Single All the Way by Karen King

Single All the Way by Karen King

 

Publisher: Bookouture 48055558._sy475_

Publishing Date: 28th October 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 286

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

I can see my mother is calling me. I answer the phone, knowing I’ll have to tell her about Oliver and me breaking up. But before I can, she announces, ‘I don’t exactly know how to tell you this… But I’m leaving your dad.’

Single together for the first time, 34-year-old Meg and her warm-hearted, long-suffering mother Sally are cancelling Christmas, and running away to a tiny cottage on the Cornish coast. For Meg, it is the perfect place to heal, away from all the mistletoe, while for her mother it has a special, and secret, place in her heart – from a love story that seems a lifetime ago…

Meg and Sally find they’re getting to know themselves, and each other, better than ever before. But as they are unable to resist getting involved in the village Christmas celebrations, they encounter two handsome local strangers.

Sometimes, it’s being away from home that helps you realise where your heart is. What neither woman knows is that, by the time the new year rolls around, one woman will have fallen in love with her husband all over again, and one marriage will be over for good…

An escapist, romantic and heart-warming novel for fans of One Day in December and No One Cancels Christmas.

Rating: two-half-stars

 

Meg and her husband own a party planning business. They love each other and they care for each other, so why is it that one day leaves Oliver? And when Meg’s mother Sally hears about it, she makes a decision of her own – she always put her family, and first of all, husband first but now feels it time to think about herself. Will mother and daughter be able to save their marriages? Do they want to save their marriages?

I could get into the story but I also couldn’t get into it, hope you’re with me 🙂 I understood the meaning, the plot but still I wasn’t full involved because it just simply felt too flat and too clichéd. The dialogues and the characters felt much too wooden and too formal and too forced. Huge part of the book is actually about Meg and Sally reflecting on their relationships and wondering what has gone wrong – I missed action, something happening, the book going forward.

I’m really sorry to say but the characters felt very one – dimensional and not real, and the way they acted and interacted was unnatural and it was hard to connect with them. The chapters told from the husbands’ points of view didn’t make me warm to them, to be honest, and actually we knew then all the points of view, also those of the female characters, but there was no solution and no help, and the other people involved didn’t know what the others are thinking.

“Single All the Way” was a holiday romance, light and easy to read, about relationships, the stereotypes of failed marriages and misunderstandings and the author is for sure passionate about telling a story. The title and the cover may suggest that the book is a cosy, Christmas reading but well, for me it didn’t give off too many festive feelings. While there was so much potential in it, it didn’t deliver, and it lacked in emotional depth so needed to make it work and everything is done half – heartedly. So yes, I think I know that the author wanted to added tons of depth and meaning to the story, to make it not so fluffy but this bit more serious but, sadly, she didn’t succeed. However, please do not feel put out by my review, you may fell in love with the characters and the plot of this novel, so simply just give it a go.

It Won’t be Christmas without You by Beth Reekles

It Won’t be Christmas Without You by Beth Reekles

 

Publisher: One More Chapter 47315629._sy475_

Publishing Date: 30th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 203

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 31.10.2019)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the smash hit Netflix romcom The Kissing Booth!

Eloise, a self-confessed Christmas obsessive, can’t wait for the big day. Devoted to her Michael Bublé playlist, she’s organising the school nativity play and even her gorgeous Grinch of a neighbour, James, can’t get her down.

Her workaholic twin sister, Cara, on the other hand, plans to work over the holiday – and figure out what secrets her seemingly-perfect boyfriend George might be keeping from her.

The sisters used to be close but since Cara moved to London, everything’s been different. Only, Eloise isn’t giving up just yet, and with a white Christmas on the cards, Cara can’t fail to be moved by the magic of the season … can she?

Rating:  two-half-stars

 

Cara and Eloise are twins, living in London and Doncaster. As their parents have decided to go on holiday for Christmas, it’s up to them to spend the day together, following all the traditions. But while Eloise, a primary school teacher, is obsessed with Christmas and can’t wait for her sister to come and spend time with her, Cara on the other hand is a workaholic who can hardly find time to meet with her boyfriend, let alone visit her family home for a one day only.

I got into this book full of expectations – let’s be honest, the synopsis is promising, right? However, it turned out, that this novel is an OK, average read. The two main characters were sisters and they couldn’t be different even if you asked for it – while Eloise was full of Christmas cheer, Cara was the absolute opposite of her, focusing hard on her work and not having time – or not wanting to find time and changing her mind in every second chapter – to spend this festive time with her sister, finding out many different excuses, one more unlikely to the other. Eloise could also be a bit annoying with her demands but I could understand her, she was waiting  for Christmas all year long and it’s not a wonder that she wanted to spend this time with her closest. Nevertheless, they both could be much better developed, they needed more depth to them, more to their personalities – they simply felt too one – dimensional and too flat and it was hard to connect with them.  The romance aspect in this story was also not too… romantic. It felt too chopped, like an after – thought, and it needed a bit more fun for my liking.

It’s a story that once read is quickly forgotten – it may sound harsh but it’s the true. Please don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable enough but there was nothing new and the dynamics between sisters quickly became tiring. There was a lot of potential but it lacked in delivery, which is a shame, and I don’t know, despite being full of festive spirit it somehow also lacked in festive spirit, as everything felt so contrived and clichéd. However, if you are in a need of a light – hearted, easy, Christmassy read with a happily ever after, simply give this book a go.

 

Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville

Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville

 

 

38393699Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 15th November 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Living back at home and spending most of her time behind a checkout till, it’s fair to say things aren’t going quite as Zoe had planned. But she’s determined to live every day to the full, and she’s spreading her mission of happiness, one inspirational quote at a time.

Since his dad died, Tristan has been struggling with a sadness that threatens to overtake everything. He can’t face seeing his friends, can’t stop fighting with his brother, and as much as he pretends to be better, the truth is he can’t even remember what ‘normal’ feels like.

One person can change everything.

When these two meet, Zoe becomes determined to bring the missing colour back into Tristan’s life. But the harder she tries to change the way Tristan sees the world, the more she realises it’s something she can’t fix – and in trying to put him back together, a part of her is beginning to break . . .

A novel to break your heart and put it back together again – Every Colour of You is the debut novel from Amelia Mandeville, with heart-wrenchingly relatable characters, big emotions and an unforgettable story.

Rating: two-half-stars

Zoe and Tristan meet at the hospital and they paths start to cross in the most unbelievable ways. Tristan is suffering from depression and his world is this of a very dark colour, and meeting Zoe brings rainbow colours into his life. Zoe is also determined to help him raise again after the sudden death of his father – but the more she tries the more reluctance she meets. Also, her own world starts to crumble around her – are they both going to find what they’re looking for? Will the fall apart or maybe will they manage to pick themselves up?

Zoe was a complex and complicated character but instead of falling for her, she just annoyed me. I do get where she was coming from and why she was like this, but her being SO chirpy, SO bouncy, SO relaxed was just too overwhelming. On the other hand, even without knowing till the very end what it is that she has, I did care about her. There was simply something in her that made her outstanding. However, I couldn’t connect with the characters so in the end I really couldn’t care less what’s going to happen to them. Tristan was so overdone with his image of “bad boy” that eventually I found myself rolling my eyes at him. I guess we were supposed to fall for him and to sympathize with him, but well, I simply didn’t like him. Sure, the author has done a brilliant job in capturing his character, him being so torn and troubled – I can’t deny this and I don’t want to deny it. But altogether he was not likeable for me.

I appreciate what the author tried to achieve with her writing, and also I must say here that her writing style is really good for a debut novel. It was thought – provoking and full of questions that were actually aimed at the readers which was really exceptional and different, as it truly makes you think. I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that the author has tried much too much to deliver a book with messages of love, second chances and not taking life for granted. It was too obvious, too strongly emphasized and while I really appreciated what she tried to do here, it just was too obvious for me and simply didn’t work for me. Theoretically, this book had it all, a poignant plot and it touched upon many important issues, such like depression, health conditions, death and grief and maybe it’s going to work for younger audience, I personally think Ms Mandeville tried too much and overdone it. It felt very repetitive and slow.

Overall, too overplayed, too dramatic, too much. However, the author deserves a standing ovation for choosing such heavy topics for her debut novel. There is the issue of having two dads as parents, which was tackled in such a light, forthcoming and charming way; of course the issue of depression and the way it affects whole families; the issue of living with a heart condition and not being sure how long you still have to live. You can easily see that the author has done her homework, as she writes about details that we wouldn’t notice but that often define people suffering from depression. Perfectly describing the rawness of mental and physical illness, therefore full of emotions, the most deepest and raw ones. Sadly, not for me.

 

My Very Italian Holiday by Sue Roberts

My Very Italian Holiday by Sue Roberts

 

40133092Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 1st August 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 262

Genre: Humour, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A beautiful guesthouse, a fresh start and a hunky Italian. Does it sound too good to be true?

When Gina arrives in Lake Como, thousands of miles away from her life in the Lake District, she wonders if she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Working for Fabio, running his lakeside hotel, seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After her world was tragically turned upside down, breaking her heart in the process, she was in desperate need of a fresh start. Plus, it didn’t hurt that Fabio was easy on the eyes…

But it’s not all picturesque mountains, pizza and prosecco. The crumbling guesthouse that Fabio has inherited from his family needs some serious TLC. Is she up to the challenge?

As Gina and Fabio work in close quarters, sparks start to fly. But Fabio has a secret he is scared to share, and Gina has her past to come to terms with. Does her heart belong back home or is a life in the sun – with a very handsome Italian – just the change of scenery she needs?

Escape to the gorgeous mountains and glittering Lake Como in Northern Italy! This laugh-out-loud funny and feel-good story of starting over and living life to the max is perfect for fans of Kat French, Jenny Oliver and Carole Matthews.

Rating: two-half-stars

Gina has been widowed for a few years and is now running a successful B&B that she’s renovated with her husband before the tragic accident happened. Now she works with her sister Hannah and they both enjoy their job and the different variety of guests visiting. One guest, especially, in Gina’s case. Fabio is visiting his uncle and staying in Gina’s B&B. He’s just inherited his own B&B at Lake Como and they quickly find common ground. But Fabio lives in Italy, and Gina in England, and is Gina looking for a new man in her life at all?

I’ve requested this book because this beautiful cover hollers “holidays”, and well, the title as well, but I must probably stop doing it. I mean, requesting books because I love the covers. But that’s me, a total cover – sucker. The synopsis was also promising, let’s be honest, however the first grinding occurred when Italy appeared on the pages somewhere in the middle of the book. I don’t mean it’s wrong, Lake District is also a brilliant setting, and the descriptions of it were lovely, but then the holidays were not too very Italian, right.

I’d call this book chick – lit for beginners. I couldn’t connect with the characters too much, not as much as I’d like, they were not too very well developed to be honest. The chapters were very short, which is good, as it usually make reading easier and faster, however some of them I could, well, live without, as they rather didn’t bring anything significant to the story. I missed depth in this book, to be honest: the writing style was lovely but very simple, the narration told us the characters went to the bathroom and in the next paragraph that they left the bathroom. They went to bed and they woke up. The plot was not over – lapping, the things happened one after another: one situation ended, then came another that was solved at the end of the chapter. The banter between the characters was easy to follow as it was not too complex.

Sure, the book had its strong points as well, and those were the descriptions of the food for example, and there were some funny moments and situations, but altogether it just didn’t work for me. It felt too forced and too artificial. It was too predictable and there were moments that were too dramatic to be true. But it was also a quick and easy read and there was for sure an idea there and potential. I still have the author’s debut novel on my kindle, waiting patiently to be read, and I’ll do this as soon as possible. I would recommend “My Very Italian Holiday” to those who are looking for a quick, summery and not too demanding book.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

 

34870304Publisher: Hot Keys Books

Publishing Date: 5th September 2017

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

Number of pages: 272

Genre:  Mystery & Thrillers, Teens & YA

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the unforgettable bestseller WE WERE LIARS comes a suspenseful new psychological thriller – the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life.

But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

Rating: two-half-stars

Honestly, I was very intrigued after reading synopsis of “Genuine Fraud”. I went into it with an open mind, not sure what I can expect from the author that is new to me, and from the book itself that already got so many mixed reviews. After reading the novel though I think I know why the reviews are so diversified.

The story is written backwards, if I can say so, and I can already tell you here is where my biggest problem was. It felt really weird reading about things, events and situations and understanding them not until a few chapters later. I also often found myself not remembering to what situations that I’ve already read about did the events lead. It was really weird, demanding and made the reading more difficult for me personally. It was confusing and to be totally honest, not clear, some things and characters were appearing out of the blue and after finishing it I found myself sitting and thinking, and what now?

The storyline follows two characters and one is pretending to be the other one. They were not likeable, those characters, however I think that’s the way it was supposed to be. They were reckless. They were unreliable and they were probably in a need of a therapy. I didn’t feel connect to any of the characters and actually mostly I just felt reluctance towards them. I didn’t understand them and their motives probably, and I still am not sure if this what happened with Jule’s parents was truth or was it another lie.

The writing style was great but on the other hand it felt so cold and emotionless as if the author didn’t mind if she connects with the readers or not. It lacked in suspense in tension. There was not a mystery to discover. There weren’t any twists. So what was this book for? I was truly intrigued by the beginning, the first two, three chapters. Then the going back in time began, and every chapter skips back a week, few weeks or even a month before. I have nothing against flashbacks or retrospections but it was just too much for me and this timeline has just kept messing me up.

So the book left me totally in two minds and I still am not sure what to think. I will definitely read another E. Lockhart’s book, especially as I’m hearing so many good things about “We Were Liars”, but “Genuine Fraud” stays for me a short, fast – paced story with an average plot, not likeable, unbelievable and underdeveloped characters. However, if you’re looking for a read with a difference, that is fresh and unique and even intriguing, that you might give “Genuine Fraud” a shot.

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson

 

35922915Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 12th October 2017

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 269

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Escape to Devon for blustery walks along the beach, hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and proof that miracles really do happen, especially at Christmas.

A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas Day, Chloe’s heart is still in pieces as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…

It seems Gianni’s new seaside restaurant is in trouble and Chloe must go to Appledore to save the business – and him. Equally famous for his experimental culinary extravaganzas and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way!

As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflé. But will it be enough to save their marriage?

Chloe came to Appledore in search of her Christmas sparkle, but when the snow clears, will she finally find the way back to her husband’s heart?

A laugh-out-loud festive treat that will give you the tingle of freshly-hung tinsel. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.

Rating: two-half-stars

Each time I see a new Sue Watson’s book I’m getting really giddy with excitement – yes, it never dies, this feeling of seeing a new book by the author you adore, no matter how old you are. I really like Sue’s down – to – earth stories with brilliant leading heroines who have experienced a lot in their lives and they really know what they’re talking about. And “Snowflakes, Christmas Cakes and Second Chances” looked and sounded so inviting and so Christmassy, and I thought, well, what can go wrong?

Unfortunately, and I’m really not saying this easily, almost everything went wrong for me. I started reading the book with such great hopes and with every page turned you could see my hope and enthusiasm going downhill. The main character, Chloe, was also the narrator, everything was told from her point of view. It felt like reading someone’s memoirs, that were also very repetitive, as I had a feeling we are reading about old same, old same all the time. Chloe seemed to me as if she didn’t know what she really wants from her life and I was soon tired with all this what I want/what I don’t want – she was too old and too experienced for this blowing cold and hot all the time. I felt sorry for her, and that was all actually, but for me it was just the case of you make your bed, you lie in it…
And let’s start on Gianni. Oh my God. I’m not sure if he was supposed to be cute with his temper and va – va – voom, funny with the things he said to his customers and critics, if I should appreciate his “honesty” but he so didn’t work for me. There was not a drop of charm in him for me, he was a whiney, spoiled, arrogant piece of work and no matter what you’re going to say it won’t change my mind about him.

This is a third instalment in the Appledore series, however you of course can read this book as a stand – alone. The characters from the previous books do enter the scenes here but the story focuses on brand new characters, Chloe and Gianni. I love the setting of Appledore and this is why I am really sorry and upset that this book didn’t work for me, and even Sue Watson’s writing style didn’t help this time. I love books with the idea of second chances and for people coming back to each other but this one didn’t deliver. However, I can see it already has tons of fans so don’t let my review to put you off reading this story.

The Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant

The Little Village Bakery

by Tilly Tennant

 

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 15th June 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley,  thank you!

Number of pages: 242

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

Help yourself to a generous slice of Victoria sponge, a perfect cup of tea and a big dollop of romance. Welcome to the Little Village Bakery.

Meet Millie. Heartbreak has forced her to make a new start and when she arrives at the old bakery in the little village of Honeybourne she is determined that this will be her home sweet home. Her imagination has been captured by the tumbledown bakery but with no running water and dust everywhere, her cosy idea of making cakes in a rural idyll quickly crumbles.

Luckily the locals are a friendly bunch and step in to help Millie. One in particular, Dylan, a laid-back lothario, soon captures her attention.

But just as Millie is beginning to settle in, an unexpected visitor from her past suddenly turns up determined to ruin everything for her. It’s time for Millie to face the skeletons in her closet if she’s going to live the dream of running her little village bakery, and her blossoming romance with Dylan.

A charming heartwarming novel about love, life and new beginnings perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Debbie Johnson.

Rating: 2.5/5

 

I didn’t hesitate long to request „The Little Village Bakery” from Bookouture on NetGalley – it is written by Tilly Tennant, author that is already known to me, whose books I’ve enjoyed before, it has a wonderful, colourful cover and it has the word „bakery” in the title. I love books about food, I love them even more when the synopsis promises a new start for the characters and hints at lovely, helpful locals and some hidden secrets, and if Tilly wanted to try herself in following the trend about writing a foody novel, why not? It is also the fist book in the series taking place in the small village of Honeybourne.

So full of expectations I started to read the book. It started promising and kept me hooked but soon, very soon, the book went only downhill for me. The synopsis tells us mostly about Millie and this is what I’ve expected – Millie and her work with the old bakery to turn it into a new one, with running water and filled with wonderful aroma. However, I had a feeling that this soon became only a sub – plot, as we were introduced to many other characters who quickly took over the scenes. I’m not saying it’s wrong, of course not – it’s just that I felt that synopsis promised us something different to this story. Also, the tagline on the lovely cover suggested it’s going to be „a feel good romantic comedy with plenty of cake” but I found none of those. Maybe there was a cake or two mentioned but for me it was not a romantic comedy. The story was heavy, not at all light or fluffy, full of serious moments, and the writing also didn’t help the case, as I personally missed the lightness and humour that comedy promises. The romance aspect also didn’t work for me, and I couldn’t bother with the characters’ running around themselves in circles and complicating things more than they were worth to complicate. The romance was for sure not the sole focus of the storyline, but neither was the bakery, and I wanted so much more of the bakery! It is what the title suggested, right, and really, I felt robbed of thousand sorts of bread and cakes, getting instead some „magic” potions, and the magic element to the story felt like an afterthought to be honest, like something added hastily to … I don’t know what. Drag our attention away from the bakery or rather lack of it?

I had a feeling that the author wasn’t sure which story she wanted to write, Millie or Jasmine’s, as the book mostly switched between those two characters, and their stories were so different that I had a feeling as if I were reading two different books. Tilly Tennant wanted to add some tension by introducing us to Millie’s nemesis (who was a little too far – fetched for my liking and a little on the not possible – side) and Jasmine’s problems, but both of those subplots seemed either too far – fetched and not at all gripping or too clichéd and annoying. However, I warmed much more to Jasmine than to Millie, that is to the moment when suddenly Jasmine’s marriage went jeopardy, and the way it happened spoiled her story to me very much. It just felt so forced and artificial. There was something in Millie that just didn’t let me like her and warm to her the way I like to with my characters and I’m not sure why to be honest. Maybe it’s because I had a feeling that she didn’t want to give anything about herself and from herself, and even revealing the truth about her (so late. Too late probably?) didn’t make me warm to her. Millie and Jasmine are complete opposites and hats off to Jasmine for always trying with Millie and never giving up on her.

This could be a lovely story about finding friendship, love and a forever place but so very sadly I couldn’t connect with the book and it just didn’t deliver for me. I eventually found myself skipping some passages and skimming through the chapters as it didn’t keep my attention. However, it might of course be only my problem, as I expected something like Alex Brown’s Tindledale series – light and feel good, which I didn’t get here, even though I felt the synopsis promised me, and those are my expectations and disappointment speaking, so whatever you do, please try the book for yourself, you may fell in love with Millie and Honeybourne.