The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper / #BlogTour + #Giveaway

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The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper

 

34927591Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 23rd June 2017

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

Number of pages: 384

Genre:  Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“Well, it’s fair to say your background isn’t conventional in terms of the average barrister…” Dolus points out. “Well that depends on your definition of conventional and who wants to be average anyway?”

Northern girl Amanda Bentley isn’t your average lawyer.

She spent her teenage years in the Working Men’s club and hanging out in the park to avoid going home. Fresh out of law school she lands pupillage at a top set of Chambers and is catapulted into a world completely alien to her own, fighting prejudice and snobbery at every turn.

Piling on the pressure, this year it is announced two candidates have been accepted but there’s only one job at the end of it. And her competition? Marty, her smarmy law school nemesis.

Throw into the mix an ill-advised romance with the staggeringly sexy Sid Ryder and Amanda quickly realises winning pupillage isn’t just about how good a lawyer you are.

But even if she does come out on top, all of it could be for nothing if her colleagues ever discover who she really is and one very dark secret.

Rating: three-stars

I don’t know much about barristers, so I really liked all the descriptions in “The Law of Attraction” by Roxie Cooper, a fresh and already distinguished voice in the women’s literature, starting with the interview, the pupillage and accompanying our main character Amanda on her way to become a real barrister. It was great to get an insight into all the “traditions”, the dinners, the initiations – those were the most hilarious parts of the story probably.

But you know, I don’t know about this book. Sure, yes, I got the message but on the other hand I am not sure why did Amanda tried so hard to prove she can be a barrister with a long and blonde hair. I mean, I have long blonde hair myself and I really never felt such a need to prove that I can do something. I don’t know, I can’t put my finger on what it was, but this story just didn’t feel so real for me and too predictable. It just didn’t wow me as much as I think it’s going to, judging on so many other raving reviews. So probably the problem might be me. For sure it was not a story about a “girl powers”, as Amanda wasn’t afraid to go to wars with her female colleagues from work – yes, I did spotted they were all bitches from hell, no worries, and it’s a pity that there was not one single girl being sympathetic to Amanda. Oh no, sorry. I forgot Heidi.

There were plenty of characters and while mostly they were really well portrayed, there was a thing that bothered me, and it was the fact that they were so very much stereotyped. The “bad” guy was odious, laughable and everything came to him so easily because of his rich father. Of course then Amanda was a witness to all of his shenanigans. I don’t mean I liked him or something, oh god, no, Marty was very annoying but also not to believable. The main character was the poor, smart as hell girl from the wrong class, proving that yes she can and pulling out of her old life. However, as much as she herself hated those that were stereotyping, I had a feeling that this is what she does all the time, starting with looking at herself through a prism of stereotype. What now, Amanda? All the characters, they were all made so that from the beginning we either like them and keep our fingers for them or dislike them.

The romance aspect… was there. For my liking also too predictable, and I thought Amanda is a little more cautious, especially knowing what’s at stake, but no, she trusted him so easily. I really wasn’t sure what I think about this whole affair, is it appropriate? And if not, then actually why not?

What I really liked were the parts that focused on Amanda at work. She did really feel like a kid in a candy store in the courtroom and she had a great passion for her job. Also, as the story progressed, we got to know more about Amanda’s past, about her childhood and probably it was created for us to understand Amanda better, her and her life choices. It was nice she got a conclusion and eventually learnt that the past can’t bring her down. But let’s be honest, when she revealed what has really happened in her past, well… it left me lukewarm, it didn’t feel worth the fuss – my opinion only. However, Amanda was this kind of character that learnt from her own mistakes. She didn’t stay in one place but she grew as a person. So I think it’s a thing that we should really appreciate, that she was like a real person who more often followed her heart than her head when making decisions as it only made her feel like a real, breathing person. And even though all of my reservations, I still admired her determination and I truly wanted her to succeed in everything she set her eyes on.

Altogether, it was a little different story about following your dream and not letting other people to patronize you and your choices, showing that hard work wins at the end. It touched upon the struggle that women still need to face in some environments. It was light and funny, if a tad predictable, but still I think there was so much potential to the writing and I would love to see more from Roxie Cooper – she can for sure create feisty, quirky heroines that have a lot to show to the world.

GIVEAWAY:

It’s UK only.

Prise: a copy of the book, a legally blonde DVD and a £10 MAC gift card

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The Honey Farm on the Hill by Jo Thomas

The Honey Farm on the Hill by Jo Thomas

 

31424836Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 24th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre:  General Fiction (Adult),  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

We never forget the one who got away.

Eighteen years ago Nell fell in love in the mountains of Crete and life changed for ever. Nell’s daughter, Demi, has never met her dad. Nell never saw him again.

When she gets the chance to return to the hilltop town of Vounoplagia – where everything began – Nell can’t resist the urge to go back and find him.

Working on a honey farm perched high up in the hills, there’s plenty to keep her busy. And she will quickly realise the town harbours just as many secrets as she does.

But if Nell’s favourite romantic films are right, there’s a happy ending in store for each of us. All she has to do is seek out the magic of the mountains…

Rating: four-stars

Ah, I’m a real winner this year when it comes to great books set in Greece! Jo Thomas’s “The Honey Farm on the Hill” is another novel this summer that happens on a beautiful, sunny Corfu, and even though it’s not as full of Greek traditions for example, it is still full to brims with the gorgeous Greek spirit, myths, delicious food and beautiful descriptions – Jo Thomas has really written a beautiful, atmospheric novel, not forgetting to add some mystery, budding romance and bees. Yes, bees. And honey.

It was incredibly easy to read. I have felt a part of this story right from the beginning and I didn’t want to put it away. I loved how easily Nell slotted into life with Maria, Kostas and Mitera, how quickly she settled in, and even though her being there has also had a hidden agenda, she truly put her heart into work on the farm. Together with her I’ve learnt about various herbs, their significance and characteristics and it was a great lesson. We already know about the importance of bees but the way Jo Thomas has written about it was again an eye – opener. However, I know bees are not angry but do they know it as well? Whatever, it is a great message to be taken from this story.

I only had some small problems with the drama that sometimes felt a little too exaggerated, too dramatic. Don’t get me wrong, pretty please, it was still a great read however there were moments that made me shake my head in disbelief. The story was also very repetitive at times, so I won’t forget for a long time that Nell missed her daughter so much (I know. I understand. I am a mother and miss my daughter when she’s away but there is so much I can take. I knew Nell is missing Demi, I didn’t have to be reminded every second page. Or that Nell’s boyfriend has cheated. Or that the dittany is a VERY rare herb.) But other than that I loved and enjoyed this story, truly.

The writing is so vivid, guys, SO vivid! It’s colourful and evocative and so rich, and I could almost smell all the herbs in the air. The descriptions of the food made my mouth water, and I could easily recognise the danger when it was around. The dialogues were one of the best, the author has so well captured what the characters wanted to tell and perfectly put it into words. The story was also full of surprises. What also singles this book out is the fact that it is not only your usual rom – com, it is full of much more deeper issues, it is thoughtful and introduces us to some dilemmas. So altogether, it is Jo Thomas at her best, and “The Honey Farm on the Hill” is a great read, so richly imagined and so wonderfully written – highly recommended!

Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul

Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul

 

34529186Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 17th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 464

Genre:  Historical Fiction,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

USA Today bestselling author of The Secret Wife

ANOTHER WOMAN’S HUSBAND is the latest gripping novel from Gill Paul. ‘A triumph’ Dinah Jefferies on The Secret Wife.

Two women, divided by time, bound by a secret…

1911. Aged just fifteen, Mary Kirk and Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. Their friendship will survive heartbreaks, continents, and the demands of the English crown, until it is shattered by one unforgivable betrayal…

1997. Kendall’s romantic break in Paris with her fiance is interrupted when the taxi in front crashes suddenly. The news soon follows: Princess Diana is dead. Trying to forget what she has witnessed, Kendall returns home, where the discovery of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, will lead her to the truth of a scandal which shook the world…

Richly imagined and beautifully written, ANOTHER WOMAN’S HUSBAND is a moving novel about two women thrust into the spotlight, haunted by love and loss.

Rating: four-stars

Here you can a read a brilliant guest post written by Gill Paul for my stop on the “Another Woman’s Husband” blog tour!

Having read and loved Gill Paul’s previous books I was very excited to see that “Another Woman’s Husband” is going to be published. To be honest with you, I haven’t even read the synopsis – well, it IS Gill Paul’s book, right, so it must be brilliant, no? It took me a little by surprise to eventually discover that the story features real characters, such as Diana Spencer and Wallis Simpson for example, but it doesn’t mean that the story was not as exciting and rich with historical facts, full of twists and turns.

This story is full to the brims with events and there is truly not a flat moment. I personally was much more intrigued with the parts set in the past, about Mary and Wallis then about Alex and Rachel – their story felt too forced on us in my opinion, but of course I do get it was needed to add this element of mystery: what is this bracelet that Alex took from Princess Diana? Whereas the story of Wallis and Mary was full of vividness and it seamlessly flew, and I couldn’t help but changed my mind about those two characters – once I was on Wallis’ side, sympathising with her and in the next moment I was on Mary’s side, asking myself how much is she going to survive, if Wallis will push her too far, if she’ll eventually see for herself that she’s being used, or is their friendship going to survive all the troubles? I was really impatiently waiting for the story to switch again to the previous era, I wanted to find out more.

My only problem was that all the characters felt a little too wooden to my liking. This author has already showed that she can create incredibly beautiful, vivid and full of life characters and the ones in “Another Woman’s Husband” did disappoint me a little. They seemed very shallow, superficial, without a depth – both fictional and non – fictional. I must say that if Wallis Simpson was as unlikeable and concentrated on herself person as Gill Paul portrayed her than it’s a real pity. I don’t know, maybe she’s just rubbed me the wrong way and instead of being irritating she was challenging? But later on, as the book is mostly told from her best friend Mary’s viewpoint, I found myself getting used to the way Wallis was, but I didn’t start to warm to her, unfortunately. However, this book allowed me to gain a great insight into this character and even though she seemed too shallow, too selfish, too destructive, she was also fascinating. Also, the way the story was told felt like I was reading reports – there were not many descriptions, it was just like stating facts, and I missed depth here as well.

However, this novel has very well captured relationships – friendships and love relationships, showing how different they may be and how they may change over the years. Those relationships were so very well written that I personally felt frustrated on the characters’ part, or full of hope, I was convinced some of them have no chance to survive. There was also one thing that was really fascinating – namely the descriptions of the investigations and rumours surrounding Princess Diana’s death. Let’s be honest, we all know till today where we were when the awful news about her death came, and we all watched the whole drama and accompanied the Princess during her last journey, and we all felt just like the author has described it: as if we’ve known Diana personally, and so we grieved for her. Gill Paul has really brilliantly interwoven facts with fiction and created a compelling, hooking story.

Altogether, “Another Woman’s Husband” was an intriguing novel about relationships, love, hate, secrets, forgiveness and betrayals. It was compelling and yes, as you can see, it left me in two minds, but no matter what, it was a brilliant piece of historical fiction. Complex, well – thought, bringing the characters to life and I am very glad to have read this novel – already looking forward to Gill Paul’s new book and recommending “Another Woman’s Husband” to the author’s fans.

The Lemon Tree Cafe by Cathy Bramley / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Wednesday, hope you are all enjoying your summer!

I am so thrilled today to ba again a part of Cathy Bramley’s blog tour – I love this author and her uplifting novels! No matter what, her books will for sure make you feel better and you won’t want them to end. There is everything I am looking for in a great read – joy, romance, immediately likeable characters and enough twists and turns to keep you on your tenterhooks. Yes, I probably could read Ms Bramley’s novels on daily basis 🙂

 

The Lemon Tree Cafe by Cathy Bramley

51dddl5xnvl-_sx319_bo1204203200_Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 24th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 464

Genre:  General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Lemon Tree Cafe was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

When Rosie Featherstone finds herself unexpectedly jobless, the offer to help her beloved Italian grandmother out at the Lemon Tree Cafe – a little slice of Italy nestled in the rolling hills of Derbyshire – feels like the perfect way to keep busy.

Surrounded by the rich scent of espresso, delicious biscotti and juicy village gossip, Rosie soon finds herself falling for her new way of life. But she is haunted by a terrible secret, one that even the appearance of a handsome new face can’t quite help her move on from.

Then disaster looms and the cafe’s fortunes are threatened . . . and Rosie discovers that her nonna has been hiding a dark past of her own. With surprises, betrayal and more than one secret brewing, can she find a way to save the Lemon Tree Cafe and help both herself and Nonna achieve the happy endings they deserve?

Rating: five-stars

Guys, “The Lemon Tree Cafe” is Cathy Bramley at her best! Which delights me terribly as I had some issues with her last novel and to be absolutely honest I was afraid how I’m going to like this book. But no worries guys, no worries, reading “The Lemon Tree Cafe” was really a great joy. Of course initially this book was published as a four – part – series but I am incredibly happy to have waited for the whole story being published as one gorgeous novel. I just can’t have enough of Cathy Bramley’s writing, her storytelling, quirky characters and beautiful settings, and with this book she has fulfilled all of my expectations. You know, it is really hard to explain why I love Cathy Bramley’s books so much without repeating over and over again that they are full of warmth, honesty, genuine characters and this so hard to capture feel – good factor – and “The Lemon Tree Cafe” had it all!

I absolutely adored the fact that some of the characters were already introduced to us earlier in “The Plumberry School of Comfort Food”. It felt like coming back home, to some friends of yours. I warmed to the book and the characters right at the beginning – even to the all – knowing nonna (you know I have huge problems with wiser than wise older aunts, grandmas, cousins in the stories. However, Cathy Bramley has managed to write Maria in the best possible way, without her being patronizing but also showing her weakest points, showing that she is a real woman, with dark past). Rosie was my hero from the start – the way she stood for her beliefs was absolutely inspiring. She was not afraid to gave up her job only to prove her point – that was SO right, btw! To not go too crazy without a job she offers to work for a month in her nonna’s cafe, and perhaps bring it back to its glory days, even though Maria doesn’t think it’s necessary, make it a little bit better – but does the nonna need Rosie’s help? Or perhaps does she keep some secrets that she doesn’t want to see the daylight?
Now Gabe. I know I’ve said once that Gabe is not my favourite character – because Gabe was already introduced to us in “The Plumberry School of Comfort Food” and well… OK, yes, I started to warm to him but it took me some time. You know, in the previous book he had a moment that he tried to persuade Verity they should be together, even though he didn’t love her, and in “The Lemon Tree Cafe” he entered the scenes, took a look at Rosie and tried to convince her they should be together – again. And I just couldn’t stop thinking, Gabe, really, get a grip. Are you so desperate? But yes, I admit – he turned out to be a really nice guy and showed where his priorities are, and yes, there were moments that I pitied him so much when he wanted to explain to Rosie some things and she didn’t let him, jumping to conclusions – just like real life, no? However, the romance element in this book was rather absent, and it felt forced on us. I mean, I want my hero to appear on the pages more than Gabe appeared, so the end felt so pushed and rushed and I wondered, when did they really have time to fell in love? This relationship was more off than on, and it’s a shame because Cathy Bramley can write brilliant romance! (This was my one and only problem with this book. No more whining, promise. And really, even with this I adored this story.)

The book was full of twists, turns and surprises. There were some secrets kept and while I guessed the one kept by Maria, this of Rosie’s broke me. It explained a lot, why she was so cautious about relationships and why she wanted to focus on her career, and it really was breaking my heart because she deserved so much more after what she has experienced.
And of course, as this book is about an Italian cafe, there are plenty of deliciously sounding descriptions of food, as well as some great recipes at the end of the story.

It was so warmly written that I didn’t want to put it away, even for a moment, and cursed life getting in the way. The story only got better and better, guys, there are no flat moments in it, the pacing is just right and I loved how well balanced were the humorous and poignant moments. There is also this lovely, brilliantly captured community spirit when the people support each other, and the cafe was in the heart of all things happening. This story is full of fun and of little dramas that can be life – changing for some of the characters, and I think this is one of the factors that make this novel so lovely to read, so relatable and just so down to earth. The characters hit rock bottom, just like it happens with us, they sometimes lose all their hopes but they never lose their spirits, and this is why I admire and adore them so much. They always come up with a plan, they support each other and this is always so lovely to see.

Cathy Bramley smuggles so many important issues and messages into her books. It is the same with “The Lemon Tree Cafe” – it is a story of finding yourself, finding what brings you happiness, it’s about daily struggles of new mothers, about learning to appreciate yourself again, about family, secrets and letting the old demons go, about being proud of who you are and your roots – this all in this lovely, heart – warming, light – hearted and gorgeously delicious story. I can only salute the author for writing another unforgettable story. This book was for me like a huge mug of hot chocolate with marshmallow topping, so welcoming, comforting and tasty. Highly recommended!

 

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Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul / #BlogTour + Guest Post

Having read – or rather, having devoured – Gill Paul’s “No Place for a Lady” two years ago – this author has jumped to the top of my favourite authors’ list. Not everybody can write good historical fiction but Gill Paul can, that’s certain! I’ll be honest with you – I haven’t read synopsis for “Another Woman’s Husband” because I knew that whatever the author writes is going to be a cracker – so I didn’t know it features real people, like Diana Spencer or Wallis Simpson, so it was a surprise for me, but not a bad one. I am so sure that all of us knows where they’ve been when the news about Diana’s dead came across, right?

Today I am thrilled to welcome Gill Paul to the blog – she has written a brilliant guest post for my stop on her blog tour! Enjoy!

What would Diana be doing now?

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In the moving tribute Diana: Our Mother, shown on ITV, Prince William said he thought Diana would have been a very naughty grandma, the type who popped in at bathtime, got the kids all wound up with lots of bubble bath everywhere, then left the parents to calm them for bed. This sounds like a good guess for the woman who used to sneak forbidden sweets to her boys at prep school, hidden inside their socks, and it set me thinking about what else Diana would be doing had she lived.

Her love life would have remained complicated, for sure. The carnage of her upbringing, with a bitter divorce between her parents in which her mother lost custody of the kids, clearly left scars she was still trying to deal with. Lots of people make a mistake in their first marriage, especially when they marry young – and Diana had just turned twenty when the carriage rolled up to St Paul’s and she stepped out onto the world stage – but her relationship choices after her marriage broke down were not particularly clever. There were at least a couple of married men, a few more who sold their stories to the media, and a practising Muslim whose family were never going to approve. Her last boyfriend, Dodi, was a renowned playboy who unceremoniously dumped the American model he’d been dating when he began his affair with Diana, which didn’t make me warm to him at the time. But, having said that, I made disastrous relationship choices myself in the 1990s and only settled down in the 21st century, so perhaps Diana would have done the same (we were similar ages).

There’s no question she would have gone on to make a real difference through her charitable and campaigning work. I’m sure she would have continued to choose difficult, unfashionable issues, as she did with AIDS. I can see her helping ebola orphans in Africa, turning up at refugee camps in Sicily and the Greek Islands and Calais, and she would probably have been at Grenfell Tower long before the politicians. Perhaps she would have been a UN ambassador, visiting war zones, as Angelina Jolie does today. Like Jolie, Diana had the ear of top politicians and knew how to use her influence. It was in no small part due to her campaigning that a month after her death the Land Mine Ban Treaty was signed in Oslo, and ratified by 122 states. You get the sense that even Putin would have been putty in her hands.

I wonder how Diana would have got on with her daughter-in-law, Catherine? There would have been an element of competition for William’s attention, as with all mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships, but I’m sure they would have bonded over shopping trips and playing with grandkids. And I think that as the years went on, Diana would have become good friends with her boys’ grandmother, the Queen. Elizabeth II is a canny monarch and she must have appreciated that despite all the tantrums, Diana was the best thing that ever happened to the House of Windsor.

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31 Days of Wonder by Tom Winter

31 Days of Wonder by Tom Winter

 

35108104Publisher: Corsair

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 314

Genre:  General Fiction (Adult), Humour

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

‘And in that instant, he knows in his heart that today is a momentous day; come what may, he and Alice will meet again, and life will never be the same.’

Alice is stuck in an internship she loathes and a body she is forever trying to change.

Ben, also in his early twenties, is still trying to find his place in the world.

By chance they meet one day in a London park.

Day 1
Ben spots Alice sitting on a bench and feels compelled to speak to her. To his surprise, their connection is instant. But before numbers are exchanged, Alice is whisked off by her demanding boss.

20 minutes later
Alone in her office toilets, Alice looks at herself in the mirror and desperately searches for the beauty Ben could see in her.

Meanwhile, having misunderstood a parting remark, Ben is already planning a trip to Glasgow where he believes Alice lives, not realising that they actually live barely ten miles apart.

Over the next 31 days, Alice and Ben will discover that even if they never manage to find each other again, they have sparked a change in each other that will last a lifetime. In 31 Days of Wonder, Tom Winter shows us the magic of chance encounters and how one brief moment on a Thursday afternoon can change the rest of your life.

Rating: three-stars

“31 Days of Wonder” by Tom Winter is a well – written, quirky and modern story that took me by surprise. There are comedic moments, as well as many poignant ones and it introduces us to quirky, different characters. It turned out to be a very different kind of book to this what I read – not your usual romance or mystery – but there was still a lot of heart in the descriptions and writing.

As I am used to books that describe the lives’ of characters that eventually get together, of their paths criss – cross, I was a little confused when I eventually got to learn that it’s not going to be the case here – and it’s not a spoiler because we can read it in the synopsis already, and somehow I’ve missed this part. But whatever.
Nevertheless, I just couldn’t get into the book. This issue that I’ve just mentioned above when the characters don’t come together was one of my problems – please do not sue me but for me the characters’ paths must cross during the story because if it doesn’t happen then why write about them in one book? Yes, of course, I DID get the message of this book, that a chance meeting may change your life for better and for ever, but for me it just didn’t wow me. I can’t help it.
But of course there were things that I did like in this story. It is told during 31 days, one chapter for one day, and a story about normal people with issues, written in the third person and two alternating points of view. Ben has health problems that are not that apparent at first – and to be honest, only mentioning that he needs his pills etc didn’t help to get into the story, I’d love to know from the beginning what it was that he had, maybe it would help me to understand him better. Alice has weight issues and really, I don’t know who the people around her were as they didn’t have any problems to tell her that yes, she’s fat. Even her own mother. It didn’t make me to warm to this part of the story as well, even though Alice was likeable and relatable kind of girl. Both those characters learn lots about themselves during their 31 – days – long journey, and we together with them.

The characters and the situations are very down – to – earth and they are believable. They both find themselves in works that feel dull and unnecessary, they have friends that are more or less supportive, they both share a flat with other people, have difficult relationships with their closes ones and it should be relatable for me but it just felt flat and whiney – I am truly sorry that I felt like this because I had great hopes for this story. Yes, it was a different read and I finished it, and I enjoyed it but there was this “something” missing, this something that makes the read exceptional.

“31 Days of Wonder” is a story about changes and seeing good things in yourselves, about taking control of your own life and earning respect for yourself. It shows you that in fact you don’t need a lot, that sometimes one smile from a stranger can change everything and how important it is to find the thing that makes us happy. Even though it was not my favourite read, I still appreciated the way the plot went, and how much depth and heart there was in the writing style and storytelling.

Single for the Summer by Mandy Baggot

Single for the Summer by Mandy Baggot

 

34211677Publisher: Ebury

Publishing Date: 27th July 2017

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

Number of pages: 432

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

***the beach-read of the summer, from everyone’s favourite getaway Queen, Mandy Baggot***

Tess Parks has made up her mind: love isn’t for her.

When it comes to dating she has one rule: after six weeks with a guy, she ends it. So when her heartbroken best friend invites her for a girly getaway in Corfu, Tess is sure she can stick to their pact to stay single for the summer.

But then she meets the gorgeous restaurateur Andras

To keep his overbearing mother off his back, Tess agrees to pretend to date him. But as the two spend time together, Tess begins to realise that this fake relationship is starting to feel like the best one she’s ever had…

A feel-good escapist beach read set against a beautiful Greek island backdrop. From the award-winning author of Truly, Madly Greekly and Those Summer Nights.

Rating: four-stars

Setting of Greece makes me feel like a bee around the honey pot – I love this country, its culture, people and tradition, so it is not a wonder that I am reading as many books set there as possible, and I am really lucky here as many authors lost their hearts for Greece as well. “Single for the Summer” by Mandy Baggot happens on Corfu, and one look at this gorgeous cover and the synopsis had me sold – and my first impression only came true as the story was heart – warming, and it brought together sun, beaches, delicious food, sexy as hell hero and Greek traditions – just what I wanted!

This is a story about Tess Parks and her rule of dating for 6 weeks only. Yes. And God forbid any of the boyfriends to pop THE question! Because when it happens, Tess goes into some kind of a meltdown. Tess’s best friend Sonya, who was about to go to Greece with her boyfriend, unexpectedly finds herself “on a break”, so the two girls pack their suitcases and travel to Corfu. What is better than sun, sand and blue water and NO DATING?
Well, I’d say, sun, sand, blue water and DATING. But unexpectedly. And actually fake – dating. And crazy tortoise Hector who can’t stay long in one place. Sounds like a perfect holiday, no?

I have immediately warmed to all of the characters, well, maybe not so to Andras’s mother. I need to have a little whinge, please do let me get it off my chest, but she annoyed the hell out of me. I understand tradition, I know Greek mothers have always right and I know they keep everything with an iron fist but I just couldn’t stand her and her rudeness. Because for me there was nothing charming or funny in the way she has treated Tess, Sonya and her own son, for me it was pure rudeness, period, and this interfering irritated me incredibly.
Tess was great, I really liked her. She was sharp – minded, quick in making decisions and she’s never regretted things that she did or said. She had rules and she followed them but then it was also great to see how she started to come out of all her comfort zones, started to relax and this relaxed version of her I liked much, much more.
Andras was your typical sexy Greek god, but there was much more to him than the first (sexy) impression. I was really admiring his patience though there came a moment that I so wanted him to tell his mother to eventually back off – I know, impossible. Greek families, traditions etc.
And the whole cast of the supporting characters is as colourful as a rainbow. They added so much personality to this story, so much humour and warm feelings, and Andras family, with of course the exception of his mother and his cousin was brilliant, with all the preparations for wedding and rolling babies on the beds – loved this idea, btw.

As a fake girlfriend, Tess and Sonya are being invited to many family meetings and meals, and this is why the fun ends, because Andras’s mother is always there! The chemistry between Tess and Andras was brilliantly captured. You know how it sometimes is, that this just feels so forced and pushed on the characters but here, in this book, it was just great. It felt honest and genuine,

This is this kind of a story that envelops you and takes you with on a journey. I laughed with the characters, I cringed, I sighed and shook my head with disbelief and I felt like a part of this book. There were many (MANY!) hilarious situations which made the reading so entertaining and light – hearted, there were truly crazy scenes that made me laughed, and there were also some sad scenes, and it was very well balanced.

Of course the descriptions of Corfu are beautiful! Vivid and colourful, they just made me wonder if I should change my plans from Rhodes to Corfu next year? But really, I could feel the sun shining, picture the sea and all the smells, and of course the gorgeous food made my mouth water.

It was a lovely story about re-evaluating your life, a great escapism and I enjoyed every page of it. This book has it all – laughter, tears, some drama, exciting romance and gorgeous setting, with endearing, believable characters. Already looking forward to Mandy Baggot’s Christmas offering and in the meantime recommending “Single for the Summer” as a great summer read.

Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne

Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne

 

33651984Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 464

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

The Escape to Willow Cottage was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

A cosy and heartwarming seasonal romance, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley.

Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a warm, caring and safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.

Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

Escape to Willow Cottage was originally digitally published as a four-part serial under the title Willow Cottage. This is the complete story.

Rating: four-stars

“Escape to Willow Cottage” by Bella Osborne was originally published in four parts series and I’ve managed to read the two first one parts – the lack of time hasn’t allowed me to read the other two ones, even though I really liked the story, and so when I spotted there is a whole book available on NetGalley I downloaded it to my kindle immediately. Some books read well in parts, some are better as a whole one package, and this one is the latest – you just don’t want to leave the characters and their world in this heart – warming and feel – good story.

First of all, I truly like the idea of buying a cottage in the auction without even seeing it – not that I’d decide for such a great step myself, but as Beth did it was a great, promising start to the story. And well, the cottage looked so great in the auction catalogue, right, so what could go wrong? It turns out that a lot can go wrong but please read for yourself – it’s hilarious. But our Beth is not a woman that quickly gives up. We know that she’s running from an abusive relationship, that she has a son and that she had a great job. As Beth is very new to the village, together with her we are introduced to the people of Dumbleford and one seems to be more eccentric than the other.

The village of Dumbleford is a charming place, with all the villagers being so friendly, all of them jumping to help each other and supporting each other – you know how much I love those community feelings and here Bella Osborne captured it wonderfully.

The characters were very easy to like, though not all of them from the very beginning, as I had some problems with some of them. But altogether, they were warm, relatable and believable. They had flaws, they made mistakes but mostly they also learnt from those mistakes and you just couldn’t help but like them and cheer them on their way. The plot is complex, with some twists and turns and some drama added, and the author also mixes some heavier issues into the story, but it blends really well with the whole story and I liked the outcome.
Bella Osborne’s writing is great. It’s easy to follow, it’s light, with a right dose of humour – there are some really hilarious scenes in this book! – and seriousness. The characters were developing, and the cottage was taking shape, and I loved to read about all the ideas Beth had and how the villagers were willing to help her. The writing is really vivid and down to earth and I could easily imagine all the things really happening.

“Escape to Willow Cottage” was hooking, interesting story about abusive relationships, commitment problems, new beginnings. There is also the romance element introduced, which I liked very much, as it was not at all predictable. Over the course of four seasons our main character has learnt a lot, realised she can trust again and that it is worth to trust again. It was a lovely, quirky, summery read, great for one evening with a glass of wine. Recommended!

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling

 

33145286Publisher: Harper

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 416

Genre:   Romance, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good job, four bossy sisters and a needy cat must also have want of her one true love. Or is it?

Another delightful novel from the author of The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan

Verity Love – Jane Austen fangirl and an introvert in a world of extroverts – is perfectly happy on her own (thank you very much), and her fictional boyfriend Peter is very useful for getting her out of unwanted social events. But when a case of mistaken identity forces her to introduce a perfect stranger as her boyfriend, Verity’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.

Johnny could also use a fictional girlfriend. Against Verity’s better judgement, he persuades her to partner up for a summer season of weddings, big number birthdays and garden parties, with just one promise – not to fall in love with each other…

Rating: five-stars

Oh dear. Guys. I’ve fallen in love with “True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop” immediately – just like it happened when I’ve been reading the first book in the series “The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts” (and here you can read my review). Those two stories are heart – breakingly funny, warm, they tug at all the right heart strings and are full of the best ever comments, one – liners and characters. I could read Annie Darling’s books on daily basis.
This book was a little different to the previous novel, although I can’t tell you exactly what was missing this time, maybe I just had too high expectations but still it was a brilliant, poignant and hilarious read. However, if you haven’t read the previous book, I would highly recommend to do this before reading Verity’s story, and not because you are going to miss on the characters or plot, because this book can be read as a stand – alone, but because the previous novel was just magical.

Annie Darling has – again – created some of the best characters in the fictional world. This time the story focuses on Verity Love, who works in Posy’s bookshop. Verity may be a very extreme character – you know, there might be quiet and there might be quiet, and she was at the very end of the scale, but the descriptions of her introverted nature were so spot on, they explained her personality in such a perfect way that – even though I have my wild years behind me I am still an open person – I could just get Verity, I understood her with my whole heart and could see her need for peace and quiet. It was brilliant that she realised she’s not the easiest person to be around but it was even more great that she was trying hard not to overwhelm people with her need to be alone, and I had a feeling that she tried so hard not to be a burden – but she was not a martyr! Oh no. She was a lovely, incredibly smart and funny person and I would love to have Verity as a friend.
I think that the best parts of the book involve Verity’s family – her fours sisters, cats, dog and parents who also refers to themselves as Our Vicar and Our Vicar’s Wife – loved it! The sisters couldn’t be more different than Verity herself and they brilliantly complemented her, they were incredible, self – confident chatterboxes talking all the time. I laughed out loud at their antics and couldn’t stop smiling when they were planning Con’s wedding. They were all so warm and you could see they love each other incredibly.
The author also couldn’t come up with a better name for the antagonist. As it happens, I know one Marissa and even though she’s only a child, she’s as devil as the Marissa from the story.
And then we have the main male character. Oh boy. But before I start gushing about Johnny please let me tell you that there was one moment at the end of the story when I felt SO disappointed with him! I thought I’m going to kill him with my bare hands. Also, him being in love with a woman he can’t have, and the way he cling desperately to this illusion started to annoy me at some point and I wanted to shake him really hard. And he was a little like enigma to me, sometimes he just came across as self centred and arrogant, and sometimes he was so understanding and heartfelt. But whatever, I really liked him and the way he was around Verity, he was so patient with her and he had so much understanding.

What made me feel a little unsure was the fact that I was eventually asking myself if Verity and Johnny should really end up together? They worked brilliantly together in my opinion but there came a moment that we got to know Verity’s feelings about the situation and didn’t know about Johnny’s, and then came this another moment that I’ve mentioned above about being unsure about Johnny, and I was simply afraid that Verity is going to be hurt, because I was not sure what it really is what Johnny feels. Nevertheless, I loved the way this friendship evolved, it felt very genuine and natural. They both had issues and demons and I loved to see how they open up to each other and how it helped them.

I am only afraid that slowly there is only so much Jane Austen I can take and that with this book I’ve maxed up my limit of reading books based on “Pride and Prejudice” – however it was one of the best “adaptations” I have come across.

So altogether, even though the first book in the series was magically brilliant, I adored “True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop” and I hope that Annie Darling is going to write another book about one of the characters! I will be the first in the virtual queue to read it, that’s for sure. This book was full of a great, different romance, wonderful, larger than life characters and written in such a lovely way! The author has a great way with words, she always knows when it’s time for something poignant or some fun and some of the situations are either heart – breaking or hilariously funny, and I loved this balance. If you need to loose yourself in a humorous, heart – warming novel about friendship, family, love and hope than treat yourself to this book. Highly recommended!

The Wardrobe Mistress by Natalie Meg Evans / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Friday! Yesterday I came back from my (well deserved, even if I say so myself) holidays and today I am already back to blogging with my stop on Matalie Meg Evans’s blog tour. I love good historical fiction and this author is really at the top of my favourite authors list, and really, I can only recommend her novels! Here is my review of her newest release, “The Wardrobe Mistress”.

The Wardrobe Mistress by Natalie Meg Evans

 

35652772Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 448

Genre:   Historical Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the award-winning author of The Dress Thief comes a love story set in the glittering world of London theatre. Perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Kathleen Tessaro.

War has been over more than a year but rationing and shortages persist. The worst winter in two-hundred years is just around the corner. London desperately needs an injection of cheer and colour, and the glamorous Farren Theatre Company intends to provide it.

Young war widow, Vanessa Kingcourt, has just been hired as wardrobe mistress at the notorious old theatre the Farren in London. Working backstage at the Farren is a lifelong ambition, and she’s looking to re-find the sense of purpose that war work gave her. But when Vanessa becomes romantically entangled with the Farren’s married owner – the enigmatic Alistair Redenhall – Vanessa’s career, and her very happiness, are put on the line.

Rating: three-stars

Natalie Meg Evans is on the top list of my favourite historical fiction authors, so I was incredibly excited to see she’s about to publish her fourth novel, “The Wardrobe Mistress”. The book went with me on my holidays and I was incredibly excited to start reading it – I adored Ms Evans’s books in the past, and this one was also sounding very promising.

The author sticks with her favourite historical period as the story takes us to the post – war London. The book consists of four parts and follows the story of Vanessa Kingcourt. It also ventures to a world of theatre, and as I love stories about theatres, I truly had high expectations here. So Vanessa – she was a wireless operator during the war, and now she wants to reconnect with her family, and especially her father who has left the family on his daughter’s sixth birthday. But life, as usual, has other ideas and there is no reconnection to be. However, there is the other meeting, with a captain Alastair Redenhall, that takes Vanessa on a very different, adventurous journey. Alastair has inherited a theatre from his godfather, and he truly never has expected such inheritance – well, he was a captain, and taking on a theatre was a totally new role for him.

But oh boy. This book gave me a headache. There was a mystery, but it was tangled in many other events and characters and it just felt very slow and I sometimes had a feeling that very little is happening and it took my whole willpower to continue reading – fortunately, as then, later on, the pace gained some tempo. There were twists and turns that I would never have expected to come but somehow, and it annoys me very, very much as I can’t put my finger on why, I just couldn’t connect with the story and it didn’t wow me as much as I hoped it would. I also couldn’t warm to the characters – maybe because there were so many of them, and really, I had a feeling that the plot jumps between them and situations and I just couldn’t find myself captured, just couldn’t get into the depth of the book. The characters felt too one – dimensional to me and I think that Fern was one of the most outstanding in this novel – she was clever and even though she was playing games, those were intelligent games. Alistair was blowing hot and cold and yes, I get it, he was a sea man thrown suddenly and unexpectedly into totally different entourage and eventually, in the end, I started to warm to him. Vanessa was a great leading character and here I had no problems to like her from the very beginning. She had a mind of her own and, as it usually happens, she was way ahead of her times in the way she was thinking. She has never gave up, and I really appreciated her for this. But altogether, for me, I couldn’t start to trust them completely, there was something holding me back, and I was asking myself if their motivations are honest.

As I have already mentioned, there were some twists and turns in this story, but it was all happening so very slowly, to finally come to a dramatic end. But somehow all the good things just happened too late and couldn’t save the book for me. However, the author, as always, has perfectly chosen the setting and the descriptions of the theatre, of how the costumes, the plays were prepared, were brilliant, full of details and very, very vivid.

Altogether, I am very sad to say that “The Wardrobe Mistress” was not my favourite read by Natalie Meg Evans, I think that her previous books are better, faster and more captivating, however I am not saying that this novel is bad! Oh no, it has its moments, and the writing style is beautiful, full of vividness and I am sure that it’s going to steal pieces of the author’s fans’ hearts. I am already looking forward to Ms Evans next book.

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