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All I Want For Christmas By Joanna Bolouri

All I Want For Christmas‘All I Want For Christmas’ is the latest book by Joanna Bolouri.

When Nick loses his job and is dumped by his glamorous but demanding girlfriend, he is forced to grudgingly accept work as a Santa at a local Christmas grotto. As his friends are getting married or promoted, Nick spends his days being terrorised by unfriendly elves and cried on by snotty, spoiled children. Then he meets 4-year-old Alfie. All Alfie wants for Christmas is for his mum, Sarah, to be happy again. Moved by the boy’s selfless wish, Nick arranges a date between Sarah and his best friend, Matt. But as Sarah and Alfie become part of all their lives, Nick realises that happiness for Sarah and Matt might mean heartbreak for himself.

When it comes to great comical writers with implacable timing and great dialogue, I wholeheartedly rank Joanna Bolouri in that category.

Having read her previous books such as ‘The List’ and ‘Relight My Fire’, I was keen to read her latest festive book called ‘All I Want For Christmas’, as I knew it would lift me out of my reading slump and I was delighted to be right.

The story is seen through the narrative of Nick, who loses his high powered job just on the mouth of Christmas. Unable to find a job, he decides to take on the role of Santa Claus at the local shopping centre. Not the greatest fan of children but proving to be a natural, Nick embraces the job promising the latest toys, but finds himself in a quandary when one of the children asks for his mother to be happy for his Christmas present.

Nick literally takes the task to hand even though, he finds himself attracted to Sarah, the mother of Alfie and decides that setting her up with his best friend Matt.

The story follows the course of the year as Matt and Sarah become a couple, whilst Nick watches on from the sidelines and realises that Sarah is the perfect woman for him and begins to see Alfie as a surrogate son.

Everything about this story is simply perfect, the characters, the plot line as well as the witty dialogue between the characters. I loved Nick, he’s kind, warmhearted and such a giving person putting other needs before his own. Even though, he feels drawn to Sarah, he still believes that Matt can offer her more and watches from the sidelines as he slowly falls in love with her. Also Alfie, Sarah’s little boy was adorable in his sweetness and his primary concern was his mother’s happiness, since his father had died.

The story is filled with hilarious moments with funny one liners as well as the crazy situations that Nick found himself in. But as well as the humour in the story, there’s also an element of poignancy and grief as both Nick and Sarah have to deal with losses and how grief is particularly hard at Christmas.

Witty and heartwarming from the first page, ‘All I Want For Christmas’ is a festive bundle of love and fun that will you creasing up with laughter throughout.

Relight My Fire By Joanna Bolouri

Relight My Fire‘Relight My Fire’ is the latest book by Joanna Bolouri.

When Phoebe and Oliver had their happy ending, they thought the hard part was over. And now, with a five year old daughter, they are far from the blissful hedonistic lifestyle of when they first started dating. Not one for giving up, Phoebe creates a sexy wishlist: a jar where they can ask the other for anything they’ve ever wanted in bed – or out of it. But with distractions aplenty, will they be able to relight the fire in the bedroom?

I spent the weekend with my head in this funny and fresh tale. A frank and honest reflection on relationships, with hilarious situations and witty one-liners.

This is the third book that I’ve read by Joanna and this book sees the welcome return of Phoebe Henderson who appeared in one of her earlier books called ‘The List’. In this book, Phoebe is hurtling towards her 39th birthday and feels that her relationship with her boyfriend called Oliver is growing stale, so with the advice of her best friends, Lucy and Hazel, she enlists the help of a therapist called Pam, who helps them ignite their fires.

As they progress with their therapy, Phoebe and Oliver begin to discover things about themselves as well as their relationship.

Joanna is a fantastic writer, she writes wittily and from the heart. With a strong relatable leading woman who makes for delightful reading. Phoebe is my new best friend, she’s frank and straight to the point and with her best friends, they’d be perfect for a night out.

Fun from the very start, ‘Relight My Fire’ is a deliciously, naughty book, a story that had me snorting throughout, a must read for all fans of Mhairi McFarlane.

You can buy Relight My Fire from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Time By Joanna Bolouri

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Time‘The Most Wonderful Time Of The Time’ is the third book by Joanna Bolouri.

Thirty-eight year old Emily has a satisfying job, fab friends and, most importantly, a wonderful flat, exactly 411 miles away from the judgemental, crazy, interfering family she reluctantly sees twice a year. In fact, the only minor stress in her life is her twenty-something neighbour Evan and his penchant for flirting, loud music and even louder sex, but he’s nothing she can’t handle. Emily also has a boyfriend called Robert and it’s going really well. So well, in fact, that this year Emily is hoping to take him home for Christmas to meet her family. Finally she won’t be subject to five days of nosy questions from her parents and pity looks from her younger married siblings. But when Robert breaks up with her a week before Christmas, Emily is gutted. How on earth is she going to face her family now? Enlisting the help of party boy Evan (in exchange for one month’s rent and the use of her convertible) Emily is determined to take Robert home for Christmas come hell or high water, even if it isn’t the real Robert.

When it comes to a brash and fun tale of love and disaster, Joanna is the one author who writes it perfectly, even though she is a relatively new author for me, having only read one author book by her, I have come to the conclusion, that she has quickly become one of my favourite authors.

In her latest story, we meet Emily, a woman who is content in her life, she’s happy in her teaching job, only is minimally annoyed by her temperamental housemates and has met the perfect gentleman called Robert, a man that she can bring home for Christmas and finally get a break from her braying family about why she isn’t married with children. But when her relationship falls apart and to save face, Emily employs the help of her annoyingly handsome neighbour, Evan to pretend to be her Robert. Packed with post-its of research, the duo head home to Scotland where they prepare to put on the performance of their lifetimes, as they pretend to be the most loved up couple in the world.

Right from the very beginning, we are introduced to Emily, a fun loving, outspoken Scottish woman who is loving life, the only thing that is annoying her, is her neighbour Evan, who’s sexy times are literally keeping her awake. He’s charming and handsome and really knows what buttons to push to get a reaction from her. So when she drunkenly asks him to pretend to her boyfriend, I knew this entertaining story was going to get a whole lot better. Evan is a sweetheart of a man, he’s kind and witty and it’s obivious that he likes Emily more than she realises.

A story is seen solely through the narrative of Emily and I loved it, her honesty and blunt nature had me laughing out loud on buses and in work. Joanna has a knack of writing such frank and enjoyable stories that makes it impossible for me to put the book down. The story flows at the fast pace, as the unlikely and reluctant friendship between Emily and Evan progresses and she begins to warm to him and see him less as a nuisance and more of a potential friend. Other supporting characters are as equally entertaining as Emily and Evan, Alice and Toby who are Emily’s housemates have a volatile relationship that rapidly changes from love and hate in a manner of seconds, whereas Emily’s family are an inquisitive and fun crowd who want nothing more than to see the oldest daughter happy but Iona, Emily’s youngest twin sister, is cynical towards the relationship and interactions between the two sisters do make for seriously fun reading.

A wittily written story that is packed with unfortunate disasters, reluctant heroines and hero’s, ’The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ is the most hilarious Christmas story that I’ve had the joy of reading this year, filled with witty one liners and raunchy moments, this book is the ideal distraction from life, the perfect book for fans of Mhairi MacFarlane.

You can buy The Most Wonderful Time of the Year from Amazon and ia available to buy from good bookshops.

I Followed The Rules By Joanna Bolouri

I Followed The Rules‘I Followed The Rules’ is the latest book by Joanna Bolouri.

Rule 1: Never ask him on a first date. Rule 2: Laugh admiringly at all his jokes. Rule 3: Always leave him wanting more.

. . . wtf?!

Have you heard of The Rules of Engagement? It’s a book that promises to teach you to find the man of your dreams in ten easy steps. Unsurprisingly, I don’t own a copy. What is it, 1892? But I’m a journalist, and I’ve promised to follow it to the letter and write about the results. Nevermind that my friends think I’m insane, I’m stalking men all over town and can’t keep my mouth shut at the best of times. My name is Cat Buchanan. I’m thirty-six years old and live with my daughter in Glasgow. I’ve been single for six years, but that’s about to change. After all, I’m on a deadline. I Followed the Rules and this is what happened.

‘I Followed The Rules’ is a scrumptiously engaging and fun book that I’ve been absorbed in over the last few days.

The story is seen through the very frank and honest eyes of Catriona, a single mum to 8 year old Grace and journalist for where she writes her weekly column ‘Glasgow Girl’ until one day she is told that her column has become stale and must look into new exciting material and then she is introduced to ‘The Rules Of Engagement’ , a dating book written by a man with dated, old fashioned dating tips, guaranteed to snag a man. So over a course of weeks, Catriona applies the rules that the book advises and maintaining an air of mystery, she manages to meet Tom, a divorced dentist.

Catriona is a wonderful leading lady, she was smart, quick witted with an open minded personality and isn’t afraid to tell people what she really thinks of them, especially when it comes to Peter, her ex and father of Grace, a miniature version of Cat, a whirlwind of energy who is never still and is excited about her fathers upcoming nuptials.

As I’m from Northern Ireland and the story is set in Glasgow, I found the humour of the book quite similar to Northern Ireland and regularly found myself in fits of laughter at Cat’s outspokenness and disastrous dates. The story is filled with great, fun characters that really make for entertaining and sexy reading particularly Dylan, a dashing and handsome man who has caught Cat’s attention but goes against everything that she has learnt from the book, that has now become her bible.

Packed with humour, fun and a deliciously scandalous heroine, ‘I Followed The Rules’ is a wonderful and witty introduction to a new author for me and is definitely an author I shall be looking forward to reading more off.

You can buy I Followed the Rules from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Joanna Bolouri Writers Tip

Joanna Bolouri
That all depends on what they’re writing. I guess getting your work seen is invaluable, whether it’s by a friend, on a blog or sending it out everywhere. It builds a thicker skin, which you definitely need. People are mean to writers.
Joanna Bolouri