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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When the going gets tough, the tough clean granite
I was invited to review this really rather surprising novel by the author herself who gave me, what is surely, the ultimate compliment any man with a penchant for wearing lingerie can receive - she thought I might enjoy this very female-oriented romantic comedy because... I am a man who is so obviously in touch with his feminine side. Wow! Mind you, there's a big...
Published 10 months ago by Hermes Love

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A superior chick lit read.
Although not normally a lover of chick lit: found this an impressively written first novel: erudite, humorous and highly entertaining.
Published 12 months ago by P. A. Law


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When the going gets tough, the tough clean granite, 30 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Goodness, Grace and Me: An hilarious, laugh out loud, Romantic Comedy! (Kindle Edition)
I was invited to review this really rather surprising novel by the author herself who gave me, what is surely, the ultimate compliment any man with a penchant for wearing lingerie can receive - she thought I might enjoy this very female-oriented romantic comedy because... I am a man who is so obviously in touch with his feminine side. Wow! Mind you, there's a big difference between being in touch with your own feminine side and trying to use that information to in any way try to understand women themselves. No man can ever do that - no, because they'd have to kill him. Nevertheless, the thought that I might be able to gain just a few insights into the reasoning behind some of the extraordinarily illogical things I have witnessed during my own relationships with them was too tempting for me to be able to pass up. I paid for my own copy too because, while I might look the bee's knees in a blonde wig and anything from the bra department of Evans I am still, when all is said and done, a gentleman.

I have to say, I was ever so slightly apprehensive about reading any work that had already proclaimed itself 'hilarious' without the benefit of my own personal opinion on the matter. In my experience, the sort of comedy projects to which that description is so brashly affixed tend to leave me looking impassively on like some modern day Buster Keaton. However, it was clear right from the start that the word has a very good claim to be in the same postcode as this novel. I did actually find myself laughing out loud on a number of occasions, even though I had my serious 'reviewer' head on and was therefore trying very much to play hard to get in the giggling department. There is something wonderfully refreshing about Julie Houston's writing style and she has the ability to raise a laugh, not just through clever use of situations and her characters' reactions to them, but by the way she phrases her sentences in the first place. It's a very clever skill and seems utterly effortless on her part, much to her credit.

The dialogue flows well here and the characters are all well-defined. The language is a bit colourful at times but it is entirely in keeping with the characters. The narrator of the story, a teacher named Harriet, is tremendously engaging and loveable. Domestic disasters and personal crises abound in her life, yet she always retains the ability to laugh about it. I wonder if that might just be a Yorkshire thing? At one point she compares the complexities of her life to 'an omnibus edition of EastEnders' although, let's face it, it's incredibly rare to get a laugh in one of those.

The most endearing thing about her is the love of her family and of family life in general, something which shines through in virtually all of the clever little plotlines in this story. Her husband appears, by turns, to be either Mr Wonderful or A Right Selfish Toerag, yet her love for him is never in any doubt whatsoever. That's where the first person narrative really comes into its own of course.

I am not a fan of romantic scenes in any book, so I was greatly relieved to discover that all that sort of earth-moving nonsense was handled in a way which did not leave me, as a man, feeling like the romantic equivalent of Frank Spencer. Ms Houston keeps her scenes romantic and paints a vivid enough picture of the various bits and pieces involved in each copulation jigsaw, but she doesn't do it in such a way as to give false hope to the majority of her readers. As something of a spy in this particular camp, I was delighted that she didn't devote pages and pages and pages to this sort of thing. Because that would ultimately not have been fair on those men among us who can leave 'The Minute Waltz' for dust in the squeaky bedspring stakes. Half a page at a time is just about bearable, thank you very much.

I'm not really used to reviewing fiction, which is why I am reluctant to come along and ruin all the suspense in the author's very cleverly written synopsis by blundering in and giving away some vital part of the story. Suffice it to say, that synopsis sets the scene very nicely, although it doesn't really do justice to the different subplots. I can't even relate the biggest laugh I got from the whole thing without ruining the joke for everyone else, but it comes at the end of Chapter 16 and caused me to snort tea out of both nostrils. I'm sorry if that paints a rather unpleasant picture for you. I wasn't wearing my lingerie at the time though, if that helps...?

Chapter 22 managed to reduce me to tears, so poignant was the subject material. And the last page almost made me pick up the telephone there and then and tell my ex-wife that I still love her. Almost. Well, it was two o'clock in the morning at the time and she would in all probability have just told me to get stuffed. But I thought it.

This is a really impressive novel. It is well-crafted and extremely well-written and I feel slightly superior to my fellow males for having read it. Maybe more men should read books like these anyway, come to think of it. They might just learn something!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light-heated women's fiction at it's best, 12 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Goodness, Grace and Me: An hilarious, laugh out loud, Romantic Comedy! (Kindle Edition)
Essentially pegged as a chick lit, I'll admit to being slightly confused at the book's opening chapters and didn't quite get their relevance, but once the story settles down into Harriet's life you'll soon discover this is light-hearted women's fiction at its best. Goodness, Grace and Me is such an easy read you'll find it hard not to get swept up and devour the story in one go.

The real portrayal of family life, along with the small details sewn into the fabric of the plot make the book what it is. Loss of passion, lack of communication, money worries and the last minute slapping together of children's parties will have many readers sympathizing with our protagonist and nodding in agreement with some of her frustrations. But Goodness, Grace and Me is so much more than a reflection of a modern mother's life; it's a funny and genuine down-to-earth read that hits you in all the right places. Stick this right at the top of your To Read list.

Reviewed by Charlotte Foreman on behalf of BestChickLit.com.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 20 Nov 2013
This review is from: Goodness, Grace and Me: An hilarious, laugh out loud, Romantic Comedy! (Kindle Edition)
I always enjoy reading a book by a new author and Julie Houston's book did not disappoint. One of the first things I noticed was the book is slightly larger than usual with an almost laminated cover, the bright white paper and good sized black type inside made this an easy read for someone like me who reads into the wee small hours of the night.

Harriet's life has changed since her husband lost his business,she has had to go back to teaching full time and her mother in law has moved in taking over the best part of the house to help pay the bills which has rescued them from having to selling it. Nick has taken a job he is not happy with but needs and Harriet just knows he's about to throw it away to go into business with a man she's been advised not to trust. It only get worse when she finds out that Nick's potential business partner's wife Amanda is a face from her past she would rather not see again. With two teenagers and a five year old thrown into the mix it's no wonder life is hectic for Harriet.

There is so much going on in this book. Harriet and Grace's friendship, Grace's struggle to have a baby, a mother who is becoming stranger by the day and a husband who may be having an affair with her nemesis.
I laughed my way through this book from bonfires and girl's nights out to problems with parents and a neighbour with binoculars. It has the right mix of believable fun and sincerity.
Harriet is a wonderful character,someone you could imagine you would be friends with. She is so scared that if things go wrong in her husband's new venture that this time they will loose everything.

There were lots of funny lines from the children in Harriet's class at school and I would have loved to have heard more from them. There are many life changing events in this book and a few brought tears to my eyes.
I absolutely loved the ending and also the last chapter telling us what was happening after six months has passed.

A little bird tells me that Julie Houston is now writing a sequel and I can't wait to find out where Harriet and Grace and their families are now.
The author has showed herself to be great at writing comedy but also a sensitive writer when the storyline calls for it. This book is well worth a read and will cheer you up after a hard day Christmas shopping.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulously funny debut, 2 Oct 2013
This review is from: Goodness, Grace and Me: An hilarious, laugh out loud, Romantic Comedy! (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this witty book, it had everything needed for the perfect comedy romance; good friends, handsome men and a woman who is barely holding it together as her life lurches from one potential crisis to another. There were lots of laugh-out-loud moments and clever one liners. Harriet is an absolute joy, very believable and I loved the humour this character had.

I think Julie Houston has written a bit of a winner with this and it is hard to believe this is her first book. I will be looking out for the next one with genuine anticipation
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars laughed out loud! A cracking read!, 25 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Goodness, Grace and Me: An hilarious, laugh out loud, Romantic Comedy! (Kindle Edition)
I read this whilst on holiday after picking it up on my wife's iPad. I loved it right from the scene setting and character building at the start and read through it very quickly as I could not put it down. The only problem was that some parts were so funny I kept disturbing my fellow sun bed neighbours with my tittering, guffawing and laugh out loud moments. The book is well written and the author takes the everyday and makes the story interesting and funny with serious moments as a counter balance.
Well worth a read. Looking forward to the sequel already!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loud out loud book!, 20 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Goodness, Grace and Me: An hilarious, laugh out loud, Romantic Comedy! (Kindle Edition)
I was honoured when Julie Houston contacted me on Twitter asking if I would like to review her book as it sounded like the type of book I would usually read, but it did have it’s parts that seemed new to me, which intrigued me further. The book describes itself as being hilarious which I have to say worried me a little just in case I got my hopes up for a funny novel, but it was exactly right!

I don't want to give much of the plot away because I think this book is well worth a read! Harriet is happily married to the Nick and has been for 15 years, she is a mother of three and a teacher in a school alongside her best friend Grace. Harriet's life doesn't make you feel like it is made up, as you can often find in some books, she is written as a normal woman with a normal family and has problems that most people encounter at some point in their life. Each character in the novel is is well written and described to us, the relationship between Harriet and Grace is shown to us like any friendship between real women is, there are laughs, fights, crying and craziness. Harriett handles her problems in the same way any of us probably would, with a few witty and crazy things thrown in.

I loved how Julie described everyday life in such good detail, which I presume must have been taken from her own life, with some extra humour added. I think this makes you enjoy the book that much more because it's believable, yet so crazy it’s funny! The whole book just flows and is written so well which makes it so much easier to read and enjoy. You could relate to the novel and Harriet herself with the stresses of life, work and family. Julie makes you feel empathy for Harriet yet want to carry on reading to see what else might happen to her. I very much enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Julie's novels in the future. I would definitely recommend this book if you want something you can relate to or as an escape book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read, 8 April 2014
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This review is from: Goodness, Grace and Me: An hilarious, laugh out loud, Romantic Comedy! (Kindle Edition)
Loved this book right from the start, there is a little bit of all of us in this book, will look out for her books in future
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good read, 29 Mar 2014
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Peter Arnold - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Goodness, Grace and Me: An hilarious, laugh out loud, Romantic Comedy! (Kindle Edition)
I didn't expect much as I had never heard of the author, but was pleasantly surprised. her style is plain, nothing avant garde or fancy, but she tells a good tale without cliches, and I love a happy ending despite being a cynical male!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this, it made me laugh out loud, 19 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Goodness, Grace and Me: An hilarious, laugh out loud, Romantic Comedy! (Kindle Edition)
I love Julie's 'voice' in this book. I rarely read this type of fiction but something made me pick it up and I really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to the next one (no pressure).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny, 19 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Goodness, Grace and Me: An hilarious, laugh out loud, Romantic Comedy! (Kindle Edition)
Not my usual kind of reading but very funny and the characters were brilliantly depicted. Would definitely recommend. Good read.
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