“Great Sexpectations” by Kristen Bailey

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 “Great Sexpectations”, 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 “Great Sexpectations” are given below my review.

The author – Kristen Bailey:

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 taster – “Great Sexpectations”:

What’s wrong with a little bit of faking it?

After Josie got dumped by her ex through a note on the fridge, she hasn’t let herself get close to anyone. But when she meets Cameron at a Halloween party, who turns up in the same Ghostbusters costume as her, it’s virtually impossible to stay away.

Cameron, a curly haired video-games designer with dazzling blue eyes, the sexiest dimples and the same encyclopaedic knowledge of movies as Josie, seems too good to be true.

And maybe he is… Because there’s one teeny tiny problem as Josie falls madly in love. Cameron has no idea that Josie lives at home with her ex-porn star parents and their dog Dave, or about the minor detail that she works for their sex toy empire. After her ex broke up with her because of the family business, Josie decides to tell a little white lie.

But it’s just a matter of time until the truth comes out. When it does, will Cameron end things, leaving Josie with only Dave the dog for company? And what if she’s not the only one who’s keeping secrets?

So funny it should come with a warning! Don’t read while eating/drinking/in public – embarrassment will ensue. The perfect romantic comedy for anyone whose love life is more extinct than dinosaurs, and for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and Emily Henry.

The review:

“Great Sexpectations” by Kristen Bailey

“Who ya gonna call?”

Bear with me here…

The above line is from the lyrics of Ray Parker Jr.’s theme song to the movie “Ghostbusters”. (You didn’t need telling that, did you?) It seemed to be on the radio constantly back in the mid-80s and I found it especially annoying; in fact I still do. Perhaps that is why I have never seen the film?

My friend, Amit, will roll his eyes at learning I have never seen this movie. He won’t be surprised, though, because “Ghostbusters” is just one of a long list of films – many considered, I believe, to be classics (the “Die Hard” and “Matrix” series, “Dirty Dancing”, “Back To The Future”, etc) – that I never got around to watching.

Amit despairs of me.

It’s not that I’m scared of ghost films. In fact I love a good scary movie. I enjoy thrillers, action adventures and comedies too. And, I’m not against a decent romantic comedy from time to time.

“Great Sexpectations”, the new read from Kristen Bailey, reminds me of those warm, witty, wonderful rom-coms I so enjoyed watching. I am sure that Ms. B hoped her latest book would invoke fond rememberances and associations with the likes of “50 First Dates”, “You’ve Got Mail”, “When Harry Met Sally” and the British tour-de-force that is “Love Actually”.

Well, she nailed it!

I mention the film about busting ghosts simply because it is quite pivotal in the plot of “Great Sexpectations”. Lots of references to it, and from it, are made. Most of which – never having seen the movie – went over my head. But, if like me, you have not seen the film, DO NOT let that put you off reading this terrific story.

(*Plot Spolier* There are no actual ghosts in the book and, in case you were wondering, Pip and Miss Haversham do not appear either.)

“Great Sexpectations” tells the tale of Josie, a twenty-something woman, who had her heart broken by her former boyfriend and is, understandably, reluctant to fall in love again. When she meets Cameron, a movie geek like herself, at a party, Josie finds herself smitten. But, to avoid Cameron discovering that she is the CEO of a sex toy business and that her parents are ex-porn stars – the very reasons her ex-boyfriend dumped her – Josie decides to avoid telling Cameron the truth. And so, as in all the best rom-coms, our tale becomes tangled in all manner of confusions, misunderstandings and comic incidents.

Ms. B is fast becoming very adept at penning books that have the knack of being just the right amount of “funny”; not too OTT that it becomes daft, and not too scarce on the comedy that you wonder if the writer has ever heard a joke before. And, while Ms. B hits just the right note of the laughs front, she also interweaves the perfect dose of tenderness and poignancy in her writing.

Josie, as are the girls in the writers’ five Callaghan Sisters books, is a modern day, fiercely practical and independent woman. Josie is feisty, funny, strong and, alas, broken. She is a wonderful character. As too are her family, especially Nan; you can certainly see where Joise gets her fire from.

There are many entertaining and laugh-out-loud scenes in this book. Many of which leave you wondering at the types of research that the author must have undergone.

In my review of Kristen Bailey’s previous novel, “Am I Allergic To Men?”, I wrote that “This author is really finding her feet and establishing a solid – and immensely enjoyable – body of work.” I feel that she is also now adding layers and nuances to her writing that really pull the reader in and that make the reading of her books such a joy.

I do not know if this is the first in a new series from Ms. B, or if this is simply a “stand alone” book. It is my fervent wish that we see more of Josie in the years to come. Who knows? Maybe Ms. B will treat us – well, me, anyway – and write a tale that combines both Josie and Lucy Callaghan?

In her notes at the end, Kristen asks if the reader spotted the subtle references to the Callaghan Sisters books that she dropped into this book. Well, I will need to reread “Great Sexpectations” in order to find them because, as a fervent fans of the sisters, I completely missed them. Mind you, I did read this while poorly with Covid, so cut me some slack.

Anyway, if you need an uplifting, entertaining and very, very funny read, then you know who to call.

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