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!

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!

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.

GIVEAWAY:

This giveaway is to win a cocktail making giftset and an eCopy of the book. UK only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Italy by Alice Ross

The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Italy by Alice Ross

35525872Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 21st July 2017

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

Number of pages: 115

Genre:  Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

…where the ingredients to happiness are found.

Connie has had enough. Enough of the city, enough of her job – and most importantly, enough of her cheating husband! So, when her best friend jets off to sunny Australia and calls on Connie to house and dog-sit, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

When Connie arrives at the gorgeous Cotswolds getaway, she can’t resist opening the doors to the town, offering up cooking lessons – and a lot of wine! Cue the three – very different – women who respond to Connie’s cookery club advert. But it’s soon clear they will need more than a glass of wine to overcome their problems…

Can Connie conjure up the right ingredients to help her new friends? And with two gorgeous men thrown in the mix, Connie may have just ended up with a recipe for disaster!

Rating: four-stars

Having read and enjoyed Alice Ross’s some previous books, I didn’t hesitate to request “The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Italy”. I can’t seem to have enough books about cooking, and lately also set in Cotswolds, and those two together do sound promising, no?

The story introduces us basically to Connie, who right now is at the crossroads with her life, and so when her friend is off to Australia for six months and asks Connie if she’d like to look after her house in this time, Connie jumps at the chance. She has no problems to settle in the gorgeous Cotswolds, in the lovely house and quickly she reawakens her passion of cooking. And this is when the idea of the Cotswolds Cookery Club is born, and Connie sets her mind on Italian cuisine this time. But club wouldn’t exist without its members, right, so there are some other characters who take it in turns to cook delicious, mouth – watering Italian dishes – and when I say delicious, I really mean delicious, guys! There is Eleanor, who runs the local newsagent, Melody, who’s also new to the area and Kate, a local vet with three children, husband and an au – pair.

So when the girls chop, stir, taste, cook and bake, they also share their stories, and so we relatively quickly get to know their background and what makes them tick. They were all relatable, believable characters, they had their problems and I quickly felt a part of their group. It was lovely to see how quickly their friendship was growing and how they all were starting to gain confidence.

Altogether, it was a light – hearted, very easy read. What bothered me personally was the end – it seemed so very abrupt and rushed, and I had a feeling that the story was chopped in the middle. It was a promising end, sure, but just too rushed and it put me off stride a little. But really, it was a lovely, cute story with mouth – watering descriptions of food, down – to – earth characters and brilliant romance – and not only human one! The author has spot on caught Connie’s passion to food and cooking and brought it to the pages and really, it made me want more, so it’s a pure luck that this novella is the first part in the series. Already looking towards the next one! Recommended!

The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please

The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please

35229298Publisher: Maze

Publishing Date: 17th July 2017

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Summer of Second Chances is the perfect feelgood summer read.’ Chrissie Manby, author of What I Did On My Holidays

Lottie is about to discover that even when you think you’ve lost everything, hope and romance can be just around the corner . . .

It takes time to build your life. To get into a long-term (OK, a bit boring) relationship. To find a job (you don’t completely hate). Lottie might not be thrilled with the life she’s put together, but it’s the one she’s got.

So when in the course of one terrible evening, it all comes crashing down around her, Lottie has a choice: give herself over to grief at being broke, single and completely lacking in prospects.

Or, brick by brick, build herself a new life. And this time, with a little help from friends, a crumbling cottage in Devon and a handsome stranger, maybe she can make it the one she always wanted.

The Summer of Second Chances is an irresistibly funny read about never giving up, whatever the world throws at you. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Jane Costello and Christie Barlow.

Rating: five-stars

Wow, what a gorgeous, cute little story “The Summer of Second Chances” was! I truly didn’t know what to expect from this book but it really wow-ed me, with the light – hearted writing style, interesting plot and lovable characters, and the last few sentences at the end were just brilliant and a perfect end to this book. OK, I admit, there was one thing that bothered me, namely for me it looked as if this book was written by two different authors – why, I hear you ask? Well, you know, so the story and narration flew steadily and then suddenly, like the impossible to see icebergs, the narration was starting to turn incredibly hilarious, the events ridiculously funny and I was finding myself laughing out loud at Lottie’s antics, and it lasted for a few pages and then the story telling was back again to this normal, steady one. It happened a few times and while it didn’t make me confused or something, oh no, I enjoyed those moments incredibly, it just made me think. But that’s me. My problems. Don’t pay any attention and just read this book because it’s great. And it has a stunning cover – so summery!

The story introduces us to Lottie, who’s been through some dramatic moments in her life recently – she’s homeless, money – less, jobless, single – and is now looking for a fresh start. It seems that she can find it in a little cottage belonging to one of her friends – in return for redecorating it, Lottie can live there next, and she jumps at the chance. After living a comfortable life, with no financial troubles and a partner on her side, it was a change for Lottie, wasn’t it? But maybe it was this what Lottie needed right now? Well, this and a new neighbour, Bryn?

I have seen many accident prone characters in my life but Lottie overdone them all! Guys, it was incredible, really, those situations and troubles she was getting herself in – this story abounded in many awkward, embarrassing situations. I loved Lottie, she was such a positive personality, even though she had to cope with so many awful things in her life. She was this kind of character that grows on you and you keeps everything crossed for her. And I loved to see Lottie changing, spreading her wings despite all new troubles and worries and turning into almost a different person. She was honest and told us about things how they really were, and I really didn’t have any problems to connect with her and to understand her.
And of course, let’s not forget Lottie’s new neighbour, Bryn. Not broody nor moody, like many other characters yet incredibly interesting and colourful and hmmm, I wouldn’t say no to such a neighbour and his jacuzzi.

It wouldn’t be a rom – com without the “rom” part, of course, and I loved this aspect of this story! Sure, there were the necessary ups and downs, the road to happiness was bumpy and not too straightforward but it never felt too cheesy or forced, if anything it was fresh, funny, adorable and honest. It was not too rushed, which was also great, because moving into a new man too quickly would make it too unbelievable, and it also gave the heroine time to come to terms a little with the new situation.

Altogether, “The Summer of Second Chances” was a lovely and easy read that made me feel relaxed and I finished it grinning from ear to ear. There were characters that you quickly start to root for and relate to, and it was a light take on new beginnings and – yes! – second chances. It also makes you think about life, about figuring out what it is you really want, but not in a too serious way, nono, no worries. However, there is also so much to this story than meets the eye, there is depth, it touches upon some sensitive issues but it’s perfectly mixed with light – heartedness and really some best one – liners and situations in history. So if you are in need of cheering up, picking yourself up and seeing how not to give up, try this book – I can only highly recommend it to you!

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Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood

Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood

34835025Publisher:

Publishing Date: 29th June 2017

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

Number of pages: 352

Genre:  Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Olive Brewster is a scaredy cat. She doesn’t do new or risky. She’s happy enough with her job at the local market, it’s cool that she has no boyfriend to fret over, she even likes that she still lives in her childhood home. No drama, no fuss, no problems. Everything is fine. Super duper fine.

Except … Olive’s best friend in the world​, Birdie, is dying.

Birdie has one final wish. She wants to track down her first love, Chuck, and because she’s stuck in the hospital she needs Olive’s help to do it. But there’s a teeny problem: Chuck is somewhere in New York and Olive has never even left her home town, let alone roamed the crazy streets of Manhattan.

As if the big city isn’t scary enough, Olive has to contend with Seth, a cocky comedy TV writer who thinks she’s a joke; Anders, a bored socialite who’s taken a shine to her; and the fact that no matter how hard she tries to track down Chuck, he doesn’t seem to want to be found.

Can Olive learn to overcome her fears, abandon her old safe routine and fulfil her best friend’s last wish? It’s going to take extra bravery, one badass attitude and a whole lot of big sexy love to make this happen …

Rating: five-stars

Oh guys. It took me so long to write this review because I simply couldn’t find words to tell you how much I adored/enjoyed/loved it. I actually still am absolutely sure I can’t do this book justice but nevertheless, I’ll try.

So. “Big sexy Love” by Kirsty Greenwood has finally arrived! I was probably one out of many almost daily checking Kirsty’s Twitter feed for any news on her new release, and FINALLY this wonderful, glory day arrived and Kirsty told that “Big sexy Love” is going to be published! The EXCITEMENT, guys! Excitement! I don’t know how this girl does it, and I’d love to own a small percent of her humour – to be as funny as Kirsty Greenwood… *sigh*. Mission impossible – she’s one and only.

Now, this book. This gorgeous, hilarious and heart – breaking little book. It is this kind of book that you want to race through to see how it’s going to end and at the same time not wanting it to end – so the best kind, really. I immediately fell in love with the characters, Olive and Birdie, and all the other ones. Olive is, to be honest, my new hero. My inspiration. I want to be like Olive when I grow up – the Olive that went on a plane, even though she was SO scared of flying and have never left England before, and went to New York on a mission to find her best ever friend Birdie’s ex – boyfriend to give him a letter.

I couldn’t believe the troubles Olive was – incidentally – getting into! Guys, really. I’ve no idea you could be so much accident – prone, and each new one was more hilarious than the previous one. She was a bit OCD, our Olive, but she felt so comfortable in her own skin, with the life paths she has chosen, and it was brilliant. She liked quiet and safe and routine but it doesn’t mean that she was boring, because she was everything but boring – she was loyal, lovely, incredibly funny and sharp – minded and she was able to laugh at herself as well.

This is amazing how well Kirsty Greenwood has written Olive’s coming out of her comfort zones, how much it has cost her, without making the story too overwhelming, to heavy. And it all felt so genuine, my gosh, guys, you could FEEL through the pages that Olive was scared, that it was not her idea of a nice time but she would do anything for Birdie – because this friendship between Olive and Birdie, it was like once in a million years. I loved how well the author captured the friendship dynamics and relationship, it – again – felt absolutely honest and true and I – yes! – loved it!

All the other background characters in this story were just brilliant and you loved them immediately. Well, not all of them, the others you just loved to hate. I loved meeting them all, the absolutely gorgeous Seth, Anders, Olive’s family and all the others – no matter how huge or small part did they have in this story, they all had brilliant personalities and they all brought so much to the plot, even the woman from the private park in New York and her tweets!

So shortly, very shortly – this book was perfect. Incredibly, cleverly funny, heart – breaking, down – to – earth, romantic. I fell for the characters immediately and I had everything crossed for them, heck, I told my dogs to keep their paws crossed for them. This story is written with tons of heart and it is one of the warmest, honest stories with the most brilliant one – liners I’ve read for a long time. You immediately feel at home with this book, you feel as if the characters were your best friends. I simply loved this novel – it was full of incredibly funny, hilarious scenes but it had tons of depth as well, and it was a perfect mix. It made me laugh out loud and it made me cry – again, literally, and I would love to be able to read this book for the first time again. Those of you who haven’t read it yet are for a real treat! Highly, highly recommended!

Persuading Austen by Brigid Coady

Persuading Austen by Brigid Coady

35546268Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 18th July 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:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that working with an ex is a terrible idea…
Annie Elliot never expected her life to turn out this way: living with her dad, working as an accountant – surely the least glamorous job in Hollywood?! – and dodging her family’s constant bickering.

Landing a job as a producer on a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice seems like the piece of luck she’s been waiting for. Until the cast is announced, and Annie discovers that the actor playing Mr Darcy is Austen Wentworth: the man she’s spent nearly a decade trying to forget.

Not only is Austen her ex – but while Annie’s life has stalled, Austen is Hollywood’s hottest property…and has just been voted World’s Sexiest Man.

With nowhere to hide, there’s just one question. Now the one who got away has come back, should Annie stand by her pride? Or give into Austen’s powers of persuasion?

Rating: two-stars

Oh my word, guys! Excitement pure alert! When I’ve spotted that Brigid Coady is back with her new release I really couldn’t hide my joy – I adored Brigid’s previous book, “No One Wants to be Miss Havisham”, it was one of the funniest reads two years ago and all this time I was waiting for a new book from this author. As soon as it whizzed to my kindle, I started to read it, no need to mention that I was full of hope and expectations.

But. Guys. And I am so, so sorry. I’ll make it short and painful – unfortunately. I was disappointed. Why? Well, because of the main character, Annie Elliot. Firstly, the name Annie just doesn’t sit with me, which of course is not the authors’ fault, but writing “Annie” in almost every single sentence didn’t help. Secondly, I think I have never before come across such a pushover character, and I really started to fully dislike her. Every second page she was patronised by her sisters and father in the worst possible way. The way especially Imogen and their father talked to her was on the lowest level and yet Annie never spoke back, she just allowed them to use her – hell, she was providing for them, she paid all the bills, she organized their jobs and they were all the time unhappy, spent her money and spoke to her as if she was the last dirt, as if she was worthless, not respecting her at all. I wanted to shake her so much but eventually I gave up on Annie. When she decided to finally take those matters in her hands it was already much, much too late, for me the book was destroyed. Then on the other remaining pages Annie was reminiscing about her relationship with Austen and why it was, in advance, doomed to failure. It was a never – ending, long whinge, this narration.

This might have been a try on creating a modern version of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”, with the Elliots being the theatrical dynasty, but for me it failed completely. I’m really, really sorry for this because I’ve been expecting so much from this story. Fortunately the author’s brilliant, light and approachable writing style is still the same, so at least this saved the day for me a little. I hope though that the next book by the lovely Brigid Coady will be again my cup of tea.