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on 31 March 2014
Take three very different women, send them on holiday to a luxury hotel in Barcelona, add in a pregnancy, a sexy Journalist, a P.R nightmare, and a plethora of mix-ups, unfortunate incidents and comedic anecdotes and you have basically got The Time of our Lives.

Jane Costello has written a book of the type I adore, where you can't help but laugh, whether you are on the bus, at the station or sitting in a coffee shop minding your own business. I felt strangely proud that my obvious amusement bought a smile to the faces of several of the patrons in the coffee shop I was sitting in as there is nothing better than making someone else smile in my opinion.

Imogen, Meredith and Nicola have been friends forever and have always managed to squeeze in the odd girls-only holiday over the years. Although they have usually been of the budget Marbella or camping type in the past. Meredith is 7 Months pregnant and has won a holiday to the exclusive B Hotel in Barcelona and as her swansong before motherhood she takes her two best-friends along with her to enjoy a relaxing, 5 Star Luxury break.

I really don't know where to start when it comes to all of the things I loved about this book. Told from Imogen's POV there is a deeper and more serious story being told as the book progresses, and although I did cry my eyes out when it is fully revealed, I still felt like I was reading a book that contained laughter and fun on every page. Add in Harry the dashing and elusive Journalist, a boss with a death wish, black eyes, broken arms, a naked one-legged geography teacher, pigeon poo mugging techniques and attempting to bribe a night-club bouncer with prescription for Thrush cream and you can see why I was inappropriately laughing from the minute I started reading (and believe me this is just a very small percentage of what Imogen and her pals get up to).

There are verbal gems contained in literally every paragraph, but for me Meredith stole the show on more than one occasion -

Meredith on Imogen getting it on with Harry -

"I bet he's a Billionaire playboy like Christian Grey. He'd be perfect for you!"

"Because he's like Christian Grey? I haven't had sex in five years, Meredith. I think a butt plug on my first go might be a little ambitious."

Meredith on being in labour -

Concierge - "Is there anything at all we can get you?"

"Ooh, Champagne would be nice."

They say laughter is the best medicine, and reading The Time of Our Lives is like getting a concentrated shot, straight to all the places that you need it.

ARC provided via Netgalley and it was my absolute pleasure to provide the above honest review.
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Imogen and two girl pals are heading off on a long-planned beach holiday in Barcelona. Imogen has a four-year-old girl at home and she's still hung up on the guy who left her with this baby on the way. Her boss asks her to leave the phone on, just in case. One of her friends is seven months pregnant and the other girl is out and proud.

Cue calamities galore, which are funny at first but come to feel tedious. How many times do people actually fall over, overload their plate and tip it on top of someone, have a non-working bath in a pricey hotel? One or two calamities per trip might cover it but Imogen finds they just keep coming. Her boss has a work disaster which requires her input and she turns out to be extremely unprofessional. Even for someone on holiday.

There's a handsome man in the offing, Henry, and he seems a decent, intelligent type, but maybe Imogen's business crisis means she shouldn't be speaking to him. I would have liked to see more of the gay girl but the expectant mother takes up a lot of the pages.

This is a light enough read with a serious side as Imogen's obsession with her past love is revealed in stages. By the end she has learned more about herself and come to realise that her girl's first day at school might be more important than a business meeting.
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on 22 August 2015
Ridiculous, irritating and contrived. Not for people who have any degree of pressure in their lives as it is so badly written it is quite stressful to read. Characters are one dimensional, the disasters which accumulate are incredible and nonsensical. The heroine has the capabilities of a 6 year old and is completely incapable of showing any assertiveness but has somehow managed to be appointed to a director post. Total rubbish.
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on 21 November 2014
Read all Jane Costello books and this one is terrible. Such a disappointment. She tried to be too funny and it just didn't work. Over compensated the storyline with what was meant to quick wit but turned out to be thoughtless humour with no point to it. Totally unrealistic storyline.
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on 3 May 2014
This book was the first I have read by Jane Costello and I honestly thought it was absolutely brilliant from start to finish, I didn't want to put it down and well, I didn't. I read it from cover to cover skipping vital housework duties and purposely ignored phone calls because I wanted to read to the very end.
What I loved the most is that there wasn't just laugh out loud moments, I laughed so much at one point I was literally in tears, however the comedy aside it also touches on a more sensitive, heartbreaking and emotional journey and with that you feel nothing but empathy and compassion for Imogen the whole way through.
As a lover of authors such as Jojo Moyes, Jenny Colgan and Fiona Gibson, this read is way up at the top and I will be recommending this book to all I know. It was my first book by Jane but won't be my last.
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For some reason this Jane Costello book slipped through the net, so realising that I made a prompt start on this book. Imogen, Meredith and Nicola are three friends that have won themselves a VIP trip to Barcelona. In their minds they are well on their way to sipping champagne and cocktails amongst the jet setters. Sadly, from the very moment they get to the airport things are destined to go wrong. Now I am quite a Costello fan but found myself struggling to get into the first few chapters. I persevered but for some unknown reason the book felt like it was hard work.

I quite liked the characters but sometimes they grated on me, normally with a JC book I love the characters that she creates but just found I couldn’t gel with these three. Harry was a prominent male character and he was instantly likeable and easy to read about. I think overall Imogen irritated me the most and unfortunately for me if I don’t like the character there is less chance I will enjoy the book. Maybe this was just my mood, who know, but I just wanted to slap her round the head and destroy her phone! Meredith and Nicola were slightly easier to read, but with constant interruptions from Meredith it just lost its appeal.

It sounds like I am being un-necessarily harsh and I really am not. Jane Costello has a great writing style and her books are always so enjoyable. For some reason this one and me just didn’t quite gel. There were elements about it I loved, but as the characters were so annoying it lowered my enjoyment. This certainly isn’t a bad book, just one that wasn’t for me.
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on 19 September 2015
I can see why this initially would be a good choice for a holiday read but I became increasingly frustrated and could not finish it. Quite predictable and one too many mishaps, I persevered because I wanted to find out about Roberto but in the end I didn't care enough to! The biggest let down was the mistake about Imogen's mobile phone - she gives it to her friend, gets drunk with Harry then reads several texts from her boss (?) and then her friend comes running up to her and gives her the phone because it's been ringing??! Couldn't believe that a mistake like this would not have been picked up, made the author look very amateur. There are better easy-reads out there.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 September 2014
The Time of Our Lives is the first Jane Costello book I’ve read and I have to say, not picking up one of her books before is single-handedly the worst book related decision I have ever made. The Time of Our Lives is chick lit at its complete and utter best. It has all the components of a typical chick lit novel – friendship, humour, romance, drama – written with such vivacity and style that bounces off the pages and had a warm and inviting feel to it, making me feel like I was more of fourth friend the whole way through rather than being told the story of three strangers’ holiday. Jane puts this book together perfectly.

Okay so I did read the synopsis before buying the book, and it made me smile, really, but I did not expect just how hilarious this book was actually going to be. Seriously I don’t think I have laughed out loud this much reading any book before. Jane Costello’s wit and humour is simply wonderful to read – it definitely worked on me because I was just smiling and laughing on virtually every page. Though that’s not to say this book doesn’t have a more touching, poignant feel at times because it does. But I don’t think I can express that too much other than by saying that Jane has thought of everything.

Meredith has won a VIP holiday to Barcelona – taking with her her best friends Nicola and our main character, Imogen. As we learn from the beginning of the book, an expensive holiday is an exciting thing. Finally, they can avoid the disasters of the budget holidays they’re used to! Or maybe not… If you ask Imogen to promote a competition to win a luxury holiday, I don’t think she’d have too many kind words to say. She definitely wouldn’t be able to tempt me into entering, anyway. I absolutely loved her character. She was very down to earth and great to read. Her holiday is massively interrupted by work and it was just so funny. Her interaction with boss David was one of my favourite parts here – oh if he was my boss… I would lose the plot! But I just loved how dramatic he made everything. Just from her flight alone, you could tell this was not going to be the easiest, most relaxing of holidays for Imogen. The situations she would get herself in were brilliant to read. For example, her attempt to get cream for her foot was one of those subtle, witty moments that has now left me reading all the labels on my beauty/skincare products, just to be on the safe side… Honestly, it felt like nothing would go right for Imogen and that just made her all the more endearing.

Meredith and Nicola both have their own stories here – we learn plenty about them and soon realise Imogen isn’t the only one with a life to sort out. But it was Imogen’s story that really appealed to me. Her phone calls to her daughter were sad because I thought she was a great mother but there was that one thing upsetting Florence which stopped her from showing much love and appreciation towards her mum. I also can’t forget to mention journalist Harry – more for the fact that I am completely in love with this fictional character…. The Time of Our Lives provided me with some of my favourite book characters ever.

It’s safe to say this was a learning curve of a holiday for the girls. It was a learning curve for me too – learning about this fantastic author that I have been missing out on. Jane Costello’s writing style flows flawlessly. It really is wonderfully written. We’re brought on this journey with the characters and can feel every emotion with them. There was one twist in particular that Jane wrote in which I didn’t see coming, either because I was completely immersed in the story it had never crossed my mind or because the book was just that well written. Regardless, it was credit to Jane for some top-class writing. I was expecting to enjoy The Time of Our Lives but it was much, much better than I had been anticipating. This book had it all and though I’ve read plenty of brilliant chick-lit novels lately, this one is staying with me and is easily one of my favourites, ever.
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on 5 April 2014
Jane Costello is a lovely fluid writer, the words just glide seamlessly over the pages making reading her novels a truly effortless experience. She has a good sense of wit and ingenuity making all her characters believable and identifiable. Love her humour; one of the best writers for me of enjoyable funny novels is Sophie Kinsella and having read all her novels I truly believed no one would come close to the connection she has with readers; Jane Costello is the exception.

I managed to read this book in record time given that I am not on holiday sitting by a pool I read it in 3 days which is by my standards of evenings and weekends quite a feat. The story is basically about three friends, very different and individual; they have holidayed in the past together on budget cheap holidays, had to rough it but had fun together
so when one of the trio wins a competition for a luxury holiday in Barcelona they jump at the chance to have a week of luxury together. Since their last holiday together years previously the girls lives have moved on, Imogen has a daughter Florence who is just about to start school, Meredith is 7 months pregnant with her first child and Nicky is battling her own problems of getting her parents to accept her partner Jessica is in her life for good. Add to the mix a very sexy Journalist Harry, a boss with impossibly hilarious situations like when Imogen goes into a pharmacist and buys what she thinks is foot cream and it turns out to be Thrush cream and you begin to get a flavour of this wacky funny read.

There are some really poignant parts to this novel, deeper insights into the sometimes sad character of Imogen and all she has had to go through in her life but it is essentially a celebration of friendship, new beginnings and happy endings. Like all chick lit novels this is predictable in that it always works out well in the end for all the characters and you know that this will happen but it is such fun getting to that part and I was genuinely sad that I had come to the end.

I did laugh out loud with this novel; there are some really great one liners and Imogen's character shines through all the way, I found myself wanting it all to come right for her and for her to get what she deserved.

I could easily see this book being turned into a very successful film, engaging, funny, endearing characters, so many laughs that it leaves you with tears in your eyes and a feel good factor - lovely anytime read and thoroughly recommended.

This ranks with the best chick lits and I would easily give this novel a 4.5 stars - read it you won't be disappointed!
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on 28 April 2014
I bought this as a holiday read. Having never read any by this author before I was tempted by the good Amazon reviews. I was really disappointed. It is way over the top attempting to be funny, everything that can possibly go wrong does go wrong in just a really exaggerated, false way. It is like a bad episode of Mr Bean. Seriously -7 month pregnant women trying to have holiday romances and successful businesswomen and mums acting like silly teenagers out of some trashy reality TV show. It just did not ring true at all. I liked the idea of it but it did not play out well at all. Maybe suits a teen market but if you're over 25 avoid!
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