Book Review: Walking On Sunshine by Giovanna Fletcher

The previous book I’d read had been about an evil cult – and I decided I needed something as far away from that as possible! And what better than a book by the reigning ‘Queen of the Castle’ (at the time of reading / writing at least!) – Giovanna Fletcher. I’ve enjoyed her previous books – and so had accepted an ARC of this without reading the blurb, but here it is for you:

“In the darkness, we all need a little light . .
After Mike loses Pia, his partner of seventeen years, their best friends Vicky and Zaza try to help pick up the pieces.
But though Pia’s gone, she left a plan. A list of loving instructions to help Mike and her friends come to terms with their loss.
And they’re each going to need it . . .
Just-engaged Zaza fears committing any further.
Exhausted mother and wife Vicky has lost sight of herself.
While Mike just feels all the colour has gone from his life.
When the list sends them trekking to Peru, where high mountains and sweltering rainforests push them to the brink, all they have to guide them is their faith in Pia and in themselves.
But will they learn that anything is possible when you’re walking on sunshine?

Having thought it was going to be a light, frothy, easy read – I was a bit shocked that it started with the fact that a central figure had died and that the main crux of the storyline was how her husband and friends dealt with the aftermath of her death! Pia also shares the name of my niece – and it’s an unusual name, so not one you come across often – which makes it even more weird. But the book wasn’t all doom and gloom at all.

The chapters were written by the 3 main protagonists – so you were experiencing the story from 3 different viewpoints – which was great. I guess I empathised with Vicky the most – although the newborn days are long gone for me, thank goodness!

A large portion of the book takes place on a trek in Peru. I know Giovanna has been on such treks with the charity Coppafeel, so I’m assuming it was very true to life! It definitely evoked the feeling that you were on the trek with the friends. All of them gained something from the trip – which I guess is the point of doing such a thing.

At certain times I wanted to shout at the characters – and just tell them to talk to each other / their other halves – but I guess it was quite true to life that things can sometimes fester.

I loved the final chapter of the book that was a few years down the line. It tied up some loose ends – but not in a sickly sweet ‘everyone’s happy ever after’ kind of way.

Overall it was an easy, escapist read – and who doesn’t love one of those?

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC in exchange for a review.

Book Review: We Were On A Break by Lindsey Kelk


I had seen this book around (probably Red Magazine and Twitter – but those are guesses, just my usual sources of book advice) and was v keen to read it just because of the title as:

a) It’s one of the most memorable ‘Friends’ quotes ever
b) I was the other party in a ‘they were on a break’ issue back in 1999 after having a holiday dalliance (holiday ‘romance’ would be pushing it) with a guy who was ‘on a break’ from his girlfriend.  She is now his wife and mother of his children, and I am happily married with my own gaggle of children, but even 17 years on she can’t speak to me and struggles to even look at me.  #awkward

Anyway, my dealer (of books rather than any other substance) offered me a copy to take to Disneyland Paris with me – which sounded like a very good plan (anything to dilute Disney is a good plan).

Amazon appears to be scant on blurb – so this is from the back of the book (which means I actually have to type it and not cut and paste #commitment)

“There’s nothing worse than the last day of holiday. Oh wait, there is.  When what should have been a proposal turns into a break, Liv and Adam find themselves on opposite sides of the life they had mapped out.
Friends and family all think they’re crazy; Liv throws herself into work – animals are so much simpler than humans – and Adam tries to get himself out of the hole he’s dug.  But as the short break becomes a chasm, can the find a way back to each other?
More importantly, do they want to?”

Heads up – I absolutely LOVED this book from the off!  It is told from both Liv and Adam’s points of view (and this confused me the first time it switched – but there may have been wine involved) and I really liked both characters.

It is funny, well written, emotional, true to life and with really relevant reference points (I’m assuming it’s true that you’re more likely to be murdered by your Uber driver home than the internet date you’ve met in a bar?!)  The supporting cast of family and friends are great too – all very different but well fleshed out and interesting, and not predictable. In a ‘style of Bridget Jones’ you expect that David the veterinary nurse will turn out to be Liv’s gay BFF – but he most definitely isn’t (despite the Kardashian love / hate) – and one of her best friend’s Cass, is something of a ‘smug married’ but then ‘goes the full 2007 Brittany on the situation’ (which is a quote I hope to use in the near future as it’s so excellent!).

It reminded me very much of the style of Mhairi McFarlane whom I have sworn allegiance to before (and from a small amount of Twitter stalking it would appear that Ms Kelk and Ms McFarlane were recently out together with Giovanna Fletcher too #welljel #Iwanttobeintheirsquad)

The book twists and turns and keeps you interested in what is going to happen to Liv and Adam and Daniel Craig (the cat, not the actor).

I am suffering with the worst ever cough (I’m blaming Mickey Mouse for the germs and wondering if Lionel Messi is also suffering) – but the one benefit of being unable to sleep and having to sit up all bl**dy night is that I’ve been able to read this fantastic book.  I am DELIGHTED that there is a plentiful back catalogue of other books by Lindsey Kelk and proposed downloading many to my Kindle right now!






Book Reviews: ‘Billy and Me’ and ‘Always with Love’ by Giovanna Fletcher

Giovanna Fletcher properly hit my radar when she was body shamed a few days after her 2nd child for not having snapped back into celeb shape immediately.  (I remember a similar incident after my baby number 3 when my son’s friend asked how I could still have a bump when the baby was out and had I saved another one in there?  It was 24 hours post partum, but he was only 6 years old so it was forgivable!)  After that I started stalking following her on various social media, and liked the fact that despite her and her husband (Tom from McFly) having celebrity status, she shared the good, bad and the ugly of parenthood.

Giovanna’s book ‘Always With Love’ came out – but I realised it was the second instalment in a series, so I needed to read the first one first – hence I downloaded ‘Billy and Me’.

Billy and Me


Here is the Amazon blurb:

“A gorgeously romantic novel about fame, friendship and falling in love
Sophie May has a secret.

One that she’s successfully kept for years. It’s meant that she’s had to give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop.
But then Sophie unexpectedly meets the gorgeous Billy Buskin – a famous actor with ambitions to make it to the top. As they begin to grow closer, Sophie finds herself whisked away from the comfort of her life into Billy’s glamorous – but ruthless – world.
After years of shying away from attention, can Sophie handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy? How much is she prepared to give up along the way? And is their love strong enough to keep them together against the odds?
Charming, heart-warming and utterly romantic, Billy and Me is an unforgettable story that will completely capture your heart.”

Now I suspect I am slightly older than the reader this is aimed at (Zoella chose it for her book club which kind of backs up the fact that 40 something mothers of 4 kids aren’t target market!) but I still really enjoyed it.  It was a fun escapist read – but still well structured and well written.  Sometimes I wanted to give the main character Sophie a bit of a shake and tell her to get a grip – but I’m guessing that could be the old cynic in me?! Overall a relaxing, easy to dip in and out of, charming read.

I enjoyed it so much, I immediately downloaded the sequel (it’s like reading books the ‘box set’ viewing stylee!!) I should say there is a Christmas special that fits between the 2 books, but my stupid Kindle wouldn’t download it – but I don’t think it mattered that I hadn’t read it, as you were soon brought up to speed on what had happened in the intervening period.

Always With Love

Here’s the Amazon Blurb for ‘Always With Love’:

” The next much-anticipated romantic chapter in Billy and Sophie’s love story from bestselling author Giovanna Fletcher.
Sophie’s got used to being the girlfriend of Billy Buskin, the biggest movie star in the world. Sort of.
But when she and Billy take a trip to visit his family in Los Angeles, she quickly discovers she’s totally unprepared for the chaos of Hollywood, the paparazzi and Billy’s controlling mother.
And when Billy extends his stay in LA, leaving Sophie to fly home to Rosefont Hill alone, it seems there’s more than just miles between them.
Now Sophie must decide if they can overcome their differences for good. Because not every love story lasts the distance . . .”

Again I really enjoyed it – and again I found Sophie a bit annoying at times – but overall I enjoyed the twists and turns.  Right up until the end I wasn’t sure which way things were going to end – but it was fun.

I’m not sure my teenage daughter is a million miles away from reading this (maybe a couple of sexy bits mean she’s not quite there yet!) – but it would appeal to younger readers too.  But enjoyable for an older reader like myself who fancies a ‘comfort’ read – and perfect to read with a stinking hangover after a raucous 40th birthday party for a friend last night………

Roll on the next book!!