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21 June 2015

Review & Guest Post: 'Home Comforts' by Ali Chrisp (2015)

Jo Longford's life takes an unexpected turn when her bosses wrongly accuse her of stealing from a client. Suddenly, she needs to find a new job and a new home for herself and ten-year-old son, Tom. Not to mention their small menagerie of badly behaved pets. 

Her selfish mum isn't much help; obsessed with keeping up appearances, nothing her daughter does is ever good enough for her. But at least Jo can rely on best friend Val for support. They've been getting themselves into mischief since they were teenagers, and that includes an eventful school reunion and joining a cringeworthy dating agency. Some things never change! 

Life certainly doesn’t get any easier for Jo. Will she be able to fend off her sex-mad landlord – a retired businessman who struts around in Lycra and thinks he’s God’s gift to women? Are her new employer and quirky clients at the Handy Jobs Domiciliary Care Agency all they seem? 

And will Jo ever be able to sort out her chaotic love life when two equally unsuitable men gatecrash her world?

I've had the pleasure of being in contact with publisher Corazon Books for quite some time now and during that time I have had the chance to read and review several of their novels (most recently Sue Shepherd's 'Doesn't Everyone Have a Secret?', click here to read my review). On the 24th of May, their newest release 'Home Comforts' by Ali Chrisp hit the shelves and I'm excited to share my review of the book with you all today. Author Ali Chrisp won the Write Time Novel Award and 'Home Comforts' is her debut novel which is described as a heart-warming comedy. Based on my experiences with the publisher so far, I definitely looked forward to sitting down with this read and once again sharing my views on the book with my lovely readers!

Jo Longford is a working single mom which means life can be a bit tricky sometimes. Luckily, she has her great ten-year-old son Tom, her best friend Val and a steady job. Until Jo is unexpectedly fired when her bosses incorrectly accuse her of stealing from a client. Suddenly, Jo finds herself worrying about everything: she needs a new job, a new place for her and Tom and their pets to live, and how can she add some spice back into her love life? Jo is over the moon when she manages to find a temporary job and place to stay in one; she'd rather deal with her new sex-mad landlord than her mum who always has an opinion on everything she does. Jo is determined to start afresh, but this definitely comes with its own challenges...

I fell in love with the book cover of 'Home Comforts' the first time I saw it and I sincerely hoped the story inside would fit it. After having read the book, I understand why author Ali Chrisp won the Write Time Novel Award because her debut release is a fun and warm-hearted romantic comedy read which I really enjoyed. The story's main protagonist, Jo, is really likeable and I was immediately rooting for her. Her son Tom is such a cute and good kid, and I loved how the author introduced other interesting characters to the story as we went along, such as Jo's crazy but loveable best friend Val and the endearing elderly Jack who is taking care of his wife and whom Jo becomes quite close to. I really enjoyed that Jo's storyline included several elements which resulted in me not getting bored with the story at any time and I felt comfortable just reading on and on, curious to see what would eventually happen to all the characters.

Ali Chrisp's writing style flowed well and was easy to get back into each time I picked up the novel again to continue reading. The fact that this is her debut novel is quite promising and I am already curious to see what else she will treat us to in the upcoming years. If you're a chick lit/romantic comedy fan and looking for a read about friendship, family, and a touch of romance, then definitely don't hesitate to pick this one up. 'Home Comforts' is a really lovely, warm-hearted, fun read which I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish and a book I can definitely recommend!
For more information about this book: / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Guest post by Ali Chrisp!

I have the lovely Ali Chrisp on the blog today to share a special post about Father's Day with all of us!


  On 21 June it will be Father’s Day and I will be celebrating it with my husband and son. We don’t make a big fuss – just a card and present and something special to eat. The day will also be tinged with sadness because it will be over ten years since my own dad passed away. I always describe him as a gentleman and a gentle man who loved his wife, three children and three grandchildren. 
  When my mum died after ten years of suffering from dementia, Dad was totally lost. He was of the generation when men were the breadwinners and did the DIY, driving and gardening; wives did the cooking, shopping and housework. When Mum’s health deteriorated he had to learn to cook basic meals and I remember him ringing me at work when the office was totally silent and I had to tell him how to make sardines on toast for the umpteenth time. These phone calls were made even more tortuous as he was very hard of hearing and kept telling me to spell certain words for him.  It certainly entertained my colleagues! 

  As my brother lives in America, my sister and I used to take it in turns to do Dad’s weekly shopping and we still laugh when we recall him reading the shopping list out over the phone and always giving us some mystery item that he’d seen advertised on TV or had always wanted to try. We used to waste so much time trying to find those things in the supermarket.

  He was certainly not free of health problems himself, having suffered from a stroke, heart problems, emphysema and chronic back pain.  He rarely complained and even bought a mobility scooter which he used to take into the local supermarket, terrorising the customers and running over their feet. When I got married, we decided that it would be too stressful for Dad to give the traditional ‘father of the bride’ speech so my brother offered to do it instead.  After putting himself through the ordeal, my brother couldn’t believe it when Dad stood up and gave an impromptu speech which included a very long joke that ended with, ‘and sod your Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band’. It absolutely stole the show.

  Dad wasn’t a great fan of socialising and often couldn’t remember his work colleagues’ names if we bumped into them in town. He was also nearly as gaffe-prone as Prince Phillip, saying embarrassing things like, ‘what’s the girl with the blue national health specs called?’ when being introduced to the child’s father. 

  Proving that he was determined to live life to the full, he went to visit my brother in Texas and joined them on a cruise around the Cayman Islands.  On his first night back home, however, he had a fall and broke his leg. What should have been a short stay in hospital quickly escalated into pneumonia, followed by a fatal heart attack two weeks later.  I have an enduring image of him holding my hand and trying to kiss it through his oxygen mask.

  So this Father’s Day I will be remembering my lovely, brave Dad and celebrating all of the happy times we had together. If you’re reading these words and you’re finding your parents annoying or challenging at the moment, all I can say is make the most of them - they won’t be around forever.

Thanks so much for sharing this special post with us today, Ali!

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