Saturday 25 June 2016

Review of Escape to the Riviera by Jules Wake - Five **


**Lose yourself in the south of France this summer in this fabulously feel-good beach read!**
Carrie Hayes has a job she enjoys and a perfectly nice boyfriend. She’s sorted. Isn’t she?
But Carrie’s life wasn’t always like this. As a young,wild drama student, she married fellow actor, Richard Maddox, after a whirlwind romance. Life back then was full of possibilities, but when Hollywood beckoned Richard, Carrie was left behind.
Now an A-list superstar, Richard’s life couldn’t be more different to Carrie’s, so when their paths cross in glamorous St Tropez, she can’t help but wonder what might have been.
But with lovely, sensible Alan in tow, Carrie knows she needs to do the right thing. The only problem is, Carrie and Richard never quite got round to getting a divorce…
Lose yourself this summer on the French Riviera, the perfect read for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jane Costello.


This is one amazing book. I've followed Jules' career from her first book and I can see her writing maturing and developing.

It follows the story of Carrie, a teacher, and in a relationship with another teacher, Alan (great name by the way!) When Alan proposes, Carrie realises she has to sort out a divorce. But her husband is a world famous film actor now....

She travels to the Riviera with her sister and niece, who are both wonderful characters too - Jade especially. There she manages to make contact with Richard and the story follows her attempt at obtaining his signature on the divorce papers. This is not as straightforward as she had hoped because Richard has a very different agenda!

The descriptions of the landscape, the glamour, the glitz all make this a great read. Perfect for the beach!!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Review of Before You by Kathryn Freeman - Five **


When life in the fast lane threatens to implode … 
Melanie Hunt’s job working for the Delta racing team means she is constantly rubbing shoulders with Formula One superstars in glamorous locations like Monte Carlo. But she has already learned that keeping a professional distance is crucial if she doesn’t want to get hurt. 

New Delta team driver Aiden Foster lives his life like he drives his cars – fast and hard. But, no matter how successful he is, it seems he always falls short of his championship-winning father’s legacy. If he could just stay focused, he could finally make that win. 

Resolve begins to slip as Melanie and Aiden find themselves drawn to each other –with nowhere to hide as racing season begins. But when a troubled young boy goes missing, everything is thrown into turmoil, including Aiden’s championship dream.


I always jump for joy when a new Choc Lit title appears and, as always, I wasn't disappointed. Kathryn is obviously a lover of F1, as am I, and I loved this book set against a season in the racing calendar.

Poor Melanie is the press officer for Delta Racing and has been hurt by a previous relationship with a driver. But she can't deny her attraction to the handsome and charming Aiden Foster, the new driver with Delta. And fears to get involved because of her past experience.

Aiden is carrying the burden of a father, 5 times F1World Champion, a sad childhood and the resentment that goes with all that. The saying that resentment is like buying poison and then drinking it oneself really applies to him!

But Mel can see through the veneer of his charm and realises he hurts. When he realises this, it in turn attracts Aiden to Mel. They are so tentative around each other, I felt like knocking their heads together! When more problems with Aiden's family rear their ugly heads, Mel is there to help and support. And Tom is one of the best characters I've come across - Kathryn has got him spot on 😊

Throughout the book, Kathryn builds the tension brilliantly. Both on the race track and off. It's a real "Will they, won't they?" And "Will he, won't he?" story!

Lovely main characters that are strong and believable. And a host of friends, team members and relatives that add to the story so well. 

A champion book!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday 18 June 2016

Review of How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry - Five **


Nightingale Books, nestled on the high street in the idyllic Cotswold town of Peasebrook, is a dream come true for booklovers.
But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open. The temptation to sell up is proving enormous - but what about the promise she made to her father? Not to mention the loyalty she owes to her customers.
Sarah Basildon, owner of stately pile Peasebrook Manor, has used the book shop as an escape from all her problems in the past few years. But is there more to her visits than meets the eye?
Since messing up his marriage, Jackson asks Emilia for advice on books to read to the son he misses so much. But Jackson has a secret, and is not all he seems...
And there's Thomasina, painfully shy, who runs a pop-up restaurant from her tiny cottage. She has a huge crush on a man she met and then lost in the cookery section, somewhere between Auguste Escoffier and Marco Pierre White. Can she find the courage to admit her true feelings?
How to Find Love in a Book Shop is the delightful story of Emilia's fight to keep her book shop alive, the customers whose lives she has touched - and the books they all love.


What a wonderful discovery!  This book is like one of those treasures you find hidden in a bookshop and can't believe your luck! 

It starts by alternating between the stories of Emilia, who has inherited a bookshop from her father, Julius, and Julius' own story of meeting Emilia's mother, their whirlwind romance and finding the premises for Nightingale Books.

I was expecting a romance and keep trying to pair Emilia off with the men who appeared in the story, but soon realised it was going to be so much more than that. Julius touched so many people in the 30-odd years he owned the bookshop and it is really their stories that fill this marvellous book. 

It is a gentle, loving, tribute to books, bookshops and readers everywhere. Everyone who worked for, loved, or simply bought a book from Julius was changed by him and his dedicated love of books. Emilia is desperate to continue this, but Julius was no financial expert and there is a real possibility she will lose the shop.

How she, the employees and the people who love the shop pull together is wonderful. And, as they pull together, they each learn about themselves and what they can really do!

Gorgeous book, which I am certain I will return to again and again.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday 16 June 2016

Review of Lovers and Liars by Nigel May - Four **


Welcome to the Velvet Hotel Barbados where money and sex go hand in hand with murder ....

When millionaire playboy Sheridan Rivers is found dead at his luxurious hotel on the paradise island of Barbados, there are several suspects in the frame…

Sutton: Sheridan’s long-suffering wife was permanently pushed aside for his younger lovers. Was it time for her to make a stand? 

Kassidy: Sheridan’s assistant longs to be wealthy in her own right. Employed for her sexual and organisational skills, could she have had her eyes on a bigger prize? 

Nikki: Sheridan’s oldest daughter has done something really bad that her dad has discovered. What price will she pay to keep his silence? 

Heather: The apple of her father, Sheridan’s, eye. But she blames him for a terrible tragedy that turned her world upside down. Is the time ripe for revenge? 

Four women, each with a cross to bear – all waiting for the perfect moment to get even...

This summer, pour yourself a glass of bubbly and escape with the elite to the golden beaches of Barbados for a sexy, scandalous romp that you won’t be able to put down. 


Oh well done Nigel! Sex, drugs & Rock 'n Roll, well a hot dj anyway! This is the perfect pool read, especially if you are the Caribbean or Crete! 

This is very much a book about the women in the life of Sheridan Rivers - his wife, his daughters and his PA. But it is much more than that. It is about life in the fast lane, hiding one's true identity, having to live much of your life in secrecy. It's about loyalty, both family, relationship and business. And it is very much about what happens when you don't give a damn about anyone but yourself and your money. And I'm not just talking about Sheridan.

We learn Sheridan is murdered very early on, and in true Agatha Christie style, Nigel reveals all the players and their motives as the book progresses. You are then faced with one "victim" and any number who could have killed him! And you don't really blame any of them! 

I loved Sutton and her family, their fierce loyalty and love was truly amazing in the face of the deceit and treachery surrounding them. Hatton, too, came from a poor background and had made good. I felt sorry for the deception he was forced to keep up.

Great book, unexpected ending and I'm so glad we have a worthy successor to the late, great Jackie Collins!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Review of Four Weddings and a Fiasco by Catherine Ferguson - Four **


The ebook bestseller is back with her next riotously funny read! Get your hands on the ONLY book you need this summer.
Katy Peacock lives a life as colourful as her name.
As a wedding photographer, she spends her days making other people smile as she captures all sorts of fun and capers at celebrations that range from the wacky to the wild.
But her own life isn’t looking quite so rosy. Her mum is acting out of character, her menacing ex is back on the scene, and she is torn between two gorgeous men. And that’s before we even get started on the trouble her sister is causing . . .
As Katy weathers the ups and downs of the season, she revisits problems from the past, discovers new friendships and finds that four weddings and a fiasco have the power to change her world beyond measure.
A funny, feel-good read, perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan.


This has to be one of the funniest books I've ever read! But it has some dark sides to it too, which all contrast well. Katy is a determined woman - determined to make a success of her wedding photography business, determined to remain estranged from her sister, determined to be there for her mum and determined to stay away from men.

Of course life isn't that easy, and she soon finds herself attracted to two men, whilst trying to deal with a particularly unpleasant ex. Her mum seems to be having problems as well, more than just missing her dad who died 3 years earlier. 

All this is happening while her best friends fiancé seems to be behaving strangely, her best friend starts behaving even more strangely and Katy has to try and build up her business and clear her debts at the same time!

Some of the weddings are wonderful - rain, hail, soup, drunks, you name it, it happens! 

Really happy to recommend this book and looking forward to Catherine's next one :)

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Review of You Had Me at Merlot by Lisa Dickenson - Five **


Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they're single, they're not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren't filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine. She likes her independent life, but Laurie wants love and she wants it now.
So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. She has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else's idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be?
Full of sultry summer nights, hilarious moments and plenty of adventure, You Had Me at Merlot will warm even the most cynical of hearts and have you believing in the magic of romance (and the power of a decent glass of wine).


This is a lovely story of 2 friends who go on a singles wine tasting holiday to Italy. But it is much more than that!

Elle is a clever woman, happily single, and a workaholic - hoping to reach the top in her job in marketing. Laurie is looking for love and they get on really well together - some of the conversations are very funny!

On the holiday Elle meets Jamie, the son of the vineyard owners, another happy singleton. The book follows their relationship, together with the characters on the holiday with them. Her MD Donna also turns up with much hilarity!

Elle helps the business pick itself up and then returns home. But everything has changed! No spoilers, but nearly all the travellers change in some way - as do Jamie and his parents.

This is a very funny book and am happy to award it 5*!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Review of A Family Holiday by Bella Osborne - Five **


‘Heartwarming and funny from an exciting new talent’ – Katie Fforde
She’ll do whatever it takes to keep this family together…
As the nanny to four quirky but loveable children, Charlie French has learnt that if there was ever a cement shortage Weetabix would be a viable substitute and that YouTube videos can go viral in seconds, much to her horror. But, most importantly, she's learnt that whatever happens you stick together as a family.
When tragedy strikes, Charlie is forced to decide whether it’s time to move on or fight to keep the children she loves. With the distraction of the children's gorgeous Uncle Felix and the chance of a holiday in stunning Antigua, she’s left wondering if turquoise seas can wash away their present troubles. Is the pull of white sand beaches too tempting to resist or will paradise fail to keep them all together?
A gorgeous summery beach read, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Jill Mansell.


First of all, thank you for using my quote in the quotes at the beginning! Very honoured 😊 And now to the review:

Charlie is the nanny to four children of varying ages. But the twist to this tale is that the parents of the children and been killed in a car accident. So, for the moment, Charlie is their sole carer.

The story follows the legal and emotional twists as Aunt Ruth and Uncle Felix are approached regarding guardianship. Ruth is a very cold unemotional fish and Felix has never really grown up and faced his own responsibilities, never mind those of his late brother.

The first half of the book really sets the characters in stone and we learn all about their personalities. Millie (3) is wonderful and Bella obviously had a lot of fun regressing to that age! She is funny and typical of a modern 3 year old. The first line of the book tells you so much about her! "Millie had forgotten her knickers again."

George (10) and Eleanor (8) come next. George is pushing his boundaries as only a pre-adolescent boy can and Eleanor is the quiet one - she is still suffering terribly with grief and has a very strong attachment to Wriggly, the Llaso Apso puppy, who never seems to be able to behave.

The oldest is Ted, who has a different father and, at 15, is trying to wear the mantle of head of the family, while still trying to come to terms with the situation.

Charlie had a hard childhood and this strongly influences her desire to protect the children. When it all seems impossible, she takes them off to Antigua for a four week holiday, previously booked by their parents.

I'm not going to say much more about the actual plot, as it would automatically contain spoilers. Bella's descriptions of the island are lovely, and made me want to jump on a plane. (Actually, I may volunteer to accompany her on any future fact-finding missions!)

Suffice to say approaches can be deceiving and one character goes through a real sea-change.

Wasn't so sure about Fleur - her story seemed a little superfluous but certainly served to show the difference in people can depend a lot on their upbringing. And I did admire her trying to change her life - with mixed results.

I cried at the beginning, I cried in the middle and I really cried at the last line. Which was embarrassing as I was on a packed plane!

Thank you Bella - enjoyed this book so much - you just get better and better!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Review of Sunshine over Wildflower Cottage by Milly Johnson - Five **


New beginnings, old secrets, and a place to call home: the new novel from top five bestseller Milly Johnson

Viv arrives at Wildflower Cottage, a tumbledown animal sanctuary, for the summer. Her job is to help with the admin, but the truth is she is here for something much closer to her heart…

Geraldine runs the Wildflower Cottage sanctuary. She escaped from her past to find happiness here, but now her place of refuge is about to come under threat. Can she keep her history at bay and her future safe?
Back home, Viv’s mother Stel thinks she might have found a man who will treat her right for once. Ian is kind, considerate, and clearly head over heels for her. That’s what she has wanted all along, isn’t it...?

Escape to Wildflower Cottage this summer for love, laughter and friendship…


Where do I start? For me, this is Milly's best one yet - and I've read them all! Being an animal lover, this book ticked all the boxes - even if I was distraught a couple of times and sobbing with Viv!

It was an amazingly satisfying read. The main characters, Viv, Geraldine, Heath & Stel (and the Old Spice Girls) all had problems and some were serious. The twists and turns that they all took were wonderful (Caro's scene with Gaynor in the Ladies will live long in my memory - I was in bits). And the less said about a certain male, the better.

There were so many revelations about the people involved that I can't really talk about much without resorting to spoilers. Viv was magnificent! The way she dealt with the hand she'd been given was so courageous - and I was almost cheering out loud at one point!

Milly's research into the birds was detailed and following Viv & Ursula's friendship was truly moving. The descriptions of the valley, the flowers and the mists was so effective, I felt as if I was there....and so wish I could visit!

I think any book that leaves you with a huge smile on your face is a winner ........and this is the champion of those!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Review of The Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant - Four **

Help yourself to a generous slice of Victoria sponge, a perfect cup of tea and a big dollop of romance. Welcome to the Little Village Bakery.

Meet Millie. Heartbreak has forced her to make a new start and when she arrives at the old bakery in the little village of Honeybourne she is determined that this will be her home sweet home. Her imagination has been captured by the tumbledown bakery but with no running water and dust everywhere, her cosy idea of making cakes in a rural idyll quickly crumbles.

Luckily the locals are a friendly bunch and step in to help Millie. One in particular, Dylan, a laid-back lothario, soon captures her attention.

But just as Millie is beginning to settle in, an unexpected visitor from her past suddenly turns up determined to ruin everything for her. It’s time for Millie to face the skeletons in her closet if she’s going to live the dream of running her little village bakery, and her blossoming romance with Dylan. 

A charming heartwarming novel about love, life and new beginnings perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Debbie Johnson.


One of my favourite themes in a book is starting over and this is an excellent example. Millie arrives in Honeybourne intent on putting her past behind her and opening a bakery. The building is more dilapidated than she had anticipated and she ends up having to involve the other villagers. This is something she most definitely did not want to do, as she has a secret and shuns friendship and relationships.

Luckily for Millie (and us!), the villagers will have none of it and she soon meets Jasmine and her husband Rich. She also meets Dylan her neighbour opposite and the story revolves around these characters, together with Ruth, the wonderful neighbour and Spencer, the schoolteacher.

It is a humorous book, but has a dark underside, which gives it more depth than the average starting again/romance book and I enjoyed that part.

I was disappointed that a book called The Little Village Bakery had nothing in it about food at all! I have to say I like books about restaurants/cafes/food shops for the wonderful descriptions. But maybe in the next one Tilly? We need to get a certain single male sorted!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Review of Learning to Love by Sheryl Browne - Five **


Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places … 
Living in a small village like Hibberton, it’s expected that your neighbours help you in a time of need. But when Andrea Kelly’s house burns down, taking all her earthly possessions with it, it’s the distant and aloof Doctor David Adams – the person she would least expect – who opens his door not just to her, but to her three kids and slightly dotty elderly mother as well. 

Andrea needs all the help she can get, dealing with aftermath of the fire and in the suspicious absence of her husband, Jonathan. But, as she gets to know David and his troubled son, Jake, she begins to realise that maybe they need her help as much as she needs theirs … 

Previously published by the author. Revised and updated by Choc Lit May 2016.


I love Sheryl's books and this one is brilliant. We meet David Adams and his son just after they have moved in and we are immediately introduced to the problems between them, although we have no idea why.
We then meet Andrea and Jonathan, their children, Andrea's mum, the dog and chaotic lifestyle, in complete contrast to David's more orderly home.

A tragedy occurs and Andrea and her family, mum, dog and all, temporarily move in with David and his son. 

From the off, suspicion surrounds Jonathan, but Andrea seems to be oblivious. The neighbours rally round (with some hysterically funny conversation - especially with Dee, Andrea's mum) and we learn more about all them.

Complicated lives cause complicated problems and, sometimes, the solutions are also complicated. And other times, very simple. This book has it all. I can't imagine how Sheryl kept track of it all when she was writing it!

It's one of those books that, when real life interrupts my reading, I can't stop thinking about the story and the people. I usually refer to them as characters in my reviews......but in Learning to Love, they are people. Solid and 3-dimensional people.

There are funny moments, there are incredibly sad moments and the emotions all feel very raw at times. A wonderful book about wonderful people (except the baddie of course ;) )

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

Friday 10 June 2016

Something different!! I am absolutely delighted to reveal the amazing new cover and blurb for Berni Stevens' new book from Choc Lit! It's out on 12th July but follow the links to pre-order now :)

Hell hath no fury like a vampire seeking revenge …

Life hasn’t been exactly normal for Ellie since she became a vampire. Although joining the legion of the undead was always going to take some getting used to, even if you are the partner of Will Austen, the Elder of London.

But when Daniel, a fifteen-year-old fledgling vampire, unexpectedly turns up at Ellie’s and Will’s Highgate home, things start getting very strange – and more than a little scary.

Events take a devastating turn as a mystery troublemaker leaves behind a trail of carnage – and it soon becomes clear they will stop at nothing to get the Elder’s attention, even if it involves hurting the person he cherishes the most …

But when it comes to Ellie, Will Austen is the wrong vampire to mess with.

The second book in the Immortals of London series.

Revenge is Sweet is published by Choc Lit and is now available to pre-order as an eBook!

Thursday 9 June 2016

Review of Summer at Oyster Bay by Jenny Hale - Four **


Summer at Oyster Bay is the perfect, feel-good summer romance, about the importance of home and family, learning what love is, and living for the moment

Life is better with sand between your toes.

For Emily Tate, returning to her charming childhood home Oyster Bay is like coming up for air after the fast pace of her city life. At the farm her grandfather built, surrounded by sister Rachel’s chatter, Gram’s buttermilk biscuits, and the soft, white sand, Emily is reminded of exactly who she is and what she holds most dear. 

When Emily starts work at elegant Water’s Edge Inn, Charles Peterson, the handsome new owner, asks for her help. He wants to expand and needs Emily to teach him the local ways, so he can convince the planning commission. Emily vows to make him fall in love with her hometown, just the way it is. 

At work, Charles is reserved and serious, yet once Emily has him kicking off his shoes in the sand and sailing across the glistening Chesapeake Bay, she sees another side to him, and their easy rapport feels like the start of something big. 

But when it becomes clear Charles’s plans for the inn involve bulldozing Oyster Bay, Emily is heartbroken. Will she lose her home and Charles all at once, or can she save Oyster Bay, and give true love a chance? 


What a lovely, warm, romantic story! I always seem to enjoy books set in Chesapeake Bay and this was no exception.

I've read a couple of books recently where the main characters are on opposite sides of the fence but fall for each other despite their opposing views. They are good fun as you never know how it will end - will one give way or will they go their separate ways?

The characters in the book are well drawn and contribute well to the story. And the dog is great!

They only slight niggle I had was Emily's obsession with the house and land. She had happily lived elsewhere for some time, ignoring her Gram, the house, the horse, etc, and suddenly wanting to defend it all to the death seemed a tad hypocritical. She should have let go a long time ago.

But overall it was an enjoyable read :)

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.