aka Leah Mercer

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Marriage to Measure (2014)

Serenity Holland is taking control of her life and the first thing she is doing is proposing to her boyfriend, Jeremy. Unfortunately, once friends and family get wind of their engagement, the proposal seems to be the last thing Serenity is in control of. Everyone has an opinion - where they should get married, what the dress should look like, even what the theme of the wedding should be. When the wedding plans seem to take on a life of their own, thanks to her friend Lizzie and Jeremy's mother Felicity, Serenity realises her perfect day is slowly slipping through her fingers. She doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings but is she strong enough to stand up for the wedding, and the life, of her dreams? This fun, quick read is the third book in the Serenity Holland trilogy (following on from Build a Man and Construct a Couple). Talli Roland creates a thoroughly enjoyable story full of love, laughs, and a little bit of drama. Don't miss this one! (LEK)

The No-Kids Club (2014)

Clare's relationship ends when her boyfriend discovers she's not interested in having kids. With her best friend Ellie about to drop her first child, emergency doctor Clare decides she needs to expand her circle to include people who don't have kids. She puts out a call over social media for like-minded people and so The No-Kids Club is formed. Anna, who works part-time in a bookshop, feels fulfilled creating a cosy home environment for husband Michael but has never felt the maternal urge. She's looking for a way to prod Michael off the couch and find a new social outlet and is hoping the no-kids meetup may be the answer. Meanwhile all teacher Poppy wants in her life is a child, but husband Alistair has given up hope in IVF and wants to look at adoption instead. Poppy hopes the meeting will enable her to bond with others going through the same trials. The enjoyable story is told from the viewpoints of all three women, who are childless for different reasons, and readers will find it easy to empathise with their stories. Another reason to join the Talli Roland fan club.

The Pollyanna Plan (2012)

Realist Emma Beckett's world is turned upside down when her slightly boring but dependable relationship ends abruptly, and she unexpectedly loses her job. Emma is left with a gaping hole where her life used to be, so when her best friend challenges her to an attitude change, she uncharacteristically agrees to behave like Pollyanna and see the upside to every situation. Emma attempts to see if a positive attitude can help her to build a new life, mend conflicts with her family and find her love. But is finding the good in everything a bad idea? I liked the concept of this book. Emma was a very uptight character whose career was the most important aspect of her life, and we discover that in fact she wasn't very likable and didn't have many friends as a result. When her career dissolves and she starts to see the positive side of things, we see a whole new side to her and she grows a lot as a character throughout the novel. I didn't feel that there was much suspense in the will-they-won't-they romance with Will. I enjoyed her friendship with straight-talking Alice though. This was a feel-good, fast-paced read and another enjoyable novel from Talli. (LO)

Construct a Couple (2012)

Serenity Holland is back, and she now has a great job at a reputable magazine. And with her relationship going well, she thinks she has life in London pretty much sorted. But when a routine assignment uncovers a secret that may threaten her boyfriend's company, she decides to do whatever she can to help, in her typically haphazard manner. Can Serenity balance her fledgling career with her relationship, or are the secrets just too difficult to keep? As a huge fan of Talli's, and of Build a Man in particular, I had high hopes for this book, and it didn't disappoint. I wondered if it would be possible to top Serenity's previous antics, but Roland pulled it off with aplomb. The main character Serenity is lovable and relatable, and her hilarious exploits were a delight to read. She makes mistakes, and tries desperately to clean up after herself, and there were points in the book that I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I also particularly liked the character of Gregor, I thought he was brilliantly described, and I loved to hate him. A wonderful sequel to Build a Man, I hope to read more about Serenity Holland in the future. (LO)

Build a Man (2011)

Serenity Holland moves from America to London in the hope of pursuing her dreams of becoming a tabloid journalist. But it wasn't as easy as she thought, and instead she's working as a receptionist in a cosmetic surgery clinic and living with her uptight boss and boyfriend, Peter. Then she gets her big break. She goes undercover for a huge tabloid paper to write an in-depth article about a multi-millionaire client, Jeremy, who is undergoing almost every surgery possible in an attempt to find a woman. Her column, Build a Man, becomes an instant hit, and her friendship with Jeremy deepens as she attempts to dig up all the dirt from his past for her readers' enjoyment, without being found out by either Jeremy or Peter. But when the going gets tough, is Serenity really cut out for the world of tabloid journalism? I've been a fan of Talli Roland for a while now, and this book did not disappoint me. Serenity is a great character, very funny and I found I could relate to her. Her journey to fulfil her dreams of becoming a journalist is full of twists and turns, and kept me hooked until the end. And with a sequel planned for 2012, I can't wait to see what happens next in Serenity's life! (LO)

Watching Willow Watts (2011)

When small-town girl Willow Watts is coaxed into dressing up as Marilyn Monroe at the annual Belcherton's summer fair and is videoed singing Happy Birthday Mr President, the only member of the town's tourism board includes her crooning in a YouTube video to showcase the town - with a picture of Marilyn's face floating over Willow in case there is any doubt as to who she is impersonating. Someone makes a comment that the floating image is the ghost of Marilyn and that Willow is Marilyn reincarnate, causing the video to go viral - and before Willow knows what's happening, she's an overnight internet sensation. Fans of Marilyn flood into Belcherton to meet Willow, and when a hot-shot agent tries to lure Willow into signing with him to cash in on her newfound fame, Willow sees his suggestion as a solution to the debt problems her father is facing. Willow decides to embrace her new identity and does her best to become Marilyn - but as she changes, a ghost from her past appears and Willow starts to wonder if just being plain old Willow Watts was so bad after all. If you can get past the implausibility of certain aspects of the plot and take the book as a tongue-in-cheek read, there are plenty of positives in Watching Willow Watts - a fresh and well-thought-out narrative, likeable characters, dry wit and an interesting perspective on overnight fame. (SBB)

The Hating Game (2011)

Mattie Johns is a confident woman who prides herself on her tell-it-like-it-is personality. With her recruitment business on the verge of bankruptcy, Mattie jumps at the opportunity to star on a dating show in the hope of winning 200,000 pounds. During the first taping, it is revealed that the male contestants are actually former flames of Mattie. Mattie is especially horrified to learn that her ex-boyfriend Kyle, who she believes cheated on her and then stole her business clients, is one of the contestants. As Mattie steers her way through some ridiculous dates, she begins to wonder about her decisions in the past. If you sometimes question the authenticity of reality television, you will enjoy how the author portrays the behind-the-scene planning of the show's producers. (AO)

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