The Good Enough Mother by Anoushka Beazley / Blog Tour

Hi guys, and happy Friday! Today is my turn on Anoushka Beazley’s blog tour for her novel “The Good Enough Mother” and guys, believe me, I am incredibly happy that I’ve got across this book and had a chance to read it – if you’re looking for a read with a difference, don’t hesitate and give this novel a go! You won’t regret it!

The Good Enough Mother by Anoushka Beazley

 

31076788Publisher: Larchwood Press

Publishing Date: 9th July 2016

Source:  Received in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 330

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Gatlin – a leafy, affluent town: Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch. However all is not as it seems. Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman. Watching the yummy mummies she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan…unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin. Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA? A satirical and hilarious black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition.

Rating: 4/5

“The Good Mother” is not necessarily a book that I’d choose to read, it was brought to my attention by the lovely Jenny when she was looking for bloggers to take part in the blog tour, and boy, am I glad for this chance! I had some initial problems with this story, I admit, but I can also tell you that in the end I genuinely enjoyed this complex and humorous novel that totally has taken me by surprise, full of dark humour and more twisty than a winding way.

So. This book. Guys, really. It felt like a ride on the biggest rollercoaster in the world. I’ve been either on top or deep, deep down with my feelings about this story. It started at the very beginning – I couldn’t stop thinking that the main character Drea is full of negativity, sadness, anger and I was already thinking what it is this pile of hate she’s trying to pass on to us through the pages, and really, what kept me reading was the fact that I have the book as a part of a blog tour. But then there came a moment that I started to understand her and to see that it’s the way she is, and that, in fact, she may be full of hatred but she’s also incredibly sharp, clever and has the best sense of humour, and she’s also incredibly unselfish. I’m not sure if she’d thank me for saying this about her but I think that under this hard shell there was a brilliant, intelligent, sarcastic woman. She turned out to be an absolute breath of fresh air – she was genuine, honest and she had an attitude – what she sees is what she gets. She couldn’t give a shit and finally, eventually I got it and I adored this attitude! Such a difference to all those yummy mummies – and the biggest difference was that while those women were only talking, Drea was doing. There was not a thing that she wouldn’t do for Ava.

In theory the story is about mother – daughter relationship but the check there is that Drea isn’t even Ava’s mother! How did this happen? Well. Drea’s boyfriend and Ava’s father, Alex, has left – not only Drea, but also his daughter. Drea is desperate to provide Ava the same life comfort which means she’s desperate that her daughter stays in the private school that Drea has no money to pay for. She sets her mind on raising the money – no matter how. And here the story actually gains it speed. The fact that the things Drea does are not too legal – well, it made me roll my eyes a little but also I think it was the moment that I thought, you go girl! And so I just went and overlook this fact.

The author has incredible way with words and she’s full of sharp observations that are incredibly straight to the point. She effortlessly brings to life not only characters and the way they tick but also the setting, starting with the descriptions of the school, all the yummy mummies, shops and even the local GP surgery. Some of the moments were hilarious but also sad, because guys, the author has written how it really is, and the reality bites.

Altogether it was a little too far – fetched for my liking, too grotesque – like and I think you need to read this book with a pinch of salt, but nevertheless, it was a great read. The writing style was raw, which only made it honest and genuine and it was like a breath of fresh air. I truly adored how Anoushka Beazley was able to write not only in a humorous way but also to show the more vulnerable side to Drea and make it feel real. She, in a very clever and gentle way, deals with some more serious issues in this story but really well balances them with this dark, sarcastic humour. She has mixed so many things in her book: crime, murder, love, the politics of school – gates runs, older men obsessed with porn, relationships and still it all makes sense and made for a compelling read with a difference.

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A Year at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

A Year at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

 

32944218Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 29th December 2016

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

Number of pages: 3517

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The perfect escapist read, for all fans of Cathy Bramley and Scarlett Bailey.
When sisters Nessie and Sam inherit a little pub in a beautiful country village they jump at the chance to escape their messy lives and start afresh. But when they arrive at the Star and Sixpence, it’s not quite what they imagined – it’s pretty much derelict, ruined by debts, and it’s going to be a huge job to get it up and running again. But they are determined to make the best of this new life and they set about making the pub the heart of the village once again. Their first year at the Star and Sixpence won’t be easy, though nothing worth doing ever is.
But when the sisters’ past comes back to haunt them, they start to think that the fresh start they needed is very far away indeed…

Rating: 4/5

So guys, this time I haven’t read the story when it was published as series but patiently, verrrry patiently waited for it to come out as one, big, gorgeous paperback – even though I am not against novels being published in instalments. There was really no reason why I wanted to read it as a whole, I just felt I can wait. I’ve already heard many good things about this book and I was really looking forward towards reading it, and let’s be honest for a moment, I immediately fell in love with this gorgeous cover as well.

So the story introduces us to sisters Nessie and Sam who have just inherited a pub in the countryside from their father – father that they haven’t seen or talked to for many, many years. However, they both decide that it’s time for something new, they both had some changes in their lives and so they soon find themselves running an idyllic pub and everything it involves – first of all, learning everything about running the pub, that’s it, and then all the amendments, power cuts, staff problems, winning the villagers over but also dealing with their own skeletons!

There are plenty of characters introduced to us in this novel, and there is this lovely feeling of community there as well. This is Little Monkham, a little village, where everybody knows everybody else and there is always one lady keeping all the strings in her iron fist and knowing why, where, who and with whom, and it was brilliantly captured in this novel – I totally bought it, even though I must have rolled my eyes once or twice, I was more like Sam there, taking things more with a pinch of salt but eventually accepting that some things will be done whether she liked it or not. But let’s come back to the characters – there were many of them but with this being a relatively long book it wasn’t so confusing or overwhelming. I loved some of the names, for example Father Goodluck, it’s a lovely name, isn’t it? The blacksmith Owen, cellar – man Joss Felstead… All the characters had their own stories to tell and they were really great developed, full of details, happy and sad moments and it was great that the author here and there was taking a break from the pub and the central characters of Sam and Nessie – even if they were lovely heroines! I love books about families, going into details about relationships between – this time – two sisters. Sam and Nessie were so different but both brilliant women and despite all those differences they loved each other and they were there to support each other. The dynamics between them were portrayed in such an effortless and realistic way, it was not only bed of roses but the girls had their misunderstandings, which only made the read much more realistic.

The author has nailed it with all the seasons or events perfectly and I’d love to spend a Halloween or summer fest at Star and Sixpence. Especially when a sexy celebrity is an added bonus! The blossoming romance aspects were full of twist and turns, there were more of them as on a winding road to be honest. The never ending will they/won’t they between Nessie and Owen could be annoying, as it took so much time and their attitude needed a lot of patience from the reader, but it was also incredibly sweet and innocent and it worked for me this time. I think it is because sometimes you just know that the characters are DESTINED to be together, so you’re willing to give them this little more time, even though you want to bang their heads together most of the time. No hard feelings!

I loved the sense of friendship and community in the story – it was so overwhelming that I immediately felt a part of this book, a part of Little Monkham. For such a small village it offered so much, starting with games of cricket, through wedding of the year to pub quizzes, with the pub always in the centre, and it all sounded so down to earth and so idyllic. There is so much love in the detailed descriptions of the pub, the author brought this place to life so effortlessly and I could easily see in my mind the interior or make myself comfortable and warm at the fireplace.

My only “but” is that some things were started, mentioned and then forgotten, or only shortly mentioned again. I know it did probably work well when the book was published in parts but in a story like this I like all the ends to be wrapped up and to know how exactly the situations were resolved, like for example this with Sam’s unfortunate affair (it’s nice to know that the person was rightly punished but I’d love to know what exactly happened), or Nessie’s ex – husband Patrick who so tamely agreed to Nessie’s decision, even though it looked like there was still a lot of fight to be done. There were moments that it felt too chopped and the things that were big and significant for the plot felt reduced.

“A Year at the Star and Sixpence” was a lovely, romantic, humorous and heart – warming novel, a great adventure with some really well developed characters. The world created by Holly Hepburn was inviting and warm and the story of the supposedly haunted pub, its locals and two sisters facing challenges in restoring it and bringing back to its glory allowed me for a few hours of a great escape. All the holidays, seasons and the small traditions were so lovely and captured with so much feeling. It is really a perfect book to snuggle up with in front of the fireplace, with a mug of hot chocolate. I found myself involved in the sisters’ lives and adventures and rooting not only for them but also for all the other characters. There is all I am looking for in a book – laughter and sadness, lovely, awkward romances, suspense and tension, adorned by believable, easy – going characters. Looking forward to reading much more from Holly Hepburn! Highly recommended!

Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely

Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely

 

31328538Publisher: Twenty7

Publishing Date: 20th October 2016

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

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Crime

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO BE THE PERFECT MOTHER?

A timeless story of mothers and daughters with a razor-sharp 21st century twist, this heart-wrenching debut for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jane Shemilt and The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas will make you question how you and your family spend time online

Isabel Murrow is precariously balancing her career and her family. Hard-working and caring, worried but supportive, all Isabel wants, in a perilous world of bullies and temptations, is to keep her daughter Phoebe safe.

Phoebe has just attempted suicide. She says it is Isabel’s fault.

Saving Phoebe Murrow is a timely tale about an age-old problem – how best to raise our children, and how far to go in keeping them from harm. Set amidst the complicated web of relationships at the school gate, it tells a story of miscommunication and malice, drugs and Facebook, prejudice and revenge.

Rating: 4/5

When I first heard about “Saving Phoebe Murrow” by Herta Feely, and then read the synopsis, I had a feeling that it could the right book for me. There are things that bother me so much nowadays, I sometimes think that I was born in the wrong times to be honest, and cyber – bullying, and bullying altogether, belong to topics that are close to my heart. After reading the story I couldn’t believe how sick this particular character was! I felt disgust and disbelief and I truly couldn’t believe that an adult could behave like this. What’s worse, as the author says herself, such thing happened – Herta Feely was inspired to write this book on an actual event of cyber bullying, an event that didn’t end in a good way – and to think that there are really such sick people in the world makes me scared. Actually, this one extra star is for the topic of this book, which is incredibly in – thing, important and should be better controlled. It is one of my biggest fear that one day my daughter could experience something like Phoebe has experienced.

It is a very thoughtful and insightful book about bullying – cyber bullying, to be specific, and I incredibly felt for the fourteen year old Phoebe, your usual, average teenager for whom appearances are everything, for whom being popular and having the right friends is the be – all and end – all and who was so blameless in all this chaos that ensued around her. The author in a very realistic, shocking way describes what’s happening and what kind of pressure it is on the characters. This book is brutally honest and I really felt uncomfortable when reading it – but not because the book was bad or something, no, because I can’t believe that people are capable to do such things and because I fell for Phoebe so much. The writing style is very engaging and accessible and easy to follow and the characters and their acts got under my skin. Those were actually the character that made “Saving Phoebe Murrow” so special and outstanding. They were the best kind of characters who made you change your mind about them – they twisted my opinion on them, back and forth, over and over again. They are very, very well drawn! Their personalities are brilliantly captured and they are so very different, which makes the reading so much more interesting. I had some problems with Phoebe’s mother, Isabel, to be honest, she was really über – caring in my eyes and yes, I know it’s easy to say such things from the reading sofa’s perspective, but she was much too controlling, much to arrogant and much too abrasive and judgemental, and not only towards Phoebe but towards all other characters, even her own husband. She judged people on the way how they look like or what kind of job they have – hello? Sure, we want to protect our children, but we can’t shut them off from the whole world, they have to make their own mistakes and the mistakes made by Phoebe were not as bad as she thought. But for Isabel things were either black or white, there was no grey area in her life.
Sandy is a very interesting, complex characters in my opinion – a woman whose only goal in life is to fit in and make right friends, just like her child, but fails, which changes her incredibly.
It was easy to indentify with Phoebe, even though she’s in her teenage years and I am already a mother myself, having forgotten about high school and all the ups and downs, but reading about her own ups and downs brought some of the things back. I found myself understanding her emotions, her anger, fear, sadness. She was such a kind girl, really, who didn’t deserve this what’s happened and this being so cruel and nasty.
Social media plays of course a very big role in this story. It is so easy to turn against your friend when you’re hidden behind the computer screen, when you think there are no consequences or when the consequences won’t pique you personally.

It was a relatively well paced read and it was full of tension and uncertainty but also a lot of concern for what’s going to happen. The things that bothered me a little were the many shifts in the points of view, there were moments it dragged on a little for my liking and to be honest, the end didn’t sit with me so well. It was too abrupt, too rushed and didn’t feel like the end at all and I like when the characters that deserve it are punished. However, I was totally engrossed in this story and I was desperate to know what’s going to happen. It was a very convincing debut about the effect of bullying and the pressure of belonging to the “right” circle of people. A book that makes you think, that is thought – provoking, showing how devastating the consequences of half – baked ideas may be. “Saving Phoebe Murrow” is really true to life and probably this is why it made me feel so scared – I hate to think that something like this may happen to my own daughter in a few years time. I’m not sure what I’d do in such situation, it’s such an awful thing to happen. I am already looking forward to Herta Feely’s next novel.

It Started with a Dare by Hannah Doyle

It Started with a Dare by Hannah Doyle

 

33388967Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 15th December 2016

Series: The Year of Saying Yes #1

Source:  Purchased.

Number of pages: 183

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Join Izzy on her journey from January blues to joy. THE YEAR OF SAYING YES by Hannah Doyle will make you dirty-laugh, feel warm and fuzzy, and rediscover life’s magic – all thanks to one little word: yes. Fans of Lindsey Kelk, Mhairi McFarlane and Lucy-Anne Holmes, you’re in for a real treat.

The first of four exclusive part-serialisations of THE YEAR OF SAYING YES by Hannah Doyle.

Dear Readers

It’s drizzling outside, which totally matches my #currentmood. Pigs in blankets, all the mince pies and a festive Baileys or five are distant memories. You know the drill – it’s January. Everyone’s banning booze (terrible idea) or cutting carbs (impossible). To add to the misery pile, my plans to seduce the man of my dreams at the stroke of midnight flopped spectacularly.

I’m Izzy. I don’t just need a New Year resolution, I need a whole new life. And I need YOU. My dreary life is about to get a total makeover – it’s my ‘Year of Saying Yes’. And this is where you come in. It’s up to you to #DareIzzy. I’m saying yes to your challenges, no matter how nuts, adventurous or wild they are. The sky’s the limit – I’m at your mercy, readers!

Wish me luck. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

Love

Izzy x

Rating: 5/5

Oh wow, I couldn’t imagine a better start to the New Year than reading this novella! It is a first part in four part – serialisation and “It Started with a Dare” couldn’t be a better beginning to it – it is about New Year – resolutions and how hard, in fact, is to keep to them. I think we all know this. And Izzy realises this as well! Like so many of us (I don’t. Hands down, guilty as charged, I don’t make any resolutions and there is a very simple reason to this – I forget about them. Two days later. However Izzy’s approach is something verrry interesting!), Izzy writes down her resolutions only to find out that, actually, those are the same ones that she made a year before. Or two years ago… And that, of course, she fails to complete. So why make them at all? But it turns out that the resolutions Izzy says “no” to are starting points to her career to get the waited out boost – she’s going to write a monthly piece on saying YES to dares the readers are going to send to her.
Don’t forget that Izzy’s love life is non – existent, her mother idealizes Izzy’s older sister Olivia, who told Gorgeous George that Izzy calls him that…

To be honest, this novella has totally taken me by surprise – I haven’t expected it to be SO good, so hilarious, so light – hearted and full of laugh – out – loud moments and I loved it! I was actually disappointed when I reached the end, as I wanted to see the other dares and all the awkward and embarrassing Izzy’s moments. Hannah Doyle’s writing style is brilliant, it flows so effortlessly, it’s full of humour and I immediately felt drawn in. She describes events and situations in a way that makes you feel you are watching a sitcom, adding a gesture here or dropping a hilarious one – liner there. She can also create lovely characters that I adored from the very beginning – well, who wouldn’t relate to Izzy and the pressure she’s putting on herself? I also felt so comfortable with all her friends, but Izzy is a special character, with her very own unique voice, huge personality she’s bubbly, quirky and full of life.

So no January blues for you if you read this short story, believe me! This novella has lifted my spirits and made me to start thinking and changing perspective – why not say YES? Guys? Really, why not? “The Year of Saying Yes” Part 1 was refreshing and different, just what I needed. And I loved the idea behind this story, to try something totally new and unexpected, to be open, to come out of your shell. I have really enjoyed it and am looking forward to part 2!

My Top 5 Books of 2016

Hi guys, and happy Friday! as much as I can’t believe it we are already at the end of December and New Year is knocking at the doors. I have such mixed feelings about 2016, it was full of lovely moments, worthwile people and situations, things that I’ll never forget, new beginnings, new chances, new friends but it was also full of sad, painfull moments and I feel like saying, get lost 2016! It is time for something new and positive.

In 2016 I read 195 books. Not as many as the previous year but with life getting in the way and time being so precious I am glad that I could read so many books at all! And those were brilliant books, that I adored and gushed about. However, and I am not sure why, probably because I read so much and am picky, not many books have made it to my Hall of Fame – in fact, I am shocked that there are so few but I think that really, I love many books but only few of them have blown me away – the book must really have this something special!  And so, this year, there are only 5 of them – the very special ones, the crème de la crème of all the books that I had a pleasure to read. Here they are!

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 These Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton. What can I say? I truly adored this book, it had everything I need and want from a book. All my family and friends have read this book thanks to my reccomendations and all of them loved it! The way the author captured all the feelings in this story and it touched and moved me, it made my cry and laugh, tit made me talk to the characters and experience everything together with them – a gorgeous, unforgettable book!  Here is my review of this astonishing novel.

Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin. Already in 2015 51aqd3kunvlher novel “The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes” has made it to my top read, and in 2016 Ms McPartlin has – again, and thanks so much for this! – delivered a beautiful, moving novel with a twist. I laughed and I cried when reading it, and I couldn’t stop to admire the incredible writing style and the way the author has written this story, and I can tell you one thing: whatever you do, please read this novel! Here you can read my review of this emotional, exceptional story.

29750478The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts by Annie Darling. It was a story that just blew my mind away – it had all that I’m looking for in a book: it was full of warmth, INCREDIBLE humour, fantastic, vivid characters and it had one of the best plots ever, and well, it took place mostly in a bookshop! I still can remember how much warmth and feeling there were on the pages and this feel – good factor, and that it made me feel warm and happy. Here you can read my review of this gorgeous, charming, heart – warming book!

A year without Lisa Dickenson’s book would be a lost year, guys! I’ve no idea what ‘ve been 28798187doing before Lisa started writing books – I just can’t imagine my bookshelf without her gorgeous, heartwarming paperbacks! If you haven’t read You Had Me at Merlot I can only say drop whatever you do and buy it! It was a MUST READ this summer, and not only summer because it’ll brigthen the most grim days. It really deserves a standing ovation, folks, Lisa’s humour is an exceptional one, and you always have a feeling that her characters are your best friends – so no matter what, dear Lisa, please keep the books coming! You Had Me at Merlot  had all what I am looking for in a book and even more and I. FREAKING. LOVED. EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE.OF. IT. So there. Yes. I loved it. In case you don’t believe me, check my review here pretty please.

29622942And last but not least. It is a book by the author that her debut novel has also found itself on my top reads in 2015 list, and it always warms my heart to see that the second dreaded book is as great as the previous one! Please say hello to A Life Without You by Katie Marsh, a story that I loved with my whole heart. Full of emotions, tricky decisions to be made, brilliant characters and complex plot, written in incredibly beautiful way – and here you can read more why I loved this book so much.

A Cotswolds Christmas by Kate Hewitt

A Cotswolds Christmas by Kate Hewitt

 

32021986Publisher: Tule Publishing

Publishing Date: 17th October 2016

Series: Willoughby Close #1

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

Number of pages: 112

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Wychwood-on-Lea… a not-too-quaint village where frosty evenings, welcoming fires, and second chances will make this a Christmas you’ll never forget.

Anna Vere has escaped to the Cotswolds for Christmas to try to heal from her broken engagement and, far worse, her broken dreams. When her reserved room at a bed & breakfast is flooded, she takes up the offer of camping out in Willoughby Close, the converted stables of the nearby manor house… and is taken under the wing of sexy local carpenter Colin Heath.

What starts out as merely helping a neighbor in need turns into far more as Colin and Anna share a surprisingly intense and emotional connection, weaving their own Christmas magic as they spend the holiday together. But Anna has a secret she’s scared to reveal, something that could destroy the fragile bond they’ve just created, and Colin knows she’s only in England for a short time. Can these two sudden soul mates risk their hearts for a love that has yet to be tried and tested?

Get swept away by this poignant and heartwarming story, set in beautiful Wychwood-on-Lea, in the English Cotswolds. And look forward to four more books set in Willoughby Close, where everyday miracles and happily-ever-afters are guaranteed.

Rating: 3/5

I haven’t read many books by Kate Hewitt but those that I’ve read I really loved, so I was really excited when I spied “The Cotswolds Christmas” on NetGalley. The festive cover, the lovely title just scream Christmas, don’t you think? It is also a prequel to Kate Hewitt’s new series, Willoughby Close. The setting was gorgeous, and the idea of renovating the cottages was also brilliant, and I personally can’t wait to see them when they’re finished. I’d only feel sorry that it snowed only once in the story.

The writing style was brilliant, just the way I like the stories to be told. It was warm and inviting and – simply – I liked it. In comparison to the slow pace of the whole story, the end felt much too rushed and it wrapped up so quickly. Anna and Colin are this kind of characters that you don’t feel any connection to, so as a result you also don’t care much about them, and it’s a pity, because there was a lot of potential and their stories were interesting. I don’t know, Anna seemed so impassive, expecting Colin to take matters in his hands and fight for her. It’s OK, of course, but there are always two sides, two people, right? She just made assumptions and jumped to conclusions. I think that with more depth and development to the characters I’d enjoy them much more, I just had a feeling I don’t know them well enough to like them more. But I still enjoyed them, and I also liked being introduced to all the other characters that I hope we’ll see in the future parts of the series.

So actually yes, in theory everything was OK with this book but it just didn’t quite hit the mark for me. There was in fact not much happening and the whole romance/falling in love/feeling the attraction bit felt flat for me – don’t get me wrong, it was cute and lovely and quick (but as much as it was cute, it was also incredibly quick – I mean, after only three days of being together Anna and Colin started to plan their life together and wondering who should give up on their previous life. Yes, sure, lovely and sweet and romantic but somehow rushed) but I didn’t feel the sparkles. and somehow I also couldn’t warm to the characters, I am not sure why, I just had a feeling they both really don’t know what they want. There is also not as much of festive feeling, as I have expected, judging on the lovely cover. However, brownie points to the author for adding the more poignant moments and giving the story more depth and touching upon some sensitive issues. It made the story much more realistic in my opinion, as it was not only bed of roses but some real troubles and problems as well. So altogether, “A Cotswold Christmas” is a lovely, emotional romance, but it was lacking in the festive feel for me, as I expected tons of snow and Christmas trees. But it was romantic and cute and yes, I liked it, and I will be for sure reading the other parts in the series.

Christmas Cheer by Bella Osborne

Christmas Cheer by Bella Osborne

 

29750481Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 20th October 2016

Series: Willow Cottage #2 (read my review of #1 here)

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

Number of pages: 111

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5

“Christmas Cheer” is the second instalment in Bella Osborne’s Willow Cottage’s series, and it rather should be read as a part of the series, as it starts exactly where we left in the first novella and continues on the characters’ adventures without all over again going into details about who is who and why. It is already some time since I’ve read “Sunshine and Secrets” and I was worried that I forgot most of the things and characters but by the end of the first chapter I already felt at home and remembered everything.

It was nice to be back in the village, with all its villagers, some more weird than the others, and to see that Beth and her son Leo are getting settled in and finding not only friends but also jobs. One of the jobs involves Beth taking care about Jack’s dog Daisy, and oh my word, can this dog create a havoc! But she’s a lovely dog, Daisy is, really, and at least it is cleared up why she’s getting crazy every time she sees one of the villagers and her trolley.

I know that after reading the first part I had some problems with the story following also Beth’s best friend Carly and her boyfriend and somehow it just didn’t sit with me, as it seemed as if there were two different stories in one book. However, this time, I took it stoically – the sudden switches between Beth and Carly’s stories, maybe it just should be like this, and moreover, the stories start to intertwine in my opinion, and Carly is more at Beth’s, and it works now.

Bella Osborne’s writing is getting better and better. It’s easy to follow, it’s light, with a right dose of humour – there are some really hilarious scenes in this novella! – and seriousness. The characters are developing, and the cottage is taking shape, and I loved to read about all the ideas Beth had and how the villagers were willing to help her. The writing is really vivid and down to earth and I could easily imagine all the things really happening.

So it was really great to see Beth and Leo starting to fit in and it is a real pain to see that there are for sure troubles coming in! Of course, this part ended with a cliff – hanger as well, and I think there will be some unexpected visits in the third part, but I am also dead sure that a big, huge understatement happened at the end of “Christmas Cheer” and that it’s also going to create chaos and there will be a lot of jumping to conclusions, and it already annoys me because I want to see Beth happy, and I know, deep in my heart, that she and Jack just belong together! I am certain that problems are expecting us in the third instalment, “A Spring Affair” – and I can’t wait to read it! “Christmas Cheer” was a funny, poignant and also romantic and festive short story – I recommend it!