Fat Chance by Nick Spalding

Synopsis

Meet Zoe and Greg Milton, a married couple who have let themselves go a bit.
 
Zoe was a stunner in her college days, but the intervening decades have added five stone, and removed most of her self-esteem. Greg’s rugby-playing days are well and truly behind him, thanks to countless pints of beer and chicken curry.
 
When Elise, a radio DJ and Zoe’s best friend, tells them about a new competition, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn their lives around. Fat Chance will pit six hefty couples against one another to see who can collectively lose the most weight and walk away with a £50,000 prize.
 
So begins six months of abject misery, tears, and frustration—that just might turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to them—in another laugh-out-loud look at the way we live now from bestselling author Nick Spalding.

Review

Nick Spalding is an author where I’ve heard only good things about, and despite owning quite a few of his books on kindle, it’s only now that I decided to take the plunge and read one. I thought the premise of this would be something I could connect with since I am trying to lose weight myself, so thought it would be a good laugh that could accompany me through my own weight loss attempt.
 
Told in viewpoints of both Greg and Zoe, we see their struggles and also their triumphs as they attempt to win the weight loss competition. The writing was funny and some of the situations they get themselves into are hilarious and cringe-worthy at the same time.
 
At times, the book felt like a collection of essays/stories that Nick Spalding had previously wrote about weight loss, be it a humorous look at the cost of weight loss and exercise or what certain diets do to people. Then added the competition plot in order to make it into one story. I generally enjoyed it, but I would have loved it to feel more like a complete novel rather than a essay collection.
 
I would have loved to get to know the other contestants more, other than their caricatures of the stereotypes that they were designated when written.
 
On a similar note, and more integral to the story than the smaller roles in the book, I would also have liked to know Zoe and Greg more, outside of them trying to lose weight and their dilemmas surrounding that. The book talks a lot that people only see them as fat, but other than one small sub-plot which I feel could have been written about much more in depth, we, the reader, only get to see them as fat as we don’t get to know the other sides to them.
 
I didn’t hate Greg and Zoe, but at times I didn’t like them very much either. Zoe was the instigator of this weight loss regime, and seemed the least committed to it at times, maybe because I don’t think we got to see her realisation of making it work like we did with Greg, with Zoe the only attempts that stuck with me until over very far into the book was one fad diet and her selling her gym passes, which, lets face it could help with trying to lose weight. Other than this issue, there was also her friendship with Elise. They were best friends and then Elise done something that I know I would find tough to forgive quickly, and Zoe did so easily. Obviously they’re best friends, but that’s something we’re told, I didn’t feel it between them so don’t understand why Zoe was so forgiving.
 
Greg, despite being against entering this competition, clearly loved Zoe and really started to try for her, to keep her happy. He gets a personal trainer, and even though it’s hell, he keeps going and really tries his hardest. I don’t feel we really got that realisation with Zoe. The main problem I had with Greg was his desperate attempts at assuring us that HE’S NOT GAY AND IS MOST DEFINITELY MACHO. Seemingly every time he might have been doing something that could be considered by some as camp or feminine, such as attending musicals without a girlfriend, he made sure to put to rest any doubts about his masculinity that we may have had in our minds, even though, most likely we wouldn’t be having those doubts anyway.
 
The basic feeling is simple, I’m just really disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this book.
 
 
Published by: Lake Union
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 
 

Girl 99 by Andy Jones

Girl99Synopsis

When Tom’s girlfriend walks out on him the day before Christmas, he feels humiliated but not necessarily heartbroken. Sadie wasn’t, after all, The One. If we’re being precise, she was number eighty-five.
 
And so, for reasons that are only mostly wrong, Tom embarks on a mission to bring his number of encounters up to a nice neat one hundred.
 
Over the course of his quest he sleeps with a colleague, a colleague of a friend, a friend of a friend, a friend of a friend’s wife, the estate agent selling his flat and several more besides.
 
Everything is going, if not well, then at least according to plan…and then Tom meets Verity. Whether she’s The One remains to be seen, but she’s certainly more than just another number.

Review

I’ve read the first two books by Andy Jones and they were both very good, so I was definitely looking forward to this one. It has a slightly lighter tone than the other two, but still has the same sense of fun, and I was soon relaxing as I delved into the story.
 
The writing is as sharp and observant as the other two. You have the funny moments, even when it’s also quite bad at the same time, there is some humour to it.
 
I was worried initially that I wouldn’t like Tom because I couldn’t relate to his objective and at the start he was more about the numbers than the people in one way, but I was stupid for worrying. I actually really liked him, he’s flawed (aren’t we all?!) but likeable. I loved reading about him and his family. As he was a fair bit older than his sister, it left him in the middle a bit, but he stuck up for his sister a lot which was great to see. Also to see his sister grow as well, especially when going on
 
This book also stars El, who also starred in Andy’s book ‘The Two of Us’, but this book is set before then, so El’s illness is less progressed. This didn’t stop the emotion being there. el’s relationship with Phil was absolutely heartbreaking. It added a bit more depth, to a story that is relatively light hearted.
 
This book was a fairly quick read that offers a lot of heart, but also the sense of fun I’ve come to enjoy from Andy’s books, even more so than the other books given the lighter overall tone.
 
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Published by: Lake Union
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 
andyjones_croppedAbout The Author

Andy Jones lives in London with his wife and two little girls. During the day he works in an advertising agency; at weekends and horribly early in the mornings, he writes fiction.
 
You can find Andy on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram as andyjonesauthor
 

The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland

nokidsclubSynopsis

At almost forty, Clare Donoghue is living child-free and loving it.

Then her boyfriend says he wants kids, breaking off their promising relationship. And it’s not just boyfriends: one by one, her formerly carefree friends are swallowed up in a nonstop cycle of play dates and baby groups. So Clare decides it’s time for people who don’t have children to band together. And so the No-Kids Club is born.

As the group comes together—Anna, who’s seeking something to jumpstart a stale marriage, and Poppy, desperate for a family but unable to conceive—Clare’s hoping to make the most of the childless life with her new friends.

Will the No-Kids Club be Clare’s route to happiness, or will the single life lose its sparkle?