TITLES M

Titles - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T The U V W X Y Z

Mad about the Boy - Maggie Alderson (2002)

When Antonia Heaveringham's aristocratic husband Hugh tells her he's gay and moving in with his hairdresser boyfriend, she finds she is increasingly snubbed by the social set in her adopted city of Sydney. But Ant refuses to fade away . . . instead she goes into the antiques business and joins a gym to lose her post-separation podge where she meets the mysterious James.


Back to top

Mad About You - Sinead Moriarty (2013)

This tells the latest story of Emma and James, the main characters in Sinead Moriarty's first three books, The Baby Trail, A Perfect Match and From Here to Maternity. Emma and James have just moved from Dublin to London for James' job as a rugby coach, with their two young children. Emma is apprehensive about the impact the change may have on their lives. However, her worst fears about what might lie ahead don't include what actually does. Within weeks of moving, James starts receiving sex-texts from an unknown number. He presumes it's one of the players he coaches, pulling his leg. The texts continue and then sex toys start arriving at the house, addressed to Emma. Soon, threatening texts are being sent to Emma's phone. James vehemently denies that he is having an affair. Emma wants to believe him but she's aware that with their busy work schedules, their marriage has become stale and she begins to wonder if he really is cheating on her - and it's not long before their marriage starts to fall apart under the strain and suspicion. Should Emma trust her husband? Is he cheating on her, or is he really the victim of an obsessed stalker? Will Emma figure out who it is in time to save her marriage? Mad About You has a huge readability factor, enhanced by a sub-plot involving Emma's irrepressible sister Babs. Interesting themes are explored in the book - trust within a marriage, how women as the family breadwinner in a demanding job affects home life, one partner wanting a second child when the other doesn't and the impact of this on a marriage, and many others. Although I was disappointed that the ending wasn't more unpredictable, the characters, the humour and the themes explored made up for that and it was still a fantastic read overall. (SBB)


Back to top

Maddy Goes to Hollywood - Maureen Martella (1999)

Maddy lives on an Irish farm with her cheating husband Turlough, distant twin sons and unloving mother. So when her high-flying scriptwriter sister Gloria invites her to Hollywood, she jumps at the chance. Especially when she discovers her sister lives with the hottest guy on TV - Carlos, who plays Rick Hein in a popular soapie. But Gloria does have her motives - she wants Maddy to be a surrogate, and the "catch" is she doesn't want to use the turkey baster method.


Back to top

Made in Essex - Laura Ziepe (2014)

Following on from Essex Girls, Jade is back in Essex after the Marbella holiday she took with Kelly and Lisa, and is happily in a relationship with the gorgeous Sam. Jade and Kelly are working on their new bikini business which promises to be a success due to it being so original. Everything is going well until evil Adele appears back in their life and starts to cause trouble wherever she goes. I think this series of books is one you will either love or hate. I personally cannot get enough! I love the way they are written, they are so quick to engross you and have the perfect elements: humour, plot twists and loveable characters. Laura may not be a very literary author but she certainly knows how to capture an audience and not let them go until they've turned the final page. I really enjoy the third-person narrative and how we see things from lots of characters' perspectives, it makes it a really involving and fast-paced read. My favourite character is still Jade; she's down to earth, loyal to her friends and proves that Essex girls are more than just fake eyelashes and hair. Kelly is a 'typical' blonde bimbo but I absolutely adore her little blonde moments, they provide such humour and I cheered very loudly when she got to show she actually had some serious brains in this novel. One thing Laura really executed well in this novel was Adele: the villain. She was vile and I felt so frustrated every time she did something nasty or tried to make herself look better than she was. I loved how throughout she was digging her own grave and loved how she finally got her comeuppance. A definite winner in my opinion and a book you can take with you on holiday this year or read snuggled up in bed. (JC)


Back to top

Made in Nashville - Mandy Baggot (2014)

Honor Blackwood was a revered country music star before an on-stage assault effectively ended her career. Now 10 years on, Honor is considering returning to the stage. When country music star and bad boy Jed Marshall sets his sights on Honor to support him on his upcoming tour, the attraction between the two is undeniable. But Jed's past is about to catch up with him. Can Honor see past it to find the man she loves, and get her career restarted at the same time? I'm not really a country music fan but this book may make me rethink that! The Nashville music scene is portrayed so vividly that I could almost hear the guitars strumming. Jed Marshall is a charming and charismatic romantic hero, a sweet Southern boy with a dark and mysterious past, and Honor is so humble and relatable I couldn't help but connect with her. These two damaged individuals are drawn to each other, and help each other heal, in a real-feel good story with plenty of juicy plot twists to keep you hooked to the last page. (LO)


Back to top

Magnolia - Carolina Garcia-Aguilera (2012)

Magnolia, the 22-year-old protagonist, hails from a conservative, Catholic Minneapolis family. Against her family and friends' wishes she follows her boyfriend "Fabulous Fred" to Miami. But it turns out that Fabulous Fred is not so fabulous after all and Magnolia is left with a broken heart and bankrupt bank account. Without a job and running out of options (since her pride is at stake), Magnolia finds herself in a bar, drinking herself to numbness when a posh sports agent Oona O'Ryan takes a seat next to her. After an initial round of introductions, Magnolia and Oona exchange their sob stories over rum and Coke. Oona moves on to make a unique business proposition to Magnolia, one that will allow her to live in Miami and earn a great deal of money while giving Oona an "edge" against other agents. And so starts Magnolia's journey as she transforms herself into a "sports geisha," (ie a high-priced hooker for elite athletes). After this the plot basically revolves around Magnolia's sexcapades with different athletes as she plays part hooker, part psychiatrist to them. It brings the big bucks for sure (which Magnolia needs to set up an art school for underprivileged children) but it also puts Magnolia's personal life at stake. Despite the glossy job, great pay and great sex with handsome athletes, Magnolia is ridden by guilt and internally conflicted as she has to perpetually live a lie in front of her family and Max (the love of her life). Go for this if you are in mood for something sporty and erotic. (PD)


Back to top

Magnolia Park - Kate McCabe (2012)

The story is set in beautiful Magnolia Park in Fuengirola on the Spanish Costa del Sol. Amy and her partner Sam arrive at Magnolia Park for a much-needed holiday. Amy has been unhappy with the relationship and hopes that the holiday will change things. Sam, however, has other priorities apart from Amy. In the complex they meet Betty, who has been married for more than 30 years but has spent the majority of that time living apart from her husband. She meets Nigel and she too has to deal with changes in her relationship. Betty's son Josh, who was heartbroken when his last relationship ended, comes to stay with her and a chance encounter changes his life too. Although somewhat predictable, I found the characters to be memorable and felt like they were old friends by the end of the book. It's a great story with a wonderful feel-good ending. (BS)


Back to top

Magnolia Wednesdays - Wendy Wax (2010)

After a disastrous and humiliating expose leaves her with a bullet wound to her backside, investigative journalist Vivien Armstrong Grey finds herself at a crossroads in her life. She quits her job when she learns she is being pushed aside for a newer, younger version of herself, and soon after, at age 41, discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant. With her boyfriend, Stone, covering the war in Afghanistan, Vivien decides to head home to Atlanta, stay with her widowed sister, Melanie, and take a job reporting on life in suburbia under the pen-name Scarlett Leigh. Using her sister's life, and the friends she makes at the Magnolia Ballroom, as the basis for her column, Vivien finds she has plenty to write about: stay-at-home mums she likens to finely trained triathletes; helicopter parents guiding their children's lives right down to the smallest detail, and prom preparations that rival planning a wedding, all of which she describes with more than a hint of sarcasm. When her column begins to incite rage in the soccer mums she is writing about, and she finds herself growing closer to her sister, niece and nephew, she begins to wonder what keeping secrets will do to her new-found relationships, not to mention her relationship with Stone, whom she has yet to inform of his impending fatherhood. However, before she can figure out a delicate way to let everyone in on her secrets, things go horribly wrong and she is faced with trying to clean up a mess she had hoped to avoid. With a memorable cast of characters, a well-crafted story of friendships and family ties, and a plot twist that I certainly did not see coming, this is a fantastic read that you won't be able to put down and most certainly will not want to end.(LEK)


Back to top

Make Him Look Good - Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez (2006)

Ricky Biscayne is a Latin singing sensation who is trying to cross over into the mainstream market. Milan is his biggest fan and is soon to become more intimately involved with him as his new publicist. Milan's sister Geneva is setting up Miami's hottest new club Club G and wants Ricky involved. Jill Sanchez, a manipulative Latina star who's having an affair with Ricky, also wants in to the club. Jasminka, Ricky's supermodel wife, finally starts eating something now she's found out she's pregnant. Meanwhile firefighter Irene wants to keep her high school romance with Ricky out of the spotlight unlike her daughter Sophia, who is beginning to suspect she looks a lot like the superstar. Then there's producer/songwriter Matthew, who's been with Ricky from the beginning but is now having to take on too big a role. A pacy novel told from the various points of view.


Back to top

Make My Wish Come True - Fiona Harper (2013)

Juliet and Gemma are sisters who couldn't be more different from one another. Juliet is completely focused on her children after her divorce two years ago; she wants them to have the perfect Christmas and with the help of her organisational skills and little book filled with lists, she is determined to have everything done before Christmas Eve. Gemma is happily single, devoted to her glamorous job and can't wait to spend the end of December somewhere sunny and far away from home and her family. Several days before Christmas, Juliet suddenly loses it when Gemma disappoints her once again, and the two sisters decide to swap lives in order to discover whether the grass really is greener on the other side: Juliet will go on a sunny holiday while Gemma will celebrate a family Christmas in England. Will the switch really help Gemma and Juliet's bond as sisters or will it turn out to be a disastrous Christmas for both of them? At the centre of the novel there are two great main female characters, whose storylines I both loved. They are really different women who are both taken out of their comfort zone, which made it even more interesting to see the development of their relationship as sisters and as individuals. The contrast between spending a Christmas at home in rainy England together with four kids and a bunch of neighbours (including the handsome Will), or alone under a parasol on a white beach in the Caribbean sun (with a hunky Latin man in the cabin next door), was great to read about and I thoroughly enjoyed the festive element of this book. Published by Mills & Boon, I am convinced that any lover of chick lit novels will enjoy this book. It is a wonderful, captivating, well-written novel with a good dose of Christmas sparkle at its core. (JoH)


Back to top

Making Lemonade - Kate Langdon (2007)

Three 30-plus women all have perfect lives - or are on the way to having them - when fate throws each of them lemons to deal with. Jools has just been publicly dumped and humiliated on a work do in Fiji by her latest (in a string of) married lovers. She has a one-night bar-fling - and ends up with more than she ever bargained for. Sally is the perfect wife and mother of three. But when her husband becomes a famous televangelist, when did she suddenly become unimportant to everyone and where's all the family savings gone? Kat has the perfect job, perfect husband, dream home and plans for starting a family. But then she suspects her husband is having an affair and nothing is what it seems. These three women have to re-evaluate, re-start and re-claim their lives and dreams. The characters, settings and story are so well written, you can't help but feel part of Jools, Sally and Kat's lives. In my view Kate Langdon's books should carry a warning for "Extreme laughter guaranteed - do not read in public if you get embarrassed by laughing aloud!" (AT)


Back to top

Making Marion - Beth Moran (2014)

Running away from an impending marriage, Marion arrives in Sherwood Forest, hoping to find out more about her late father. Initially mistaken for someone else, she finds a job and a place to stay at the Peace and Pigs campsite, run by the big-hearted Scarlett. Now the super-shy Marion has to find a way to break out of her shell - and overcome the demons of her unfortunate childhood - to save the campsite from an unscrupulous landowner. And she can't stop thinking about Reuben, the heir to the manor who is basically engaged to the foxy Erica. Full of quirky characters, including Scarlett's foster daughter Valerie and the overly amorous lord and lady of Hatherstone Hall, this debut novel does pack in quite a few storylines, from the mystery surrounding her father to the unwanted attentions of a colleague. The pace really ramps up in the second emotional half, so stick with it.



Back to top

Making Your Mind Up - Jill Mansell (2006)

Lottie Carlyle, mum to Nat and Ruby, hasn't had a relationship, let alone a date, since divorcing her philandering husband Mario. In the luscious setting of Hestacombe Village in the Cotswolds, it seems as if her dreams have been answered when stylish Wall Street stockbroker Tyler Klein, seeking a change of lifestyle, buys the local cottages where she works. While Lottie has her eye on the target, her children have other ideas about Tyler and set out to ensure their relationship doesn't even get off the ground. Then Lottie meets confident and flamboyant Seb who takes her mind off Tyler; but working with him stirs the deep and hidden passion between them. Will they give in to their attractions? To help Lottie decide is her unwell former boss Freddie, friend Cressida and all of the other locals in the close-knit village. As if Lottie doesn't have enough to contend with in her own life, she tries to keep her ex-husband faithful to his current girlfriend whom the kids adore. When it turns out that Seb is not all that he appears to be, will Lottie and Tyler finally get together or will the stunning visitor from America steal his heart first? Mansell introduces some loveable characters with depth and reality. (LF)


Back to top

Mama's Got a Brand New Job - Janis Powers (2013)

Having a career, a husband and being pregnant all at the same time is a challenge for high achiever Maxine Pedersen. As a patent attorney and armed with knowledge of all things vodka, Maxine secures a high-end account with a French perfume company. But all is not smooth sailing from there. Add to the mix an unexpected pregnancy, a snooping work colleague who is keen to take her job and of course the hunt for the perfect nanny, Maxine's bumpy ride from career woman to motherhood is full of unexpected twists and turns. Funny, entertaining and edge-of-your-seat writing will capture the heart of readers as they join Maxine on her journey from attorney to motherhood. What makes this book so great is its ability to relate to real-life scenarios which many mothers experience. Flawless writing with a sense of humour make the most of an at-time overbearing mother; a husband who makes the difficult transition from husband to father; and an employer who struggles with the idea that a woman can be both a mother and a committed worker. Maxine's character is timeless. Her personality makes the most of a difficult situation and turns her life around completely to suit her family and her needs. Highly recommended with lots of laughs and a dose of reality! (MP)


Back to top

Mandatory Release - Jess Riley (2013)

Graham and Drew were high school friends who met up again after years of disillusionment where love is concerned. This time around they meet up at work - a prison no less, where they are both employed. Graham is still trying to deal with his disability and Drew is reeling from a broken heart. The attraction they feel for each other is confusing and so they just keep plodding onward through the hurt until they find their way - to who knows where and to whom?? I thought this book was awesome! The sense of humour was rather warped but I could not help but laugh in spite of the circumstances. I really liked the characters, they were just people trying to find some type of "normal" in their twisted world. Drew and Graham were by far my favs, so sad for them, having to deal with situations that were not entirely of their making. I would absolutely recommend this book, which is about rolling with the punches and dealing with life the best way we can. (KARM)


Back to top

Maneater - Gigi Levangie Grazer (2003)

Do you remember the early 90s movie Clueless that made every young girl want to move to Beverly Hills to act and dress like Cher and the gang? Well, meet Clarissa and the Star Chamber clan, in Maneater. These women are not in high school, although with the way that they act, you would never guess they were in their 30s, but they do have their own Beverly Hills ditzy girl lingo, like opting to say the phrase, "heart attack" when an attractive woman walks in who supposedly gives other women heart palpitations in a fit of jealousy. This group of wannabe superstars constantly argue with one another and talk about each other behind their backs. Clarissa, who seems to be the leader of the pack, is a woman who thinks she has it all, but in reality is nothing but an immature, annoying and ignorant woman who knocks off a couple of years whenever she tells anyone her age to make herself feel better and looks to her bartender for career advice. She flares up over the smallest of things, runs away from all of her troubles and makes a mess out of every situation she is involved in. For a main character, she is a bit hard to relate to and even harder to like. Overall, this story has a lot of random twists and turns which makes this story interesting but causes you to question what exactly is happening and why. (CC)


Back to top

Manhattan Dreaming - Anita Heiss (2010)

Lauren, a curator at the National Aboriginal Gallery in Canberra, is offered a fellowship to New York. Lauren is one of those women who's very capable on the job front but not so smart where men are concerned. She finds that the men of NY know how to appreciate women, unlike her so-called boyfriend back home, Adam, a Canberra rugby league player who is well-known for his off-field antics. But even as she begins relishing life in the city that never sleeps - from her lovely colleague Wyatt, her Koori flatmate Kirsten and the Australian pub where the drink du jour is the Ozmo - she continues to check up on Adam through his MySpace page. With the classic romantic ending up the Empire State Building (you just know it was coming), this may well get you appreciating indigenous art and dreaming of life in the Big Apple. Best line: "The flag should be flown on flagpoles, not bogans."


Back to top

Manhunting - Jennifer Crusie (2003)

Financial consultant Kate Svenson has been engaged three times but at 35, is still looking for her ideal man. So friend Jessica convinces her to follow her plan to snare a successful businessman at a resort in remote Toby's Corner. There, Kate accepts several dates from different men but things just keep going awry. And there's one man Kate knows she should keep away from but just can't - Jake, the resort's outdoor manager who seems to spend his days lying in a row boat.


Back to top

Manic Mondays - Michaela Weaver (2014)

In her old life, Catherine thought she was doing everything right, happily married, raising a daughter and the owner of a very successful marketing business. After her husband announces he wants out because he's with someone else, she is devastated. She walks away from her home and the business, and she and her daughter start over in a new town. In her new life, she meets new friends and pursues new career options while trying to steer clear of Mike, a man she realises she is attracted to, but is holding at arm's length because of the wedding ring on his finger. I really enjoyed this story. I admired Catherine for picking up the pieces of her life and finding the strength to move forward after having her life crash down around her ears. Supporting characters Grace, Steve and Mike brought their own stories and personalities to the book without pulling me out of the main story. I felt a lot of empathy for Catherine for the way her husband treated her and applauded her strength of character and the determination she shows to start over. The struggles Catherine experienced with facing her husband once again, finding a new career path and opening herself up to love again made this book thoroughly enjoyable. Michaela Weaver pens a good story that flows smoothly, keeping the reader engaged with characters that are easy to relate to and connect with. (SH)


Back to top

Man of the Month Club - Jackie Clune (2006)


Amy Stokes, 39, loves running her baby shop, Precious Little Darlings, but the thought of having a baby herself leaves her cold. On the night before she is due to start a sabbatical, she discovers an abandoned baby on the store's steps. Soon she wonders if she has been wrong to avoid motherhood, so embarks on a campaign to try out 12 men over the next year to see if she can conceive.


Back to top

March - Sunni Overend (2013)

Apple March is a fun, sassy kind of girl working in a dead-end retail job. She's a talented designer neglecting her skills and harbouring a mysterious secret about her time at the famous Emmaline Grey Design Academy. She drives a bomb of a car that requires her to be frequently rescued by the dashing Charlie Beauchamp, heir to a jewellery dynasty. He seems to be near whenever Apple needs assistance but is unfortunately betrothed to the nasty heiress Heidi. Mixing in Charlie's elite circles, Apple starts dating attractive Noah and finally gets an opportunity from her boss to design in the retail outlet's warehouse. Just when things start falling into place she discovers Noah's a cad, her boss sacks her and Charlie goes AWOL after learning of her secret. This is a well written, light and fun read. (LF)


Back to top

Market Street - Anita Hughes (2013)

Cassie Blake, the heiress to Fenton's, San Francisco's exclusive department store, is married to the older and sophisticated Aidan, a UC Berkely professor. Cassie is happy to let her mother take on the glamorous role of being the face of Fenton's as she is more comfortable staying home and working in the garden. When Cassie finds out her husband had an affair with a student, she escapes to her best friend Alexis' mansion and tries to figure out if she should forgive her husband. Cassie's mother wants her to oversee the opening of a high-end food emporium in the basement of Fenton's. To escape the drama in her marriage, Cassie throws herself into the new project. She finds an unlikely ally and friend in James, the architect designing the emporium. This story made me want to visit San Francisco and find a real-world version of Fenton's. The author did a brilliant job of describing the beautiful fashions and gourmet food that abound in Fenton's. If you love food and fashion labels, this is the book for you. The storyline of this novel was very similar to Monarch Beach, so fans of her previous novel will cheer. (AO)


Back to top

Marriage and Other Games - Veronica Henry (2009)

Charlotte Briggs has busied herself with work to escape the pain of her inability to conceive. Just as she and Ed make the decision to stop all treatment, and move on with lives, Charlotte finds out that her husband has been arrested for fraud. Fearing her reputation will be tainted as well, Charlotte chooses to leave for Exmoor, taking on a job of redesigning her friend's house, and to start a new life. There she meets Sebastian, a successful yet depressed artist; Penny, a mother of two whose husband has run off with another woman; and Fitch who struggled to keep up with the demands of wife Haley. For those who enjoy realistic, character-driven novels but for me the ending was too abrupt and failed to give a satisfying conclusion to the story. (XT)


Back to top

Marriage Matters - Cynthia Ellingsen (2013)

Chloe wants to find the perfect man, but with grad school and work, she has low expectations that she will ever find the one. When Chloe, her mother Kristine and her grandmother June all catch the bouquet at a wedding, the idea of happily ever after starts to take on a new meaning. Chloe suddenly finds herself engaged to a handsome and brilliant man. Everything is perfect with her new engagement, except her best friend Ben doesn't seem to be taking the news very well. Kristine is married and finding herself in a relationship rut. Can she honestly renew her vows when a tempting photographer makes her question her marriage? June gave up the idea of finding love again after her husband died years ago. She never expected to find love twice in her lifetime, but with her handsome widowed neighbour, wedding bells begin to ring. With three ceremonies on the horizon, the three generations of women decide to share a wedding. A few twists and surprises make the ceremony unforgettable. This is a great story about mothers and daughters and the bond between them. (AO)


Back to top

Marriage to Measure - Talli Roland (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)


Back to top

Married By Christmas - Scarlett Bailey (2012)

What Anna Carter always wanted is a perfect Christmas wedding complete with a reindeer-drawn sleigh and a beautiful wedding gown with snowflake detailing. She is so thrilled to be finally having this sort of wedding that she can't make enough to-do lists to arrange it all. But suddenly the wedding comes to a halt when her fiance Tom admits he has accidently married an exotic dancer in LA during one crazy drunken night. Leaving everything behind and giving the huge responsibility of her dress fittings to her best friend Liv, Anna jumps on the first flight to New York, determined to find her fiance's wife to convince her to sign the divorce papers. In her quest she is helped by a brooding musician Miles whom she bumps into on the plane. Two weeks to the wedding and Anna has to find a lap dancer in a totally strange city plus use every last bit of willpower to stop herself from falling for Miles. This book is an awesome Christmassy read with a lot of twists and turns. The plot may be a bit predictable but still you can't put it down until finding out if this Christmas wedding will ever happen. (SS)


Back to top

Married in the Nick of Nine - Alretha Thomas (2012)

Cassandra Whitmore thought she had her life all planned. She was going to be married and have several children and live happily ever after. So with her 30th birthday fast approaching and no husband, let alone a boyfriend on the scene, Cassandra's plans aren't going too well. When her cousin Cynthia (Cyn) persuades her to go to a nightclub with her, Cassandra thinks she's met "The One". Only problem is he's "GU" (geographically undesirable) coming from New York when Cassandra lives in Los Angeles. Nicolas appears to be the genuine Mr Nice Guy however and soon Cassandra is head over heels in love. After 12 months of long-distance dating she decides to make the move to the Big Apple and it is here that her life becomes interesting When she discovers Nicolas has a few skeletons in his closet, Cassandra has some decisions to make. Bearing in mind her strong religious background and beliefs, Cassandra is guided by her faith and her heart to make the right decisions for her. (LM)


Back to top

Married with Baggage - Elise Chidley (2009)

When Annie falls for widower Simon, she knows he comes complete with a young daughter, Lydia. With Simon being sent to market meat pies to the Americans, he asks Annie to marry him and settle in Connecticut. Unable to get a work visa, Annie becomes a stay-at-home mum, helping Lydia settle in to her new school while dealing with being a newcomer with an accent herself. It's an enjoyable enough story about step-mothering and Annie's a likeable enough character. But many of the incidents seemed too contrived and you could tell what was going to happen at the start of the chapter. Here's Annie about to watch the dog run amok at horse riding; here's Annie about to not have lunch with her corporate husband in New York; here's Annie about to be out of her depth at tennis . . .


Back to top

Marrying Out of Money - Nicky Schmidt (2011)

What do you do when your mother attempts to broker an arranged marriage for you to a self-absorbed, playboy aristocrat with a waning fortune? And what if your intended just happens to be someone you despise? If you are coffee heiress Lou Hubbard, you conspire with your best friend to be the most undesirable option Viscount Harry Stomeworth has ever seen in an effort to turn everyone off the match. Unfortunately, the threat of having to marry the most despicable person on earth isn't the only issue Lou is dealing with at the moment. With a slacker, rock star boyfriend hounding her for money and her best friend, Fin, dealing with a recent health crisis, Lou barely has time to focus on her job as right-hand woman to her father in the family's coffee business. But just when she thinks life can't get any crazier, Lou finds herself actually falling for Harry, which causes her to stop and re-evaluate her current situation. Marrying Out of Money is a witty example of what happens when your mother meddles in your love life instead of letting nature take its course. Although I felt the story could have wrapped up a bit sooner than it did, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found myself laughing out loud at the antics of this eclectic cast of characters. (LEK)


Back to top

Marrying Up - Jackie Rose (2005)

Newspaper obituaries writer Holly Hastings - a compulsive therapy user - writes her own obituary and is less than impressed to find she's going to die alone at 85. Inspired by the Marilyn Monroe movie How to Marry a Millionaire, she decides to do just that and write a book on the topic. Honing her search to some of America's most wealthy regions, she and best friend George arrive in San Francisco (home of most millionaires under 50) and start dating two rich men. But they find that money doesn't necessarily buy love.


Back to top

Marrying Up - Wendy Holden (2011)

Alexa, formerly known as plain old Allison, desperately wants to marry well. But from a working class background, she's got her gold-digging work cut out for her, especially now she's flunked out of St Andrews (where Kate bagged Prince William). Society It Girl Florrie, meanwhile, has already been linked to royalty - but despite her mother Lady Annabel's ambitions, is just a girl who wants to have fun. Polly is an archaeology student, who falls for young vet Max after meeting him on a dig. But it seems he is hiding his own impressive foundations. As the three women's lives converge, it seems Alexa will do anything to win the title fight. This is a funny story about envy and entitlement, snobbery and social climbing. Taking a dig at an aristocratic society full of quadruple-barrelled names, this type of satire is what Holden does best.


Back to top

Marsha Mellow and Me - Maria Beaumont (2004)

Secretary Amy is used to keeping secrets from her opinionated mother. Like the fact that her best friend Ant is gay. Or that she's been smoking for years. Or that she has written a sexplicit chick lit novel under the assumed name of Marsha Mellow. The book has been flying off the shelves since the Daily Mail decried it for leading teens astray. The only people who know about Amy's novelist life are her sister Lisa and agent Mary. With the tabloids on her tail, an ex back on the scene, a private detective to deal with and the publisher wanting his next bestseller, Amy realises she's not going to be able to keep Marsha a secret for much longer - and can she?


Back to top

Marshmallows for Breakfast - Dorothy Koomson (2007)

Kendra has returned to England from Australia, looking for a fresh start. Leaving behind her lover Will, she takes on a recruitment job with an old friend and moves into a flat owned by architect Kyle. Despite her misgivings, she develops a close relationship with his six-year-old twins, Summer and Jaxon - forging a bond over Saturday breakfast as they come to terms with their mother's absence. But it seems Kendra can't escape her bad memories - as one ghost from her past shows up in her life again. As secrets are slowly revealed, we find out who is hurting and who did the hurting.


Back to top

Match Me If You Can - Susan Elizabeth Phillips (2005)

Annabelle Granger, who has inherited her grandmother's matchmaking business, runs late to her first appointment with Heath Champion, a wealthy, good-looking sports agent known as The Python. He already has the Power Matches agency working for him, but Annabelle's best friend, Molly, is married to his top client and convinces him to give Annabelle's business a go. Trouble is he demands that Annabelle sit in on all his matchmaking dates, and then they start falling for each other.


Back to top

Mating Rituals of the North American WASP - Lauren Lipton (2009)

Peggy Adams is surprised to have woken up in a room she doesn't recognise, wearing the clothes she wore the night before. She is even more surprised to see a handsome stranger laying beside her. Immediately, Peggy panics and leaves the room without waking the sleeping stranger, hoping to leave this one night in Vegas behind her. Unfortunately, Peggy receives quite the wake-up call when a man named Luke rings her New York store saying he is her husband. Peggy agrees to Luke's proposal to meet him in Connecticut so that they can get their "quickie" marriage annulled. However, once Abigail Sedgwick hears that the only heir to the Sedgwick name is getting his marriage annulled, she just has to do something about it. So Peggy and Luke are offered a deal they can't refuse: Stay married for one year and get the old, but very valuable Sedgwick house to do with whatever they please. Both Peggy and Luke are in need of the money - Peggy needs to cover the outrageous rent on her store that she owns with her best friend Bex, and Luke has to pay for nursing care for his great-aunt Abigail. So staying married is the only financially savvy option. Soon, Peggy is spending her weekends playing the wife of Luke in Connecticut while living in New York during the week with her boyfriend of seven years, Brock. How long Peggy can keep her stories straight is anyone's guess. Eloquently written with engaging and witty characters, this book will captivate readers as they follow Peggy - a charming heroine despite her faults - on her journey first to marriage and then to true love. (AS)


Back to top

Maybe This Christmas - Sarah Morgan (2014)

The third novel in the Snow Crystal trilogy is set in Vermont and all the action takes place over one magical snowy Christmastide at the family resort. The story centres around downhill ski champion Tyler O'Neil and his best friend Brenna and explores their lifelong friendship. Tyler and his daughter Jess are looking forward to their first Christmas in the lodge since she has come to live with her father. Ski instructress Brenna, who has secretly been in love with Tyler for years, returns to work for the family she has known all her life and whose business is under threat. As Christmas approaches, her ski lodge is rented out to a member of the public and she joins Tyler and Jess in their spacious home. Attraction fizzes between them until finally a Christmas kiss awakens dormant feelings. This is a lovely Christmas read with family issues at the forefront and romance blooming in the air. It's perfect for snuggling up with and getting you in the Christmas spirit. I thoroughly enjoyed it even though I had not read the first two books. The ending is just like a fairy tale and is sure to melt your heart. (JH)


Back to top

Maybe in Another Life - Taylor Jenkins Reid (2015)

Twenty-nine-year-old Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She decides to move back to California and live with her best friend, Gabby, and Gabby's husband. She is torn whether to start a relationship with Ethan, who she had dated in the past. Since they are both older and hopefully wiser, she decides to see where it leads. And then something happens that changes her life forever and she has a choice to make on where her life will go in the future. She can either stay with Ethan at a bar where everyone from high school has met up or she can leave him at the bar and go home with Gabby. Which ever decision she chooses will result in a series of events and take her life in a particular direction. This is an interesting Sliding Doors/parallel universe-type book about what happens when you take a certain path and what happens if you had actually taken another path instead. I really liked this book, although it was a little confusing in the beginning because you were seeing two different scenarios of what could happen to Hannah's life. I've never read a book like this before and at the end you really want to know which decision she actually made. In fact I so want to know what happens next, I?d love to see a sequel. (CG)


Back to top

Maybe This Time - Jennifer Crusie (2010)

This paranormal chick lit novel centres on free spirit Andie Miller. Andie is ready to move on with her life and marry fiance Will. In order to face her future she must make a clean break from her ex-husband, straight-laced North Archer. She shows up at North's law office and hands him the alimony cheques that he has been sending her for the past 10 years. When North asks her one last favour, she reluctantly agrees. North has been left as guardian to two orphans who have driven away three nannies and he needs her to handle the situation. The orphans are living in the country in a dilapidated haunted house. Andie immediately bonds with the children and starts to see the ghosts that are haunting the house. When Andie's ex-brother-in-law, ex-mother-in-law, a news reporter, a parapsychologist, a medium, her mother and her fiance show up at the house, Andie is overwhelmed by the chaos. The one person who Andie can count on to fix everything is North. (AO)


Back to top

Me & Miss M - Jemma Forte (2009)

Fran has always dreamed of making it as an actress but apart from one very embarrassing advert, it doesn't look like she'll ever get that lucky break. So when she gets the chance to work as a personal assistant to American actress Caroline Mason while she treads the boards in London, she jumps at the opportunity. And then continues jumping at every opportunity as Caroline, who dates the sexiest actor on the planet Carson Adams, is one very demanding boss. But something is not right with the superstars' relationship and Fran's own fledgling relationship may not survive her taxing job. From the cover to the storyline, this is never going to escape comparisons with The Devil Wears Prada and although Caroline wasn't as nasty as expected and certainly no match for Miranda Priestley, this is still a highly enjoyable read that deserves a place on your must-read list. (Interestingly, there is a German version floating around retitled The Goddess Wears Gucci.) The ending leaves it open for a sequel.


Back to top

Me and Mr Darcy - Alexandra Potter (2007)

New York book shop assistant Emily Albright finds that no modern man can live up to Pride and Prejudice's Mr Darcy. So when her friend Stella invites her on an 18-30s trip to Mexico, she instead books a guided tour of Jane Austen country in England. But she's hardly going to find her dream partner on a coach full of pensioners. The only eligible man is a prickly journalist called Spike Hargreaves who's purely along for the ride because he's writing an article about why women love Mr Darcy. And he wins no favour with Emily when he describes her as 'pretty dull, average looking.' Then during a visit to one of Austen's homes, Emily finds herself face-to-face with a handsome stranger wearing beeches and a frock coat who calls himself Mr Darcy. What happens when her fantasy man comes to life? OK, so many critics hated it, the plot's totally predictable and you may get annoyed that the character is so slow picking up on the Pride and Prejudice parallels in her own story but I read it with a smile on my face.


Back to top

Me and Mr Jones - Lucy Diamond (2013)

Lilian and Eddie have been running the Mulberry House bed-and-breakfast in Dorset for decades but now it seems that Eddie is not up to it. They have three sons - but are any of them willing and able to take on the business? Oldest son Hugh is married to the very capable schoolteacher Alicia but with her 40th birthday looming, Alicia feels it's time to stop being the dependable one and start living a little. Maybe it would be better for middle son David to move in, as he has lost his job after all and his interior designer wife Emma could spruce up the place. But Emma, who is desperately wanting to start a family, isn't interested in that sort of life. And of course there is no way that youngest son, Charlie, is up to the task. He's unreliable and has never settled down. But now it seems that dance teacher and single mum Izzy has caught his eye. This is a thoroughly enjoyable story, with characters that are easy to warm to.


Back to top

Me and My Sisters - Sinead Moriarty (2011)

The story revolves around the four grown-up Devlin children, mainly focusing on the three older sisters, Louise, Julie and Sophie, each affected by different issues. Louise is the oldest and most successful of the Devlin offspring. But the lawyer's goal-oriented personality and independent nature makes it harder for the rest of the family to connect with her. Julie is an exhausted mother of four young boys, who struggles with their daily "out of control" behaviours and outsiders' criticism of her poor parenting skills. Sophie has the perfect life laid out in front of her but yearns for something more. This is a funny, perceptive take on the conflicts and dynamics of families. (XT)


Back to top

Me & You - Claudia Carroll (2013)

When Angie's best friend, Kitty, doesn't show up for her birthday spa treat, Angie knows something is wrong. With Christmas the following day, she gets in touch with Kitty's boyfriend Simon - and together they try to track her down. The last anyone saw of her was late the night before when she left the restaurant where she works. But it isn't until 72 hours later that the police are finally willing to take it on as a missing persons case. Has something awful happened to Kitty or has she taken off on her own accord? And if so, why? The only family Kitty has is her foster mother who is in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's so she isn't much help filling in the pieces of Kitty's life story. This may have the shortest title Claudia Carroll has ever devised but it belongs to her best book yet. Just leap straight in and you'll get caught up in the emotional journey - but do not read the blurb on the back cover which gives away a bit too much for my liking.


Back to top

Me Before You - Jojo Moyes (2012)

Twenty-six-year-old Lou Clark is looking for a new job and, with her parents relying on her wages, she reluctantly takes up a well-paid offer to become carer to a disabled man. Will Traynor, a 30-something dynamic high-flyer from a wealthy family who was left a house-bound quadriplegic after an accident two years earlier, is surly and reluctant to engage with the chatty Lou. But Lou is determined to show him that life is worth living again. This is an absorbing and moving story about two people who probably would never have met under different circumstances, who push each other to expand their horizons. With sharp dialogue, captivating characters and a heart-wrenching and thought-provoking central issue, this may well be 2012's One Day. Breathtakingly spectacular - just don't let anyone tell you too much about the plot before you read it.


Back to top

Meet and Delete - Pauline Lawless (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)


Back to top

Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe - Jenny Colgan (2011)

When Issy Randall is made redundant from her job - by her boss who she has been having an affair with no less! - she decides to start over and embark on a career that will make her happy. The fact that she was given a very good sum of money as part of her redundancy package helps Issy to see her dreams come true in the form of The Cupcake Cafe. Issy has a true gift and that is to bake amazing cakes like no one else. Though the cafe is her dream, Issy finds it isn't an easy road. She needs to file endless paperwork, get up at the crack of dawn every single day and not take home much money for herself after she pays all her suppliers and staff. Despite all of that, Issy finds she is happier than she has been in ages. So, when her old boyfriend and former boss comes swinging back into her life and says he wants to rekindle their relationship, she jumps at the chance even though he treats her horribly. By going back to Graeme, is Issy setting herself up for heartbreak again - and maybe even the loss of her beloved cafe? This is a wonderful novel, filled with decadent cupcake recipes that might make you want to stop reading and start baking. If you have always wanted to follow your dreams but thought it was impossible, then maybe you can get some inspiration from the spirited, fun heroine of this lovely novel. (AS)


Back to top

Meet Me Under The Mistletoe - Abby Clements (2012)

This is a real feel-good story set in the lead-up to Christmas. Laurie and Rachel were best friends growing up but have lost touch over the years. Circumstances quickly push them to get in contact and a house swap takes place - bringing them back into each other's lives. Both have changes they need to make in their lives that they didn't notice until the swap. This book has it all: great characters, moving storylines with twists, romance and comedy, and it's really well written - I was gripped from the start and couldn't put it down. This is Abby Clements' first book (which I stumbled across by accident - and I'm really glad I did!!!) and it's fantastic. I hope to read more from her in the near future. (AT)


Back to top

Melting Ms Frost - Kat Black (2013)

Redhead Annabel Frost is known for her tough exterior. She loves her job as manager of one of the city's most popular restaurants, Cluny's, and knows how to use her power to get the work done. That is until Annabel meets the devastatingly handsome and unbelievably blunt Aidan. He became barman while Annabel was away for a short while and now she is back, she can't bear to be under the same roof with him. As much as Annabel wants to stay away from Aidan, he wants to get up, close and personal with her. When I got this novel for review, Kat Black warned me "It's hot" and trust me it is indeed. It's not just a romance, it's a slow, ravishing and utterly blissful teasefest which indeed gets pretty dirty. My advice to the author, feel free to get even dirtier next time. (SS)


Back to top

Me, Myself & Why? - MaryJanice Davidson (2010)

Cadence Jones is an FBI agent with a special talent. A sweet blonde, with blue eyes, Cadence has two very different multiple personalities or sisters as she calls them - Shiro, an Asian-American bad girl who specialises in martial arts, and Adrienne, a red-headed free spirit with a thing for singing and getting into trouble. Cadence's psychological quirks come in handy when she gets assigned the case of a statewide serial killer dubbed ThreeFer, for killing in threes. She utilises her sister's special abilities to get to the bottom of her new mystery, the only thing she can't figure out is why ThreeFer seems to be leaving messages specifically for her at his very public (some would say artistic?) crime scenes. This book kept me guessing and had a delightful yet sinister twist, a must-read for murder-mystery lovers, and even those who aren't. MaryJanice Davidson has me impatiently awaiting her next book. (AV)


Back to top

Me Myself I - Pip Karmel (2000)

Journalist Pamela Drury feels like she's missed out on love and marriage. Why didn't she say yes to Robert Dickson when he proposed 13 years ago? Racked with regret, Pamela collides with someone who is about to change her life - herself. In fact, it's the Pamela who did marry Robert all those years ago and has gone on to have three kids. Then Pamela #2 disappears, leaving her stranded in her family's life. This book is also a film starring Rachel Griffiths.


Back to top

Members Only - Leonie Fox (2009)

This continues the risque shenanigans at St Benedict's when the four main characters are joined by Amber, a Bride of Wildenstein-like plastic surgery junkie who's in the midst of a nasty divorce from Egyptian art collector Daniel; and teenage hotpant-wearing golfer Taylor who's attracted fellow pro golfer Sam's still wandering eyes. Cindy is hired to redesign Amber's mansion; Laura finds she hates her newborn son Tiger; Keeley's latest footballer boyfriend is keen to try swinging; and Marianne is trying to get her hands on the local reverend.


Back to top

Memoirs are Made of This - Swan Adamson (2007)

Venus Gilroy is the girl with three ex-husbands, two fathers and a mother who hates to fly. When her faux pa Whitman, a travel writer, introduces her to Susanna Hyde, author of a sex advice column and new editor of Aura magazine, Venus decides it's time she gets a career and move to New York, so she takes a job as Susanna's lowly paid PA. Somehow she has to keep on the right side of her power-hungry boss as she begins ghostwriting the sex column and meeting up with Susanna's latest toyboy. This is one of three books about Venus (which I didn't realise before I started reading but it becomes very obvious at the beginning that another story had been told about her marriage to eco-crusader Tremaynne). This book just feels like the author is dragging out yet another story on the character. More tired than wired.


Back to top

Men I've Loved Before - Adele Parks (2010)

Neil and Nat seem to want the same things out of life and marriage - until Neil decides he wants to have a baby. Nat has always made it very clear that she doesn't want to have children, instead preferring to concentrate on her career with a pharmaceutical company. As video game designer Neil goes out of his way to try to convince her to change her mind, Nat finds her old Little Black Book and begins looking up former boyfriends, wondering whether Neil is really the guy for her. As the rift widens between the pair, Neil starts frequenting a strip joint, getting friendly with a stripper named Cindy. Meanwhile the two couples closest to Nat and Neil are facing their own challenges - Tim and Alison are finding it difficult to conceive, and Jen is trying to get unfaithful Karl to commit. This story focuses on a relationship under strain from people wanting to go in different directions. The cracks are made all the more poignant after we are introduced to Nat going out of her way to create the perfect birthday dinner for her husband.


Back to top

Men, Money and Chocolate - Menna van Praag (2008)

Maya is trapped in her life. At university, she'd lived to write but now she struggles to keep afloat her mother's cafe. Her love life is not much of a success either, as she has long been hankering over one of the cafe's regular customers, Jake. But Maya doesn't know how to move forward with her life. Then she meets Rose, an old woman, who seems to know Maya better than herself and so begins a journey of self-discovery and development. Given its title and blurb, Men, Money and Chocolate seems to epitomise all that is chick lit, but traditional chick lit this is not. Part self-help, part spiritual journey, this is an inspirational and wise little book. It is a short, easy read, that's not at all demanding with a very idiosyncratic style (for anyone who has read any Francois Lelord it's akin to his works). Although it's not typically chick lit, there are elements of the genre and it's certainly a book that I think everyone should try. Its style and tone may not be to everyone's taste but its message and heart are universal. (JC)


Back to top

Mercury in Retrograde - Paula Froelich (2009)

When Mercury is in Retrograde, all bets are off. Penelope Mercury is an intrepid reporter who continues chasing crazy stories all over New York for the promise of a promotion to courts. When that promotion goes to someone else, and a series of events at her office conspire against her, Penelope finds herself without a job. Fashion editor Lena "Lipstick Carcrash" Lippencrass suddenly finds herself homeless and cut off from her wealthy parents. She must find a way to continue to live the lavish lifestyle she has known all of her life. And Dana Gluck, a high-powered lawyer hoping to become the youngest female partner in her firm, must re-examine her priorities when her husband leaves her for a younger woman who becomes pregnant with the child Dana was suppose to have. This debut novel by the New York Post Page Six columnist shares the story of three New York City women, all at turning points in their lives, who end up living in the same apartment building in SoHo. They form an unusual bond and help each other through the most trying times of their lives. A fun read that will have you applauding the joys of friendship. (LEK)


Back to top

Mercy - Jodi Picoult (1996)

Maggie McDonald has been diagnosed with a terminal cancer. The pain she lives with from day to day is excruciating. She makes a request of her husband, Jamie, to end her life. Once he agrees they go to the town of Wheelock, Massachusetts, to do the deed. Jamie then turns himself into his cousin, Cameron, the police chief and clan chief. Cam has to decide whether to charge Jamie with the crime. Many people take sides in this battle of should he or shouldn't he. Cam's wife, Allie, immediately decides to help Jamie with his defence and older relative Angus assists Jamie as well. This is another compelling story from Picoult - I especially liked the strong Scottish themes that run through the book. (JG)


Back to top

Me vs Me - Sarah Mlynowski (2006)

When Cam proposes to Gabby Wolf on the eve of her leaving for a dream job in New York, she wishes on a star that she didn't have to choose between a fiancé and her job. Suddenly Gabby is leading a double life - each morning, she either wakes up in Phoenix planning a wedding (or watching her overbearing mother-in-law Alice do it) or in New York being a TV producer. Soon she decides that New York life maybe isn't for her - her best friend has started dating Cam, her flatmate is psycho. But in Phoenix she doesn't have a job, she's comfort eating and biting her nails, and of course she has to deal with Alice. But how does she end the battle of Me vs Me?


Back to top

Me Without You - Kelly Rimmer (2014)

It was definitely not a case of love at first sight. Callum Roberts, a successful marketing exec, wasn't looking for a girlfriend. Especially one with dirty feet and a vegan lifestyle. Lilah MacDonald, an environmental lawyer, wasn't looking for anyone either. Especially someone who ate steak and encouraged people to buy things they didn't need. After some verbal sparring on the ferry home one night, sparks fly and they can't seem to stop thinking about each other. Fun, spontaneous Lilah brings life and colour into Callum's dull, routine-driven world. Lilah warns him, however, that it can't turn into anything serious. The more Callum falls for Lilah, the more she tries to push him away, and he wonders what's holding her back. When Lilah finally pushes him away for good, Callum is devastated. What Callum doesn't know is that Lilah is keeping a secret that will break his heart. This book was written from both Lilah and Callum's perspectives. I liked reading Callum's POV the best. In fact, I liked Lilah much more through Callum's eyes. She seemed happier and more spontaneous. I wonder if that was intentional? Does this show love through rose-coloured glasses? This heartbreaking love story had me in tears. I wish it would have ended on a higher note, though. It seemed somewhat anti-climatic. (CK)


Back to top

Midnight Girls - Lulu Taylor (2009)

The Midnight Girls were made up of three girls: Allegra McCorquodale, the daughter of an earl; Romily de Lisle, the wealthy granddaughter of a famous French painter; and Imogen Heath, Allegra's friend since childhood who she has financially supported through their schooling at the prestigious Westfield School. After one of their Midnight meetings, the girls accidentally kill a fellow student, Sophie. This incident becomes a secret that will haunt the girls for the rest of their lives. As time goes by, though the girls keep in contact, their lives go in different directions. But it seems their secret is not going to stay hidden for much longer. Ten years down the track, Romily is rich beyond her wildest dreams but her wealth has its downsides. Imogen is a married mother but tragedy strikes, while Allegra finds out the truth about the one she loves. Can the Midnight Girls band together again to help each other or is the secret of what happened all those years ago going to have deadly consequences? This is an alluring novel you can't put down as even though you may have an inkling what is going to happen, there's always a new twist. (PP)


Back to top

Midnight in Austenland - Shannon Hale (2012)

Charlotte has stopped feeling anything ever since her husband left her for another woman. She runs her business and takes care of her kids but she has closed down emotionally. The only thing that has made her feel a tiny bit of emotion lately is Jane Austen's novels. With this in mind she books herself a two-week vacation to Austenland in England. It is a full-immersion vacation where all aspects of modern society are left behind and you become a part of Austen's world. Actors have been hired to play certain roles and it becomes difficult to tell where the acting ends and real life begins. Charlotte even finds that one of the actors has been chosen as her particular love interest. The hostess does not allow anyone to fall out of character which is making it hard to figure out why the pop princess her daughter worships is one of the guests. The novelty of the clothes and activities keeps Charlotte's interest at the beginning but she soon finds herself trying to solve a mystery put forth by one of the actors. As she finds more clues, Charlotte realises that there may be an actual mystery to solve that is being covered up by the pretend world created at Austenland. The closer she gets to solving the mystery, the more trouble she seems to be causing which does not sit well with the other houseguests. This is a charming story of a woman in need of a break from her own life in order to find the woman she used to be. She lost herself after her divorce and Jane Austen just might be the one that helps her feel alive and fall in love again. (AR)


Back to top

Midori by Moonlight - Wendy Nelson Tokunaga (2007)

Thirty-year-old Midori Saito feels she has never fitted into Japanese life so when the opportunity comes to head to San Francisco to marry Kevin, she jumps at the chance. But at their engagement party, he dumps her for his blonde ex, Kimberley. With her smattering of English supplemented by watching daytime soaps, a dwindling savings account and a visa about to expire, Midori turns to Kevin's Japanese-born friend, Shinji, for help. He lets her move in with him, while the aspiring pastry chef works out how she's going to stay in America. You'll laugh at Midori's mixed idioms as she finds herself 'up the creek without a saddle' and root for her as Midori and her soap-inspired alter-ego searches for her American Dream - and the perfect dessert.


Back to top

Midsummer Magic - Julia Williams (2013)

After a surprise proposal on Halloween, eight months later Josie and her fiance Harry are heading to her parents' house in Cornwall to plan the wedding in earnest. Josie's best friend and bridesmaid, Diane, is going along too and Harry's best man, Ant, who is none too keen on the idea of his best friend getting tied down, is back from his travels in Australia to have his say. But even before they get to Josie's parents, the weekend takes a calamitous turn when it turns out that Diane and Ant have something of a chequered history. When Ant runs into TV hypnotist Freddie Puck and encourages the other three to participate in Freddie's new show, mayhem ensues and love and loyalties are tested to the limit. The book is largely indebted to Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream and I think that a familiarity with the circularity and meandering of the play helps to somewhat temper the continual back and forths of the novel. Indeed there is a lot of to and fro in the plot and I thought it could have been less so. I liked the supporting cast of Tatiana, Bron and Puck (again mimicking Shakespeare's play) and the modern day take on this relationship. Overall I thought Williams succeeded in what is a very ambitious project of modernising Shakespeare and creating a fun, innovative chick lit novel, but I felt the plot did become a bit excessive and drawn out and I'm not sure how well it would work without knowledge of its source. (JC)


Back to top

Mike, Mike and Me - Wendy Markham (2005)

Back in the 1980s, TV production assistant Beau found herself torn between two men - her high school sweetheart Mike and a wannabe actor also called Mike who she met at an airport bar. With boyfriend Mike not wanting to live in New York, she is drawn to the other guy who loves the city. One she married, the other she left behind. Now years later, with her marriage under strain and the other Mike back in contact, she is wondering if she made the right choice. Alternating between past and present, the story only reveals at the end which Mike she married.


Back to top

Mile High - Rebecca Chance (2015)

It?s the inaugural flight of PureAir?s new luxury airliner LuxeLiner and this will be its showcase, a spectacular maiden voyage from London to LA packed with celebs. These include the hottest female superstar around, Catalina, Oscar-nominated actress Jane Browne and playboy chef Danny Zasio. Overseeing it all is PR guru Vanessa, who?s planned it all meticulously and even the airline?s CEO Lord Tony is aboard. The cabin crew, who have been especially selected for this prestigious role, includes imperious Lucinda and her loyal sidekick Karl as well as new recruit Angela, who (horror of horrors!) has been headhunted from a budget airline. The flight from London to LA will take 10 hours but this is going to be one unforgettable journey, especially when there?s a stalker on board. Rebecca Chance gives new meaning to the mile-high club in this jam-packed tale. Setting her novel primarily at 30,000 feet is a stroke of genius, and the exclusive VIP world brings that added pizzazz. Chance swaps little kids kicking seatbacks and drunken stag parties for celebs and high rollers and it?s a fascinating glimpse into life in the skies. She splits the narrative between the onboard action and the land-based events leading up to the inaugural flight, but it?s definitely the onboard antics that prevail. And the story involving Catalina is the strongest of these. Unfortunately, I wasn?t as engaged by Jane?s story and the subplot with a murderer was rather inconsequential. However Catalina?s story is more than compelling enough and Chance keeps the stalker?s identity concealed well and manages to keep the reader on their toes. The love story too is great and one of the sweetest couples ever. This is one flight you won?t want to miss. (JC)


Back to top

Millie and the American Proposal - Annabel Scott (2014)

This is the third book in a series, so many readers will be familiar with the charming main character. This story begins with Millie and her boyfriend, James, trying to cope with their long-distance relationship and his hectic work schedule. Their circumstances have definitely taken a toll on their relationship but they are both hopeful that things will return to normal once James moves back to London. Unfortunately, their happiness is short-lived as James reveals he has been offered an assignment in Singapore. He incorrectly assumes that Millie will quit her job and uproot her life to follow him, but Millie cannot face the thought of being a kept woman and she ends their relationship. When Millie is offered a position in New York City, she cannot say yes quickly enough. Some time away from her memories of James in a city she fell in love with years ago is exactly what she needs. However, her time in NYC does not come without complications. For instance, her ex-boyfriend Rob is newly single and the spark between them is still alive and well. Millie tries to maintain a friendship with both James and Rob,but that only confuses her more, and it isn't until one of them proposes that she can admit her true feelings to herself and the man she loves. In my opinion, this is the best book in the series to date. Annabel's writing is engaging and I found myself reading just one more chapter several times. I enjoyed catching up with Millie and her friends and seeing how their lives have changed over the course of the years and I was pleased to learn that a fourth book will be coming soon! (LB)


Back to top

Millie's Fling - Jill Mansell (2001)

Millie's boyfriend, Neil, is in the process of proposing to her when she notices a woman preparing to fling herself off a cliff. Deciding to save the woman, rather than her relationship, Millie soon talks the woman - bestselling romantic novelist Orla Hart - away from the edge. Orla later asks Millie to help with her next novel, with her real life, loves and friends providing the plot and characters. As Orla sets about finding a romantic leading man for her heroine, Millie finds a wallet which leads her to Hugh, a widower. Millie, with her roller-skating gorilla suit and fake accents, is one of those characters you want to just keep reading about. If only she was around in the days of blogs!


Back to top

Million Little Mistakes - Heather McElhatton (2010)

You win $22 million in the lottery, what do you do next? Do you quit your job, end your relationship, travel or follow your dream? This book continues with the "Choose your own adventure" theme from Pretty Little Mistakes, but unlike the previous novel, not every decision leads to death. Though the different situations and endings seems out of the world, it is nonetheless a funny and creative book which makes you think twice about making every step, because you never know what will happen next. Will you finish with a richer life or end up in disaster? (XT)


Back to top

Million Dollar Question - Ellie Campbell (2015)

Meet Rosie and Olivia; two women who lead completely different lives but somehow end up in similar situations, having more in common than they ever expected. New Yorker Olivia Wheeler has given it her all, working all hours, to get to the top. She leads a comfortable life, making lots of money and being used to luxury surrounding her wherever she goes. But what happens when a big financial scandal takes all of this away from her? Rosie Dixon is a struggling single mother with two sons who works hard to make sure she can provide for her family. She knows what it is like to just have a few pounds left to finish the month with, so it comes as an absolute shock when she unexpectedly wins a million-pound jackpot. Both Olivia's and Rosie's worlds are suddenly turned upside down as they are forced to face the importance of money, friendship and family. Million Dollar Question has two main storylines at its core; one with a focus on rich New Yorker Olivia and the other on single mum Rosie who wins a million pounds. The plot is quite an original one and the author managed to bring together both storylines in a great way. While there is a good and varied cast of characters, I did kind of miss being able to really connect with the characters, especially Olivia and Rosie. I would have loved to have learnt more about both of their pasts; Rosie's marriage to Charlie, Olivia's struggles to get to the top. Since the story is quite quick-paced and a lot of things happen, I do understand the choice to perhaps not go into too much detail, but I personally did miss the detail. Million Dollar Question is an entertaining, quick-paced read that I ended up really enjoying. (JoH)


Back to top

Milkrun - Sarah Mlynowski (2001)

Jackie Norris has a major problem. She's just been dumped by the love of her life, Jeremy, who has now headed off to Thailand to "find himself". Confused and broken-hearted, Jackie mopes around, trying to understand where she went wrong. With the help of her friends, Jackie sets out to find a new man on the Boston dating scene. Just when she's over her ex, he comes back into her life and the romance novel editor is left with a decision. Should Jackie take back the man that abandoned her or should she listen to her heart? (MY)


Back to top

Mine are Spectacular! - Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger (2005)

This story is about three 40-something friends who are experiencing new beginnings. Kate is a dermatologist who is famous for her practice and her bedroom antics. Berni is a former Hollywood agent who is pregnant and looking for new opportunities. Then there is Sara who is getting married and about to inherit a new family. Sara has to find the courage to move forward after her ex-husband comes back into the picture as a possible television career looms. The message of this book is that anything is possible no matter what the age. (JG)


Back to top

Mini Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella (2010)

Becky Brandon is having trouble keeping her two-year-old daughter Minnie under control. What Minnie sees, Minnie wants and her favourite word is "Mine". Luke wants to call in the experts in the form of a TV nanny and won't even contemplate having another child. Luckily Becky is able to call on her extensive financial planning skills to implement a strict pocket money arrangement so she doesn't spoil the child. She also does her bit to stimulate the struggling British economy, penning advice to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and coming up with a novel scheme that saves her personal shopping department. Meanwhile Becky has her hands full organising a surprise party for Luke's birthday - and in true Becky style it all spirals out of control very quickly. This is a laugh-a-minute story which proves you can still be on fire even six books into a series. And the ending suggests another Shopaholic adventure looms.


Back to top

Miracle Beach - Erin Celello (2011)

Macy Allen is devastated after the loss of her husband, Nash, in a horse accident. Her only comfort is found in riding. Jack, Nash's father, is also overcome with grief and moves to Vancouver to be with Macy and to be closer to the memories of his son. But his wife, Magda, blames Macy for her son's death and stays behind in Wisconsin. Shortly after Jack moves to Vancouver, a young child shows up at Macy's doorstep and changes the lives of everyone. The young child forces Macy to finally confront the doubts that she suppressed throughout her marriage and ultimately enables her to heal. This is a brilliant debut about grief and eventual survival. (AO)


Back to top

Miracle on Regent Street - Ali Harris (2011)

Evie Taylor has always been invisible. Whether it be at home or at work, Evie could be found behind the scenes, quietly and unassumingly doing what was asked of her. However, when her beloved department store, Hardy's, is threatened with closure, Evie has to step up and take action. So begins the mission to makeover the outdated store with vintage treasures and glittering baubles from a Christmas past. Her work pays off as people begin raving about the new look but Evie doesn't come forward to take the credit, preferring to keep herself invisible all while pretending to be someone else in order to date a hot American named Joel. When push comes to shove, however, Evie must step up to the plate and let it be known that she is a wonderful, creative and deserving person. Filled with Christmas magic and vintage treasures, this is a story that will warm your heart and soul. It's guaranteed to get even the biggest Scrooge into the Christmas spirit while delivering a sweet and romantic story to captivate readers. (AS)


Back to top

Miranda's Big Mistake - Jill Mansell (1999)

Hairdresser Miranda is the sort of girl who is only too happy to share her sandwich with a beggar or help her wheelchair-bound landlady. So maybe all that good karma is being repaid when she meets charming Greg at a charity function. But the truth is that Greg has just walked out on his wife Chloe when she revealed she was pregnant. With an engrossing storyline and some unexpected developments, this book is well worth a read. And Miranda, with her blue and green hair, is a wonderful, feisty heroine.


Back to top

Misery Loves Cabernet - Kim Gruenenfelder (2009)

The witty and relatable heroine, Charlize "Charlie" Edwards, from A Total Waste of Makeup, returns with more drama in the men department, and increasingly odd tales about her boss, famous Hollywood actor Drew Stanton. At the end of the previous novel, Charlie had a fabulously cool job as a personal assistant (along with an idiotic boss), a swanky home in LA and a leading man, Jordan, who is a deliciously fine photographer. Now things are beginning to heat up once again with Jordan away in Paris on assignment, and Drew's new producer, Liam, who is not only gorgeous but also someone Charlie had her eye on in the past. Now here he is, working closely with her to please Drew in every way possible, while looking good and making Charlie's heart swoon. What is a girl to do when she can't decide between two guys, one of whom is far away and the other who ends up getting so close, it's electrifying? Misery is back for Charlie and that means, bring on the cabernet! (CC)


Back to top

Miss Conceived - Emma Hannigan (2010)

This tells the tale of three very different women on the rocky road to childbirth. Angie has just turned 40, is still single and wants a baby - but how is she supposed to have one without a partner? By going to drastic lengths to ensure she doesn't end up childless and alone, that's how. Serena is the personification of glamour and sophistication, with her perfect looks and her perfect life. Married to a dynamic businessman, all she needs is a baby to make her life complete. But when she finds herself struggling to conceive, a secret she's been hiding from everyone - even herself - comes to light and threatens to destroy her utopian world. Ruby is 16 and has her entire future ahead of her - but she hadn't envisaged falling pregnant and having a baby before her next birthday. Her shocked parents, who have put so much into Ruby's education and her privileged lifestyle, are determined that her pregnancy won't destroy the rest of her life. Determined to keep the impending birth a secret from their circle of "it" people, they conjure up a plan to save face. But has anyone asked Ruby what she wants? I bought this book because I enjoyed the author's style of writing in her previous book, Designer Genes, even though the cover of this book didn't appeal to me at all. A lot of recent women's fiction seems to have dealt with the issues of getting pregnant, being pregnant and life post-pregnancy, and I was initially concerned that there may be nothing new in this book - but I needn't have worried. Each of the three main characters won me over and drew me into their own unique tales. Serena may originally come across as a stereotypical trophy wife, but I felt we got to know her as a person throughout the book. It can be hard to make the reader like a character who comes across as a snob but Serena was more three-dimensional than your typical rich character who, from an outside perspective, seems to have a perfect life. You can't help but feel for Ruby and find yourself rooting for everything to work out for her, and the story of her and the father of the baby really pulled me in. As for Angie, she's the type of woman you can see yourself being friends with, and her predicament is one that many women can identify with. I actually enjoyed this book more than the author's first, which I find isn't always the case and is a sign of a really promising writer. I will definitely be buying Hannigan's next book. (SBB)


Back to top

Miss Harper Can Do It - Jane Berentson (2009)

This follows the life of 24-year-old elementary school teacher Annie Harper as she attempts to draft an award-winning memoir recounting the traumatic days after David, her long-time boyfriend, has been deployed to Iraq. However, her tear-jerking memoir soon turns into an informal journal filled with her quirky thoughts and conflicted feelings about the long-distance relationship, as Annie navigates her way through the 392 days without David. (XT)


Back to top

Missing You Already - Pauline McLynn (2008)

Working at the railway station in Pennick, Kitty Fulton's job is more than just basic administration; she also helps to reunite owners with their lost items. Her life is seemingly a replica to her job - as she painfully struggles to deal with her mother's forgetfulness due to Alzheimer; May can never seem to remember the things she does or the faces of the people she loves. Kitty decides to take her mother on a trip to Egypt as a way to escape the harsh realities of her illness and her feelings for Dan, a childhood friend who has become her friend's husband. When another tragedy strikes her down, Kitty is left grieving in solitude - as her mother fails to understand her loss, another man appears in her life. A heartbreaking and realistic portrayal on the effects of Alzheimer, and a touching story on family and love - I especially love the parts where the story is being told from different perspectives. (XT)


Back to top

Missing You - Kylie Kaden (2015)

After a phone call one night, Aisha leaves her four-year-old autistic son, Eli, in the care of her father Patrick to go help out a friend. But she never returns. And no one knows where her husband, Ryan, is, after he recently decided to take some time out. Has Aisha buckled under the pressure of coping with a high-needs child or has something more sinister happened? The story rachets up the tension as it heads back in time to when Aisha and Ryan met, how they fell in love despite being opposites - he was looking for wings, while she wanted roots. Family dynamics, such as the tension between Ryan and his twin Luke, and the flourishing relationship between Patrick and his grandson, are highlights of what is an intriguing read full of suspense.


Back to top

Miss Lonelyhearts - Sheryn George (2004)

Meg's best friend, Allison, has a surprise for her for Valentine's Day - she's placed an ad in the singles column under the name Miss Lonelyhearts. Allison is hoping that by dating loads of men, Meg will finally get over her ex, Ben. Meanwhile, Meg's self-esteem takes a dent as her new editor on Gossip! magazine, the icy Monica, demands that she get plastic surgery for a story - and the smarmy Dr Gold seems to find plenty to work with. As the Miss Lonelyhearts replies flood in, Meg actually likes the look of her colleague Nick, who works on a lad mag. If you are expecting a tale of hilarious and disastrous blind dates as Meg narrows the field to one, this isn't that story. Instead it's more about her quirky circle of friends and how she and her colleagues handle their bitchy boss.


Back to top

Miss Spelled - Sarah Belle (2014)

It's Lou and Aidan's one-year anniversary and he has just popped the question. Amid the excitement, someone is waiting in the wings ready to burst Lou's bubble. Enter Hunter, the bane of Lou's existence and as it turns out Aidan's arch-enemy since childhood. Consultant Hunter is in town for the restructuring of the bank where Aidan works. During Lou's gap year, she dated Hunter even though he cheated on her numerous times. Worried that Hunter will say something to Aidan and ruin everything, Lou along with her friend Mel, who is a Harry Potter freak, buys a memory wiper spell over the internet to erase Hunter's memory of Lou. It all backfires though and sends Lou spiralling into an alternate reality - a 'what if' world where Lou and Aidan have never met, Lou is living at home and working as an office temp and she is still seeing Hunter who of course is still being a jerk. Will Lou be able to make things go back to the way they were or will she have to live with the consequences and restart her life? Near the end I was a bit unsure where things would lead as it wasn't looking too peachy for Lou. This is a fun and quirky chick lit novel and comes with the life lesson of "always read the instructions first"!! (PP)


Back to top

Mistletoe Mansion - Samantha Tonge (2014)

Kimmy has big dreams of running her own cake baking business. However, her boyfriend Adam thinks it's unrealistic, and urges her to get a proper job. Their disagreement leads to their separation, and Kimmy finds herself suddenly homeless. Along with best friend Jess, they take on a house-sitting job at the magnificent Mistletoe Mansion. Despite having no experience whatsoever, they are confident they can do the job well. But at Mistletoe Mansion they encounter much more than they bargained for! Tonge has a real talent for creating main characters who are charismatic and funny, and Kimmy is no different. She is very likeable, and I became invested in her story from very early on. There was a great supporting cast of characters, neighbours Melissa and Terry being my favourites. The paranormal element to the novel, while not usually my thing, was written in such a way that it was just one aspect of the plot, so I enjoyed it despite not being a believer in these things. Again a very enjoyable book by this author. (LO)


Back to top

Mixed Doubles - Jill Mansell (1998)

Three friends make a new year's resolution. Liza, who never seems to stay interested in a guy, wants to get married. Dulcie, who's married to workaholic Patrick, wants to get divorced; and Pru, whose husband Phil has a roving eye, just wants to stay married. Are the women going to be able to stick to their resolutions - or does fate have a different plan?


Back to top

Model, Incorporated - Carol Alt (2009)

MAC is back and ready for her close up. After nine months full of turmoil, MAC, formerly known as Melody Ann Croft, is ready to be the top model in the industry. She's done fashion week in New York and abroad and has even appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. What's next for the most wanted face in the modelling world? Of course, that would be the coveted partnership with Cover Girl. MAC has already been starving herself to keep her bookers happy and she's starting to feel the results with dizzy spells and hunger pains. But the model life is so great. Especially meeting all of her admirers. A chance meeting with older Hollywood heart-throb Patrick Carroll leads to a short-lived relationship, but it's not until MAC meets Jim, an insanely rich real estate mogul, that MAC thinks she has found the guy for her. But what does he really want from her? She's tired of being his arm candy and tired of his controlling ways. All MAC really wants is to be the next face of Cover Girl and she is willing to do anything to get the lucrative contract. MAC's rise in the modelling world is too fast paced and her affairs with older men are too numerous for just one book, but overall MAC is likeable and you can see traces of her in all of the models out there today, trying so hard to please everyone and succeed that they forget to care for themselves in the process. (AS)


Back to top

Molly's Millions -Victoria Connelly (2009)

Florist Molly Bailey has just discovered she's won 4.2 million pounds on the lottery. But since her grandfather, father and brother's attitude to money would make Scrooge look generous, Molly realises she can't let them get their hands on her winnings. Instead she decides to give most of it away to people in need. So she takes off on a journey across Britain, leaving behind bundles of 50 pound notes and yellow gerberas. Meanwhile small-time reporter Tom Mackenzie realises he may be on to the story of a lifetime, and with his young daughter Flora, takes off after the mysterious benefactor. When he realises Molly is his woman (far too quickly in my mind), the story soon puts Tom and Molly on the front pages and sets the grumpy Bailey boys on to her trail too. Perfect for days when you need a feel-good story that won't tax the brain cells.


Back to top

Mommies Behaving Badly - Roz Bailey (2007)

Romance author Ruby Dixon can't imagine her family living anywhere else but New York. Even with her husband Jack away constantly for work, the parking hassles, the expensive property . . . But then her car is stolen and Jack, who has always lived within ten blocks of where he grew up in Queens, is keen to accept a transfer to Portland, Oregon. Soon Ruby's in the north-west house-hunting. Their three children settle in well to the new neighbourhood, while Ruby is run off her feet with media interviews and killer deadlines as her latest book takes off. But Jack is working away just as much as before - and this time his absence is about to take a big toll. Just beware those looking for a read about desperate housewives: the title is misleading.


Back to top

Momzillas - Jill Kargman (2007)

Welcome to the Upper East Side - a world of competitive mothering where the toddlers are bilingual and have pacifier consultants and the Chanel-wearing mothers are assisted by a team of helpers. Hannah moves into the neighbourhood with her banker husband, Josh, and two-year-old daughter, Violet. With her overbearing, socialite mother-in-law Lila now dropping in without warning, Hannah soon learns she must play ball and get Violet into the right nursery. She meets some of the yummy mummies, including Bee, who sees herself as the queen bee of her social set, and Hallie who can't stop her "momologues" about her genius daughter. Feeling adrift in her new jungle while Josh works long hours, she meets up with her former art tutor and college crush, Tate.


Back to top

Monarch Beach - Anita Hughes (2012)

Californian heiress Amanda Blick is content as a stay-at-home mom to her young son. Her life is perfect until she walks in on her handsome French chef husband having sex with his gorgeous sous chef. Amanda turns to her widowed mother for advice. Her mother offers Amanda an escape from her problems and an opportunity to spend the summer at the beautiful St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach. At the St Regis, Max excels in surf lessons, while Amanda finds a distraction in the arms of a handsome divorcee. When Amanda's husband returns to apologise for his infidelity, Amanda must decide her and her son's future. Despite being pampered with name brands and her ability to escape in ways that most woman who are faced with a cheating husband and a young child could only dream about, Amanda is still a very relatable and likable character that the reader will cheer for. (AO)


Back to top

Monday to Friday Man - Alice Peterson (2011)

Gilly Brown thought she lost her chance at happiness when fiance Edward dumped her two weeks before their wedding. At 34, with most of her friends settled and moving out of London, being single is a terribly lonely experience, especially with her sister-in-law's constant reminder of her "ticking" biological clock and news of Edward marrying someone else. Deciding to make some changes in her life, she takes a friend's advice and sets up a series of interviews to find a weekday lodger - eventually getting more than she wishes for - an ideal and attractive candidate in the form of TV producer Jack Baker. At the same time, Gilly also develops feelings for the newest member of her dog walking group, Guy. This book is so easy to relate to, I found myself laughing often. I also appreciated how the author added Megan's character (Gilly's sister) to provide some emotional depth. (XT)


Back to top

Moonlight Cove - Sherryl Woods (2011)

Jess O'Brien and her friends, Connie and Lailla, all sign up for online dating service Lunch by the Bay. Lailla and Connie find matches right away but Jess doesn't get any takers. Will, a psychologist and owner of the dating service, is hesitant to put Jess' profile up as he has always had a thing for her. He is convinced by Lailla to pursue a relationship with Jess but as a sufferer of attention deficit disorder Jess is turned off by his profession, thinking he sees her as some sort of case to analyse. Will the ladies be successful in finding love online? And can Will convince Jess? This is book six of the Chesapeake Shores series - it was a satisfying read which made me feel very connected to the characters. (JG)


Back to top

Moonlight in Odessa - Janet Skeslien Charles (2009)

Ah, the American dream. Young and hopeful Daria from Odessa dreams the American dream, of a caring husband with loving children, and the whole white picket fence, but she doesn't quite know how to go about getting it. She longs to meet the right man who will sweep her off her feet and provide a stable and secure life for her, while being her friend and her lover. However, this is hard when all she seems to have flocking to her is her screwy boss at the shipping company and a mysterious but sexy mobster. What's a girl to do? Daria gets another job to support her and her Boba, at the Soviet Unions as an international marriage broker. She works hard at seeking out love for willing Russian women and optimistic American men, that when she finds a man of her own she is overjoyed even when things don't seem to be like she once dreamed. Will Daria's dreams finally come true or will it simply fizzle in mid air? This was the winner of the 2010 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. (CC)


Back to top

More Like Her - Liza Palmer (2012)

When Frances meets her new boss, she instantly wishes she, too, had Emma's seemingly perfect life. Emma is beautiful, intelligent, has a great job and a loving husband - basically everything Frances aspires to. However, when her perception of the perfect person is shattered in the blink of an eye, Frances must come to terms with how she has always hidden her true self from the world and figure out how she wants to live her life in order to be her happiest. Liza Palmer has once again created likable, believable characters who are dealing with issues we all feel at some point in our lives. Who hasn't met someone new and instantly thought they had the perfect life? She does a superb job of cutting through the perceptions to reveal the secrets we hide from those around us in order to appear perfect. Quintessential chick lit with a twist. (LEK)


Back to top

More Than This - Margo Candela (2008)

Evelyn Morgan Reed-Sinclair and Alexander Velazquez first lock eyes through a train window. He's a lawyer from a working-class background, while she's from a prestigious family trying to make it on her own. Evelyn has fled Paris and her life as an art student after being confronted by her married lover's wife. Back in San Francisco, she is loath to live the pampered life of her socialite sister, Tannin, so she takes on an assistant's job at the web company where her friend, James, works. Alexander is back in town after losing his job and breaking up with his girlfriend. As the son of a union activist, he reluctantly takes on the case of a wealthy widow being sued by her underpaid staff. Evelyn and Alexander watch each other through their office windows and their paths nearly cross several times as events play out over a 10-day period. If you love will-they-or-won't-they-meet books (and I do), then you'll find this is more than bliss.


Back to top

Motherland - Maria Beaumont (2007)

Also known as 37

Desperate housewife Fran Clark is approaching crisis point. Once a talented voiceover artist, she hasn't had the confidence to go back to work after having her now school-age children, Thomas and Molly. On the night of her 37th birthday party, things come crashing down around her, and she soon hits rock bottom after she hits the wine bottle too often (Watch what happens with the chapter numbers.) It's hard looking after the kids, keeping up with the other bitchy school mums and dealing with the fact that her husband Richard doesn't want her any more. But with the help of her two best friends, Fran drags herself back up from the mother of all breakdowns.


Back to top

Mother of the Bride - Kate Lawson (2010)

When Max asks Molly Foster's daughter, Jess, to marry him, nobody is more surprised than Molly - except perhaps Jess herself! After all, they've only been going out a wet weekend ... but if Jess is happy, Molly is happy. Jess's happiness is short-lived though when she finds everyone else is taking control of the wedding. Before Jess knows it, the radio station Molly works for has planned a series of wedding shows with Jess and Max in the starring roles, her overbearing and snobby mother-in-law Marnie has pushed a wedding planner on the happy couple to create the society bash of the year, and even Max seems to be putting up resistance to all of Jess' ideas. To make matters worse, Molly starts to have serious reservations about whether Max truly loves Jess, or if his motivation to get married stems from something else. When Jess meets Oliver and Molly notices the chemistry between them, Molly is forced to ask herself if she can allow her precious daughter to marry Max. Can Jess regain control of her wedding from a mother who isn't convinced the wedding should happen at all, and a mother-in-law who is determined to run the entire show? This is a fun read, but Jess's inability to take control of her own wedding annoyed me at times! However, anyone who's had any involvement in planning a wedding should enjoy and relate to the story. (SBB)


Back to top

Mother of the Year - Karen Ross (2014)

Mothers and daughters are supposed to share a special bond, right? But for Juliet Jackson, being the daughter of Beth Jackson, who became famous as a fifteen-year-old mother, leaves a lot to be desired. For a start her mother's always embarrassing her on live TV, or simply putting her other duties first. Juliet's determined not to live in the shadow of her mother. Thank goodness for her boyfriend, Rob, whose dinner invitation looks as if it will herald them moving in together, and her job at Cognita, where it seems a promotion is firmly on the horizon. Unfortunately Rob's big announcement isn't quite what Juliet was expecting and it's not great news at work either. At least she's still got the comfort of the flat she shares with best friend Theodora - that's until she hasn't. And there's only one option left: at twenty-five Juliet finds herself once again living at home with her parents. From the opening line, Karen Ross creates a wonderfully witty and fulsomely fresh novel headed by a completely relatable and understated chick lit heroine more accustomed to wearing Crocs than stilettos. The writing is strong and the novel is well-structured. Although it would have been nice to have seen a bit more of Juliet and Rob's relationship, this is very much a novel about the relationship between mother and daughter and about a daughter learning about the forms that a mother's love takes. Sweet and endearing, witty and stimulating, light and powerful, and entertaining throughout, Mother of the Year is a real treat for chick lit fans. Definitely worth a read. (JC)


Back to top

Mother's Day - Kirsty Scott (2006)

Gwen, Alison and Katherine meet at a morning tea for class mothers at Farquhar's. Gwen's husband, Rob, is made redundant as another baby is on its way so he heads off to work in England while she stays at home with their other three children. Alison, a journalist with one daughter, is writing a series about attacks on prostitutes but her husband, Darren, is making her feel guilty about all the overtime and her reluctance to extend their family. Katherine, a trophy wife whose two children are reared by a nanny, finds her husband has moved on to one of his mistresses.


Back to top

Mouth to Mouth - Erin McCarthy (2005)

Laurel Wilkins is a sweet girl who spends her days working at a candy shop and her nights hoping to find love (or at least someone to have casual sex with). She doesn't allow her deafness or huge bank account to change her simple life. But when she least expects it, she becomes the prey to both a criminal ("Russ Evans") and a cop (Russ Evans). While the online version of Russ Evans finds her money irresistible, the actual version finds her body irresistible. Officer Evans brings even more excitement to her life than the imposter, especially after she suggests having a "no-strings attached" affair with him. The affair becomes both life-altering and life-threatening for Laurel. Laurel can't figure out which one is sweeter, falling in love or falling in lust. Maybe meeting the wrong man can turn out to be right? Like the candy shop where Laurel works, this book is full of sweet and sour moments that will leave you wanting more. (ML)


Back to top

Move Over Darling - Christine Stovell (2012)

Coralie has set up her Sweet Cleans business in the rural town of Penmorfa, Wales to get out of the rat race. When internationally renowned artist Gethin Jones wants to paint Coralie, her first instinct is to shy away from the limelight. But with the villagers of Penmorfa needing the money from the painting, and an attraction to Gethin that Coralie can't resist, she soon finds herself in New York City. But will either Coralie or Gethin realise their connection is strong enough for one of them to move over? Coralie is a likeable heroine and Gethin is (excuse the pun) painted beautifully as the sexy brooding artist. Along with Coralie and Gethin there is a good supporting cast, all with their own twists and turns. The backdrop of both Penmorfa and New York suit the story well and are described in such a way that you feel transported there. Whilst the novel starts off quite slowly, when the story does get going and the secrets start being revealed, I found myself unable to put the book down. This is nice light-hearted romance. (AB)


Back to top

Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper - Hilary Liftin (2015)

This novel is written as if it's a faux memoir by actress Lizzie Pepper after her failed marriage to older movie star Rob Mars. Basically it's the story of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes - and if you know your showbiz gossip you'll recognise all the similarities - from his poster on the bedroom wall and her starring as a loveable teen on a TV show, to the crazy declaration of love (on the hood of a car, rather than a couch on the Oprah set), and the lavish wedding in a European castle after they became parents (to twin boys in this case). I was just breathing a sigh of relief that there was no cult - but no, wait a minute, here comes a mind-control group called One Cell, which of course ends up driving them apart. There is no doubt that this is a well-written pageturner that exposes the failings of a Hollywood marriage. But because it so closely mirrors the TomKat relationship, it just didn't leave any room for surprises. The author has ghostwritten several celebrity memoirs including for Tori Spelling and Miley Cyrus, which adds an element of authenticity.


Back to top

Moving On - Emma Lee-Potter (2000)

When they were young girls, Laura and Kate's mother walked out - and hasn't been seen since. Now in their 20s, Laura is a withdrawn bulimic who works for a self-important accountant; while Kate is trying to make it as a journalist without falling back on her newspaper mogul father's connections. Kate heads to Lancashire to work for a small paper and is thrown straight into the deep end when a local girl goes missing. In a pacy read, the story continues as both girls find themselves with the wrong men, face unexpected life turns and try to keep the family business afloat.


Back to top

Mr Almost Right - Eleanor Moran (2010)

Costume designer Lulu falls for leading actor Charles on the set of a TV period piece. Only problem is he's married with kids. Fighting hard against her feelings and keeping them a secret from her twin Alice also proves to be a problem. Alice, who is dating a guy with anger management issues, is instead trying to convince her sister to go out with Ali, a very amenable local policeman. Meanwhile, Lulu's trying to keep her costume department within a very meagre budget as her boss Zelda is too sick to work. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read - a familiar theme is given a fresh take with a refreshingly funny heroine and lots of believable on-set drama courtesy of the author's TV producing background.


Back to top

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart - Beth Pattillo (2010)

Claire Prescott doesn't see the appeal of Mr Darcy. Unlike many women who are continually searching for their own romantic hero, Claire is content in her relationship with her sports-loving boyfriend, Neil. But when Claire agrees to stand in for her sister, Missy, at a Jane Austen seminar in Oxford, England, she begins to wonder if there isn't something to this Mr Darcy myth after all. She meets James Beaufort, a handsome publisher, and Harriet Dalrymple, a strange old lady who claims to have the original manuscript of First Impressions, the story which evolved into what we now know as Pride and Prejudice. Between seminar meetings, and afternoons at Mrs Dalrymple's cottage, reading the scattered, hand-written pages, Claire becomes so enthralled by the story of Elizabeth and Darcy, she begins to question whether the elusive Mr Darcy really does exist in the form of James. This is an enjoyable read that will have even the most cynical wishing for a romantic, happy ending. (LEK)


Back to top

Mr Maybe - Jane Green (1999)

Libby Mason is looking for The One. She's not sure she's found it in her boyfriend Nick, an attractive but struggling wannabe author who lives in a grotty bedsit. Then Libby finds herself being pursued by investment banker Ed, who is not so attractive but lives in a mansion. She gets engaged, convinces she can fall in love with him. What happens when your head says one thing, but your heart says something else?


Back to top

Mr Perfect - Joanna Davies (2013)

Now in their 30s, both Mari and Owen are wondering where they went wrong in their love lives. Beginning in their teenage years in the early 90s, Mari and Owen seem to have had one disastrous relationship after another, from Mari's Mr Cool, via Mr Sleaze, Mr Desperate and Mr Nice amongst others, and Owen's Miss Pin-up, Miss One-nighter and Miss-take. Will they ever find their Mr and Miss Perfect? I loved the structure of this novel, where chapters focus on a different partner in both Mari and Owen's dating history to develop a timeline of their various loves. And whilst it was largely predictable, I enjoyed the moments where Mari and Owen's stories intertwined. Unfortunately, I didn't find either Mari or Owen particularly likeable but I did enjoy their journey. (JC)


Back to top

Mr Right for the Night - Marisa Mackle (2002)

Anna has received an invitation to a reunion party hosted by the smug Victoria, who made school life hell for her and best friend Claire. Anna is determined to go, to show she's become a success. Trouble is, while her retail career is tootling along nicely, there's no man in her life and Claire is generally too busy raising her young son to be her wingman. Surely she's got enough time to find a perfect partner for the night? As several men come along, perhaps Anna will realise the right man has been under her nose the whole time. While some of the plot developments come across as too contrived, this is a cute story about a girl facing up to her self-doubts.


Back to top

Mrs Zhivago of Queen's Park - Olivia Lichtenstein (2007)

aka Chloe Zhivago's Recipe for Marriage and Mischief

Psychotherapist Chloe Zhivago is shaken by her reaction when a patient reminds her that she is never going to sleep with any other man apart from Greg, her husband of 17 years. She soon meets Ivan, a seductive Russian, at a friend's party and the lust and longing begins. But will she dare to have a fling? The secret behind her father's affair and her husband's quirky method of keeping Alzheimer's at bay add some intriguing ingredients but could have done without the recipes at the start of each chapter.


Back to top

Ms. Taken Identity - Dan Begley (2009)

Mitch Samuel's life is falling apart: he forgot his girlfriend at the airport so she dumped him; his writing career is in a shambles after being rejected - again - and one particular student in his class is driving him insane with her callous behaviour. Feeling down and out, Mitch stumbles upon a newly released book by the Queen of all chick lit authors, Katherine Longwell. He decides on a whim to pick up the book and laugh at how stupid it is, compared to his scholarly manuscript. However, while scanning the book at a local Starbucks, Mitch encounters Katherine in person and she takes to Mitch immediately. When he sees an opportunity he goes for it so he tells Katherine that he has a cousin who is writing a chick lit novel that she would love to have critiqued by such a famous author. Katherine agrees to look at his "cousin's" manuscript. Now, Mitch has a new dilemma: He has no cousin/writer and he doesn't have a manuscript! Not knowing what to do, Mitch talks it over with his friend Bradley who suggests Mitch joins his sister Marie's dance class to get "into the minds of women". Mitch joins the class as Jason the pharmaceutical rep, expecting lots of spandex and flamboyant men, but what he finds is a genuinely nice group of people. But to complicate matters, Mitch begins to fall for Marie but can't tell her who he really is or why he really joined the dance class. As he learns more about the people in his class, his version of the chick lit book starts to take shape and he realises that the genre is not as dumb as he thought. This twist on chick lit is an absolutely hilarious, witty and charming story coming from a man's perspective. (AS)


Back to top

Much Ado About Magic - Shanna Swendson (2012)

This is the fifth book of the Enchanted Inc. series and after making her fans wait for four years, Shanna Swendson is back with yet another dazzling read. Katie Chandler is back in NYC and has been rehired as marketing director of Magic, Spells and Illusions Inc. MSI is rapidly losing its market to rival firm Spellworks, which is openly selling illegal magic formulas as well as their solutions. New York has become a dangerous place as people are using illegal magic to create havoc in the city. Katie is supposed to retain the loyal customers of MSI while Owen Palmer has been given the responsibility of finding out exactly what is going on out there in the city and figure out how to fight the evil magic. Amidst of all the chaos, Katie and Owen are fighting more and more and drifting apart from one other. This book has everything which makes it a must-read - love, emotions, magic, action and mystery. (SS)


Back to top

Mulligan Girl - Rebecca L. Boschee (2010)

Ren Edwards has the perfect job - she gets to buy anything she wants as long as she rates their customer service. In fact, her life is almost perfect except for the fact that she is still single. For her job, where she often pretends to be a wealthy married woman, she orders a golfing certificate and heads off to evaluate the resort. She immediately falls for golf course manager Adan but there is one small problem - he thinks she is happily married. Ren tries to find a way to tell him the truth without him hating her for waiting so long to tell him. This is a great read and I can't wait for more from this debut author. (CG)


Back to top

Mummy Said the F-Word - Fiona Gibson (2008)

Cait spends her days writing copy about tongue scrapers and pile ointment, and bringing up her three children. Husband Martin has just moved out to live with the water-cooler saleswoman from work who obviously offered such irresistible after-sale service. So when her friend Millie offers her work as the agony aunt of an up-market parenting magazine Bambino, Cait wonders how anyone with her problems can possibly advise others. But she soon finds she enjoys the work, especially when a mystery single father, only known as R, starts emailing. An entertaining and refreshingly honest look into the mayhem and magic that life as a single mum entails. You'll want to keep reading to get the f-word (final word) on who R is and whether he's the one for her.


Back to top

Mum on the Run - Fiona Gibson (2011)

When Laura Swan hastily enters the mums race on school sports day, she is terrified. She's not as fit as she used to be and competing against all the other mums - some who are Godzilla-like in their ferocity - is not at all what she wants to do. And it ends in a shameful display of high-waisted underwear and spread legs. Now that it's over Laura wants nothing more than to get her life back - pre-children. Her feelings of unrest aren't helped by the fact that her husband, Jed, doesn't want to touch her and seems a tad bit obsessed with his pretty, young co-worker, Celeste. So, when Laura runs - literally - into the handsome Danny at a coffee shop, things start to look up. He makes her feel like she used to - full of life and vigour. Soon, the two of them are meeting up for clandestine runs in the park on a weekly basis, and Laura sees herself changing from the flabby mum who embarrassed herself and her kids at the school race to a toned and athletic mum who loves life. The only problem is Celeste. What is Laura going to do about her? And how will she win her husband back from the grips of temptation? Whether you have children or not, you surely will be able to relate to Laura and her mid-life crisis. She's funny - hilarious at times - down-to-earth and a true gem. (AS)


Back to top

Mums@Home - Sophie King (2006)

This is the story of four people who are connected through a website for mothers. Magazine journalist Caroline (who logs on as Part Time Mum) has three children, including a daughter who is spending her gap year travelling overseas. She is wondering if she can ever forgive husband Roger for his affair. Mark (who joins the website under the pseudonym Mimi) is looking for support as he works from home as a public relations consultant while his wife is away. Susan (Rainbow) has a daughter with cerebral palsy and for once in her life just wants everyone to treat her as normal. When her ex Josh returns, married to a nurse and wanting to spend more time with Tabitha, she doesn't realise at the time that it'll give her the chance to find herself again. And Lisa (Expectent Mother) is a young child-care worker from a bad background who is desperate for her own baby. A well-woven tale with engaging characters and several twists to keep you reading.


Back to top

Mums on Strike - Laura Kemp (2014)

Lisa Stratton has been a mother for about six years and she never expected the big changes she has had to get used to. Somehow, she has found herself in a marriage where it is solely her responsibility to keep the house clean, to make sure the kids get to and from birthday parties, and everyone has enough clean clothes to last them through the week. Before the arrival of the children, Lisa and her husband used to take it all on together, as a couple, and she sees no reason why it shouldn't go back to the way it was. So, Lisa decides there's only thing for her to do if she wants things to change: a strike. Mums on Strike has an original idea at its core which I thoroughly enjoyed; you often hear about mums who feel there is still a rather old-fashioned idea out there in the world that it is the woman who has to do the ironing and keep the house clean, instead of this being a team effort. Laura Kemp used this idea and managed to turn it into a funny and captivating read that focuses on a mum going on strike and forcing her husband to rethink the task division in their home, including the troubles and difficult moments that come with this decision. Lisa is a lovely heroine and a true example to many female readers. She is strong, ambitious (I really liked how she wants to be a great mother and a wonderful wife, but also an independent woman who has her own dreams and ambitions) and she stands up for her beliefs. Laura Kemp shows both sides of Lisa's strike; the pros and cons and how it influences everyone around her, including her young children, which is part of what makes this novel good. Mums on Strike is an entertaining, funny and feminist read and I wouldn't be surprised if this puts ideas in the heads of wives and mothers all around the world! (JoH)


Back to top

Must Love Dogs - Claire Cook (2002)

Sarah Hurlihy, a 40-something divorced preschool teacher, is about to delve back into the dating world, putting a personal ad in the newspaper for a man who 'must love dogs'. Although her first date with a man with a yellow rose turns out to be a disaster, to put it mildly, she soon finds herself with more than one man on her radar, including John Anderson, who borrowed a dog for their first date, and Bob O'Connor, the father of one of her students. If only her interfering family would stop turning up at the most inopportune times. This book was adapted into the 2005 movie, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack.


Back to top

Must Love Otters - Eliza Gordon (2013)

Hollie Porter has a dead-end job as a 911 dispatcher, a dead-end relationship with an overzealous EMT, and has been daydreaming about the demise of her boyfriend's three yapping yorkies. After an incident involving her nipples and a bottle of sriracha, Hollie is grateful to escape to a couples' spa retreat at Revelation Cove, in British Columbia -a gift from her father - all alone. Hollie begins her trip with a few laugh-out-loud adventures, from a duct-taped airplane ride to an accidental streaking incident - she's become the talk of the resort. Instead of finding her beloved otters and inner peace, Hollie is finding herself distracted by a sexy grocery chain mogul Robert, and sweet ex-NHL resort concierge, Ryan. A very funny book, I found myself giggling quite a bit at Hollie's sarcastic and witty inner monologue. I love the way the characters interact, and the storyline kept a nice swift pace. A very sweet read with a few surprises thrown in for good measure. (AV)


Back to top

My Best Friend's Girl - Dorothy Koomson (2006)

Kamryn Matika hasn't been in contact with her best friend since she discovered that Adele had slept with her fiancé, Nate - and that her daughter Tegan is the result. Then she gets a letter from Adele, telling her that she's dying of leukaemia and she wants Kamryn to adopt the five-year-old. With Tegan being mistreated at the hands of Adele's father and stepmother, Kamryn finds she doesn't have much choice - even though she has a busy job and has never wanted to have children. With the help of her new boss, Luke, Kamryn finds she has to adapt quickly to being a mother. Then Nate comes back into her life. Many readers have rated this as their favourite chick lit book.


Back to top

My Best Friend's Life - Shari Low (2008)

Roxy is glam, adventurous and works as a receptionist in a swanky London brothel. Librarian Ginny is drab, sensible and is still living in her teenage bedroom with a Westlife doona. But despite being so different they've been best friends for years. When Roxy complains that she's had enough of city living and men, Ginny sees a way out of her rut, including 12 years with boyfriend Darren. She suggests that they swap lives for a month. Roxy will come back to their sleepy hometown Farnham Hills to work in the library and stay with her mum; Ginny will try on Roxy's glamorous job and lifestyle, living with her handsome flatmate and wearing her designer stiletto boots. Get ready for a romp with lots of sex.


Back to top

My Fair Lazy - Jen Lancaster (2010)

In Jen Lancaster's fourth memoir, she attempts to gain some culture and expand her horizons beyond reality television. The memoir begins with novelist Candace Bushnell interviewing Jen. Bushnell mentions that she is into Baudelaire. Jen panics because she has no idea who or what Baudelaire even is. This is that catalyst for Jen deciding to throw herself into new cultural experiences. The reader watches Jen as she takes on plays, opera, poetry and a commitment to eating new cuisine. The result is a hysterical laugh-out-loud book that readers will love. There are humorous anecdotes about reality TV shows throughout the book. If you love Ed Hardy, hate Lacoste and find reality TV to be the downfall of society, then this is probably not the book for you. For everyone else, you will love it. (AO)


Back to top

My Favorite Mistake - Beth Kendrick (2004)

Faith left her small town in Minnesota years ago after her first love proposed and she turned him down. She is now a culinary writer travelling around Europe. Faith is forced to return to Minnesota thanks to her younger sister Skye's complicated love life and poor business decisions. When Faith returns home, she finds that her life savings are tied up in a bar that is close to bankruptcy and one of her partners is her ex-boyfriend Flynn, the man who still blames her for breaking his heart. It is immediately obvious that the sparks still remain between the pair and that they never stopped loving each other. Faith tries to confront her commitment phobia, however, Flynn can't seem to forget the hurt she caused him. This is a charming and funny book about family and first loves. (AO)


Back to top

My First Divorce - Sheryn George (2008)

On the night of her latest successful program launch, TV producer Caitlin Cooper discovers that her assistant Kennedy has been . . . well . . . assisting her husband, Max. And now Kennedy is pregnant and it looks like mother-of-two Cait is on her way to her first divorce. With her new-age best friend and her over-the-top mother moving in and her creative juices flowing, it seems there's no time for her to just hide out under the doona. This tale of 'from dream life to ex-wife' veers all over the place and, apart from the amusing reaction of Cait's parents to her separation, falls well short of its potential. And don't blink or you'll miss the love interest.


Back to top

My Foolish Heart - Susan May Warren (2011)

Love can be a scary thing but not as scary as leaving the comfort of your own home, as Isadora knows. After a tragic accident, Issy decides the outside world is a horrible place and develops agoraphobia. In the privacy of her own home, she has everything she needs and her number one outlet is her radio show titled My Foolish Heart - a show about love and guys. But no one knows it's Issy dishing the love advice, particularly as she's not actually an expert on the subject in her own life. When her new next-door neighbour, Caleb, arrives in Deep Haven to coach the high school football team, Issy can't help but be attracted to him. But there are two problems though - he rubs her the wrong way and she is falling for one of her callers - BoyNextDoor. As Caleb tries to woo Issy, she tries to help BoyNextDoor woo his dream girl. What Issy doesn't realise is Caleb is the BoyNextDoor. This fourth book in the Deep Haven series is a novel for true romantics. (PP)


Back to top

My Husband Next Door - Catherine Alliott (2013)

Ella and her husband Sebastian, a renowned artist, have a rather unusual marriage. Whilst Ella lives in the farmhouse, Sebastian lives in one of its outhouses, their lives completely separate but intimately linked by the children they share. With her marriage seemingly irreparable and her family providing other problems for her, Ella grows ever closer to her gardener, Ludo. But when Sebastian takes up a post at Oxford University and moves away, Ella has to face up to life alone and the circumstances that have led to the estrangement in her marriage. This is an interesting novel and I loved the concept of this married couple so distant yet so close. But their story is pushed somewhat to the backburner as the focus is more on Ella's current situation with Ludo and the demands of her family and it is not especially easy to connect with Sebastian. It is only in the last quarter of the novel that you can really engage with and understand their relationship and I enjoyed this exploration of a unique love story. (JC)


Back to top

My Husband's Sweethearts - Bridget Asher (2008)

It has been six months since Lucy left her much older husband after he admitted that she was far from the only woman in his life. Then she gets the call to return to Archie's deathbed. With her hands on his little black book, she decides that all his other sweethearts should be here for the bad times too. And one by one, they show up for their final farewell. Some visitors stay longer, including Elspa, the former drug addict whose life he saved; and John, the son Artie always wanted. As time runs out, will Lucy be able to forgive him? Original premise with quirky characters.


Back to top

My Jane Austen Summer - Cindy Jones (2011)

The aptly named heroine of Cindy Jones' debut novel, Lily Berry, is a twenty-something Texan who is down on her luck and tired of the road she is taking through life. When her boyfriend breaks up with her and tells her she is "needy", Lily decides to head off to England to a Jane Austen literary festival where she is hired to fill an acting role. What she finds though is that your problems never truly leave you, even when you cross the ocean. For one thing, Lily is not a professional actress, which puts her at odds with Magda, the stage manager from hell. So Lily finds herself doing office work and reading the vampire novel of a priest in training during secret attic meetings. Willis is like no one she has ever met before. He just gets her - and that is something that can't be said for most men in her life. Yet it's complicated because he is not only about to become a priest, he is also engaged to a very prominent society woman. Though this is an intriguing debut, the ending was rather boring. There was so much more that could have been done or been said by these two characters, yet it wasn't. Overall, it's a great read, even if you aren't a fan of Jane Austen, but if you're looking for a sweet and sentimental story with a girl-gets-the guy type ending, this one isn't for you. (AS)


Back to top

My Legendary Girlfriend - Mike Gayle (2003)

Hapless English teacher Will Kenny, a self-confessed romantic, is still coming to terms with being dumped by his ex Aggi (three years ago!) He describes her as his legendary girlfriend and is desperate to find out if he can find true love again. The story takes place over a weekend where we learn about Will's depressing life, his grotty flat and his agony over Aggi. Over the course of events, the reader is introduced to Will's best friend Alice, his stalking one-night-stand Martina, his best friend Simon, and Kate, the ex-tenant who he strikes up a quasi relationship with via the telephone. The book is by turns a love story and a coming-of-age story. The writing was refreshing as it reminded me of a male version of Bridget Jones; in that it gave a man's perspective on the singleton life. Will is desperate to meet someone and settle down; feeling that at the age of 26, life is passing him by. He is constantly examining the failure of his relationship with Aggi and what it means to be a man in the 21st century. He's lost his way in life, however, the events which occur over the weekend act as a catalyst, making him question and reassess his approach to life and ultimately, enable him to realise what he has been missing. The author makes some very acute observations on what it means to live and love in the modern world, which made for some humorous scenes. The writing was well paced and the author cleverly uses the chapters in the book as a time frame so that the reader can follow the events both past and present in Will's life. (LP)


Back to top

My Life in Black and White - Kim Izzo (2013)

Clara Bishop is a tabloid journalist from Hollywood who originally had a dream of becoming a famous screenwriter. Unexpectedly, Clara discovers her husband, Dean, is having an affair with a young, blonde waitress named Amber and their marriage is over. Clara can't let it go and follows Dean to London in order to win him back, with only an old trunk filled with her grandmother's vintage dresses. As Clara starts wearing these glamorous clothes, she slowly starts to change into a true femme fatale herself. Before she knows it, she suddenly finds herself in the city of London in the year 1952, starring in a film noir about her own life, with the opportunity to change not only her own destiny, but also her grandmother's. From the start of this novel, I was hooked by the story. Clara is a great protagonist; at first going through various difficulties (her husband cheating on her, still missing the child she never had, not being happy with her career choices, the strained relationship with her mother). Yet, Clara manages to find the strength within her to take all of this on board and deal with it. The whole atmosphere of the novel was just fabulous: from the glamorous vintage dresses and the shadowy film noir elements to the parts of film script included and the font of the chapter headings... Everything about this novel has been thought through and provides the reader with the opportunity of going back to London in the 1950s and joining Clara on her journey. My Life in Black and White is incredibly well-written, original and a novel different kinds of readers will thoroughly enjoy... A definite must-read! (JoH)


Back to top

My Lurid Past - Lauren Henderson (2002)

Food publicist Juliet has spent years flitting from guy to guy but she's starting to lose her appetite for brief flings. She has her chances with several cute guys and her friends - dominatrix Mel and married Gillian - can't understand why she'd turn them down. Meanwhile Juliet is busy organising the launch of a TV show hosted by new celebrity chief and lad-about-town Liam and fighting her feelings for a guy she meets at a local watering hole. The characters might be edgy but come across as caricatures.


Back to top

My Old Man - Amy Sohn (2004)

After having a sick man complain she is the worst rabbi he has even seen and then croaks under her care, 26-year-old Rachel Block is convinced her days of studying to be a rabbi are through. She drops out of rabbinical school and makes a career out of bartending and finds something new to study: Hank Powell, a sarcastic and peculiar screen writer that Rachel has fallen in love with even though he is almost as old as her father. Their "relationship" takes the reader on a tailspin of crazy sexual interactions that can make even the most enlightened person squirm. Rachel has now seemed to take on a completely different persona since we met her in the beginning of the book, making her seem more sex-indulgent, feisty and a bit chaotic. The change in her character has created some tension with the way her parents seem to view her but they also have some issues of their own. As Rachel takes a closer look into their lives she comes to terms with the fact that something is definitely going on with them, especially with her father. This wild story is comical and almost terrifying at the same time, making it an impossible book to put down. (CC)


Back to top

My One and Only - Kristan Higgins (2011)

Divorce attorney Harper James lives on the small island of Martha's Vineyard. In the opening chapter she has prepared a quick, blunt and not very romantic proposal speech to her macho fireman boyfriend, Dennis (she has even brought her own ring). Of course as Harper likes to (read: needs to) have control over most parts of her life, she also has a list ready to give to Dennis of all the things she requires him to change once he says "yes". Unfortunately for Harper, life, like this moment, does not go according to plan. Just as Dennis starts freaking out about the idea of lifetime commitment, Harper receives a phone call from her baby sister, Willa, and two-time divorcee, who announces that she is indeed getting married for a third time - and to top it off, Willa is marrying Harper's ex-husband's brother, Christopher. In shock, Harper agrees to put her own proposal to Dennis on hold and set out to Montana to witness or stop, depending on who you are and what your agenda may be, the wedding of Willa and Chris. In a somewhat predictable yet always enjoyable string of events, Harper comes face to face with her ex-husband, Nick, and a past that she's been running away from for 10 years. What happens when a power outage finally forces Harper to stop running away and puts her back in the arms of her "one and only" on a cross-country trip as they make their way home from Montana to the east coast? This is a very modern tale of love that makes one couple wonder how they can put themselves through such hardship only to find out that where they belonged was right where they were in the first place. Although a bit predictable at times, Higgins devises an entertaining, romantic and often comedic tale of love, marriage, divorce and forgiveness. (CH)


Back to top

My Singapore Lover - Judy Chapman (2013)

For all those who have visited Singapore, this novel will take you on an armchair journey through the island which is now known as the Manhattan of Asia. You get to walk with the heroine down the tree-lined avenues of Orchard Street flanked by its glittering malls, stroll down the lanes of Little India and China Town, and amble along on the beach, enjoying the rare sea breezes. The city comes alive through the writing of Judy Chapman and even as you read her descriptions of the sweltering humidity of the island, the sea of black suits moving in and out of glass offices or the shades of jade green and temple red that light up the skies, you are spellbound by the lights, sounds and colours she manages to capture. But it is in the story and choice of characters that the author loses tempo and therefore the book ends up being rather mediocre, despite the rich imagery of Chapman's writing style. The story is about a young expat Sara who comes to Singapore on a magazine assignment and is caught up in the glamour and style of the exotic city. She soon falls in love with a Chinese Singaporean hotelier, who just happens to be married. Sara is swept into a whirlwind romance but after much soul searching, she finally realises she has to make a decision. Should she continue to hope for a life with the Singaporean or go back to her first love in India? Or is it too late for both? The story has too many pauses, too much reflection and Sara often comes across as shallow and dull. But if you are looking for a story centred on a beautiful city and a novel that is full of oriental glamour and laced with the intrigues of a steamy love affair, then this could the right book for you. (AC)


Back to top

My Single Friend - Jane Costello (2010)

Lucy decides to makeover her best friend Henry, one of those perennial nice guys who works in an admirable job but just never seems to get the girl. Who knew that under his scruffy, unfashionable exterior was a red-hot hunk? Not Lucy it seems. Her own love life isn't going particularly well, as she seems to have a habit of injuring her dates amid telling them embellished details about her life. Just as Henry's flirtation master classes really start paying dividends, Lucy realises she's fallen for him. Meanwhile on the work front, it seems someone is out to sabotage one of Lucy's PR campaigns. This is a really enjoyable romantic comedy - you will be able to guess the ending but not how the story gets there.


Back to top

My Sister's Child - Caroline Finnerty (2015)

Jo and Isla are sisters but they are as different as they could possibly be. Jo is a high-flying lawyer, responsible and hard working. Isla is a free spirit who drifts along without worrying too much about life. When Jo has difficulty conceiving a child, Isla gives her an amazing gift by donating her eggs, and Jo goes on to have a wonderful Daughter, Reiltin. But now, years later, Isla is the one with fertility issues, and she needs Jo to help her if she is ever to become a mother. But does one good turn deserve another, or will Jo refuse to give Isla the one thing she desperately wants? This was a real page turner - I couldn't put it down. Jo and Isla's predicament was so thought provoking, it really made you think what would you do in the same situation. I empathised with both women, they were both so very different but equally likeable characters in their own ways. Jo and Ryan's relationship was realistic and raw, the strain that infertility has on a couple is evident. And the moral debate of nature versus nurture was present throughout, as Reiltin grows up into a teenager without any knowledge of how she was conceived, and her relationships with both Jo and Isla are portrayed well. Full of suspense, heartbreaking at times, yet uplifting at others, I'd highly recommend this excellent book. (LO)


Back to top

My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult (2004)

The Fitzgeralds are a family with a very sick daughter - Kate has been diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. The parents immediately have their son tested but he is not a match for Kate. The doctor presents Sara and Brian Fitzgerald with another option, of creating a designer baby who would be the perfect match for Kate. After Anna is born and the cord blood is transfused to Kate, it appears that everything will be OK. The problem is that Anna is required to donate often during her childhood so much so that she sues her parents for the medical rights to her own body. Should Anna have the right to decide what she will contribute to Kate? Can her parents decide that she must donate her kidney? Jodi Picoult writes about controversial issues that aren't always easy to read about. It certainly isn't light reading matter but it keeps you engrossed until the end. It has been adapted into a movie starring Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin. (JG)


Back to top

My Sister's Secret - Tracy Buchanan (2015)

Since her parents died when she was seven, Willow North has had little to hold on to but the memories. However, as she begins to explore the past further, she finds that even those memories may not be quite accurate. What emerges is a story of three sisters - Charity, Faith and Hope - their childhood friend, Niall Lane, and the enigmatic and successful businessman, Dan North, who links them all. This is one of those books that immediately drew me in and I devoured it in no time, enjoying every minute yet simultaneously wanting to read it as fast I could to discover the secrets but not wanting it to end. It fits in with current trends towards darker, mystery-laden, family psychological dramas, yet whilst it's quite easy for these stories to become quite samey, everything about this book - the settings, storylines, revelation and finale - is different and original. The book uses submerged forests as part of its narrative, and it's a really refreshing and fitting image - beautiful and haunting and also interesting and eye-opening. The story moves along at a pace and the twists and turns are largely unexpected, the final revelation in particular I didn't see coming and it throws the whole story and the characters on their heads. There were a couple of instances that felt too coincidental and I would have liked a fuller second half to the story. Similarly, I wasn't entirely satisfied that the book gives closure, especially for the characters left behind, but in the scheme of things this felt much more authentic than having things neatly wrapped up. However, this is a hugely engaging book, with some really accomplished storytelling, and is a breath of fresh air. With her tragic and bittersweet story, Buchanan really knows how to write compelling and intelligent women's fiction and I'll be eagerly awaiting her next book now. (JC)


Back to top

My So-Called (Love) Life - A.L. Michael (2015)

Tigerlily and her friends, Ame and Dana, meet up for regular Misery Dinners. Tig is still getting over being dumped five days before her wedding, Ame is going through a divorce and Dana is grieving the loss of a loved one. When Tig's former fiance, Darren, sends her an invitation to his wedding, a charming barman named Ollie offers to be her plus-one - and coach her in the fine art of dating over the next three months. Then he's clearing off overseas. Trouble is soon Tig's getting used to having her fake boyfriend around - and there's definitely something real about the feelings she's got for him. This is a light and easy read, written in a way that would definitely make me seek out the author's other books. There's nothing special about the plot but it's an enjoyable read, nonetheless. It would have been nice to have seen the friend characters developed more - for example, it was never fully explained what happened with Dana and whoever Elodie was.


Back to top

My Soviet Kitchen - Amy Spurling (2010)

Ivy wakes up on her first morning in Moscow with blurry memories of the night before. With vague recollections about accepting a marriage proposal, all she has to remember her companion by is a post-it note signed 'hat'. Ivy tries to distract herself with her PhD research which had led her to Russia in the first place, but she gets distracted at every turn by too much vodka and bizarre local customs. There are further distractions in the shape of an intriguing older man and the niggling worry of whether she'll find her fiance again, whoever he is. Not your average warm and fuzzy romance, it is described as Neo chick lit, where the warm and fuzzy feeling comes not from the love story but the vodka-fuelled tales. The book also comes with a sweet companion book which gives you an insight into Soviet life. It's an interesting read if you are looking for something a little bit different, although the plot is a little hard to follow in places. (AB)


Back to top

Titles M