I am delighted to be among the first stops on day one of the Bookouture Books On Tour for the latest release by Kristen Bailey.
Bookouture kindly granted me a digital copy of “Am I Allergic To Men?”, via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.
And that is exactly what you will find a bit further down this page following a brief bio of Kristen and a taster for her new book.
Links to where you can purchase “Am I Allergic To Men?” are given below my review.
Kristen has compiled a quiz which will reveal which Callaghan sister you are.
I’ve done it and I’m really chuffed with who I got! Go on, guess.
The book author – Kristen Bailey:
Mother-of-four, gin-drinker, binge-watcher, receipt hoarder, enthusiastic but terrible cook. Kristen also writes. She has had short fiction published in several publications including Mslexia & Riptide.
Her first two novels, “Souper Mum“ and “Second Helpings” were published in 2016.
In 2019, she was long listed in the Comedy Women in Print Prize and has since joined the Bookouture family. She writes women’s fiction and she hopes her novels have fresh and funny things to say about modern life, love and family.
You can find out more about Kristen at her website: www.kristenbaileywrites.com
You can also follow Kristen on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
The book blurb – “Am I Allergic To Men?”:
You think you’ve got it bad? I lost my memory, I’m so single I’ve basically got an allergy to men, and my own cat despises me.
‘Lucy! If you can hear me, squeeze my hand!’
That’s the first thing I hear when I wake up in hospital. Then my sister drops a bombshell: I’ve been in a coma.
It gets worse. In my head, it’s 2009 and I’m seventeen. Somehow, I need to remember the last decade…
Plan A: Track down my exes. Highlights include a one-night stand with someone in a Batman costume, and balcony sex that gave the neighbours a nervous breakdown.
Plan B: Get flirty. Lowlights include a fling with someone hairier than a yeti.
Plan C: Figure out why I have more exes than underwear. Am I allergic to men?
As I piece together my past, I find a mysterious note: Oscar, 9th February. Determined to work out what it means, I uncover a secret I’ve been hiding from everyone.
When the truth comes out, will my memory return?
Will I get my life back?
And will I ever find the cure to my singledom?
You’ll laugh so much your abs ache! The perfect page-turner for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and TV shows like Schitt’s Creek.
The book review:
Can I just say, right from the start of this review, that…
…I love Lucy.
I finished reading Ms. Bailey’s latest book – the fifth in her excellent series about the Callaghan girls – in the wee hours of this morning (Saturday 22nd January 2022).
After which I snapped my Kindle shut – this was a preview copy supplied to me by Bookouture for review purposes ahead of a “virtual book tour” that begins on February 3rd– and let my head fall onto my pillow. Instead of sleeping, I tossed and turned. And so, with the clock edging towards 0200, I found myself stood at the kitchen worktop munching a bowl of honey-flavoured cereal shapes while filling in a crossword puzzle. I wasn’t even hungry. Or filling in the answers correctly.
Why couldn’t you sleep? I hear you ask. Well, read on and I will tell you.
Instead of falling peacefully into the land of Nod, my mind was racing with thoughts on how best to tackle my review about Lucy Callaghan – the youngest and my most favourite – of the fiesty siblings of which Ms. B writes so well.
You see, there are five Callaghan girls. And, as alluded to earlier, this is the fifth in the series. Now, I am no great mathematician and, even at two in the morning and despite my crossword failings, I can deduct five from five and realise that the zero I have left is precisely how many further Callaghan books I have to look forward to.
Zero. Zilch. Nada. None. Nowt. Bugger all.
So, on waking this morning, I have determined to start my review of “Am I Allergic To Men?” with a few complaints.
The first is directed at Bookouture.
Dear Folk at Bookouture,
Who among your, normally superb team, dropped the ball and didn’t suggest to Kristen Bailey that only five Callaghan sisters wasn’t enough? Why didn’t somebody insist on ten, or even fifteen, girls?
Miffed Reader, Yorkshire.
There. I think that is a suitably harsh rebuke aimed at the publishers.
Now, onto my second complaint. This one to the lovely Ms. B. herself.
(I had not read any “blurb” ahead of this book – it being a Kristen Bailey read was simply enough of an enticement for me – and was therefore unaware of the basic premise of the storyline to come. So, please forgive me if the following is something of a plot spoiler.)
Dear Ms. B.
I am very annoyed at you.
How could you let Lucy get hit by a bus? How can you create such a wonderful, lively, lovely and life-affirming Lucy and then twat her with a ruby-red Routemaster? *
What sort of deranged monster are you?
Miffed Reader, Yorkshire.
But, being serious for a brief moment, I loved this book. After all, this is the installment in the series I have most looked forward to. This book is all about the irrepressible Luce Cannon – this is her own gig.
I felt it was a slightly less crazy and chaotic Lucy that we meet in this read. I suppose face-planting a double-decker will mellow even the liveliest of folk. Even so, this is another terrific chapter in the series. Lucy is aided and abetted by her siblings, each one bringing their own vibe to her tale and propelling us along in the narrative. Even Ma Callaghan pops up to show us just why her girls are the way they are.
There are some terrifically funny bits, some fabulous one-liners and, possibly a little unexpected given this is Lucy’s story, some genuinely tender moments within this book. We do see a few unexpected twists and surprises along the way. Lucy is a gal that constanty surprises. That’s why we (well, this reader anyway) adore her.
As stated at the top of the page…I love Lucy.
However, it did upset me a little to see Lucy get hurt and damaged and to suffer doubts and insecurities. After all, no one likes their favorite characters to come to harm. As readers we want only the best for our on-page heroines.
But that is the skill of Ms. B’s writing. She has penned characters that this reader cares for and feels strongly about. Lucy and her sisters Beth, Grace, Emma and Meg no longer exist only in the mind of their creator, they reside fully in mine. The sisters are – as much as fictional folk can be – fully fledged and whole beings. They live and they breathe. This author is really finding her feet and establishing a solid – and immensely enjoyable – body of work.
It has been a joy and privilege to follow the improvement, enhancement and progress of Kristen’s work during this series. My four adventures “on tour” with Ms. B. and the Callaghan clan have been great fun while reading and reviewing her books.
It has been a joy and a pleasure to read these books. Some readers may give little regard to titles in this genre – these books fall under the general area of romantic comedies – and possibly pooh-pooh others who read them. In her notes at the end, Ms. B writes that she “never tell(s) people I write romantic comedies because, to me, romance is kinda corny.” Instead, she insists that she writes about love and the multitude of ways that it is felt, shown and delivered. I plant my flag firmly in the camp of “read whatever the heck you want to read, as long as folk are reading then that’s all good”
With the world the way is- was, always has been, will be..? – what is wrong with a little romance? Last year, the previous book in the series, “How Much Wine Will Fix My Broken Heart?”, went a long way towards fixing my broken mind. I will be forever grateful to Ms. B’s words that helped nudge me a little closer back to being me.
We could all do with a bit of love. We coud do with sharing more of it too. As readers new to the series will discover between these pages, Lucy is a proud exponent of freely sharing love!
So, if you haven’t read any of the five books yet, I urge you to do so. And, if you decide to take the trip into the world of the Callaghan’s, then I envy you. Because you have all five to look forward to.
But, while you enjoy them and laugh and cry along with the five sisters, please spare a thought for me…
For Ms. B. Has left me with a world without a new Callaghan girls’ book to anticipate.
Bad Ms. B.
* I do know that Routemaster buses were withdrawn from service during the early part of the 2000s but I really liked the alliteration of “ruby-red Routemaster”.