Country Rivals by Zara Stoneley

Today I am over the moon to be a part of Zara Stoneley’s blog tour for her third instalment in the Tippermere series, „The Country Rivals„. After reading my (gushing) review for the book you are for a real treat, as Zara has told me which actors would she want to play her characters, should Tippermere series was made into a film!

 

Country Rivals

by Zara Stoneley

 

 

Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 26th May 2016

Series: Tippermere #3

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

Number of pages: 392

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

 
A hilarious, sexy rom com for fans of Jilly Cooper and Fiona Walker!

Dashing eventer Rory is ready to button up his breeches and settle down. His gorgeous wife, Lottie, wants a bank balance in the black so she can protect the beautiful family estate for future generations.

But with the wedding business at Tipping House going up in flames, and rumours that it was arson not accident, Lottie begins to wonder who she can trust with her future.

Tranquil Tippermere is under siege as movies moguls and insurance investigators invade the countryside, and as events gather pace rescue plans start to look too good to be true, and intentions may not be as honourable as they seem.

As a moody, but definitely marvellous, polo player enters the fray and squares up to the eventing hero of Tippermere, does Lottie stand to lose her husband as well as her home?

‚A great treat for readers…jam-packed with sexy men and horses.’ Bestselling author Fiona Walker.

Rating: 5/5

 

„Country Rivals” is the third book in the series but you can read it as a stand – alone – there are enough flashbacks into the past that help to explain some situations and events, and are a great reminder for those who read the books, and also, like in all previous books, there is a list of characters at the beginning, so you can easily follow who is who or, if you are already a regular in Tippermere, just like me, you can only refresh your memory, but nevertheless I’d advise you to read all the books, as you’ll be missing too much on Zara Stoneley’s brilliant humour, fantastic romps set in a picturesque, brilliantly brought to life Tippermere. And let me tell you just at the beginning that I have so loved this book that I really didn’t want to put it down for a single second! I adored all the previous books in the Tippermere series, but I think that „Country Rivals” is my favourite so far. It mixes everything best from all the books – the lovely, larger than life and down – to – earth characters that kept me entertained for so many hours, brilliant setting, the most crazy moments and of course horses, dogs and men in jodhpurs without T – shirts. I would love this series to be turned into TV series, I’d be the first to turn my TV on!

This time it is a film crew arriving at Tipping House Estate that is going to cause some problems. They are there because the family is rather short of money, and so Lady Elizabeth got them a deal, allowing to let them film there. There happens so much in this story! As well events as characters. It was so incredibly fast – paced and character – driven story, and there was not a single moment flat. Next to the characters that I grow to love and adore, Zara Stoneley introduces us to new characters, and all of them vivid, full of life personalities, that felt so realistic. Rory was the one that surprised me most, I think – without losing his boyish charm and humour he seemed a little more grown up and he adored Lottie and the land she was treading and he was not only her husband but still best friend, and those two are for me a couple made in heaven.
Lottie seemed so sad almost all the time, but no matter, she didn’t lose her inner light, happiness and to be honest, this sadness was truly justified, as she had some problems („some” is an understatement, really. There were serious money troubles after the fire, Rory losing his sponsor didn’t help, then the filming crew with the lovely (NOT!) Panda, then Black Gold, then Rory and his desire… I was wondering how much this girl is able to undergo). I adore Lottie right from the very first book in the series and I would love to have her as my best friend – she has a great sense of humour, she is loyal and she would do anything for you, and she has horses! My heart fell for her during her battle to keep the house, and at so many dilemmas that she had, and I can only tell you that I truly, fully understood her, as I had the same problem as she has (this family problem. Not money problem. Though, after some consideration, I also have this problem every once in a while. Like, always).
But I think that the star of this novel was Sam! If you have Sam on your side than you don’t need to be scared of anything, and she proves that she is the best friend Lottie could wish for.
And this time, you know, I really warmed to Elizabeth. I think I’ve finally appreciated her wisdom and silent help.
What I also so adored was the fact that even though Zara Stoneley introduced new characters to us, she hasn’t forgotten about the old ones, and even if there were only a few scenes, we were re – acquainted with Amanda and Dominic for example, and there was even Pipps, maybe not in flesh but in soul, and she’s made a significant piece of work as well.

This time Zara also proved that she can write incredibly touching scenes, and she had me in tears thrice. I haven’t expected it, at all – both the scenes and that I’m going to cry not because of laughter when reading the Tipperemer books. But even though those scenes really broke my heart, I loved them, as they were so beautifully written, so poignant and well, I didn’t like to have them in the book at all but I appreciate that the author has decided to twist the plot with them. Zara Stoneley really had me quite emotional for a moment or two, really, but to be honest, if there are animals involved, I am to cry in any case. Because as usual, Zara Stoneley excels in creating the animal characters. She has so much feeling and understanding towards animals, and her descriptions of them, their behaviour, expressions are just spot – on! And you know what they say – don’t work with someone else’s children and animals (though I’d worked with both and it’s not so bad :) ) – and after reading the book you will know why they say so :)

The writing style is, again, so full of enthusiasm and feelings, it’s just flowing, it’s fluent and light and I really have a feeling that Zara Stoneley has put her whole soul into writing this story. It is addictive, unputdownable and it makes you feel so, so good – even with all the problems, troubles and bitchy characters. Tippermere is, as usually, brought to life with the meddling vicar, with village fest and shops selling calendars with sexy firefighters. Also, Zara Stoneley really knows what she writes about, and the descriptions of the horses and horse – riding, and horse – gear, and polo playing were so authentic.

The plot is full to the brims and the story flows at almost a break neck tempo and it is full of turns and twists. This novel has taken me by surprise more than once, guys, and it is really not so easy to surprise me these times. I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what’s going to happen next. And the twists and turns are very clever ones! Think also picturesque, idyllic setting, great country houses and many different breeds (and not!) of dogs, horses, horses, and horses again and it was great to admire again how well the author captures the animals and their behaviours, and even when she writes about them blinking, it sounds so realistic. But think also characters that you root for, that you love or love to hate, and this all in this fabulous, engaging Zara Stoneley’s writing style. A gorgeous, delicious read, „Country Rivals” is a perfect mix of comedy and drama, love and heartbreak, fun and sadness and fantastic characters – and I really, truly hope that there is going to be a next instalment in the series, as there is so much potential and so many possibilities (Zara, hope you are taking the hint, wink, wink). It is another win from Zara Stoneley and really, if you were wondering about perhaps selling up and moving to the countryside, then you will do this after reading „Country Rivals”, ha.

 

GUEST POST

If Country Rivals was made into a film, which actors would you want to play your characters?

I would love Country Rivals to be made into a film (or in fact I’d rather like the Tippermere books to be made into a TV series – as more than one reader has suggested!).

Here’s my dream team for the main characters.

Lottie – Emilia Clarke, when she smiles she looks so likeable and fun, down to earth but also the perfect ‘lady’ when she’s dressed up. Never underestimate Daenerys!

Rory – Henry Cavill, he’s been my perfect Rory from the start. He looks as good dressed down as in a suit, and he’s got the ideal Rory grin.

Xander – Aiden Turner, or I’d always settle for Kit Harington if Aiden was busy J

Pandora – Natalie Dormer, I reckon she has that full range of looks – from the beguiling to the withering!

Seb – Tom Hiddleston, just as he was in The Night Manager!

Lady Elizabeth – Maggie Smith (who else?)

Sam – Scarlett Johannson, fun, pretty but a bit girl-next-door.

And… Ella the wire-haired dachshund would be played by herself!

 

BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR AND CHECK OTHER STOPS FOR FANTASTIC REVIEWS & CONTENT!

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Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin

Summer at Rose Island

by Holly Martin

 

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 13th May 2016

Series: White Cliff Bay #3

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

Number of pages: 311

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: 4/5

 

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.

 

BE SURE TO CHECK OTHER STOPS DURING THE THIRD WEEK OF HOLLY MARTIN’S BLOG TOUR!

Perfume & Promises by Ellen Faith

Perfume & Promises

by Ellen Faith

 

Publisher: Amazon Media EU

Publishing Date: 21st May 2016

Source:  Copy provided for review purposes.

Number of pages: 184

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Contemporary

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 Synopsis:

Chloe Richards is a small town girl with a big heart. At least, that’s what the local folk of Rosehip Village think. But when her parents turn up on her doorstep asking for help, her secret past is about to be revealed.

Being the daughter of Hollywood royalty was never going to be easy, but at 19, Chloe Richards managed to leave that life behind along with the scandals that almost destroyed her. A fresh start was all she needed, and a fresh start was what she got in Rosehip. Girlfriend of a local bookshop owner, best friends with fiercely loyal café owner and owner of a perfume business herself, Chloe has a happy life. But her parents are about to turn her perfect life on its head. Again.

What do you do when you’re torn between loyalty and protecting yourself? Should you trust your heart when your head is telling you not to?

Rating: 4/5

 

„Perfume and Promises” is my third book by Ellen Faith and I loved all of them. I love her writing style and the way she tells her stories, they are filled with difficult, important issues but they are also incredibly, incredibly humorous, full of brilliant, sharp one – liners, quirky, lively characters and really, every new release from Ellen is like a real treat.

I loved characters in this story, all of them, no matter if they were to love or to hate. They were all larger than life personalities, likeable and relatable, incredibly funny and warm people. Chloe – lovely, feisty girl who lost herself a little when she was younger, and finally decided to leave everything behind and start a new life, totally on her own, independent. Chloe is one of this characters that you have no problems to connect with and you only like her more and more making your way throughout the story. She was great, but you wouldn’t like to get on her wrong side, believe me! What I so much liked in Chloe was the fact that yes, sometimes she just run away from the difficulties, but she was also able to pick herself up and look positively into the future. I loved what she did with her life and that she found a thing that she loved, which was really unique – creating perfumes. She wanted to put the past behind her, to forget about the really bad times, about all the awful things that she experienced, and stand on her own two feet, without anybody’s help. It was great, because I think that mostly people, if put into her shoes, would rather stay and change nothing and live along comfortably with their parents’ money. And I also adored that she loved her parents so much and that she wasn’t too embarrassed to show her feelings, and also to stand for her parents, even though she all the time suffered because of the past.
Now, I couldn’t stand Billy. I couldn’t, period. From the very beginning. There was something sleazy in him that just pushed me away from him, there was something false, and with every new scene that he entered he just confirmed that my gut feeling is right again. I don’t want to write more, as I don’t want to give up too much, but let me tell you that even with me smelling a rat somewhere I didn’t expect for this subplot to end in this way. And my heart went to Chloe, really. I more than once wanted to shake him or bang his head on the wall – I couldn’t believe how cruel, unfair and childish he was towards Chloe. Actually, almost in every scene that he entered he did something to just put me off him even more and I couldn’t stop wondering what is this that Chloe sees in him.

This is a story full of many different emotions. I fell for Chloe, and I was really impressed with how well Ellen Faith can write emotions, how real they feel. It is also full of incredibly surprising twists and turns, and even though I started to suspect something when Chloe’s father mentioned something for a second time, I still was waiting in awe for the grande finale that came and took me totally by surprise.

There is one little, teeny tiny thing that didn’t let me sleep, and I know it sounds foolish but Rosehip was a village of sixty – something people. And it was quite lively, with shops, restaurant, bookshop and even a spa. I am living in a village with something over 150 people and we have the volunteer fire (mini -) brigade and one guest – house and the baker and butcher come once a week with a van. Forget the post, and many of my neighbours would ask what spa is. Also, we don’t have weekly meetings in a hall (maybe because we don’t have a hall) and honestly, the only thing that keeps me sane about it is the fact that Rosehip was somewhere on a tourist route, a hiking trail, because other than that I can’t imagine it being so small and people being able to keep their heads over the water with their shops. But other than that, I loved Rosehip, and I didn’t have a problem to understand why Chloe fell in love with this place. And I of course absolutely adored this brilliant sense of community, and the residents supporting each other no matter what.

It started really intriguing, the pace was quick, but then it slowed down a little and I had a feeling it drags on too much – I mean, the thing with the secrets has annoyed me a little, with Billy being recognized/ not being identified, and some of the things in the book happened very conveniently, like for example the appearance of Reilley. Every once in a while Chloe comes a little too childish, too undecided, but those were only moments. The author has also very cleverly sneaked into the story the impact that social media can impose on our lives, and even though this time it has touched upon our Chloe personally, the celebrities’ daughter, it is a problem for many, many people nowadays, and I always hope that perhaps, after reading such stories, one or two young persons will think twice before losing themselves into the cyber – world. Apart from this, „Perfume & Promises” is a lovely story about family relationship (even though it is an unusual family), about trust, about looking forward, about loyalty and friendship, written in a lovely, engaging way, full of funny but also moving, scenes. Recommended!

 

BE SURE TO CHECK OTHER PERFUME & PROMISES BLOG TOUR STOPS FOR REVIEWS AND GUEST POSTS!

B – Side by Elle Field

B – Side

by Elle Field

 

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publishing Date: 17th May 2016

Series: Arielle Lockley #2.5

Source:  Copy provided by the author, thank you!

Number of pages: 194

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Contemporary

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

 „What do I honestly know about the music industry? I’m just another idiot with a dream who is naive enough to hope that I might be the next big star.”

Etta Millhouse has always had big musical ambitions to match her big voice, but she’s also got three very big problems – the addiction she won’t admit to, her godmother’s illness she can no longer ignore, and her godmother’s useless business partner (who she wishes she could ignore).

Keeping an eye on Arielle’s bad business decisions is the last thing Etta wants to do when she’s offered the chance to record a demo with a top producer. But, a promise is a promise, even if it has her reaching for another pick-me-up… And then another. And then one more.

When the secret she must keep for her godmother, Felicity, sends her drug habit spiralling out of control, can Etta battle her demons in time and make her dream happen? Or, will her music career be over before it’s even begun?

Rating: 3.5/5

 

I was expecting the third part in Arielle Lockley’s series but Elle Field has surprised us with „B – Side”, a novella told from Etta’s point of view, which I, personally, find a great idea, as it gives us a great insight into Etta and her background and lets us to understand why she is like this, because – let’s be honest – Etta didn’t show her best side, right? I would only advise that you should read the previous books before starting „B – Side” – even though it doesn’t continue the main story on – as there is too much history and too much background to enjoy this novel as a stand – alone.

As much as I got insight into Etta and her background, I still can’t understand her dislike to Arielle. I didn’t find the explanation in this story for this and this bothers me a little, because for me it’s more than only your typical dislike, you know, when you look at the person and the first impression is telling you you’re not going to be friends. In this (non) relationship between Etta and Arielle I can feel hate and misapprehension and I’m not sure why such strong feelings. So as much as I appreciate the fact that the author wanted to give us insight and let Etta explain herself, I am afraid that in my case she didn’t succeed. Yes, I got to know Etta better and can understand why she is so bitter and unhappy, but after mentioning some scenes out of her past the story was concentrating on Etta and her addiction. Honestly, it didn’t make me like her better. I might have more understanding for her now, but can’t shake off the feeling that she’s just made her bed so she must lie on it and everything happens at her own wish. She plays strong, but she’s weak in my opinion, and she doesn’t want to change. She was too childish for my liking and even the music deal that she landed didn’t make her happy, and I was asking myself, what WOULD make you happy, Etta? I get it, she had so much on her plate, Etta, what with this demo opportunity, and with Felicity’s health deteriorating so quickly, so maybe I just didn’t get Etta herself and it’s my fault that I didn’t enjoy and appreciate this short story as much as I wanted to. Yes, it was painful to see how much Etta struggles, how scared she is, how she can’t cope but when I was starting to sympathize with her and thinking oh, poor Etta, than she always went and did or said something that annoyed me so much and there was no more sympathy from me. Really, I find Etta one of the most complicated and difficult characters that I came across when reading books and I wanted to like her, I really wanted, but she just didn’t allow me! I get her, I really get her and where she’s coming from but nevertheless, I couldn’t connect with her and she mostly annoyed me.

It is a character – driven novella, telling us about a short piece of time from Etta’s life. It felt a little darker that Arielle’s novels that are more on the light – hearted side, but I liked this darkness, and it proves that Elle Field is a great author who can write different stories. It is full of dark emotions, it touches upon some difficult and important issues such as bullying and drugs, and altogether, the whole tone of the story is darker, but still is was a great joy to read. This is a fast – paced novella making us realize that there are always two sides to every story.
And Elle’s writing is brilliant. It’s sharp, it’s quick, it’s modern and you have a feeling that this girl knows what she’s writing about. Her storytelling kept me hooked to the novel and I wanted to know what’s going to happen next. I would love to give this book more stars, really, as I know that Elle can write soooo good, but this time, somehow, we just didn’t work together, me and the novel. However, I am full of expectations towards Elle’s next book, the third in the series, „Found”, that sounds really exciting!

 

GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate the publication of B-Side, Elle is running a giveaway. Prizes are Amazon vouchers, a paperback set of the full Arielle Lockley series (Kept, Lost and B-Side), and a set of vinyl coasters. To enter the giveaway just follow  the link.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elle Field writes romantic comedies, and is the author of the Arielle Lockley series and Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not. She grew up in Yorkshire, then moved to Scotland to study International Relations and Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. Elle now lives in London with her boyfriend and their cat. She’s a massive fan of sunshine, giraffes, The Killers, Audrey Hepburn movies, playing Scrabble and tea. Oh, and reading, of course!

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My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

My Husband’s Wife

by Jane Corry

 

Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 26th May 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 528

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Psychological Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback  (out on 25.08.2016)

 

 Synopsis:

It’s the perfect love story.

Lily meets Ed at a party, and on their second date, he proposes. She’s a lawyer, he’s an up-and-coming artist. They own a small but beautiful flat in London and mix with all the right people.

But Lily has a secret. Something from her past, that is soon to collide with her present. And she thinks her new husband is hiding something too…

The vows they made will soon be tested to the very limits.

‚Till death us do part…’

Perfect for readers of Liane Moriarty and Clare Mackintosh, lose yourself in the twist-filled story that everyone’s talking about.

Rating: 5/5

 

Every once in a while there appears a book that you have a feeling is going to be a hit, to be big and that you are desperate to read. It was the case with „My Husband’s Wife” by Jane Corry, as soon as I’ve seen this title, this cover and read the blurb my gut feeling was telling me this is THE book and I was looking forward to reading it. It is a large book, with more than 500 pages long, but I’ve read it in only a few sittings, getting angry when life was getting in the way and was dragging me away from my comfortable place on my sofa and my reading time. This is this kind of book that slowly sucks you in and before you know it, you’ve finished it in almost one sitting. It’s captivating, it’s gripping, it’s hooking and you keep turning the pages wanting more and more.

I am sure that many readers may be confused at the beginning, just like I was a little, because the book tells stories of characters that at the first glance have nothing in common with each other. I also asked myself what are they to do with each other? How are they stories going to intertwine, if they are going to intertwine? We have here two different, but equally captivating stories about Lily, a lawyer, recently married to Ed, an artist, and Carla, a young Italian girl who lives with her mother next to Lily and Ed. All of the characters keep lots of secrets that even the closest ones don’t know. These two stories slowly interlock, entwine. Lily and Ed aren’t a match made in heaven, it must to be told, and even though Lily wasn’t the easiest one, I totally blame Ed here. Ed, who was like a typical artist, on a high when his career was running, and down when he was being criticised, but can you always blame everything on being an artist? I don’t know, I’ve just never warmed to him, I can’t put my finger why exactly, but I can’t help my feelings here. Life is not always a bowl of cherries and you can’t always do what you love to pay the bills, Ed, and enjoying a drink or two (or six) too many is not a solution. I liked Lily, on the other hand, and I adored the descriptions of her job, and even though it was crystal clear from the beginning that she also has secrets of her own (we don’t get to know these secrets till almost the end of the book, though I was not all too shocked by them to be honest, even if you may call them controversial) but even when the secrets were revealed I didn’t change my mind about her. Life didn’t spoil her but she did her best in my opinion.
On the other side we have Carla and her mum. I don’t know if it’s healthy, not liking a child, even if it is a fictional child in a story, but I’ve never warmed to Carla. Never. There was something so snake – like in her and I didn’t fell for her sad story of being bullied, being lonely etc. Sure, it was awful for her as a child, but I very quickly discovered this second side to her, her being a champion in manipulation to get what she wanted – the same as her mother, so really it’s true here: like mother, like daughter. Sure, their lives were not the easiest but they are not the only ones with difficult lives, right? I don’t know, but whatever they did I had a feeling that they are wrong, and everything they did turned against them. But I think that the biggest problem for me was the fact that these two were, as I have already mentioned, so manipulative, and later on I had a feeling Carla grew up to be a very toxic person, it was like she was suffocating others, closing on on them and personally I didn’t feel well in her company, and it surprised me so much that Lily maybe not trusted her totally, but just let her on, opened her doors for Carla. Yes, the characters really got under my skin, it is amazing how strong, distinctive they were, how memorable and I still think about them all the time.

So the story was told alternatively between Lily and Carla and stretched over 15 years, as it all really started 15 years ago. In this period of time we really get to know the characters and we learn a lot about them and their private lives. We get to like or hate them, to judge them, we see that Lily and Ed’s marriage isn’t entirely a happy one, and this all is written in a brilliant way. I felt like a part of their world, like a part of the book, I was almost breathing with them, so well could the author describe them, their feelings and emotions. Throughout the story we switch between past and future and while sometimes it is really confusing, here I didn’t have any problem with the changes. Moreover, right from the beginning we know that Ed is dead, and Jane Corry build up the tension through the story, until we arrive to the moment of his death. Thanks to the narrative we get a chance to hear the same story but from different sides, to carve out our own opinions and I enjoyed it greatly.

Jane Corry can incredibly well get into the characters’ heads and how well she could describe those split, complex personalities. They are so well drawn and so complicated, all of them have secrets that turn out into a captivating, dark story. The author has so greatly captured and described the feelings of fascination, forbidden relationships, domestic problems and I found it really fascinating how well she can „does” the feelings. They felt so vivid and powerful and all the time I had a feeling there is much more to the characters than meet the eye – and I was right.

There is something addictive in the writing style and Jane Corry in the best possible way weave the characters in the web of lies, leaving the reader to wonder and guess what’s going to happen, who’s guilty and who’s innocent. There are plenty of twists and turns, very impressive when you think about them, not on the too obvious, too far – fetched side, but really surprising, clever, impressive turns. The pace of the book is not too rushed, it’s slow and steady but even though there is not a single flat moment. It is a very complex novel, with many layers but it’s very easy to keep on track with it, it’s not confusing and I’ve never felt lost, what can sometimes happen with books concentrating on so many issues. I truly admire the author for so brilliantly broaching such issues like bullying, manipulation, lies, betrayals, mental illness, giving a very deep insight on each of those issues. Yes, having in mind the number of pages and the way the book was told, stretching in time and concentrating on many things, I found the end a little too short in comparison to the whole story. It was not rushed, as it usually happens, but it was just too short for my liking, too sudden. But even though, I feel contended and have a feeling that all the loose ends are very neatly wrapped up.

There is so much depth to this story, and so much borders are crossed, so many boundaries are pushed, but it is all done with a tons of gentleness, in a very delicate, gentle way. Unwrapping the many layers was captivating and there was a feeling of the overwhelming tension. This book has really it all: tension, mystery, drama, shock, and often I found myself wondering whom shall I trust. Because of the complexity of the characters it was really hard to decide who is the good and who is the bad one, and the author played with us, all the time changing the directions and making us feeling unsure about Lilly, Carla, Ed… And I loved this mental games, I really enjoyed it, and I just let the author to take me on a very surprising journey.

„My Husband’s Wife” is a complex, thought – provoking (starting with the title already!) story full of secrets and lies, but they are not overwhelming in any way. It is for sure a book that is going to stay with you for longer than average. It is a perfect mix of psychological family drama, crime and dark relationships. It was unpredictable read and I didn’t know what’s going to happen next, and I loved it, and really, the whole story totally fulfilled my expectations. It is a different, unique read that had me gripped, sharp – observed family drama that I won’t forget for long. Highly recommended!

The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts by Annie Darling

The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts

by Annie Darling

 

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publishing Date: 19th May 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Contemporary, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 25. 08. 2016)

 

  Synopsis:

Where happy ever after is only a page away…
A delightful new series set in a quaint old bookshop, for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan

Once upon a time in a crumbling London bookshop, Posy Morland spent her life lost in the pages of her favourite romantic novels.

So when Bookend’s eccentric owner, Lavinia, dies and leaves the shop to Posy, she must put down her books and join the real world. Because Posy hasn’t just inherited an ailing business, but also the unwelcome attentions of Lavinia’s grandson, Sebastian, AKA The Rudest Man In London™.

Posy has a cunning plan and six months to transform Bookends into the bookshop of her dreams – if only Sebastian would leave her alone to get on with it. As Posy and her friends fight to save their beloved bookshop, Posy’s drawn into a battle of wills with Sebastian, about whom she’s started to have some rather feverish fantasies…

Like her favourite romantic heroines, will she get her happy ever after too?

Rating: 5/5

 

Guys, really. I don’t remember when I adored a book so much – „The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts” is one of the most gorgeous, sweet, charming stories EVAH. Though the beginning of it was not so promising, I must say it – I had a feeling it drags on too much and that actually nothing is happening there, and you know, I’ve already started to panic and wonder what’s going on? I had such good feeling about this book, and I wanted to love it so much and Oh. My. Word. The cover. THE COVER. It is gorgeous! It is more than gorgeous and I love it with my whole heart and if I saw such a book shop somewhere on the street I’d go there and beg them to either give me a job or let me live there, and yet I had some problems to get into it. But. Guys. Those were only some difficult beginnings and soon, very soon, I found this book unputdownable.

First of all, it is a perfect book for such book – freaks like yours truly. It is full of books, mentions of books and authors and bookish things and it was lovely. Secondly, the characters. Thirdly, the humour. The humour – the bloody humour! Just my kind of humour, full of sarcasm, having distance from oneself and I was snorting with laughter almost all the way through it. Fourthly, the brilliant way the plot mixes some more serious issues with light – heartedness. Yes, it reminded me a little of Bridget Jones, but there is nothing wrong with this as I think I am the biggest Bridget’s fan in the world. The way Posy was, so helpless when it came to men, so willing to crying, and especially the one scene with Sebastian and Piers when they were fighting – I could so see Mark and Daniel and hear „It’s Raining Men” in the background. And I loved it!

But let’s get back to the second point. Characters. Oh Jesus, how brilliant the characters were. First of all, welcome Posy, who loves books above all, especially romances, and after inheriting the bookshop Bookends and getting a job of bringing it back to life she decides that romance is the future of the shop (though Sebastian, „the rudest man in London” who was ordered by his grandmother to keep an eye on Posy and to help her in a way that she doesn’t know he helps her, thinks that romance is meeeeh and wants to re – organize the shop into selling only crime. Who is going to win this duel?) To be honest, Posy has never thought about being Bookends’ owner – she loves book but being her own, and her colleagues, boss… well… it’s not her thing. But what must be done, must be done, right? So yes, Posy loves books above all and I love people who love books so no wonder that I immediately fell for Posy, right. But it was not only her love of books that made me like her so much. She was just so believable in all what she did and the way she acted, she had her ups and downs, she had better and worse days, she doubted in herself and wasn’t sure if she’s cut to be the owner of Bookends, she was not a long – legged size 0 sex – bomb, she was prone to accident and she more than often found herself in embarrassing situations and life was not a bed of roses for her, and this all, plus her inner warmth, sense of humour, loyalty made her so realistic and normal and I think you just can’t not like Posy.
But now enter Sebastian, „the rudest man” in London, and oh my word, he really took the rudeness to another level! He was telling the things just like he saw them, no matter if it was going to hurt the recipient. He was obsessed with his suits and he didn’t react to the word „no”, which I personally find not such a bad feature, I’d also love to be able to resist the word „no” :) He, in contrast to Posy, was not having his head in the clouds but was a having his feet on the ground entrepreneur and he had a little different to Posy’s idea what to do with Bookends, and while Posy wanted to paint the shop pink and specialise in romance, he saw it in red and black, selling crime only. But you know what, even with his rudeness, that I, by the way, found not irritating only entertaining (maybe because it was not directed to me personally, haha) and I loved the scenes with Sebastian – they were so full of sarcasm and you needed to take them with a pinch of salt, but it was just my kind of humour and I’d personally love to pat him on, and cry softly into, the lapel of his jacket.
At the first sight Posy and Sebastian were like chalk and cheese, full of contrasts, but you know what they say, right? That opposites attract, and these two were like two peas in a pod, and they complemented each other brilliantly. I adored the banter between them, I adored Posy`s „Fine. Whatever” and its consequences and there is one more aspect that I loved this book so much, and it is Posy’s historical novel that she’s writing. I’m not going to tell anymore but guys, you will understand me when you read this book. I WOULD LOVE to read „Ravished by the Rake” as a novel, absolutely, haha. This was a very unusual romance, I’d say, especially at the end, and I loved the way it was written.
There were of course some other characters, like Posy’s younger brother Sam or her colleagues from the book shop, or people that Sebastian brought with him, and oh my word, they were all brilliant. Just brilliant. Full of warmth, each of them with a very distinctive voice and their own personalities, and they added tons to this story. Tons of warmth, action and fun. All of them vivid and larger than life, even if they were present only in few scenes, but I grow to love all of them.

The plot is a brilliant mix of fun with some more serious issues and the author has wonderfully balanced those things. The way Posy was still grieving over the death of her parents was realistic and tugged at the right heart – strings, and it was the same with the way she tried to cope with the fact that suddenly she was the owner of the Bookends, responsible now not only for her younger brother but also for her colleagues. Then we have humour. Annie Darling has one of the finest sense of humour and I so GOT all her jokes, the irony, the sarcasm and I begged for more. Absolutely, totally my kind of humour, thank you Annie!

„The Little Bookshop of Happy Ever After” is an uplifting, funny story with fantastic, larger than life characters that I was rooting for and wanted to be a part of their gang. My heart went to Posy so many times, and when she cried because she missed her parents I wanted to comfort her. Life didn’t spoil her bur she was still so good and she saw only good in other people. Yes, there were moments that she was too tearful and too naive but this all was a part of her and made her so exceptional and likeable. She must have dealt with so many things in her short life but she never lost faith and went for what she believed is right.

It is a lovely story to escape from the world and when I got into it after my initial problems, I didn’t want to leave the characters and the bookshop for a single moment. You know this feeling, when the book is so good that you want to race through the pages and see how it’s going to end but on the other hand you want it to go on for ever – this is this kind of a book. It’s humorous and hilarious but also realistic and relatable and even though there is going to be Happy Ever After, the author complicates characters’ way to it. Annie Darling’s writing style is fun, warm and I had a feeling it’s embracing me in a hug – she has incredible way with the words and can describe the most normal situation in a hilarious, entertaining way, but she can also made you shed a tear or two. If you don’t believe in Happy Ever After, after reading this book you’ll start to believe in it, such convincing the author is. I highly, highly recommend this novel to all, not only book – lovers. Loved it!

Danger, Sweetheart by MaryJanice Davidson

Hello, hello lovelies, today I am a part of  „Danger, Sweetheart” blog port and I am super thrilled with this fact :) You can read my review of this very special book and when you scroll down, there is also an excerpt, which is a great thing because it gives you a great insight into the way this book is written. So make yourself comfortable and enjoy!

 

Danger, Sweetheart

by MaryJanice Davidson

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 10th May 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 336

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

Blake Tarbell has a town to save. Rich, carefree, and used to the Vegas party lifestyle, Blake is thrown for a curve when his former cocktail-waitress mother pleads he go back to her roots to save the town she grew up in. Blake’s used to using money to solve his problems, but when he arrives in Sweetheart, North Dakota, this city boy has to trade in his high-priced shoes for a pair of cowboy boots – and he’s about to get a little help from the loveliest lady in town . . .

Natalie Lane’s got no time for newbies. The prettiest gal to ever put on a pair of work gloves, there’s nothing she can’t do to keep a farm up and running. But when a handsome city-slicker rolls into town with nothing but bad farmer’s instincts and good intentions, Natalie’s heartstrings are pulled. She’s about to teach him a thing or two about how to survive in Sweetheart. And he’s about to teach her a thing or two about love.

 Rating: 4/5

 

Oh my word, guys, THIS book! I honestly have no idea where to start, maybe with saying that I have never before read a book that annoyed the hell out of me and made me laugh so much at the same time. After reading the blurb I thought, why not, let’s see what’s going to happen but I wasn’t prepared for this chaos – but chaos in a positive sense, as it turned out at the end.

I’ve never read MaryJanice Davidson before, even though the list of her titles at the beginning of the book is really impressive, and so I truly didn’t know what to expect, and this novel has just killed me. Killed me with its plot, the way it was written, with the characters… I really have no idea how to write a review for it, I think I’ve never read anything like this before. Yes, we have a small town girl here, very rich hero with a twin and thousands of challenges, but believe me, the way it was written changes everything, and the way the author complicates things and adds other sub – plots, challenges (also on the animal front…) made this novel exceptional. In a good sense. Even though I was so frustrated at the beginning that I wanted to put this book away and never look at it again, and only the fact that I am a part of the blog tour kept me going – because at the beginning I had a very overwhelming feeling that the author has just tried much too much, that she was going out of her way with the humour and the characters reminded me of the characters from „The Dynasty” soap opera – it was all so far – fetched, too overblown, too exaggerated and it nerved me soooo much, but I kept going and kept reading and soon I got used to this writing style and I started to laugh. Because you must laugh when reading this story, it is sometimes so absurd and so unrealistic but nevertheless, it’s still funny!

Shortly, it is a story about Blake, the rich, carefree and used to partying in Las Vegas Blake Tarbell is going to get a taste of country life, life very different to the one he is leading and he must exchange his expensive shoes for cowboy boots and who finds himself in North Dakota to help his mum with the farm that she inherited and to bring the town back to life, because everybody wants to leave Sweetheart (yes. That’s the name of the town). While there, his mum (Shannah Banaan – yeah, I know. But you don’t want to call her Shanna – Banana, though I’m not sure what’s going to happen when you do) cuts him off from his trust fund (no idea why, to be honest), so Blake must work on the ranch even though he has no idea about farming, moreover, with people who don’t like him, with a girl who drives him crazy (welcome Natalie, who, on the other hand, knows everything about running a farm and she’s about to teach Blake a thing or two, but also Blake is going to teach her something. But first of all he must learn that Natalie takes no prisoners)  and also doesn’t like him, with a hen with a strange name consisting of numbers only, pig and a pony who wants to kill him, while his twin brother enjoys his life in Venice or some other place (even though he has no idea how come he is in the place for a first). Lots of „no ideas” here, right? But altogether, and this is the strangest thing guys, it all just worked together. Maybe I didn’t connect with the characters so much, or didn’t fell for them with my whole heart, but I liked them and they made me laugh hard. So hard.

So really, at first I was caught between not believing my eyes and thinking WTF??? and laughing so much that my sides hurt. Some of the scenes were so unrealistic and so far – fetched, and add to this dialogues that sometimes didn’t make any sense to me, but it was FUN. PURE.

Yes, there were moments that the events were happening so quickly, and everything was just hard to follow and I needed a moment or two to think where we are and what’s happening and why. There was some randomness in the storytelling, it felt too chaotic and you needed a breather then. Also, I am still not sure what’s happened with the farm and why Blake’s mum inherited it, what happened, what could happen if Blake won’t come to help her and I assume that the last pressure method was visit from Blake’s grandmother, but why? It is also written in an unusual way, when the characters are speaking they start to think things that are written then in another font in the brackets, they were commenting the conversations in their heads and it was throwing me a little off the astride and took me some time to get used to, and the plot was a little confusing at some points.

It is not a book that’ll have you  gushing about the depth of the plot, characters changing and developing, about hidden messages – no. But it is entertainment pure and while I was so sceptical at the beginning, after my initial uncertainty, I truly, truly enjoyed this novel. So really, if you are looking for a good laugh, some work on the farm and a little romance, this is a book for you. There was something addictive in this and after I stopped wanting to put it away, I just didn’t want to put it away anymore, and I’ve read it in two days. I am really like, 3 stars for the storyline,  and the additional star for this overwhelming sense of humour.
And only now I am seeing that this book is the beginning of the series – is that so? And if it is, then I am looking forward to reading the next book, really.

 

EXCERPT:

Natalie Lane watched the rented truck cover the last half mile to Heartbreak and was not impressed. This would be the first of what promised to be weeks of awful days, and not for the first time she wondered why she didn’t give up, give in, and get lost. Follow half the town out of town. Let Sweetheart die.

Not even if he stuck a gun in my ear. Because it wasn’t the town, it was never the town, it was always the people. Well. Most of the people. Garrett Hobbes, for example, could fuck right off. The world needed more golf courses like a diabetic needed a glucose drip.

The truck passed the last gate and pulled up between the farmhouse and Barn Main. The engine quit and she could see him in the driver’s seat, moving his hands, and was he . . . ? Was he patting the steering wheel? In a well done, mighty steed way? Yes. Yes he was.

Self-congratulation must run in that family, she mused. Oh, and look at this. He remembered to kick out the ladder this time. Too bad. She’d  have loved to see him on his ass in the dirt. Again.

“It’s you!” he said as he hopped down, having the balls-out nerve to sound excited. Except where did she get off ? Before she knew who he was, she’d have been happy to see him, too. If anything, she was more pissed because she had liked him on short acquaintance. What  if he’d never seen her in her other life? When would she have found out his terrible truth? Their first date? Their first month–aversary? Their wedding night?

Wedding night? Jeez, Natalie, get a grip.

“Hello again.” He stuck out his hand, which she definitely didn’t notice was large and looked strong, especially in contrast to her own teeny paws. Nor did she notice he had big hands and, as a glance at his shoes told her, big feet, and she definitely didn’t form a theory about his dick based solely on his sizeable mitts. She also didn’t notice how his smile took years from his face, or how his pricey clothes beautifully set off those long legs and wide shoulders, that  the color of his crisp button-down shirt was the same color as his dark blue eyes, that his tan slacks

(slacks? Seriously? Slacks?)

fit like they were made for him

(of course they were; guy’s probably got a fleet of tailors stashed somewhere)

and that his swimmer’s shoulders made his waist appreciably narrow in contrast.

He was still holding out his hand, and she gave it a brief listless shake, the limp kind with the bare tips of her fingers. “You’re late.”

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