My One True North by Milly Johnson

My One True North by Milly Johnson

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 51200241._sx318_sy475_

Publishing Date: 5th March 2020

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

Number of pages: 496

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

THE QUEEN OF FEEL-GOOD FICTION!
‘The feeling you get when you read a Milly Johnson book should be bottled and made available on the NHS’ Debbie Johnson
The brand new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew – a gorgeous read full of warmth and heartfelt emotion.

Laurie and Pete should never have met.
But fate has pushed them together for a reason.

Six months ago, on the same night, Laurie and Pete both lost their partners.
Struggling to manage the grief, they join the same counselling group – and meet each other.

From their sadness, Pete and Laurie find happiness growing and they sense a fresh new beginning.
Except, the more they talk, the more they begin to spot the strange parallels in their stories.
Then Pete discovers a truth that changes everything.

But, as surely as a compass points north, some people cannot be kept apart.

My One True North is a story of friendship and what love means, of secrets uncovered, teashops on corners and the northern lights.

Rating: three-stars

 

Laurie and Pete don’t know each other but fate has it planned for their paths to cross. After losing both their partners, they meet at a small counselling group run by Molly where, over tea and cake, those two and some other people who are grieving, try to start live again. Even though finding a new partner is absolutely not an agenda for them, they find themselves drawn to each other, enjoying their company. But some awful secrets and lies are going to see the light of day that may destroy their new friendship, and more.

It is grief and sadness that is a catalyst for the story but no worries, guys – yes, the book has some very poignant moments, but I wouldn’t call it desperately sad, no, because there is this lovely, overwhelming feeling of hope, and you keep hoping, together with the characters, that no matter how bad it is at the moment, it’s going to be better. And Milly Johnson has smashingly captured it in her newest story. And let’s not forget it – the articles from the magazine Laurie works for were absolutely brilliant!

Milly Johnson can for sure write feelings and emotions, taking her readers on a rollercoaster journey of experiencing them all together with the characters. I loved the way she has shown us that grief has many faces, she has made it so real and human.

There were twists and turns aplenty in this novel, and while I enjoyed them, I also felt desperate for the author to finally bring the two characters together. It is also full of lies and secrets and it was a real joy to slowly disentangle all the threads, to peel off the layers and to have confirmed this what I thought has happened.

But now. Milly Johnson has already proven so many times that she can write great characters, and while they are really well developed in this book, I didn’t like what she has done with them. We were practically forced to like or dislike them. If the character belonged to the “good ones”, they were put on a pedestal, they didn’t have any flaws, they did all the right things. On the other hand, and it hit me right at the beginning, which confused me a little to be honest, because I thought we were supposed to like the victims of the accidents, the author immediately started to hint at things that put the characters in bad light, which means I didn’t like them. What I mean here, the author didn’t give me choice and chance to make my own mind about them. It was the same with Tara’s sister – the author has painted her in such a wrong way, making her a laughing stock, and it was the same with Pete’s dad’s girlfriend and Laurie’s boyfriend’s parents – right from the beginning they were made looking bad. And I think that such author as Milly Johnson doesn’t have to forge such moves in describing her characters, she can do much better, leaving the readers more room for imagination and making their own minds.
I also had a feeling that the book is dragging on and is repetitive, especially when the characters recounted the same events to each other. And we were so obviously pushed towards the end, towards this what is unavoidable to happen, and really, I was glad when the book has eventually ended and we really arrived to the conclusion. Don’t get me wrong, it was a lovely read, I love Milly Johnson’s stories, but the last third of this book felt so chopped, so abrupt and so long.

Nevertheless, this is Milly Johnson’s 17th novel already, and picking her book you can be sure that you are in safe hands, as her stories are always compelling and complex. “One True North” is about friendship, love, betrayal, grief and joy, and many more, all the feelings seamlessly weaving through the pages. Sadness is perfectly balanced with humour, the characters, especially the secondary ones, feel deep and fresh. The author isn’t shy of writing about heavier and thought – provoking issues, telling things how they are. It is heart – breaking, but it’s also uplifting and warm. Sadly, it was not my favourite read, but Milly Johnson stays at the top of my favourite authors list.

When Polly Met Olly by Zoe May

When Polly Met Olly by Zoe May

 

Publisher: HQ Digital 41835337._sy475_

Publishing Date: 7th January 2019

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

Number of pages: 269

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Polly and Olly were never supposed to meet…
Polly might spend her days searching for eligible matches for her elite list of clients at her New York dating agency, but her own love life is starting to go up in smoke.

Even worse, she can’t stop thinking about the very person she’s meant to be setting her latest client up with… surely it can’t get any worse!

But then Polly bumps into oh-so-handsome Olly, who heads up a rival agency, and realizes that perhaps all really is fair in love and dating war…

Rating: two-stars

 

Polly has just landed herself a job at a match – making agency, and while she finds she’s good at it, her own love life leaves a lot to be desired. While it’s all fun, living vicariously through her clients, she’s hoping for a great break as a photographer, and she even took first steps in this direction, taking photos for a cook – book. Then her boss Derek sends her undercover to another agency that seems to be taking their clients away. And this is when Polly meets Olly… when the line between being professional and taking things personally starts blurring…

I am not sure why but I didn’t connect with the book completely. There were too many things that felt too forced or too many that were added in, what felt like, an after – thought that didn’t bring much to the plot. It was as if the author has tried too much to write a light – hearted but also complex story. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a bad read, it had tons of potential and I really appreciate what the author tried to do with the story but it lacked in delivery. The romance was almost not there, and it made me feel confused for the whole time because the title is “When Polly Met Olly”, and they met, and then what? And then nothing. Zoe May tried, I think, to pull wool over our eyes, pointing us in some different directions, making us wonder who is the perfect match for Polly, but maybe she should really focus on the real romance, because there were too little sparkles.

The writing style, even though was not as rounded as I’d like it to be, was easy and brisk and Zoe May has a distinctive voice. The banter between characters was friendly and unassuming.

The story is told from Polly’s point of view, and while she was a very chatty narrator, I think I’d love to hear the other perspectives as well – I think the characters really have had something to tell, and I’d love to know their insights as well. Mostly we were presented with Polly’s monologues, and sometimes the author focused too much on one thing and we were reading about one thought for four pages, and then in the next four pages thousand other things happened.

Altogether, it is a nice, quirky story ticking all the boxes for a chick – lit. The setting was lovely, the secondary characters were jumping off the pages and there were some twists in it. It is easy – going and light read with a promising premise. It touches upon friendship and trust but also it shows how easy it is to have your self – confidence broken. Unfortunately, we didn’t click, me and the book.

When Polly Met Olly by Zoe May / Blog Tour

When Polly Met Olly 2020

When Polly Met Olly

Polly and Olly were never supposed to meet…

Polly might spend her days searching for eligible matches for her elite list of clients at her New York dating agency, but her own love life is starting to go up in smoke.

Even worse, she can’t stop thinking about the very person she’s meant to be setting her latest client up with… surely it can’t get any worse!

But then Polly bumps into oh-so-handsome Olly, who heads up a rival agency, and realizes that perhaps all really is fair in love and dating war…

Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Debbie Viggiano.

 

Purchase Links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07F8N76KG/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F8N76KG/

https://books.apple.com/gb/book/when-polly-met-olly/id1412331682

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Zoe_May_When_Polly_Met_Olly_A_fantastically_uplift?id=UypkDwAAQBAJ

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/when-polly-met-olly-a-fantastically-uplifting-romantic-comedy-for-2019

 

Author Bio –

Zoe May lives in London and writes romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She spent her twenties living in London, where she worked in journalism and copywriting before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple’s top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as ‘a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery – fresh and very funny’.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading.

 

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/zoe_writes

https://instagram.com/zoe_writes

https://www.facebook.com/zoemayauthor/

 

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Saving Missy by Beth Morrey

Saving Missy by Beth Morrey

 

Publisher: Harper Collins 48374950._sx318_

Publishing Date: 6th February 2020

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

Number of pages: 381

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

For readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove, a life-affirming, deeply moving “coming-of-old” story, a celebration of how ordinary days are made extraordinary through friendship, family, and the power of forgiving yourself–at any age.

Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Woman meets dog…

The world has changed around Missy Carmichael. At seventy-nine, she’s estranged from her daughter, her son and only grandson live across the world in Australia, and her great love is gone. Missy spends her days with a sip of sherry, scrubbing the kitchen in her big empty house and reliving her past–though it’s her mistakes, and secrets, that she allows to shine brightest. The last thing Missy expects is for two perfect strangers and one spirited dog to break through her prickly exterior and show Missy just how much love she still has to give. Filled with wry laughter and deep insights into the stories we tell ourselves, The Love Story of Missy Carmichael shows us it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks. It’s never too late to love.

Rating:    four-stars

 

Missy Carmichael, 79, lives in London, alone. Her husband is dead and her children have left home, her son moving to Australia. Her daughter doesn’t live far away but after a huge argument they don’t get in touch too often. She realises that she’s lonely but she doesn’t know if she wants to change it. One day, she heads to a park nearby and meets Sylvie and Angela with her little son Otis – after this meeting her life is going to change, she’s going to have friends and a reason to leave the house. Well, even one reason more as she agrees to look after a dog.

The author took her time to let us completely into Missy’s life. It made the book a bit dragging on and slow – burning, however the writing style is beautiful and so nice to read. Missy’s past is not as straight – forward as we could think at first, and in the end you find yourself rooting for her. We are slowly shown all the parts that has shaped Missy, made her the person she is now, and at 79 she has really a lot of stories to tell, and not all of them are as you’d think her life has used to be.
Angela was a brilliant character, open and honest, taking no prisoners, and I think Missy simply needed someone like this in her life. I loved their banter and I loved how Angela was around Missy, she really knew which buttons she should push to pull Missy out of her comfort zones. We get to know Missy teetering on the edge of depression and thanks to the friendship we see her, albeit a bit reluctantly, blossoming and giving her life a second chance.

There were things and events that made me feel a bit uncomfortable and I could live without them, for example this what happened with the dog – I still think it was unnecessary, and yes, I think I get what the author has tried to accomplish here, touching upon domestic abuse, and one of the scenes was absolutely hilarious, but it also felt like an after – thought to me.

It was a moving and incredibly uplifting story at the same time. Even though it dealt with some heavier issues I wouldn’t call it devastatingly sad – because, for me, there was this lovely, overwhelming feeling of hope shining through the pages. It is a great debut novel, very promising, and I’d love to see more from the author in the future. Recommended!

Four Minutes to Save a Life by Anna Stuart / Blog Tour

Four Minutes to Save a Life by Anna Stuart

 

Publisher: Trapeze 49143148._sy475_

Publishing Date: 20th February 2020

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

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Paperback | Audio

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

There’s always time to help out a stranger…isisn’t there?

Supermarket delivery driver Charlie enjoys his new job because he doesn’t have to spend too long with people, who, he’s found, are nothing but trouble. But when he’s assigned the Hope Row street, he realises there are a lot of lonely people out there – and for some, he’s their only interaction.

The supermarket boss tells Charlie he’s a driver, not a social worker – but Charlie can’t abandon the Hope Row residents and he sets about trying to draw them out of their shells and back into the world. But will his helping hand make everything worse?

Rating:   four-stars

 

Charlie needed to start a new life, so he changed his surname to Sparrow, burned all of his possessions and starts a new job as a delivery driver for a large supermarket. His round includes Hope Street, where he recognises one of the names on the list of deliveries – he is desperate to make amends with this person. But he also finds that some of the other residents may profit from a little help. But can he change anything when he only has 4 minutes pro delivery? And why does he want to change things at all?

This was an absolutely uplifting, charming and touching book with some twists that I didn’t see coming and that I enjoyed immensely – I do love a book that succeeds to surprise me. Judging the story on its cover I was expecting it to be much more light – hearted, it turned out to be much darker and touching and about heavier issues than I have expected but I loved those elements of this tale.

The characters are all so different but they all have troubles, problems and are not flawless, and thanks to this fact I quickly got the feeling that they’re believable and relatable. They all felt so human and true to life, with Vik and his cooking, Ruth and her mending, Greg and his honesty and Charlie with his huge, huge heart. The more I read about them, the more involved in their lives I was and I fell for them all, for their loneliness, their sadness and hope that Charlie was giving them. There was this “something” in Charlie that has made him a perfect leading character, and the way the author has written him was brilliant. There was a feeling of mystery around him, and the build – up to the reveal has showed his character as a reasonable, responsible, lovely soul who couldn’t forget what has happened, who felt so guilty and this guilt was killing him inside but you were also able to see that he tries so much to somehow atone – he doesn’t want to forget, he simply tries to start living again, without guiltiness, which he deserved, in my humble opinion.
I was desperate to know who it is that Charlie was so desperate to help and why, and even though the group of characters is rather a small one, I didn’t guess it, as well as the reasons – it was really cleverly and well plotted.

I really liked the way the story was developing and it was totally not obvious. I really wasn’t sure in which direction the author is going to take us, I couldn’t tell where the book is leading us, and it was great. Anna Stuart has a great way with words and is a truly great story – teller, delivering us a tale like a rollercoaster ride filled with feelings and emotions. And even though it’s so emotional and full of serious topics, I still found it a light – hearted and easy read that left me feel so satisfied at the end. I sometimes found it a bit too dragging on, and the end felt too rushed but other than that it was a lovely read that had me invested in the characters’ lives.

Altogether “Four Minutes to Save a Life” was such a lovely emotional tale that dealt with many heavier issues, such as depression, suicide, grief, feeling guilty, broken family relationships, in such a gentle and careful way. The small acts of kindness are so cheerful, they can truly brighten up your mood, especially when you see how huge a difference they can make to people. It was a warm book about friendship and forgiveness that felt like a warm blanket on a cold winter night. Hugely recommended!

 

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Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty / Blog Tour

Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty

 

Publisher: Harper Collins 42650606

Publishing Date: 20th February 2020

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

Number of pages: 400

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The simple fact of the matter is that Iris loves life. Maybe she’s forgotten that. Sometimes that happens, doesn’t it? To the best of us?
All I have to do is remind her of that one simple fact.

‘A superb writer’ Irish Examiner

When Iris Armstrong goes missing, her best friend Terry, wife, mother and all-round worrier, is convinced something bad has happened.

And when she finds her glamorous, feisty friend, she’s right: Iris is setting out on a journey that she plans to make her last.

The only way for Terry to stop Iris is to join her, on a road trip that will take her, Iris and Terry’s confused father Eugene onto a ferry, across the Irish sea and into an adventure that will change all of their lives.

Somehow what should be the worst six days of Terry’s life turn into the best.

my-review

 

Terry has been married for years and is a stay – at – home mum to two almost adult daughters. Her husband Brandon provides for the family, working hard, and actually Terry is rather happy with how her life has turned out, even though the girls are flying out of the nest and Brandon’s works is really stressful but well, Terry is his pillar and that’s great.
Her father Eugene is in a nursing home with dementia, where Terry regularly visits him. He used to be a taxi driver and what he can still very well remember are the rules of the road, always reminding his daughter of them. It is at one of the events hosted by the Alzheimer’s society that Terry meets Iris Armstrong and those two women, though totally different, quickly establish a friendship.
Then Iris disappears. Terry unexpectedly discovers why and where she’s heading and decides to follow her. As it’s a real on – a – whim decision, she doesn’t have time to inform her family, and she also has to take her father with her on the impromptu road trip through Ireland, Great Britain, France and Switzerland, as the nursing home has to close temporarily.
It is a journey that is going to change many lives.

The book is brilliantly written, with many feelings and emotions emphasized and is dealing with a difficult and controversial subject in a wonderful, not judging way. You know where it is heading almost right from the beginning, but I think I’m not alone here when I say that I was all the time hoping that I’m wrong, and for it to end differently.

The story focuses on a wonderful friendship between two women, and it is an absolute highlight of the book. They were very lucky to have found each other, as it was a truly unique and special bond between them, and the author has written it in a warm, enveloping way, not being shy of showing not only ups but also downs of such a relationship.

This is a lovely story with many funny and lighter moments but altogether it is also full of sadness and the feeling was a bit too overwhelming for me. I appreciate though how well the author has managed to lighten the mood, and the way she has created the character of Iris, quirky, sassy and full of irony.

So now please do not get me wrong. It was a brilliant, thought – provoking book. It started off so promising and kept me hooked but then, part way through, it started to feel repetitive. I mean, there was no high drama needed, as it was a very character driven novel, but there came a moment that it simply slowed down and I started to feel impatient.

“Rules of the Road” is about finding yourself and there was not better way for Terry to do this – I loved how she was forced to take the plunge, to find a courage, to try things she would never dream of doing. It is a truly special book that will for sure tug at many heart – strings and will make you think. It touches upon some heavier issues and topics that we are very likely to experience by ourselves. It is poignant and wise and beautifully written. It shows that we should celebrate every single day of our lives in a powerful and captivating way. It’s so great to have Ciara Geraghty back!

 

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The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood / Blog Tour

The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood

 

Publisher: Penguin 45992911

Publishing Date: 20th February 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Psychological Thriller, Suspense

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

**THE THIRD NAIL-BITING THRILLER FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF MY SISTER’S BONES AND DAY OF THE ACCIDENT**

No matter how far you run . . .
He’s never far behind

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought.

What secret has Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?

my-review 

 

Lisa has just left her husband, taking their 3 years old son with her. She doesn’t have a plan, she only knows that she has to go to Rowan Isle House, somewhere in Yorkshire, because her friend promised her it is to be the safest place in the world. Only after her arrival, Lisa realises that it’s a dilapidated, lonely old house at the lake, with no running water, no heating, not really fit to live in. But she doesn’t have another choice – she needs a safe place, no matter how it looks like.
Going back in time, the plot introduces us to a young girl, living in the same house with her father. She knows him as “Sarge” – he’s a soldier, a veteran of the Gulf War and, as it quickly becomes obvious to the reader, suffering from PTSD. He’s training his daughter to be a soldier, teaching her to hunt, kill and survive off the land, but also controlling every single aspect of her life. They both keep themselves to themselves, living an isolated life.

The characters are really well written, all so damaged and troubled, full of flaws and problems but, as we already know it, it only adds to their personalities, making them more human and realistic. Though I personally couldn’t relate to any of them, at any level, which of course made the reading this little bit more difficult, but overall I truly appreciate how well the author has created them, giving them distinctive voices. The story of the young girl, who we at first know as “Soldier”, is truly heart – breaking. Her father’s training methods are quite shocking, and it annoyed me immensely how much he controlled her, how he abused her, pressing his advantage at every opportunity, making her insecure and dependent of his moods. But Lisa’s background was, actually, not different to this of Grace – she was living a life, being controlled by her husband who has also undermined her at every single moment. I think I simply hated to see how abusive the men were towards women in this book, that it was again a case of the overwhelming feeling of being in control and undermining women from the young age. Sure, they were fighting back but well, did it turn out well for them?
Lisa was a complicated character and I wasn’t really sure how to figure her out. She wanted to be free from her husband, and yes, she run away, which is in fact already a huge step, but then nothing happens, she didn’t have a plan, she simply run in circles, acting without consideration. What bothered me also was the fact she wanted to stay unnoticed but behaved in such an odd way anytime she was around people, so really, it was a bit unbelievable. And the character of Isobel added more confusion than explanation, if you ask me. It was as if she was added to the story because she simply fitted the plot.

The story switches between the two narrations with ease and without confusion. I was all the time wondering how the two stories will eventually connect, and of course my head was full of possible scenarios, however I didn’t guess everything, no, scrap this, I guessed almost nothing. It’s a rather slow burner, it’s for sure not an action driven book, it mostly focuses on characters’, but the setting the scene and getting to know the characters’ was well done. The Rowan Isle House is a character on its own, full of darkness and hiding so many secrets, and the setting in the remote Yorkshire Dales couldn’t be better chosen, adding so much atmosphere and a sense of isolation to the story.

The book started really well, and the creepy atmosphere of uncertainty and danger was brilliantly captured. However, the closer to the end we found ourselves, the more impact it was losing. For a huge part it was a gripping and full of tension read, with the tension slowly dissolving towards the end. And you know the feeling, when you ends reading a book, so fully satisfied, as if you’ve done something special? Well, I didn’t have this feeling here, sadly.

It was twisty and dark story full of secrets, menacing, and for sure not everything there is as it may seem. It’s about abuse, control and manipulation. It’s not a comfortable read, and not an easy one but I haven’t expected it to be different – the author has already proven that she’s not afraid to dig deeper into our darker sides and touch upon hard issues. But having read Nuala Ellwood’s previous books, maybe I was expecting too much, as somehow I couldn’t quite engage with this story, couldn’t get into it. I think there were simply too many moments that required benefit of the doubt, there were too far – fetched. The characters’ actions also left much to be desired in matters of credibility and well, it was not my favourite read by this author, however, as it seems, it appeals to many other readers, which is a great thing.

 

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Erotic Fiction? by Hannah Lynn / Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Erotic Fiction? by Hannah Lynn

 

Publisher: 48729140._sy475_

Publishing Date: 14th February 2020

Source:  Received for the blog tour purposes

Number of pages: 313

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

There’s nothing sexy about her humdrum life as a mum. But is her husband’s
crazy scheme a bit too exciting?

Sarah’s mind-numbing housewife existence is turning her brain to mush. With her
third bun in the oven, this British mum is drowning under a mountain of playdates,
bills, and head lice checks. But her man’s get-rich-quick idea of writing steamy
novels isn’t her ideal way to dial up life’s passion.
Drew desperately wants a break from Sarah’s whinging. And if that means
researching how to write racy books all by himself, then he’ll make the sacrifice. But
as he finally warms Sarah up to the sultry side hustle, their R-rated private project
gets publicly exposed…
With an office scandal brewing, it’s only a matter of time before gawking workers
and a perfectly nosy PTA president turn them into social pariahs.
Can Sarah and Drew earn some extra income from sizzling lit without falling prey to
stiff gossip?
Erotic Fiction is a charming comedy for fans of humorous fiction. If you like sweet
love stories, endearing characters, and dry British humor, then you’ll adore Kindle
Storyteller Award Winner Hannah Lynn’s delightful tale.
Buy Erotic Fiction to slip into something a little more lovable today!

my-review

 

Sarah is a stay at home mum, pregnant with a baby number three and feeling unchallenged as a housewife and with lack of career. Her husband Drew is a lovely, hard – working guy who tries to help as much as he can but it often isn’t enough. They’re struggling financially but then, one day, Drew has an excellent idea that could bring them more money – to write an erotic fiction novel. And when Sarah declines, he decides to write it himself.

The author has done a great job in describing the relationship between Sarah and Drew, making it feel really realistic, capturing well the factor that made the marriage drift apart a little. There was so much going on, with two young children and third on the way, with Drew working but the money being always too short, and them both eventually feeling neglected and misunderstood. Then there is of course the one perfect yummy – mummy, so perfect that I wanted to bang her head on the wall, I tell you, and Sarah’s reactions to her were absolutely hilarious.
I think that Drew was the hero of this story, even if he didn’t start very promising at the beginning, looking like your typical working dad, glued to his phone and helping occasionally with the children. Oh no. Yes, he was doing his best and then he had this – in his opinion – brilliant idea, and I adored how fierce and consequent he was.

She has also managed to add depth to this, on the surface, very light – hearted story, balancing the lighter moments with the more serious ones, and I must say that it went smoothly and successfully, she did here very well.

However, very sadly, this book didn’t work for me as it did for so many other reviewers and readers, so probably it’s a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”. I didn’t find it so humorous, to be honest, it didn’t make me laugh and for me it was dragging on too much. I didn’t feel any connection to the characters and I wasn’t invested in the plot. I loved the synopsis, it was so promising but it simply didn’t live up to my expectations. I think there was so much potential, and the plot was absolutely refreshing and unique, but for me it simply lacked in delivery. It felt too forced, as if the author tried too much, and you could easily feel the lack of authenticity, let’s just take the scene at the post office – I mean, really? Sadly. I can’t change my feelings. But this novel has many raving reviews and people seem to really like it, so don’t let me put you off reading it, you may love it.

Nevertheless, it was a light – hearted read with a great idea behind. The writing was well – rounded and the characters were well developed, and probably many of the readers will be able to relate to them and their situation, and yes, they felt so human, with all their problems and troubles, being stuck in a bit of rut, and wanting a little more from life, heck, deserving more from life! It was my first book by Hannah Lynn and I will for sure have a look at her other novels.

 

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An Almost Perfect Holiday by Lucy Diamond

An Almost Perfect Holiday by Lucy Diamond

 

Publisher: Macmillan 41xthzdgzel._sx311_bo1204203200_

Publishing Date: 6th February 2020

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

Number of pages: 480

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover (out on 05.09.2019) | Paperback (out on 28.05.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

An Almost Perfect Holiday is a warm and witty story of friendship, family and hope, by the Sunday Times bestseller Lucy Diamond.

The holidays are here, and down in Cornwall Lorna’s cottages are fully booked. The sun loungers are lined up beside the swimming pool, the sky is blue and a new set of arrivals are on their way . . .

Em’s planned the perfect break with her teenagers plus her new boyfriend, George . . . but now his difficult six-year-old is coming too. Will their romance survive the realities of parenthood?

Maggie’s hoping a seaside holiday will bring her and her daughter closer together, but when her ex makes a surprise reappearance, it changes everything. Can she trust the man who broke her heart?

Olivia has escaped the domestic grind, only for the past to catch up with her. Maybe the time has come to confess all – if she can find the courage . . .

Meanwhile, the teenagers are running wild and love is in the air. With friendship, heartache and secrets in the mix, will this holiday turn out to be a scorcher – or simply too hot to handle?

Rating: four-stars

 

Three women that don’t know each other end up at the same holiday cottages complex belonging to Lorna and Roy in Cornwall. Emma has booked the holiday after a few glasses of wine and arrives with her two teenagers, new boyfriend and his 7 – year – old daughter. Maggie hopes to reconnect with her bolshy and dismissive teenage daughter but a surprising meeting and request can put her plan into jeopardy. And Olivia, a young mum struggling with motherhood ends up there after running away from her daily responsibilities. However, can you have a perfect holiday? As it turns out, the things don’t go so well for any of the women but at least it brings them all together. Can they help each other?

The story so relatable, I mean, for sure all of us can tell stories about their own holidays that were supposed to be “perfect” but turned out into real disasters, right, and our characters here don’t have it differently.
It introduces us to four women, and Lucy Diamond can write real, living and breathing characters. Our Em is a single mum to two teenagers, Izzie and Jack, and is in a new relationship. She’s suggests that George, her new boyfriend, should join them on their holidays, even though she has some doubts – is it going to work? Especially as, on short notice, George has to bring his little daughter, a very spoilt one let me add, and a queen of drama and interfering. Oh boy. I admired Em for her patience, really. She hoped that maybe this break could be a perfect way to bring them together, make a real patchwork family out of them all, but is this possible?
Then we have Maggie with another teenager, and really, Lucy Diamond can write them in the best possible way, they feel so true to life and realistic, I tell you. It all is to come for me yet but I can prepare myself reading Ms Diamond’s book 🙂 Maggie is also a single mother, and I felt so sorry for her, the way her daughter was treating her was so, so awful, but what should Maggie do, right? Give her best and hope for the best probably.
Olivia is a young mother to twin boys and she can’t take it anymore. Her husband is still enjoying life, going out with his friends, making small breaks, while she is with the children all the time and feels like the bad cop in this relationship. Feeling worn down, and plagued by memories from her childhood, she runs away and ends up at Lorna and Roy’s, not knowing the those are their cottages – as there is a past connection between them.
All the characters, whilst normal and realistic, are all written with love. They are like any other woman you can meet at any moment and I adored this fact, as it made them even more true to life and genuine, with all their problems, troubles and children. They all have their own distinctive voices, they’re not overdone, they simply show how it is to be a woman, in various situations and periods of life, juggling work with children, new man and your own mental health.

The story is set in Cornwall, and I must admit, I’ll never get tired of it, especially with descriptions like Lucy Diamonds’. The writing style flows effortlessly, it’s chatty and readable, so easy to get into, full of warmth, wisdom and humour.

The book deals with so many normal and realistic issues in an approachable and relatable way. You have stroppy teenagers, grief, patchwork families, accepting yourself, the ups and downs of a motherhood, finding yourself and many, many more, and the author deals with all those things in a gentle and sensitive way, making it possible for us to easily identify with all those feelings and emotions that accompany those issues.

What I so adore in Lucy Diamond’s books is the fact that the subplots seem at the beginning absolutely independent and like having nothing in common with each other, but in the end they always come to a neatly wrapped up and happy final – just what I like, this brilliantly warm security that I’m going to get everything I want from the book, that I’ll eventually arrive at the end that is sorted out and everything is going to be okay again.

Perhaps the pace is a bit slow, but on the other hand I think it’s good that the author has taken this time to introduce us to all the characters and their background, and then to develop the story in – what felt like – natural flow. It’s great to unpeel all the layers that story hides and it’s a great feeling to come to this moment when everything starts to make sense, with the characters’ motivations being uncovered. There are some twists and turns thrown on the way, maybe not life – changing but realistic enough to make the read so much more relatable and I was really involved in the characters’ lives. I wanted to know how their lives are going to play out and I really fell for Maggie, Em and Olivia.

It’s a book showing there is a way forward, about friendship and not judging other people because you really have no idea how they life look like. It’s a story that gives you a look at families, at balancing family with your own needs and personality and it shows what usually happens when your high expectations meet with reality, and while we all know that we shouldn’t expect too much, I absolutely fell for the three women who wanted all the best for their families. A great read that hugely recommend.

Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne

Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne

 

Publisher: Headline Eternal 517kkavtrrl._sx324_bo1204203200_

Publishing Date: 28th January 2020

Series: Central Park Pact #3

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

Number of pages: 288

Genre: Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A heartfelt and laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Sally Thorne and Christina Lauren. From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, Marriage of Madison Avenue is the third in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps.

Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on and, knowing that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother, announces he’s already engaged…to Audrey.

But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of heart and wit, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page. Look out for the other two titles, Passion on Park Avenue and Love on Lexington Avenue

Want more fun, fresh, flirty and very sexy rom-com? Check out Lauren’s Oxford series and don’t miss her warm, witty and sexy Wedding Belles series and the I Do, I Don’t series, as well as the romantic standalones in the Love, Unexpectedly series.

Rating: two-stars

 

Claire Hayes discovered that her husband has been having numerous affairs, and now, after his funeral (no, she didn’t kill him!) she becomes friends with two of the “other” women, Naomi and Audrey. They have a pact to never let the other one to fall for a womanizer again.
Fast forward 18 months and both Claire and Naomi are in happy relationship. But Audrey has fallen again for a wrong man. And then somebody writes about it on social media. To avoid scandal, Audrey and her best friend Clarke decide to fake engagement. Can it work between best friends?

This book is being sold as “romance”, though after reading the description it sounded more as a rom – com to me. However, it should be advertised as a YA, me thinks. It absolutely didn’t convince me, I felt like reading a book for a teenager, and I am, well, a bit older than that. There was little that kept my attention and in the end I found myself skim – reading without a feeling that I’m missing something, as every single page was almost the same, the will they/won’t they between the characters, the main heroine all the time changing her mind. Also, this fake engagement DID not work for me. I think it would, but it didn’t. It was too… yes, fake, unbelievable. There was no chemistry and the characters themselves didn’t seem to believe that something is happening at all. They were calling themselves best friends and they could not communicate with each other. Gah.

I didn’t realise it is a third book in the series and for a long, long time – never, actually – I couldn’t get what was so special in Audrey and why would anybody be interested in writing about her. I still don’t know it. I couldn’t connect with her, she was under – developed, pretentious, spoiled and self – centred. I much better preferred her friends Naomi and Clare, they were much mature and funny.
Clarke was so perfect that he felt absolutely unbelievable und unrealistic. Not only incredibly handsome but also oh so gorgeously understanding, caring and affectionate. Not a single negative thing about him. Meh.

Altogether, the whole plot seemed too far – fetched and overdone, with things either impossible to happen at all or happening too conveniently. It was all pink and bed of roses and the problems the characters had seemed so trivial. It seemed that the author went through the motions when writing this story, ticking all the boxes that belong to such a story. Simply, it was not a read for me, though if you are looking for a soft, light and heart in the eyes kind of read, just give it a go.