What I Read in 2017 | Women’s Fiction

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In the What I Read in 2017 series, you’ve had the autobiographies and non-fiction books, the general fiction, poetry and thriller books, and the children’s fiction books.  It’s time for the Women’s Fiction books I read in 2017.

Women’s Fiction

Women Focused Fiction 2 - What I Read in 2017 - Dont Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

If the Dress Fits by Daisy James | Rating: 2*

If The Dress Fits tells the story of Callie, a dressmaker who enters a competition to design a celebrity’s dress.  A slip up means that she forgets to put her details on the form, creating a Cinderella-style hunt to find her.  This story had potential, but unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the stilted writing style and pace.  The love story aspect of the plot concerning Callie and Theo was ridiculous and resolved in a matter of sentences.  This book is not one I would recommend, but I would be open to giving other books by the author a go.

Single Woman Seeks Revenge by Tracy Bloom | Rating: 2*

As I had enjoyed Tracy Bloom’s previous books No One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday, and No One Ever Has Sex In the Suburbs, I thought I would re-read some of her other novels.  I didn’t particularly enjoy Single Woman Seeks Revenge.  After being dumped yet again, agony aunt Suzie decides to seek her revenge on her past exes.  Her columns prove so popular with her readers she begins to take requests.  Even though the premise sounded excited,  I thought this book was boring and predictable.

The One We Fell in Love with by Paige Toon | Rating: 4*

My first Paige Toon book and this one was a great introduction to Toon’s books.   The One We Fell in Love With is a story about identical triplets Phoebe, Eliza and Rose who fall in love with the same man, Angus.   Be warned, it’s emotional.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella | Rating: 4*

You can’t go wrong with a Sophie Kinsella book (or four, as evidenced in this blog post).  I read The Undomestic Goddess during my holiday and it was so much fun.  Working all day and night in order to secure a partnership, Samantha’s dream comes crashing down when she makes a mistake at work.   In shock, she (literally) run away from her life, and inadvertently takes a job as a housekeeper despite not knowing how to cook or clean.  I think this has to be one of my favourite Kinsella books; it is hilarious!

Women Focused Fiction 3 - What I Read in 2017 - Dont Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella | Rating: 4*

After The Undomestic Goddess, I couldn’t resist reading more of Kinsella’s books.  During a period of turbulence on a flight, Emma spills all her secrets to the handsome stranger sitting at the side of her.   She’s horrified to learn that the handsome stranger is now the CEO of her company, and he knows everything about her.   Can You Keep a Secret? had me giggling away and is the perfect rainy-day read.

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella | Rating: 4*

Evidently, I was on a Kinsella marathon, and I borrowed Remember Me? from my local library.  Lexi wakes up from a coma to find she can’t remember the past three years of her life.  Her sister is a teenager, she’s somehow landed the promotion she wanted, and she’s married to a gorgeous guy she doesn’t know.  Again, another Kinsella book that had me smiling from ear to ear.

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella | Rating: 3*

My Not So Perfect Life was a new release from Sophie Kinsella and I remember excitedly picking up a copy from my local library.    It tells the story of Katie who after being sacked, returns home to help her dad’s business.  When her boss Demeter turns up, Katie spots the perfect opportunity to get some revenge on Demeter.  But is Demeter’s life as perfect as Katie thinks it is?   I hate to say this, but My Not So Perfect Life was not as funny as Sophie’s previous books, and at times the revenge on Demeter came across as mean.  I didn’t really pick up the “faking life on Instagram” storyline that’s mentioned in the synopsis as the main story happens when Katie returns home.

Bridget Jones #2 | Rating: 3*

As I had loved the first Bridget Jones book, I realised I should probably get cracking and read the second in the series.  For some reason, I didn’t like this as much as the first, and it became a bit of a slog to get through.

What I Read in 2017 - Don't Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

Hot Mess by Lucy Vine | Rating: 3*

I couldn’t escape the hype surrounding Hot Mess on Twitter and I downloaded it to my Kindle on release day.  Hot Mess tells the story of Ellie as a young woman realising what adulthood is actually like.   Focusing on Ellie’s attempts at dating after coming out a long-term relationship, this novel is sassy.   Unfortunately, I was disappointed.  The joke about Ellie’s dad writing an erotic novel went on for too long and wasn’t THAT funny.

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter | Rating: 3*

The adult book from TV presenter and journalist Dawn O’Porter.   The Cows follows the lives of three women; Tara, Stella and Cam.  With three separate stories, there’s plenty up for discussion including motherhood, sex, relationships, social media… and more.  The main story in The Cows concerns Tara, who is caught on video pleasuring herself on a train.  It goes viral (of course), and soon Tara finds herself shunned and ridiculed.  Whilst I can see what Dawn is trying to discuss here, I didn’t like it.  If the sexes were switched, it would be deemed inappropriate (and rightly so).  I do think a better storyline for Tara should have been concerning revenge porn, especially in the current climate.   Unfortunately, this aspect of the story let the book down in a big way for me.

As Good as It Gets? by Fiona Gibson | Rating: 3*

I was in the mood for a book that would help me to escape for a few hours, and I spotted As Good as It Gets? on my local library’s e-book service.  Charlotte’s husband may be having a mid-life crisis.  Wearing leather trousers and hanging out with their glamorous new neighbour, Charlotte is starting to feel worried.  When her first love arrives on the scene, Charlotte begins to imagine what if…   Even though you would think As Good as It Gets? is predominately about Charlotte and her husband, it is actually mentioned and dealt with quite quickly.    This book was what I expected, and there was nothing about it that overly concerned me.

Here’s Looking at You by Mhairi McFarlane | Rating: 3*

I had slowly been working my way through Mhairi McFarlane’s novels after loving Who’s That Girl?  I realised I had one more book to finish, and I had Here’s Looking at You on my Kindle ready to go.  Aureliana attends her high school reunion, only to find her high school bullies don’t recognise her!  With her plan for revenge discarded, Aureliana doesn’t expect to run into her major crush (and school bully) James.   Can she prove James is still the same bully underneath, or can she forgive him? Even though I love Mhairi’s humour, I couldn’t quite get into Here’s Looking at You.  It was long, and I didn’t feel comfortable with the emphasis on Aureliana’s weight.   I can see lots of other readers have enjoyed this novel, so perhaps it’s just me.

Women Focused Fiction 1 - What I Read in 2017 - Dont Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood | Rating: 5*

I was so happy to hear Kirsty Greenwood was releasing a new book, as I had loved her previous two novels Yours Truly and The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance  Go download them now, you won’t regret it.   In Big Sexy Love, world’s biggest scaredy cat Olive Brewster needs to step outside of her comfort zone to deliver a letter.  It’s not just an ordinary letter, it’s a letter from her dying best friend Birdie to her lost love, Chuck Allen.  Olive will need to face her fears and hand deliver the letter to Chuck in New York.    Big Sexy Love was a lorra lorra Big Sexy fun and was one of my favourite reads this year.

We Were on a Break by Lindsey Kelk | Rating: 3*

We Were on a Break was my first Lindsey Kelk book, but unfortunately, it was a disappointment.  Liv and Adam are madly in love. Adam is set to propose and Liv knows he is going to propose.  It is going to happen, it should happen but wait, it doesn’t happen.   Due to some misunderstanding, Liv and Adam take a break.   With love interests on the scene and a lot of miscommunication, can Liv and Adam work it out?   To be honest, I didn’t care whether Liv and Adam worked it out as I didn’t like either of them.  Even though the idea of the book is that they go on a break, I found the miscommunication between them SO frustrating more than anything.  The humour also seemed forced and reliant on the “hilarious” “banter” from Adam’s brother.   Ugh, now I’m annoyed just thinking about that character.

If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton | Rating: 4*

When I heard Keris Stainton was releasing two adult novels in 2017, I was incredibly excited.  I am a big fan of her YA novels, so I had high expectations.  If You Could See Me Now follows Izzy, who is determined to change her life.  Ditching her good-for-nothing boyfriend, she sets her sights on a promotion at work.  What she doesn’t expect to do is to wake up invisible!   That’s right, invisible.  Can Izzy change her life, and find a way to be seen?    If You Could See Me Now was fresh, fun and dare I say it, saucy.  Seriously, you’ll need to fan yourself at certain points in this book.

The Summer of Hopes and Dreams by Lynsey James | Rating: 4* [review]

Last year, I participated in the blog tour to read and review The Summer of Hopes and Dreams by Lynsey James.  I’ve been following Lynsey since the release of her first novel, and it’s been exciting to watch her author dream come true.  The Summer of Hopes and Dreams follows Cleo, who after a few tough years wants to get her life back on track with a bucket list.   On that bucket list, she wants to go on holiday, do something that scares her and fall in love.  When she catches the eye of hunky personal trainer Scott, it looks like one of those items is getting ticked off the bucket list.  But can Cleo face her demons and let herself be happy?  This was a new direction for Lynsey, and I’m fully behind her exploring sensitive topics in her novels.   My full review on Famous in Japan is available above if you would like to know my thoughts.

Women Focused Fiction - What I Read in 2017 - Dont Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

How To Find Your First Husband by Rosie Blake | Rating: 3*

I was in the mood to read, and after scrolling through my Kindle library, I decided to read How To Find Your First Husband by Rosie Blake.  I had bought it during a book buying spree but hadn’t read it.  Does anyone else do this?   Isobel, unhappy with her life in America chasing presenting jobs, sets out to find her primary school husband Andrew Parker.   Reminiscing about her happy childhood memories, Isobel is determined to find him even if it means following him halfway across the world!   This was a fun read but for me, it went on for longer than needed.

The Other Us by Fiona Harper | Rating: 4*

I was delighted to find The Other Us by Fiona Harper available at my local library, as I was desperate to read it.  After receiving an invite to her school reunion, Maggie can’t help but imagine what her life would have been like had she chosen Jude, instead of Dan (who she later married).   She wakes up the next morning, back in her life as a university student, and begins to explore the path had she chosen Jude.  What would her life be like?   Would she be happier?  Even though I loved The Other Us, and had me feeling very emotional, it was just a little too long for me.  I know, I am terrible.

It Had To Be You by Keris Stainton | Rating: 4*

I couldn’t wait for Keris Stainton’s newest release, It Had to be You.  Pre-ordered to my Kindle, I couldn’t wait for a Sunday morning to curl up with it.  Bea is a romantic, happy to curl up with a Netflix rom-com and daydream about a meeting her soulmate.   On paper, Dan is the man of her dreams.  But is he the man of dreams in reality?  Even though yes, it was a tad predictable it was what I wanted in a book; fun and feel-good. 

No One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day by Tracy Bloom | Rating: 2*

A Christmas Day read for me, and I flew through No One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day in a few hours.  Despite enjoying the first and second book in the series, I didn’t like the third outing.  The plot was rather thin, centring on a proposal between two minor characters and a minor dilemma that seemingly went unresolved. Overall, it was lacking the warmth and hilarity of the previous books.

The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake | Rating: 4*

My last read of 2017 was The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake.   When visiting the town of Yulethorpe, Clara sets herself the challenge of breathing life back into the local toy shop.  It’s going well until the owner’s son tries to sell it.  This was a perfect book to read over the festive period; it made me feel so cosy!  I avoided the Hygge trend last year but after reading I’m now re-considering…

Stay tuned for the final What I Read in 2017 instalment…

Daniella x

8th January 2018
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