It’s been a while since I’ve popped up a book review and that is honestly because I haven’t been reading as much lately and the books I have been reading haven’t been worthy of a review! But when I spotted Sophie Kinsella’s latest novel – My Not So Perfect Life – on sale recently, I made sure to pick it up.

I’ve enjoyed Sophie Kinsella’s writing for a long time now – I love how she’s unapologetically known as the queen of writing chick lit books – but cool chick lit books that shy away from the typical standards that you’d expect in such a story. She’s not afraid to tackle tougher subjects in her books, yet her writing is almost always relatable on some level or another.

Saying that, I can’t say I ever particularly became a fan of her Shopaholic series and didn’t read past the first couple of books. However, I loved I’ve Got Your Number and Remember Me? is still hands down one of my favourite novels of all time which has resulted in a creased dog eared copy that I read at least once a year.

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My Not So Perfect Life is probably the only recent work of hers I’ve picked up and after reading the blurb, I was curious to read the whole story.

The blurb reads -Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

The grass is always greener… with the right filter.

At first glance, I thought this book was a very on trend take on current issues we all face in the type of society we are, what with always being online. But I immediately thought it was an interesting twist – although the story touches on Katie Brenner creating a certain life via Instagram, her jealousy and envy of her boss – Demeter – is very real, happening right in front of her eyes. So it was an interesting take to indulge in the regular feeling a lot of us often have these days – envy for the picture perfect lives we see online and comparing ourselves to others – but this focuses on the jealousy we feel and develop in real life.

The story mostly focuses on this subject of course and we see a huge transformation in Katie’s life – from being a professional but quite frankly exhausted Londonite to slumming it back home in Somerset, swapping glamourous clothes for whatever is comfortable. The change is very subtle and gradual but we as readers can already see what’s right in front of our eyes – Katie is clearly much happier at home deep down, even though she doesn’t acknowledge this.

Throughout the book we learn more about Demeter too and within a few chapters we quickly learn just how different her life actually is as opposed to the life she portrays. Demeter was an interesting character – it was weird that we met her as a head strong b*tch boss, but midway through the book we’re feeling sorry for her and eventually come to love her as she lets her guard down and becomes a much more relatable person.

Katie’s character sounded almost like my inner monologue at most points – she’s determined to stick to her fast life in London, even if behind the scenes everything is less than perfect – by a lot. She’s got ambition. She’s headstrong and she’s honest. But she’s also very human too. It takes her a good while to see the truth about her own life – let alone her bosses – and though to us it might seem so obvious where her heart lies or where is best for her, she definitely does her fair share of denying.

This book is essentially about our portrayal of ourselves not just online but to everyone in general. We put a mask on and act like our life is perfect, but when the masks come off and the chips fall down, we’re all just pretty much the same and neither of us are better than the other, even if someone may have a higher position at work than you or more followers on Twitter.

There’s a few lovely side stories in this novel too – there’s a little romance, and it’s very interesting to see Katie take on the roll of helping her father and his partner launch a new glamping business. For Sophie’s readership, this part of the book was really quite fascinating, hearing about how Katie advertised the venture and helped promote the business. We are – as bloggers, at least – a society who take matters into our own hands – we plug our blogs relentlessly, we choose creative freelance work over stuffy ‘safe’ jobs and most of us are pretty much obsessed with social media – or at least fascinated by it – and it’s ability to drive revenue and custom.

So overall the smaller storylines in My Not So Perfect Life really helped to round out the book and change things up a bit. My Not So Perfect Life is a story that I’ll certainly read again and again and I think it’ll do well to help us all remember that no matter how jealous or envious we might be of someone, when the masks come off and the truth is revealed, we’re no better than each other – it’s not a competition and really there’s little to be jealous of.

Have you read My Not So Perfect Life yet? Let me know!


I picked up this book a couple months ago after seeing it recommended in a magazine for fans of One Day. I really love romance books that take into account fate or almost-meeting moments, so I was really excited to start reading this story. The cover is really sweet too; it’s basic but drew me in.
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The blurb on the back reads –
Tess and Gus are meant to be. They just haven’t met properly yet. And perhaps they never will . . .

Today is the first day of the rest of your life is the motto on a plate in the kitchen at home, and Tess can’t get it out of her head, even though she’s in Florence for a final, idyllic holiday before university.

Gus and his parents are also on holiday in Florence – and, for one day, the paths of these two eighteen-year-olds will criss-cross before they each return to England.

Over the course of the next sixteen years, life and love will offer them very different challenges. Separated by distance and chance, there’s no way the two of them are ever going to meet each other properly . . . or is there?

This book was an interesting read, following the characters of Gus and Tess over the span of sixteen years. What I found most interesting was that they actually sort of meet at the beginning of the book, so already it’s not a case that they haven’t met properly yet. Still, this made it kind of romantic and I loved the overall idea that they (spoiler alert) came together years and years later with a lifetime apart. 
The whole story is filled with what-if’s and too-close moments which had me re-reading over and over again. Some chances where they almost met didn’t even register to me at first, so I’ll likely be giving this book another read. It’s bittersweet in a way; they’re destined to be together and almost meet by fate so many times, but still manage to spend so long apart. It almost makes you wish they met/got together sooner so they would have had all those years together.
The characters of Gus and Tess were really likeable and relatable and I really loved that even Gus’s character had tons of depth. A lot of the time in romance novels, the male lead isn’t focused on as much, even when stories are in the same One Day style as this one, so that was refreshing. Although some of both Tess’s and Gus’s actions and decisions were questionable, the whole story overall was realistic and had a lot of lessons behind it.
I was sad there wasn’t more story of them together, so essentially this is a story about each of their lives as opposed to a love story. The story actually reminded me a lot of Love, Rosie too – and of course, One Day – but to sum up, I’d probably say Miss You is just that more favourable to me than Love, Rosie, but not quite up there with One Day. The story definitely moved me though and I found myself in tears on a number of occasions, especially when reading the storyline regarding Tess and her mother’s illness. 
So to conclude, the only negatives to this book are that I’d have liked to have read more about the romance between Tess and Gus – or at least their lives after they finally got together – and the fact that though this story was extremely well written, as a whole it has been done before and isn’t too dissimilar to books such as One Day and Love, Rosie.

But Miss You is really moving and heartwarming overall and will definitely make you believe in fate if you don’t already.
I’m excited to read Miss You once more, as I feel there are a few more ‘almost moments’ to be picked up on. Overall I’d recommend this story for anyone looking for a romance summer read that has just that bit more depth than your average chick-lit story.
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It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review so I thought it was time for another. I picked up I See You by Claire Mackintosh (and another book, Miss You, which I’ll also pop a review up for) recently at WHSmith, as I realized it had been ages since I’d bought a new book.

It was also not the type of book I’d normally read, as usually I’m set in my ways with chick lit books or zombie novels, so this thrilling psychological thriller was new to me.

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The blurb reads –
You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you’re going.
You’re not alone…

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She take it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different women, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is it someone keeping track of every move they make…
The first thing that attracted me to this book was how local the story was set; it’s based all around a women’s usual commute around London – and often on the tube – which is something I’m used to doing myself. The story actually brought up some interesting points about how we never really pay attention when on our regular commute and how easy it is for someone to be watching us or to steal from us.
I thought by reading a story based around something I know of would give it an interesting twist and it did. It definitely felt just that bit more gripping to me to know buy diflucan that anything that was happening in the book could happen to me – the whole premise behind what was happening was entirely realistic.
This story was gripping and I couldn’t put the book down once I got past the first few chapters. The first few chapters were setting the story and focused on different crimes that were related, which meant that for a while there were a lot of different characters and names to remember. This got a little confusing, so I was pleased when the story faltered out of this to focus on the main characters.

The story also kept me guessing until the very end – this wasn’t a book where I could guess the ending nor who was behind it all which is always a good thing. Throughout the book there were tiny parts that were added to pad out the story that didn’t really make sense at the time – although looking back now and thinking about it more, I can see where each little thing slotted in – smart!

The characters were likeable and I especially loved the fact that the main women of the hour were such strong characters. A lot of the story was based around men preying on unsuspecting women, but to read the main characters as being such headstrong women was refreshing.

Finally, the ending. I liked the ending and liked that it tied up all ends nicely. I did find some of it a little unrealistic, but it all made sense and I think had it ended any other way I would have finished the book feeling disappointed and let down.

All in all, it was a really interesting and gripping read for my first thriller novel – I’ll certainly be reading this type of genre a lot more often.

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Since taking part in Veganuary 2016, I’ve been cooking a lot more and trying to be more experimental in the kitchen. So when I was offered the chance to review Katherine Frelon’s Shop. Cook. Eat., I jumped at the chance.
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I don’t have many cooking books – that was always my mum’s area – so to have one to cook from myself is a welcome change.
French cooking is one of my favourite cuisine’s also, so this book is right up my street.
I absolutely love the style of this book which is, as described in the blurb, more than just a cookbook. For starters, as well as starters, mains and desserts, there’s also recipes in this book for sauces, spices and marinades, which is a nice idea and something I know very little about.
Each section has a little introduction too, telling us the authors thoughts on food and her recommendations when it comes to different methods of baking and cooking. 
I love how rather jumping straight into the recipes we get to read more about Katherine’s past and about the time she’d spent in France.
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Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Book Review | Shop. Cook. Eat. by Katherine Frelon; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Cookbook; Book Review

But onto the recipes.
Easy to follow, there’s a real mix of things to cook in here and I’ve already got my eye on a few. 
The tomato tartare with freshly smoked mackerel and wild rocket looks absolutely delicious and although it’s probably a little complicated for me, the super simple instructions have given me the confidence to try it. Watch this space. 
The salad section is super useful too because that’s another thing I struggle with – trying to eat more healthy with more salads for lunch, but not really knowing how to mix them up a little. I always tend to make the same things over and over, so I’ve already spotted a few salads I can’t wait to try out such as the figs, buffalo mozzarella, sun-blushed tomatoes and basil salad with roast garlic and fig dressing.
Cooking for the French is what social media is to teens!

Not a phone, but a kitchen, a place to gather, a necessity, a reason for being, a place to learn, debate, laugh, cry and celebrate.
I love this quote because I can totally relate to it. Getting together to cook in a kitchen is more than just about making food, it is more of a social event. The one and only time (so far) I threw a dinner party for my friends, no one cared how bad my food was or how long it took for me to serve the main. What mattered was the help they offered me, the giggles we shared in the kitchen over the mess made and the topics of conversation over food afterwards.
Katherine seems to get this and comes across as ever so down to earth in this book.
Overall, I really love this cookbook and can’t wait to make a start on trying out some of the recipes in it. My sister is a huge fan of french cooking too, and we enjoy cooking together every now and then when we can so this will be something nice we can do together.

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It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and treated myself to a good book, so when I saw I Just Haven’t Met You Yet recommended by chick-lit queen Sophie Kinsella, I decided to go ahead and purchase it.
I immediately took a liking to the front colour which was colourful, cute and simple without being too cutesy, which a lot of chick-lit books tend to do. The title also, obviously, reminded me of the famous song by Michael Buble but, although a smaller side plot links to the singer, I figured the title suited the plot fairly well.

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The blurb reads –
Percy James has everything a girl could want: a comfy flat, a steady relationship and a truly lovely group of friends.

Then she is approached by Eros Tech. Eros is ‘the future of love’ – an agency that brings together soulmates using phone data. Percy has been identified as a match for one of Eros’s super posh clients.

The only problem is she already has a boyfriend…but what if this is destiny? Would you – could you – pass up a chance to meet your one true love?
So to begin with, I really loved the premise of this story. Anything to do with modern dating (and ideas of the one) actually fascinates me, so the idea that there was this company that took all the searching out of the question was definitely an interesting one (and reminded me of How I Met Your Mother).

The story was a light read and a good length, I finished it in about a week but probably could have read it sooner if I didn’t put off finishing it so soon (not because I didn’t like it, I just tend to finish books really quickly and have nothing to read).

One thing that I loved about the book was how modern it was and, SPOILER ALERT, how the idea of Percy being with a woman was addressed within the story. I liked that there was no qualms and it was super honest – she didn’t see herself as gay, but did begin to worry that she might be what with being with a woman. It was handled really well and it was a nice change to see this idea approached in a typical chick-lit book.

I liked the ending, I thought it was simple, without dramatics and made a lot of sense. I also feel like the idea of Percy being so intrigued by her soulmate whilst already in a relationship will definitely divide people.

‘How do you know if someone’s your soulmate?’ I ask.
thinks for a long time. ‘I think it comes down to the amount of chatter
in your head. When a relationship is right – really right – you don’t
need to talk yourself into it. There’s no question or debate, it just…is. The
way I see it, if someone’s your soulmate then there’s this feeling of
inevitability, sort of like – “Oh, there you are, I’ve been waiting for
you”, and that’s the end of that.’

It definitely got me thinking. If I were in Percy’s position, would I do the same?

I really don’t know. If I knew the relationship I was in was wrong, I would probably be quite likely to. But at the same time, I think the idea of being set up with your soulmate is kind of wrong and that you should meet them in natural circumstances.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it for a holiday read this summer – however, having read it once and knowing the outcome, I can’t say it’s a book I’d likely be to pick up and read over and over again.

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