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Meet and Delete (2015)

When Megan's fiance pulls out of the wedding, she moves in with friends Viv and Claire and tries to move on with her life. The girls decide to try online dating, and soon discover the joys and pitfalls of meeting men online. Firstly I thought that the author did a good job of giving a balanced look at online dating, showing both the successful dates and the more disastrous ones. However, I found the main characters quite one-dimensional, I didn't warm to any of them at all. For example, Claire goes through a major ordeal at one point, and a few days later is out dating again, so it seemed unrealistic at times. Also, I found the narrative to be stilted and the flow of the novel was jumpy, it changed too quickly from one part to another. There were some interesting twists in the plot that I wasn't expecting, but that wasn't enough to save this one for me. (LO)

Behind Every Cloud (2012)

Sam's wine course thrusts Ellie, Rachel, Ronan and Zita together. Ellie is planning her dream wedding but when her fiance starts a prestigious new job, things begin to change between them. Ronan's marriage to shopaholic Louise is on the rocks, and has left him in dire financial straits. Rachel is married to high-profile politician Carl but her perfect life is a facade. And unknown to anyone, Zita's sole reason for joining the course is to ensnare Rachel's husband to further her career in television. After eight weeks on the wine course, they know their wines, and firm friendships have formed. But everything else has changed beyond recognition. The wine course brings together a diverse range of personalities, and they complemented each other well. Zita is the standout character for me, you have to love to hate her, and she has a great background story. I also found the portrayal of Rachel and the challenges of her life behind the glamour to be quite interesting. With an abundance of central characters, this book was never boring. However, there was a few too many stories going on for me, and while they all intertwined perfectly, at times I felt that if there were one or two less, the more compelling ones could have been fleshed out more. That said, I did enjoy this book immensely, and will certainly be looking forward to reading more by Pauline Lawless. (LO)

A Year Like No Other (2011)

Four women arrive to spend a year in Paris. Irish girl Ashling has always wanted to live in France, and is thrilled when her husband Kieran is chosen to work on a new financial project there. Felicity, a neurotic Englishwoman from an aristocratic background, is devastated when her husband Max is also chosen. She doesn't know how she'll cope. Taylor is a spoilt, prescription drug addict from New York whose husband Brandon has accepted the job too, and while she would rather do anything else, she has no choice but to join him in Paris. And Jazz is a banker from Germany who has been chosen to work alongside the men on the project, but she is reluctant to return to Paris having had her heart broken there years ago. The women join Sophie, whose husband Yves is heading up the project, and friendships are quickly formed between them all. While some characters thrive in their new environment, others struggle, and soon infidelity, drugs and deceit threaten to change all their lives forever. While I did enjoy this book, I felt that the events in it could have been spaced out better. The first four months of their year in Paris takes up almost 300 pages, while the last eight months fly by in less than 100, making the end of the book a bit of a blur. For example, one character announces her pregnancy, and with barely a mention of it again she is suddenly six weeks away from her due date. I also found some aspects of the book a tad unrealistic. The fact that Ashling manages to start writing a novel having never done anything like it before, finish it and get a publishing deal within four months, all while raising two little girls alone while her workaholic husband is never home, and spend copious amounts of time with the other women, seemed a bit improbable to me. The storyline is quite good, with all the characters developing and growing throughout the book, but overall I thought it could have been better. (LO)

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