Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Review of Truly, Madly, Greekly by Mandy Baggot - Five **

Review of Truly, Madly, Greekly by Mandy Baggot - Five **


Blurb: 

Sun, sea and a sexy stranger - a whole lot of fun just got a lot more complicated


Capable, confident and career-driven, Ellen had her dream job and a marriage proposal from boyfriend Ross. Life was good, her future set. Until it wasn't and everything fell apart… 

Whisked off to the beautiful island of Corfu to plan her sister Lacey’s big, fat, Greek wedding, Ellen is hoping some time out will help clear her head and heal her heart. But letting go of her past is not going to be easy. 

With Lacey in full on Bridezilla mode, Ellen is soon distracted from her own problems. And when the all-inclusive treats on offer at hotel Blue Vue include one gorgeous, brooding Adonis – Yan – Ellen finds him difficult to resist. 

But Ellen isn't looking for love or lust, or anything involving too much ouzo…or is she? 





Review:

Mandy - you rock!! This was an amazing read - finished in two sittings and was hooked from the first page.

Set in the idyllic island of Corfu in the sun, this is the perfect summer read. I could smell the Ouzo and sunscreen and wanted to hop on a plane!

Ellen and Yan were marvellous characters and their tentative friendship was brilliantly written. I loved how Ellen relaxed ad became more trusting as the book moved along. Her sister Lacey was great fun! She made me laugh out loud at some of her antics - but she was also changed by her week in the sun.

Many, many years ago, in my misspent youth, I too went off to a bar with the animation team in Ibiza. I had such a laugh with them and Mandy's descriptions of the team in Corfu was spot on!

I also enjoyed the children's contributions both in Bulgaria and Corfu. Having spent many summer holidays watching my son in the Kids' Clubs, it made me feel very nostalgic (he's 24 now)!

Three-quarters of the way through the book I just couldn't see how Ellen's problems would resolve themselves and found myself becoming quite agitated on her behalf! And very defensive too - especially when her father blames her for everything! But, needless to say, it does all come good in the end for Ellen and Lacey, although not necessarily in the way you expect for either of them.

I had a big smile and slightly teary eyes at the end. Any book which involves a reader's emotions like that can only be a good thing....and this was one of the best!



Sunday, 24 May 2015

Review of The Vintage Cinema Club by Jane Linfoot - Four **

Review of The Vintage Cinema Club by Jane Linfoot - Four **


Blurb: 

Meet The Vintage Cinema Club….
Izzy is a wow at making unwanted things pretty, but with three brothers and her shabby chic furniture business to run she doesn't have time to date. Could a fabulous French proposal change her mind?
Single mum Luce’s vintage bridal dresses are exquisite, but there’s no way she’s ever going to wear one or walk down the aisle for that matter. She’s a strictly no romance, one night kind of woman – or so she thinks…
Dida seems to have it all – a chocolate and banana cake recipe to die for, lovely kids (most of the time!) and a great lifestyle. But what good is a fabulous home, when your marriage has more cracks than a pavlova and your husband is having it off with half of Lithuania?
Three retro fabulous friends, in love with all things vintage, run their dream business from the faded grandeur of a rescued cinema. When that dream comes under threat, they’ll do whatever it takes to save it.




Review: 

I enjoyed this book immensely. The main characters, Dida, Luce and Izzy are all very different but compliment each other so well. The story revolves around the vintage store in an old cinema and the trials and tribulations of their lives, as well as the problems relating to the business.

The main theme is the story of Izzy and Xander and how they fight their demons to be together. It is really well written and I felt for them both at times. Luce and Olly take a back seat to this unfolding romance. Dida has a very unhappy marriage but begins to break away towards the end of the book, I was really rooting for her!

Great book and I'll certainly read more Jane Linfoot.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.




Thursday, 21 May 2015

A Review of We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman - Five**

A Review of We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman - Five**


Blurb: 


Do not miss me, because I will always be with you…I am the air, the moon, the stars. For we are all made of stars, my beloved... Wherever you look, I will be there.

Stella Carey exists in a world of night. Married to a soldier who has returned from Afghanistan injured in body and mind, she leaves the house every evening as Vincent locks himself away, along with the secrets he brought home from the war.

During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients to their loved ones - some full of humour, love and practical advice, others steeped in regret or pain – and promises to post these messages after their deaths.

Until one night Stella writes the letter that could give her patient one last chance at redemption, if she delivers it in time…

We Are all Made of Stars is an uplifting and heartfelt novel about life, loss and what happens in between from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book.




Review:

This book deserves 10 Stars!

Where to start? I've just finished this beautiful book and am feeling exhausted! This has to be one of the most emotional stories I've ever read.

The way the narrative blends seamlessly with the letters is a stroke of genius. I lost my mother to alcoholism and so Grace's story really hit home. I've also had a brush with cancer and may well be facing another one. So this life-affirming book was just what I needed to read.

Love and family and can get you through anything - right to the end.

Thank you, Rowan, I feel calmer and more positive now. You have a great gift for storytelling and this one will stay with me through thick and thin, good times and bad.

I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
 



Review for Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas -Four **

Review for Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas -Four **


Blurb: 

Would-be gardener Daisy can't believe her luck when her parents announce they're off on a midlife crisis gap year, leaving her in charge of their gorgeous garden. After a turbulent few months, a spot of quiet in the countryside is just what she needs.
 
 A shoulder to cry on wouldn't go amiss either - so when Daisy comes across Elaine and Jo, she breathes a sigh of relief. But her new friends are dealing with dramas of their own...
 
As Daisy wrestles the garden into something resembling order, her feelings for handsome Irishman George begin to take root. Daisy's heart's desire − her parent's garden − is under threat, and Daisy's forced to confront nosey neighbours and fight greedy developers. Village life is turning out to be far from peaceful.






Review: 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The village was lovely, the characters were just that - characters! I especially enjoyed the plotting involved in a small village - and I'm not just talking garden plots! There was a nice twist towards the end, which I hadn't seen coming. The storyline was very different from the usual and I loved all the meetings! There's a lot of humour in the book too :) All in all. a lovely read - a perfect holiday book!

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon UK: Coming Up Roses
Amazon US: Coming Up Roses

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Review of Summer of Fire by Kitty Pilgrim - Five **

Review of Summer of Fire by Kitty Pilgrim - Five **


Blurb: 


On the beautiful island of Capri, a royal princess begins a secret love affair, oblivious to the dangers that surround her. Internationally renowned novelist Kitty Pilgrim chronicles a modern thriller based in the historic volcanic region of Southern Italy. Her characters, archaeologist John Sinclair and oceanographer Cordelia Stapleton, team up once again for a tale of glamour and romance that spans every level of society-from the dangerous criminal underworld of Naples to the jet set of Europe.







Video promotion: Video for Summer of Fire


Review:

I enjoyed this book a lot. There's something for everyone - mystery, 
thriller, romance - even kids! 
It moves at a fast pace and is complicated but worth the concentration! 
Having it all happen against volcanoes, Italy, Paris and London 
makes it even more exciting, especially once air transport is factored out! 
A great read and I shall look for more of Kitty Pilgrim's books!

Amazon UK: Summer of Fire
Amazon US: Summer of Fire

Review of Life After Perfect by Nancy Naigle - Five**

Review of Life After Perfect by Nancy Naigle - Five**


Blurb: 



Katherine Barclift had it all: the perfect job, the perfect car, and what she thought was the perfect marriage. But when her entire world collapses in one stomach-churning instant, she hits the road and keeps driving until that so-called “perfect life” is just a dot in her rear-view mirror.
A chance encounter leads her to make a pit stop in Boot Creek, a drowsy little North Carolina town where she can call herself Katy, soak up the peace and quiet…and drink in the bluer-than-blue eyes of Derek Hansen, a local doctor still wrestling with his own painful past. Both Katy and Derek are wary about giving romance another shot, but they can’t deny the intense attraction between them. And if being in Boot Creek has taught them anything, it’s to take life as it comes and never pass up a chance at true love…no matter how wounded your heart may be.




Review:

Another winner from the wonderful Nancy Naigle! 
A very interesting storyline.......Katy discovers her husband is cheating 
and runs away. She arrives in Boot Creek on the weekend 
of the Blackberry Festival. 
There she meets Derek, a man with his own troubled past. 

The inhabitants of Boot Creek are real characters and make Katy 
very welcome. As does Derek! She soon makes herself at home there 
and settles into the quiet town. 
When her ex turns up, he is loud and demanding 
and this really stands out and creates a clashing tension!

Nancy's books are always lovely gentle stories about 
lovely gentle folk and I always look forward to reading her new books. 
If you haven't read any of her work, 
this predominately peaceful romance is a great place to start.

Amazon UK: Life After Perfect
Amazon US: Life After Perfect

Two reviews today - two excellent books being published :)

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Review of Never Marry a Politician by Sarah Waights - Five **

Review of Never Marry a Politician by Sarah Waights - Five **


Blurb: 

‘Never, under any circumstances, marry a politician … ‘ 
In trying to be the model wife to Ralph, a fiercely ambitious politician, Emily has betrayed her heart and her principles. Once she was a promising journalist, but now reluctant domestic goddess is more her scene. 

When unexpected events lead to Ralph becoming a candidate for Prime Minster, Emily finds maintaining the fa├žade of picture-perfect family life an increasing struggle –especially when her romantic past comes back to haunt her in the form of tough-talking journalist, Matt Morley. 

Matt is highly skilled at ‘digging the dirt’ and, sure enough, Ralph has a sordid secret that is soon uncovered. In the aftermath of the discovery, will Emily finally find the courage to be true to herself, or is she stuck in the world of PR tactics and photo opportunities for good? 

Finalist in the 2014 Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition.





Review:

I deliberately waited until after the election to read this. Felt I couldn't any more political spin and fake promises!

I am so very glad I did. This is a lovely book and looks in depth at relationships, family, loyalty and unexpected support.

It was much deeper and far more complicated than I had anticipated. There were some very funny lines, some incredibly sad parts and the tension built nicely through the book. It's amazing what we will do for the sake of someone else - to the point of ceasing to exist as ourselves. And an eye opener about the huge machine that is PR!

Loved it and look forward to Sarah's next book.


Review of Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk - Five **

Review of Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk - Five **


Blurb:

The hilarious new novel from Lindsey Kelk, author of the bestselling I Heart series
Everyone loves a bridesmaid - except Maddie, who’s perpetually asked to be one.
Everyone loves a wedding - except Maddie’s best friend, who’s getting divorced.

And everyone loves the way Maddie’s so happy behind the scenes - except Maddie herself.
One best friend is in wedding countdown while the other heads for marriage meltdown. 

And as Maddie juggles her best chance at promotion in years with bridezilla texts and late-night counselling sessions, she starts to wonder – is it time to stop being the bridesmaid?





Review:

I have cried with laughter reading this book. It is just fabulous!

Maddie is the perfect central character. She is way too loyal but incredibly realistic and long suffering. Except when it comes to relationships. Then, like so many of us, she becomes unrealistic, needy, and lives in a fantasy world of what should be!

Her friends Lauren and Sarah are like chalk and cheese as are their situations. One is getting married and one is getting divorced. Maddie is an events organiser with a boss from hell (Shona made me really laugh out loud) and the book is how she copes through a 3 month period.

Some of the situations are extreme to say the least but Lindsey make them seem truly believable. There a bad guys and good guys.....and then there's Lauren's mother! The characterisations are wonderful. I'm not sure if I could ever cope with meeting them in real life, but reading about them was pure joy!





Thursday, 14 May 2015

Review of How I Wonder What You Are by Jane Lovering - Five **

Review of How I Wonder What You Are by Jane Lovering - Five **


Blurb: 

“Maybe he wasn't here because of the lights – maybe they were here because of him …” 

It’s been over eighteen months since Molly Gilchrist has had a man (as her best friend, Caro, is so fond of reminding her) so when she as good as stumbles upon one, lying comatose, on the moors one bitterly cold morning, it seems like the Universe is having a laugh at her expense. 
But Phinn Baxter (that’s Doctor Phinneas Baxter) is no drunken layabout, as Molly is soon to discover; with a PhD in astrophysics and a tortured past that is a match for Molly’s own disastrous love life. 


Finding mysterious men on the moors isn't the weirdest thing Molly has to contend with, however. There’s also those strange lights she keeps seeing in the sky. The ones she’s only started seeing since meeting Phinn …






Review:

I've read all Jane's books and this one was equal to, if not better than them all. I love the touch of magic/supernatural in them and the humour. The humour is fantastic. I laugh out loud and in a couple of places ended up crying with laughter. 

Molly and Phinn are fabulous characters and their conversations are a scream. They are also very damaged people and this side of their relationship is dealt with very sensitively. I confess I had to read the speech from Link twice to see what Phinn heard but then it all made sense. And Molly's hatred of her mother wasn't explained until halfway through the book, which kept me on my toes!  I also liked the fact that the lights remain a mystery.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly :)






Review of From Italy With Love by Jules Wake - Five**

Review of From Italy With Love by Jules Wake - Five**

Blurb:

‘To my niece I leave the Ferrari GT250… On the proviso that she takes it across Europe to Maranello within the next three weeks. Only on successful completion of the journey to a prescribed route, will the car be hers…’

Home-loving Laurie thinks she’s happy – she has a safe, reliable boyfriend and working in her local library is what she thought she always wanted. That is until she inherits a vintage Ferrari from her eccentric Uncle Miles and the conditions of the inheritance are far from simple. To keep the car Laurie will have to drive across Europe with the gorgeous but unreliable Cameron Matthews as her guide… and Cam’s motives for helping are not all that altruistic.

Cam isn’t particularly thrilled about escorting his late pal Miles’ dull mouse of a niece on this wild goose chase but all he has to do is get Laurie safely to Italy and he’s sure the Ferrari is his.
But Uncle Miles had a few tricks up his sleeve and the route he’s planned takes Cam and Laurie on a road trip they’ll never forget. From sampling the delights of the Loire Valley to the breathtaking beauty of Lake Garda, this is one journey that has more twists and turns than either of them could ever have imagined…




Review:

I finished the book wondering if it was feasible to take my Mini Cooper S on a road trip through Europe! Jules brings the scenery and towns villages to life with wonderful descriptions - I could almost smell them! I love the way Jules writes - it is light and funny but she gets emotions across well.

In order to inherit her late uncle's classic car, his will dictates that Laurie must drive it through Europe to Italy. She is to accompanied by Cam who, unbeknown to Laurie, has first refusal if she decides to sell the car. The first part of the journey is taken up with Cam's tactics to try and make her hate the car. They don't work! The rest of the book is about their deepening friendship.

Laurie has a difficult relationship with her mother and once we meet her, it is easy to see why. I couldn't stand her! Full marks to Jules for getting her personality over so well, she was really obnoxious!

I really hope that this book is the first of a series!

I was given an ARC by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Review of The Day of The Wave by Becky Wicks - Five**

A review of The Day of The Wave by Becky Wicks - Five **

Blurb:

One tsunami. Two lives. Over a decade of questions.


Torn apart by the Boxing Day tsunami. Thrown back together by destiny. This is a novel that will break your heart.


Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day tsunami tore through their beach resort in Thailand. Just days after forming a life-changing bond, both were missing and presumed dead.
Unbeknown to each other and haunted by one of the biggest natural disasters in world history, Isla and Ben are living very different lives, until over a decade later when a chance encounter throws them back together.

Based on real life events, The Day of the Wave is a story of healing, learning to let go, and figuring out when to hold on with everything you have left.




Review:

This book is a must-read. I haven't cried so much (happy tears as well as sad ones) since I read Rowan Coleman's We Are All Made of Stars. 

There are some beautiful descriptive pieces of the beauty of Thailand, which contrast with the horrific descriptions of the tsunami aftermath.

It is the story of 2 people who met in Thailand in December 2004 and each believed the other to have died in the tsunami. Ben and Izzy are two very strong characters, each with their own coping mechanism to help them deal with the aftermath of the tsunami and the fact that they both survived when thousands died in Thailand.

They accidentally come across each other ten years later in Bangkok and the book is the story of their relationship and how they have to face their own demons. Izzy, on the face of it, has a good life. She has a job, flat, boyfriend and cat - all the modern signs of a successful life. But she is very OCD and has never been near a beach or the sea since the tsunami. Ben is a diving instructor in Thailand, having lived in many places and with no serious relationships in his life.

The book follows them as they get to know each other and start to help each other through the emotional barriers. This is very painful for both of them - and the reader! 

I cannot emphasise how much I loved this book. When I received the ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, I wasn't sure about it, but am so thankful I read it. This is one book that will stay with me for many years.

Amazon UK: The Day of the Wave
Amazon US: The Day of the Wave

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Review of Modern Girl's Guide to Vacation Flings - Four**

A Review of Modern Girl's Guide to Vacation Flings by Gina Drayer - Four**

Blurb: 


Sometimes you need a little help.


Matt Carver was stuck on a Transatlantic cruise with his entire family. And while he loved them all, the two week trip was going to kill him. Especially since his well-meaning mother loved to meddle in his personal life. The only way he could keep the peace, and his sanity, was to produce a fake girlfriend. Good thing he had just the woman for the role: Beth Riley, an adventurous beauty who’d already rescued him once. 

And sometimes you just want to run away.


Beth Riley needed an escape. Her normal drama-free life was swimming in scandal after her sister announced she was marrying Beth’s ex-boyfriend. In order to distance herself from the wedding fiasco, Beth fled the country. It was her chance to sort out her feelings and re-evaluate her love life. But the cruise wasn't the fun filled break she’d been expecting. Luckily Matt, with his harebrained plan, provided the perfect distraction. 

The whole ruse was supposed to be harmless, but things quickly turned intense when their made-up relationship and fake kisses produced undeniable heat.








Review:

I enjoyed this book. It was fun, funny and had a good storyline. Beth is man-shy after her sister gets engaged to Beth's ex and the wedding is looming. Beth escapes onto a transatlantic cruise.

On the flight to the port, she meets Matt and they get on well. Once on board, she discovers Matt is there with his huge family. She agrees to pretend to be his girlfriend to keep his mother and sister-in-law's matchmaking at bay.

Of course emotions and feelings soon come into it and there is a lot of misunderstandings and making up (the sex is well written too). Gina describes shipboard life well and I enjoyed the cruise!

Her descriptions of sister-in law and her sister are brilliant - and so bitchy!! In fact all the characters are well drawn and really support Beth and Matt well.

I look forward to Simon's (Matt's work colleague) story in the next book.
 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Wellies and Westies

I've recently read the first instalment in a series of four books by Cressida McLaughlin. It is called Wellies and Westies and is great fun. But I shall review all four books once they are all published. Patience dear reader!!