Left Drowning – Jessica Park

What To Expect:

What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe?
Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.

This is our second from Jessica, after Flat Out Love, which was also set in American university life, and a top read. This one also works for an older audience, but some aspects reminded me of YA sensation Twilight, without all the mormon chastity: Chris and his siblings had echoes of the Cullens (Estelle especially, she was a bit Alice) and a lack of real parents; they were rich and aloof from other students; also Chris let his hang-ups get in the way of things with Blythe and at one point devastatingly abandoned her. I imagine no serious author would aspire to Stephenie Meyer comparisons, but those books are a guilty pleasure of mine (despite me wanting to slap the heroine throughout all 4 books), and Left Drowning is a better quality read for an older audience- with a not-at-all-annoying heroine!

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Blythe is a mess; she’s struggled through the previous four years since the accident that took her parents and badly injured her brother, and still feels responsible. Now in her last year of university she meets someone who enables her to face up to her demons. Blythe is surprisingly self aware, she knows she has to get back out there and heal, but is alone and struggling.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Chris has all the makings of the kind of guy a lonely college girl would fall for; charismatic, intense, attractive, understanding, controlling, and he claims to be no good for her. He’s older than his years, but is quite childish in the way he tries to push Blythe away. The second Shepherd brother Sabin is the dramatic one of the family, an aspiring actor who drinks too much and becomes a great friend and ally to Blythe. The youngest siblings: Estelle is friendly, generous, stylish, swears like a sailor but is a devout bible-basher. Her twin brother Eric is quiet and watchful, devoted to his boyfriend Zach. All four of the siblings have sustained different damages- but how? Blythe has a younger brother of her own, James, they’ve lost the ability to relate to each other- but the time has come for some honesty and to revisit their childhood home.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– There’s a feeling of inevitability between Blythe and Chris; they are clearly each other’s lobster. The cool atmosphere of the book is gorgeous, whether at their wintery college town on a lake, or at Blythe’s inherited summer house in Maine.

Nookie for your Nook?– Very steamy. No Twilight comparisons there.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s quite an heartfelt ride and easy to lose yourself in it. I probably would have read it all in one sitting if I hadn’t been so tired when I started it, although it’s a bit lengthy for a single outing. It’s easy to empathise with the characters straight off, and they all go on an epic journey in the couple of years covered. Blythe quickly becomes part of the Shepherd family, changing all of their lives. Although its characters are all in their early twenties it was quite a grownup story and can definitely be recommended for older readers. The themes of loss, guilt, passion, abuse and addiction give it a mature feel. I found the very end a tiny bit cheesy, and must confess to working out the twist- but I vastly enjoyed it nonetheless, it’s a very satisfying rollercoaster of emotions. Jessica is such a great author with amazing descriptive powers and is able to build great suspense with the mysteries gradually playing out.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £1.99, although the price varies, occasionally 99p so click the price for the latest.

US: Amazon for $3.99.

Take Me Home – Daniela Sacerdoti

What to Expect:

Inary Monteith’s life is at a crossroads. After a stolen night with her close friend Alex, she’s just broken his heart by telling him it was all a terrible mistake. Then she has to rush home from London to the Scottish Highlands when her little sister’s illness suddenly worsens – and in returning she must confront the painful memories she has been trying so hard to escape.
Back home, things become more complicated than she could ever have imagined. There’s her sister’s illness, her hostile brother, a smug ex she never wants to see again and her conflicted feelings about Alex in London and a handsome American she meets in Glen Avich. On top of that, she mysteriously loses her voice but regains a strange gift from her childhood – a sixth sense that runs in her family. And when a voice from the past keeps repeating, ‘Take me home’, she discovers a mystery that she knows she must unlock to set herself free.

This is our second review for Daniela, her last book Watch Over Me was lovely, and this one continues in a similar vein with some sadness and some ghostly elements. It’s also set in Glen Avich again and we bump into some old friends, but it’s not a sequel as such, the main characters are new. It’s engrossing and not very long so I devoured it in two evenings.

Kooks for your Kindle?– A really nice collection of supporting characters, family and friends. Lesley is her best mate, originally Caribbean, and the kind of supportive girl you want around when you lose the ability to speak for months and start seeing dead people. Inary’s brother Logan is the only one who knows about her sight, and is alarmed to hear of its return- but he has plenty of issues of his own, mostly stemming from his resentment of Inary for leaving him to take care of their sick little sister alone. Tyler is a friend of Logan, he’s American; while in town for a project he befriends Inary and becomes quite useful in her quest to solve the mystery.

Inary’s ex-fiance Lewis is the guy we all love to hate, smug enough to warrant a good take-down, even if Inary does have to scribble her cutting comments on a notepad for him to read! Finally the lovely Alex is left behind in London to try and accept that Inary doesn’t want him- can he move on and find happiness at last?

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Inary starts off in a bad place and it’s downhill from there. She’s living in London with good friends but a mediocre job, not pursuing her true passion of writing, and she’s avoiding her family problems back in Scotland. When her little sister takes a turn for the worse she has to return- and face the older brother that was left holding down the fort when Inary ran off with a broken heart three years before. This time she’s the one leaving a broken heart- her friend Alex in London, who finally thought they’d found happiness when she spent the night with him.

It takes Inary time to find her feet back home- not least because of her mysterious loss of voice and the return of her ghostly visions. But she finds the strength to face up to everything, even her own ghosts of (living) boyfriends past, and solve the mystery that the spirits present.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– It’s refreshing to return to the peace and fresh air of the small Scottish town on the loch, where the height of modernisation is the new coffee shop. It’s very atmospheric, the misty, spooky scenes on the lake are quite terrifying. The locals are back in force, which prove quite suffocating for the very private Inary, but that’s the nature of this small town, everyone knows your life history.

Evaluation of your eBook?– Couldn’t put it down. You can’t not fall for a tale of a wounded young woman facing further adversity and finding strength, but it’s so lovingly written too. Once again I’m amazed that such an eloquent, elegant story is written by the author in their second language, you’d never know. With all the sadness, heartbreak and tragic ghosts you’d think this would be a depressing tale and not remotely frothy, but instead it’s uplifting, romantic, fast-moving and quite positive. Don’t miss it.

Frothy Ranking: 5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for 69p.

US: Not on Amazon, but only $1.70 on Kobobooks.

Millie and the American Proposal – Annabel Scott

What to Expect:

Millie’s boyfriend James gets offered a job in Singapore, he accepts, thinking that she’ll give up her job and go with him. Only Millie gets offered a work secondment to New York which is too good an opportunity to turn down. When she arrives in the city, she soon discovers that she’s not the only one new in town; her ex-boyfriend, Rob, is back, and he’s separated from his wife. It’s time for Millie to work out what she wants from life. She’s got to decide whether she’s Team James or Team Rob as she gets her very own American Proposal.

This is the follow up to Millie and the American Wedding, and Millie and the American University, and as they were much loved, it’s great to see further transatlantic adventures of our heroine. It’s best if you’ve read the others first, or at least the former, as there’s a lot of backstory.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Millie immediately makes a strong choice by ditching James as soon as he makes the executive decision that her career means nothing, and that they are moving to Singapore where she will hang around while he works long hours. A serendipitous offer then takes her away from her loneliness and back over the pond to the New York branch of her ad agency, where she shows how much she loves her job and could never have given it up for James, who fades into the distance at first.

Kooks for your Kindle?– All Millie’s old mates are back, firstly London party girl Amber, who visits her in New York and manages to have disastrous effects on Millie’s most important client. James and Millie were together for four years, and he seemed to be having trouble balancing career and relationship. His idea of placation was to throw money at the problem, but he obviously still adores her. Millie has a new colleague and flat mate, a rather tense girl by the name of Gillian who brings new depths to the work focused. Kristen and Joel (who got married in the first book) are parents of two now, but still come into the city when they can to meet the others and let their hair down. Tara and Tyler who met at the wedding are expecting a baby, and finally Rob, last seen moving to Colorado with his awful wife Collette, is back in town alone in a bachelor pad. He’s separated from Collette, sees their daughter Vivienne at weekends, and spends the rest of the time trying to get Millie back into his life. He’s changed a bit, he seemed a little weak in previous books but knows what he wants now.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– I’m not convinced Millie knows how lucky she is; two hot, eligible men chasing after her, a few months in the most fun city in the world without having to worry about visas, a ready made group of friends there already, great social life, what more could a girl want? It’s potentially an ideal world for a newly single woman in her late twenties, working and socialising in the city, and living within staggering distance of a good night out.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s shorter than I expected, but still a full length book, and once I started it I had to read the whole thing immediately. I guess when characters are already established you can jump right into the story. The conclusion’s not predictable from the outset, and *spoiler alert*, the proposal in question might not even be one of marriage! There’s plenty at stake; such as how much would you give up for someone, and should they ask it of you? There’s plenty going on and it’s well paced, give it a shot for a warm, fast read full of dilemas, but do yourself a favour and read Millie and the American Wedding first!

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £1.99

US: Amazon for $2.99

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

Looking For La La- Ellie Campbell

What to Expect:
Bored stay at home mother, Cathy, finds her predictable routine upturned as she investigates a lipstick-covered love postcard sent to husband, Declan. Who is this mysterious La La? Could Declan really be having an affair? And – wait – is Cathy actually being stalked?
With all her friends hiding secrets, a sexy admirer igniting long-forgotten sparks, and the stress of organizing the school’s Save The Toilets dance, soon it’s not only Cathy’s marriage that’s in jeopardy. Add in the scheming antics of Declan’s new assistant and a possible murderer on the scene and the stage is set for a dangerous showdown and some very unsettling, even deadly, revelations.

Ellie Campbell is actually a team of two sisters who kindly offered me a review copy, which I had to decline…. because I’d already bought it! It’s akin to recently reviewed Goodness, Grace and Me in general theme- batty housewife investigates possibly cheating husband and uncovers all sorts of neighbourhood shenanigans. Luckily I read a palate cleanser inbetween to avoid confusion.

Kooks for your Kindle?– There’s almost an overabundance of characters here, it’s quite a busy book. Everyone is well characterised though, and everyone’s a possibility in the hunt for La La: Many varied mum friends, some old friends, some random acquaintances. Declan is Cathy’s stressed husband who is mostly on board with Cathy’s scatty nature, but has his impatient moments and he’s oblivious to the manipulations of his assistant at work. Raz is an old mate who enjoys a child-free, career-minded life while temporarily inhabiting Cathy’s loft conversion, while Rupert is her boyfriend who seems to have a creepy fixation on Cathy.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Cathy begins the tale as a rudderless housewife, struggling with domestic chaos even though her kids are at school and she has a weekly cleaning lady. Although her husband Declan first fell for her nuttiness, he’s running out of patience now and is pressuring her to rejoin the paid masses. Despite Cathy’s loopiness, she has her feet on the ground some of the time, has a refreshing outlook on life and can put away an impressive amount of alcohol. She’s kind and good to her friends, bordering on too soft especially where creepy Rupert is concerned. Now that I think of it, she reminds me of an older, domesticated Bridget Jones- I’ll have to read her latest to check.

Evaluation of your eBook?– For such a frothy book it has a cast of thousands, and more red herrings than sea world. If you can guess whodunnit before the end, bravo, I was certainly still guessing. I did like Cathy, even though her insane decision making made me shout at her occasionally. There’s a lovable collection of extras, almost all of whom are suspects at some point, and made for a warm, chaotic, dramatic and funny read.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £2.65, although it was 99p for a while, so click for the latest.

US: Amazon for $3.99.

The Best Thing I Never Had – Erin Lawless

What to Expect:
Five years ago at university they had been seven friends that laughed hard and loved harder.
Nicky and Miles were the couple that were always meant to be… Leigha and Adam, not so much…
So when Adam and Harriet grew close during endless days in the library, they did the one thing that changed everything – they kept a secret. And when it came out, it all fell apart.
When the day comes for bridesmaids to be chosen and best men to fulfil drunken promises, Nicky and Miles’ wedding isn’t just a wedding, it’s a reunion – loaded with past hurts, past regrets, past loves…

The tale begins with present-day wedding plans, before flashing back for more than half the book to the student dramas of 5-7 years prior, then to the wedding weekend reunion itself and its aftermath.

Kooks for your Kindle?– It took a couple of chapters to get to know the 4 main girls, but they emerge as very distinct characters. Harriet is self contained with a quiet confidence, the opposite of flashy, gorgeous, insecure Leigha. Sukie mainly observed the comings and goings with sardonic comments, trying unsuccessfully to stay out of it. Nicky was caught up in an intense relationship with older guy Miles, and losing herself in the process. The guys were another mixed bunch, Miles was grown up and focused on his future, Johnny was less mature and obsessed with Leigha, finally Adam was the guy Leigha wanted, but he only had eyes for Harriet. Not really a love triangle, or even a square, more of a map of the underground.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– The girls here are young, even in the present day parts they are around 26, but quite mature with it, except maybe for Leigha. Her insecurities were the main catalyst for all the secrecy and betrayal. There’s a fabulous scene at the wedding where it’s all addressed.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– If you went to university in the last 30 years it was probably a lot like this; housemates; house parties; day time telly; cheap booze; student union bar; romantic and friendship dramas. It brings it all back, along with the feeling when you all get together again in adulthood with the bonds remaining.

Evaluation of your eBook?– This is such a strong, assured novel, it’s hard to believe it’s the author’s debut. The characters are all believable, not always likable, but always easy to empathise with. The tone is quite serious, not so frothy, and could be appreciated by people much older than the main characters. The fast pace is maintained throughout, various little mysteries keep the reader in suspense until nearer the end. Speaking of which- its not tied up too neatly, but there is a satisfying sense of fairness and closure with everybody’s individual outcomes.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for 99p.

US: Amazon for $2.99 or Kobobooks for $6.39.

Goodness, Grace and Me- Julie Houston

What to expect:
When Harriet’s husband, Nick, throws in his safe, but boring job in order to set up a new business during the current recession, Harriet is distraught. More so when she realises Amanda, her and best friend Grace’s old enemy from school is back in their lives. Amanda, it turns out, is Nick’s new boss’s wife and, because of her legal and language skills, will be accompanying Nick on his business trips to Italy. How will Nick not succumb to the ruthless charms of the utterly gorgeous Amanda once he’s away from Yorkshire and in glamorous Milan? Knowing Nick is being seduced is bad enough, but when Grace falls madly in love with Sebastian, Amanda’s precious, much younger son, it can only mean trouble ahead. Determined to fight for her man, Harriet’s seduction techniques go into overdrive. Unfortunately she is hampered in her attempts by two bolshy teenagers, an increasingly eccentric mother and a job teaching horrible children. Not to mention something very strange going on at the bottom of her garden! Can Harriet save her marriage, and also her friendship with Grace? And what will happen if Nick’s new venture fails, especially now that the one thing Harriet has not even considered in all this mess appears to be staring her right in the face…?

It might just be me, but the title and the cover immediately made me think it was fiction of an upstanding Christian nature and nearly ran a mile, but don’t fear, it’s quite the opposite. Many thanks to the author for the review copy.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Harriet’s husband Nick is yummy enough to keep things happening in the bedroom even 15 years or so (and 3 kids) into their relationship, and he clearly cares for her more than she realises. The eponymous Grace is Harriet’s bestie from school days, partner in crime and still her closest mate. She’s undergoing her own crises which, by coincidence and the nature of a small town, become entangled with Harriet’s. ‘Goodness’ is the old school days nickname the girls had for Amanda Goodners, former head girl, current wife of Nick’s business partner and translator for Nick on his business trips to Italy, much to Harriet’s horror. Throw in the dramas of Harriet’s parents, sister, kids and job, it’s quite a busy tale.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– An awful lot goes wrong for Harriet in the course of this book and for the most part she handles it with a sense of humour, strength and some wine. Which beats whining. She’s never spent any significant amount of time living on her own, pre-family, and just wants a little room to call her own to sit down for a read, but never really gets the chance. I’m not sure I’d handle it all so well, but then control freaks like me don’t thrive as well on chaos.

Evaluation of your eBook?– I wasn’t sure in the first couple of chapters, but once it gets into its stride it’s quite a ride. Harriet is a resourceful heroine, keeping things together with no sleep, money, husband or hours in the day. The ending was not predictable, which I always appreciate, fortunately all is not as it initially seems -this goes for most of the problems faced by Harriet- and the surprises make for a good ending. It’s quite over the top in the sheer scale of the calamities than happen to everyone concerned, and really quite funny, but with some real heartache and serious family issues at stake too.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £1.99

US: Amazon for $2.99.

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.

After Wimbledon – Jennifer Gilby Roberts

What to expect:

After 12 years on the pro. tennis tour and four years with her sort-of boyfriend, Lucy Bennett has had enough. She wants real life… and real love.

Her life, her decision. Right? Well, no one else seems to think so. With opinions on all sides, Lucy’s head is spinning. And she’s stumbling right into the arms of long-term crush and fellow player Sam. Shame her boyfriend – his arch-rival – would sooner smash a racquet over their heads than agree to a simple change of partners.

As the Wimbledon Championships play out, Lucy fights for her life on and off the courts. The question is: what will she be left with after Wimbledon?

The author kindly gave me a copy to review, I had a feeling I might like it being something of a tennis nut myself. In an ideal world I would take those 2 weeks off every year and sit in front of my telly with an endless supply of Pimms… It’s by the author of The Dr Pepper Prophecies, just as readable but in a different way.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Lucy’s not your average frothy heroine, she certainly doesn’t obsess about the size of her bum and is extremely fit- as you might expect of someone with one grand slam title under her belt. Unfortunately she knows that a win at this stage of her career is against the odds- especially as she’s not even sure she wants this life any more. Lucy knows what she wants, and that’s the normal world away from the travelling circus of the tennis tour. Of course this being a frothy read Lucy isn’t quite so clear cut with her love life, and she faces many complications over the two weeks of Wimbledon.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Lucy’s American boyfriend Joe is the men’s number one ranked player- but doesn’t rank so highly on her own list any more. He’s spectacularly obnoxious and became Lucy’s boyfriend by accident after they slept together a few years previously and forgot to stop. The couple become the talk of the tournament as Lucy becomes friends with Joe’s biggest rival Sam, once Sam defects from the New Zealand team and becomes the Great British Hope (in a world without Andy!). In this age of paparazzi and the internet there are no such things as private lives for those even a little bit famous.

Lucy’s parents are having their own dramas, thanks mostly to her mother finally facing up to her resentment of giving up her own career once she became pregnant with Lucy years earlier. They run a tennis academy together but probably could have used the occasional break from the sport. Rounding up the crowd are Lucy’s extended family, most of whom work for the academy, and her former-player girlfriends.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– For someone like myself who’s into tennis, chick lit and celebrity gossip this one really was a great eye opener and brings the reader right to Wimbledon.

Nookie for your Nook?– Lucy has none of your usual hang ups about bodies or sex, as you might expect from someone in the sporting world.

Evaluation of your eBook?– I was a little impatient for Joe to be given the boot, for he had no redeeming features, unfortunately it would have been rather heartless timing for Lucy to have done it at the start of such a big fortnight. The story was well paced, keeping the drama going over the two week period, with tennis, men, family and friend dramas all sending Lucy’s stress levels over the edge. There are a few parts where there’s quite a bit of game detail, but it’s not too much and if you’re not really interested in that it doesn’t take away from the story- in the end the tennis results paled in significance with the rest of the mad goings on. Recommended for a gossipy, sporty, chaotic, quick, romantic read.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for only 99p.

US: Amazon for only 99c. Not found on Kobobooks.

The Last Telegram – Liz Trenow

What to expect:

The war changed everything for Lily Verner.

As the Nazis storm Europe, Lily becomes an apprentice at her family’s silk weaving factory. When they start to weave parachute silk there is no margin for error: one tiny fault could result in certain death for Allied soldiers.

The war also brings Stefan to Lily: a German Jewish refugee who works on the looms. As their love grows, there are suspicions someone is tampering with the silk.

Can their love survive the hardships of war? And will the Verner’s silk stand the ultimate test?

I am partial to a bit of historical fiction, such a painless way of learning. World War 2 is one of my favourite eras to investigate too, so this did the job. While I never expected to find silk production interesting, the author makes it so, especially as the material becomes of life-saving importance.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Lily begins the book as a very young woman whose only concern is losing out on her trip to Austria, but as the war takes hold she becomes more involved in the family silk business and is surprised to develop a love for it. People grow up fast in these circumstances, and Lily is no exception, handling the responsibility well. She finds the strength to cope with all the tragedies thrown at her over the next few years. I was glad she didn’t spend too much time with the wrong man, and the flashback structure kept her husband’s identity hidden until the end.

Kooks for your Kindle?– A great selection of original characters here, such as Lily’s adventurous granddaughter, keen to learn of her grandmother’s adventures before it’s too late. Robbie, Lily’s suitor and customer of the family business is just the type to prey on an innocent young woman. Gwen helps run the factory and is a woman ahead of her time, letting Lily in on her scandalous secrets as they become loyal friends. Stefan is one of the Jewish refugees that the Verners employ and house; despite their different backgrounds he becomes very important to Lily but his safety isn’t assured even away from his home country.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– From gin and tonics in the English countryside to the horrors of the blitz in London, it’s all here.

Evaluation of your eBook?– This is one of those books that sticks with you for a while even once it’s ended. It’s good for readers of all ages and is surprisingly gripping; as the introduction begins with Lily in old age there’s quite a hook to keep you guessing what happened in the meantime. If you prefer your fiction on the extremely frothy side then you might find this a bit staid, but give it a chance for a well written, researched and heartfelt read, with tragedy, romance, some wartime hardship and happy endings for some.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £2.48.

US: Amazon for $11.97 or Kobobooks for $7.39.