My Rating: 3/5
Okay, where do I begin? I was looking forward to reading Carole’s new book as I always find I can curl myself up and lose myself in the stories she writes. Indeed I did curl up, however as for losing myself… well.. it never really felt like that. Let me explain…
Now maybe I am biased, ever since reading Carole’s Chocolate Lovers Club I have been a little bit obsessed with those books as they were perfect tens in my eyes. I have read each and every book of hers and have never, not enjoyed one. With her latest release I was convinced that even if I had my doubts reading the synopsis, I would be proved wrong. We meet Janie Johnson and soon learn that she is an ordinary woman leading an ordinary life. From the outset I liked Janie and found myself smiling at the brilliant storytelling that Carole Matthews has in abundance.
As we learn that Janie is trying to move on, following the revelation that her ex is getting married and having a child, we see her mind trying to contemplate what way to best achieve her goal. We see Janie try a blind date which goes disastrously wrong (but which is very funny) and after much dithering she makes a bold decision. Instead of spending Christmas on her own with her cat, she is going to visit Africa. This for me was where the story maybe went a bit south.
Janie flies off to Africa and falls head over heels in love with Dominic, a Maasai Warrior. The story itself was still (in Carole Matthews’s style) brilliantly written. Having said that, it was at that point in the book where I started not liking Janie as much as she made more and more decisions based solely on her love for Dominic. The other characters in the book that I really liked was Janie’s neighbour Mike who plays a pretty central role in helping Janie with her life as well as Janie’s friend Nina (who I was not a big fan of).
The section of the story in Africa is lovely and you can almost imagine being alongside Janie as she experiences all that Africa has to offer.
The story was wrapping to a close and I felt myself feeling a little put out with how the ending was looking. On an entirely personal note, I actually didn’t like how things ended up for Janie and would have preferred a different outcome.
Overall I am still a die-hard Carole Matthew’s fan and her writing is still as brilliant, but for me I couldn’t help feeling that this was way too average for a Matthew’s book. Maybe it was more to do with the fact that there were too many characters I didn’t like in this book, or maybe the fact that I didn’t get the ending I wanted. Whatever, it was this was still a good read and the majority will love this book. I will, as ever, be waiting with baited breath for the next book and highly recommend her as an author.
My Rating: 4/5
Kat’s Review: This book is on the money. Right at this moment in time it seems that many people are struggling with money and the economy is not exactly at its peak at the moment. This is why I feel a story like this at a time like this is perfect.
It doesn’t take long, no more than a few pages, to get into the story with the Lamont-Jones’. The story is written as usual in an easy style which really gets the reader connecting with the characters. Lily and Laurence is a seemingly perfect couple that have it all. However Lily finds that Laurence has lost his job and on their return from their holiday they are left with nothing. Although Laurence has made many mistakes you can’t help but like the guy. His story is one that is not that far from reality as I recall reading about other people that had been in that situation and tried to sweep it under the carpet.
Following their swift departure into the world of the poor and penniless we see the family relocated to a rough estate where their world goes from bad to worse. Once they are situated in the house, they have to literally build their life up from scratch and they manage to do it with the most unlikely of people.
In addition to loving Laurence, I also fell in love with Lily, who although slightly spoiled as a stay at home mum when Laurence was working, is actually a funny and warm person who I loved from the very beginning. We also meet Tracey the Lamont-Jones new next door neighbour who is brilliantly written and I could almost picture this book as a film.
Although this particular book isn’t the first type with this kind of story, Carole Matthews brings it to life with great humour and wonderful characters. Her writing style is easy to read and the pages practically turned themselves. There are some very funny events in this book too which had me laughing out loud which is always a plus for me. On top of all that the ending was perfect.
I must say that since the release of Carole Matthews Chocolate Lovers series, I have never found anything I liked as much, until this. This book was the perfect combination of a great story, brilliant characters and a brilliant setting. All in all this was a wonderful read and one that I would highly recommend.
My Rating: 5/5
Kat’s Review: What can I say? I have to be totally honest and say that whilst reading this book I embarrassed myself on numerous occasions by actually laughing out loud whilst on the train. This book was an absolute joy to read. I am a huge fan of the series the Chocolate Lovers and found that I was comparing each book to that series. This book needed no comparison.
Juliet Joyce is a typical married mother of two. Her husband Rick along with their two children in their late teens Tom and Chloe, live in a regular close leading a very ordinary life. Juliet’s mother has recently moved in after deciding that upon reaching her 70s she was going to start living her life the way she wanted. Juliet works in the local library and the most excitement her life sees is what lies in store for her when she gets home with regards to what new and inventive ways her children have come up with top avoid cleaning their rooms, or god forbid, getting a job!
However, when her ex fiancé who jilted her at the alter, Steven Aubrey turns up, her life is thrown into the mixer. This along with the predicaments her husband manages to get himself into along with the behaviour of her kids, her party animal mother, and her father who has changed his life dramatically make for an absolutely explosive and hilarious story. Her marriage starts to teeter when Steven comes on the scene and she has to decide whether she wants to make a new life for herself or stick with what she already has.
This story was told with such humour that I was hooked from the first chapter. The characters are the most honest version of mixed up families I have read in a while and some of the one-liners that were told had tears running down my cheeks. I finished this book in a day and a half and haven’t laughed that much at a book in a long time. Thoroughly enjoyed every page and would highly recommend to anybody. The Chocolate Lovers series although still a firm favourite, doesn’t seem quite as important after reading this latest Carole Matthews books. A definite must have.
Synopsis: This is a romantic comedy set in Liverpool about Sally Freeman – a twenty-something single mum and superwoman – and her bid to make her world a better place. Hopelessly in love with her is Johnny – an artist with not a penny to his name – and Spencer Knight – a rich city slicker with a Porsche and a penthouse apartment. Sally wants to improve the dreary estate where she lives and she enlists the help of the locals to plant a garden and build a community centre. But will she choose the right man to love?
Kat’s Rating: 5/5
Kat’s Review: I have read an awful lot of thrillers lately and this was a refreshing change. It’s a story about Sally Freeman, a young single mother who lives on a council estate with her son Charlie. Spencer Knight comes along and sweeps her off her feet. He is rich, charming, affectionate and sexy and Sally can’t quite believe her luck. However her ex Johnny is still in love with Sally and has to try to win Sally back. As a penniless aspiring painter, who also lives on the estate and cares for his ill mum, he doesn’t have a lot of chance.
I am quite a fan of Carole Matthews and this story is no different to my previous opinions. The story is warm and funny and a thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters are a little different to her previously tried and tested formula for leading women. However, somehow she seems to have hit the nail on the head and created loveable people that you end up loving or hating in equal measures. No there isn’t a deep underlying moral to the story, but it is what it is! An enjoyable funny and warm chick lit book that is easy reading.
Synopsis: Lucy Lombard thought her ‘Happily Ever After’ was all sewn up when her gorgeous boss Aidan declared his love for her, but she’s just caught him in bed with another woman. As always, she’s not the only one with problems – Autumn’s new boyfriend has yet to meet her parents, Nadia’s husband swears he’s given up gambling but she just can’t trust him, and Chantal is hoping to save her marriage, but not in quite the way she’d expected. It’s not surprising that these girls are going to need a lot of chocolate to see them through the challenges that lie ahead…
Kat’s Rating: 5/5
Kat’s Review: In this latest book we meet Lucy who is a single thirty something girl who has just discovered that her fella has done the dirty on her! Her main love in life is chocolate along with Nadia, Chantelle and Autumn. We follow the four girls as they try to make sense of their lives. Will they all get the Happy Ever after that they want?
Carole Matthews has done her followers proud! I was worried that a sequel would lessen my enjoyment of the first book but if anything she has made this book even better. If you haven’t read her books before start with ‘The Chocolate Lovers Club’ and then this one, it’s well worth the read. So much so I read this within a day! The characters are real and you find yourself empathising with all of them for one reason or another. It’s not a book with profound meaning, however it has such a “real” feel to it, you can almost feel yourself sitting next to these characters. I would say if you want a book that is easy to read, thoroughly enjoyable and not too heavy this is the one!