Single for the Summer by Mandy Baggot

Single for the Summer by Mandy Baggot

 

34211677Publisher: Ebury

Publishing Date: 27th July 2017

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

Number of pages: 432

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

***the beach-read of the summer, from everyone’s favourite getaway Queen, Mandy Baggot***

Tess Parks has made up her mind: love isn’t for her.

When it comes to dating she has one rule: after six weeks with a guy, she ends it. So when her heartbroken best friend invites her for a girly getaway in Corfu, Tess is sure she can stick to their pact to stay single for the summer.

But then she meets the gorgeous restaurateur Andras

To keep his overbearing mother off his back, Tess agrees to pretend to date him. But as the two spend time together, Tess begins to realise that this fake relationship is starting to feel like the best one she’s ever had…

A feel-good escapist beach read set against a beautiful Greek island backdrop. From the award-winning author of Truly, Madly Greekly and Those Summer Nights.

Rating: four-stars

Setting of Greece makes me feel like a bee around the honey pot – I love this country, its culture, people and tradition, so it is not a wonder that I am reading as many books set there as possible, and I am really lucky here as many authors lost their hearts for Greece as well. “Single for the Summer” by Mandy Baggot happens on Corfu, and one look at this gorgeous cover and the synopsis had me sold – and my first impression only came true as the story was heart – warming, and it brought together sun, beaches, delicious food, sexy as hell hero and Greek traditions – just what I wanted!

This is a story about Tess Parks and her rule of dating for 6 weeks only. Yes. And God forbid any of the boyfriends to pop THE question! Because when it happens, Tess goes into some kind of a meltdown. Tess’s best friend Sonya, who was about to go to Greece with her boyfriend, unexpectedly finds herself “on a break”, so the two girls pack their suitcases and travel to Corfu. What is better than sun, sand and blue water and NO DATING?
Well, I’d say, sun, sand, blue water and DATING. But unexpectedly. And actually fake – dating. And crazy tortoise Hector who can’t stay long in one place. Sounds like a perfect holiday, no?

I have immediately warmed to all of the characters, well, maybe not so to Andras’s mother. I need to have a little whinge, please do let me get it off my chest, but she annoyed the hell out of me. I understand tradition, I know Greek mothers have always right and I know they keep everything with an iron fist but I just couldn’t stand her and her rudeness. Because for me there was nothing charming or funny in the way she has treated Tess, Sonya and her own son, for me it was pure rudeness, period, and this interfering irritated me incredibly.
Tess was great, I really liked her. She was sharp – minded, quick in making decisions and she’s never regretted things that she did or said. She had rules and she followed them but then it was also great to see how she started to come out of all her comfort zones, started to relax and this relaxed version of her I liked much, much more.
Andras was your typical sexy Greek god, but there was much more to him than the first (sexy) impression. I was really admiring his patience though there came a moment that I so wanted him to tell his mother to eventually back off – I know, impossible. Greek families, traditions etc.
And the whole cast of the supporting characters is as colourful as a rainbow. They added so much personality to this story, so much humour and warm feelings, and Andras family, with of course the exception of his mother and his cousin was brilliant, with all the preparations for wedding and rolling babies on the beds – loved this idea, btw.

As a fake girlfriend, Tess and Sonya are being invited to many family meetings and meals, and this is why the fun ends, because Andras’s mother is always there! The chemistry between Tess and Andras was brilliantly captured. You know how it sometimes is, that this just feels so forced and pushed on the characters but here, in this book, it was just great. It felt honest and genuine,

This is this kind of a story that envelops you and takes you with on a journey. I laughed with the characters, I cringed, I sighed and shook my head with disbelief and I felt like a part of this book. There were many (MANY!) hilarious situations which made the reading so entertaining and light – hearted, there were truly crazy scenes that made me laughed, and there were also some sad scenes, and it was very well balanced.

Of course the descriptions of Corfu are beautiful! Vivid and colourful, they just made me wonder if I should change my plans from Rhodes to Corfu next year? But really, I could feel the sun shining, picture the sea and all the smells, and of course the gorgeous food made my mouth water.

It was a lovely story about re-evaluating your life, a great escapism and I enjoyed every page of it. This book has it all – laughter, tears, some drama, exciting romance and gorgeous setting, with endearing, believable characters. Already looking forward to Mandy Baggot’s Christmas offering and in the meantime recommending “Single for the Summer” as a great summer read.

Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne

Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne

 

33651984Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 464

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

The Escape to Willow Cottage was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

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…

Escape to Willow Cottage was originally digitally published as a four-part serial under the title Willow Cottage. This is the complete story.

Rating: four-stars

“Escape to Willow Cottage” by Bella Osborne was originally published in four parts series and I’ve managed to read the two first one parts – the lack of time hasn’t allowed me to read the other two ones, even though I really liked the story, and so when I spotted there is a whole book available on NetGalley I downloaded it to my kindle immediately. Some books read well in parts, some are better as a whole one package, and this one is the latest – you just don’t want to leave the characters and their world in this heart – warming and feel – good story.

First of all, I truly like the idea of buying a cottage in the auction without even seeing it – not that I’d decide for such a great step myself, but as Beth did it was a great, promising start to the story. And well, the cottage looked so great in the auction catalogue, right, so what could go wrong? It turns out that a lot can go wrong but please read for yourself – it’s hilarious. But our Beth is not a woman that quickly gives up. We know that she’s running from an abusive relationship, that she has a son and that she had a great job. As Beth is very new to the village, together with her we are introduced to the people of Dumbleford and one seems to be more eccentric than the other.

The village of Dumbleford is a charming place, with all the villagers being so friendly, all of them jumping to help each other and supporting each other – you know how much I love those community feelings and here Bella Osborne captured it wonderfully.

The characters were very easy to like, though not all of them from the very beginning, as I had some problems with some of them. But altogether, they were warm, relatable and believable. They had flaws, they made mistakes but mostly they also learnt from those mistakes and you just couldn’t help but like them and cheer them on their way. The plot is complex, with some twists and turns and some drama added, and the author also mixes some heavier issues into the story, but it blends really well with the whole story and I liked the outcome.
Bella Osborne’s writing is great. It’s easy to follow, it’s light, with a right dose of humour – there are some really hilarious scenes in this book! – and seriousness. The characters were developing, and the cottage was 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.

“Escape to Willow Cottage” was hooking, interesting story about abusive relationships, commitment problems, new beginnings. There is also the romance element introduced, which I liked very much, as it was not at all predictable. Over the course of four seasons our main character has learnt a lot, realised she can trust again and that it is worth to trust again. It was a lovely, quirky, summery read, great for one evening with a glass of wine. Recommended!

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling

 

33145286Publisher: Harper

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 416

Genre:   Romance, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good job, four bossy sisters and a needy cat must also have want of her one true love. Or is it?

Another delightful novel from the author of The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan

Verity Love – Jane Austen fangirl and an introvert in a world of extroverts – is perfectly happy on her own (thank you very much), and her fictional boyfriend Peter is very useful for getting her out of unwanted social events. But when a case of mistaken identity forces her to introduce a perfect stranger as her boyfriend, Verity’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.

Johnny could also use a fictional girlfriend. Against Verity’s better judgement, he persuades her to partner up for a summer season of weddings, big number birthdays and garden parties, with just one promise – not to fall in love with each other…

Rating: five-stars

Oh dear. Guys. I’ve fallen in love with “True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop” immediately – just like it happened when I’ve been reading the first book in the series “The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts” (and here you can read my review). Those two stories are heart – breakingly funny, warm, they tug at all the right heart strings and are full of the best ever comments, one – liners and characters. I could read Annie Darling’s books on daily basis.
This book was a little different to the previous novel, although I can’t tell you exactly what was missing this time, maybe I just had too high expectations but still it was a brilliant, poignant and hilarious read. However, if you haven’t read the previous book, I would highly recommend to do this before reading Verity’s story, and not because you are going to miss on the characters or plot, because this book can be read as a stand – alone, but because the previous novel was just magical.

Annie Darling has – again – created some of the best characters in the fictional world. This time the story focuses on Verity Love, who works in Posy’s bookshop. Verity may be a very extreme character – you know, there might be quiet and there might be quiet, and she was at the very end of the scale, but the descriptions of her introverted nature were so spot on, they explained her personality in such a perfect way that – even though I have my wild years behind me I am still an open person – I could just get Verity, I understood her with my whole heart and could see her need for peace and quiet. It was brilliant that she realised she’s not the easiest person to be around but it was even more great that she was trying hard not to overwhelm people with her need to be alone, and I had a feeling that she tried so hard not to be a burden – but she was not a martyr! Oh no. She was a lovely, incredibly smart and funny person and I would love to have Verity as a friend.
I think that the best parts of the book involve Verity’s family – her fours sisters, cats, dog and parents who also refers to themselves as Our Vicar and Our Vicar’s Wife – loved it! The sisters couldn’t be more different than Verity herself and they brilliantly complemented her, they were incredible, self – confident chatterboxes talking all the time. I laughed out loud at their antics and couldn’t stop smiling when they were planning Con’s wedding. They were all so warm and you could see they love each other incredibly.
The author also couldn’t come up with a better name for the antagonist. As it happens, I know one Marissa and even though she’s only a child, she’s as devil as the Marissa from the story.
And then we have the main male character. Oh boy. But before I start gushing about Johnny please let me tell you that there was one moment at the end of the story when I felt SO disappointed with him! I thought I’m going to kill him with my bare hands. Also, him being in love with a woman he can’t have, and the way he cling desperately to this illusion started to annoy me at some point and I wanted to shake him really hard. And he was a little like enigma to me, sometimes he just came across as self centred and arrogant, and sometimes he was so understanding and heartfelt. But whatever, I really liked him and the way he was around Verity, he was so patient with her and he had so much understanding.

What made me feel a little unsure was the fact that I was eventually asking myself if Verity and Johnny should really end up together? They worked brilliantly together in my opinion but there came a moment that we got to know Verity’s feelings about the situation and didn’t know about Johnny’s, and then came this another moment that I’ve mentioned above about being unsure about Johnny, and I was simply afraid that Verity is going to be hurt, because I was not sure what it really is what Johnny feels. Nevertheless, I loved the way this friendship evolved, it felt very genuine and natural. They both had issues and demons and I loved to see how they open up to each other and how it helped them.

I am only afraid that slowly there is only so much Jane Austen I can take and that with this book I’ve maxed up my limit of reading books based on “Pride and Prejudice” – however it was one of the best “adaptations” I have come across.

So altogether, even though the first book in the series was magically brilliant, I adored “True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop” and I hope that Annie Darling is going to write another book about one of the characters! I will be the first in the virtual queue to read it, that’s for sure. This book was full of a great, different romance, wonderful, larger than life characters and written in such a lovely way! The author has a great way with words, she always knows when it’s time for something poignant or some fun and some of the situations are either heart – breaking or hilariously funny, and I loved this balance. If you need to loose yourself in a humorous, heart – warming novel about friendship, family, love and hope than treat yourself to this book. Highly recommended!

The Wardrobe Mistress by Natalie Meg Evans / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Friday! Yesterday I came back from my (well deserved, even if I say so myself) holidays and today I am already back to blogging with my stop on Matalie Meg Evans’s blog tour. I love good historical fiction and this author is really at the top of my favourite authors list, and really, I can only recommend her novels! Here is my review of her newest release, “The Wardrobe Mistress”.

The Wardrobe Mistress by Natalie Meg Evans

 

35652772Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 448

Genre:   Historical Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the award-winning author of The Dress Thief comes a love story set in the glittering world of London theatre. Perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Kathleen Tessaro.

War has been over more than a year but rationing and shortages persist. The worst winter in two-hundred years is just around the corner. London desperately needs an injection of cheer and colour, and the glamorous Farren Theatre Company intends to provide it.

Young war widow, Vanessa Kingcourt, has just been hired as wardrobe mistress at the notorious old theatre the Farren in London. Working backstage at the Farren is a lifelong ambition, and she’s looking to re-find the sense of purpose that war work gave her. But when Vanessa becomes romantically entangled with the Farren’s married owner – the enigmatic Alistair Redenhall – Vanessa’s career, and her very happiness, are put on the line.

Rating: three-stars

Natalie Meg Evans is on the top list of my favourite historical fiction authors, so I was incredibly excited to see she’s about to publish her fourth novel, “The Wardrobe Mistress”. The book went with me on my holidays and I was incredibly excited to start reading it – I adored Ms Evans’s books in the past, and this one was also sounding very promising.

The author sticks with her favourite historical period as the story takes us to the post – war London. The book consists of four parts and follows the story of Vanessa Kingcourt. It also ventures to a world of theatre, and as I love stories about theatres, I truly had high expectations here. So Vanessa – she was a wireless operator during the war, and now she wants to reconnect with her family, and especially her father who has left the family on his daughter’s sixth birthday. But life, as usual, has other ideas and there is no reconnection to be. However, there is the other meeting, with a captain Alastair Redenhall, that takes Vanessa on a very different, adventurous journey. Alastair has inherited a theatre from his godfather, and he truly never has expected such inheritance – well, he was a captain, and taking on a theatre was a totally new role for him.

But oh boy. This book gave me a headache. There was a mystery, but it was tangled in many other events and characters and it just felt very slow and I sometimes had a feeling that very little is happening and it took my whole willpower to continue reading – fortunately, as then, later on, the pace gained some tempo. There were twists and turns that I would never have expected to come but somehow, and it annoys me very, very much as I can’t put my finger on why, I just couldn’t connect with the story and it didn’t wow me as much as I hoped it would. I also couldn’t warm to the characters – maybe because there were so many of them, and really, I had a feeling that the plot jumps between them and situations and I just couldn’t find myself captured, just couldn’t get into the depth of the book. The characters felt too one – dimensional to me and I think that Fern was one of the most outstanding in this novel – she was clever and even though she was playing games, those were intelligent games. Alistair was blowing hot and cold and yes, I get it, he was a sea man thrown suddenly and unexpectedly into totally different entourage and eventually, in the end, I started to warm to him. Vanessa was a great leading character and here I had no problems to like her from the very beginning. She had a mind of her own and, as it usually happens, she was way ahead of her times in the way she was thinking. She has never gave up, and I really appreciated her for this. But altogether, for me, I couldn’t start to trust them completely, there was something holding me back, and I was asking myself if their motivations are honest.

As I have already mentioned, there were some twists and turns in this story, but it was all happening so very slowly, to finally come to a dramatic end. But somehow all the good things just happened too late and couldn’t save the book for me. However, the author, as always, has perfectly chosen the setting and the descriptions of the theatre, of how the costumes, the plays were prepared, were brilliant, full of details and very, very vivid.

Altogether, I am very sad to say that “The Wardrobe Mistress” was not my favourite read by Natalie Meg Evans, I think that her previous books are better, faster and more captivating, however I am not saying that this novel is bad! Oh no, it has its moments, and the writing style is beautiful, full of vividness and I am sure that it’s going to steal pieces of the author’s fans’ hearts. I am already looking forward to Ms Evans next book.

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If You CouldSee Me Now by Keris Stainton

If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton

35294534Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 4th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 216

Genre:   Women’s Fiction, General Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

‘One of the funniest books I’ve ever read. It made me cry with laughter. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone looking for a complete gigglefest of a read!’ Kirsty Greenwood

Izzy Harris should have it all – but her boyfriend has been ignoring her for months, she’s been overlooked for a promotion, and the owner of her local coffee shop pervs on her every time she has a craving for a salted caramel muffin.

Then her life is unexpectedly turned upside down.

Izzy dumps her oblivious boyfriend, and leaps on the chance to win a big pitch at work. Needing to work closely with gorgeous colleague Alex is an added perk…

But then her best friend has her heart broken, the pitch is way more complicated than expected, and Alex is keeping secrets. Does Izzy have what it takes to help her friend, save her career and get the guy?

A funny, feel-good read about finding yourself – and love – when you least expect it, for fans of Joanna Bolouri, Cate Woods, and Lindsey Kelk.

Rating: four-stars

“If You Could See Me Now” was my first book by Keris Stainton, but also the author’s first try at writing an adult novel, and heck, Ms Stainton, if they’re going to be as brilliant as this book then pretty please, keep them coming! This book, guys, has totally taken me by surprise.

So, writing about such things as invisibility in woman’s literature may be a very tricky thing – sometimes it works, more often it doesn’t – but this time Keris Stainton has managed to really pull it off. It completely worked, even though – to be completely honest – at the beginning it was a bit confusing, this whole invesibility things as there was nothing explaning why this happened to Izzy. But the more I read, and especially after her becoming visible again, I just had a feeling that I’ve got it, this invisibility thing – Izzy changed, started to appreciate herself, to believe in herself, stopped to fear to stand out, and I really liked this message!

The author has delivered a brillianty funny, captvating and different story. She has created great characters, added many moments of uncertainty, when you didn’t know what’s going to happen and how the plot is going to turn out. Keris Stainton’s writing style is brilliantly light, entertaining and easy to follow and the story is fast – paced.
What was great was the depth of this novel. You know, there are really many laugh – out – loud or cringe with embarrassment moments but this book is so much more than meets the eye. It was about finding yourself and what it really is you want from your life, about overcoming your insecurities, realising how much you are really worth – so under all this lightness and humour here were many important and poignant messages to Izzy, and to us, and I truly appreciated how well the author has mixed it all.
So altogether, “If You Could See Me Now” was deliciously filthy, sexy, with a great balance between humour and seriousness and I totally enjoyed it. Already looking towards Keris Stainton’s next release!

This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh / #BlogTour

Hi guys! I am incredibly thrilled to be a part of Katie Marsh’s blog tour today – since reading her debut novel “My Everything” I fell in love with her novels, the way she gently and sensibly tells characters’ stories and making them feel so realistic and genuine. And the new release “This Beautiful Life” is not different, it tugs at your heart – strings, it’s moving and it’s just beautiful, and really, if you haven’t read Katie Marsh’s books yet, drop everything and run to the next bookshop, you will love them – you have my word!

This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh

 

32883111Publisher: Hodder

Publishing Date: 27th July 2017

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

Number of pages: 384

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

The addictive and emotive new novel from Katie Marsh, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Jodi Picoult.

‘I lived over half my life before I met you both, and I hope with all my heart to live many years more. You two are the reason why. Always, always the reason why.’

Abi Cooper is living her happy ending. She’s in remission and is ready to make the most of her second chance. But during Abi’s illness her family has fallen apart. Her husband John has made decisions that are about to come back to haunt him, while her teenage son Seb is battling with a secret of his own.

Set to the songs on Abi’s survival playlist, This Beautiful Life is the moving and uplifting story of what happens as Abi tries to put her family back together – and of why life, and love, are worth fighting for.

Rating: five-stars

“This Beautiful Life” by Katie Marsh is not a book with many twists and turns in the story but I think this is the strength of this book – just showing normal, everyday life, with all its ups and downs, crises and little moments of joy. Writing about normal life, in incredibly gentle, subtle and sympathetic way is becoming Katie Marsh’s hallmark, and even though I know that her books are going to make me cry crocodile tears, I incredibly eagerly read them because they also lift me up and give me hope, and I simply love it.

This story shows Abi’s cancer recovery, but not focusing on her medical condition per se, but dealing with her everyday life. I loved the idea of telling the story partly through music and Abi’s favourite songs that helped her when she was recovering. If I were to tell you a song that helps me, it would be – please, don’t laugh – “Get Back Up Again” sung by Poppy in “The Trolls”. Just listen the lyrics – there is really nothing that works better for me than this song. But back to the story. Abi has explained why those songs are so special and particular to her, and you know what, those personal letters made me love this woman even more, and I had a feeling that I know her through and through.

But the book deals not only with Abi and her problems, it also focuses on her family, and especially the tale of Seb, Abi’s son, was heart – breaking. He had not only to face the challenges of his mum’s illness but he had demons of his own and you could feel through the pages how torn he was, and the way the author showed how he tried to fight all the insecurities by attacking everything and everyone was incredibly realistic and genuine.

The author has truly done a great job with getting into the characters’ heads. It was so easy to understand how Ali and Seb have been feeling, to understand their perspectives. It is also incredible how well she captured all the changes that have happened throughout the year Abi was ill, and while her being in remission should be a happy moment, the reality bites, and many things have changed, financial problems appeared, relationships changed as well, and also when you thought nothing worse can happen, the story took a turn or two and made you wonder if this rollercoaster journey is going to have a happy end. The characters have flaws but isn’t this what make them more believable? And Katie Marsh excels in creating such characters, those that doesn’t always make the right decisions, those that keep secrets from each other, that lie and even though they don’t want to hurt each other, they do it. They are raw and they are totally believable.

“This Beautiful Life” is a sensitive, realistic, uplifting read, written with a heart on the author’s sleeve, with a soul. Katie Marsh writes in such a convincing way and you have a feeling that she has been there, has seen this.
I am already looking towards her next book, because whatever she decides to write about, it’s perfect. “This Beautiful Life” is a beautiful, soaring story about love, survival, forgiveness and understanding. It was unusual in showing this side of cancer, as normally the characters go through the illness together with us, but I really appreciate this fact and it is great that this book shows this side of cancer for once. It is a memorable book, with unforgettable characters, and while it touches on hard and difficult subjects, it also has uplifting and promising moments. Highly, highly recommended!

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Cocktails and Dreams by A.L. Michael – #BlogTour/Giveaway

Hi guys! Today is my second (!) stop on A.L. Michael’s blog tour celebrating the release of her newest novel, and the first in the series, “Cocktails and Dreams”. Here you can read the brilliant guest post that the lovely author has written for me, and today you can also read my review of the novel. There is also a giveaway, and all you have to do is to enter the Rafflecopter and have some luck!

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Cocktails and Dreams by A.L. Michael

35603653Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date: 24th July 2017

Series: Martini Club #1

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

Number of pages: 209

Genre:   Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

A heart-warming novel with characters you’ll love, don’t miss this first in a new series for romance, laugh-out-loud comedy and a feel-good ending. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Lindsey Kelk.

I was seven years old when I realized my mother was not a great person…

Since Savvy was abandoned by her rockstar mother, she has craved a normal life. But after years of financing her boyfriend’s lacklustre career, he leaves her when he hits the bigtime.

Savvy’s friends at the burlesque club where she serves elaborate cocktails encourage her to make bold changes in her life. She soon meets handsome bartender Milo, and begins to plan a future she can be excited about.

But when Savvy’s estranged mother crashes back into her life, her newfound happiness is under threat… will Savvy have the courage to pursue her dreams?

Rating: four-stars

I am not so into cocktails. Heck, I am not so into alcohol, except maybe for a glass or two of Prosecco. So I can hear you asking, duh, what did you want from a book titled “Cocktails and Dreams”? True – but it was again the synopsis and the lovely bright yellow cover that captured my attention and I just wanted to read this story that turned out to be a great journey of discovering your own dreams and following them.
Though, I must admit, when I started reading the book I started to have this very unsettling feeling that this story is going to be much heavier than I thought it’s going to be and while the serious tone stayed, the writing style has loosen it and there were some funny moments as well.

The story introduces us to Savvy, who is a daughter of a very famous pop star, but also they haven’t been in touch for a very long time and Savvy was brought up by her aunt. But now she’s an adult, moreover, an adult dumped by her boyfriend, and it’s time for her to realize what it is she wants to do with her life. Well, there is a thing she’s really good at – making cocktails, as well as her cooking skills and tastes, which leads to her writing reviews of restaurants – but not normal reviews, oh no! There is a special club…

I really liked the descriptions of the Martini Club where Savvy was working her magic with cocktails. Let’s be honest, it is an unusual place for a heroine to work at, no? But it sounded great, and the group of people working there, especially the boss, were brilliantly supporting. Actually, all the characters were very well portrayed, and I especially liked Savvy’s father and the relationship they had. Savvy herself was down – to – earth girl from your neighbourhood. She loved her job in the bar and she loved creating cocktails and some of them sounded really interesting – even though I am not into cocktails, I’d make exception to try them.

The romance in the story was absolutely believable and I liked how it developed – not too quickly, not too slowly, and it just sounded realistic, with the ups and downs and troubles in paradise. The writing style is also a great advantage, it is sharp and quick and I really enjoyed it.

Altogether, “Cocktails and Dreams” was a fast – paced and multi – layered story describing a journey to self – realisation. It tackled many different aspects and issues, of fame, family and secrets. Fast – paced, with interesting characters that blended well into the scenes and events and were jumping off the pages. It is also the first book in the series and I will be for sure reading the next one. In the meantime, I do recommend this book to you.

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