Sunshine at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

Sunshine at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

 

51fyvgcmrcl-_sx324_bo1204203200_Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 8th March 2018

Series: Comfort Food Cafe #4

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley  in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Come to the Comfort Food Café this spring for sunshine, smiles and plenty of truly scrumptious lemon drizzle cake.

‘As cosy as a buttered crumpet’ Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson

My name is Willow Longville. I live in a village called Budbury on the stunning Dorset coast with my mum Lynnie, who sometimes forgets who I am. I’m a waitress at the Comfort Food Café, which is really so much more than a café … it’s my home.

For Willow, the ramshackle café overlooking the beach, together with its warm-hearted community, offers friendship as a daily special and always has a hearty welcome on the
menu. But when a handsome stranger blows in on a warm
spring breeze, Willow soon realises that her quiet country
life will be changed forever.

Curl up with this gorgeous novel and make yourself
at home at the Comfort Food Café.

Rating: five-stars

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Oh guys, I can’t tell you how happy I am that The Comfort Food Cafe series is going strong! I could read about it, and the characters, over and over again and I won’t have enough. “Sunshine at the Comfort Food Cafe” is already the fourth addition to the series and yes, it is a stand – alone novel but without reading the previous books you’re going to miss too much on the characters, the incredible warmth and hidden wisdom.

“Sunshine at the Comfort Food Cafe” focuses on Willow. Willow, the youngest of Lynnie’s fourth children. Willow with pink hair, Doc Martens boots, and a dog. Willow, who’s currently looking after her dementia suffering mum and juggling her own cleaning business with working as a waitress at the cafe. Willow is not angry with her siblings for travelling the world and for the fact that she’s left alone to look after their mum. No, she’s cheerful and happy with her life and takes things as they are. To help her mum remember things they both have journals in which they write things – who is who and what has happened.
Willow’s cleaning business has been engaged to clean The House on the Hill – a large old house that previously served as a children’s shelter and has just been bought after years of standing alone. When Willow spots the new owner she can’t believe her eyes, as it’s Tom, a former resident of Briarwood, and there is something that happened many years ago that is a reason for her being so shocked right now – you must read this scene for yourself. It’s hilarious. They bond very quickly not only over their dogs or plans for renovating the House but also over plans for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse – don’t ask. But you will love it.

I can’t express enough how much I loved this book. It is full of so extremely beautifully captured emotions and feelings and standing ovation to Debbie Johnson for being able to put them so well into words. The dynamics between the characters were brilliant, and there was so much love and acceptance that you could spot and feel it through the pages. Also, the author has this talent to immediately draw you into the heart of the book – I, for once, right from the beginning felt at home, and yes sure, it was the fact that I’ve already known and loved the characters, but it was also the lovely writing style, so inviting and so enveloping, like the cosiest of blankest. The author always knows when to drop a surprise on your not – expecting – it head, or to put a joke or two to break the ice.

The banter between the characters was abso – bloody – brilliant, especially between Willow and Tom. I adored those two, they were so honest and so genuine around each other, and they talked, which made such a great difference…! There weren’t any understatements, they knew where they stand, and I loved their testing, checking and their feelings and emotions. It was just so real and so true, you know. And I adored how much they loved their dogs, Bella Swan and the perfect mix of German Shepherd and Rottweiler, Rick Grimes. And the way Willow has done a very handy Game of Thrones – style recap on the residents of the village for Tom’s benefit was brilliant, and it was also a great recap for us all.

The story also introduces us to some new characters, such like Willow’s siblings, especially her sister Auburn who comes home to help Willow look after their mum. My gut feeling is telling me she’s going to be the heroine of the next novel – I hope I’m right because she seems to be a very colourful person that has a lot in store.

This was a brilliant, feel – good, poignant and touching romance, set in a wonderful, full of lovely people, village, and the community spirit there is very easily spotted. They all know about each other’s businesses and they meddle in each others’ lives, and not always in a very subtle way, but it is hilarious and so uplifting, to know that they had their backs. They also always have time to eat a slice of cake and to try Laura’s new recipes.

I simply loved this book and didn’t want it to end. I’ve been hooked by Willow’s story and fell for her immediately. It was bitter – sweet, with many emotional and poignant moments, and with many hilarious as well, it made me cry and it made me laugh – out – loud, just the perfect mix for me. It touched upon some heavier issues as well, just like Tom’s past or Lynnie’s disease but it’s done in such a subtle and gentle way and it opens eyes to what it really means to be an orphan or how it is to live with a person suffering from dementia, how emotional and unstable this life is. I was truly hanging onto every single word of the story and I could beg for more, guys. A gorgeous story about family, friends, love and forgiveness, with a lot of hidden depth that made me feel so warm inside and left me feeling hope and optimistic. Highly, highly recommended!

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Last of the Summer Moët by Wendy Holden

Last of the Summer Moët by Wendy Holden

 

 

51q8w2bwg1elPublisher: Head of Zeus

Publishing Date: 1st February 2018

Series: Laura Lake Novel #2

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley  in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction, Humour

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover (out on 08.03.2018)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Top reporter Laura Lake has struck journalistic gold.

She’s discovered a super-exclusive English village where the rich and famous own weekend retreats. Where film stars, Turner-prize winners and Cabinet ministers park their helicopters outside the gastropub and buy £100 sourdough loaves from the deli.

Outsiders are strictly forbidden. But luckily Laura’s best friend Lulu, a logo-obsessed socialite with a heart as huge as her sunglasses, suddenly fancies a quiet life in the country. The door to this enchanted rural idyll opens for Laura. Revealing a great professional opportunity.

Can Laura write an exposé before the snobbish villagers suss her true identity? And before the world’s poshest pub quiz triggers a political scandal not seen since Profumo?

Rating: three-stars

To be totally honest, I was afraid if this book, “Last of the Summer Moët” is going to be something for me – I tried to read the first novel in the series and I gave up but this time I just wanted to read it with an open mind and let the author to take me on one of the most farcical journeys ever. I think it’s not a read for everybody – it’s so crazy and so ridiculous, you could say too crazy and too ridiculous, and it’s probably not going to hit all funny bones. It wasn’t my kind of read but I liked it – maybe because I already knew what I can expect from Laura, so it didn’t take me by such a great surprise. Yes, I skipped some passages, and there were moments that it was just too much of everything for me, but I finished the story and I also smiled when reading it. Even though it is a second book in the series, you can positively read it as a stand – alone.

So Laura Lake is back. Laura, the deputy editor of the glossy magazine, Society. She keeps hearing about a very secret village Great Hording, populated by the Britain’s best – top managers, bank chefs, actors, writers, government ministers… Could be a big story for Laura, right? So with the help of her best friend Lulu she infiltrates the village and discovers many secrets and events that should never see the light of day. In the meantime, an old enemy appears at work again, ex – boyfriend playing the new James Bond resurfaces again and the present boyfriend comes and goes as he wants.

To absolutely, totally enjoy it, the fact that it was too far – fetched and there were many characters whose actions were not relatable at all stood in the way. Some of the features for the “Society” magazine were not only verging onto the bizarre, they were bizarre. And I understand that it is fiction but the plot has to at least have some threads that seem real and relatable. However, even with the plot being so overdone, with the characters trying to outdo each other in every aspect of life, with a top – secret village that doesn’t appear on any map, the author handles everything mostly really well. All the different strands of plot and storyline at the first sight seemed to have nothing in common, however in the end they come together and all this far – fetched on many levels aside, there comes a moment that you take it all as a normal thing – you just get used to all this ridiculousness and hilarity and overdoing, and to your surprise the story makes sense.

Laura is probably the most sane element of this story and I liked her humour and her resilience. The thing that didn’t work so much for me was her in and out relationship with Harry who kept disappearing, and I must admit that it was more irritating than intriguing.

There were tons of very eclectic characters in this story, especially in out top secret village Great Hording, and I didn’t even try to keep track of them, to be honest, and I don’t think it was necessary. Probably because of the great number of them, they just felt a little under – developed. Some of the descriptions were too over – done and I just had a feeling that the author has tried too much.

Altogether, it was a light and entertaining read, albeit not totally right up to my alley when it comes to the sense of humour and sometimes absurd plot. Nevertheless it can hit your funny bone and I’d really recommend to you to read this book – it’s different, it’s unusual and sometimes this is all what we need.

The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton

The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton

 

35888778Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 19th April 2018

Source:  Received from publisher  in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The first rule of Sunday Lunch Club is … don’t make any afternoon plans.

Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, they laugh, they bicker, they eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it’s said in the wrong way.

Sitting between her ex-husband and her new lover, Anna is coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of forty. Also at the table are her ageing grandmother, her promiscuous sister, her flamboyantly gay brother and a memory too terrible to contemplate.

Until, that is, a letter arrives from the person Anna scarred all those years ago. Can Anna reconcile her painful past with her uncertain future?

Juliet Ashton weaves a story of love, friendship and community that will move you to laughter and to tears. Think Cold Feet meets David Nicholls, with a dash of the joy of Jill Mansell added for good measure.

Rating: five-stars

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I don’t have a huge, extended family and usually I don’t have problem with it, however after reading such books as “The Sunday Lunch Club” I’d give everything to have such a family like the Pipers – so many people that accept you no matter what unconditionally. The problem with books such as “The Sunday Lunch Club” is that no matter what you’re going to write in your review it probably won’t do this book a justice. Because it was a perfect read, from the beginning to the end and really, I still can’t settle for another read after finishing this one. I know people often say that didn’t want a book to end, and I thought I also read such books, but I think this was the very first one that I can for sure say that now I know how it is when you don’t want a book to end. It was this kind of read where I absorbed every single word, I cried and laughed together with the characters.

“The Sunday Lunch Club” by Juliet Ashton is a relatively slow read and with plenty of characters, and I was afraid that it’s going to be confusing, but quickly, very quickly I knew who is who in this book, and even quicker I started to love all of them. The Pipers are two sisters and two brothers with their own, very colourful families and histories, friends and grandmother Dinkie, still full of life, feisty and down to earth. And jeez, let’s not forget Yeti – what a brilliant, entertaining creature, and the descriptions of him looking after the baby made me cry so, so much! But back to the siblings and co. They meet regularly for Sunday Lunch (Club), every time in a different home, and with every single lunch we learn more and more about them, we see what makes them tick, what they love, what they hate and what their problems are – and there is a lot of those things! The story is mostly told from Anna’s point of view, Anna – who was so realistically drawn that I had a feeling I can feel her breathing next to me. She discovers that she’s pregnant at the age of 40, and the baby is not her ex – husband’s. Being pregnant brings back some memories and this part of the story was so unpredictable and heart – breaking, guys. Anna, the second oldest after Neil, feels responsible for all of her siblings and you couldn’t be in better hands than in those of Anna’s. Neil is right now trying to adapt to being a father, the second sister Maeve has visions and thinks she’s psychic, but she’s really, really brilliant, no worries guys, and she doesn’t seem to have much luck in the men – department, and the youngest Josh is troubled and very distant – why? They all have their problems and troubles and when you think they’re going to be very average problems than you’re in for a great, great surprise, because their stories are all but average and predictable. The characters have their own distinctive voices and they are so close to life and I felt so strongly for all of them. They were lovely and loving, eclectic, chaotic, they had their ups and downs and – what’s most important – they talked with each other and they weren’t afraid of telling what they feel. It made them more vulnerable and open to being hurt but it also made them so real.

It was written in a really interesting way. We got to see the characters every now and then, when it was time for their gathering at the Sunday Lunch Club. Sometimes there was a week between them, sometimes a month, and really we don’t know what exactly happens with, and to, them. However, during those gatherings we get enough insight and gossip to know perfectly well what has happened and why. It’s funny really how well it works, as we are used to usually have a sneak peek into every aspect of the characters’ lives, to know their every move and thought, and here we had to settle for some most important moments, and it’s enough to absolutely fell for the characters, to intuitively know what they feel and think, to feel a part of their world, to keep our fingers crossed for them or to want to shake them badly. And that doesn’t of course mean that their feelings or emotions weren’t captured – they were brilliantly put into words!

I absolutely, totally adored the way the family was working. They were bickering, they were arguing, they felt offended but oh my word, let somebody who didn’t belong to the family to tell one wrong word about them! They got their backs, they supported each other, and not only the closest family but also the ex – husbands, new girlfriends and every single crazy idea that came to their minds.

Even though it is on the slower side, the pace is only right and there are some twists that you’d never see coming – take my word for this! It is romantic enough, there is enough drama and plenty of funny moments, and there is this feeling of being accepted no matter what. There are secrets that will break your heart but the family will mend it again. The writing is perfect. The dialogues are effortless and the story is just flawing, and the family dynamics are brilliantly captured. Their interactions and banter were so relatable and there were moments that I could only nod my head with understanding.

“The Sunday Lunch Club” was a beautifully written and full of all kind of emotions and feelings novel about a brilliantly dysfunctional – yet brilliantly working – family. It was heart-warming, uplifting and poignant at the same time. In no time you’re going to feel a part of the Piper family and you want to add your own opinion or two during one of the lunches. It was emotional, and it was funny and I didn’t want to put this book down for a single second. Shortly – it was a bloody perfect read, as I knew it’s going to be. If there is one thing you can be sure it’s that Juliet Ashton is going to deliver a wonderful, emotional, clever and hilarious story. Highly, highly recommended!

The Year that Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly /#BlogTour

The Year that Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly

 

34320089Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 22nd February 2018

Source:  Received from publisher  in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 406

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Three women celebrate their birthdays . . . 30. 40. 50. But their milestone birthdays marks the start of a year that will change everything . . .

Ginger isn’t spending her 30th the way she would have planned. Tonight might be the first night of the rest of her life – or a total disaster.

Sam is finally pregnant after years of trying. When her waters break on the morning of her 40th birthday, she panics: forget labour, how is she going to be a mother?

Callie is celebrating her 50th at a big party in her Dublin home. Then a knock at the door mid-party turns her perfect life upside down . . .

Full of warmth and wisdom, this is a story about finding happiness on your own terms from international bestseller Cathy Kelly.

Rating: four-stars

Right at the beginning, let me confess something. I’ll be honest with you, I was a little afraid to read this book. The last few novels by Cathy Kelly were, let’s just say, not up to my expectations and I really wanted to love “The Year that Changed Everything”. As you will see, I didn’t have to worry – it was not a quite perfect read, but it was a lovely, hooking and realistic story that I truly enjoyed. This book was almost like the old Cathy Kelly’s novels that I was devouring.

Cathy Kelly introduces us to three main characters, Sam, Callie and Ginger. They all have birthday on the same day but that’s all – they don’t know each other, they live in different places and they lead totally different lives. On the surface they’re happy and everything looks great but on their birthday their lives are going to dramatically change. Sam always wanted a baby and she and her husband have tried for so long, without success. When she finally gets pregnant she’s full of joy but also fear if everything will go smoothly. When her baby arrives on Sam’s 40th birthday, she starts to panic if she’s going to be a good mum – as her own mother was not a great role – model, leaving Sam and her sister at home and focusing on her job.
Callie is turning 50 and hundreds of people are enjoying her birthday party. She’s an ex – model with a handsome and successful man and a teenage daughter in puberty. On the day of the party the police turns up at her house and her life won’t be the same anymore.
Ginger is turning 30 and on the day of her birthday she finds herself as a chief – bridesmaid on her best friend’s Liza’s wedding. During the reception, Ginger overhears conversation that is going to change her life as well – some cruel words that nobody should never say about her.

It was really interesting to follow the three women’s lives. I think that Sam’s was the weakest subplot in this novel, her story has just seemed too flat in comparison, too under – developed, and while it is important to speak loud about such things, it just didn’t work for me in this form. I am a mother myself, I know how it is to have a post – natal depression, so maybe I should have fell for Sam more, but I really can’t put my finger why her storyline was the weakest for me. Meanwhile the other two were much more thrilling and interesting, especially Ginger’s. She was your normal girl, lovely and friendly and well, I think I could mostly relate to her and her battle with the weight and comfort eating. While usually you want to shake characters such like Ginger and tell them to get a grip, Ginger herself realized that she need to get a grip but it was not as easy as it sounds, so I just couldn’t help and fell for her. I felt sorry for her and also enraged on her behalf on few occasions, and kept my fingers crossed for her. I loved the metamorphosis and the way she was gaining confidence. It’s a pity that mostly people only see what’s on the surface and don’t look deeper because they would see what a wonderful, warm and honest person she was. I totally hoped for a very happy end for this girl! Callie was weak and she was totally under the influence of her husband Jason. He was controlling and manipulative person and it was very easy to dislike him. It took Callie some time to believe in herself again but I really enjoyed to see this journey of hers, and it was truly a very difficult journey, as she was left with nothing and she also couldn’t be sure if, after the terrible row, she has a family she can turn to.
One of the great points in the book were the background characters as a group, especially the families of our main characters. I loved to see how supporting they were and how understanding and love and friendship was so easy to spot on the pages. The characters themselves, they were a little too one – dimensional but on the whole they did work.

It took a lot of time for the stories to intertwine, and I am a little obsessed with this, I just don’t see a point in writing a story about characters that don’t know each other and have nothing in common. So it is actually not till the end that the paths of our main characters cross but they finally do and that’s what counts! My day was saved, guys. I also think that the way those three women’s stories were brought together was seamless and worked really well, even though it happened too suddenly and felt too rushed and unrealistic and I couldn’t believe that the bond between the three women formed so quickly, just like this, and that the for ever friendship accrue . But it was great to see the three going from strength to strength after initial problems and finding their peace. although I, of course, would love to see their stories interweaving a little bit earlier. But that’s me. And my obsession.

Altogether, “The Year that Changed Everything” was a really well written story. Yes, some of the chapters were totally hooking and some of them less and dragged on a little, but overall I was engrossed in the three stories. All three women were growing in confidence in this story, some of them slower, some of them quicker, and it was so uplifting to see. It was a warm, uplifting story with some poignant moments, celebrating friendship and solidarity. It’s about biting the bullet and coping with the things that life is throwing at you and not giving up. Recommended!

 

Blog tour- The Year That Changed Everything

Crazy in Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling

Crazy in Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling

 

36413429Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 14th February 2018

Series: Lovely Hearts Bookshop #3  (read my review of part 1 here,  part 2 here )

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 5.4.2018)

 

 

Synopsis:

You can go crazy searching for the one…

Tattooed, pink-haired, Bettie Page lookalike Nina is addicted to bad boys. Like Heathcliff and Cathy, Nina firmly believes that true love only takes one form: wild, mad love, full of passion and fire and tempestuous arguments, and she won’t settle for anything less.

But years of swiping right has uncovered nothing but losers and flings, and Nina is no closer to finding her One True Love than she ever was. And when a man from her past walks into the shop Nina knows she has nothing to fear. The geekiest boy in her school has become a boring business analyst who’s welded to his iPad and with his navy blue suits and ginger hair, Noah has no chance of making her heart go pitter patter.

Which just shows how little Nina knows about bad boys, business analysts and her heart…

Rating: five-stars

I absolutely adore Annie Darling’s books and I’ve already fallen in love with all her characters. “Crazy in Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop” is the newest addition to The Lonely Heart Bookshop series and yes, you can read it as a stand – alone, but I’d really heartily recommend to read the two previous books in the series as well – they’re just too brilliant to be missed.

This book, after Posy and Verity, focuses on Nina – the big – mouthed Nina, tattooed Nina, Nina with a penchant for vintage clothes and dating. And cakes. Being almost thirty, Nina is looking for her own Heathcliff and she’s picked many unsuitable men, and she starts to question herself, her lifestyle and choices. At the same time, things at the bookshop are not so rosy, so Posy decides to bring Sebastian’s friend Noah to look at the business practices. Noah is a total opposite of Nina and he plays on her nerves with his iPad, making notes on every single person working at the shop. And Noah doesn’t know it, but they used to know each other in the past, however it wasn’t the best past. Does the opposites attract? Is the truth ever going to come to light?

Guys, guys, guys. What a brilliant read was it again! It was such a joy to connect with all the characters that I’ve already fallen in love with and to see what’s going on in their lives. After making sure that Posy and Verity’s love lives are absolutely all right, this time Nina is our problem child. This time the girls doesn’t have to set Nina up on dates or sign her to dating sites because Nina absolutely has everything well in hand. However, mostly the guys are the wrong ones. I loved the way Nina didn’t treat herself too seriously She was fierce, she was quirky but she also had this more vulnerable side to her and she had conscience. She was believable and relatable in the way she acted and reacted, she had her ups and downs, she was sometimes rude but that was Nina all the way – she was honest and there was not beating around the bush with her, which I really, really loved – made a difference to so many meh characters in the women’s literature.
Noah… Well, Noah. Brilliant male characters just pours out of Annie Darling’s pen, and they are so different and each of them is in their own league. Noah was the best geek I could have ever imagine and I loved him. So there. I loved how he was around people, how he brought the Tupperware doses with vegan food home with resignation , and how, when he fell in love, then he fell with his whole body, head, feelings and emotions. I could so understand his pain, and I could see he felt betrayed but I wanted to shake him so much because he and Nina, though on the surface so different, were like match made in heaven, and I SO wanted for those two to stay together. Did they? Or was the hurt too big?
The characters in this story were great, just great. They grew on me immediately. I loved to see all the characters from the previous books, even if it was only for a moment or two, but them being there made me smile at remembering what kind of antics they got themselves into. They were all so brilliantly described, with tons of feeling and understanding from the author, she truly got into their heads and created the warmest fictional characters in the world. It is impossible not to like those people. The dynamics between them was also brilliantly captured, I loved all the banter and bitching and the fact that when one them needed help they could count on each other, on their support. It was all so effortlessly and realistically captured and the friendships and relationships just seemed so genuine. They complemented each other in great ways, no matter if they were main or background characters.

There was maybe not so much of the bookshop itself in this story, and so many tote bags, though Posy didn’t disappoint in that respect – no, I take this back, there was enough of the bookshop. Of stacking the shelves and customers drooling after Tom. The plot was easy but there were enough ups and downs to keep me glued to the pages, some disastrous dates and family birthdays. The humour was one of the best and I adored the jokes and the irony, it was just my kind of humour and I just wanted to beg for more.

It is so that any book can come close to the first book in the series, “The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts” but the next two are of course brilliantly warm, uplifting, funny reads and I love them all with all my heart. This novel was utterly romantic, full of friendship and acceptance, showing that looking different doesn’t mean you’re worse, that you should stay true to yourself and be proud of yourself, no matter what size you are and how many tattoos there are on your body, or if you have specs and a wonderful high school diploma – just be proud of yourself and believe in you, and I loved this message. It was hilariously funny and also there were moments it was very poignant, and the way the author balanced those feeling was great.
Altogether, it was – again! – an uplifting, optimistic story touching upon some serious issues and dealing with them in a great way. The characters were – again! – brilliant and very well outlined and I can’t have enough of them. My heart went to them all and all I want is to see them happy. It is full of warmth and it just felt like a group hug – wonderful, unputdownable read, another cracker in the Lonely Hearts Bookshop series. Highly recommended! And guys, what’s more important, there is another Lonely Hearts Bookshop book to come! I am only wondering – is it going to be about Tom? There was a little more about him and his thesis in the book, so maybe?

Last of the Summer Moët by Wendy Holden / #BlogTour + Extract

Hi guys, here I am again, with another blog tour this week (yes. I love blog tours!) This time it’s my stop on Wendy Holden’s tour for her new release “Last of the Summer Moët”, a second book in the Laura Lake’s series, and today I have an extract from the book for you – review to come very soon!

EXTRACT

‘What did you think? she asked Harry. He had seemed rather annoyingly

unmoved by the fact she had once gone out with James Bond.

‘I liked that bit when he got clubbed and shoved in the vat of

baked beans,’ Harry replied.

‘Shame he came round before he got to the canning machine.’ Laura smiled. Perhaps Harry was jealous after all. The baked beans episode had reminded her of the horrible flat where Caspar had lived at his lowest ebb. The loo had lacked a seat and the only utensil had been an unwashed spatula that the four or five residents  – all male  – shared to eat beans straight out of the tin.

‘Do you think that sort of thing really happens?’ she asked.

‘What  – a protocol that could destroy the world with poison gas from contaminated baked beans?’Harry gave an incredulous snort.

‘Well, all of it. The spy thing.’ Harry grinned.

‘If you’re asking me whether James Bond is an accurate reflection of the security services…’

‘Which I could be,’ Laura returned. Harry was always infuriatingly elusive about what he knew of MIs 5 and 6. But he had to know something. All Harry’s exposés involved international miscreants, and it seemed unlikely he investigated them without official help. Their first date had been at the Not Dead Yet Club, a place awash with foreign correspondents and diplomats. That Harry was a spy himself did not seem out of the question. Perhaps he, not Caspar, was the real James Bond.

‘…the answer is…’Harry went on.

‘Yes?’

‘That I really wouldn’t know. Shall we get a chicken katsu curry?

’They were passing an Itsu. Laura, who had been brought up on a diet of French classics by her Parisian grandmother, shuddered. She found Harry’s lack of interest in food both baffling and appalling. His idea of Sunday lunch was a bag of steak ridge-cut chips followed by a packet of Skittles. Inside the takeaway, Laura tried not to wince as she watched the server ladle the curry gloop over what had been a perfectly respectable chicken escalope.

‘I don’t know how you can eat that stuff,’she said as they walked out, Harry’s dinner in a plastic bag.

‘Boarding school,’he replied easily.

‘The food was horrendous. Dead Man’s Leg and Nun’s Toenails.’

‘Oh God, yes. We had this thing called Skeleton Stew…’

Only after offering up her own memories of school food did Laura realise he had steered her off the subject of spies completely, and they were now turning into her street. Laura lived in Cod’s Head Row, Shoreditch. It was an area of London once synonymous with grinding poverty but now synonymous with grinding affluence. Quite literally, given the preponderance of artisan coffee roasters.

 

About the book:

Last of the Summer Moët by Wendy Holden
Published: February 1st 2018 by Head of Zeus
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Blurb: 

Top reporter Laura Lake has struck journalistic gold.

She’s discovered a super-exclusive English village where the rich and famous own weekend retreats. Where film stars, Turner-prize winners and Cabinet ministers park their helicopters outside the gastropub and buy £100 sourdough loaves from the deli.

Outsiders are strictly forbidden. But luckily Laura’s best friend Lulu, a logo-obsessed socialite with a heart as huge as her sunglasses, suddenly fancies a quiet life in the country. The door to this enchanted rural idyll opens for Laura. Revealing a great professional opportunity.

Can Laura write an exposé before the snobbish villagers suss her true identity? And before the world’s poshest pub quiz triggers a political scandal not seen since Profumo?

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The Pets at Primrose Cottage Part 4 by Sheila Norton

The Pets at Primrose Cottage: No Place Like Home by Sheila Norton

 

35269557Publisher: Ebury Digital

Publishing Date: 15th February 2018

Series: Pets at Primrose Cottage #4 (read my review of part 1 here,  part 2 here , and part 3 here )

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 78

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

PART FOUR of a serialised novel – a charming and romantic story about living the simple life and the joy of animals.

With Emma’s past threatening to ruin her life in quiet Crickleford, she’s running out of options. If people – especially Matt, her reporter friend – find out her secret, it might force her to leave the place she’s come to think of as home.

When flooding strikes the town while Emma is looking after an elderly couple’s dog, she has to take her biggest risk yet – but could this be the one that blows her cover for good? And if it does, can Crickleford – and Matt – ever accept Emma for who she truly is?

Rating: three-stars

And so here we come to the final instalment in the “Pets at Primrose Cottage” series, which is a pity actually, as it was a nice and relaxing read and I grew fond of the characters, both human and animal ones.

There was – again – a lot of focus on Emma’s pet sitting and events that happened in the village, such as flood, and I was afraid that revealing Emma’s big secrets will get overshadowed but no, it was delivered in a very nice way and it didn’t feel too rushed or too short. However, and I must add this, in comparison to the huge built – up in the last three part, the reveals of both secrets didn’t take me so much by surprise. It was something that I was expecting and to be honest I was hoping for a great surprise, an explosion, something that would hit me and leave me unconscious for a few days. But no – those were mediocre secrets. To be frank, I was also a little disappointed with Emma. First all people in the cafe got to know what’s her problem is, and I mean ALL PEOPLE, because the whole village was there, and all people wanted to help, and Emma says she feels actually OK now everything is out and she doesn’t want to do anything with this problem. I mean, hello? First she’s blaming herself for everything, thinks about herself “stupid” and when everything is out she wants to do nothing about it. I thought, well Emma, I was expecting more from you. I mean, she didn’t have to go to university, and it was great she felt good in her own skin but she’s just condemning herself for limitations in my humble opinion. However, standing ovation to Emma for the way she has treated some of the people in her life, I always knew there is fire in this girl.

As always, the writing style was incredibly engaging and easy to follow, descriptive and warm. The ending was brilliantly happy – ever – after and I really liked it. All the questions were answered in this part and everything came smoothly to an end, all the loose ends of the plot and conflicts are neatly wrapped up. Altogether, it was a feel – good novella and enjoyable read.