The One Plus One by Jo Jo Moyes

About the book

One eternal optimist . . . Jess Thomas, with two jobs and two kids and never enough money, wears flip flops in the hope of spring. And when life knocks her down she does her best to bounce right back. But no one told her it’s okay to ask for help. Plus one lost stranger . . . Ed Nichols is the good guy gone bad. He had it all, then one stupid mistake cost him everything. Now he’ll do anything to make it right. Equals a chance encounter . . . Ed doesn’t want to save anyone and Jess doesn’t want saving, but could Jess and Ed add up to something better together?

Reviewed by Alton U3A

“A pleasure not to be harrowed! A satisfying read”

star rating ****

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Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon

About the book

What to do if Matthew, your secret lover of the past four years, finally decides to leave his wife Sophie and their two daughters and move into your flat, just when you’re thinking that you might not want him anymore . . .

PLAN A: Stop shaving your armpits. And your bikini line. Tell him you have a moustache that you wax every six weeks. Stop having sex with him. Pick holes in the way he dresses. Don’t brush your teeth. Or your hair. Or pluck out the stray hag-whisker that grows out of your chin. Buy incontinence pads and leave them lying around

PLAN B: Accidentally on purpose bump into his wife Sophie. Give yourself a fake name and identity. Befriend Sophie. Actually begin to really like Sophie. Snog Matthew’s son (who’s the same age as you by the way. You’re not a paedophile) Buy a cat and give it a fake name and identity. Befriend Matthew’s children. Unsuccessfully. Watch your whole plan go absolutely horribly wrong.

Reviewed by Somborne

A mixed bag of comments – “readable / well constructed / silly / a waste of time / lightweight and fluffy / sit com / unsubtle / egocentric characters / nauseating “

star rating **

 

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Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

About the book

Emma is sitting on a turbulent plane. She’s always been a v. nervous flyer. She really thinks that this could be her last moment. So, naturally enough, she starts telling the man sitting next to her – quite a dishy American, but she’s too frightened to notice -all her innermost secrets. How she scans the backs of intellectual books and pretends she’s read them. How she does her hair up like Princess Leia in her bedroom. How she’s not sure if she has a G-spot, and whether her boyfriend could find it anyway. How she feels like a fraud at work – everyone uses the word ‘operational’ all the time but she hasn’t a clue what it means. How the coffee at work is horrible. How she once threw a troublesome client file in the bin. If ever there was a bare soul, it’s hers.
She survives the flight, of course, and the next morning the famous founding boss of the whole mega corporation she works for is coming for a look at the UK branch. As he walks around, Emma looks up and realises…
It’s the man from the plane.
What will he do with her secrets? He knows them all – but she doesn’t know a single one of his. Or… does she?

Reviewed by Anton Bookies Reading Group

This book is “Chick lit” in a word, A light hearted humorous and easy read, and a bit of nonsense. It is a good one for a holiday read if that’s what takes your fancy.. Emma’s character is not really believable, and the plot is rather predictable and shallow. Most of the group felt they would not read another book by this author.
Star rating **

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Love and Devotion by Erica James

About the book

Harriet Swift thinks she has the perfect life – a satisfying career, her own flat and a new boyfriend who respects her need for her own space. But then her only sister is killed in a car crash, and Harriet is forced to give up her well-ordered life to help look after her orphaned niece and nephew. Moving back to her childhood home in Maple Drive, and sacrificing so much, doesn’t come easy and before long Harriet discovers things about her family she never believed possible.
Meanwhile, the shabbiest house in Maple Drive has a new occupant. Will Hart also thinks he has the perfect life. Having swapped his successful career as a lawyer for that of an antiques dealer, he believes in living for the moment and is entirely happy with his lot. Then from nowhere tragedy strikes and he faces the biggest challenge of his life.
Harriet and Will have no choice but to piece together a new future for themselves, but can they see it through?

Reviewed by No Dickens

All found this to be an enjoyable/readable book. Some thought title a little misleading, but story dealt well with grief of losing a sibling/child. Liked the quotes at the start of each month. A gripping book we wanted to get to the end of.
Star rating ***

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Gardens of Delight by Erica James

About the book

The Gardens of Delight brochure promises the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful gardens in the Lake Como area of Italy. For Lucy, the chance to go to Italy offers more than just gardens. Lake Como is where her father lives, and the last time she saw him was when she was just a teenager.
Recently married Helen and her wealthy husband have just moved into the Old Rectory. With her husband spending so much time away from home, Helen throws herself into caring for the garden. But Helen needs help – and friends – and so decides to take the plunge and join the local Garden Club.
Conrad isn’t the least bit interested in gardening. Widowed for five years, his life revolves around work and humouring Mac, his elderly uncle who lives with him, and who has expressed a desire to go on the Gardens of Delight tour. Reluctantly, Conrad agrees to accompany him. ‘Anything for a peaceful life,’ he concedes. But a peaceful life is the last thing any of them are in for…

Reviewed by Enjoying Books Reading Group

This was an easy romantic read – as a novel of the genre it probably deserves more than 2* but was in no way a challenge, however we did finish it.
Star rating **

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The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

About the book

Once a week, an eclectic group of women comes together at a New York City yarn shop to work on their latest projects—and share the stories of their lives… The women are of different backgrounds and ages and face different problems but they are drawn together by threads of affections that prove as durable as the sweaters they knit.

Reviewed by Stubbington Book Ends

All agreed it was a slow start, but good once we got into it. Interesting to see how the relationships developed. All, bar one member, were surprised how it ended.
Star rating ***

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Thanks for the memories by Cecelia Ahern

About the book

With her marriage already in pieces, Joyce Conway nearly lost everything else. But she survived the terrible accident that left her hospitalized–and now, inexplicably, she can remember faces she has never seen, cobblestone Parisian streets she’s never visited. A sudden, overwhelming sense of deja vu has Joyce feeling as if her life is not her own. Justin Hitchcock’s decision to donate blood was the first thing to come straight from his heart in a long time. He chased his ex-wife and daughter from Chicago to London–and now, restless and lonely, he lectures to bored college students in Dublin. But everything is about to change with the arrival of a basket of muffins with a thank-you note enclosed–the first in a series of anonymous presents that will launch Justin into the heart of a mystery . . . and alter two lives forever.

Reviewed by Andover Reading Group:

A feel good book that was easy to read. Some found it very shallow with a thin plot which could have been condensed into a short story. Joyce’s fathers character was humourous and we enjoyed it. A light and fluffy read with a predictable ending.

Star rating: **
 

The Wives of Bath by Wendy Holden

About the book

Four parents-to-be seem ante-natally sorted. Flash Hugo and Amanda have booked a chic private clinic and royal maternity nurse. Right-on Jake and Alice want an all-natural home birth with whale music and tree-hugging nappies. But nothing goes quite to plan. Amanda finds motherhood less glam than the stars make it look and disappears back to her career. Which leaves Hugo with the child and without a clue what to do. Alice has problems too. Bringing up baby to Jake’s eco-fascist standards means home-made organic everything and a recycled cardboard cot. Will nappiness bring happiness to anybody? Not before bedhopping spouses, beastly bosses and bitchy nursery mothers have all done their dreadful worst…

Reviewed by Havers Reading Group:

Amusing in parts – tongue in cheek humour. Satirical – exaggerated opposites – could easily relate to real life. Good description of characters.

Star rating: **+

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Pure Fiction by Julie Highmore

About the book

When the local library starts up a reading group, Ed is the first to sign up. Left home alone with baby Georgia once too often, he’s looking for something more stimulating than the latest draft of his tiresome thesis. His fellow readers all have their own reasons for the weekly escape. Kate’s social life is at a standstill and her quirky furniture shop barely breaks even. Zoe’s self-esteem is regularly battered by her married lover. Semi-retired Bob, strongly encouraged by his wife, needs to get out of the house more. Donna, aged twenty-one and a mother of two, is desperate to feed her mind and catch up on her education. When English lecturer Gideon arrives, his literary certainties spark rivalries and emotions that no one expected. As the reading circle draws its members into an unlikely community, the plots become increasingly dramatic, and their lives grow ever more entwined …

Reviewed by Tuesday Afternoon Reading Group:

No-one loved this book, but taken for what it is, it’s an easy chick lit read. Ideal for holidays or commuting.

Star rating: *

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Life after Lunch by Sarah Harrison

About the book

Laura and Susan have had a love/hate relationship since their schooldays. Laura presides hopefully over a large, unruly family as she approaches her silver wedding; Susan is exuberantly independent and a most spirited advocate of the single life. At their regular lunches they view each other with a mixture of deep affection and even deeper suspicion. But when the balance suddenly alters, the two friends are surprised to discover something new and potentially wonderful about . . . life after lunch.

Reviewed by Ladies of an Age Reading Group:

Not a great choice for a reading group – we felt it was quite predictable and so didn’t have much to discuss about it. Nothing wrong with the story, just more of a holiday read.

Star rating: *

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