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Lily Bennett’s Bucket List: The most uplifting debut romance you’ll read in 2023!

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She was beginning to develop very real feelings for her very fake boyfriend. Her very fake boyfriend who, as of that moment, still thought she was somebody else.” Lydia Grey is 39 when she’s discarded by her partner of twenty years for an Italian supermodel and ultramarathoner. He tells Lydia that she’s uninteresting which their marriage has become stale. How can she contend? I wanted to like this book so bad, it had all the right ingredients for an amazing feel-good finding yourself love story, but it just didn't meet the mark for me. I felt empathy for Lydia wanting to become more adventurous, attempting the difficult challenges encouraged by Jake who believes that Lydia is Lily Bennett. But Jake also has secrets of his own. The amount of times I laughed at the different ways Jake “broke” his arm, hilarious. Every single one of them. Phenomenal.

This book is fantastic and shares a great message to its readers. Hold onto those who bring out the best of you and let go of the ones who try to change you. This book gives you strangers to lovers, adventure, love, tears, and so many laughs. I have can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard while reading a book. Lydia Grey is 39 when she's dumped by her husband of twenty years for a young Italian supermodel and ultramarathoner. He tells Lydia that she's boring and that their marriage has become stale. How can she compete? This is such a lovely tale, with characters I adored, especially Lydia's quirky Polish family and their eccentric circle of friends. I read all night, so caught up in the growing relationship between Lydia and Jake, never wanting to leave their charming world. A must-read for lovers of second chances and readers who cheer when female characters come into their own. After making herself the perfect wife, and devoting her time to being mum to Ollie, she's found herself alone. The most life-affirming and uplifting debut you will read this year. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Fiona Gibson and Clare Pooley.Lydia Grey had become so accustomed to bad dates that she didn’t even flinch at the unexpected warmth of someone else’s tongue in her mouth. Adam, Lydia’s husband, has found a new partner and deserted her, leaving Lydia feeling lost and alone unable to move on. She has tried internet dating, but still loving her husband, hasn’t succeeded in finding a new partner.

After all, how hard can it be to complete the list? Except number nine means that Lydia must open herself up to her past to move on with her future . . . I have mixed feelings about the actual premise of the book. Lydia doesn’t tell Jake that she isn’t Lily Bennett until much later in the book. I’m not a fan of relationships that start out with deception, and I thought that she didn’t have a great reason for not telling Jake who she really was early on in the book. I also wondered how she was able to keep her real identity secret from Jake for such a long time. Thank you to HarperCollins, One More Chapter, and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! Thanks to author Katherine Dyson, HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter, and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine.

Genres: Fiction / Family Life / General, Fiction / Friendship, Fiction / General, Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Romance / General, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy, Fiction / Women Jake mistakes Lydia for Lily when he offers to help her complete the list, but tempted to be someone – anyone – other than plain old Lydia Grey for once in her life, Lydia doesn’t correct him. I requested a digital advanced readers copy from NetGalley and HarperCollins UK and providing my opinion voluntarily and unbiased. I will say that by no means am I the perfect person with incredibly high morals (I mean who is?? 👀) but, the fact that Lydia or should I say Lily, let the lie about her name go on for so long, frankly had me feeling annoyed and left a sour taste in my mouth. I get that the whole moral of the story is that she found who she was, and that she didnt need to use a fake name to achieve that, but this whole plot point could have been left out entirely in my opinion. I also refuse to believe an almost 40 year old woman could be that clueless and naive about her marriage. But also, Adam was a real piece of work, which I'm truly glad she figured out in the end.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*** Phenomenal . . . I couldn’t put it down and I can’t wait to read more from this awesome author’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Jake assumes Lydia is Lily and she doesn't put him right, which later causes a bit of trepidation and wonder about what she is going to do when it comes to it, as they embark on the adventures together. Jake was a super fun, interesting and charming love interest who really brought out the best in her and the ending was truly satisfying as endings go. Despite her heart aching for Jake, there was another issue that temporarily grabbed Lydia’s attention. And she was accompanied on this adventure by her daughter, Ollie, who was an absolute star and an excellent character all the way through. Ollie had found Lily Bennett. This was also a hugely exciting point for me too, and I loved that it appeared towards the end of the book! I loved how there was much more to the original Lily Bennett than we’d thought throughout the whole book, and I thought how everything came together was very clever indeed. Who knew I’d fall in love with yet another character so close to the ending?! Even though it was a late introduction, Lily’s character appeared at a crucial time for Lydia. It made her realise who she really is, what she can achieve and what she’s already achieved, with Jake’s help of course. And hopefully, their meeting would give her the confidence and the drive to do what is right (and also to right some wrongs!)The man smelt nice enough, fresh and masculine, and he kissed with a vigour which she was sure came from a place of passion, but something about the rhythm of his movement and the firm grip of his hand on her shoulder left her cold. His name was Matt, or maybe it was Mark – she wasn’t sure. He’d introduced himself, of course, but Lydia had been so distracted that she’d only half heard him. Lydia Grey's life is often dull, as dull as the colour grey when there's no light and shade and atmosphere to it, say like you would see in a painting. It's just plain dull! Even her husband, since left, even though after so many years together, because she had become drab and boring. Now, I won't tell you the whys and the wherefores, but that list is in Lydia's hands, and from afar, her daughter engineers a way for her to complete this strangers list, to feel more adventurous

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