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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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 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?

Some Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher

Some Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher

 

35164060Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 16th November 2017

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

Number of pages: 389

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Lizzy and Ian have been a couple since their first day at university. Now, after celebrating a decade together, everyone thinks they’re about to get engaged. A romantic escape to Dubai is the perfect moment, but instead of the proposal Lizzy hopes for, Ian reveals he’s not sure he even wants her anymore.

Lizzy is heartbroken. But through the tears, she realises this is her chance to seize the opportunities she missed as Ian’s other half. But what does she want? How much of her is really Lizzy, and how much was Ian’s influence? Determined to discover who she is at heart, Lizzy sets out to rediscover the girl she was before – and in the meantime, have a little fun . . .

Rating: three-stars

 

In “Some Kind of Wonderful” we meet Lizzie, who’s been with Ian for ages – that is, since Uni, and the only thing that she misses is proposal and a wedding. On a trip to Dubai Lizzie is convinced that Ian is finally going to propose – however, as the popular saying goes, tell God about your plans and he will laugh, and indeed, the opposite happens and, devastated, she flies back home as a single woman. She needs now to come to terms with this totally new situation, to lick her wounds and to find herself afresh.

What I liked in the story was the fact that it was not about desperately finding a man and feeling complete with him at your side but about a journey from being a part of a couple for as long as Lizzie remembers to discovering what it is she really loves in her life. Perhaps the delivery was the problem here, as the story didn’t really keep my attention, and Lizzie herself was not so easy to immediately like – for me at least. I understand you can’t pick yourself up just like that, recover and just go on after such an unexpected break – up, that you need time to bounce back but Lizzie was mostly acting like a child and not an adult. However yes, as the book progresses, Lizzie became much more likeable and endearing woman and in the end she started to feel like a friend to me.
I also had problems with the other characters, and especially Lizzie’s sister Michelle – I know all about the sibling’s rivalry and so on but there is rivalry and there is a spite and such a love – hate relationships between siblings just don’t work for me in books, I’m sorry. However, I did like the ending for example, maybe usually I’m not a great fan of open endings but this time it worked really well and I’d love to hear what options did Lizzie choose for herself.

This book was written with a light humour and it was easy to read and light – hearted. It was comfortable and cosy, and you don’t always need great dramas in the books. However, as much as I like Giovanna’s lovely and gentle writing style, there was just too much of unnecessary details and not enough concentrating on the main plot points. But it was a book, that ticks all the boxes for a nice, lighter read, with enough substance and a lot of potential.

Altogether, it was an easy and relaxing read that – unfortunately – won’t stay with me for longer. It was not complicated and the pace was slow – the first half of the book was about Lizzie trying to come to terms with what happened and the second half was about Lizzie trying to redefine herself, to find herself anew and outside of a relationship. You read the book, and read it, waiting for something special to happen, and before you realize that there is nothing special, you’ve already finished the story. Giovanna’s other novel “you’re the One that I Want” stays absolutely my favourite book by her, it just seems to me that there is something holding her back from writing another such lovely book, but I am sure that fans of this author are going to adore “Some Kind of Wonderful”.

And a Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills / #BlogTour + Giveaway

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And a Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills

36114226Publisher: Lilac Tree Books

Publishing Date: 30th September 2017

Source:  Received for blog tour purposes

Number of pages: 270

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Daisy Jones has hit rock bottom. Or so she believes.

A cheating boyfriend, trouble at work, having to move back in with her mother, and being forced to compare her brother’s loved-up, newly-wed status and brand-new shiny house with her own dire lack of prospects, isn’t what she imagined her life was going to be like at thirty. To top it all off, Christmas, is just around the corner!

Daisy, bless her, thinks things can’t possibly get any worse, but when her ancient great-grandmother persuades her to plant a silver sixpence in the Christmas pud for luck, Daisy is about to discover that they most definitely can.

Rating: three-stars

Lilac Mills is a new author to me and as I loved the synopsis to “And the Sixpence for Luck” I didn’t hesitate long to take part in this blog tour. The colourful cover of this book just shouted “read me” and I was so in need for something optimistic and witty.

The plot was not very complicated, there were not many twists and turns that changed the current. It was mostly on the predictable side and there were not many surprises thrown my way. The jumping to conclusions, while intended as light – hearted and funny, eventually started to annoy. But please, don’t get me wrong, it was a relatively funny, festive read but it just didn’t wow me and for me it was just too clichéd to rate it with more stars. I am probably spoiled by the many books I read, or maybe I should say I’m damaged by the many books that I read because now the read must be exceptional for me, and “A Sixpence for Luck” was an average one. I don’t mean it was wrong, oh my, I’m far from saying it, but it is not a book that is going to stay with me for long.

It was a light and relaxed read, and I appreciate author’s attempt at the humour but for me it was mostly perfectly obvious, too far fetched and it felt too forced. Some of the characters, like Daisy’s great – grandmother, annoyed me like you wouldn’t believe – I know she was supposed to be cute with her one – liners and strong opinions but for me it all sounded too plastic and unnatural. Daisy was a nice leading character though, and my heart went to her on so many occasions and at the many disappointments that she had to experience in her life. I liked how she was willing not to take herself too seriously and I really, really admired that she stayed so strong and kept her head up with so many unfortunate mishaps. I mean, there is bad luck and there is bad luck, right? And Daisy was very prone to accident.

Altogether, it was a nice enough story about staying positive and never losing your hope and good humour, and seeing positive even when the situations are far from being funny. If you are looking for a light and festive story than this can be a read for you. The writing style was engaging and easy to follow and as the novel itself was not too complex it made for an easy, relaxed read with some cheeky humour added.

GIVEAWAY:

You can win a signed copy of the book and a silver sixpence necklace – open international!

: a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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How Not to be a Bride by Portia MacIntosh

How Not to be a Bride by Portia MacIntosh

 

36103295Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 17th October 2017

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

Number of pages: 384

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Definitely, maybe…yes?
Mia Valentina gave up her high-flying life in LA to move back to Kent over four years ago. But it turns up that life in the slow lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

So when her boyfriend Leo proposes, she says yes, hoping it will bring some much needed sparkle back into her life. The trouble is, Mia never wanted a big white wedding, just the happy ever after…

The laugh-out-loud, uplifting new book from Portia MacIntosh, author of It’s Not You, It’s Them. Perfect for fans of Rosie Blake and Sophie Kinsella.

Rating: three-stars

I am a huge fan of Portia MacIntosh’s novels and I was so looking forward to reading “How Not to be a Bride” – already the title made me smile and I really hoped that it’s setting the mood for the rest of the story. And I absolutely got the fact that Mia didn’t want to get married – I have never dreamed about fluffy bouncy wedding dress and only thinking about the first dance and all those traditions that are mandatory at the wedding made me cringe, and big weddings are a real nightmare for me, so yes, Mia, I know what you meant – when married, then in the simplest way!

Portia’s writing style is, as usual, easy and light – hearted and this was a quick read full of great one – liners. A story about making decisions, small and huge and realising what it is that you want from your life. It was refreshing and of course brutally honest, but in a funny way, filled with situations all of us can relate to, cringe with embarrassment and whisper “I’ve been there, I’ve seen this”. My only problem with this book were characters, I couldn’t warm to them and probably I didn’t “get” them enough to enjoy them more. I really wasn’t sure about Mia, if she truly knew what it is she wants. The more I read about her relationship with the wonderful fireman Leo (her words, not mine. I personally didn’t think Leo is wonderful), the more often I was asking myself the question why she’s with him at all, is he the right person for her. I was starting to ask myself if they really are destined to be together, if there really are chances for them to be happy and wondering why are they together at all. There was something that was not working for me in this relationship and it bothered me the whole story.

“How Not to be a Bride” was filled with ups and downs of everyday life and problems, full of troubles in paradise and jumping to conclusions, and this all brought to us in a great, light way. There was all the time something happening in this story and I think it’s great, as it kept me glued to the pages and I truly wanted to know what’s going to happen and what kind of troubles is Mia going to get herself.