Cock & Bull – Book Review

on

Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“What I’m saying here, is that you get attached to people. When you let people in you give them your whole heart.”

After not really loving rom coms for a long while, my mind was changed after reading some Audrey Davis books over the past couple of years! These days, I find myself jumping at the chance, purely because they’re such fun, light reads. Cock & Bull was better than I’d expected it to be and it’s just made me love the genre more. With a very unique story line and characters you can’t help but grow attached to, this one is a must – even if you aren’t sure about the genre, this one will change your mind!

Who knew that owning a pub would come with so many extras? When Phoebe and Ella Bellerose left England behind to run the Irish pub they’d inherited, it sounded like a great adventure… until they saw for themselves what a wreck they’d been left. With no experience, a severe lack of money, and a rival pub owner threatening to ruin them, the two girls aren’t convinced they can actually make this work.

Not until they meet Clooney Breen, who just so happens to be packed with charm, charisma, and barman skills that could help them all survive. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s the son of Cock & Bull’s biggest rival, and he’s desperate to help Ella and Phoebe teach his father a lesson.

But can mysterious Clooney, with his obvious secrets and desire to be their saviour, really be trusted? Or are they being played by this handsome lothario who seems too good to be true? Their problems only seem to grow and grow, until Phoebe discovers a ‘gift’ of her own that changes everything for all of them… 

The beginning.

The delightful, conversational and humourous start to this book was a very welcome surprise! From character introductions to descriptions of people and places, it didn’t take me long to settle with this story. The diary-like entries from one chapter to the next really help us to resonate with our main character, and each chapter is light, short and snappy – exactly what I needed after reading a few longer books recently! With an unlikely inheritance under their belt, sisters Phoebe and Ella aren’t quite sure how to react, but they don’t really have any other choice than to go and check out the Cock & Bull pub which is now their responsibility! I felt like we get to know the characters really well at the start of the book and I particularly liked Ella’s character – so funny but charming all the same. It was evident the girls were about to embark on a little adventure together, but things were about to become much more difficult than they first thought. A strong start with all the perfect components for a great chick-lit.

The author proves her writing talent very early on – she made me turn my nose up in disgust when reading about the state of the sisters’ newly inherited pub! With a building so run down and in a sorry state, how on Earth were they going to turn this place around? This got me thinking about what I’d do if I ever inherited a place like this and had an endless pot of money. I was keen to see how the girls dealt with this problem! The humour in the book continues and I loved the Father Ted and Only Fools and Horses references, which really put a smile on my face. The book continues to flow well and we meet a number of other quirky little characters along the way. I quickly became fond of Suki – a strange pet if I must say! Finding out this animal was now their responsibility as well as the pub gave me some silent giggles. Good luck with that girls, rather you than me!

As the girls begin the run the pub, things start to go downhill. Rude customers, poorly poured pints and the local competition begin to take its toll, and Phoebe realises the girls need to take action if they are to keep this place open and ensure it thrives. When a bar regular, Clooney, offers his services with minimal payment, the girls are skeptical but decide to give it a go. Even though he’s a bit of an idiot, what do they have to lose? I really hoped this guy stepped up and helped the girls when they needed it the most. Clooney was such a mysterious character and I didn’t know what to make of him at this point, but he definitely had the chance to redeem himself. Despite my uncertainty about this character, I had a good feeling about the future of the pub. Hopefully they’d be able to work together and make it a success!

“I can’t believe we ever thought we’d get away with that.”

Phoebe’s bad luck seems to continue as she suffers a few unpleasant incidents, but with each incident, Clooney was there for her which gave him a few extra points from me! Her feelings towards him start to get stronger, even though she still thinks he’s a bit of an arsehole. Even so, he helps in the success of the kitchen, taking over from an old chef and genuinely putting his heart and soul into helping Phoebe and Ella make things work. This character seemed to grow before our very eyes and Phoebe starts to see this too! Can she really give him another chance? Can the pub become more successful than any of them had ever hoped, or would their rivals manage to bring them down? The beginning of the story was great and I only had high expectations for what was to come next!

The middle.

With some doubts about the pub consuming her, we see everything get a little too much for our Phoebe, and her confidence falters. This book really showed just what stress and uncertainty can do to a person and what she experiences as a result of this felt very real. She tries her best to keep her head held high, to trust others and to bring in more money by going off in search of her own job. Even though she’s forced to choose the only place that will employ her, a funeral home, she has some eventful experiences that were hilarious for the reader, but not so hilarious for Phoebe! The book continues to be consistently entertaining, but also keeps things serious and makes us really understand the position she’s in. I think the author has created the perfect balance in this story and it already became such a joy of a read.

We soon learn that Phoebe has a very unique gift which gave me serious ‘The Haunting Of Hattie Hastings‘ vibes. The story at this point was full of surprises and I loved Phoebe’s discovery of her Great Aunt Breda’s diary! I knew we’d find out some very interesting information and I definitely wasn’t disappointed here. This new information allows us to make some connections within the story and gives us a few ‘Eureka’ moments. As things heat up with Clooney, Phoebe has to decide what she really wants from him, as difficult as this is for her to process. Pushing him away seems the easiest option, but is this physically possible? The timing of him appearing in her life was perfect and I felt like he could be exactly what she needed to be happy. But could she see it? Was a future with this guy even possible, or are their lives just a little too different?

A surprise visit from Phoebe and Ella’s parents takes an unexpected turn and the sisters are given yet more news they find difficult to process. Even though some scenes in the book can be a bit sad or confusing for the characters, the author has made sure she keeps the mood light with impeccable humour in all the right places. The story places some focus on important life lessons, from family and love, to doing the right thing and not letting anything hold you back. The book covers so much in its pages whilst keeping you laughing all the way. Each character has been created with so much love and attention and the way in which we see the growth of some of these characters was so clever in my eyes. With Clooney continuing to be a big part of Phoebe’s happiness, what does the future look like for them both?

“‘Don’t worry, she’s friendly and without her anal glands.’ Words I thought I’d never say.”

Phoebe decides to let Clooney in on the madness that is her newly found skill, even if he thinks she’s crazy for it. It’s a risk she has to take, even if she appears to be a complete nutcase on the surface! I liked how the author has not just stuck to the story of Phoebe and Ella inheriting their Great Aunt’s pub. We learn about Phoebe’s unique skill, how her relationship with Clooney develops as well as how she learns about more family members she didn’t have a clue existed. Even though these separate stories are so different, they’re also very well linked to the main story, which I thought was very clever indeed. As we approached the end of the story, I eagerly wanted to know if they could really make the pub a success, as well as learn the real meaning behind Phoebe’s skill. It’s proven to be helpful to many so far, but it seems we were in for even more of a surprise.

The end.

Clooney begins to open up about his past but the pair are still finding it hard to be on each other’s wavelength. Is there even a future here for them? With everything they’ve learnt about themselves and one another other over this time, I just needed them to get together and have a happily ever after. For this to happen though, they’d both have sort their own issues out. I felt like jumping into the story and sitting between them, forcing them to talk about all their problems! Throughout the book, their story has been such an entertaining one and I enjoyed learning more about the pair and their lives. However, things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows as we head to the final few chapters. With town plans threatening small businesses, Phoebe is worried about the future of the pub, as was I!

The ending of the book is filled with emotions. Happiness, sadness, shock, surprise – simply every emotion went around my head as I read the words! I feel like the book became stronger and stronger as each chapter passed. The detail surrounding each character and in each scene was so well put together and there was no way I could take a break at this point in the book with so much left to discover! The bond between Phoebe and Ella is so beautiful and reminds me of my relationship with my own sister. We’ve always been close and tell each other everything to this day and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just knew that whatever life threw at these characters, they’d be able to work through it together, whatever the outcome.

Plans to move back to England once the pub begins to do well don’t sit well with Clooney, even though he’s made it clear a full on relationship isn’t what he wants. Things are a bit up in the air for a while and we see a bit of back and forth from the characters in terms of where they want to be in their lives. This part of the story really makes you think about your own life and the decisions you’ve made as well as the decisions you’d make if you were one of the characters in the story. I think the whole of this book forces you to think about a lot of things – a kind of hidden feature in the book that I found to be a really nice addition. I couldn’t wait to see how the book ended and what the fate of all the characters would be!

“Don’t carry hate in your heart. It brings nothing but darkness. Accept everyone for who they truly are.”

The ending of the book was put together well and I really feel as though the author has done a fantastic job of tying up lose ends and giving the characters and the reader some closure. There was also a fabulous little twist that I loved and which even made me tear up a little! If you a fan of a good rom com or chick lit, then this book is an absolute must. I guarantee you’ll get sucked into this story and enjoy it just as much as I did! I was curious to know if there was any other plans for another book in the series, maybe focusing on Ella or perhaps even Clooney’s life throughout his heartbreak. Either way, this book was really well put together and I’ll definitely be recommending it far and wide!

Overall thoughts.

An absolutely beautiful story with a heart warming twist you’ll not see coming! Rom com and chick lit lovers, this one is most definitely one to add to your list. I was so pleasantly surprised as I read this story, not only with how unique, hilarious and thought provoking the story was, but also because of how it captured every emotion and forced you to really feel every word! The characters are strong and relatable, and the whole book is just a huge breath of fresh air. I’m so glad I discovered Laura Barnard’s work and I’m so looking forward to reading more of her books in the future!

Thank you so much to author Laura Barnard for the copy of Cock & Bull for me to read and review. You can pre-order your own copy of the book now on Amazon, available on Kindle and in paperback on July 28th! You can follow the author over on Facebook and Instagram for updates!

Want your own book review?

If you’re after some reviews for your own book, you’re in luck! Please get in touch and see my book review page for more details.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s