Darling Blue by Tracy Rees (re – post)

Happy publication day, Tracy!

Darling Blue by Tracy Rees

 

39289997 Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 1st November 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 576

Genre: Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback 

 

Synopsis:

Blue lives a charmed life. From her family’s townhouse in Richmond, she lives the life of luxury and couldn’t want for anything – well, on the surface at least.

Then on the night of her twenty-first birthday her father makes a startling toast: he will give his daughter’s hand to whichever man can capture her heart best in the form of a love letter. But Blue has other ideas and, unwilling to play at her father’s bewildering games, she sets out on her own path to find her own destiny…

Rating:  four-stars

“Darling Blue”, set in 1920’s London, follows the story of three women – Blue, Midge and Delphine and their families. It starts at Blue’s 21st birthday – her “coming of age”, when her father announces that the possible suitors should woe his daughter by letters. While marriage is not what Blue is looking for at the moment – she’d rather focus on her career as a writer – she’s horrified. But what is done is done and what is said is said and soon Blue receives a few letters that are going to change her life.
Soon after her birthday she meets Delphine, who has escaped a very abusive marriage – she never wants to return to her previous life but is it possible? However, no matter what, Blue and her family takes Delphine under their wings.

Tracy Rees takes us again on a journey in the past, in a different time – zone again. This time it’s Richmond in London in 1920’s and, as usual, she presents us with beautiful, vivid and rich descriptions of the setting, the weather, the clothes and she easily captures the atmosphere of the times, and she pays a great attention to deatils and has a great eye for them. It was, on the surface, a light – hearted story with lovely and kind characters, but deep down touching upon some serious issues, such like bullying or post – natal depression. To be honest, such depth and seriousness really surprised me, especially after the light beginning, but Tracy Rees has already got me used to the fact that she’s not afraid to write about some more sensitive stuff.

This book follows stories of three different women. Blue’s real name is Ishbel and she’s adored everywhere. Her stepmother Midge has problems of her own and she has a huge secret. But as much as you could think it’s going to be about Darling Blue, it equally focuses on the lives of Midge and Delphine, and it was a great move, to be honest, as those two women add tons of significance to this book. In my opinion, they were simply better developed and rounded than Blue, although please don’t get me wrong, she was also an interesting character that had something to say, and her desire to work and be independent was adorable. On the other hand, she was a little too self – absorbed and I had a feeling that she likes when the whole world is running in circles around her. But there was enough empathy in her, she was a great friend and open person and it was not hard to like her.
But altogether I only had a feeling that the characters were just too simple for such an author as Tracy Rees – they were either perfect and incredibly kind, or awfully unpleasant, and sometimes this just felt unrealistic.

Basically, it was a story about one year in a family’s life, though a very turbulent one. Mostly, it was well paced though there were some moments that if dragged a bit. Also, as much as I love a happy end, here it left me feel a little insatiable as the actions of one of the characters were forgotten quite quickly and quite easily, and she was welcomed back to the family without a word, and it was this little bit unrealistic, non – credible and little bit rushed, and I also had a feeling that maybe the author didn’t have a better idea how to solve this particular subplot? Also, as much as I appreciated the mysteries in this book, I quickly guessed what was going to happen. I also had a feeling that there was a very long build – up to them and then, when it finally came to the revelations, it was too rapid and not dealt with, just done and forgotten.

“Darling Blue” is a book that isn’t mostly about actions and events but mostly about characters, feelings and emotions. They are written in a gentle and captivating way that makes the pace bearable and I was actually glued to the pages – yes, waiting for something to happen, as I could feel with my whole body that there is something going to happen, but at the same time perfectly entertained by the distinctive voices of the characters. It was a great historical fiction about family, love, friendship, grief and forgiveness, with a great sense of period and written in a beautiful, colourful and detailed way that is going to sweep you off your feet for a few hours. While “Amy Snow”, Tracy Rees’s debut novel remains still my favourite of hers, I can say that with “Darling Blue” she’s following closely. Recommended!

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A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

 

 

39783948Publisher: Harper Collins/ HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 18th October 2018

Series: Comfort Food Cafe #5

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Cosy up at the Comfort Food Cafe for a romance that isn’t just for Christmas…

‘As cosy as a buttered crumpet’ Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson

Christmas has never been Katie Seddon’s favourite time of year. Whilst everyone else shares memories of families coming together and festive number ones, the soundtrack to Katie’s childhood wasn’t quite so merry.

But since she moved to the village of Budbury on the gorgeous Dorset coast, Katie and her baby son have found a new family. A family who have been brought together by life’s unexpected roads and the healing magic of a slice of cake and a cupful of kindess at the Comfort Food Café.

This year, Katie’s new friends are determined to give her a Christmas to remember, and with a gorgeous newcomer in town, Katie’s Christmas wish for a happy home for her son might just come true.

Rating: four-stars

Katie is a single mum to a little boy Saul. She moves to Budbury hoping to find peace there, to just have a simple life, far away from her childhood home and her parents’ constant fighting that outshone them the real needs of their daughter and the real sense of life. Katie doesn’t want such life for her son. Budbury is full of wonderful people that want to help each other, people who embrace Katie without asking, who accept her immediately. But can Katie leave her past behind? And can her past leave Katie behind? Is she going to find what she’s looking for in Budbury?

I really am not sure what to say more about the Comfort Food Cafe series that I haven’t already said. It is really hard to write another review about a book that you loved – and please, please, please don’t get me wrong, I could read books set in Budbury all year long – but they start to feel the same. “A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe” is a brilliant, funny, uplifting story, with beautiful characters but for me there was nothing that I haven’t come across in previous books in this series.

But. Having said that I can only admit that Debbie Johnson has written another fabulous, full of feelings and emotions story. I loved getting to know Katie and her son Saul, though I must admit that the parts where the characters from the previous books entered the scenes brought me so much more joy, especially all the surprises. Katie, I think, was not the easiest character to like – she was challenging, with her moods and blowing cold and hot but it was, of course, absolutely understandable. Already at the beginning of the story we learn about her life and to say it was turbulent would be an understatement – hence the habit of running away when the troubles come. But now Katie found her place in Budbury – didn’t she? I loved seeing Katie coming out of her shell, leaving her comfort zones, to have the guts to do something new, to perhaps start to trust again. However, when the troubles came back to literally knock on her doors, she started reverting back, packing her bags and it was incredibly sad to see. On the other hand, I think Debbie Johnson has captured here the most realistic, genuine emotions – the need to just bury your head in the sand, to repeat the old pattern because they were working, and this is what Katie’s initial thoughts were, which was really understandable. It takes a lot of courage to overcome the old habits and it was truly brilliantly described by the author, and Katie felt so genuine, and I loved it. I think she just needs a chance, so please just give her some time, you will really like her and understand her.

Of course the story touches upon many sensitive issues and Debbie Johnson proves again that she can tackle them with so much sensitivity and also humour. I also adore this overwhelming sense of familiarity, belonging and community in her books. Debbie Johnson never disappoints with her stories, and the Comfort Food Cafe series is one of the best ever. They are books that you don’t want to end, that you immediately feel like a part of the characters’ world – that doesn’t feel fictional at all and reading “A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe” was like being back with your old friends. Really, opening this book was like stepping back into a parallel world, a world that you know is just one page away. I immediately felt comfortable, as if I’ve came back to a place where I belong, and it is a great feeling.

It was a warm and feel – good book, perfectly mixing humour, fun and poignant moments. Despite some sadness, it was full of this overwhelming feeling of happiness and content and you know what, I’d love to be a character in Johnson’s books, even if there are many challenges awaiting them because at the end they always find love, luck, come out of their shells and feel good on their own skin. It was a lovely story about friendship, letting go, finding yourself – highly recommended, even if you haven’t read the other books in the series: every single one of them is a good start.

 

The Other Sister by Elle Croft / Blog Tour

The Other Sister by Elle Croft

 

 

the-other-sisterPublisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 18th October 2018

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

Number of pages: 304

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

How far would you go…

Gina Mills is desperate to be a newsreader, but her boss – the director of the struggling Channel Eight, won’t help.

Walking home one night, Gina stumbles upon a dead body, and after calling the police, she makes the split-second decision to report the murder live.

When questioned by the police, Gina can’t remember specific details about her discovery, but these memory gaps are explained away as shock.

…to uncover your family’s deadly secret?

But when Gina finds a second body, it’s clear she’s being targeted. But why?

And how is this connected to the death of Gina’s younger sister so many years ago?

Fans of Friend Request by Laura Marshall, Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear, The Mistake by KL Slater, The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland and The Angel by Katerina Diamond will love The Other Sister.

Rating: four-stars

Gina Mills dreams of being a newsreader but right now she’s stuck at her PA job at Channel 8. She has reconnected with her brother, Ryan, after many years of radio silence, following the death of their younger sister Cassie. One night Gina walks home and comes across a body of a young woman. Yes, she does what’s required, calls the emergency number, but also logs into Channel 8 Facebook account and reports the murder live online – this must please her boss, right? But this decision is going to change her life in many different ways, and both good and bad attention comes her way. And then she discovers another body… Is it accidental? Or is someone targeting her? Is it connected with the events from her childhood?

The characters in this book are deeply flawed. They’re not likeable – you may feel pity or sorry for them but I don’t think it’s possible to like them. They’re full of dark secrets, they lie and are putting the blame on other people. But they are wonderfully, brilliantly complex and not straightforward, they are challenging and this is how I liked them to be. The story is told from a few points of view, those of Gina, Ryan, their mother Sharon, and also Adam, the police officer investigating the crimes. Our main character Gina is a very colourful one, and she made me feel confused many, many times. I really wasn’t sure if she’s honest, if she’s playing, or if she really has such a bad luck, and I really liked this, her not being straightforward but complicated and complex.  The story jumps between 1996 and the present and the pieces of information are scattered and slowly – but not too slowly – being dosed to us to eventually show us a picture that I’ve never seen coming.

I think I’ve never before came across this method of murder – to be honest, it made me feel such disgust, and even more so when the author, in a very detailed way explained the motives of those murders. Yes, I can probably see that this modus operanti may rise an eyebrow or two but let’s be honest, finally it was something different, something totally unique and unexpected, and it worked for me.
The writing style is captivating, flowing so seamlessly and effortlessly, in a great and compelling way peeling off  layer after layer, slowly putting the puzzle together, until we reach the finale. On the one hand, I wanted more from the ending, on the other it was great end that – please don’t judge me – made me smile under my breath. Sure, this story could be better in some aspects, there were moments it felt too far – fetched and some of the events and things happened just too conventionally but it kept me hooked and this is what counts.

For me personally this book was better than “The Guilty Wife”. It was a real page – turner that I couldn’t put down – well, I’ve read it in about eight hours, continuing deep into the night and all the time repeating “only one chapter more”. It was dark, twisty and unpredictable psychological thriller. The author has managed to pull wool over my eyes to be honest – I was extremely sure that I know who’s the killer and why and I think I don’t have to mention that I was wrong. Very wrong. I somehow guessed the “why” but not the “who”. I adored the way the author has made her plot so complex, throwing suspicions on different characters, once making them vulnerable and scared and in the next moment adding a red herring  that would change my mind about them. There were so many questions: why does someone murder the women? Why is it always Gina finding them? Is it a coincidence? Is she the target of the killer? What’s going to happen??? It was full of tension and suspense, secrets and intrigues and a totally surprising outcome.

I’ve raced through the pages, literally. I was totally engrossed in this compelling and gripping story. It was not only the pace that made me read so quickly, it was the plot, the characters , the changing moods and this feeling of uncertainty, of something bad that was going to happen, of simply wanting to reach the conclusion as quickly as possible. It was twisty, but not in your usual psychological thrillers way, Ms Croft has twisted her plot in the most clever, compelling and original way. It was very dark and also very literal, some of the descriptions may be putting off,  but just close your eyes and read further. “The Other Sister” is a book that’ll make you want more and more, to see more and more, to hear more. You’ll feel disgusted but also, in a teasing, sadistical way it won’t be enough for you. It was so refreshingly original, captivating, addictive and be warned –  it’s going to chew you  and spit you out  and yet you’ll still want more and more. Highly recommended!

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No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

 

 

40496936Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 19th October 2018

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

Number of pages: 269

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A holiday she’ll remember forever…
It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.

The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl – visits to Father Christmas, husky rides in the snow and hot chocolate by a roaring fire. But as the resorts new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling tinsel!

With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be….

But getting Will into the Christmas spirit is hopeless – he is Bah Humbug personified! But as Sarah gets to know him better, she realises that underneath all the gloom is a man struggling with a pain of his own.

With the big day approaching, Sarah realises that the magic and sparkle can wait. This year, she’s going to spend Christmas day with someone special her very own Mr Scrooge…

Rating: four-stars

In “No One Cancels Christmas”, a new festive book by Zara Stoneley that brings back some of the characters from her previous novel “The Wedding Date” but is another stand – alone, we are introduced to Sarah, running her aunt’s travel agency. Following some very bad reviews of one of their resorts, the Shooting Star Mountain in Canada, that promises atmospheric, unforgettable Christmas but, as it turns out, the only thing they offer are cold cabins and no Christmas tree, Sarah decides to fly over to check the situation. Some of Sarah’s most painful, but also most beautiful, memories are connected with this resort. Will she be able to leave her past behind? And to bring back the resort’s high and established reputation?

As always, Zara Stoneley presents us with the most gorgeous descriptions of the characters and the setting. I love Canada and it is my biggest dream to travel there one day, and so I couldn’t be happier to read a book set in there, and even more during Christmas, and the author has done me proud with her vivid descriptions – I could easily picture the landscape covered in snow, the mountains, the snow crunching under your feet and the sun shining.

The characters were all full of live and they were really easy to like – even though it took me some time to get used to Sarah, to be honest. I think she didn’t start in this story too promising, I’m not sure why, I can’t put my fingers on it, she just felt too childish for me, but she’s developed through the novel and I simply adored her enthusiasm and passion, her spontaneity and her bossy ways around the brothers.
Ed has made me feel desperate, though there were tons of charm to him, and yes, I could understand the fascination all the women felt when in his company. His brother Will, the grumpy one, the Grinch, was his total opposite but guys, believe me, you could immediately see that there is so much more to him than meet the eye at first, and I was impatiently waiting to discover what has happened to make him behave like this. He had a great sense of humour, though, our Will, the emails exchange between him and Sarah were absolutely brilliant.
Sarah and Will worked together brilliantly but there wasn’t this sparkle between them that would make me go weak at my knees and all swoony – I am probably spoiled by reading so many books where the chemistry is so well captured – although I am not saying that it wasn’t great. It was, but for me it missed the final touch, and the switch from enemies to lovers happened too sudden for my liking and made it feel a little bit unbelievable.

After Sarah’s friends arrived in Canada the story slowed down for me and wasn’t as entertaining. Yes, there were still some great and hilarious scenes but it started to feel a little too flat and dragging on, especially the blossoming romance. But, having said that, I can assure you that this book was a fantastic, festive read and it brought me tons of joy – it was one of Zara Stoneley’s best stories, to be honest.
It was full of romance that felt even more romantic because of the gorgeous surroundings. The writing style was so, so good, easy to follow, light and inviting, so really, the book has it all – festive mood, gorgeous, wintery landscapes, some lovely huskies and cheeky cat, moody and broody men and brilliant winter Shooting Star Mountain resort in Canada, a quirky and bouncy leading character, was full of hilarious scenes and has a depth – what more would you want? Nothing – exactly! Just grab “No One Cancels Christmas” as soon as it’s out because I am sure you’re guys are all going to love it – it’s full of warmth, hope, snow and humour. Recommended!

 

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

 

39325227Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 4th October 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 448

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 04.04.2019)

 

Synopsis:

One house. Nine strangers. Ten days that will change everything . . .

FROM THE WORLDWIDE #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR BEHIND EMMY- AND GOLDEN GLOBE-WINNING HBO SERIES BIG LITTLE LIES AND SMASH-HIT NOVEL THE HUSBAND’S SECRET

AS FEATURED ON RADIO 4’S BOOK AT BEDTIME . . .

The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation.

Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.

Miles from anywhere, without cars or phones, they have no way to reach the outside world. Just time to think about themselves, and get to know each other.

Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission. But quite a different one from any the guests might have imagined.

For behind the retreat’s glamorous facade lies a dark agenda.

These nine perfect strangers have no idea what’s about to hit them . . .

Rating: four-stars

“Nine Perfect Strangers” follows a group of totally different characters, such as a romance writer, teacher, midwife, retired sportsman and newly lottery winners at their 10 day wellness retreat. All of them check in under different ulterior motives, looking for different answers but all of them hoping to appear brand new people and to transform their lives. However, they do not expect that they are all in great danger… The owner of the health and wellness resort has something very unique in store for them…

All the characters were so incredibly human. Their stories were moving and poignant, and so very close to life. We have a washed up romance novelist Florence Welty, and it’s not only her career that is in jeopardy, but also her boyfriend has disappeared. Ben and Jessica are a young married couple who has tons of money but they don’t seem to be able to enjoy them and their lives. Schoolteacher Napoleon is there with his wife Heather and daughter Zoe, the whole family weighed down by guilt and grief. Tony, a former football star, divorced and lonely as lately he has lost his beloved dog. Carmel has four young daughter, in the course of divorce and losing not only a husband to a younger woman but also her own self – esteem and confidence. Lars is a family lawyer, representing only women. Then there are Yao and Delilah, the resort’s primary staff members, and Masha Dmitrichenko herself – a Russian immigrant who, after her near – death experience decided to change her life completely and started Tranquillum House. So many strangers, together in one house.
The group dynamics, when people with so little in common are thrown together, and then find themselves in extreme circumstances and have to interact with each other, was brilliantly captured and developed. Their actions and reactions might have been surprising, or cringe – worthy but they were genuine, coming from the bottoms of their hearts. The author’s ability to bring all the characters to life, to dissect their feelings, thoughts and emotions is simply extraordinary.

This book was a very slow burner. Very. Actually, it was the last quarter that felt incredibly fast and the tension was unendurable. However, don’t be put off by this. The author can easily and effortlessly take you on the journey and you just sunk slowly into the story and suspense. Yes, for the most of time we get to know the characters, their lives, what makes them tick – it’s a very character – orientated book, but don’t forget it is written by Liane Moriarty, so not only the characters are brilliantly developed but there are many surprises to them – they are like your friends, sometimes neurotic, sometimes snobby or silly but they just feel like friends. I think I can’t say that I had my favourite character – they were all so different, they had flaws and secrets but to be honest I think I even liked Masha, with all her extravagance and craziness – however, I missed the explanation what was hidden under Masha’s decisions. It was unclear to me. Why did she do something like this? Yes, indirectly, as we got to know her background and her story it was probably the factor but directly I haven’t found my answer to this question. What were her motives? But altogether, the characters were all so complex and so refreshingly unique and it was a great joy to get to know them slowly and gradually as the story continued.
As I have already mentioned, the group dynamics are so perfectly captured by the author. To create nine main characters, or even more, as we also have Masha, Yao and Delilah, and make them so distinctive can’t be an easy job. You are quickly going to find yourself completely immersed in their lives and stories, caught up in their attempts to heal and holding your breath at the very unexpected challenges that are coming their way.

“Nine Perfect Strangers” was entertaining and thought – provoking, refreshing and unique. Though I must admit that I’m having troubles to fit this book into any particular genre – it is a mix of a few of them, as you have a mystery, a bit of romance, suspense together with drama and funny moments. It was unpredictable and surprising, the way the story went, and altogether the slow burning, the slowly revealing layer after layer piecing everything together kept me on my tenterhooks. It was full of fun, much heavier issues and also what the hell moments and Liane Moriarty’s writing style and the way she created the story is simply superb. A story about love and hate, loss and gain, shame, guilt, addiction and insecurity that I highly recommend.

Love and Lies at the Village Christmas Shop by Portia MacIntosh

Love and Lies at the Village Christmas Shop by Portia MacIntosh

 

 

51ox8tjo2ol-_sx311_bo1204203200_Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 8th October 2018

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

Number of pages: 208

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Blast the Michael Bublé, wrap your hands around a cinnamon latte and enjoy this warm, hilarious Christmas novel!

Ivy loves Christmas. As owner of Christmas Every Day, the year-round festive store, you’d expect nothing less!

The only thing missing in Ivy’s life is a dash of romance – something her twin sister Holly will not let her forget…

When her mother passed away, Ivy vowed to take over the running of her mother’s store and keep the Christmas spirit alive in the idyllic seaside town of Marram Bay.

But all this changes when an enigmatic businessman moves to the town, threatening to bulldoze her beloved shop to make way for holiday complex.

Can Ivy save her shop before Christmas? Could there be a different side to the newest resident of Marram Bay that would make all her Christmas wishes come true?

The brand new laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from bestseller Portia Macintosh. Perfect for fans of Zara Stoneley and Tilly Tennant.

Rating: four-stars

 

 Ivy and Holly are two very different twins – while Holly hates Christmas, Ivy lives and breaths Christmas. Their mum has started a Christmas shop that is open all year round and after her death Ivy takes it over – and she couldn’t be happier to work there. However, the shop is now in danger, as the owner of the building is selling up and moving away. Smooth operator Seb enters the scenes here – he wants to buy the place, demolish the shop and build something else there. Moreover, he’s very charming and it looks like the whole Marram Bay is under his spell. Ivy tries everything to raise the money to keep her shop – but can she save it? 

I thought we’re going to hear more from the characters from the first book in the series but except for one or two scenes including Lily and Prue there was nothing more – this book totally focuses on brand new characters that I immediately grew fond of. I loved Ivy – she was probably one of my most favourite characters ever, such laid – back and relaxed and full of the greatest one – liners, and so, so realistic and real! I really felt as if I can reach out with my hand and touch her.  

An open all year round Christmas shop – isn’t it a brilliant idea? And it was only the first festive thing in this novel. We then have twins Holly and Ivy, all the festive food you can think about, decorating trees, Christmas Festivals, Santa shenanigans … and yet it was not too festive overwhelming, thanks god, however a brilliant start to all the festive books slowly coming my way, tadah. It was full of brilliant, incredibly funny scenes and the tasting the Christmas Cake will probably stay with me forever, as well as the kissing booth and golden retriever, to name only a few.  

Portia MacIntosh has a talent to create characters that are full of life and that rarely give up but are also realistic, and it was the same this time as well. Ivy, living and breathing Christmas, was so optimistic and so bouncy and it was impossible not to like her. I absolutely loved the way she was thinking and how fair she was, she wanted to save her shop but she was also willing to take another look and see other options – however, I also loved the fire in her and that, even though she’s seen those other options, she always came up with brilliant ideas to help her keep her mum’s heritage. She was smart and funny and not taking herself too seriously. Her sister Holly was an absolute opposite of Ivy re: Christmas but as likeable as Ivy. The one and only Gaz and his never – ending attempts to chat up a girl and on the other hand such a lovely Santa. And Seb with his Lamborghini and plans, such enthusiastic and down – to – earth – all of them, as well as the supporting characters, were absolutely fantabulous and incredibly easy to like, even if they were planning on demolishing some beloved shops or trying to sabotage those plans. 

There was of course a hidden depth to it, and it had some very poignant moments, but on the whole it was a funny, entertaining novel. The banter between the characters was so natural and easy, the writing style was light – hearted and I was hooked from the very first page till the end. It was heart – warming and oh so romantic without being too saccharine. A lovely story about families, relationships, chances and finding what it really is what you want from life. It was not too complicated and a little predictable but full of other perks that made me appreciate it so much. Don’t be surprised when you’ll feel like curling up in front of your fire – place with a cup of hot chocolate and looking to put your Christmas lights on when reading “Love and Lies at the Village Christmas Shop”! Truly recommended.

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

 

51dth1dom8l-_sx316_bo1204203200_Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 4th October 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Indulge in this wonderful, cake-filled novel of romance and friendship. Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is Sunday Times bestselling Carole Matthews doing what she does best!

Fay and Danny are madly in love and it’s all Fay’s ever dreamed of. But she left everything – including the delightful cake shop she used to run – to be with Danny on his cosy canal boat The Dreamcatcher. And as she soon finds out, making delicious cakes on the water isn’t always smooth sailing!

Then Fay gets a call from her friends, a call that sends her back to her friends and the Cake Shop in the Garden. It will be hard being away from Danny but their relationship is strong enough to survive . . . isn’t it?

Fay soon falls happily back in love with her passion for baking – especially now she’s on dry land again! – and starts to wonder if she ever should have left. With Christmas around the corner, Fay is determined that her friends will have a very merry time, but does that mean even more time away from Danny? Can Fay really get everything she ever wanted in Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights.

Rating: four-stars

 

Fay and Danny, deeply in love, are enjoying their nomadic life on the canal boat but when they get a call from Lija that Stan is not good, Fay rushes home to look after him, and also to help Lija, who’s now running the Cake Shop. Of course Fay’s sister Edie also makes an appearance – what is she planning this time? And there are, again, troubles coming The Cake Shop way and the characters are facing really difficult times.

when I’ve read the book for the first time I was surprised that it continues Fay and Danny’s adventures – it being a Carole Matthews’ book I didn’t take the trouble to read a synopsis, as with many other auto – buy authors, and already knowing it’s going to be a fabulous, festive read – but it was great to be back with Fay Merryweather and Danny Wilde and all their friends and relatives. I adored seeing them together, the sparkle was still there and you could see those two are made for each other, that they found each other. Fay, as before, puts everyone before herself but I noticed – with satisfaction – that she’s also grown a backbone, that she’s able to stand her ground and I felt like giving her a standing ovation and shouting you go, girl! There was also a new character Rainbow, helping in the cafe, and she was as colourful as her name. I think she added tons of humour and warmth to the story and while sometimes I couldn’t stand her blabbering, I appreciated the way she has lightened the atmosphere up. Lija and her foul mouth had made me smile more than once, I loved her directness! Altogether, the characters were – as usually – brilliantly and beautifully written, they had a great depth to themselves, they had personalities and the way they acted and reacted was realistic and so close to life. Their lives were not bed of roses and probably this is what makes them so close to your heart – that they struggle, that not everything is handed to them on a plate, just like in a normal life. Lija’s one – liners and sharp comments were an absolute highlights, and Rainbow, being Rainbow, so bubbly, bright and always happy just gave the book this little element of so much needed relax. Because the story touches upon so many heavy and difficult issues, guys – however, it’s not depressing or too overwhelming, or no, not to worry – and the author writes about them with so much intuition and understanding.

The title may be a little misleading, as the story only brushes a little on Christmas but the plot is so full of other things and happenings that I didn’t even feel disappointment – and so the book can be read with no regards to a season. As already mentioned, this newest release is a follow – up to “The Cake Shop in the Garden” and I think it could be read as a stand alone – just. I’d rather advise to read the books in the right order because even though “Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights” gives us a brief re – telling of what’s happened before, it’s really brief and to fully enjoy the book you should really start with the “Cake Shop”.

Altogether, it was a lovely, heart – warming story about friendship, friends pulling together, family bonds and love. Of course there wouldn’t be a Cake Shop without some great cakes, and the descriptions of Lija and Fay’s incredible creations were gorgeous and so vivid, and I can bet anything they’ll make your mouth water – they did it with me. The story was so comforting, just like your favourite reading place and a hot chocolate. It was warm and uplifting and so true to life and genuine. Highly recommended!