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.

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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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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Jenny Sparrow Knows the Future by Melissa Pimentel / #BlogTour

Guys! I am so, so thrilled to be kicking off blog tour for Melissa Pimentel’s new release, “Jenny Sparrow Knows the Future”, and on the publication day! Ms Pimentel is a new author to me but I can assure you that after reading Jenny Sparrow I will be looking for her previous novels and looking toward the new releases. I had a good feeling about this book from the very beginning – starting with the title, through the gorgeous cover and ending with the plot – and my gut feeling was again right – it was a great read! A brilliant read! I have a new favourite character – Jenny 🙂

Jenny Sparrow Knows the Future by Melissa Pimentel

34204297Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 27th July 2017

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

Number of pages: 368

Genre:   Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Everything is going to plan – until she marries the wrong man . . .

‘Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella . . . the feel-good book of the summer’ Cathy Kelly, Number One bestselling author

Jenny Sparrow can tell you her future:

1. Meet soulmate at 25
2. Move in with him
3. Marry him this year . . .

According to the plan Jenny made at thirteen, it’s time for her to get married. But when her boyfriend proposes a break instead of a wedding, a girls’ weekend in Vegas is the only solution . . . until she wakes up in a stranger’s bed, and discovers that this is the year she gets married – to the wrong man.

Jenny wants a quick divorce and her old boyfriend back.

But what if her accidental husband has other ideas?

Rating: five-stars

“Jenny Sparrow Knows the Future” is my first book by Melissa Pimentel, however this is this kind of book that you know, from the very beginning, deep inside, that you want to read. Firstly, this title is just brilliant, it’s so eye – catching and promising tons of adventures. Secondly, the synopsis – after reading the synopsis (when I’ve eventually stopped looking at the gorgeous cover and gushing over the brilliant title and got to read the synopsis) I was dead sure this book is going to be a cracker – I love people making plans, maybe because I am the one who can’t stick to a plan, as well as to to – do lists.

So, was it a cracker?

Hell, it was!

Jenny Sparrow wants to live her life according to a list that she created when she was 13 years old. You may not believe it, but she still has the list – the original one! – and it’s laminated. So, according to her list it’s time to get married now, and it looks really good but then Jenny’s boyfriend Chrstopher, instead of popping the question kneeled down only to do his laces. So Jenny, instead of planning a wedding, goes to Las Vegas with her best friend. As we all already know, going to Las Vegas isn’t often the best idea, because what happens in Las Vegas… you know the idea. Anything can happen there – you can lost all your money, or maybe incidentally get married…? To a total stranger…?

This whole story was actually one huge self – discovery lesson for our Jenny, and also for us. What happens when things don’t go according to what we plan or what we want? The author shows us that it’s ok, that life goes on! However, for our Jenny it was a shock to come out of her comfort zones, to deal with all the sudden changes, with all the surprises and with Jackson. I loved the way she dealt with those things – it was written in incredibly realistic way and when Jenny was scared, then she was scared, she didn’t try to hide it, and when she was unsure she also told it as it was. She was a very likeable character, our Jenny, sometimes too whingey, sometimes too chicken – hearted, sometimes too of a pushover, but oh my god, guys, nobody’s perfect, right, and she just felt so true and honest, and I just kept everything crossed for her.

This story is brilliantly observed and it is sharp about our reality. It shows the daily grind and battles but it also balances it with some grand gestures, and I really enjoyed this mix – it made impossible believable. The writing style was so light and modern, and the author truly knows her way with the words.
So altogether, “Jenny Sparrow Knows the Future” was a light – hearted, cheeky read with a lovely heroine and some troubles in paradise, yet it also dealt with some more serious issues but still, in a very light way. Showing it doesn’t matter if you stick to your plan or not, and that you can’t force love – it’s going to find you in the most unexpected moment, come and hit you hard. Honestly, I have maybe expected there to be more humour, and there were moments that the story dragged on a little bit, but still it was a great read to relax with and just have fun. I am already looking toward more from Melissa Pimentel and in the meantime – guys, go and grab “Jenny Sparrows” – it’s great read!

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Hot Mess by Lucy Vine

Hot Mess by Lucy Vine

34815016Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 13th July 2017

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

Number of pages: 304

Genre:   Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Hot Mess [n.] – someone attractive, who is often in disarray.

Ellie Knight is just like you. Her life isn’t turning out the way she thought it would. Some people might say she’s a hot mess but then who really has their s**t together anyway?

It’s Valentine’s Day and Ellie finds herself eating Nutella in the bar stockroom after a no-show date.
But single doesn’t have to be the loneliest number, does it?
She goes back home to her flatshare and weird flatmates.
It’s ok there’s black mould everywhere, right?
With a hangover from hell, she goes to the office job she thought she would have quit by now.
Doesn’t everyone hate their job?

Maybe Ellie isn’t following the *official life plan* but perfect is overrated. For fans of Fleabag and Girls, this is a fresh and funny coming-of-age story with a single-girl heroine that everyone will relate to – a modern Carrie Bradshaw meets Bridget Jones.

Rating: five-stars

Oh jeez, guys, Lucy Vine just went to the very top of my favourite authors list! I’ve no idea where she’s been hiding my whole life and I hope she’ll keep writing books – “Hot Mess” was one of the funniest novels I have ever read, full of “oh no, she didn’t do/say this” moments, cringing with embarrassment moments and I know that I say it in my reviews, but this time I really mean it – laughing out loud! It was like reading Kirsty Greenwood and Lisa Dickenson mixed together – abso – bloody – brilliant and fantabulous.

I’ll be honest with you, when I started reading the book I really didn’t know what to expect. I haven’t read the synopsis before, I only heard people talking about it and falling in love with it – and now I know why! It turned out to be different to what I think it’s going to be – I’ve never supposed it’s going to be THAT funny! Really, this book cheered me up ceaselessly and even though I am a little older than Ellie, and maybe this little bit serious about life than she is, I totally enjoyed her adventures and well, yes, there were moments that even I could relate to her and her awkward moments.

Yes, I get it – some may say Ellie was whiney, self – pitying, unhappy with almost everything in her life and not trying to change it, embarrassed about her lovely, lovely father, and what was the point of the story he was writing, and that Jenny was a real bitch – but I won’t! Nobody’s perfect, right, and all of this above mentioned just made Ellie so much more genuine, and the novel written by her dad was hilarious, guys, hilarious! I was really disappointed when he suddenly stopped sending the chapters to his daughters, to be honest. And Jenny… well, Jenny, yes, you have to get used to Jenny, but in my opinion she was really funny in all her smugness and arrogance, and I think it was because she took herself so seriously and I didn’t. Ellie was full of flaws, but she was also relatable, loyal to her friends, adored her family, and I simply loved her from the beginning.

What was absolutely brilliant and fresh is that it was a story about being single and not about looking for a boyfriend at any cost! Hats off to Ellie – sure, she was trying, and we accompanied her on many disastrous blind dates (YES! Finally a book where the blind dates DO really appear on the pages!) but not falling for the guys only to tell that she has a boyfriend now. Why shouldn’t you be choosy and selfish when it is about you and your life and your choices, right? And Ellie likes being single, even if others can’t believe it – hence she’s being literally forced by her best friends to go on those dates.

I loved all the characters – even Jenny! They were larger than life and so perfectly and realistically drawn, and oh my god, I think I fell a little in love with Alan, Ellie’s dad – he was so gentle and oh my word, so talented, ha! Really, even the most secondary characters, just like the bodyguards or the staff in the cocktail bar were personalities that added tons of humour but also a lot of depth, for example Ellie’s best friend Sophie, still adapting to motherhood, her 6 – years – old going on sixty niece Millie with questions about periods or work friend Maddie – all brilliantly drawn and jumping out of the pages.

But this book also has some emotional moments and a depth. For example Ellie is still trying to get over her mum’s death, and the whole situation with Jenny just went and showed that there is also a sensible side to her. And it is also about following your dreams, not forgetting about them.

So altogether, “Hot Mess” was bloody brilliant! The humour was ah – mazing. The characters were ah – mazing. The storyline was – yes, you guessed it! Ah – mazing. You could easily relate to Ellie and her antics – she is like a Bridget Jones for younger women. It was laugh out loud from start to finish, it was quirky, sexy, filthy and just fabulous read and I can’t wait to see what Lucy Vine has in story for us next – I hope more such stories like this one – refreshing, original, like a real breath of fresh air. It was sharp – observed, fast – paced without any flat moments, abso – bloody – lutely very highly recommended as an entertaining, easy read.

Our Summer Together by Fanny Blake

Our Summer Together by Fanny Blake

 

35235801Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 13th July 2017

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

Number of pages: 320

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

OUR SUMMER TOGETHER is an uplifting story about family, friendship and the happy surprise of finding love later in life.

Caro knows how to be a mother – advising her grown-up daughters on career and relationship worries. She knows how to be a grandmother – enjoying the hectic energy of her three-year-old grandson. She knows how to be a daughter – helping her aging mother retain her independence.

She thought she knew everything about being a wife, but when her husband suddenly leaves her for another woman, everything is thrown in the air. So, when a chance meeting introduces her to Damir – younger, intriguing and attentive – she realises that opening up to a man so different from everyone else in her life, might also mean getting to know who she really is…

Rating: three-stars

“Our Summer Together” is Fanny Blake’s next emotional, subtle and believable romance that I’ve been longing to read. This author is known to write compelling, atmospheric and very down – to – earth novels that are full of love and hope and when this newest release has arrived, I started to read it immediately.

What I find really great is that more and more authors start to write stories about mature heroines, women who have lived and experienced a lot and truly have something to tell. And Caro is one of such heroines. The story picks up shortly after the sixty – years – old Caro and her husband had a divorce, after he left her for a younger woman, but to be honest, from what I’ve read I’ve deduced that it’s better like this, that her husband undermined her. However – of course – Caro’s life needs adjusting right now. But then she surprisingly meets a stranger on a train – Damir, who has his own story as well, but it is a very different kind of story, and Fanny Blake has done an excellent job with his character. He’s not too sugary, he’s not too wishy – washy, even if his background is a very particular one. He’s the man who knows how it is to loose everything: family, home, country.

Caro was also portrayed in a great, very down – to – earth and realistic way. She was trying very hard to be there for her two daughters, at the same time trying to come to terms with her new single life. It was truly adorable to see how she was starting to blossom again, to see there is much more to life and to proverbially grow up, and I think she was a character that was very easy to relate to and to sympathise with. Well, at least my sympathy was on her side, she has deserved to enjoy life after divorce.

However, I am sure I’d have enjoyed this book much better if I haven’t had the feeling that I’ve read such story a few times already. It was too clichéd, with the ex – husband finding new love and having a new family, with the daughters using their mother without a thank you and then not supporting her, the whole family finding it difficult to accept that she may have a life that doesn’t include them, and with the here and there with the romance. It was – in my opinion of course – this kind of book that needed one or two really great twists, to make the readers gasp, and I missed this in this novel.

“Our Summer Together” is a story that has some layers to it, even though there are not many life – changing situations and sudden twists and turns. It is written in a very peaceful, relaxing and easy to follow way, with just the right number of characters, and characters that were believable and likeable. A story about self – realisation, self – discovery, showing us that it’s never too late to let your dreams come true. Perfect read for one balmy evening with a glass of chilled wine.