Meet Me Under the Mistletoe – Abby Clements

What to expect:

Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel’s lives have taken very different paths since they picked up their A-level results together. Laurie is living in London and dedicated to her career, keeping track of her friends on Facebook. Rachel is seemingly living the family idyll in a cottage in Yorkshire – except she worries her marriage is starting to show cracks. When Rachel’s mother in law falls ill and needs treatment in London, and Laurie decides she needs to get away for a break, a house swap falls into place. Soon Rachel is braving the mean streets of London while trying to keep her family together, while Laurie tries to figure out how to work an Aga and befriend the locals – and forget the man who seems intent on breaking her heart. Will their relationships survive this test? And will they make it home in time for Christmas?

This will be our only Christmassy book review this year on account of it being a busy Christmas! It all got a bit out of hand this year, no idea where the time’s gone, so let’s go out on a festive note with this one. Ever seen the Kate Winslett / Cameron Diaz movie “Holiday”? This has similarities in that it’s Christmas and the two women swap houses, alternating between their two story lines, but that’s as far as it goes.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– The two leading ladies are somewhat familiar, Rachel is a soft, kindhearted, curvy, stay at home Mum, while Laurie is a prickly, tightly wound, skinny career woman. Rachel has an unusually good relationship with her Mother in law, and it’s their closeness that brings the whole family down to London for her medical treatment. Rachel is a little too self-sacrificing, never thinking of herself to the point of not even considering the offer of a part time job that she might enjoy. Laurie has a little more life in her, but she’s so mortified by both a massive mistake at work and embarrassing herself in a relationship that she runs away to hide in darkest Yorkshire.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Rachel’s husband Aiden is a solid chap, very much the old-fashioned breadwinner type, but struggling with his business, financial worries and concerns about his mother’s health. Bea is the mother in question, a nice old girl who gets on very well with Rachel and has the good sense to go to the doc when something’s not right. Rachel and Aiden have two kids, teenaged Milly and six year old Zak, the latter is sweet and entertaining, but Milly is discovering boys, which causes more sinister than expected problems. Laurie’s friends and neighbours are an altogether more colourful bunch, coming from the multicultural area of Brixton, my favourite being Lily, formerly of Trinidad, who is the matriarch of Laurie’s apartment building.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– Two different worlds are nicely represented here, the small world of a Yorkshire village with its charms and the noisy, vibrant, wider world of London. The author even made Brixton appeal to an anti-Londoner such as myself and it made a nice change.

Evaluation of your eBook?– The dialogue rang a little artificial at first, but the style smoothed out once it got going. Overall it was well paced but the misunderstanding at the end was a little predictable. Milly’s storyline was quite frightening, and I didn’t guess the twist that came at the end for her. The characters were nothing new to frothy regulars, Rachel and Laurie in particular have been done before, but they were easy to empathise with. It’s only peripherally a Christmas book, for the story could work well anytime, but it has a few festive moments. Give it a whirl, it’ll put you in the mood and it’s a bargain at the moment.

Frothy Ranking: 3.5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for only 56p.

US: Not on US Amazon, but on Kobobooks for $4.19.

West End Girls – Jenny Colgan

What to expect:

The streets of London are the perfect place to discover your dreams . . .

They may be twin sisters, but Lizzie and Penny Berry are complete opposites – Penny is blonde, thin and outrageous; Lizzie is quiet, thoughtful and, well, definitely not thin. But they both share a desperate desire to DO something with their lives.

When, out of the blue, they learn they have a grandmother living in Chelsea, who asks them to flat-sit her King’s Road pad while she is in hospital, the girls’ ambitions finally seem to be falling into place. But, as they soon discover, it’s not easy to become an It Girl, and west end boys aren’t at all like Hugh Grant . . .

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– While the tale is about both twins, the main focus is on Lizzie, who likes to go with the flow, stay in the background and not be noticed. Even her mother wants her to get out there and have a life. Lizzie is a little reticent, thankfully being thrust into a new life brings out some of her attitude and self respect. Penny takes to it like a duck to water with her usual enthusiasm but when a few spanners get thrown into the works she falters. Both girls are well rounded characters who are easy to love despite their faults.

Kooks for your Kindle?– I loved all the additional characters, from their mother with her secret ambitions for herself and her daughters, to Lizzie’s new boss, the plump Portuguese gastronome Georges. Georges’ horror at Lizzie’s convenient eating habits and his understanding of her family dramas was quite endearing. We also have their new neighbours, a pair of posh girls named Minty and Brooke who don’t realise that Penny and Lizzie aren’t quite in their social class. Penny’s boss at an art gallery is a man called Sloan whose greatest talent is boozy lunching. The girls’ astute grandmother is in a nearby home with intermittent fuzzy days, the way she immediately understood her long estranged granddaughter Lizzie was very sweet.

Evaluation of your eBook?– The standouts for me here were the characters, lovable and original; and the way the writing seemed to effortlessly flow. The twins go from Essex girls in their Mum’s council house, to Chelsea imports exploring a new world and learning life lessons. It’s a fun modern read with some surprises and some not-so surprises in the romance department. Watch out for special offers on price.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £3.66, although it was recently on special for 99p, click the price for the latest.

US: Not on Amazon, but $8.79 on kobobooks.

The Castaways – Elin Hilderbrand

What to expect:

They hadn’t known, then, what was coming. They didn’t know about September 11th, they didn’t know about miscarriages and love affairs, they didn’t know about a girl named April Peck. They didn’t know they were going to die. Back then, they had been happy.’ From the outside, the close-knit circle of friends calling themselves ‘the Castaways’ share an idyllic lifestyle on the charming island of Nantucket, blessed with money, children, beauty and love. But when Tess and Greg are killed in a tragic boating accident, orphaning their seven-year-old twins, it sends devastating shockwaves through the rest of the group. As the friends grieve, the truth behind their relationships gradually begins to emerge in a chain of staggering revelations. And for the first time they are forced to ask the hardest of questions. Can you live without the person who made you whole? And how do you mourn for a secret lover and a relationship nobody knew existed? An utterly absorbing novel exploring the tangle of secrets and lies that can lurk beneath even the closest of relationships …

Full disclosure: This is NOT a frothy read- but if you fancy something different, it’s gripping, and it’s a bargain (at current prices anyway). So, on with a mini-review.

The format works well, beginning with the accident, then offering chapters from the perspective of the other 6 castaways, in rotation. In this manner the story is gradually spilled with evenly paced revelations along the way. Events leading up to the accidents intermingle with the aftermath; cause and effect changing all the characters. The leads vary in age through their thirties and forties and greatly differ in personalities too, from the staid police chief to the young, kindly Tess. As we go along secrets are revealed- love triangles, temptation, loss, drug use, mental health, how can they get past all this and still be the group they used to be?

The threads intertwine beautifully and reveal more about the accident and more about who they all really are. It’s not hard to care about the characters, regardless of what they’ve done. It’s so well crafted and readable you’ll devour it in no time- although it’s longer than your average frothy read so something to get your teeth into. Lastly, the book also serves as an ode to Nantucket, which sounds like a lovely picturesque island.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for 99p.

US: Amazon for $6.15, or $7.99 on kobobooks.

The Love Of Her Life – Harriet Evans

What to expect:

Kate Miller re-made herself from a geeky teenager into the image of modern woman, with a career in glossy magazines, a wedding to plan and a flatmate who was her best friend. Then it all fell apart – spectacularly, painfully and forever.
Ever since, she’s hidden in New York, working as a dogsbody for a literary agency. But when her father becomes ill, she has to return to London and face everything she left behind.
She spends time with her upstairs neighbour, Mr Allan, an elderly widower, taking long walks along London’s canals and through leafy streets. And she visits her adored but demanding father. But eventually she has to face her friends – Zoe, Francesca and Mac – the friends who are bound together with her forever, as a result of one day when life changed for all of them.
Mac is the man she thought was the love of her life. Now they don’t speak. Can Kate pick up the pieces and allow herself to love her life again?

Kooks for your Kindle?– All the characters mean business- no kooky light relief here, although Kate’s mum is a delight, living a bohemian sociable life in New York with her musical second husband. Neighbour and recent widower Mr Allen has some interesting friends from his former career as a musician- just as Kate’s Dad and step father still are. She has a daddy-type. Kate’s girlfriends are all tough women who know who they are and Zoe’s story is particularly compelling.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– We don’t know why Kate is so despondent and pessimistic until a good way through the book, so it’s hard to empathise for a while. She’s hiding from life, and once we eventually find out why, it’s understandable, but the self-sacrificing is hard to take. I suspect the title refers to Kate learning to love her life again, not a man, but it is also time for Kate to feel like she deserves love again.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– There’s very much a transatlantic theme here, with Kate’s Texan ex and her stepfather both being American, as well as Kate and her close friend both going to work in New York City.

Evaluation of your eBook?– This was an uneven read, the slow start generated more questions than answers. It got gripping in the middle with some good reveals, but the ending felt a little rushed. The problem with keeping up the suspense and mystery for so long is that it makes Kate harder to like- she seems ungrateful and cold. Of course this isn’t the whole story, so if you can hang in there it’s worth it in the long run.

Frothy Ranking: 3/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £5.29, although I recently got it for £1.99 so click the price for the latest.

US: Amazon for $10.38 or $8.29 on kobobooks.

Faking It – Elisa Lorello

What to expect:
After breaking off her engagement, thirty-something writing professor Andi Cutrone abandons New England for her native Long Island to focus on her career and start over. When she meets Devin at a cocktail party, the sight of an honest-to-goodness male escort shocks her—and fascinates her more than a little. Months later, Andi impulsively calls Devin. Over cheesecake in Brooklyn, she offers him a proposition: he will teach her how to be a better lover, and in return, she will give him writing lessons. He agrees, and together they embark upon an intense partnership that proves to be as instructive as it is arousing. For in the midst of lessons in rhetorical theory and foreplay, Andi and Devin delve into deeper questions about truth, beauty, and self, gradually coming face-to-face with the issues at the core of their emotional limitations. Smart, witty, and introspective, Faking It is an engrossing novel about two people discovering their authentic selves.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Andi has problems with intimacy but doesn’t understand their cause and how to overcome them. Fortunately she gets up the nerve to enlist the expertise of a male escort in a barter arrangement. Andi has (well justified) professional confidence; she is a very talented writing professor well on the way to academic acclaim. Her personal life contrasts this with body image issues, a difficult relationship with her mother and a sense of not belonging in either of the areas in which she’s lived. Fortunately Devin proves just the catalyst she needs to find personal freedom. Andi’s self aware enough to know that she’s going to break the rules and fall for Devin- but things don’t turn out quite as expected.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Devin is not your average frothy male, his hidden depths cause Andi to question his choice of occupation- but as with Andi, his own hang ups are holding him back. Andi’s best mate Maggie shares her love of writing, she employed her and they each push each other to improvement. Maggie’s pleasantly non-judgmental. Various other smaller characters are well thought out and varied, especially the men in Andi’s life.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– The setting isn’t really the focus here, the standout feature is the teaching of writing (the author passes on her own love and expertise), and the breaking down of Andi’s hang ups. I did tune out some of the more involved discussions on rhetoric and composition- i think you’d need to be educated to a higher level on the subject than I am to understand them! But that doesn’t detract from an absorbing read for all.

Nookie for your Nook?– Surprisingly chaste considering the subject matter. While it’s quite steamy, a discreet veil is drawn at delicate moments.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s a strange mixture of frothily readable and stylishly intelligent. I loved the unpredictability of it, especially the ending. The description above is not quite accurate, it felt more like Andi enlisted Devin to break down her psychological barriers, rather than becoming a better lover. You might imagine that a story involving the inexperienced Andi entering into a contractual relationship might head into Fifty Shades territory, but it’s way smarter, less sleazy and the heroine doesn’t make you want to stab her in the eye. Andi is the kind of leading lady I appreciate; she has guts, confidence and enough self respect to be her own woman. It’s a fun, witty, clever, sexy and original story with surprises along the way.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £3.49, although I recently got it on special for 99p.

US: Amazon for $2.99.

Christmas Carol – Michele Gorman

What to expect:
One winter wedding, two happy couples, three ex-boyfriends. And a very uncomfortable weekend.

Carol hates Christmas. Being recently dumped, she’s not crazy about weddings either. So her sister Marley’s nuptials, over the Christmas weekend, are making her positively Scrooge-like. When she arrives for the weekend at the stately home in rural Scotland to find her three ex-boyfriends in attendance, Carol has no choice but to face her ghosts to discover what really happened in those relationships, learning a lot about herself in the process. As the snow falls outside and the fire crackles in the hearth, might one of the wedding guests become the harbinger of Christmases to come?

Just a mini-review for this one, as it’s a small novella. It feels a little early to be featuring christmas books, but this has far more of a wedding theme than Christmas. Written by the talented author of Bella Summer Takes a Chance, it tells the short tale of Carol attending her sister’s big fat Christmassy wedding in a Scottish blizzard, while facing her 3 ghosts of boyfriends past. A surprising amount of backstory and lead character development are squeezed into this brief read, with some interesting smaller characters and a delightful granny. Carol is somewhat scrooge-like in her work obsessiveness and her neglect of her family, but remote Scotland in bad weather has its own way of dealing with Blackberry addiction. It’s a shame the book was so short- it felt like it had the legs to be developed into a full size frothy read. Worth a peek to get you in the mood for a romantic festive season.

UK: Amazon for £1.99.

US: Amazon for $2.99.

The One Before The One – Katy Regan

What to expect:
Caroline’s life was meant to be sorted when she made the decision to end her engagement, 3 months before the big day. With her to-do list tasks getting crossed off and her career going great guns, Caroline is sure she’s now a fully functioning adult. So when her 17 year old half-sister Lexi, arrives unexpectedly at her door, it doesn’t quite fit with her image that she’s drunk and wearing her wedding dress!

Lexi has come to stay for the summer but their relationship is strained, as Lexi is the result of their father’s infidelity. An affair that led to the divorce that destroyed Caroline’s mother and ruined her own childhood. Needless to say, Caroline is in no hurry to confess her relationship with her married lover Toby.

As the summer wears on, Caroline has decisions to make, and a life to reconsider, but surely a 17 year old can’t teach her anything about how to live well?

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Caroline is surprisingly easy to like, despite her occasionally inconsiderate behaviour and stunningly bad decision making; some of these decisions include an affair with a married man, lying to her family about her breakup with Martin, and stringing Martin along for purely selfish reasons. Caroline is an intelligent, professional, lively, attractive, thirty-something who falls into a messy spiral when her mistakes catch up with her. I often struggle with books like this where the heroine brings it all on herself, but in the second half of the book she really begins to redeem herself, thanks to her straight-talking younger sister.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Some of Caroline’s issues stem from her childhood, her father left her mother and started a second family, producing her younger sister Lexi when Caroline was 15 and feeling abandoned. Caroline’s bitter mother still bears quite a grudge years later, while her father and his second wife are born-again hippies. Martin is an old man waiting to happen, and it’s not hard for everyone except Caroline to see how he still pines for her. Toby is the married man, he puts on such a show of normality I think there might be a touch of the sociopath there. His poor wife Rachel was lovely, and really well done. Finally Lexi, I adored. A girl with no appropriateness-filter when she talks, open and honest, she makes friends easily. Of course this also means she’s a target for those taking advantage, but she’s such a ray of sunshine she bounces back and is an inspiration.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– I’m not a fan of London, but books like this make it seem really nice in the summer, and the houseboat featured reminded me of The Pollyanna Plan, as did a few other aspects. If you enjoyed that you’ll probably like this too.

Nookie for your Nook?– Quite spicy, would fail the Mother-In-Law test.

Evaluation of your eBook?– Caroline’s character was a little mixed, she’s an uptight, control-freaky list-maker who claims to be the last person that would sleep with a married man, but she comes across as quite scatty and uninhibited. It’s a quintessential frothy read, girl meets boy, girl makes mistakes, things eventually get fixed in the end and she’s a better person for it. The younger sister as life-teacher theme has popped up a few times lately but this doesn’t feel unoriginal, the characters are distinctive enough to make this their own story.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £5.29, although sometimes on special for less.

US: Not on Amazon, Kobobooks have it for $8.39.

Me and You – Claudia Carroll

What to expect:
Heartbreaking and uplifting, Me and You is a story about how hard it is to leave our old selves behind, the tough choices we sometimes have to make and how love and friendship can heal the most damaged of hearts.
“I’m fine. I’m sorry. Please take care of him for me. And maybe one day I’ll get to explain.”
Angie knows a lot about her best friend Kitty. She knows Kitty is mad and wild and loves to wear clashing colours. She knows she’s incredibly funny and generous but also very unreliable. And she knows that there is a perfect explanation for Kitty standing her up on her birthday. She thinks she knows everything about Kitty, except she doesn’t.
Kitty knows that she is the happiest she has ever been. She knows she’s so lucky to have a lovely boyfriend, Simon and a best friend like Angie. But what she doesn’t know is that on this night, her past is finally going to catch up with her and change everything.

The tale is told mostly from Angie’s perspective, with some reveals from Kitty. The subject matter is quite dark, but it’s told in a frothy style. Claudia Carroll is the same author who brought us another favourite Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Both leads are a bit of a mess, although they appear outwardly strong and like to think of themselves as ‘gobby’, but when it comes down to it, both ended up going under. Angie’s less outgoing and self-confident, whereas Kitty’s overcome the abandonment suffered in childhood. I’ll keep Kitty’s history a mystery in order to avoid spoilers, but it’s a frightening one. Angie has less self-confidence, she doesn’t stand up to her overbearing family and she’s terrible with men but when her best mate is in trouble she pulls out all the stops to search for answers. In a way I think this gives her the boost to sort her own life out.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Lots of lovely smaller characters, right down to the granny next door who ends up cooking for Angie and Simon in their darkest days. Mrs K (Kitty’s former foster mother) has Alzheimers now, but knew just how to sort her out when Kitty joined her as a teen. The antagonist is, let’s just say, scary. Everyone right down to the police and former colleagues are thoroughly brought to life.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– Set mostly in Dublin, the book has a hugely Irish feel to it. Told from Angie’s point of view for the most part, the colloquialisms bring it to life without reaching the point where subtitles are required- I’d never heard the term ‘holliers’ before, but in context all the words can be deciphered!

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s longer than expected- at one stage I thought I’d reached the end as things were wrapping up, only to notice I was 50% through! But I’m glad it didn’t end there, as you will be. The beginning section- where Kitty goes missing and her friends are trying to find what’s happened to her- goes on a little too long while they don’t know whether she’s even alive, which is not a mystery for the reader as the blurb gives that much away. The narrative style is akin to a diary or a letter from a very old friend, for the most part at least, leading to a frothy feel. Without giving anything away, the themes explored at the end are really well done and give such an insight as to how such a terrible situation can happen to anyone. As for Angie’s story, her life takes a rewarding turn as she discovers her own potential. Recommended for a gripping read with added depth.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for 99p if it’s on special, click for the latest.

US: I can’t find it on any American sites yet, let me know and I’ll update.

Secrets of The Lighthouse- Santa Montefiore

What to expect:
“Ellen Trawton is running away from it all – quite literally. She is due to get married to a man she doesn’t love, her job is dragging her down and her interfering mother is getting on her nerves. So she escapes to the one place she know her mother won’t follow her – to her aunt’s house in rural Ireland. Once there, she uncovers a dark family secret – and a future she never knew she might have.
Meanwhile, Caitlin Macausland is mourning the future she can never have. She died tragically in what the village thinks is suspicious circumstances, and now she is stuck in a limbo, unable to move on.
And between the two of them is an old lighthouse – the scene of so much tragedy. Can each woman find the peace she so desperately longs for? And can they find the way to live again?”

What starts off as a sad tale of a Caitlin watching her own funeral and Ellen escaping her own privileged yet empty life, becomes an uplifting tale.

Kooks for your Kindle?– I’ve tagged this under ‘Irish froth’, because although the author herself isn’t Irish, the book is mostly set there and is full of very Irish characters and warmth. Aunt Peg is the main relative, she’s kind and accommodating but doesn’t permit Ellen to remain in denial for too long. She’s also hiding a secret that makes it all the more poignant when she welcomes her sister’s daughter. Ellen’s mother Madeline has become thoroughly English but also horribly snobbish since marrying into the upper classes, she only wants the best for Ellen. So who is Dylan, and why did Madeline leave him behind all those years ago? Ellen is amazed to discover that her Mum also has lots of brothers, although they all blend into one with the exception of overbearing Desmond.

Conor links the two leading ladies, he’s Caitlin’s widower and five years later he becomes Ellen’s great love. He seems like bad news at first, and I thought he would be overly controlling, but thankfully he’s a good egg. However the locals all still view him with suspicion following his wife’s accidental death.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Caitlin is the ghost, still jealous by nature and desperate for her husband’s love after all this time. Her journey is the most interesting, she takes a while to catch on, despite another most enlightened ghostly presence nearby. Ellen seems younger than her thirty-something years, and is a little spoiled, but a bit of Irish pragmatism soon beats some of it out of her. Her decision to run off without telling anyone in order to find herself seems a little childish, but it’s exactly what she needs, even if things don’t turn out remotely as she’d expected.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– As you might imagine, rural Ireland is lovingly portrayed, with windswept beaches, farmhouses, beautiful castles and a rundown lighthouse. The people are equally well illustrated, the bigger characters having some interesting twists and turns. Back in the UK, we don’t get to know Ellen’s sisters well, they were in background reminding me of the ugly stepsisters in Cinderella. Her mother’s interesting tale is the focus there.

Evaluation of your eBook?– I wasn’t sure at the start of the book, with the first ghostly chapter, but once the real world is established, there are enough mysteries to grab the reader. Unfortunately one of them is blatantly obvious to everyone except Ellen many chapters before the reveal, but there is still reason to stick around. It’s a nice atmospheric misty story with plenty of wise adages thrown around by the older folk mixed in with the modern younger generations. The supernatural element won’t be a surprise to regular readers of the author, I seem to remember a ghost in the last one of hers that I read (to say which would be to spoil that one), but Caitlin’s limbo-like existence is explored in an interesting way here. Few shocks, but a gentle ethereal tale for all ages.

Frothy Ranking: 3.5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £4.75, although recently it was on 99p special so click for the latest.

US: Not on Amazon, but Kobobooks have it for $12.39.

Facebook Jeanie – Addison Westlake

What to expect:
“Ever wonder if you made the right choice? What if you could go back and find out?

31-year-old Clara is in a steady relationship—with Facebook. Every night after her depressing bureaucratic job (so much for saving the world), Clara comes home to her empty apartment (yes, she was dumped) and settles down with a pint of ice cream for some good, old-fashioned Facebook stalking. It’s her college boyfriend, The One Who Got Away. With the bod of a God and a net worth of umpteen bamillion, he now has the perfect life—everything she could have had if she hadn’t been so, so stupid.

But, wait. Jeanie from Facebook shows up at Clara’s job. There’s a new app they’re beta-testing and Clara’s perfect for it. That night she clicks on it and… nothing happens. But the next morning when Clara wakes up at noon, hung over, listening to her roommate blow-drying her hair and singing “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”, she realizes she’s back in college. With the chance to do it all over again.

Back in the world of frat parties, BFFs, and long-suffering, overlooked lab partners, join Clara as she discovers what it really means to hit the reset button on life. What could possibly go wrong? And, this time, can she get it right?”

I wasn’t sure whether I’d like this, what with the two main themes being Facebook and a hint of Groundhog Day (a movie I can’t like, despite the legendary Bill Murray). However the Facebook element is minimal, just a dash of your regular ex-boyfriend stalking and a mysterious time-resetting app. The time travel aspect doesn’t have the annoying repetitiveness of Groundhog Day, so fine by me!

Kooks for your Kindle?– Brad is the one who got away, happily married to the woman who was waiting in the wings in college and he’s earning a fortune as an investment banker. His polar opposite is Alek, formerly a foreign student from the Czech Republic in the flashbacks, and a seemingly humourless physics nerd with an attitude and well hidden charms. Jeanie is the woman who makes the craziness happen, and pops up like a pink-clad version of Mr Benn (pardon the obscure British reference).

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Clara has hit rock bottom and is a walking disaster having been ditched by her boyfriend, stuck in a dead-end job and overdosing both herself and her laptop on wine. Her misguided attempt to fix her situation involves accepting Jeanie’s offer and having a do-over; thus not breaking up with Brad and inserting herself into his happy-ever-after- which turns out to be a little different to his life with his original wife. Unfortunately she’s blind to the obvious and it takes a second re-set before she sees the answer to her problems and gains a refreshing perspective on life, redeeming her, somewhat. Clara’s not totally self-centred, even in her student days her passion was to help younger kids less fortunate than herself.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– The author certainly brings the past and the alternate timelines to life, with Clara’s pampered superficial life with Brad contrasting nicely to their second choice as hippies in San Francisco. The latter of those was particularly vivid and enough to scare anyone away from redwood trees.

Evaluation of your eBook?– I was pleasantly surprised, even though the romantic choices were foreseeable and the ending was very cheesy (especially the superfluous epilogue). The likable main characters and snappy narrative help, it’s fast paced and witty throughout. Both alternate futures were amusingly over-the-top, right down to Clara’s physical changes. I loved Jeanie’s explanation of how the system chooses sad candidates, the final straw being changing one’s profile photo to a cat (although I have to point out that the cat’s name, Jedi, is a type of person not the name of a character in Star Wars **nerd alert**). If you like funny, warm, frothy tales you’ll enjoy Clara’s transition from recently dumped, regrouping basket-case to….. someone a lot more together!
Many thanks to the author for the review copy.

Frothy Ranking: 3.5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £1.93.

US: Amazon for $2.99.