Book review: The Debt and The Doormat by Laura Barnard

Goodreads synopsis
Poppy and Jazz have been best friends from the first week of university. Whenever these two get together trouble isn’t far away and things haven’t changed much. When Jazz gets herself into financial trouble Poppy, being a good friend, offers to help. She instead ends up being talked into swapping lives, with Jazz insisting it will be good and help her get over her broken heart.
Poppy is thrown into a new life, full of crazy housemates. There’s fitness freak Izzy, horrendously beautiful bitch Grace and the slightly gorgeous, if not incredibly grumpy Ryan.
Quickly, with the help of Jazz, her life is thrown upside down. Madness ensues and her need to please everyone gets her in more trouble than she could ever imagine.
Before she knows it she’s got a fake boyfriend and is hiding so many secrets she’s scared they’ll spill out any minute. With a bullying boss, a sex crazed colleague, a mental mother and three brothers each with their own dramas, life has gotten pretty difficult for Poppy. And all of this would be much easier, if she could just stop falling over.
Will she get her life back to normal before her brother’s upcoming wedding? And will she want to?

My verdict
It’s been ages since I read a chick lit book that I couldn’t put down; I found myself making time to read The Debt and The Doormat! For a book with 451 pages, it seemed to pass really quickly while I was reading it.

The main character Poppy was likeable, and I really liked her friendship with Jazz. I’ve been rubbish with money in the past, so I really empathise with how Jazz got herself into the mess that she did!

Laura Barnard has a real flair for creating characters that you can relate to and I found myself thinking about the characters when I was away from the book, as if they were friends of mine. It was easy to become absorbed in the book and was really easy to read. There are some real laugh out loud moments, which got me some funny looks in the office when I was reading the book at lunchtime! I know that other people have mentioned in their reviews that the book is ‘crude’ in parts, but I’m not shy at saying that I have a crude sense of humour, hence me laughing out loud in the office! I would highly recommend it!

The book is currently free on Amazon, so rush to get it!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads giveaways

One thing I really love about the Goodreads website is the facility for authors to offer their books as giveaways to readers, often before their release date. We have run a few book giveaways for our books through Goodreads in the past, and we found it a fantastic way to spread the word about our books. It was brilliant to receive reviews from people who might otherwise not have read our books, or even heard of them.

On the other hand, I have entered quite a few giveaways myself and have added lots of books to my ‘to read’ list that I hadn’t previously heard of.

In case you haven’t taken a look at their giveaway page, here is the link:
https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

Have you ever won a book through Goodreads? Have you had any good/bad experiences with giveaways? Let me know in the comments 🙂

The last 5 books I added to my Goodreads ‘to read’ list

One of the most excellent things about blogs is finding out about books that are out there that I haven’t read yet. These are the last five books I added to my ever expanding ‘to read’ list on Goodreads!

Click on the book cover to go directly to the Goodreads page. Each synopsis is taken from the relevant Goodreads page. Enjoy!

Million Dollar Question by Ellie Campbell
Just as a huge financial scandal throws New Yorker, Olivia Wheeler, from wealth and success to bankruptcy and shame, struggling impoverished single-mother Rosie Dixon wins an unexpected million pounds. Good luck? Bad luck? Who can tell? Both women have more in common than they realize. While Olivia struggles to survive her humiliations, fleeing broke and homeless to London, shy unassuming Rosie discovers sudden riches arrive with their own mega-load of problems.

Can workaholic career-obsessed Olivia find a passion for something earthier and warmer than power and prestige? And can Rosie sift through envy and greed to discover true friends, true family and even true love? Two strangers who’ve never met. Yet neither realises how each is affecting the other’s destiny or the places their paths touch and fates entwine. But will they surmount the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

That is the million dollar question.
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What Would Ginger Rogers Do? by Caitlyn Raynes

Tosca Tonnino oversees Author Events at Carter &Co. a small, independent bookshop in a tourist town. Tosca enjoys her independence, a lively social life, and seasonal love affairs. She practices the worldly insouciance embodied by Ginger Rogers, that icon of Thirties’ cinema. In any social or romantic dilemma, Tosca asks herself: What would Ginger Rogers do?

A new hire comes to the bookshop under mysterious circumstances. Ethan James, an East Coast import from a wealthy family, is attractive, secretive, sometimes surly, often blunt, occasionally witty, and fiercely competitive. Tosca finds him generally annoying until one snowy night when, thrown unexpectedly together, their romance blossoms. To Tosca’s humiliation, the next morning Ethan thanks her for a one night stand.

Tosca’s personal life that winter tumbles from bad to worse, but professionally she snags a terrific coup. Lucy Lamont—author of the mega-bestselling series of saccharine Shannonville novels—invites herself to do a reading at Carter &Co, June 12th. Tosca’s boss and colleagues are thrilled, but her glory is cut short. Ethan announces that his old school friend, Win Jefferies, author of Body Electric, a bleak literary bestseller, a novel of addiction, rehab and suicide wants to come there too. June 12th.

These two towering egotistical writers on the same stage? Unthinkable! But the elderly, eccentric owner of Carter &Co thinks they will be wonderful. Appalled, Tosca protests to prevent this disaster; she lies, cries, swallows her pride, all to no avail. The day of reckoning approaches.

In this intolerable situation: What would Ginger Rogers do? Tosca’s response will alter the rest of her life.
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Jedland by Ruth Bradbury-Horton
Jed P Horton wanted a job. He’d walk your dog, cut your grass, even pull your teeth out, just please, please give him a job. This heartwarming story follows Jed on a journey of self-discovery that will find him poised to fulfil a once in a lifetime dream of visiting the legendary Jedland. Together with best mates, Jim from the chippy, no-holds bared Jessie, comb over Steve, and the ever-entertaining transgender Philly, Jed is unwittingly thrust into the limelight of 80s style talent shows, taking him from his small hometown of Leighton Buzzard, to the ever-buzzing city of London. Faced with rivals, unrequited love, a factory full of women, and the ever-obvious empty wallet, it’s not going to be easy. And it’s no surprise when Jed wonders if Jedland will remain exactly as it’s always been to him, a dream. If laughter and heartache are what you’re looking for, then Jedland is for you.
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Wanderlust by Thea Dawson
Monica Prescott, writer and world traveler, has everything she wants … except a man who’s free-spirited enough to join her for a life on the road. But when she bumps into Jason, the guy who broke her heart in college, she lets him think she’s engaged. It wouldn’t take much to fall for him again–and that’s one road she doesn’t want to go down.

Jason is everything she’s not and doesn’t want to be. He’s settled down in snowy Chicago and focused on his high-powered desk job, while Monica longs for foreign shores and sunshine. But the more time she spends with Jason, the more she starts to question her career and lifestyle.

Monica has two weeks before a new assignment starts in Bangkok, and time is running out for her to make the biggest decision of her life.
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I Am the Lion by Andrew Toy
Lydia and her widowed, bipolar father struggle to find common ground in the wake of her mother’s untimely death. Only when Lydia’s fourth-grade teacher steps into their lives do they slowly build a connection, but that bond is threatened when a secret comes out that threatens to scar Lydia for the rest of her life.

Book review: “A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets” by James Bowen


This is the review I left on Goodreads:

“I have been wanting to read “A Street Cat Named Bob” for a long time, and I can say that I wasn’t disappointed! James is a really likeable guy, and I found myself feeling so bad that he’d had to deal with such hardships. I guess that’s the difference between fiction and non-fiction; with non-fiction you know that these awful things actually happened. The book was really well written and I found that I couldn’t put it down.

I hadn’t realised that there was a follow up book, “The World According to Bob”, and I’m really looking forward to reading that too.”

If you’d like to be friends on Goodreads, my profile is here:

My favourite Goodreads Listopia lists, so far…

I love trawling through the Listopia lists on Goodreads. They throw up all kinds of books I didn’t even know I wanted to read! Below are my favourite lists so far:

Plus-sized Heroines
Everyone knows that you don’t have to be stick-thin to be happy in life, so why shouldn’t it be the same in books? Of the top 100 books, I’ve only read two: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding and The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!

Books Set in Brighton
I used to live in Brighton, so any chance to reminisce is always welcome with me. There are 35 books on the list, and I haven’t read any of them, so I can’t wait to get started. I have seen the Brighton Rock film (the 1947 starring Richard Attenborough, which I really liked) so I should imagine that I’d like the book by Graham Greene.

Non-Fiction Animal Heroes
Animals are cute, but occasionally they can be helpful and this list celebrates that. Of the 64 books on the list, I haven’t read any but I currently reading A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen which is on the list. I have had the below three books from this list on my to-read list for a while now:
1. Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron, Bret Witter
2. Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan (though I have seen the film!)
3. Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O’Brien
I love owls, so I especially can’t wait to read about Wesley 🙂

Chick Lit for the Beach
I have loved chick lit books since I was a teenager and it’s still the same at 35! I have read 5 of the top 100 books:
1. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

2. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
3. Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
5. The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
I loved the films of numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5 also!

Favorite books from my childhood
Ah, such a nostalgic list! I have read 6 of the top 100 books:
1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
2. Matilda by Roald Dahl
3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
4. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
5. The Witches by Roald Dahl
6. Blubber by Judy Blume
I really can’t believe that I haven’t read more!

Do you have any favourite Listopia lists?

If you’d like to be friends with me on Goodreads, you can find my profile here 🙂

The last 5 books I added to my Goodreads ‘to read’ list

One of the most excellent things about blogs is finding out about books that are out there that I haven’t read yet. These are the last five books I added to my ever expanding ‘to read’ list on Goodreads!

Click on the book cover to go directly to the Goodreads page. Each synopsis is taken from the relevant Goodreads page. Enjoy!

Fade In by M. Mabie
Tatum Elliot is a successful writer on a hit television show, lives in an Upper East Side apartment and loves her life. She wouldn’t change a thing. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a choice. She’s losing her sight.

Tripping over her tongue and her heels, Tatum all too quickly realizes that the things which appeared so important before are slowly slipping away leaving room for what really matters. With the support of her best friends, family and colleagues, she begins to see that there’s much more to life… and herself.

When Ben Harris enters her life as her new personal assistant, she can’t tell if it’s his good looks and charm that are working on her libido, or his kind and helpful nature working on her heart? Whatever it is, neither one of them can resist it.

As her vision fades out, a world of love and happiness just might…Fade In.

Fade In is a contemporary-romance novel about laughing through your tears and telling life to, quite frankly, “Suck it.” This novel contains sexual situations that the author may or may not have tried at home… for your safety, of course. Research is research.
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Home Front by Kristin Hannah
All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost. . . .

Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life–children, careers, bills, chores–even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a soldier she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own–for everything that matters to his family.

At once a profoundly honest look at modern marriage and a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family, Home Front is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and ultimately, hope.
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Pear Shaped by Stella Newman
A novel about love, heartbreak and dessert.

Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl loses mind.

Sophie Klein walks into a bar one Friday night and her life changes. She meets James Stephens: charismatic, elusive, and with a hosiery model ex who casts a long, thin shadow over their burgeoning relationship. He’s clever, funny and shares her greatest pleasure in life – to eat and drink slightly too much and then have a little lie down. Sophie’s instinct tells her James is too good to be true – and he is.

An exploration of love, heartbreak, self-image, self-deception and lots of food. Pear-Shaped is in turns smart, laugh-out-loud funny and above all, recognizable to women everywhere.
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Philomena by Martin Sixsmith
The poignant true story of a mother and the son she had to give away.

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Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their townhouse, she has to move miles away from everyone, to the sleepy little seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.

And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it.

Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.