Amber Green Takes Manhattan by Rosie Nixon

Amber Green Takes Manhattan by Rosie Nixon



35235874Publisher: HQ

Publishing Date: 29th June 2017

Series: Amber Green #2

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

Number of pages: 427

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Novice stylist Amber Green is taking on the glittering celebrity world of Manhattan one fashion disaster and wardrobe malfunction at a time!

When her TV producer boyfriend Rob announces that he’s been offered a job in New York, filming with the infamous Angel Wear lingerie models, Amber knows its her perfect chance to take the New York fashion world by storm.

But Amber wasn’t counting on unruly toddler photo shoots, clandestine designer handbag scams and a Hollywood star who is determined to wear as little as possible on the red carpet. Until she meets a disgraced former designer who could turn her career around…or leave it all in tatters.

Fun, adventure, glamour and high-fashion make this is the perfect feel good women’s fiction read.

Rating: five-stars



Ah, guys, “Amber Green Takes Manhattan” was probably one of my most anticipated books this summer. I’ve read and adored “The Stylist” last year and really, I couldn’t be more excited for the sequel. After my review copy arrived I’ve immediately fell in love with the cover – it’s fabulous, with those lovely embossed letters and gorgeous colours (personally I think it is much, much nicer that the cover of the first book, but it’s just me, you know I am a sucker for such fairy – tale covers). But it was not only the cover that made me love this book so much – it was simply the brilliant story of Amber Green literally taking Manhattan! This book has it all, there was a lot of laugh, embarrassing moments, jumping to conclusions, some little drama and a happy end – just what the doctor ordered!

In this second part of Amber Green’s adventures in the big world, Amber and her boyfriend Rob travel to New York, where Rob’s new job is working on a documentary for a world – famous lingerie brand – think something like Victoria’s Secret here – and Amber… well, Amber is tagging along, she doesn’t want to let Rob travel alone as they’re together only for a short while, but she also has great dreams and hopes to make her name in the styling world. And knowing Amber, you can be sure she’s going to go high, with her ability to befriend the right people and to find herself in the most hilarious, unbelievable situations ever and yes, she soon manages to get her first job with a has been/to be child star. But taking Manhattan also means social media, and Amber’s start to take over her life – is the fresh relationship with Rob going to survive? How much damage is Amber going to produce with accidentally snapped photos? And finally, is Amber REALLY able to conquest New York?

Amber reminded me so much of the one and only Becky from the Shopaholic series – she’s exactly as absent – minded and she has the ability to find herself in embarrassing situations that more than often she herself creates, mostly unintentionally. She’s very accident – prone but also she has a heart in the right place and I think it is impossible not to like Amber. OK, yes, she annoyed me, as well as Rob, with her obsession with her Instagram account and collecting followers, but well, Rob also sometimes annoyed me, taking out his frustration on the poor Amber. Sometimes is bothered me that Amber was forgetting about the whole world and focused on her career only but on the other hand I could understand her, she was in a new place and she wanted to prove herself she can do it.

The story abounds in some hilarious situations and even though there were moments they felt a little too far – fetched I still bought them, just as they were described, and they made me smile or cringe in disbelief. If the fashion world really looks like Rosie Nixon describes it then it’s better that I am an absolute outsider to it, guys – and Ms Nixon brilliantly and spot – on captured the world of the models, designers and red carpets, with all the dramas, “bags dropping”, jealousy and night life. Even though it is not so much my kind of world I totally adored to read about it.

Truly, guys, I knew after reading “The Stylist” that the second book is also going to be pretty damn good, and it was! Let me tell you, it was this little bit better than the previous one – the writing style was so much more distinctive and bolder, the characters were strong, with their own personalities and voices, and the intrigue was not only clever but it also had a brilliant ending! There came a moment that I had my own “eureka” moment and I tied the facts and guessed who and why but it didn’t spoil the read for me, not at all. I liked that the author has made Amber life not so easy, and that she had to solve some problems, both in her private and professional life. I also liked that every situation was well – rounded with the gorgeous and sharp Rosie Nixon’s humour – it made the book’s reception lighter. She also hasn’t forgotten the star of the previous book – the mini pig Pinky, and guys, Amber’s tactic of looking for a babysitter for him while she and Rob were in New York was hilarious – especially the outcome, no, Nora? Really, there were so many situations that made me laugh out loud that it’s impossible to tell you about all of them but believe me, you’re going to smile, to laugh, to cringe with embarrassment when reading this story – and I like it so much when a novel invokes so many emotions in me, because it means that it’s brilliantly written.

This book is so fast – paced and there is all the time something happening, but you don’t have the feeling that it’s too pace-y, that it’s too forced or overwhelming. There are enough twists and turns and damp down emergencies involving dressing a celebrity for Coachella (or rather, un – dressing!) and A – listers or other babies, and I truly raced through this story wanting more, and more, and more. All the characters were so great and so easily brought to life by the author. You know, I am really impressed with the way Rosie Nixon has with words, it all flows so effortlessly and seamlessly and it’s just a great joy to read. The characters are not flawless, they make mistake but they pay for them and get a chance to rehabilitate themselves, which is great.

“Amber Green Takes Manhattan” was a hilarious, fast – paced rollercoaster ride in Manhattan, full of laugh, small dramas and celebrities. It was relaxing, it was funny, but what’s more important, it was not only about glitz and glamour. It was again about following your dream, about not feeling dispirited, about believing in yourself and your talents. Highly recommended for a holiday or for a lovely summer evening in the garden – I personally loved it!

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When I WakeUp by Jessica Jarlvi / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Monday! I am starting the week with a new blog tour – and this time I am thrilled to be hosting Jessica Javlri’s blog tour celebrating the release of her debut novel “When I Wake Up”. This book is  a mystery/thriller with many other elements, and truly, it is interesting, different read – try it for yourself and tell me what you’ve thought!

When I Wake Up by Jessica Jarvli

34773207Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st June 2017

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

Number of pages: 272

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover (out on 07.09.2017)

 

Synopsis:

A breathtaking, heart-pounding, dark debut, sure to delight fans of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go To Sleep.

‘Why won’t Mummy wake up?’

When Anna, a much-loved teacher and mother of two, is left savagely beaten and in a coma, a police investigation is launched. News of the attack sends shock waves through her family and their small Swedish community. Anna seems to have had no enemies, so who wanted her dead?

As loved-ones wait anxiously by her bedside, her husband Erik is determined to get to the bottom of the attack, and soon begins uncovering his wife’s secret life, and a small town riven with desire, betrayal and jealousy.

As the list of suspects grows longer, it soon becomes clear that only one person can reveal the truth, and she’s lying silent in a hospital bed…

Rating: three-stars

I know that when I’ve read the synopsis to When I Wake Up I thought, wow. What a promising, intriguing book it’s going to be! I really didn’t need a lot of coaxing and agreed not only to read it but also be a part of the blog tour. The older I am, the more I appreciate and enjoy mysteries and thrillers, and this novel really promised something unique and exceptional. Did it live up to my expectations? Well, yes and no.

Anna lives with her husband and her twin boys in a little village. She’s a teacher and she’s actually the main support and bread winner – her husband Erik is a house painter but what he really wants is to be a rock star. I absolutely loved Anna’s passion to her job – she was a great teacher and she truly deeply cared about her students – however, her commitment was one of the things that made her marriage this bit complicated, as Erik felt he and the family are only on second place. But why was Anna so heavily beaten? Did she have enemies?
Here starts a story full of twists and turns. It is told from multiple points of view, jumping between past and present and we are invited to be witnesses to slowly unrolling web of lies, secrets and tragedies. The author casts suspicions on each and every character and it is only at the very end of the story that we see who was the perpetrator. Yes, it has crossed my mind but really, with the tangled web of shadows and misunderstandings I was never sure if I am right. The fact that all the characters’ lives became intertwined at some point made it, however, not more suspicious and tense but this tad unbelievable and far too fetched. The changing points of view were clearly separated and I was never confused where we are and who’s talking.

The characters were not too likeable, but I’ve already learnt that they don’t have to be in this kind of book. They must be convincing, and they rather were. They were complex and all so very different, but still I couldn’t find any depth in them, and perhaps this is why I couldn’t get into the story so much, perhaps this is why I wasn’t so concerned with who has done this to Anna. I am also not sure if I am so really, totally happy with the end – when the attacker was revealed, I wasn’t sure what to think, how to digest it.

The writing style was engaging but it felt somehow flat and it dragged on a little. I am also not sure what the story wanted to be – erotica, or psychological thriller, or mystery, as there are elements of all of this. However, I very much appreciate how the author has managed to complicate the story, how much there was hidden beneath the still waters. It is all about appearances, there were lies and secrets and tons of questions. The story jumps between past and present, which only makes it more compelling and slowly provides us with all the needed information.

It was not a bad book, guys, but there was also nothing special in this. Yes, it kept me guessing but to be honest I was not terribly intrigued who has beat Anna, even though there was a small bunch of characters that were also the suspects. In the end, when the perpetrator was revealed, it left me so lukewarm, with not many emotions or feelings. I am not sure why it was like this, why I couldn’t engage completely and properly. The author has tried to diversify the story with some twists and turns but they also didn’t keep me so much on my tenterhooks. Maybe it was because she has also tried to complicate the things so much by connecting all the characters on every possible lever? I really don’t know. Altogether, it was different, interesting mystery. Maybe because it is a debut novel the author has tried too much and overdid, the delivery was not what I have expected, but still I liked some elements of this story and the writing style was really unique and interesting.

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The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Sunday! I am so, so thrilled and excited today to be a part of Kat French’s blog tour for her newest release “The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach”. I loved this book SO much and I really couldn’t wait to share my review of this sunny, summery story with you. The novel is already put as an ebook and out on 13th July in paperback, and I can guarantee that you are going to LOVE it! AND – I have an extract for you as well!

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French



34016826Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 13th July 2017

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

Number of pages: 336

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 13.07.2017)

 

Synopsis:

A gorgeous summer read to escape with this summer!

A Greek island solves all life’s problems…doesn’t it?

Winnie, Stella and Frankie have been best friends forever.
When their lives unexpectedly unravel, they spontaneously decide to buy a gorgeous B on a remote Greek island.
Drenched in hot sun, Villa Valentina is the perfect escape
from reality. But when Winnie meets Jesse, their brooding
neighbour, she finds that Greece is full of its own complications – not least how attractive he is…

Meanwhile, Frankie and Stella are discovering that Villa Valentina has its own secrets – starting with the large supply of gin in the cellar and the arrival of a famous rock band. A band with one very good-looking member who just might distract Frankie from thoughts of her husband…

Smart, sassy and sexy, this summer sizzler is perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jane Costello.

Rating: five-stars

Ah, guys, there is nothing better than a Kat French book, really. Yes, I somehow missed her last release but as soon as I’ve spotted The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach and then read the synopsis, there was nothing stopping me from reading this book. Literally nothing. And truly, one look at this gorgeous colourful cover made me fall in love with it, it just screams “summer, here we come”, don’t you think? And then the story itself, laugh – out – loud fun, relax and brilliant romance – absolutely brilliant.
So yes, guys, this book. I had a feeling that I can fall in love with it (as you have probably guessed) but I haven’t expected how much! It was such a lovely, light – hearted and uplifting read with this gorgeous feel – good vibe and the overwhelming summery feeling, and I really can’t stop thinking about me needing to immediately go on holidays or at least drinking G&T, or two. Already the cover is shouting holidays, here I come, but what is hidden between the covers is even better.
It was so easy to immediately fall in love with this gorgeous – unfortunately fictional – island of Skelidos and all of its specific inhabitants. Just imagine – not spoiled by the tourists, peaceful, with a donkey or two – a perfect place to spend your holidays, no? Or maybe to spend the rest of your life, even? Which happens to Winnie, Stella and Frankie who travel there to stay for a weekend only and end as the owners of the pink Villa Valentina.

I liked the book and the characters from the very beginning, and I also found myself liking it even more with every page turned! There was something magical in all of them, and in the writing, and I just didn’t want to put the book down. Heck, I didn’t want it to end! I could really read about the three friends and their adventures much, much longer. And they were really true friends, the three girls. You could see they like and respect each other, that they feel so good in their own company and it was lovely to see how they support each other. They weren’t afraid to say uncomfortable truths as well, they did it, they were not afraid to laugh at each other, but this is just what a real friendship is, right, and this one here felt so genuine and not at all forced. Winnie was running away from her abruptly ended marriage. Stella was a career woman, devoted to her job, but she was made redundant. Frankie was having the empty nest syndrome and when her twins left home, her marriage also came to an end – so they all really have their own reasons to risk everything, leave their old lives behind and try their luck on Skelidos. However, as you are absolutely right, things never run smooth and there are some troubles in paradise waiting for our lovely, likeable and believable girls, and it doesn’t only mean a stubborn donkey, underground gin distillery and not speaking a single word in Greek. And then there are of course all those hot men: hunky Australian Jesse, the Greek God Angelo and the member of a very popular band, Seth, but let’s not forget the husband Gav as well! And villagers worshipping a bush that grows only in the Villa’s garden – a recipe for disasters, no?

Kat French of course doesn’t forget about male characters, oh no, she doesn’t! And what great characters they were, guys! Jesse was so direct and outright that after my first jaw dropping moment I couldn’t stop to laugh at Winnie’s amusement, but I also wanted to cheer her on, high – five her and yell, you go girl, show him. I loved how he started to show her how to leave her comfort zones, how to appreciate herself – it was a gorgeous, beautiful subplot.

There were enough twists and turns to keep me glued to the pages, and I loved how the author surprised me every now and then. The unexpected visits, the way the story took its turn – it was all so surprising, and even for me not predictable, as the villa itself had also hidden treasures to discover! It was absolutely great and inspiring to see the three friends coming back to Skelidos to make the best of the villa, to just see how their lives are going to turn out, to just grab the life by the horns.

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French has really had it ALL. Incredibly gorgeous setting, enough G&T to keep you happy, all – knowing neighbours, villagers that adored their own traditions, brilliant, bouncy and quirky characters, romance in the air and some stumbling blocks as well, and I simply adored it. It was easy to read, light and full of sun and humour and poignant moments – a perfect escapism. Brilliant story about new beginnings, second chances and leaving your comfort zones, being courageous. It is filled with friendship and hilarious moments and it is a must have accessory for your summer bag – really, guys, you don’t have to thank me for the recommendation. I am sure you are going to fell in love with all elements and Villa Valentina.


EXTRACT:

[Extract 3 from Prologue pp. 11-13]

Ajax placed a tray of three tall, fine-stemmed fishbowl glasses on the beach-bar table in front of them an hour or so later.

‘You’ve built our expectations sky-high now, you know that, right?’ Frankie said, lifting her eyebrows at him. ‘If these cocktails don’t make us feel a million dollars we’re going to want our money back.’

‘Your first drink is always on the house anyways,’ Ajax said grandly. ‘Villa Valentina house secret mix, guaranteed to make you happy.’

‘Free drinks always make me happy,’ Stella sighed. ‘People used to give me free drinks all over town. Stella! Come in, have a glass of champagne! And another!’

‘Ah, get over yourself, superstar. This one’s still free and looks amazing.’ Frankie reached for one of the glasses and handed it to Stella.

‘What is it?’ Winnie lifted her sunnies and squinted up at Ajax hovering close by for their verdict.

He shrugged. ‘Gin and tonic.’

It wasn’t like any gin and tonic Winnie had ever seen before. Peering into the glass as she slid it towards her, she could see rich shades of honeyed nectarine red sparkling with ice and slices of rose-pink grapefruit.

‘Is this rosemary?’ Frankie asked, plucking a herb from her glass and sniffing it.

Ajax preened. ‘I grow it myself in the garden at the back of the villa.’

Frankie dunked it back into her cocktail, using it to swirl the ice cubes. All three women looked up as the guy they’d spotted earlier with Ajax wandered over and placed a platter of glistening halved figs scattered with walnuts down on their table.

‘Oh. My. God.’ Winnie groaned. ‘How good does that look? They’re the fattest figs I’ve ever seen in my life.’

‘Best in the world. I grow them myself in the garden behind the villa.’

‘I’m sensing a theme,’ Stella murmured, then took a sip of her drink and gasped. ‘Bloody hell! That’s amazing. You have to tell me how to make this before I leave.’

Ajax ignored the request, choosing instead to make introductions.

‘Ladies, this is my husband, Nikolas.’

Nikolas stuck out his hand. ‘Nik, please.’

‘Well, thank you, Nik, for this. It looks wonderful,’ Winnie said, nodding towards the plate. ‘I’m Winnie.’

The others jumped up in turn and shook his hand, and he just nodded politely and excused himself.

‘He likes actions, not words,’ Ajax sighed, watching his lover wistfully until he’d disappeared back into the villa.

‘My kind of man,’ Stella laughed, making Ajax scowl theatrically.

‘What is it that you English like to say?’ he said. ‘Not on your nelly.’

He winked and blew them a kiss before threading his way through the tables in the direction of his husband.

‘Happy couples make me want to vom right now,’ Winnie said, taking a good gulp of her drink and then almost choking on the rosemary stem.

Stella grabbed for the glass. ‘Christ, Winnie, it’s too good to splutter all over the floor!’

Frankie lifted her drink so that the sunlight shone through the liquid, bouncing pink crystal shimmers all around them.

‘Everything about this place is special,’ she said. ‘The villa, Ajax, the cocktails, that view . . . it’s all blissful.’

Winnie had recovered sufficiently to raise her glass and toast the others.

‘To forty-eight hours of secret recipe cocktails and unin­terrupted bliss.’

Stella clinked her glass against Winnie’s. ‘I’ll drink to that. And to friendship.’

Frankie nodded solemnly and touched her glass to the others. ‘To us.’

Ajax watched the three women carefully from an upstairs window of the villa, observing the way they laughed together, how they toasted each other, that they were relaxed in each other’s company.

Maybe.

With enough of his secret cocktails and a fractured kalei­doscope of sun-gilded images laid out to seduce them, just maybe.


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Then. Now. Always by Isabelle Broom

Then. Now. Always by Isabella Broom


33842324Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 20th April 2017

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

Number of pages: 416

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Hannah can’t believe it when she’s offered a trip to sunny Spain with her best friend and dreamy boss . . . what’s the catch?

Twenty-eight year old Hannah is ready for an adventure. She and her colleagues are in Spain for a month to film a documentary, and it’s a dream come true. Not least because Hannah will get to spend long summer days with Theo, her boss (and crush). If only Tom (Hannah’s best friend and cameramen) and Claudette (the presenter) would stop getting in the way…

Then things become even more complicated when Nancy, Hannah’s half-sister arrives. What on earth is she doing here?

For once in her life, can’t Hannah just have one perfect summer, free of any drama?

Rating: three-stars


Oh my, mea culpa, it took me over two months to sit down and write this review. I think I know why it took me so long – “Then. Now. Always” by Isabelle Broom is getting raving reviews, and really guys, I started reading this book with so many expectations but quickly found myself almost in desperation wondering if I am reading the same book as other people, singing prizes. Don’t get me wrong – I adore Isabelle Broom, and her debut novel was absolutely brilliant, but I just couldn’t get this newest release, and it made me so sad, as I had so much hope and wanted to love this story so much. But – Isabelle Broom is the ultimate person to turn to when you need to get into holiday mode – she sets her books in the most gorgeous settings and she brings them easily and effortlessly to life. “Then. Now. Always” is set in Spain, in a beautiful, gorgeous town, full of sunshine, adventures and secret places.

So guys, between you and me, there was one thing that almost made the book totally kaput for me. And it was the main character – it is really hard to love a book when the main hero is driving you crazy. Hannah was at the beginning, and through almost the whole story, a pathetic, feeling sorry for herself person who didn’t know what she really want. She was unhappy with everything and everybody surrounding her. I admit, it was a risky move from the author to make her character fall in love with her boss but I am sure it was a very conscious move. We know about this crush immediately, so I tried to be patient with Hannah but there came a moment when I couldn’t stand wondering what Theo would say or if he’s thinking about her at the same moment she’s thinking about him, anymore. I liked how this played out however, it was not too cheesy, too fairy – tailish.
Then I couldn’t grasp how come people stick with Hannah for so long, with her being so needy and whinge-y and stubborn. She didn’t want to hear what other people have to say, and the way she was around Tom… well, she just him took for granted, the same as so many other things in her life. The bickering with her half – sister Nancy was annoying and her saying one thing and then doing the other as well. Hannah wanted to spend one summer without any dramas but let’s be honest, wasn’t she the one who has created all the problems? I just couldn’t get past the fact that the characters were supposed to be adults but behaved like children.

What saved the book for me was the ending. It was not obvious and it was not predictable and I really liked how it turned out. It was different to all the endings. I actually think that if it weren’t the weak characters, the book would be perfect. But OK, let’s stop with moaning and focus on the good things. It was a great story offering a huge piece of escapism. The events in this book were likeable and there were tricky situations aplenty to make this plot as twisty as the Spanish roads. The author so flawlessly handles the complex story that it was a real pleasure to read. I also appreciate the fact that Isabelle Broom tried to make out of a supposedly lightweight novel a much more emotional and complicated story. Right at the beginning we have this being in love with your own boss situation, which I could feel in my bones is going to end in tears, then she adds a bit of half – sibling rivalry, and while Hannah’s sister Nancy was very one – dimensional and predictable, and Hannah’s reactions were, in my opinion, much too exaggerated, and the two girls behaved like spoiled, immature teenagers, showing their shallow sides behaving in a really awkward way, this element added some depth and was well captured.

Altogether, this book gives you what you can expect: gorgeous setting of Mojocar, twists and turns, adventures and unconventional romance. It is quick – paced and there is enough of drama to keep you on your tenterhooks. There is this added bonus of Mojocar’s history and traditions, myths and legends that I enjoyed very much. A story about building bridges and forgiving and I am really sorry it didn’t work for me – I really, truly wanted it to work! However, I am already looking towards Isabelle’s next book, I’m sure it’s going to be (another) cracker!

The Mothers of Lovely Lane by Nadine Dorries / Blog Tour

Hi guys, happy Wednesday and welcome to my stop on Nadine Dorries blog tour. The Mothers of Lovely Lane is my first book by this author but for sure not the last – Nadine has incredible way with words and has created a beautiful, poignant novel and I am already looking forward to reading other books in this series. If you’re looking for a captivating historical fiction that you can lose yourself in, than The Mothers of Lovely Lane may be the perfect book for you!

The Mothers of Lovely Lane by Nadine Dorries



34862490Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publishing Date: 15th June 2017

Series: Lovely Lane #3

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

Number of pages: 464

Genre:  Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 18.03.2018)

 

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of The Angels of Lovely Lane, The Four Streets and Ruby Flynn.

Noleen Delaney is one of an army of night cleaners at St Angelus hospital in Liverpool. Since her husband was injured in the war, she has supported her five children. With help from her eldest, Bryan – a porter’s lad – the family just about gets by.

When Finn, her youngest, passes the eleven plus exam, Noleen feels faint. Allowing Finn to attend the grammar will stretch her purse too far.

When Bryan steps in to help, the results rock the St Angelus community. As the nurses of Lovely Lane near their final exams, Noleen will find herself tested, and her heart broken. Just how far can a mother’s love stretch?

Rating: four-stars





The Mothers of Lovely Lane is a third book in The Lovely Lane series, but it was new to me. I haven’t read the two previous books and, as usually, when starting reading series not in the right order I was somehow anxious but now I can absolutely positively state that this book can be read as a stand – alone. Sure, there are some flashbacks and glimpses into the past but it didn’t make the story in any way confusing.

What made it confusing however, and I must add it right at the beginning, was the incredibly huge number of the characters and the way the story was told itself. I must admit that I almost gave up on identifying who is who, to whom they belong and what is their story as there were so many of them. And also, with it being a rather long book, the fact that sometimes we needed two or three chapters to come to an event that was mentioned as happening right now, it just made me feel the whole story was dragging on and honestly, there were moments that I was losing my patience and interest and I wanted to bang on the table and shout hurry up, please, let’s something happen, I want that ward to be opened eventually! But that’s just me. And actually I don’t have more things to whine about, so let’s start gushing now, right?

The story is set in a gritty area of Liverpool and mostly revolves around St. Angelus hospital, a place where people come for help when they are sick and injured, and it also links all the characters in this story: our main characters but also the doctors, other nurses and the St. Angelus mafia. Among the many characters we have Dessie, helping other families who have suffered in the war or who have lost beloved ones. There are Biddy and Elsie, those so much needed characters, the busybodies who knows everything about everyone but whose presence lightens the situations so often, and Noleen, who works as a cleaner then to go home to take care about her husband injured in the war and their children. She was an incredible character and I think that every heart will go to her, as she did her utmost to keep the family alive. This feeling of community spirit, of friendship and of sharing this something special that only people who were victims to wars can share is overwhelming and is so easily brought to life by the author. The characters were all hard working, yet they were the people who wore their hearts on their sleeves and supported each other in this incredible, non – egoistical way.

The author has incredible way with words. She is able to effortlessly transport you into the fictional word of her characters. She vividly shows the harsh reality of post – war times but she also creates world full of hope and balances it with beautiful, poignant moments. There is a lot of friendship, drama, heartbreak, compassion and love, about family bonds and relationships, about the determination to not only survive but also to help. It shows the true sense of being a part of community. It was so heart – breaking to see that all of the characters in this book were somehow touched by the war, that they all were victims to drama and that they were not spared any tragedy. They truly experienced a lot in their lives and I admired this side of them, because they were people who really have seen and experienced a lot in their lives and had something to tell. They have depth to them, they have complex personalities and distinctive voices.

Altogether, The Mothers of Lovely Lane was moving, lovely historical fiction about changes – and, as we know, changes can be good or not, and this story gives us a wide view without judging. It was about strength and determination and written in absolutely beautiful, vivid way. Nadine Dorries may be a new author to me but I will be looking to read more of her books. In the meantime, I can only recommend this epic historical novel to you.


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Blood Sisters by Jane Corry / Blog Tour

Good morning! I am so, so THRILLED to start this Friday with a review of Jane Corry’s Blood Sister as a part of her new, epic blog tour. Having read Jane’s previous novel I couldn’t wait for her new release, and believe me, guys – this book is dark but not too dark, full of lies and secrets that are not too overwhelming – it is just a perfect book for one sitting. Why only one? Because when you start reading it, you won’t be able to put it down!

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

32874095Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 29th June 2017

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

Number of pages: 464

Genre:  Mystery/Psychological Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the Sunday Times bestseller MY HUSBAND’S WIFE

Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning.
Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.

But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day.
And only another life will do…

 

Rating: five-stars

Having read and absolutely loved Jane Corry’s previous novel, My Husband’s Wife, I was incredibly excited to read her new release, Blood Sisters. This book has completely drawn me in – I actually read it on one Sunday, forgetting about the world going around and reality. It was full of surprises, and I love when a book is able to surprise me in a way Blood Sisters did, with its complex plot, the unreliable narrators that you weren’t sure if you should trust, and playing games with our minds.

The story is a slow burner, so be prepared that the first part may feel a little too long or as if there is almost nothing happening there – and I’ve already started to panic, guys, it made me feel so, so scared! However, with the second part the story gains incredible tempo, there are many twists and turns on the way and really you won’t be able to put the book down. When you think that everything is clear already, that we know all we should know, the author throws another surprise and everything changes.

The story was told in two alternating perspectives by the half – sisters Alison and Kitty, taking us on a journey to their past and present. Alison is an art teacher, Kitty is living in a home as she’s severely disabled, with a brain damage and she doesn’t remember what happened to bring her to this home in the first place. The connection between Alison and Kitty is quickly explained and throughout the story we start to learn more about the secrets that bond them together.

Alison is an artist and a teacher, and she applies for a job in an open prison for art classes for the inmates. Alison was relatively hard to “breach” and to warm into, to be honest, as she was so very introvert, but I also could understand her, especially as more and more facts about her were unravelled. It just seemed as if Alison was all the time holding back and keeping something for her. On the other hand, her half – sister Kitty was like and open book, not holding her thoughts back from us. It was incredible how deeply the author has managed to get into Kitty’s head. She has so brilliantly and realistically captured Kitty’s frustrations when she couldn’t express herself, when the only thing that came out of her mouth, instead of words, were sounds and babbles. However, and I really don’t know if this makes me a really bad person, I couldn’t help the feeling that Kitty deserved what’s happened to her. There, I said it. Sure, I sympathized with her, I pitied her but still I couldn’t help thinking that she was asking for what’s happened – and I think she will never change. But of course, Kitty’s story was also heart – breaking and it was exceptionally emotional to see how frustrated she was, fighting to grab hold of her flyaway memories, to communicate with the outside world. Jane Corry has so well described how the brain damage affected Kitty and her behaviour, but also how it affected the closes to her.

The author has written the characters in such a great way. There was a depth to them and even though they were not all likeable, you still want that everything will turn well for them. You also never know who to trust, as they were all telling so many lies to protect themselves – it may sound scaring but believe me, this complex web of lies was superbly created and it just sucks you in, and you are desperate to know what actually has happened.

This book was perfectly written, with realistic and diverse characters, with sharp dialogues and the plot was complex and intriguing, panning out in a way that was totally unpredictable. It was fast – paced (even with the beginning being on the slow side – I know it sounds weird but well, it is so), there was not a single flat moment, it kept me all the time on my tenterhooks. Blood Sisters was an incredible tale of sibling rivalry, misunderstandings, abuse, lies and secrets. Jane Corry has also included a lot of her experience from working in a prison, as you really have a feeling that she truly knows what she’s writing about, that she knows the prison and its secrets inside out. It was fascinating to see how it all works there.

I liked that the chapters were short and dynamic, and they often ended on the cliffhanger, and I had to resist, more than often, to turn the next few pages only to see the first few sentences of the following chapter to see what is going to happen there. They are also guilty for me reading the book in one day only – I think you also know that syndrome of “only one more chapter” and then finishing the book on one breath almost. It really felt as if I were a witness to the events, as if they were happening next to me, so realistic and distinctive was the narration.

I loved how the whole story was created – it was complex and complicated but not in a way that would do your head in, when you don’t understand anything. There were many clues and tips at how the characters are connected and it was slowly untangling the whole web of secrets, discreetly and gently adding more and more of them – but I have never felt overwhelmed with them or confused. We are aware that things have happened in the past and the author takes us on a slow, but fast – paced, journey full of tension and questions that leads to a great grande – finale. It was really like taking one step forward and three steps back, getting answer to one questions and getting few new questions instead, and it was bloody, bloody brilliant! There is really so much more to this book than meet the eye! It is dark, it is disturbing but it is a great read about guilt and about what are we able to do to protect are closest ones, written in a very vivid way, effortlessly bringing all the small and big things to life. Highly recommended from me!

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The Accidental Honeymoon by Portia MacIntosh / Blog Tour + Guest Post

Hello, hello, and happy Thursday – we have holidays today so really, it couldn’t be better. Well, it could, as our barbecue has just gone kaput and the time I thought I am going to spend with my feet put up high, I’ve just spent in the kitchen. Oh well. Typical.

Today I am a part of a new blog tour and I have a review of The Accidental Honeymoon by Portia MacIntosh – guys, believe me, if you need a bit of cheering up than go and grab yourself a copy. This story is so light – hearted, funny and easy to follow, it was just what the doctor ordered for me at the moment, as June is full of not so nice news and events here. There is also a guest post from Portia – a perfect way to spend your afternoon, no?

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The Accidental Honeymoon by Portia MacIntosh

34472959Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 16th June 2017

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

Number of pages: 384

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

Buy the Book:Kindle

 

Synopsis:

What happens in Vegas…
When Georgie discovers that her fiancé has been cheating on her, only a few days before her cousin’s wedding, her whole world explodes. Facing a romantic trip to Vegas alone, she decides to go out and have some fun…

…but Georgie never expected to wake up wed! And even worse, she can’t remember who to. So when gorgeous Jack reveals himself as her husband, she can’t believe her luck – he’ll act as the perfect wedding date!

Even if it is their very accidental honeymoon, surely the newlyweds can keep their emotions in check for just a few days more?

Don’t miss the laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Portia MacIntosh, author of It’s Not You, It’s Them. Perfect for fans of Rosie Blake, Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk.

Rating: five-stars

I’ve read The Accidental Honeymoon just at the right moment – when I needed something light – hearted and uplifting, and I know that if you’re in need of those ingredients, Portia MacIntosh is your person in charge. I know that whatever she writes it’s my kind of read and really, I don’t need a lot of coaxing to request her books.

I bought this story as it was written. Probably some of the reviewers will stress that the accidental drunk wedding and then meeting on a plane are this tad unrealistic, but sometimes you just need this little bit of magic showing that impossible is nothing, and so I enjoyed the whole story, from the start to the finish. It was so easy to get over the slightly unrealistic beginning as it was written in such convincing way – Portia MacIntosh really knows how to pull it off.

As usually with Portia MacIntosh, her characters were brilliantly outlined. Georgie was great, however she also came across a little as a doormat, especially when it comes to being with John and the way she allowed her cousin and aunt to boss her around and decide. When Fliss told her to leave her wedding I wanted to shake – but Georgie, not Fliss. Also, her makeover confused me a little – which was Georgie’s true face? The totally Stepford Wife that she had when being with John or the totally opposite, almost slutty appearance – because judging on the descriptions of hair extensions and one number smaller tight dresses it looked like this, and so it was like Georgie has hidden her real face from us. However, she was so warm and lovely and she had her heart on her sleeve, and she had one of the best one – liners and I really, truly fell for her and warmed to her actually from the very beginning. She was very accident – prone and she’ll stay in my memory as the one who often meant well, with the things turning out wrong in the end.
And Jack, mmmm, I think I won’t be disappointed if I accidentally married Jack myself, guys. The tricks he knew, and nonono, I mean the cards and casino tricks, not the other ones, honestly I beg you, what were you thinking about…? Absolutely loved how laid – back he was and how he treated Georgie and that he was always honest with his plans – doesn’t happen often with guys that they are so honest, right? Also, and oh my god, I laughed so much, it was so nice to see how devoted he was to his newly found aunt (I really thought I will NEVER use this word in my review but here it is – it was just LOL).

The Accidental Honeymoon was an easy, quick and entertaining read, just what I expected from this author. It was lovely, it was charming, it had a great dose of humour and swear words and it just felt so natural and genuine. Nothing was pushed there, or too forced, one thing resulted from the other and I also quickly found myself rooting for the characters. Altogether, it was a read that made me smile and even laugh out loud. I totally enjoyed how Portia MacIntosh took the well established idea of the drunken wedding in Vegas and turned it into something else. There were enough turns in this light – hearted story, there were characters to die for or to slap. It was great to see how Georgie was with her family, the great relationship with her older brother and the way they treated the younger one. So really, give me Portia MacIntosh book any time, you can be sure that will lighten your mood and make you look little differently at the word. I love her stories and I can’t have enough of them, and I highly recommend The Accidental Honeymoon to you!

GUEST POST:

I’m not sure whether or not I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was younger. When I think about it, I was always making things up. I’d tell…let’s not call them lies, let’s call them tall tales. So if an ornament were to get smashed while I was playing with my friends, I’d come up with a story that got everyone in the least trouble possible. If a neighbour overheard me swear and told my parents, well, they were obviously mistaken, because I was obviously saying ‘stick’ or ‘duck’ or ‘plastered’ – all the hot topics 10-year-olds talk about. As a teen, I’d tell little white lies so that my parents didn’t worry about me – well, nothing appeases the worries of an overprotective dad like telling him that your boyfriend is your gay best friend. I’d find ways to get out of PE, excuses for not doing my homework, kind ways to decline the advances of boys in my year that I didn’t like… And funnily enough, I don’t think any of my teachers would have guessed that I’d be a writer when I ‘grew up’. I don’t imagine they had high hopes for me, because what might have seemed like a kid who just didn’t want to do PE was obviously a storyteller in the making. Being one of those kids who left school and never looked back, I don’t imagine any of my teachers know what became of me career wise. It’s probably for the best though…because I feel like this blog post is a pretty clear admission of a whole lot of guilt.