Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby / #BlogTour + #Giveaway

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Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby

 

36574959Publisher:

Publishing Date: 2nd November 2017

Series: Pot Love #3

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

Number of pages: 274

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Family is where life begins.
And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?

Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and stepdad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.

But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.

So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise.
She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned for New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?

The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.

Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?

Rating: three-stars

“Prosecco Christmas” is the third book in the Pot Love series however it was promised that you can read it a stand – alone. And that’s true guys, you can. The author has done a great job here, adding the absolutely necessary short scene here or there, description, memory to bring us all, fresh readers, what has happened in the past. I personally felt all the time as if I just stayed on the ball, I didn’t have a feeling that I’m missing on something.

Our main characters, Ashley and Giacomo, are expecting their first child, and they are very prepared – the hospital bag, the birth plan, chosen hospital, such things, you know. But well, life is full of surprises and when you have everything planned as nice as those two, you can be sure that the plans are going to go thwart. Ashley ends up in labour shortly before Christmas, when they are visiting her mother, without all of the above mentioned things. So there. Moreover, Giacomo’s family decide they have to see the new baby asap and so father, mother and aunt arrive from Italy, and then there is the very brief visit from brother and his fiancé.

Even though it is a story centred around Christmas, and it is full of Christmas spirit and all the mayhem you can expect, with so many people at home, visitor after visitor, new friends, Christmas recipes and cooking, I read it with pleasure few days ago, happy that the festive season is over for now. I could also easily imagine it was just a family gathering because Christmas didn’t overshadow anything.

There were moments that some of the scenes just dragged on incredibly and for example I gave up hope that Ashley is going to have this baby any time soon. However, kudos to the author for getting the whole having baby and becoming a parent thing so, so well, without any fluffiness and being on cloud nine. There was pain, raw emotions, sleepless nights, and yes, Ashley, I know what you felt when trying to have a bath when alone at home! But there is also the sheer joy of having a baby, and it was brilliant.

But guys. As much as the book was entertaining, light – hearted and easy to read, till now I am wondering: why and what – I really am not sure what I feel about it and to what end it was written. It was a nice story but it just felt as if it didn’t have neither a beginning nor an end. Don’t get me wrong, pretty please, I liked this book. It was funny, it had a dry wit and there were some surprises but it’s not a story that will stay with me for long. Some of the characters and the actions came over as too cartoony, too far fetched – maybe it was intended, I don’t know but it didn’t work for me. However it is probably the case of “it’s not you, it’s me”, as the story is full of hilarious moments and some of them are really epic, so just give this book a go – you may fall head over heels in love with it!

GIVEAWAY!

3x eCopies of Prosecco Christmas

International

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

 

35150981Publisher: The Borough Press

Publishing Date: 11th January 2018

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

Number of pages: 464

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago?

From the author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them:
1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.

Rating: five-stars

In this story – that is going to break your heart, btw – our main character Elsie is a 84 years old who lives at Cherry Tree (beautiful name, even though there are no cherry tries there), a sheltered accommodation. She spends her days with her friends Elsie, whom she knows for many, many years, and Jack. Florence is lovely and you just can’t help but fell in love with her a little. There is still spirit to her and she’s not an easiest resident of the home, she requires answers to her questions and is not easily satisfied. She just wants to live – I loved her no – nonsense approach. When a new resident arrives, Gabriel Price, she starts to believe she knows him but under a different name – is she right, and is in danger now? Or did she forget? Together with Florence, Elsie and Jack we set out on an incredible journey of looking for the truth, journey full of secrets, lies, abuse and mysteries, but also full of antics the three get up to.

“Three Things About Elsie” is a very special story about some very special characters that will stay in your heart for long. I actually immediately fell in love with Florence and Elsie, it was so easy to imagine them both sitting at the window and gossiping about all the other residents. They were jumping out of the pages of this book and they felt so true to life. Also, the background characters, such as Miss Ambrose or Handy Simon were incredibly well developed and had their own voices and stories that were so very touching, and really, they made the story feel more whole – I really hope you know what I mean here. So we don’t only get Florence’s point of view but also we get to know her life through other characters’ eyes. Elsie’s character is also incredibly likeable. She’s Florence’s best friend and it is Elsie who knows how Florence ticks best and how to make her feel better. Her words are the most memorable to Florence and she always asks what Elsie would do or say. It is Elsie who helps her, who finds all the positive things and who helps her to navigate through the minefield of losing memory. Their friendship was so beautiful and pure.

This story offered some curves that I really didn’t expect. I was reading a lovely, touching story about Florence, Elsie and Jack and then the author has thrown some so unexpected twists and the story went in totally different direction to the one I was expecting – which is just brilliant, I love to be surprised – and in the end it turned out to be a little of mystery, a little of memories, with very realistic characters. I also never could say what is real, is Florence right or is it really her dementia speaking, and the final reveals just took my breath away.

Joanna Cannon is a very, very talented author. I haven’t read her debut novel yet, it is still on my kindle, but her turns of phrases, the way she constructs the dialogues, the vividness of descriptions, the bringing the characters to life and the complex storyline speak for themselves. This book, “Three Things About Elsie”, is this kind of a story that is getting better with every page turned and it leaves you thinking and reflecting on what you’ve just read. It is a funny and sad, sentimental and it just tugs at the heart – strings. The author writes in such a gentle way, her words are full of sympathy, heart and understanding. They make us laugh and cry and think and reflect. And I can’t not mention it but the cover of the book is absolutely gorgeous, and it is also the perfect reflection of the story – you’ll see for yourself when you read the book.

Joanna Cannon explores friendship in her book, people that we hold dear, and indicates how important they are to us, and how important it is to not to lose our trust. Altogether, it was a beautiful, sensitive book, full of many poignant moments. And I didn’t guess the third thing about Elsie. It took me totally by surprise and made me cry like a crocodile. Highly, highly recommended!

The Single Girl’s Calendar by Erin Green / #BlogTour

The Single Girl’s Calendar by Erin Green

 

36270899Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st January 2018

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

Number of pages: 580

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A task a day to cure a broken heart.

Esmé Peel is approaching thirty with some trepidation, but hope in her heart. If she can just get her long-term boyfriend Andrew to propose, she will have ticked everything off her ‘things to do by the time you’re 30’ list. She didn’t reckon on finding another woman’s earring in her bed however, and soon she finds herself single, homeless and in need of a new plan. Her best friend Carys gives her the perfect present – The Single Girl’s Calendar – which has a different cure for heartbreak every day:

Day 1: Look and feel fabulous with a new hair style.

Day 2: Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Day 3: Reconnect with friends and enjoy!

Despite thinking it’s a bit of a gimmick, Esmé hasn’t got any better ideas, so she puts the plan into action. By the end of week one she has four new male housemates, and despite a broken heart she is determined to show Andrew she can do more than survive, she can thrive.

Rating: three-stars

 

 

“The Single Girl’s Calendar” is my first book by Erin Green and after reading synopsis I just knew that I want to read this novel. It turned out to be a light – hearted, funny and sometimes poignant book, and I really liked the concept of the Single Girl’s Calendar – I was really intrigued what challenges it’s going to bring, what tasks are there, awaiting Esme and her new single status.

The book introduced us to many characters. There is Esme, her ex – boyfriend, brother and parents, two work friends, four male housemates, an elderly neighbour from next door… It took me some time to eventually start to differentiate the boys, to be honest, and I could have lived without the neighbour subplot, to be honest. The boys, well, they were a solid part of the book but I’ve never felt connected to them, even though they became such a great part of Esme’s life. Her brother Kane, I’m not sure what it was that he did and why did he spent so much time at the flat? He was mostly unpleasant and rude and well, lazy. Jonah was awfully narcissistic, focused on himself and that was all. Russ… well, I can’t say much about Russ, I’m sorry, as well as about Dam who was mostly absent, at his parents. The most interesting and developed character was probably Asa, he was full of secrets and surprises, and he always said things as they were, and I think you need to get used to him because he can also come across as a very, very rude and not direct.

 I had a problem with Esme. A huge one. I liked her, don’t get me wrong, but there were things that annoyed me so much in her. She acted as she was the centre of the world, as if everything revolved around her. She wanted to know everything and decide about everything. She jumped to conclusions and generally didn’t apologize for this. Almost in every single chapter she was happy to talk about herself with other characters and it was gladly reported that it usually took a lot of time – she was obsessed with herself, guys. However, there were also great sides to her. I absolutely loved how she ended her relationship and how consequent she was. I also liked her new friendship with the older neighbour and how well she looked after her. But mostly, unfortunately, I agreed with Asa’s assessment for her character – she did what other people thought was best for her, she seemed not to be capable of deciding for herself half of the time.

Each of the characters living with Esme seems to have a secret that Esme shouldn’t hear. Why? Oh boy, why? It was really annoying, I guessed all of them but it took Esme a lot of time to discover, because of course she was desperate to know everything. Typical Esme. Nothing about the other without her, even though it was not her business. The book started to feel repetitive, when Esme started to recount to the other characters about everything that happened to her. It started to drag on and I found myself losing my interest a little. The ending seemed much too rushed for my liking and it left me a little confused for a long time, to be honest. I felt a little disappointed with Esme’s decisions, and I didn’t understand it, it left me feeling the calendar, the tasks taught her nothing.

This book had me torn; flip – flopping guys, even though I can’t exactly tell you what it was that bothered me so much. There was just something missing. It was as if the author wanted to put so much into her story and ultimately we got a little of everything but on the whole there were missing elements, missing x- factor. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining and it had some really good moments but it just didn’t wow me as much as I thought at the beginning it’s going to. Because it started really good and then it slowed down and went a little downhill. But altogether, “The Single Girl’s Calendar” was a charming, nice read, a great book to unwind with. It was about showing that if things don’t end up going to plan then well, just start living differently and perhaps make a new plan or let life surprise you? It was nice, easy and relaxing. There were some unexpected turns and some deeper moments in the story as well. and I am looking towards reading more from Erin Green.

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The Pets at Primrose Cottage Part 3 by Sheila Norton

Pets at Primrose Cottage: Trust Your Heart by Sheila Norton

 

34846988Publisher: Ebury Digital

Publishing Date: 18th January 2018

Series: The Pets at Primrose Cottage #3  (read my review of part 1 here and part 2 here )

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

Number of pages: 80

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

PART THREE of a serialised novel – a charming and romantic story about living the simple life and the joy of animals.

Emma Nightingale finds she’s accidentally becoming something of a local celebrity in the small town of Crickleford, and it seems that everyone wants her to look after their pets.

While looking after a hamster, she accidentally uncovers a mystery that threatens to draw even more attention to her. With nowhere to turn, soon Emma will have to make a decision that could cost her everything…

Rating: four-stars

 

And so The Pets at Primrose Cottage series continues with part 3, “Trust Your Heart”. In this part, as opposed to two other ones, there is a lot happening, however it still doesn’t explain much about Emma’s previous situation and I’m afraid that the last part will feel too rushed as the author will have to wrap all the threads of the subplots neatly together. But let’s wait and see.

I think this is also the funniest part yet, especially with the hamster adventures, and with the fish troubles. It of course brings back the characters that we’ve got to know but I only hope that the unappetizing Rob won’t enter the scenes anymore, he’s incredibly annoying and I am really not sure what’s the point of his advances. Emma is promising to tell this all his wife but it’s the same as with her lies – she promises to stop and it never happens. However, in this part she’s plucks up the courage to open a little to Matt and I must admit that his reaction disappointed me – and let’s be honest, were the stories that Emma told before so life – changing and significant? And well, hello, there was no talk about relationship before, so why to react so strongly? Probably because he has something to hide as well (oh boy. I fear that the fourth part is going to be longer as the three parts together, everything just accumulates). I also am not sure if I understand Emma’s allegation’s towards her family because when her sister visited her at Primrose Cottage, they were both so well around each other, they enjoyed each other’s company and there was not a feeling that there is something wrong between them.

The story was flowing so very nicely and it made me smile and I enjoyed it. However, all the time I have a feeling that it would work much better as w full – length novel, not all books can be split into series and in my opinion this is such a book, and it just losing too much. But I, of course, will be reading the final instalment, I have to know all the answers. “Trust Your Heart” had some romance in it, some buried secrets and altogether it was enjoyable, quick read.

That Girl by Kate Kerrigan / #BlogTour

So guys, after the Christmas and New year break I am baaaaack! And with the second blog tour of this year, and I am really excited to be a part of this one as I am a great and devoted fan of Kate Kerrigan. Have you read “The Dress” yet? If not, do not hesitate, it was a brilliant, brilliant read! But yes, she’s back with a new novel of hers, this lovely author, and this time she takes us to the London’s swinging sixties! If you follow the blog tour you can read some extracts from this novel and today I am sharing my review of this thought – provoking story.

That Girl by Kate Kerrigan

35678135Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publishing Date: 1st January 2018

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

Number of pages: 400

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover (out on 08.02.2018)

 

 

Synopsis:

You can escape a place. But you can’t escape yourself.

Hanna flees the scene of a terrible crime in her native Sligo. If she can just vanish, re-invent herself under a new name, perhaps the police won’t catch up with her. London seems the perfect place to disappear.

Lara has always loved Matthew and imagined happy married life in Dublin. Then comes the bombshell – Matthew says he wants to join the priesthood. Humiliated and broken-hearted, Lara heads to the most godless place she can find, King’s Road, Chelsea.

Matthew’s twin sister, Noreen, could not be more different from her brother. She does love fiance John, but she also craves sex, parties and fun. Swinging London has it all, but without John, Noreen is about to get way out of her depth.

All three girls find themselves working for Bobby Chevron – one of London’s most feared gangland bosses – and it’s not long before their new lives start to unravel.

 
Rating: three-half-stars

The story follows three young women from Ireland that more or less suddenly find themselves in the London’s swinging 60’s. It is my second book lately that was set in this time in London and I must admit that “That Girl” was much better than the other one – it was fast – paced and, above all, the characters felt realistic, they were so vivid and so easily brought to life by the author. So back to our main characters – they are very different but there is one thing that they have in common – they all run away from something. Hanna’s was probably the most shocking story and I so incredibly fell for her – after her mother has died, her step – father started to abuse her and she lived her life as his prisoner. She could do nothing about it – let’s not forget, it was Ireland and he was a very respected local doctor – until one day, when after coming to her limits Hanna leaves for London, trying to cover her tracks…

Lara is in love with Matthew, she’s always has been, and already envisions them married. However, one day, just out of the blue, Matthew tells her something that shatters Lara’s whole world. To flee the humiliation, Lara decides to leave for London to start a new life there. She quickly finds herself in the big city and I probably liked her most out of the three girls.

Noreen was the one that I liked the least. She was this kind of  person that would elbow her way to the top and it’s not my favourite kind of person. She’s Matthew’s twin sister and Lara’s best friend. She can’t believe what her brother has done to her friend, however after seeing them both, Matthew and Lara, leaving the little town in Ireland to follow their dreams, she gets itchy feet as well and she decides that while she loves her fiancée John very much, she first wants to see and try different life, to taste the freedom – and so she goes to London as well.

All the three girls end up living together in one apartment above the gangster’s nightclub, and initially also working together but then their lives take different paths.

 There were plenty of moments that took me absolutely by surprise and I would never in a million years guess that the story is going to take such turns! It starts telling Hanna’s story and then introducing us to the other girls, and it was so fast – paced that I didn’t have time to think what the three girls can have in common. I think Hanna’s story was the most shocking one, and I liked this girl, I simply liked her and I wished all best for her. Also Lara was my kind of person, she was not afraid to follow her dreams and to try. She wanted people to think she’s a tough cookie but there was also this vulnerable side to her. And as I have already mentioned, Noreen was my least favourite character, while you can admire her chutzpah and determination, especially in the 60’s Ireland, she was too egoistic for me, thinking only about herself and not respecting other people and their wishes.

 It was different to what I was expecting but of course it’s not the book’s fault but I just had a feeling it’s too much of everything. It often felt too far – fetched and the ending felt much too rushed and somehow unrealistic. Everything fell always so neatly in the right places and you just knew that no matter what and how, everything is going to turn OK. I was expecting more depth from this author, and while this book was really great to read I had a feeling that there was tons of potential that was not made use of. It was as if there was an idea but the delivery and conclusion of it was missing.

The author has brought the swinging London perfectly to life and I love all the descriptions of the places and clothes (but again, I had a feeling that the author started something, like That Girl, described few dresses and then it was all. A few comparisons to some models of those times and nothing more. It just often felt that some of the subplots started but weren’t finished, or ended too abruptly). The atmosphere was there on the pages and the characters were changing, turning into people they wanted to be.

 So yes, guys, this book gave me a  headache – I liked it, please don’t get me wrong, but after reading “The Dress” by the same author I was expecting something more deep and complex. “That Girl” was about friendship, about love and relationships, about hurt and betrayal. The book was good guys, it was a mix of suspense, romance, dark comedy but maybe this was my problem because it felt as if the story doesn’t know what it wants to be. However, Kate Kerrigan is a great story – teller and this was a really well written and character driven story set in the swinging sixties in London. The book has it all: fashion, drama, sex, gangsters and crime but in the foreground there are stories of three different girls, Hanna, Lara and Noreen. There is a lot happening and the author mixes perfectly humour with drama, tragedies and funny moments. The author is not afraid to write about abuse and violence but it’s such an integral part of this story, and even if there are some moments with all the gory details for you, it works in this book, and also you have a feeling that it was deserved and couldn’t be different. Recommended!

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The Pets at Primrose Cottage Part 2 by Sheila Norton

The Pets at Primrose Cottage: New Beginnings by Sheila Norton

 

34618085Publisher: Ebury Digital

Publishing Date: 21st December 2017

Series: The Pets at Primrose Cottage #2  (read my review of part 1 here )

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

Number of pages: 79

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

PART TWO of a serialised novel – a charming and romantic story about living the simple life and the joy of animals.

All Emma wants is a quiet life in sleepy Crickleford, away from the prying eyes of the press who are obsessed with the life she used to lead.

She is enjoying her new vocation: the town’s most in-demand pet-sitter. But her journalist friend and fellow animal lover Matt is desperate for a big story to make his career – such as Emma’s true identity…

Emma doesn’t want the spotlight, but it keeps finding her anyway. Can she keep her past a secret and live the life she’s dreamed of?

Rating: three-stars

“New Beginnings” is a second part in “The Pets at Primrose Cottage” series and I was really glad to read it, as the characters and the setting were still fresh in my mind and – yes! – I just wanted to know how it is going to continue and what’s going to happen.

It was a nice continuation of the first part, however it didn’t bring anything new in the characters’ development. We got to know more pets than people this time and while it was nice, the novella felt slow and a little bit flat. How often can the main character ask herself how long is she going to tell lies over and over again and still not tell the truth? It was desperately annoying. However, guys, I really started to warm to Emma, even though she really seems not to know what’s best for her at the moment, she’d rather run away from her problems than face them, and I think she’s too big a girl for that. But she’s great with the animals – better than with some people, I’d say, I really am not sure why she so over – reacts around Matt – and she really has a heart in the right place.

Of course, it ended on a cliffhanger, and well, I must admit, I am really intrigued if this what Emma thought she’s seen is true or maybe she’s made a mistake, and if it’s truth, how did it happen? I am guessing that more action is to come in the next two parts and I am really looking forward to reading them – I want to know why Emma has fled her life of luxury and what has happened that she’s now so reluctant to open up and to trust again. Altogether, “New Beginnings” was a quick and pleasant read, the writing style is lovely, full of warmth and it just feels chatty.

Where There’s a Will by Bella Osborne (Ottercombe Bay #1)

Where There’s a Will by Bella Osborne

 

35555798Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 28th December 2017

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

Number of pages: 100

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Escape to the Devon coast, with Part One of a brand-new four-part serial from the author of Willow Cottage.
Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

Rating: three-stars

Bella Osborne’s “Where There’s a Will” is an introduction to a brand new series “Ottercombe Bay”. It sets up the location and introduces us to some of the main characters and already leaves us with some questions to be answered.

There are of course many questions opened. Daisy returns to Ottercombe Bay for the funeral of her Great Uncle Reg. We know her mother died here when Daisy was a child, and we know from the pieces of information that something has probably happened that brought her to this death, we also know that Daisy avoided Ottercombe Bay with all her might but still we’re not sure why – only because it brings memories of her childhood and her mother? Also, she just wants to attend the funeral and then go. But the late Uncle Reg had other ideas and Daisy finds herself inheriting an old railway station building, providing she’s going to spent the next twelve months on Ottercombe Bay. Is it possible at all for Daisy, the free spirit?

The story was written in a nice, warm way – I really like Bella Osborne writing style. However, this time, I had problems with the characters here, and as this part was really characters’ centred it wasn’t easy to enjoy the story. Daisy is brash and temperamental, or rather moody, and I’m guessing it’s because of her past, but nobody has been hurt by being kind, right? But the location on the Devon coast was lovely and the old station building sounds brilliant and beautiful and that there is a lot of potential in it.

I really looked forward to this novella and it’s a real pity that I didn’t warm to it as much as I hoped. I guess it would work much better as a whole novel – I understand it is only the introduction and it’s a little unfortunate that it started in such a way, when I didn’t warm to the characters at all. However, I’m guessing I’ll read a second part in this series, to see if anything’s going to change, and yes, I want to see how Daisy is going to settle in Ottercombe Bay – I’m sure she’ll be wanting to leave more than once but well, she has to stay, right?