Friday, 31 July 2015

Review of I Don't Want to Talk About It by Jane Lovering - Five *


Blurb:

What if the one person you wanted to talk to wouldn't listen? 

Winter Gregory and her twin sister Daisy live oceans apart but they still have the ‘twin thing’ going on. Daisy is Winter’s port in the storm, the first person she calls when things go wrong … 

And things are wrong. Winter has travelled to a remote Yorkshire village to write her new book, and to escape her ex-boyfriend Dan Bekener. Dan never liked her reliance on Daisy and made her choose – but Winter’s twin will always be her first choice. 

She soon finds herself immersed in village life after meeting the troubled Hill family; horse-loving eight-year-old Scarlet and damaged, yet temptingly gorgeous, Alex. The distraction is welcome and, when Winter needs to talk, Daisy is always there. 

But Dan can’t stay away and remains intent on driving the sisters apart – because Dan knows something about Daisy… 






Review:

I have read every Jane Lovering book and even interviewed her for my blog. Her books are consistently good, light hearted and very, very funny. So I started I Don't Want to Talk About It as soon as I got it, anticipating the same fun read.

It is a funny book at times, but it is so much more than that. It is darker than Jane's previous books and when I finished it, I felt as if I had been through all Winter's emotions with her. It is so sympathetically and empathetically written, that I was there in Yorkshire with her and Alex and Dan.

I did guess about Daisy, but that in no way detracted from my enjoyment. It actually enhanced it as I watched Winter start to crumble. My heart was in my mouth when she started running from the school to the field.

The ending was great - a lot of thought went into the entire book - thank you Jane.
 




Review of Pleasure Island by Anna-Lou Weatherley - Five *


Blurb:

Secrets. Scandal. Betrayal. In Paradise, pleasure comes at a dangerously high price…

Three couples each receive an exclusive invitation to the fantasy holiday destination of a lifetime… 

The host: Martin McKenzie, global billionaire and media mogul. Charismatic, powerful and always gets what he wants. 

The location: A breathtakingly beautiful undiscovered island, nestled in the Aegean Sea. Private, secluded and not quite as it seems. 

The details: Seven days of pure hedonism, five-star luxury tailored to every desire, also includes… secrets, lies, and infidelity. 

As the guests begin to enjoy everything the luxury island has to offer, cracks begin to surface between the three couples. But that is not all. Someone is watching them. When they discover the truth – it will be explosive in more ways than they can ever imagine. 

A jaw-dropping, absorbing and spectacular blockbuster of a novel. THE beach read of the summer you won’t want to be without.





Review:

I loved the cover of this book and was really pleased when Bookouture sent me an ARC via NetGalley.

Appearances can be deceptive....and that is the crux of the whole book! The plot was unexpected, the characters larger than life and I was hooked from the first page!

Yes, there are some scenes which made me think, "Hang on - that's not right" but overall it was an exciting read and as a fan of manipulation in literature, I certainly wasn't disappointed! Everything is here - sex, drugs, rock 'n roll, celebrities, reality show, hackers, media attention (wanted and unwanted). 

The mastermind - Martin McKenzie - is a really nasty piece of work, but read on, reader, he will get his comeuppance!

Really enjoyed it - thank you!


Amazon UK: Pleasure Island
Amazon US: Pleasure Island

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Review of The Little Flower Shop by the Sea by Ali McNamara - Four *


Blurb:

The blossom is out in the little Cornish harbour town of St Felix
But Poppy Carmichael's spirits aren't lifted by the pretty West Country spring. Inheriting her grandmother's flower shop has forced her to return to Cornwall, a place that holds too many memories.

Poppy is determined to do her best for the sake of her adored grandmother, but she struggles with the responsibility of the more-shabby-than-chic shop. And with the added complication of Jake, the gruff but gorgeous local flower grower, Poppy is very tempted to run away...

The pretty little town has a few surprises in store for Poppy. With new friends to help her and romance blooming, it's time for Poppy to open her heart to St Felix and to the special magic of a little flower shop by the sea!

Let Ali McNamara, author of the much-loved From Notting Hill with Love...Actually, bring some sparkling sunshine into your life






Review:

A lovely summer read - another one set in Cornwall! I enjoyed the flower theme through this book and the characters were all very real.

The attraction between Jake and Poppy was well described and the rollercoaster of new feelings felt very realistic.

My only criticism was that the introduction of Jake's family to Stan was just glossed over. It would have been a momentous occasion and I felt more time should have been given to it. It affected all the main characters.

But overall it was a fun read and I can certainly recommend it.




Thursday, 23 July 2015

Review of Scandalous Lies by Nigel May - Four *


Blurb: 

Lovers and liars, divas and sinners, welcome to a world of scandal, where one woman will pay the ultimate price. 

SUSPENSE: Georgia’s best friend, ballroom dancing sensation Mitzi, has vanished with boyfriend Foster while on holiday in California. Can Georgia get to the truth of their disappearance before it’s too late? 

SECRETS: Reality TV star Nova could give the Kardashians a run for their money. But while she allows millions of viewers into her fabulous home, she’s unaware what her husband, celebrity mogul Jacob, is up to behind closed doors … 

SEX: Tanya is filthy rich, married to a man who adores her but she is restless. And her sexual appetite is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble. 

SCANDAL: Victoria, once the trophy-wife, has lost her mojo. Determined to get her life and marriage back on track, she’s desperate to inject some excitement in her life – but at what cost? 

From the glitz of Hollywood to the glamour of Milan and the exotic luxury of India, Scandalous Lies is a deliciously unputdownable read. 





Review:

I'm not really into bonk busters and the first few pages of Scandalous Lies didn't exactly fill me with hope for the book. But I am the first to admit when I'm wrong. This turned out to be a well written story, full of suspense, interesting characters and, of course, sex!!

What I liked was the theme of Mitzi and Foster's disappearance which keep going throughout the book. I was also intrigued with the way the characters linked as the story progressed.

I didn't see the twists coming and was hooked right to the end. What I really liked was the vulnerability of all the characters. 

Will definitely read Nigel's other books!


Amazon UK: Scandalous Lies
Amazon US: Scandalous Lies
Amazon Spain: Scandalous Lies

Review of Moving by Jenny Eclair - Five *


Blurb:

Edwina Spinner has lived in the same house for over fifty years. It used to be a busy, crowded family home but now Edwina lives alone and it has grown too big for her. She has decided to sell it.


The young estate agent who comes to value the house sees potential. Knock down a few walls, add a wet room. 'People like a project.' But as Edwina takes him from room to room, she is transported back to her old life as a young mother. Back to her first husband Ollie and their twins, James and Rowena. Back to lies and dark secrets and to a stepson whose name Edwina cannot even bear to speak aloud.


As Edwina's story unravels she is revealed as a complex and intriguing person. Not just the 'frail old lady' trapped in her dated house, but a woman who has lived an extraordinary life, full of love and tragedy. Why is she now so alone? What happened to Edwina's family all those years ago?


Moving - Jenny Eclair's fourth novel - reveals a writer at the height of her powers. Gripping, heart-breaking and laced with black humour, it is a novel of family secrets, shocking betrayals and most of all, of home.




Review:

Oh how I loved this book! Jenny Eclair has an amazing talent and this book showcases it perfectly!

I read it in two sessions. And it was one of those where I was desperate to know what happened but equally desperate for the book never to end! Following Edwina, Rowena, Charlie, Lucas and Fern was totally addictive. Having been at college myself in the 70s, I could identify with so much of it. 

The friends who crop up throughout the book are more than just additional characters. They are well thought out and essential to the plot. 

The revelations left me speechless at times and some of the descriptive narrative is sheer genius. This sentence is wonderful: The idea is to create an illusion of uniformity, as if they really could be sisters –a highly unlikely scenario considering their accents are still careering up and down the M4.

So sad I've finished it! It truly was....deeply....Moving!


Amazon UK: Moving
Amazon US: Moving

Review of What Happens in Cornwall by T A Williams - Four *


Blurb: 

For a very British summer holiday…
When archaeologist Sam realises her relationship is as dead as the skeletons she’s exhuming, she knows it’s time to make a change. But with bills to pay her options are limited…until a discovery on Rock Island in Cornwall gives her a reason to escape…

Head to the Cornish coast!
In Cornwall, questions are thrown up at every turn: who is the glamorous owner of Rock Island that the paparazzi are so interested in? How has the irresistible, but impossibly arrogant, history professor James Courtney managed to get so far under Sam’s skin? And will it ever stop raining so Sam can lose the cagoule and sip a cool drink in the sun? One thing’s for sure: there’s never been a holiday quite like this one!

Enjoy a summer of surprises and romance with What Happens in Cornwall…, the perfect retreat for fans of Fern Britton




Review:

What an unexpected pleasure! The plot was unusual and the characters diverse. The story moved at quite a pace and was very easy to read. It kept me guessing with a couple of nice twists and I was keen to find out the ending. I felt that was a little hurried - the author set the scene for an action-filled finale and then skipped it completely. I have to say I felt a bit short changed by that.

But overall it was an good read and kept my interest to the end. I look forward to the next "What Happens In" book!


Amazon Spain: What Happens in Cornwall

Friday, 17 July 2015

The Girl's Guide to Getting Married by Sophie Hart - Four *


Blurb:

Rule number one: Keep calm and marry on…


When new mum and events planner Julia Crawford is given the opportunity to plan three weddings, she jumps at the chance. What could possibly go wrong? … 

Forget bridezilla, Aimee’s future mother-in-law is the stuff of nightmares – hell bent on taking over the wedding entirely. Worse still, her fiancĂ©, Jon, seems oblivious. Aimee’s starting to wonder if she and her groom-to-be are right for each other after all… 

Body shy Debbie is on a mission. She’s determined to shed a lot of pounds before the big day. As the wedding inches closer, will the new Debbie lose sight of what’s really important? 

Gill loves Mike and their blended family of five kids to bits, but with a house full of teenage hormones and her eldest, Kelly, struggling with so much change, Gill is feeling the pressure... 

As the women bond over cake and a cuppa, can they each resolve their wedding woes before the big day? 

An uplifting, warm-hearted read packed with love, laughter and friendship. If you’re a fan of Jill Mansell, Milly Johnson or Lucy Diamond you’re in for a real treat. 





Review:

This is a lovely feel-good book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a sequel to The Girl's Guide to Falling in Love but stands alone very well indeed.

Julia is a new mum and a wedding-planner. The book is about Julia's struggles returning to work and the weddings she arranges. 

We meet Aimee - a lovely bride with the Mother-in-law from hell, Gill and her huge 2nd time around family and "Desperately-Dieting Debbie". Such different brides, all in very different circumstances. 

The book follows the four women as they meet and friendships develop.

The road to the altar is never straightforward and, in one case at least, the Happy Ever After is not necessarily what you are expecting!



Thursday, 16 July 2015

Review of The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain - Five *


Blurb:

Cupcakes, crafting and love at The Cherry Tree Cafe...

Lizzie Dixon's life feels as though it's fallen apart. Instead of the marriage proposal she was hoping for from her boyfriend, she is unceremoniously dumped, and her job is about to go the same way. So, there's only one option: to go back home to the village she grew up in and to try to start again.

Her best friend Jemma is delighted Lizzie has come back home. She has just bought a little cafe and needs help in getting it ready for the grand opening. And Lizzie's sewing skills are just what she needs.

With a new venture and a new home, things are looking much brighter for Lizzie. But can she get over her broken heart, and will an old flame reignite a love from long ago...?

For everyone who loves settling down to watch Great British Bake-Off, the Great British Sewing Bee, or curling up to read Milly Johnson or Jenny Colgan, The Cherry Tree Cafe is a coffee-break treat.






Review:

This is a winner from Heidi - it has everything! A cafe, cupcakes, a talented craft heroine, an old flame, smooth city-types, happily married couple, lovely daughter and parents from hell (or so we are led to believe).

The plot never runs smoothly, there are more hiccups than a child drinking lemonade too fast. There are some wonderful lines, laugh out loud moments and other times I had tears in my eyes.

Lizzie is perfect - she has doubts, reaches wrong conclusions, refuses to,listen but ultimately I found myself really identifying with her. Ben is a perfect foil and the less said about Jay the better!

Was sad when it finished. Hope there's another book about the Cherry Tree Cafe!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.



Friday, 10 July 2015

Review of Next of Kin by Sue Welfare - Five *


Blurb:

NEXT OF KIN 
THE NEW EDGE-OF-YOUR-SEAT THRILLER 
FROM SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER, SUE WELFARE 

He seemed like the perfect tenant . . . 
Home should be where the heart is, but for Sarah, it becomes a place of fear, menace and terrifying choices. 
Her new lodger seems like the dream tenant for the rambling Cambridge town house that Sarah shares with her brother, Ryan. 
But before long it’s clear that their guest has his own chilling plans for all of them. 
When Ryan finds himself in deep water, Sarah faces losing all her hopes, dreams and any chance of a happy ever after. 
Just how far will she go to protect the people she loves? And will even the ultimate sacrifice be enough to save them… 

Dark, gripping and utterly compelling, Next of Kin is guaranteed to thrill fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl or Before I go to Sleep.




Review:

Sue is one of my favourite authors but this is a journey into the unknown for her. Her usual genre is romance/romantic comedy and this is a hard, suspenseful thriller. So I was curious to read it.

Well, I can say, without any shadow of a doubt, that this is by far one of the best suspense books I have ever read! The characters were all well defined and totally believable. The plot was excellent and I was cheering at the end! I absolutely galloped through, so desperate was I to find out what happened! 

The victims were defined and flawed - as are we all. The "baddie" was so slick, so believable and so cruel. Having been a victim of fraud myself recently, I know how easy it is to fall into the spider's web of lies.

Thank you, Sue, for giving me a book I could really get my teeth into and which left me exhausted but wanting more!


Amazon UK: Next of Kin
Amazon US: Next of Kin




Review of While I Was Waiting by Georgia Hill - Five *


Blurb: 

June 1963, Clematis Cottage, Stoke St. Mary, Herefordshire

I am really not sure why I am writing this. A foolish whim by a foolish old lady and it will probably sit in a box unread and decay much like its writer when Death makes his careless decision.

But perhaps someone will find it. Someone will care enough to read and somehow I know that will happen.

April 2000, Clematis Cottage, Stoke St. Mary, Herefordshire

Tired of her life in London, freelance illustrator Rachel buys the beautiful but dilapidated Clematis Cottage and sets about creating the home of her dreams. But tucked away behind the water tank in the attic and left to gather dust for decades is an old biscuit tin containing letters, postcards and a diary. So much more than old scraps of paper, these are precious memories that tell the story of Henrietta Trenchard-Lewis, the love she lost in the Great War and the girl who was left behind.





Review:

This hooks you from the start and keeps your interest all the way through. I loved the way Georgia intertwines the two stories of Hetty and Rachel.
This is a time slip novel, but neither character moves out of their own time. The link is the notes and letters that Hetty left in an old biscuit tin. Rachel read these through the book and became intrigued.
The bleak description of the countryside during a foot and mouth outbreak was horribly realistic.
The modern day love story was very good - Gabe being a very untypical hero. I was praying that all would come good for them. Hetty's story was far more complicated and a brilliant portrayal of life in Edwardian England.
All in all - a really interesting book - full of history and romance - and missed opportunities.


Amazon UK: While I Was Waiting

Not yet available in US.



Review of The Rest of My Life by Sheryl Browne - Five *


Blurb: 

You can’t run away from commitment forever … 
Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride… 


Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them. 


And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?






Review: 

This was torture! I was so rooting for Adam and he kept screwing up!! I felt like shaking the man at times. Sienna was a lovely character and the perfect innocent foil for Adam.
The best character by far for me, was Sienna's father, David. He was absolutely perfect as the protective, but understanding father! Reminded me strongly of mine, but maybe my Dad wasn't quite so understanding.

I felt so sorry for Adam as his actions resulted in some very painful experiences (physical and emotional). His friend Nate was brilliant - very supportive but close to the end of his tether! 
Can we have a second book about Nate please?

Great read - Choc Lit NEVER disappoints!


Amazon UK: The Rest of My Life
Amazon US: The Rest of My Life

Review of Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin - Five *


Blurb: 

A deliciously enchanting read that will delight fans of Rachael Lucas, Lucy Diamond and Miranda Dickinson or anyone who has ever blubbed at a Disney movie. Who says real life can’t be a fairytale? 

Love is an open door…except when it keeps slamming in your face


Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming – he’s out there somewhere, isn't he? 






Review:

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book! The fabulous castle setting and the "weird" village and its characters supported the main characters of Milly and Cameron beautifully. I laughed out loud at some of the antics, descriptions and conversations. I was totally involved all the way through. And the beautiful twist for Milly near the end was perfect!

It really is a fairytale for grown-ups!

The machinations of Olivia kept the story alive and the importance of trust was so cleverly emphasised. Please read this funny, entertaining book - perfect for a sunny beach or by the pool!


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Review of Evie Undercover by Liz Harris - Five *


Blurb: 

When libel lawyer, Tom Hadleigh acquires a perfect holiday home - a 14th century house that needs restoring, there’s a slight problem. The house is located in the beautiful Umbria countryside and Tom can’t speak a word of Italian. 

Enter Evie Shaw, masquerading as an agency temp but in reality the newest reporter for gossip magazine Pure Dirt. Unbeknown to Tom, Italian speaking Evie has been sent by her manipulative editor to write an exposĂ© on him. And the stakes are high – Evie’s job rests on her success. 

But the path for the investigative journalist is seldom smooth, and it certainly never is when the subject in hand is drop-dead gorgeous.





Review:

This is such a fun book and a great summer read! The introduction to Evie and Tom is nothing short of hysterical! I loved the way Liz let's the characters develop at their own speed. Evie is so full on and Tom so much more reticent. As the story becomes more complicated I loved seeing how they reacted.

The setting was so beautiful and made for a perfect background to the love story.

If you like a good romance, beautiful scenery and a well written book, then this is the book for you!


Amazon UK: Evie Undercover
Amazon US: Evie Undercover

Review of The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop - Four *


Blurb: 

Full of mouth-watering flavours, sunshine and escapist adventure, The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop will delight readers who enjoy Carole Matthews and Jenny Colgan.

Anna and her husband Matteo are ready to embark a delicious Italian adventure. After a year and a half running their ice cream shop on Brighton beach and raising their baby Isabella, Matteo is starting to miss Italy. A shared passion for ices means it's easy to settle on a new business idea - they'll open a shop in Sorrento's cobbled square, a short walk from the sparkling blue sea. For a while, life is sweet; but then Matteo's overbearing family get involved …
Anna's younger sister Imogen feels like things are finally coming together - she's living with boyfriend Finn in a beach house in Brighton, and her photography is taking off. Then her career stalls, and the lure of Capri - and a man from her past - prove difficult to resist.

 
'Kept me thoroughly entertained until the very last page' Novelicious
'Sweet, light and romantic' Closer 
'A brilliantly written tale of sisterhood, family ties and love' I Heart Chick Lit
'Written very well ... I couldn't put it down!' Handbag.com 
'A lovely read which left me smiling long after finishing it' Bookworm Ink





Review: 

Another winner from Abby Clements. I loved the first book and was looking forward to the sequel. It continues the stories of sisters Imogen and Anna and their other halves Finn and Matteo.
It takes place on the South coast of England and the Amalfi coast of Italy. I enjoyed the challenges that Anna and Imo faced. Anna and Matteo's mother were admirable foes but I really sympathised with Anna trying to cope with an Italian Mamma! Imo, on the other hand, was feeling increasingly trapped. She loses out on an Amazon photography trip and realises that Finn is increasingly committed to her. This sends her into a panic and she flees the situation.
All was not resolved until right at the end, which kept me on tenterhooks!
The style is lovely and Abby's books are very easy to read, Highly recommended!



Review of The Wedding Reject Table by Angela Britnell - Five *


Blurb:

Once on the reject table, always on the reject table? 
When Maggie Taylor, a cake decorator, and Chad Robertson, a lawyer from Nashville Tennessee, meet at a wedding in Cornwall it’s not under the best circumstances.

 
They have both been assigned to ‘the reject table’, alongside a toxic collection of grumpy great aunts, bitter divorcees and stuffy organists. 


Maggie has grown used to being the reject, although when Chad helps her out of a wedding cake disaster she begins to wonder whether the future could hold more for her. 


But will Chad be strong enough to deal with the other problems in Maggie’s life? Because a ruined cake isn't the only issue she has – not by a long shot. 


2nd novella in the Nashville Connections series. First: What Happens in Nashville.





Review: 

This is a lovely little story. Maggie and Chad are fantastic characters who meet at a wedding on the "Wedding Reject Table". They then have to deal with Maggie's needy sister Emily and her great aunt! I loved they way they couldn't really believe what was happening as it was all so fast. Was very happy when all the ends got tied up. Great book!



Review of Summer Secrets by Jane Green - Five * (its really Ten *!)


Blurb: 

Summer Secrets by Number One best-selling author, Jane Green, is a gripping tale of recovery and redemption.

June, 1998. At twenty-seven, Cat Coombs is struggling. She lives in London, works as a journalist, and parties hard. When she discovers the identity of the father she never knew she had, it sends her into a spiral. She makes mistakes that cost her the budding friendship of the only women who have ever welcomed her. And nothing is ever the same after that.

June, 2014. Cat's life has come full circle. She wants to make amends to those she has hurt. Her quest takes her to Nantucket, the gorgeous New England island where the women she once called family still live. What Cat doesn't realize is that these women, her real father's daughters, have secrets of their own. As the past collides with the present, Cat must confront the darkest things in her own life and uncover the depths of someone's need for revenge.




Review:

I'm exhausted! This is one book that will stay with me for a very long time. It is the story of Cat's descent into alcoholic hell and her slow climb back to sobriety. It involves fathers, mothers, sisters, husband, gay best friend and daughter. And how they all interact with Cat and each other.

I found myself laughing, crying, yelling "NOOO!" at some points, and yelling "YES!!" at other times. And muttering, "Keep it in the day, honesty is the best policy, stop justifying!" It was a true emotional roller coaster but I was rooting for Cat all the way through. There was a lot of sickness in her family and I really worried for her at times. It has to be one of the most honest books I've read in a long time and if you want to understand more about the hold of alcoholism then this book tells it graphically. But it also tells the story of the miracle of recovery. And reflects on the behaviour of those who may or may not need Alcoholics Anonymous but whose behaviour is way off the norm.

If you like reading books full of emotion and feelings, both negative and positive, then this is the book for you.

Thank you Jane, although you have left me with a dilemma. What the hell do I read after this??

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


Amazon UK: Summer Secrets
Amazon US: Summer Secrets