The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Italy by Alice Ross

The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Italy by Alice Ross

35525872Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 21st July 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 115

Genre:  Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

…where the ingredients to happiness are found.

Connie has had enough. Enough of the city, enough of her job – and most importantly, enough of her cheating husband! So, when her best friend jets off to sunny Australia and calls on Connie to house and dog-sit, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

When Connie arrives at the gorgeous Cotswolds getaway, she can’t resist opening the doors to the town, offering up cooking lessons – and a lot of wine! Cue the three – very different – women who respond to Connie’s cookery club advert. But it’s soon clear they will need more than a glass of wine to overcome their problems…

Can Connie conjure up the right ingredients to help her new friends? And with two gorgeous men thrown in the mix, Connie may have just ended up with a recipe for disaster!

Rating: four-stars

Having read and enjoyed Alice Ross’s some previous books, I didn’t hesitate to request “The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Italy”. I can’t seem to have enough books about cooking, and lately also set in Cotswolds, and those two together do sound promising, no?

The story introduces us basically to Connie, who right now is at the crossroads with her life, and so when her friend is off to Australia for six months and asks Connie if she’d like to look after her house in this time, Connie jumps at the chance. She has no problems to settle in the gorgeous Cotswolds, in the lovely house and quickly she reawakens her passion of cooking. And this is when the idea of the Cotswolds Cookery Club is born, and Connie sets her mind on Italian cuisine this time. But club wouldn’t exist without its members, right, so there are some other characters who take it in turns to cook delicious, mouth – watering Italian dishes – and when I say delicious, I really mean delicious, guys! There is Eleanor, who runs the local newsagent, Melody, who’s also new to the area and Kate, a local vet with three children, husband and an au – pair.

So when the girls chop, stir, taste, cook and bake, they also share their stories, and so we relatively quickly get to know their background and what makes them tick. They were all relatable, believable characters, they had their problems and I quickly felt a part of their group. It was lovely to see how quickly their friendship was growing and how they all were starting to gain confidence.

Altogether, it was a light – hearted, very easy read. What bothered me personally was the end – it seemed so very abrupt and rushed, and I had a feeling that the story was chopped in the middle. It was a promising end, sure, but just too rushed and it put me off stride a little. But really, it was a lovely, cute story with mouth – watering descriptions of food, down – to – earth characters and brilliant romance – and not only human one! The author has spot on caught Connie’s passion to food and cooking and brought it to the pages and really, it made me want more, so it’s a pure luck that this novella is the first part in the series. Already looking towards the next one! Recommended!

Cocktails and Dreams by A.L. Michael – #BlogTour / Guest Post

Hi guys. After a very exhausting Monday (and actually, the whole week is going to be like this, boo) it’s time to relax. And what better way to do it than with a cocktail in hand, reading about The Magic of Cocktails? Because today, as a part of the blog tour (and this is my first stop on this blog tour. I have another one. Ha. Please come back on Friday for my review) for A. L. Michael’s “Cocktails and Dreams”, I have a brilliant guest post – so put your feet high, be sure to have your cocktail at hand, and enjoy!

The Magic of Cocktails

 

 

I have to admit – I was not the biggest cocktail fan. I’m from London – cocktails are expensive, flashy and probably not as good an investment as a large glass of wine. It wasn’t always this way.

 Cocktails remind me of being eighteen. We used to drink tequila sunrises at Los Locos in Covent Garden, where ‘Nobody is ugly after 3am’. (I can attest to the fact that that is not true). The next year we would hit the buy one get one free deals during happy hour at B@1. I always had two boozy oreo milkshakes. The idea of this now makes me feel queasy. Although, I’m disturbed by freakshakes and unicorn-themed food, so I’m not really on trend.

 Later, in the summer before university, and when we returned for group meet ups in the holidays, we would do what I called ‘the circuit’. I had it down exactly once – how to hit all of the happy hours in five different bars in Covent Garden. You had to time it right, and go in a specific order, but I had it worked out perfectly. And of course, you picked the most alcoholic drinks, the ones that were the best value. Or the ones that were the prettiest, with sparklers and umbrellas.

 So after that, cocktails to me just tasted like sugar and disappointment. Wine was where it was at. Wine could be sipped elegantly, or with a meal. The problem is, when you’re a wine drinker who goes out partying, you end up feeling sleepy with a sore head the next day.

 As I’ve grown, found new, fun places to go in the capital, I have found a new appreciation for cocktails. They’re not to be glugged, or thrown back in a hurry. They’re to be savoured – the balance to be enjoyed. I like to taste and search for each ingredient, identify what makes it taste the way it does. I have had cocktails set on fire and served in bunsen burners, and I’ve explored the simple and classic ones that make your eyes burn, but look good with an instagram filter.

 I think what I like about them now is that they’re individual – cocktails are an expression of personality, both for the creator and the consumer. They tell time and define eras – the same way we will always associate Carrie Bradshaw with a Cosmo or James Bond with a Martini. I especially like that the Bellini, a simple and elegant drink, pretty and sparkly, was allegedly created by Ernest Hemingway in Harry’s Bar, Venice. I like the stories behind the drinks, and the stories people share whilst drinking them.

 That’s what Cocktails and Dreams is about – a bartender who starts to get crazy with her flavours, who is inspired by food and friendship and a different way of life, and starts to see the world differently. She wants to create things that get people excited and inspired.

 So I’m going to ask you: if you were a cocktail, which would you be?

(I’d probably be something very, very spicy right now 🙂 )

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The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please

The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please

35229298Publisher: Maze

Publishing Date: 17th July 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 400

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Summer of Second Chances is the perfect feelgood summer read.’ Chrissie Manby, author of What I Did On My Holidays

Lottie is about to discover that even when you think you’ve lost everything, hope and romance can be just around the corner . . .

It takes time to build your life. To get into a long-term (OK, a bit boring) relationship. To find a job (you don’t completely hate). Lottie might not be thrilled with the life she’s put together, but it’s the one she’s got.

So when in the course of one terrible evening, it all comes crashing down around her, Lottie has a choice: give herself over to grief at being broke, single and completely lacking in prospects.

Or, brick by brick, build herself a new life. And this time, with a little help from friends, a crumbling cottage in Devon and a handsome stranger, maybe she can make it the one she always wanted.

The Summer of Second Chances is an irresistibly funny read about never giving up, whatever the world throws at you. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Jane Costello and Christie Barlow.

Rating: five-stars

Wow, what a gorgeous, cute little story “The Summer of Second Chances” was! I truly didn’t know what to expect from this book but it really wow-ed me, with the light – hearted writing style, interesting plot and lovable characters, and the last few sentences at the end were just brilliant and a perfect end to this book. OK, I admit, there was one thing that bothered me, namely for me it looked as if this book was written by two different authors – why, I hear you ask? Well, you know, so the story and narration flew steadily and then suddenly, like the impossible to see icebergs, the narration was starting to turn incredibly hilarious, the events ridiculously funny and I was finding myself laughing out loud at Lottie’s antics, and it lasted for a few pages and then the story telling was back again to this normal, steady one. It happened a few times and while it didn’t make me confused or something, oh no, I enjoyed those moments incredibly, it just made me think. But that’s me. My problems. Don’t pay any attention and just read this book because it’s great. And it has a stunning cover – so summery!

The story introduces us to Lottie, who’s been through some dramatic moments in her life recently – she’s homeless, money – less, jobless, single – and is now looking for a fresh start. It seems that she can find it in a little cottage belonging to one of her friends – in return for redecorating it, Lottie can live there next, and she jumps at the chance. After living a comfortable life, with no financial troubles and a partner on her side, it was a change for Lottie, wasn’t it? But maybe it was this what Lottie needed right now? Well, this and a new neighbour, Bryn?

I have seen many accident prone characters in my life but Lottie overdone them all! Guys, it was incredible, really, those situations and troubles she was getting herself in – this story abounded in many awkward, embarrassing situations. I loved Lottie, she was such a positive personality, even though she had to cope with so many awful things in her life. She was this kind of character that grows on you and you keeps everything crossed for her. And I loved to see Lottie changing, spreading her wings despite all new troubles and worries and turning into almost a different person. She was honest and told us about things how they really were, and I really didn’t have any problems to connect with her and to understand her.
And of course, let’s not forget Lottie’s new neighbour, Bryn. Not broody nor moody, like many other characters yet incredibly interesting and colourful and hmmm, I wouldn’t say no to such a neighbour and his jacuzzi.

It wouldn’t be a rom – com without the “rom” part, of course, and I loved this aspect of this story! Sure, there were the necessary ups and downs, the road to happiness was bumpy and not too straightforward but it never felt too cheesy or forced, if anything it was fresh, funny, adorable and honest. It was not too rushed, which was also great, because moving into a new man too quickly would make it too unbelievable, and it also gave the heroine time to come to terms a little with the new situation.

Altogether, “The Summer of Second Chances” was a lovely and easy read that made me feel relaxed and I finished it grinning from ear to ear. There were characters that you quickly start to root for and relate to, and it was a light take on new beginnings and – yes! – second chances. It also makes you think about life, about figuring out what it is you really want, but not in a too serious way, nono, no worries. However, there is also so much to this story than meets the eye, there is depth, it touches upon some sensitive issues but it’s perfectly mixed with light – heartedness and really some best one – liners and situations in history. So if you are in need of cheering up, picking yourself up and seeing how not to give up, try this book – I can only highly recommend it to you!

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The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please – #BlogTour/Extract

Hi guys! A new day, a new blog tour! I am very excited to hosting “The Summer of Second Chances” by Maddie Please and I have a lovely extract from this lovely little novel for you. I am currently reading it and guys, what can I say? It is a light – hearted read with some heavier issues as well and it sounds really, really promising – keep your eyes peeled for my review in the next few days! And in the meantime, enjoy the extract.

[Extract 3 from Chapter 1 ]

I stood outside Holly Cottage, lost in thought. Just about every­thing I had taken for granted had gone wrong. Now I had to take this chance and focus on the future because I certainly couldn’t change the past.

I got out, locking the car behind me although, to be honest, it didn’t feel as though there was a living soul for miles. I wandered around to the back of the house, my heels catching between the broken paving slabs. I wondered if the ‘huge and bear-like’ Bryn was around to watch the homeless idiot arriving. Might he be lurking in the shadows under the trees down the lane? For some reason I pictured him standing, shoulders hunched like Lurch from The Addams Family, knuckles dragging on the ground. Fortunately there was no sign of him. But he had left the back door key under an upturned bucket in the porch as Jess had assured me he would. The key stuck for a heart-stopping few moments and then turned in the lock with an unwilling squeak. I let myself in to the hall.

The stale scent of wet dog, mingled with something even more unpleasant, hit me. The smell of damp carpet, neglect and, unmistakably, fish.

I left the door open and made my way into the sitting room, one hand over my nose. The room was flagstoned with a large rug over the top, which was soaking. Someone had flung a plastic bucket plus water into the middle and my shoes squelched as I took a hesitant step into the room. They had also enhanced the décor by chucking around a few shovelfuls of ash from the fire. The walls were pale and marked with squares of grime where pictures had been removed. Underneath one windowsill the paper had been pulled off altogether and someone had drawn stars in pink and purple felt tip pen on the wall.

The smell was stronger here, pungent and eye watering. Trying not to gag, I pushed back the curtains and opened both the sash windows. The crispness of the evening air was welcome. I hurried back outside for a moment to refresh my lungs and then went upstairs to explore further, finding a small bathroom and two bedrooms.

There was evidence in the expensive wallpaper and the sisal carpet that this place had once been very pretty, but now it was neglected and extremely dirty. There were stains on the floor and muddy fingerprints around the china light switches, and someone had been free with wax crayons on the walls of the landing.

In the corner of the bathroom was a huge web, the spider still busy in the middle with a struggling bluebottle. I shuddered. On the mirror, in coral lipstick, was scrawled Bitch. It neatly crossed over the reflection of my cold, pale, frightened face.

Jess had wanted me to clean and decorate, that was the deal, but it was obvious this place wasn’t just in need of a flick round with the antiseptic wipes and a lick of paint; it needed pressure washing. The stink from downstairs was curling up the stairs so I opened all the windows and re-buttoned my coat.

In the larger of the two bedrooms was a mahogany wardrobe that had once been highly polished and beautiful, but was now scratched, covered with globs of Blu-Tack and propped up with a brick at one corner where one of the feet had been lost. There was a sink in the corner filled with scummy water and dead flies.

‘Bloody hell!’ I said.

My words echoed around the room.

‘What on earth’s been going on here?’ asked a voice from behind me.

I spun round, squeaking with shock. There was a silhouette of a man in the doorway, his shoulders almost filling the space. I yelped again.

‘Well, if you don’t want people to walk in you shouldn’t leave all the doors open,’ he said, unapologetic.

‘And you shouldn’t just wander in to someone else’s house uninvited,’ I said, my voice shrill with fright. I flapped my hands at him to shoo him back down the stairs.

He turned and went, his movements unhurried and careful in the confined space of the stairwell. I followed him downstairs and into the kitchen, trying to calm the thudding of my heart.

‘What’s happened here?’ he said. ‘It wasn’t like this the other day. And what’s that terrible smell?’

‘How would I know?’ I replied. ‘I’ve only just got here.’

‘Hang on,’ he said and went into the sitting room, ducking his head under the lintel. He searched around for a few minutes and then retrieved a rotting fish wrapped in newspaper from behind a radiator.

‘Jesus!’ I clamped my hand back over my nose and watched him take it outside into the garden.

He reappeared, framed in the kitchen door. ‘I’ve no idea where that came from. I’m assuming it’s nothing to do with you?’

‘Of course it isn’t. Why the hell would I do a thing like that?’

‘OK, calm down. All I know is it didn’t smell like this when I last called in. Nor was there a pond on the sitting-room floor. Perhaps the Websters are responsible?’

‘The Websters?’

Oh yes the Websters. What had Jess said about them? I should have paid more attention.

‘The last tenants. Two years without a problem and then Mr Webster discovered skunk and scratch cards. They left a few days ago. Spent all his money on things other than his priorities. But I know he left his house keys behind when he left. I can’t think how he could have got back in. I’ve been here, Webster had a beaten-up old camper van. Red and white. I’m sure I would have noticed…’

I stood watching him for a moment wondering who he reminded me of.

‘It needs a bit of a sort out,’ he said, his blue eyes flicking from the piles of junk mail behind the door to the chocolate handprints on the wall. At least I hoped they were chocolate.

‘A bit of a sort out?’ I said, incredulous. ‘Never mind the smell, it’s absolutely filthy and disgusting.’

‘Ah well.’ He shrugged his shoulders. They really were very broad. ‘I’m Bryn Palmer, by the way.’ He held out a hand and I shook it.

‘I’m Charlotte Calder. What do you mean “ah well”? Would you want to live here?’

He stuck his hands in the pockets of his jeans and rocked back on his heels. ‘Nope.’

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Our Summer Together by Fanny Blake

Our Summer Together by Fanny Blake

 

35235801Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 13th July 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 320

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult),  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

OUR SUMMER TOGETHER is an uplifting story about family, friendship and the happy surprise of finding love later in life.

Caro knows how to be a mother – advising her grown-up daughters on career and relationship worries. She knows how to be a grandmother – enjoying the hectic energy of her three-year-old grandson. She knows how to be a daughter – helping her aging mother retain her independence.

She thought she knew everything about being a wife, but when her husband suddenly leaves her for another woman, everything is thrown in the air. So, when a chance meeting introduces her to Damir – younger, intriguing and attentive – she realises that opening up to a man so different from everyone else in her life, might also mean getting to know who she really is…

Rating: three-stars

“Our Summer Together” is Fanny Blake’s next emotional, subtle and believable romance that I’ve been longing to read. This author is known to write compelling, atmospheric and very down – to – earth novels that are full of love and hope and when this newest release has arrived, I started to read it immediately.

What I find really great is that more and more authors start to write stories about mature heroines, women who have lived and experienced a lot and truly have something to tell. And Caro is one of such heroines. The story picks up shortly after the sixty – years – old Caro and her husband had a divorce, after he left her for a younger woman, but to be honest, from what I’ve read I’ve deduced that it’s better like this, that her husband undermined her. However – of course – Caro’s life needs adjusting right now. But then she surprisingly meets a stranger on a train – Damir, who has his own story as well, but it is a very different kind of story, and Fanny Blake has done an excellent job with his character. He’s not too sugary, he’s not too wishy – washy, even if his background is a very particular one. He’s the man who knows how it is to loose everything: family, home, country.

Caro was also portrayed in a great, very down – to – earth and realistic way. She was trying very hard to be there for her two daughters, at the same time trying to come to terms with her new single life. It was truly adorable to see how she was starting to blossom again, to see there is much more to life and to proverbially grow up, and I think she was a character that was very easy to relate to and to sympathise with. Well, at least my sympathy was on her side, she has deserved to enjoy life after divorce.

However, I am sure I’d have enjoyed this book much better if I haven’t had the feeling that I’ve read such story a few times already. It was too clichéd, with the ex – husband finding new love and having a new family, with the daughters using their mother without a thank you and then not supporting her, the whole family finding it difficult to accept that she may have a life that doesn’t include them, and with the here and there with the romance. It was – in my opinion of course – this kind of book that needed one or two really great twists, to make the readers gasp, and I missed this in this novel.

“Our Summer Together” is a story that has some layers to it, even though there are not many life – changing situations and sudden twists and turns. It is written in a very peaceful, relaxing and easy to follow way, with just the right number of characters, and characters that were believable and likeable. A story about self – realisation, self – discovery, showing us that it’s never too late to let your dreams come true. Perfect read for one balmy evening with a glass of chilled wine.

Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood

Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood

34835025Publisher:

Publishing Date: 29th June 2017

Source:  Received from the author in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 352

Genre:  Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Olive Brewster is a scaredy cat. She doesn’t do new or risky. She’s happy enough with her job at the local market, it’s cool that she has no boyfriend to fret over, she even likes that she still lives in her childhood home. No drama, no fuss, no problems. Everything is fine. Super duper fine.

Except … Olive’s best friend in the world​, Birdie, is dying.

Birdie has one final wish. She wants to track down her first love, Chuck, and because she’s stuck in the hospital she needs Olive’s help to do it. But there’s a teeny problem: Chuck is somewhere in New York and Olive has never even left her home town, let alone roamed the crazy streets of Manhattan.

As if the big city isn’t scary enough, Olive has to contend with Seth, a cocky comedy TV writer who thinks she’s a joke; Anders, a bored socialite who’s taken a shine to her; and the fact that no matter how hard she tries to track down Chuck, he doesn’t seem to want to be found.

Can Olive learn to overcome her fears, abandon her old safe routine and fulfil her best friend’s last wish? It’s going to take extra bravery, one badass attitude and a whole lot of big sexy love to make this happen …

Rating: five-stars

Oh guys. It took me so long to write this review because I simply couldn’t find words to tell you how much I adored/enjoyed/loved it. I actually still am absolutely sure I can’t do this book justice but nevertheless, I’ll try.

So. “Big sexy Love” by Kirsty Greenwood has finally arrived! I was probably one out of many almost daily checking Kirsty’s Twitter feed for any news on her new release, and FINALLY this wonderful, glory day arrived and Kirsty told that “Big sexy Love” is going to be published! The EXCITEMENT, guys! Excitement! I don’t know how this girl does it, and I’d love to own a small percent of her humour – to be as funny as Kirsty Greenwood… *sigh*. Mission impossible – she’s one and only.

Now, this book. This gorgeous, hilarious and heart – breaking little book. It is this kind of book that you want to race through to see how it’s going to end and at the same time not wanting it to end – so the best kind, really. I immediately fell in love with the characters, Olive and Birdie, and all the other ones. Olive is, to be honest, my new hero. My inspiration. I want to be like Olive when I grow up – the Olive that went on a plane, even though she was SO scared of flying and have never left England before, and went to New York on a mission to find her best ever friend Birdie’s ex – boyfriend to give him a letter.

I couldn’t believe the troubles Olive was – incidentally – getting into! Guys, really. I’ve no idea you could be so much accident – prone, and each new one was more hilarious than the previous one. She was a bit OCD, our Olive, but she felt so comfortable in her own skin, with the life paths she has chosen, and it was brilliant. She liked quiet and safe and routine but it doesn’t mean that she was boring, because she was everything but boring – she was loyal, lovely, incredibly funny and sharp – minded and she was able to laugh at herself as well.

This is amazing how well Kirsty Greenwood has written Olive’s coming out of her comfort zones, how much it has cost her, without making the story too overwhelming, to heavy. And it all felt so genuine, my gosh, guys, you could FEEL through the pages that Olive was scared, that it was not her idea of a nice time but she would do anything for Birdie – because this friendship between Olive and Birdie, it was like once in a million years. I loved how well the author captured the friendship dynamics and relationship, it – again – felt absolutely honest and true and I – yes! – loved it!

All the other background characters in this story were just brilliant and you loved them immediately. Well, not all of them, the others you just loved to hate. I loved meeting them all, the absolutely gorgeous Seth, Anders, Olive’s family and all the others – no matter how huge or small part did they have in this story, they all had brilliant personalities and they all brought so much to the plot, even the woman from the private park in New York and her tweets!

So shortly, very shortly – this book was perfect. Incredibly, cleverly funny, heart – breaking, down – to – earth, romantic. I fell for the characters immediately and I had everything crossed for them, heck, I told my dogs to keep their paws crossed for them. This story is written with tons of heart and it is one of the warmest, honest stories with the most brilliant one – liners I’ve read for a long time. You immediately feel at home with this book, you feel as if the characters were your best friends. I simply loved this novel – it was full of incredibly funny, hilarious scenes but it had tons of depth as well, and it was a perfect mix. It made me laugh out loud and it made me cry – again, literally, and I would love to be able to read this book for the first time again. Those of you who haven’t read it yet are for a real treat! Highly, highly recommended!

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin

Summer at Rose Island

by Holly Martin

 

Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 13th July 2017

Series: White Cliff Bay #3

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!.

Number of pages: 368

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

Fall in love with the gorgeous seaside town of White Cliff Bay this summer and enjoy long sunny days, beautiful beaches and… a little romance.

Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals.

When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing…

Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day.

Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides.

She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for?

Pull up a deck chair, sink back with a bowl of strawberry ice cream and pick up the summer read you won’t be able to put down.

Rating: four-stars

Aaaahh, the lovely Holly did it again – went and wrote a book that feels like your best friend, like your favourite blanket, like a cup of hot chocolate or a sunny day spent in the garden reading your favourite novel!
It was great to be back in White Cliff Bay and I had a feeling that I’ve never left this place to be honest, as Holly’s effortless storytelling threw me directly into the heart of the novel, together with some of my best friends. It’s somehow always comforting, this feeling, and the fact that you know that you’re going to feel immediately at home when starting Holly’s new book.
„Summer at Rose Island” is the third book in the White Cliff Bay series and yes, you can read it as a stand – alone novel, even though many characters from the previous books appear there, and Darcy’s neighbours are Libby and George, but I’d advise that you should read all the books in the series, from a very simple reason of missing too much of Holly’s brilliant writing, sense of humour and lovely stories.

And oh my word, guys, what can I say about Holly’s book that I haven’t said before? „Summer at Rose Island” is the best example of her writing. There were brilliant characters, exceptionally beautiful setting and also the author has touched upon some environmental important issues, writing about things that I’ve no idea about. But about characters. This time Darcy and Riley are the main ones and I loved the way Holly described them. Darcy is lovely, a people’s person, so she doesn’t have any problems to make friends with other people, and her first encounter with her new neighbours – Lilly and George – is bloody hilarious! Darcy is like a whirlwind of activity and whenever she is, something happens, and she often puts herself into awkward situations, as she’s verrrry accident prone. But this clumsiness, and that she always wants to get on people’s best sides and make them happy is what makes Darcy so lovely and likeable, I really immediately warmed to her. My heart also went to her because of the situation with her parents, who – saying that they were not thrilled with their daughter would be an understatement – they only criticized her and never supported her and underestimated her. No wonder that Darcy wanted to flee and start living on her own, so moving to White Cliff Bay, a place that she’d already known because of her late aunt, seemed like a great idea. Moreover, Darcy is a sea – person. She loves swimming and everything that had to do with water, well, she is a marine biologist and sharks are her passion, and thanks to her I’ve learnt some things about them that I didn’t have any idea before. So to be honest, romances and such were not on Darcy’s radar, but then enters Riley – a reclusive American living in a lighthouse – a beautiful lighthouse that means a lot to many of the White Cliff Bay residents but that is intended to demolition! But back to Riley, who’d rather keep himself to himself, that is, until he meets Darcy… I really, really loved how Holly described Riley! He was perfect, with his southern charm, with his „ma’am” – ing, cowboy shoes and big, big, warm and soft heart.

Holly Martin, as in all her books, makes sure that also in „Summer at Rose Island” her characters are colourful, vivid and different. I always love how she makes them full of passion and how she effortlessly sneaks new facts into her novels, here about sharks and sea life for example. The characters are always complex, exceptional personalities. But also she makes sure that the town is a character of its own and the way she has described everything was just spot – on for me and I could see the things and places clearly in my mind, the shops, the bay, the lovely houses, the beautiful lighthouse.

White Cliff Bay is a town where everybody knows everybody and their business, and even though it took Darcy a little time to get used to the gossip, she very quickly acclimatised there. It is my favourite kind of town, to be honest, not too big, and I think I would even do with the others knowing so much about me, because they were all so friendly and so welcoming, and they supported each other so much, even though the person being supported (yes, Riley, I’m talking about you) was so very reluctant. I liked how Holly thrown Darcy direct into the middle of the events happening at the town, and how the residents welcomed her, making her feel a part of their town immediately.

However, to be absolutely, totally honest with you, I am missing a little of this unique, exceptional sense of humour that Holly got me used to in her previous books, the one that had me snorting suddenly with laughter, frightening all around me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a humorous, light – hearted book, but I missed those moments that made me laugh out loud, so much that I was in stitches. And I also, personally, think that Holly’s book, as much as I love them, are very similar to each other, and sure, I love this similarity, as I know what I can expect, and I adore that I get this what I expect, and I really, truly treasure and value Holly so much and I just would love her to surprise me with such a book like her written under the pen name „Tied Up with Love” – and this is why this time I gave the book 4 stars, not my usual five. It doesn’t mean I didn’t love the book, it only means that I missed something special, something original – but please don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing, I am only telling my feelings.

„Summer at the Rose Island” is this kind of book that make you feel welcome and warm. It’s full of positive feelings, a gorgeous, charming story that is going to draw you immediately in. Holly Martin’s descriptions of everything she writes about, let it be characters, their personalities, dogs, nature or lighthouse are incredibly vivid and she brings this all so easily to life and makes me feel like a part of this world.
What I also so like in Holly’s novels, and what you of course gets in „Summer at Rose Island” is the fact that, of course, there is always the happy end (but this is why I love the stories so much, a girl is always after a happy end, right?), but the way to this happy end is not always so obvious and full of obstacles. This time these are mostly Darcy and Riley themselves who complicate the things oh so much, only because they are champions of jumping to conclusions and of not communicating. Really, the whole town knows, I know, everybody all around them knows that they are perfect together and only they don’t know it. I adored Darcy and Riley and I adored their stories, and the fact that it felt so honest and genuine, and that they both were so genuine with their feelings, with their awkwardness, that they were so realistic and not so polished because it made them even more relatable and likeable.
Altogether, another cracker from Holly Martin. You can be sure that when you buy a book by this author that she’s going to deliver: a gorgeous, realistic romance, characters that you root for and also swoon over brilliant atmosphere, and that you’re won’t be disappointed. „Summer at Rose Island” is a perfect summery read, a great holiday novel, so be sure to take it with you on your break! It is this kind of a book that makes you feel happy and you can be sure that you’re going to finish your reading with a big, happy grin on your face.