The Real Katie Lavender – Erica James

What to Expect:
Katie Lavender has always thought she was pretty unshockable, until a year after her mother’s death she receives a letter from a solicitor telling her that the man she thought was her father, in fact wasn’t. Her real father, a man named Stirling Nightingale, has for years been building a trust fund for her. And now she’s of an age to collect it.

But Katie’s not interested in the money. She wants to know about the man instead. So decides to do some snooping. She tracks him down to a beautiful riverside home on the night he’s hosting a birthday party for his 90-year-old mother. And as she’s hovering outside, Katie is mistaken for a replacement waitress – an opportunity just too good to miss. And so Katie discovers that the Nightingales are far from your normal family … But what makes a normal family anyway?

I’ve read a fair few of Erica James’ novels, and most of them are more grown up than frothy. This one, however, seems to cross over into younger, frothier chick lit territory while still seeming like a grown up novel. Also impressive is how the author convincingly writes a younger heroine, something that not everyone can pull off.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– At the age of 30 Katie is used to coping with the spanners thrown at her by life; having lost both parents within the last few years she’s found a way to deal with it all in a very self contained manner. This comes in handy when she loses her mediocre job and is dealt shocking news from her solicitor all on the same day: Katie’s Dad was not her biological dad. Feeling a lack of family, Katie looks up bio-daddy and meets her whole extended family- but she doesn’t exactly catch them on a good day.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Katie’s only substitute family is her bestie Tess, her hairdresser and Tess’s brother Zac, and Tess’s boyfriend Ben. Tess strikes a nice balance of being there without interfering unless absolutely necessary. Katie has a bland boyfriend, Ian, who’s making hints about moving in with her at the house she inherited from her mother. Luckily Katie sees that she’s with him for the wrong reasons.

Katie’s new-found family are quite the soap opera, although to be fair we are meeting them as they go through a tragedy unrelated to Katie’s sudden appearance. Her dad Stirling is a self-made man with a wife who enjoys the lifestyle, and 2 grown up (slightly spoilt) children. Katie’s new grandmother Cecily is a formidable lady, but is warm to those she deems worthy. She’s also surprisingly switched on for a lady of her years and doesn’t miss a trick. Additional allies to Katie are her Aunt Pen, who’s not as daffy as she seems, and Pen’s son Lloyd- Katie’s furniture designing cousin.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– All the settings seem to revolve around gardens, it’s quite pleasant and summery.

Evaluation of your eBook?– The main plot concerns the Nightingale family tragedy/scandal and its consequences, and Katie’s acceptance by the various Nightingales, or not as the case may be. Some of them are fiercely opposed to her and will do anything to get her out of the picture. There’s a little romance in there too, albeit ill-timed, leading to a difficult decision. The focus is not just on Katie, it’s shared by some of the Nightingales too, which makes for a nicely balanced story. It’s well paced, gripping, and heartwarming as a lost woman finds her roots.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £1.49.

US: Kobobooks for $8.79, not on Amazon.

Fractured – Dani Atkins

What to Expect:
What would you do if life gave you a second chance?
The night of the accident changed everything… Now, five years on, Rachel’s life is crumbling. She lives alone in a tiny flat, working in a dead-end job, desperate with guilt over her best friend’s death. She would give anything to turn back the clock. But life doesn’t work like that… Does it?
The night of the accident was a lucky escape… Now, five years on, Rachel’s life is perfect. She has a wonderful fiancé, loving family and friends around her, and the career she always wanted. But why can’t Rachel shake the memory of a very different life?
Gripping, romantic and heartbreaking, Fractured is a magical love story that asks: can two different stories lead to the same happy ending?

This is the author’s debut, and a strong one it is too. The beginning is a little confusing as we start to work out what is real and what isn’t, then it settles into a nice mystery with some heartbreak and romance.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Rachel’s main group of friends were all present at the accident that took Jimmy’s life in Rachel’s original history, Jimmy himself was a sweet 18 year old at the time, who clearly had a thing for his old friend. Rachel’s obnoxious boyfriend Matt knew this, and tormented him accordingly. Rachel’s bestie Sarah was adorably understanding, and eventually married a man worthy of her- on the very weekend that Rachel ended up in hospital again. Cathy always had a thing for Matt- how long can he resist her? Finally, Rachel’s Dad is devoted to her- she’s all he has- but he’s cancer-free in this new reality, is it too good to be true?

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Rachel is a very self contained character; she’s gone to ground since Jimmy’s death 5 years ago, driven by guilt and not believing that she deserves a happy life of her own. With her own health in a worrying decline, she forces herself to go to her best friend’s wedding- which is the first reunion of all those present at the previous accident. When Rachel inevitably ends up in hospital, she wakes to a different reality; one which seems like everything she could have wanted. But can she trust that this one is real, not her old miserable life? Rachel is admirably strong, not afraid to face the truth, even when her fiance is acting suspiciously. Her personality, outlook and dialogue has a maturity that’s way older than her 23 years.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– The beauty of this is not knowing if there’s a supernatural side to the story, or a more earthly explanation.

Provoking your Inner-Pedant– No worries, except for one passage near the end in which the spellchecker/proof-reader left a few clangers to keep me entertained.

Evaluation of your eBook?– You’d never know this was a debut; it’s so confidently done, and a brilliant story concept. There are a few hints along the way if you want to guess the ending before you get there, but really it could have gone in other directions so it’s not predictable. The story is beautifully haunting; I had to go back and read the beginning and the end again once I’d finished. The ideas and the characters stayed with me afterwards. Highly recommended and right now it’s a bargain too!

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for only 59p.

US: Not on Amazon, but Kobobooks have it for just $1.45.

Tangled Lives – Hilary Boyd

What to Expect:

Annie Delancey is happily married, in her early 50s, with three grown children. But Annie guards a dark secret. At age 18 she had a baby boy, and gave him up for adoption. She still thinks of him every day. Then, out of the blue, she receives an official-looking letter from Kent Social Services. Her son, Daniel, wants to make contact. On one hand she is overjoyed – she longs to meet him. On the other, she has never told her children that they have another sibling. Tangled Lives follows the effect this revelation has on her family, as, with Daniel as the catalyst, a few small tears in the family fabric suddenly gape wide.

It’s hard to categorise this one, as it’s not of a frothy subject matter, and yet it’s relatively short and readable with plenty of drama. The leading lady is a little like the one in Thursdays In the Park (same author, previously reviewed), possibly with more assertiveness.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Our heroine here is not to be trifled with; she’s a mature woman who knows her mind. Annie owns a very successful high-end cake business and occasionally whips one up herself to keep her hand in. If anything her capability and confidence is what gets her in trouble- for she is convinced Daniel can slot right in with her existing family. When it blows up in her face she has a few wobbles but handles it better than a less experienced woman might have done.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Annie’s support system consists of her GBF Jamie and her old friend Marjory. She and Jamie are solid, they’ve been friends since childhood and he knows where all the bodies are buried, so to speak. Marjory is retired and frail but still as supportive as when she housed Annie and other pregnant teens way back when that was something to hide. These days you might think they’d have their own reality series along the lines of ‘Sixteen and Pregnant’, but Annie’s mother Eleanor would be the last person to sanction such a thing. Eleanor is- let’s face it- a raging snob; she even ran a finishing school, and she’s always had a strained relationship with Annie. Ironically if she’d known all along who the teen baby-Daddy was, she’d have been far less keen to sweep it all beneath the carpet. Charles was Annie’s teen fling, successful, from an approved family, he’s a little different now than he was back in their school days, and a welcome contrast to her husband.

Then at home Annie has husband Richard, who has always known about the baby she gave away before he came along and had never been bothered about it- until now. Their kids are in their twenties and had never known about their older half-brother, this news goes down with very mixed results. The youngest, Lucy, welcomes him with open arms and pushes Annie into bringing him into their home too soon. Marsha is more balanced, but Ed takes it very badly. Ed sees his new big brother as the successful son his father had always lacked. He’s already insecure with a beautiful drama-queen of a girlfriend that he doesn’t really trust, so things are ripe for an explosion.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s a grownup tale with an older heroine, but works for all ages I believe. The younger generation is represented by Annie’s various kids, who have to deal with a very nasty situation after a party, no spoilers, lets just say it was tricky! The plot moves along nicely and the ending isn’t tied up too neatly, which felt right considering all that had happened. Recommended for some good family drama with a satisfying resolution.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £1.09

US: Amazon only in paperback. Kobobooks ebook for $4.99.

Take A Look At Me Now – Miranda Dickinson

What to expect:

What a difference a day makes…
Nell Sullivan has always been known as ‘Miss Five-Year Plan’. But when she finds herself jobless and newly single on the same day, Nell decides it is time to stop planning and start taking chances.
Nell blows her redundancy cheque on a trip of lifetime to a place where anything is possible – San Francisco. There she meets a host of colourful characters, including the intriguing and gorgeous Max. Very soon the city begins to feel like Nell’s second home.
But when it’s time to return to London, will she leave the ‘new Nell’ behind? And can the magic of San Francisco continue to sparkle thousands of miles away?

By the author that brought us the previously reviewed When I Fall In Love, another favourite. I’ve had this on my kindle since last August, no excuses for why it took so long to get to it, but here we go:

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Nell’s in need of a change, she doesn’t love her job, and at thirty-two she still lives in a student-style house share with three people that she doesn’t really call friends. Nell may have gone a little heavy on the Enid Blyton in her youth, she’s frightfully wholesome, appears to have led an extremely sheltered life and the strongest word I heard from her was Heck. Her idea of living dangerously is to randomly pick a page in her guidebook, and she nearly ran in terror from a coffee shop run by a gothic dude. I think she would be played by early 1990’s Meg Ryan in a movie. It takes a lot of guts for Miss Five-Year Plan to spend all her redundancy money on two months in San Francisco- she’s not without spark though, and once she decides to go for her dream she really finds her groove, both in San Francisco life, and her career. She’s also not a prude, luckily, and embarks on an intense holiday romance with the mysterious Max. Ultimately, who could possibly dislike a woman who appreciates Idris Elba?

Kooks for your Kindle?– Nell goes to stay with her cousin Lizzie, who’s similarly wholesome but a little more worldly with a wide selection of friends of all backgrounds. Max is the holiday romance, he’s a sculptor and runs art projects, and has major sparks with Nell. Aidan is her on/off boyfriend back home, understandably off since he fired her, but they have a lot of history. There’s plenty of local colour; Annie the formidable diner owner, bickering oldies Mr and Mrs Alfaro, Lizzie’s lovely colleague Tyler, Ced the aforementioned goth, and many more.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– I already love San Francisco, and I’m lucky enough to have been there three times, but even if you haven’t, you’ll feel like you’ve been after this trip.

Nookie for your Nook?– Wholesome in that department too, would pass the Mother-In-Law test.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s quite a satisfying tale of a likable girl breaking out of her comfort zone, exploring the unknown, and taking a big step towards a new career. The love affair is also with the city itself, with plenty of diversity, although strangely I don’t recall any gay characters- maybe I’m stereotyping San Francisco. I had an inkling of how the conclusion would go, but still enjoyed the journey and the missteps along the way. Good clean fun.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £1.90.

US: Amazon for $1.99

Here’s Looking At You – Mhairi McFarlane

What to expect:
Anna Alessi – history expert, possessor of a lot of hair and an occasionally filthy mouth – seeks nice man for intelligent conversation and Mills & Boon moments.
Despite the oddballs that keep turning up on her dates, Anna couldn’t be happier. As a 30-something with a job she loves, life has turned out better than she dared dream. However, things weren’t always this way, and her years spent as the ‘Italian Galleon’ of an East London comprehensive are ones she’d rather forget.
So when James Fraser – the architect of Anna’s final humiliation at school – walks back into her life, her world is turned upside down. But James seems a changed man. Polite. Mature. Funny, even. People can change, right? So why does Anna feel like she’s a fool to trust him?

This is the author’s second book, following You Had Me At Hello, and although the titles don’t stick in my head, the covers are eye catching. On to the stories, which are marvellous:

Kooks for your Kindle?– Anna has a sweet, occasionally shallow sister, Aggy, who’s planning her own dream wedding with her adorable fiance Chris- unfortunately they don’t see eye to eye on the financial side of the wedding. Anna’s bestie is restaurateur Michelle, who’s big, brash and the kind of woman you want on your side in life. At work at the university Anna has colleague Patrick on her side- but how far would he go to protect her, and why? Finally James is the main man here, some of the book is told from his point of view so we get to know him quite well. He’s going through a divorce from faithless ice queen Eva less than a year after the wedding, he’s sick of his job and is growing apart from his oldest school friend. He’s a different person to the kid he was at school, and doesn’t recognise Anna when they meet again- so he’s baffled by her initial cold front.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Anna is a remarkably well adjusted adult, considering her troubling school days, but in the acceptance years of her thirties, having lost some weight and recovered her complexion, she’s more attractive than she realises. She’s found her niche as a history professor and is enjoying passing on her love of her favourite historical heroine in a museum special exhibition, which was both unusual and interesting. Anna has nothing against meeting men online, despite mostly disastrous results when she meets them in real life, a triumph of optimism over experience. Unfortunately this composed, contented woman begins to unravel when her former school bully appears in her professional life- but having the element of surprise, she has some options.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– I had occasionally wondered what a life in academia would be like and imagined it to be quite peaceful. But then you have to factor in some students I guess!

Nookie for your Nook?– Nothing scandalous, might fail the Mother-in-Law test on language. Best suited to readers from twenties to forties?

Evaluation of your eBook?– There’s a definite P&P vibe up in here; James rescues the silly sister; Anna’s mum is also quite silly while her long suffering Dad favours Anna over her sister; there’s a second man in the picture who’s up to no good and tries it on with both sisters; it’s fun to spot all the little homages. Having read this, I wanted to read it again- so I did a couple of weeks later. Anna’s a lovable character who hasn’t let her childhood traumas ruin her adulthood, she calmly got on with it, lost weight, found her passion and is getting out there on the dating scene, while retaining a delightfully sarcastic view on life. It’s as witty, clever and heartfelt as the author’s last, and I particularly loved the scenes with Anna and her wildly varied family. Get it for a smart, sad, happy, intelligent frothy read.

Frothy Ranking: 5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for only 99p.

US: On Amazon for $8.99, and Kobobooks have it for $7.39.

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 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.

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.