My Very Italian Holiday by Sue Roberts

My Very Italian Holiday by Sue Roberts


40133092Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 1st August 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 262

Genre: Humour, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback





A beautiful guesthouse, a fresh start and a hunky Italian. Does it sound too good to be true?

When Gina arrives in Lake Como, thousands of miles away from her life in the Lake District, she wonders if she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Working for Fabio, running his lakeside hotel, seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After her world was tragically turned upside down, breaking her heart in the process, she was in desperate need of a fresh start. Plus, it didn’t hurt that Fabio was easy on the eyes…

But it’s not all picturesque mountains, pizza and prosecco. The crumbling guesthouse that Fabio has inherited from his family needs some serious TLC. Is she up to the challenge?

As Gina and Fabio work in close quarters, sparks start to fly. But Fabio has a secret he is scared to share, and Gina has her past to come to terms with. Does her heart belong back home or is a life in the sun – with a very handsome Italian – just the change of scenery she needs?

Escape to the gorgeous mountains and glittering Lake Como in Northern Italy! This laugh-out-loud funny and feel-good story of starting over and living life to the max is perfect for fans of Kat French, Jenny Oliver and Carole Matthews.

Rating: two-half-stars

Gina has been widowed for a few years and is now running a successful B&B that she’s renovated with her husband before the tragic accident happened. Now she works with her sister Hannah and they both enjoy their job and the different variety of guests visiting. One guest, especially, in Gina’s case. Fabio is visiting his uncle and staying in Gina’s B&B. He’s just inherited his own B&B at Lake Como and they quickly find common ground. But Fabio lives in Italy, and Gina in England, and is Gina looking for a new man in her life at all?

I’ve requested this book because this beautiful cover hollers “holidays”, and well, the title as well, but I must probably stop doing it. I mean, requesting books because I love the covers. But that’s me, a total cover – sucker. The synopsis was also promising, let’s be honest, however the first grinding occurred when Italy appeared on the pages somewhere in the middle of the book. I don’t mean it’s wrong, Lake District is also a brilliant setting, and the descriptions of it were lovely, but then the holidays were not too very Italian, right.

I’d call this book chick – lit for beginners. I couldn’t connect with the characters too much, not as much as I’d like, they were not too very well developed to be honest. The chapters were very short, which is good, as it usually make reading easier and faster, however some of them I could, well, live without, as they rather didn’t bring anything significant to the story. I missed depth in this book, to be honest: the writing style was lovely but very simple, the narration told us the characters went to the bathroom and in the next paragraph that they left the bathroom. They went to bed and they woke up. The plot was not over – lapping, the things happened one after another: one situation ended, then came another that was solved at the end of the chapter. The banter between the characters was easy to follow as it was not too complex.

Sure, the book had its strong points as well, and those were the descriptions of the food for example, and there were some funny moments and situations, but altogether it just didn’t work for me. It felt too forced and too artificial. It was too predictable and there were moments that were too dramatic to be true. But it was also a quick and easy read and there was for sure an idea there and potential. I still have the author’s debut novel on my kindle, waiting patiently to be read, and I’ll do this as soon as possible. I would recommend “My Very Italian Holiday” to those who are looking for a quick, summery and not too demanding book.

Bad by Chloé Esposito (Blog Tour)

Bad by Chloé Esposito


38213082Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 26th July 2018

Series:  Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know # 2 (read my review of “Mad” here)

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback





Alvie Knightly is back . . . and she’s hungover.

When Alvie discovers that her hit man boyfriend has driven off with the Lamborghini and two million euros, she does what any heartbroken, deserted, amateur assassin would do – she drinks everything in the mini-bar and trashes her hotel room. And then she gets to work.

A perilous cat-and-mouse game takes the pair across Rome, leaving a trail of collateral damage in their wake. But as she wholeheartedly embraces her dark side Alvie will have to figure out if Nino is her nemesis . . . or the only man bad enough to handle her.

Rating: five-stars

 After reading “Mad”, the first novel in this trilogy, I was desperate to read “Bad”, and I am also impatiently waiting for “Dangerous to Know”. Theoretically, very theoretically, “Bad” can be read as a stand – alone as there is a little intro where Alvie briefly summarize what has happened during one week in the first book but guys, really, “Mad” is so bonkers that you would miss too much not reading it. And also I think that you’re going to get a totally different feeling of Alvie.  

Alvie is back in “Bad”, and on the hunt for her lover Nino, who has left her not only without the  illegally obtained millions, clothes, car in the hotel apartment but also with one challenge. So Alvie sets off on this cat and mouse chase, leaving behind a trail of destruction…  Also, body of Beth is recovered, and some other bodies as well, so Alvie’s identity and safety might have dropped drastically. Will she manage to find Nino to get her revenge?

Alvie is Alvie, just take her or leave her. There is a very dangerous and dark side to her but also she shows more and more of this vulnerable side – I still think it is somewhere deep, deep inside her! This embracing and rocking her inner killer puts her into thousand of dangerous but also hilarious situations, especially – we must say that – she’s very accident prone, and if something is going to happen than you can be sure it’s going to happen to our Alvie. She’s in some ways mad and she must have seven lives like cats. She’s funny, she’s sharp and she knows what she wants, and when she wants something than there is nothing holding her back. She’s a real hot mess, a wrecking ball  and whenever she appears, it ends with either death or confusion. Her inner monologues are so brilliant that I can’t put into words how brilliant they are. 

As in the first book, the plot is absolutely crazy but the more impossible it looked like, the more hilarious it also was, and it is written in such a way that I couldn’t put the book down. In any other novel you’d roll your eyes and say yeah, right, whatever and stopped reading, but with Alvie and “Mad” it’s impossible – I was glued to the pages as I couldn’t wait to see what insane event is going to come after another insane event. I’m not sure how it works, but the more insane and far fetched it goes, the more believable it is – please bear with me.  

Chloe Esposito’s writing style is absolutely brilliant. It’s sharp and fast – paced and she brings her characters and locations so easily to life. It’s entertaining and so very vivid. There is all the time something happening in this book yet you don’t feel overwhelmed or too over – stuffed with things. It’s full of dark humour and the scenarios she concocts are probably one of the best I have ever read. And be prepared, this book is going to take you on a real roller – coaster ride where nothing is like you suppose it to be! It’s a must – read, no matter if you’re on holidays or at home, just do yourself a favour and treat yourself to this book (books).


Correct Bad Blog Tour

An Italian Summer by Fanny Blake (Blog Tour)

An Italian Summer by Fanny Blake


39910277Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 26th July 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback





A compelling novel about friendship, family secrets and second chances, set against the backdrop of southern Italy.

Sandy is in her fifties, and at a crossroads in her life: she’s a teacher and respected by her pupils, but she feels she is being sidelined in favour of younger colleagues. So when her mother dies, leaving her a sealed envelope addressed to an unknown woman living in Naples, Sandy decides to head to Italy to resolve the mystery by delivering the letter herself.

She books herself on to a small sightseeing trip from Rome to Naples and the Amalfi Coast, hoping to meet some like-minded people along the way. Who is the mysterious woman she is searching for? And will Sandy find friendship, or even love, along the way…?


My Review

When Sandy’s mother dies, she leaves her daughter a letter addressed to Anna in Naples, asking Sandy to find her. Sandy wants to fulfil her mother’s last wish and sets off on a group – holiday in Italy. She doesn’t know who’s going to be in her group but never in her life does she expect with this particular guest…Travelling in Rome and Naples, she makes friends and enemies with her fellow travellers. Through her mother’s journal we get to know Sandy’s mother story which is really captivating. Will Sandy be able to find Anna? And if so, is it going to open a Pandora Box…? 

In this book the author takes us on a journey to Rome and Naples. It is crystal clear that she has done her research – the descriptions of the places, listed buildings, relics, bars and piazzas are so incredibly detailed that it wouldn’t be impossible to write about them in such way without seeing them with your own eyes. While I truly appreciated that Fanny Blake wanted to bring the beauty of the places to us, I must admit that I started to skim reading through the descriptions as they were simply too long and I just longed to eventually get to the point, to have the plot and the main story back. Because the idea of this story was intriguing, it’s the development that was a problem – at least, my problem. 

There were also many characters introduced to us in this book, and while I didn’t have problems with sorting them, with immediately seeing who belongs to whom, I spent most of the reading time wondering if they’re really so significant to the plot. However, what was really great to observe, was the brilliantly captured group dynamics, the interactions between adult people, the way they were coping. It was just like in real life, where a group of people meet the secrets, lies and small plays are pre – programmed, and the author has really an eye for such things. It was sharp observed and rang a bell, was true to life and realistic and I really enjoyed this part of the story. Please don’t get me wrong, it was lovely to learn about their experiences, to see Italy through their so very different eyes, but I only wanted to read more about the main idea. However, Fanny Blake can for sure create some truly interesting and complex characters, they all had their problems, they all had some skeletons in the cupboards and they were all truly well developed. They were not all likeable, oh no, just like it is with a group of people, and while Sandy could have had more backbone for my liking, she was a great leading character. She was strong and independent and life experienced.  Some of the others I mostly wanted to slap, to be honest, or to bang their heads together, their actions were sometimes so childish but again – this is the way people behave and hats off to Fanny Blake for being able to bring her observations so easily and effortlessly to the pages. 

I was missing some more twists and turns – I mean, there were many of them but there was a space for two or three really big ones, such that you didn’t see coming. It took so much time to reach the conclusion and, to be honest, I guessed the outcome, so some bumps on the way would be a great idea.

“An Italian Summer” was full of secrets, lies and rivalry novel, filled with sunshine and lovely Italian food and captivating storytelling. It was a warm story, bringing friendship and family to us. It was complex and clever and the mystery was truly interesting and I only wanted to turn the pages to see how it’s going to end – all of the subplots. It’s a great summer read, even if you’re not travelling to Italy, though with all the descriptions it’ll be for sure a bonus! Recommended!


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One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk (Blog Tour)

One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk


35562950Publisher: Harper

Publishing Date: 26th July 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback






‘A corker…hilarious!’ Giovanna Fletcher
‘Full of heart and very, very funny’ Paige Toon

Everyone wants that special someone….

Annie Higgins has given up on love: she’s too busy trying to get her own business off the ground. Infuriated by the advertising agency across the hall making fun of her job, Annie accepts their crazy challenge – to make a random stranger Instagram-famous in just 30 days.

And even when they choose Dr Samuel Page PhD, historian and hater of social media, as her target, Annie’s determined to win the bet – whether Sam likes it or not.

But getting to know Sam means getting to know more about herself. And before the 30 days are out, Annie has to make a decision about what’s really important…

Funny, real and heart-meltingly romantic, Annie and Sam’s story is My Fair Lady for the social media age – and the perfect summer read.

Rating: five-stars


In “One in a Million” we meet Annie Higgins who has just betted to turn a very social media unfriendly person into an Instagram influencer. The man in question, Dr Samuel Page, doesn’t know his luck yet and Annie must turn this innocent nerd into an über – cool – nerd with twenty thousand followers in only thirty days. Samuel is absolutely not interested but when Annie learns that his girlfriend has recently dumped him for being only interested in his research work, being emotionally absent, for having a bad dress sense and for being not groomed enough, she senses her chance and “Boyfriend Bootcamp” is brought to life. She’s going to change him into the man his ex wants him to be and in exchange for her tips he agrees for her to make him exist in social media. Will she manage to turn this totally unknown unfriendly historian into Instagram star?

I’ve never been so much into social media, I mean, I do have my Facebook (sorry, Annie, yes, I’m old enough), and I know my Twitter but this followers fights on Instagram somehow passed me by, however I was totally intrigued what you can do to gain those followers – especially when you’re as reluctant as the person that Annie was supposed to turn into Instagram influencer. I am not the person that can’t take her eyes off her phone so Annie was a little exotic to me but I, of course, can also understand her way of keeping on with her emails, messages and likes, it was her job at last.

Annie was immediately likeable. She was funny and had some of the best one – liners, she was quirky and extremely good at her job. I loved Annie’s passion, the way she mad me feel about her – she made me laugh but I also wanted to bang her head sometimes, and this is the sign of a really great, realistic character.
Dr Samuel Page (not Sam!) was one of the most brilliant characters ever. Not only seeing him coming out of his shell was a real joy, seeing him as he is was refreshing and only imagining his face at some of the changes made me laugh out loud. This reluctance of his, it was so perfectly well captured and described and I felt so, so sorry for him. I only think that I would love to hear his point of view as well, not only Annie’s – I know, we know he’s reluctant and not so keen on this whole idea but it would be great to hear direct from him.
The banter between the characters was so enjoyable and it felt so genuine and natural. What I also liked was the fact that there could be one or two or more potential affair contenders, which made the reading not so obvious, however then it came to such a point when I couldn’t imagine Annie with any other character than THIS ONE. But of course life is not a picnic and the way to happy ending is always a bumpy road and there is never a guarantee that it’s going to be a happy end, right.

The pace of this story was only right, it was not too quick and not too slow and there were amusing events aplenty. It was fabulously enjoyable, with enough drama and romance, laughter and seriousness. The romance part was truly genuine and not too forced on the characters, and it was brilliantly balanced with their lives, careers and likes. Even if the story covers only one month, this love affair doesn’t feel too rushed or too artificial and I found myself totally absorbed in it. And it’s not only a laugh – out – loud book. I really liked how cleverly and seamlessly those subtle references to gender politics in business, in running your own company and also those random historical facts were built into this story.
Altogether, “One in a Million” was brilliantly light – hearted and spot on, it was full of hilarious situations and this trademark Lindsey Kelk’s humour and incredibly warm characters – this author is really a queen of creating unforgettable characters that you can’t help but root for. And of course there is also the hidden message about social media as well! Highly recommended!



A Match Made in Devon by Cathy Bramley

A Match Made in Devon by Cathy Bramley


36562552Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 26th July 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 480

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback






Sometimes you have to play a part to realise who you really are…

Nina has always dreamed of being a star. Unfortunately her agent thinks she’s more girl-next-door than leading lady and her acting career isn’t going quite as planned. Then, after a series of very public blunders and to escape a gathering storm of paparazzi, Nina is forced to flee from London.

Her plan is to lay low with a friend in Devon, in beautiful Brightside Cove. But soon Nina learns that more drama can be found in a small village than on a hectic television set.

And when a gorgeous man (and his adorable dog) catch her eye, it’s not long before London and showbiz start to lose their appeal. Will Nina choose to return to the bright lights or has she met her match in Brightside Cove?

Rating: five-stars

Nina has always wanted to be a film star – now she’s featuring in a TV war series as the popular Nurse Elsie. Everything should be right then but, as it usually happens, it isn’t! Some things just doesn’t go quite to the plan and Nina is forced to run away and hide. And where is a better place to hide than in Devon? She’s hoping to lay low a little and see how things develop in London but well, life has other plans for our lovely Nina and she finds herself in the middle of holiday cottages restoration and also evolved in the personal drama of her guest, Theo, whose wife has left him after a tragic event in their lives and gone on a single journey to South America.
Nina does her best to help Theo and puts all her talents to good use in Driftwood Lodge and she’s doing great, but of course there are many bumps on the way, tons of misunderstandings, a man with a dog and hen parties. Moreover, she’s drawn into village life and well, can it be that London isn’t so interesting anymore? But her job, that she loves so much, is i n London… Soon she must face some important decisions…

This book was previously published in four – parts series and so it’s divided into four parts, and each of them brings new characters, hilarious situations and more poignant moments. It’s mostly about Nina and her skills to put herself into embarrassing situations, and the best thing here was probably the fact that I could never be sure what the outcome is going to look like. Her road to her happy end is bumpy and full of troubles and really, you can never be sure what kind of decision she’s going to make and if life is going to play nice for her.

The setting was simply gorgeous – Brightside Cove in Devon is a place that I’d love to spend not only my holidays but probably my whole life. It sounded so idyllic! I’d probably love to hear more about the village and its residents but I also accepted that it’s mostly about Theo and Kate’s holiday retreat, which was an adventure already. On the other hand, we get to know a handful of the residents, and if they’re all were like Eliza, Jethro and co then it was really not a boring place. Eliza was hilarious and who could thing that Mermaid school can be a thing? The scenes about the photo – shootings including mermaids were absolutely hilarious, as well as only one mermaid – oh guys, just read the book, it is so worth reading! you’re going to love it, take my word for it! And I also could very well relate to Theo and his cat allergy – same here, same here.

But this book is not only shining sun and beds of roses. Cathy Bramley touches upon some heavier issues that brought tears to my eyes, and she does it with gentleness and subtlety and her special way with words. There was nothing I didn’t like in this novel – I simply adored it, again, like any other Cathy Bramley’s book. I don’t know how this author does it but all her books deliver, they are full of wonderful, likeable and relatable characters that often make mistakes, each and every new one is set in even more gorgeous setting and the writing style goes from strength to strength. “A Match Made in Devon” was simply a fabulously lovely story with this so heavy to capture feel – good factor and it made my heart sing with joy and happiness. Highly recommended!


The House of Birds and Butterflies by Cressida McLaughlin

The House of Birds and Butterflies by Cressida McLaughlin


39990510Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 26th July 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 464

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback





‘With a heroine that you root for this is a sweet read with real heart and soul’ Sarra Manning author of The House of Secrets

Abby Field loves every inch of Meadowsweet Nature Reserve on the idyllic Suffolk coast where she lives and works. Especially Swallowtail House, the rambling but empty country house that seems to look out at her each time she passes it’s shut-up windows.

When a TV wildlife programme choses a rival location for their new series, Meadowsweet is under threat – unless Abby can whip up a plan to keep the visitors flocking. But she finds herself distracted by the arrival of a brooding – and annoyingly handsome new neighbour… bad-boy novelist, Jack Westcoat.

With the pressure on, Abby and her cute rescue huskie, Raffle, must pull something special out of the bag. But with Jack in need of a good friend – and Abby feeling the pull of attraction, she can sense her resolve fluttering away…

Rating: five-stars

Abby Field lives and works at a nature reserve in Suffolk called Meadowsweet – she’s full of passion for her work, and holds it so dear to her heart. However, it’s under treat and Abby’s job is to bring even more visitors there to save it from closing.
Jack moves to Meadowsweet looking for peace to write his new book and – shortly – to hide from a scandal that happened in London. his and Abby’s first encounter is not too promising, moreover, Jack’s letters get her in troubles with her boss, Penelope Hardings.
And apropos Penelope – there is this mystery surrounding her beautiful Georgian house that’s now left empty for many years and is becoming lost to nature.

I loved Abby’s passion and devotion and sometimes I really couldn’t understand why her boss Penelope is so unfair towards her – she really devoted a lot of her time to bring life, customers and money to the reserve and in my eyes it was just not spoken for for Penelope to treat her like that. I think she should be happy that Abby didn’t pack and go – but she loved this place too much to do such a thing. Neither she, nor her co – workers wouldn’t go down without a fight and I loved this spirit in them all. Nothing was impossible for them and I loved the ideas of events and walks that they organized.
All the characters worked together brilliantly, they just felt great in each other company, and even Jack turned out to be not so bad, no? I won’t say more, as I don’t want to spoil the reading for you, but let me just tell you, Jack, mmmm *swooning* – it was great how well Cressida tackled the whole Jack business. The characters were all enthusiastic and full of life. They were not flawless, they made mistakes but they also could admit when they were wrong, which is always a great thing and make the characters so much more true to life. The banter between them was so natural and easy and of course, as always when we dealwith such a small close – knit community, they knew everything about each other and yes, it was guaranteed they’re going to see you in the morning in your last – night clothes.

The only thing that bothered me a little was the fact that sometimes I had a feeling this story is not going to end. I mean, I love Cressida’s writing and the way she so brilliantly brings her characters and stories to life but there were moments that slowed the reading down too much. The characters were going on and on about their feelings, examined all the pros and cons, repeating themselves. I know this book was previously published as a four – parts series and probably it was needed but as a full – length novel it was just way too long and sidetracked me from the main plot.

I loved the setting in this book, it was so unusual! I’ve never before read a book set at the nature reserve, full of unusual sorts of birds, bugs and butterflies. Cressida McLaughlin brings her setting and vivid descriptions to life so effortlessly and I loved all the descriptions, the views, the ideas that were supposed to help to save the reserve. And I loved Abby’s characterisations of birds at the beginning of each chapter! They made me curious and intrigued and I would love to see all those birds after reading Abby’s short notes

Altogether, “The House of Birds and Butterflies” was a sweet, cosy and heart – warming novel with enough dramatic to keep me on my tenterhooks. Yes, you could see where it is heading but there were enough twists and bumps on the way to make the outcome not so obvious and predictable. It was a lovely, charming story with unusual, gorgeous setting, also bringing the importance of nature and preserving it, showing how easy it is to appreciate and enjoy it. The end seemed a little too rushed for me, especially the subplot with Penelope but I could live with it, and there were enough twists and turns throughout the whole story. The mix between the wellies and walks through the woods and the glamorous life and lights of London showed and confirmed that I am the wellies – kind.
I’ve read all but one Cressida McLaughlin’s books and her stories and writing get only better and better. She can create the most wonderful, unforgettable and human characters, and not only those on two legs but she also has a heart for and understanding of animals, which she proved a few times already. Her settings are original and unusual and when I read her book I don’t have a feeling that “I’ve been there, I’ve seen it” – they’re like a breath of fresh air, and it was the same with this newest offering. Highly recommended!

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson


36634180Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 22nd February 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 464

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback





Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.

Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.

But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman is the heart-warming and hilarious new novel from the queen of feel-good fiction – a novel of family, secrets, love and redemption … and broken hearts mended and made all the stronger for it.

Rating: five-stars

Marnie Salt hasn’t had an easy life – she was adopted and has never felt loved. She’s never had luck with people, family, boyfriends or friends. But on the cheesecake forum in internet she’s just met Lilian – the right person at the right time. Lilian is older than Marnie but it doesn’t stop them from forming a firm, strong friendship and soon Marnie finds herself in Wychwell. Marnie blossoms – she can finally bake cheesecakes and she’s finally happy with her life. She doesn’t plan on staying there forever, she only wants to heal her heart and consider her future. But then something happens that puts Marnie’s whole world upside down. She must make difficult decisions and must learn to stand up for herself. Will she manage?

One of the strengths of Milly Johnson’s books are the characters. She can brilliantly capture the essence of her characters and paint them in such realistic, but also friendly, way. They are full of flaws, they sometimes don’t tell the whole truth, they make mistakes but ultimately they are so human, and I simply love this. So I loved Marnie. Simply loved her. I would only like to see her telling some truths to her mother, because she should have done it. Marnie has problems, sometimes her decisions are not the wisest ones but that’s the thing – it only made her more down – to – earth and genuine. She had a big and giving heart and probably this is why all the problems always found her, as she was too trusty and naive and has seen only good things in people. She had a lot of growing up to do, our Marnie, and Milly Johnson really well led her main character on this journey.

The setting in this book is gorgeous and original, and Wychwell, small village in Yorkshire, has such a great story to tell! It was a village like no other, with its own rules and politics!
Yes, it sometimes felt like a witch – hunt there, and there were moments it felt so isolated and so closed but it was also the charm of this place and most of the villagers were great. Milly Johnson has so easily brought this place to life, and the map at the beginning of the book was one of the best ideas ever, it was so great to be able to really place the cottages and imagine the whole village. There was so much happening there, you can count on mystery, drama, scandal and tons of kindness and friendship. There are many subplots in this book but it doesn’t mean that I felt confused, oh no, it was perfectly planned and plotted. It touches upon many heavier issues, such as for example adoption or money fraud, but this all is almost always written with humour or at least in a lighter way.

Altogether, “The Perfectly Imperfect Woman” was a heart – warming, funny and poignant read. It is really easy to fell in love with this story immediately – the writing style is brilliant, easy to follow and chatty, and the plot brings some surprises that I would never expect. It’s just a book with a heart, you know, and you can feel it in every word, and it is great to read such a story. Highly recommended!

The Wives by Lauren Weisberger

The Wives by Lauren Weisberger


40183012Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 12th July 2018

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

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback





The hottest book of the summer

*Published in the USA as When Life Gives You Lululemons*

He set her up. They’ll bring him down.

Emily Charlton does not do the suburbs. A successful stylist and image consultant to Hollywood stars, she cut her teeth as assistant to legendary fashion editor Miranda Priestly in New York. But with Snapchatting millennials stealing her clients, Emily needs to get back in the game – and fast.

She holes up at the home of her oldest friend Miriam in the upscale suburb of Greenwich. And when Miriam’s friend, model Karolina Hartwell, is publicly dumped by her husband Graham, a senator with presidential ambitions, Emily scents the client of a lifetime.

It’s not just Karolina’s reputation that’s ruined. It’s her family. And Miriam and Emily are determined he won’t get away with it. First they’ll get Karolina’s son back. Then they’ll help her get her own back. Because the wives are mad as hell . . .

Rating: four-stars

In “The Wives” by Lauren Weisberger, the author brings back Emily, Miranda Priestley’s ex – assistant. She finds her career is slowing down, as she’s losing her clients to someone who’s younger, more “in” and popular. Suddenly, she finds herself in Greenwich, together with Miriam, a former lawyer from NYC, now a stay – at – home mum, and Karolina, the former face of L’Oreal, now in disguise and tangled in a political scandal.
Theoretically, it doesn’t sound so bad, right? Nice place, nice people… But there is much more to the story and actually, nothing seems as it really is in Greenwich.

It was brilliant to have Emily back. I don’t know how it is with you but in “The Devil Wears Prada” I tolerated Emily but couldn’t warm to her totally and completely because of her being such a pain to Andrea, and it was great to read only about Emily. She’s still sassy, quirky and bitchy and confident and I simply adored her. I just think that she really deserved this story, that we got the chance to get to know the real Emily. She has perfectly found herself in her new job, that fitted so well her tastes, money and status – although I must be totally honest, I am not sure what it was exactly that she was supposed to do because once it was said she’s the stylist to the stars but what she did for Karolina was more of a PR action. Nevertheless, Emily can handle anything, you just name it: sex scandal, dress disaster, betrayal. Image consultant? Is this what I’m looking for?
The other two main characters, Karolina and Miranda, complete Emily’s character in the best possible way. They simply work together. Karolina is an ex – model, Victoria Secret’s Angel, who married a US Senator, becoming a mother to his son. She’s now tangled in a political scandal and the whole world turned against her when she was arrested for a DUI with children in the car. But there is much more to this story actually and often I felt so angry on Karolina’s behalf – she was really a great woman who knew where her priorities are and this what had happened to her was absolutely, totally unfair. Miriam is a high – flying lawyer, a partner in one of NYC’s most prestigious firms but the family has currently moved to Greenwich and she’s stay – at – home mum now. She tries to convince herself that she’s happy with her present life, that it is what she wanted but is it really?
The relationship between the three women was brilliant. Honest and authentic, probably mostly thanks to Emily who always said what she thought, without holding back. What’s more important though is, I think, the fact, that they just took each other as they were, they accepted each other – sure, they would change this or that but still they accepted one another and their differences. They found each other again in the best possible time for them. All three points of view were great, totally different and they also gave a different perspective at the same situation. Their coming together was very well drawn and it was great to see how quickly they all bond together.

I must admit, I was scared to read this book as Lauren Weisberger was a one – book author for a very long time to me. Any other book than “The Devil Wears Prada” was simply not my read. But with “The Wives” she really delivers a brilliant, quick, complex story that might seem easy and not too complicated but is full of hidden depth. There is glitz and glamour and high ranked politicians but there is also vulnerability and insecurity. I liked the writing style. It was quick and modern and also I really love when you have to read between the lines – the author has such a brilliant eye for this whole Greenwich scenario!
Sadly, I’m not absolutely sure what to do with the way Karolina’s subplot ended, or more brightly, the way it was solved and by whom. I guess I felt a little disappointed because I hoped for Emily to deliver any incredible plan. Shame.

“The Wives” was a story about a women – power and maybe not world domination but certainly about being finally in control about their own lives. About friendship and supporting each other and learning that you can rely on. It was also a light – hearted but also honest look at motherhood, suburbs and life – with the bonus of Miranda Priestley appearing on the pages as well! There was sharp humour, it was really well observed and it was also full of more poignant moments and breathtaking situations. Touching upon many issues, such as infidelity, betrayal, career changes and families, it was a great read. There is humour, there are tears, there is scandal and fabulous location, so really, what more do you need?

That’s all.

PS. Highly recommended!

Confessions of a First – Time Mum by Poppy Dolan

Confessions of a First – Time Mum by Poppy Dolan


40540177Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date: 25th June 2018

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

Number of pages: 266

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle




Stevie’s life has changed beyond recognition since having her first baby. Stevie loves being a mum, but between the isolation and being vomited on five times a day, she really wishes she had someone to talk to.

With husband Ted working hard to keep the family afloat, Stevie really doesn’t want to burden him with her feelings. Turning to the internet, Stevie starts the anonymous First-Time Mum blog and blasts the rose-tinted glasses of parenthood right off her readers.

In the real world, Stevie meets the formidable Nelle and gorgeous Will, along with their own little treasures, and starts to realise that being a ‘perfect mum’ isn’t everything. But when the secret blog goes viral, Stevie must make some tough choices about who she wants to be, and whether she’s ready for the world to know the truth…
A perfect laugh-out-loud read for fans of The Unmumsy Mum, Gill Sims and Emma Robinson.

Rating: five-stars

In Poppy Dolan’s book, “Confessions of a First – Time Mum”, our main character Stevie is … yes, you guessed! A first – time mum! And let’s be honest – she doesn’t cope so well, which, of course, is totally understandable. Her husband Ted works hard to provide them a comfortable life, all her friends are working, her parents are on another continent… So Stevie starts to write about her feelings on her First Time Mum blog that quickly turns into incredible success. But, as it usually, where you find success you also often finds defeat and troubles… Will Stevie, with the help of new friends Will and Nelle, a) realise that there is no such thing as perfect parenting, b) save her marriage?

This book tells it how it really is to have a baby. I mean, you can attend all kinds of antenatal classes but the reality is in any case going to slap you very, very hard and nothing can prepare you for the shock. Thanks god my baby was not as extreme and demanding as Cherry was, even though then I thought it couldn’t be worse but now, in perspective, I can see that she really was uncomplicated, and we didn’t have such adventures as Stevie and her daughter. But I can imagine that there are babies like Cherry, and I so really well understood Stevie and her frustrations, desperations and problems – Cherry was not a child I’d call cute, to be honest.

Every mum can recognise herself, more or less, in Stevie, our main character. Stevie, with her brand new daughter and her feelings of happiness and love mixed with confusion, uncertainty, failure, loneliness. I really felt for her, for her struggles, for the fact that she was so authentic. Also, Nelle and Will were brilliant addition to this story and did well as Stevie’s new friends – I’m still friends with the girls I got to know when I was pregnant and it’s almost seven years now, although I think that none of them is as sharp and honest as Nelle and Will, sadly – every new mum needs such friends as those two.

This book started in a brilliant way and I couldn’t put it down at the beginning. However, somewhere around the middle, it lost the whole impact and it started to feel repetitive and flat. It also felt too full, as if the author wanted to cram all possible events into the story. I don’t know, I can’t put my finger on exactly what was wrong with the second half, it simply read differently and was not as lightly written and as full of joy as the first part.

Altogether, “Confessions of a First – Time Mum” was brutally honest, incredibly funny and also poignant, a read that I could easily relate to. It gave a very realistic look at motherhood generally. Poppy Dolan has really brilliantly captured how it is to be a first – time mum – a mum altogether, showed both sides of motherhood, this of incredible happiness and being proud but also this of feeling totally misunderstood, alone and desperate. A story also about friendship and support and backing up your friends no matter what. It isn’t only about being a new mum but it also explores many more issues, and even though I sometimes felt a little overwhelmed with the number of events, I still enjoyed how different and colourful those subplots were, and because of them the pace felt really quick.

Best Practice by Penny Parkes (Blog Tour + Guest Post)

Hi amigos! Today I am so very thrilled to welcome Penny Parkes to my blog! For all those of you who doesn’t know it yet, Penny is the author of the brilliant, heart – warming and gorgeous The Larkford Series and the third installment, Best Practice, was published on 28th July in paperback by Simon & Schuster. The lovely Penny has written a guest post for us about three books that shaped her writing life – put your feet high and enjoy!



Three books that shaped my writing life – Penny Parkes

Ask me who my literary heroes are and, from a very (annoyingly) young age, I would talk about my favourite authors – the people behind the stories being just as fascinating to me, as the characters within them.

So, in truth, it’s not surprising that I was always one of those readers who would count down the days until the newest offering from these ‘destination authors’ arrived. Not for me something slender and literary – I would always prioritise chunky, tome-like books over clothes in my holiday suitcase – and the photographs from my eighties travels will testify to my precocious (albeit questionable) ‘skills’ with a capsule wardrobe. Chunky novels, though hefty, have always been my go-to pleasure – diving in for five hundred pages of well-crafted, relatable, escapist fiction.

I’m going to blame the marvellous M.M.Kaye for triggering this obsession – her novel The Far Pavilions found me at an impressionable age, when our local librarian had given up pointing me towards more suitable offerings, and allowed me to make the most of my family’s entire collection of library cards by weight, if not by virtue. (See also Ken Follett!) The thing that made this particular book stand out, was that it was like nothing I had ever experienced, in real life or in fiction – it was transporting and illuminating and a little bit terrifying at times. In short, I was hooked.

Penny Vincenzi picked up the reins of my chunky novel obsession shortly afterwards. How, I used to wonder, did she make me care about every single one of her characters, and to weave them so tightly and cleverly together, until I emerged blinking after a day or two, unsure of which reality I now inhabited. That, I decided, was a true art form and one I dreamed of emulating. Even writing this paragraph gives me a lump in my throat remembering reading the crash scene in The Best of Times with tears pouring down my face, and knowing that the wonderful, late, great, dearly missed Penny has written her last denouement.

I’ve always been a bit slutty with my reading habits – thrillers, domestic noir, young adult, romantic comedies, biographies, even if I’m honest, the multi-lingual back of the shampoo bottle – but there is a certain kind of book I return to time and time again. The kind of book that reels me in, makes me laugh, breaks my heart and makes me whole again and for that I can only cite Marian Keyes.

Rachel’s Holiday is, in my opinion, a modern classic – darkly funny, deeply touching and beautifully crafted. Without this book, my writing aspirations would be like driving the Cotswold lanes without a signpost.

Now, when I sit down to write, I have Katie Fforde’s wonderful quote for my first book pinned above my desk – ‘light and funny, but deep and meaningful at the same time’ – and I know exactly where that motivation came from and, that if I’m doing it right, then maybe one day somebody might run into the bookstore with their weekend plans on hold because my new book is hitting the shelves…