. Perhaps those of us that have read the book could form The Doris Day Vintage Film Club Book Club, bit of a mouthful? Either way, you'll finish this book and want to recommend it to all of your friends. It's the most fun I have had reading a book for a while, and I was sad to finish it, not just because I wasn't ready to leave the characters but because I felt like the book needed a couple more chapters but I have to say the ending, and the chapters leading up to it, is one of the best I have read this year. Quite easily one of the best books I have read this month, and one that I highly recommend.

Time of Death (Tom Thorne Novels)
Time of Death (Tom Thorne Novels)
by Mark Billingham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 23 April 2015
Any book blogger will tell you how much of a privilege it is to receive books weeks before publication, but when that book is the new Mark Billingham, it is hard to put into words the level of excitement. Tom Thorne has long been my favourite British detective, although most recently he has had competition in the form of Luke Delaney's Sean Corrigan. If there's ever another Face Off novel, these two characters would be brilliant together.

Thorne and his partner, and fellow police officer, Helen Weeks are taking a much deserved break when news reaches them that two girls have been abducted in Helen's home town, a place she hasn't returned to in years. A place full of secrets, where dangerous truths lie buried. Some a little too close to home for Helen. The man on the front pages, arrested for the abductions is a family man and husband of one of Helen's old school friends. Helen tells Thorne that she needs to return to Polesford, to help and be there for her old friend. Thorne reluctantly tags along, and before long finds himself caught up in the case as well...

In the beginning I wondered just why Helen was so quick, and keen to go back to a place she hasn't visited in years and to help a 'friend' that she hasn't seen or spoken to in that time either. If in 20 years I was in a situation such as the one here, the last person I would want or expect to hear from is an old school friend. As the story progressed however, things became a lot clearer and as the reader discovers more about Helen and her past, I finished the book as a firm fan of Helen Weeks, having been on the fence since her introduction to the series, and this is testament to the fact that readers must trust an author knows what they are doing!

Thorne is a bit of a maverick, and regular readers will know that when he gets an idea in his head, he will definitely go ahead and see it through regardless of the consequences and that is the case in Time of Death when Thorne believes that the police have the wrong man in custody, and he sets himself on a collision course with the local police, the local community, and a merciless killer. Along for the ride is fan favourite Phil Hendricks, Thorne's best friend and pathologist and one of my favourite characters in the series. Hendricks enhances not only the story, but Thorne's character and the two of them together on the page is always a real highlight for me.

Billingham is a born writer and storyteller, and once again he weaves a tale in Time of Death that kept me guessing throughout, with plenty of red herrings to throw off the most seasoned of crime fiction readers, meaning that there will be a number of readers that will fail to put this puzzle back together. The conclusion is brilliantly done, wrapping things up but leaving the reader wanting to continue reading about these characters, and as with any series a reader enjoys, the ending always comes far too soon. Thirteen is unlucky for some, but it isn't for Mark Billingham who returns with one of his strongest novels yet. Time of Death comes highly recommended by me.

by Emma Kavanagh
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Persevere..., 23 April 2015
This review is from: Hidden (Hardcover)
I read and reviewed Emma Kavanagh's debut novel Falling at the end of last year, and really enjoyed it. I was thrilled then when I was asked to be part of the blog tour for Hidden. Early reviews for the book were very mixed, but given that I recently hated a book that everybody else loved, that didn't bother me in the slightest.

It's hard to know where to start with a book like this. It starts off brilliantly, with probably one of the best openings to a book I have read this year. Emma's writing is incredibly descriptive, and so I almost felt as if I was standing alongside Charlie as she witnessed the results of a shooting spree at a local hospital. Having worked in a hospital in the past, I found it more than a little eerie picturing the scene described here.

Clues are dropped in the beginning before we go back in time to six days before the shooting. The biggest in particular leaving the reader with a number of questions about the gunman himself, the main one being whether he is an unknown entity or does he in fact know Charlie, Imogen and Aden? Or indeed any of the myriad of victims lying dead on the hospital floor. This is what compelled me to read on, and despite not immediately taking to all of the characters, it was the first-person narratives of Charlie and the gunman that were by far the most gripping in the book. Towards the end of the book especially is when the story gets really good with some dramatic events making for some truly exciting and thrilling twists. Hidden is an extremely thought-provoking book, with not everything being clear cut. I wouldn't want to elaborate for fear of spoilers but it is all too realistic in places, and very well researched by Emma.

There are a number of threads running throughout Hidden and a number of characters to follow, leaving me wondering just when everything would eventually converge and all would be revealed. I have to say that I completely failed to work out who the gunman was, but with plenty of twists and red herrings throughout, I am sure that there will be a lot of readers who fail to do so. Emma's experiences in the police bring to the book that authenticity authors often attempt to achieve but that only very few actually do. Emma was an author to watch after the release of Falling, but that is the case even more now with Hidden and I can't wait to see what she writes next.

The Love Shack
The Love Shack
by Jane Costello
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Jane's books, 23 April 2015
This review is from: The Love Shack (Paperback)
Jane Costello has become one of my favourite Women's Fiction authors in recent years, so I was very excited about The Love Shack, especially when I got my hands on an early copy. The blurb sounded brilliant, and it's a subject that I think couples across the UK are going to really be able to relate to.

Dan and Gemma have found their dream home. The only problem being that to purchase it, they must move in, rent-free with Dan's mum, the only way they can possibly save enough money to afford the deposit (well, not the only way, but more on that later). From the minute they arrive it is every kind of awkward and embarrassing you could possibly imagine. Dan's mother is outrageous, at times perhaps a little bit over the top but at others completely believable as this cringe-worthy mother who seems to have forgotten her son is an adult. So begins a true test of their relationship, not helped one bit when Gemma's past comes back to haunt her...

There seems to be a trend in Women's Fiction lately whereby the story is told from both the female and male perspective. Usually it's just the female character that we follow, and this often results in two male characters: the weak drip that the female ends up leaving for the insanely gorgeous, great in bed stud that is always conveniently waiting in the wings. Telling the story from both perspectives works brilliantly here, giving the reader a real insight into both characters and what they are thinking. I especially enjoyed the flashbacks, seeing how the two characters met. It felt a bit like prying at times, knowing more about their relationship than they knew themselves.

I think living with your boyfriend's family is a little bit like going on holiday with them. You are either going to come home loving them, or never wanting to set eyes on them again. Gemma has a lot of patience, let's just say that, but it's stretched very thinly as the story progresses and as such, I had no idea how this story would ultimately conclude. Especially when an old face from Gemma's past comes back into her life, and suddenly her future looks very uncertain.

I liked Dan as a character but had a couple of issues. I did find myself wondering why he wouldn't just accept financial help from his mother, it was only a few thousand that they needed, but then the story would have been a non-starter without his refusal! He was a little bit secretive at times, but what I enjoyed the most was the absolute love that he obviously had for Gemma. His family have their roles to play in the story, specifically his mother and grandmother. His mum, Belinda I thought was an absolute BLEEP when we first met her, but as the book progressed she grew on me. Towards the end of the book something happens regarding Dan's family that left me wondering whether Jane was about to break my heart! Say no more.

Jane's humour is definitely her own, and she is one of the few authors that can actually make me laugh out loud with some of the lines that she comes out with. It really is brilliant, and I could sit here and fill a review with them, but the enjoyment always comes from reading them in a book. So rest assured those readers that love Jane for her comedy, will not be disappointed with The Love Shack. Nothing about The Love Shack felt predictable, and with a couple of little twists throughout, things I thought would happen, didn't. Towards the end of the book I had my conclusion in my head and Jane well and truly delivered! A wonderful ending to a brilliant book, and one that I very highly recommend.

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