Unexpected Lessons in Love by Lucy Dillon / Blog Tour

Unexpected Lessons in Love by Lucy Dillon

 

Publisher: Black Swan 42448041

Publishing Date: 5th December 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 09.01.2020)

 

 

Synopsis:

From the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of Where the Light Gets in and All I Ever Wanted

What happens when ‘I do’ turns into ‘I don’t know’?

Jeannie always wanted to fall in love, and now she’s finally got the whirlwind romance she dreamed of. Dan’s gorgeous, he’s a successful young vet, and he flew her to New York and proposed on Brooklyn Bridge. Jeannie has to remind herself this is actually her life. It seems too perfect, too magical, to be real. Yet it is.

But now she’s on her way to the wedding she can’t shake off the tight sensation crushing her chest. Is it just nerves . . . or is this all happening a bit too fast?

Jeannie has one last chance to shout, ‘Stop!’ But just as she grabs it, a twist of fate throws everything she knows into the air like confetti. What Jeannie learns about Dan, about her own heart, and about the power of love itself, will change her world for ever . . .

Rating: four-stars

 

Jeannie and Dan are about to get married, after a whirlwind romance, romantic proposal on Brooklyn Bridge in New York and lovely time spent together. But now, shortly before the ceremony, Jeannie starts to have second thoughts – do they really know each other well enough? Does she truly loves Dan, enough to spent her whole life with him? Jeannie makes a decision that is going to change their lives but before it happens, fate decides to interfere and everything suddenly changes and makes Jeannie feel incredibly guilty.

The story is very character – driven. Jeannie was the main character in this book and I liked her immediately. She was so real and human and relatable and I found myself falling for her even more and more, seeing how she struggled to come to terms with her feelings and with this what she thought was proper and what was not. She has experienced such a wonderful personal growth throughout the story and it was great to accompany her on this way. I loved how realistic she was, with all her worries, uncertainty, watching her grow into a self – confident young woman. The secondary characters, especially Owen, Rachel and the dogs, played also significant roles in the story and were as well rounded as the main ones and I was equally engrossed in their own stories.

I was also thrilled, as a dog lover, to see that the book included a very important canine subplot, focusing on re – homing dogs and showing the very harsh reality of puppy farming. The descriptions of the dogs rescued were heart – breakingly realistic and hats off to the author for including this in her novel. There was also a whole subplot built around the re – homing centre, with some brilliant ideas how to raise money and awareness for it.

Lucy Dillon is a great story – teller. Yes, there were moments that the book could have been a bit quicker, but the writing style was absolutely brilliant and beautiful, easy and engaging. The author has easily brought all the characters to life, even if they were lying in coma they felt present. She writes in such a way that you have a feeling as if you’ve known the characters personally, and you care about them, and I love it when I have this feeling, as it doesn’t happen often these days, and Jeannie’s struggles felt so realistic, I could feel them for myself.

However, I was really conflicted about the end, with what happened and with Dan’s confession. I don’t know what I was expecting, and yes, I was incredibly intrigued how the author is going to solve this particular storyline, but I wasn’t happy with the way she has chosen. It, I don’t know, seemed simply like the easy way out, and after all that Jeannie experienced I personally thought it was unfair for her, even though it was a way out for her. But nevertheless, it didn’t sit well with me, it somehow didn’t go with the picture of Dan that we were presented with and I had a feeling that I was mistaken about him through the whole book. Not a nice feeling.

Altogether, “Unexpected Lessons in Love” was a story full of heart and filled with moving and poignant storylines, touching upon many emotions. A story about love and guilt but also showing that to love another person properly, you must first love yourself and be honest with yourself. It was a book that will make you giggle and also cry, an easy, despite some of the topics being on the heavier side, a pleasant read with a real depth to it, thought – provoking, brilliantly balancing lightness with the heavier issues, taking the reader on a real rollercoaster journey full of emotions and feelings. Highly recommended!

 

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A Season in the Snow by Isla Gordon

A Season in the Snow by Isla Gordon

 

Publisher: Sphere 48390373._sy475_

Publishing Date: 28th November 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 15.10.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Escape to the mountains this Christmas…

Alice Bright loves her life. She has a job she adores, a devoted family, and friends she’d lay down her life for.

So when tragedy strikes, bringing with it Bear – a rapidly-growing puppy in need of a home – it turns Alice’s whole world upside down. She retreats inside her flat, and inside herself, with only her new companion for company.

But one-bedroom London flats aren’t made for mountain dogs, and so Alice lets Bear push her out of her comfort zone to his homeland: the mountains of Switzerland. Could a change of scene in snowy serenity be just the thing to help Alice fall in love with life again?

A Season in the Snow is the perfect read this Christmas, promising snowy mountains , Christmas markets and heart-warming seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Heidi Swain.

Rating: four-stars

 

Alice is happy – she has a nice job, lovely family and a group of brilliant, supporting friends. However, one day, something really bad happens and Alice’s world is turned upside down – will she be able to recover, get back on track? Maybe a change of scene, moving for a few months to Switzerland, and a little dog that grows incredibly quickly will help?

So. This book. Honestly, it gave me a headache. I adore Lisa Dickenson and her books and I know that as Isla Gordon the novel would be a little different, however as soon as the typical Lisa’s humour and wit appeared on the pages, I was reassured. However! It didn’t happen often, guys, and I was already panicking, not knowing what’s happening with this story. First of all, at the beginning the book felt so chopped. The events in the chapters felt unarranged and half – hearted, as if the author simply wanted to get through this part of the book to start writing about this what she wanted so much: the dog (I’ll come back to the dog in a moment). Only after the festival the book started to read like a book, felt smooth and coherent. But. And this is the next. You know, I also have dogs. I love my dogs but not to the point that I would write a book about them, and I had a feeling that Lisa/Isla simply wanted to share her unconditional love to her pet. And it was too much. If Bear were my dog I’d kill myself and I’d be ashamed with having such a spoiled, whiny dog at home. And I know how cute Bernese Mountain Dog can be, my sister has one, and actually all dogs can be brilliant actors when they want something. Don’t get me wrong, please, I loved him, and I loved Alice’s interactions with him, I loved how she spoke with him and how she treated him like a partner but I don’t have to read about the cute orange spots and Bear’s antics on every single page. And I love Switzerland. Especially in winter. But when I want to read about its traditions I’ll buy myself a tourist guide. So there. Rant over.

What Lisa Dickenson/Isla Gordon showed is that she can beautifully write about the most hidden feelings and emotions and brilliantly mix them with the best humorous one – liners. There were moments, especially when Alice talked with Bear, that made my eyes moisten, and there were moments that really brought smile to my face. This was a different take from this author and she’s proved that she is a great writer that can touch upon deeper issues in a sensible, gentle way. She’s not shy of making her story sadder and difficult and hats off to her for this fact, however I still prefer the author’s exceptional humour and ability to write the most funny, brilliant, light banter. The main character, Alice, is so incredibly well fleshed out! It’s amazing how well the author has captured her insecurities and hopes, trepidation and excitement, making her a believable, relatable person. I found myself keeping my fingers crossed for her, willing her to try, to not forgive but to allow herself the little joy. She had a great sense of humour and I was waiting for the rare moments when she’s allowed this side of her to show. She was simply so real, so natural in everything she did and said that it was impossible not to like her, in fact, I was rooting for her and wishing her all the best.
Actually, all the other characters were very well developed – after we moved to Switzerland, that is. Because I, honestly speaking, couldn’t stand putting Jill on this pedestal anymore. Maybe she was worth it but I had a feeling we didn’t know her as well as Alice did. I loved how supporting Alice’s parents have been, and how lovely and colourful the new neighbours of hers were, how they accepted her without a second glance and how embarrassing Marco’s mum was – she was ace!

The author can for sure bring the setting, easily and effortlessly, to life, and can capture both the idyllic winter wonderland that can quickly and suddenly turn into danger. She’ll sweep you to a country full of cable cars, snowboarding, skiing, mountain rescues, warm and gorgeous cafes, and snow! Lots of snow. And even if it is not strictly Christmas book, read it with “Last Christmas” on the loop and a hot chocolate with a double cream and marshmallow because this is the feeling it’s going to leave you with.

“A Season in the Snow” was a poignant, moving story about healing, about finding yourself afresh and letting the joy come back to you, and not forgetting that there is always hope. I absolutely adored the bunch of characters, supporting each other without knowing that they’re doing it, it was beautiful. And yes, after the initial reservations I found myself adoring the story, though as lovely as Bear was I still think he needs to learn manners. Recommended!

A Million Dreams by Dani Atkins / Blog Tour + Extract

A Million Dreams by Dani Atkins

 

Publisher: Head of Zeus 46041732._sx318_

Publishing Date: 14th November 2019

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

Number of pages: 464

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 07.05.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Beth Brandon always dreamed of owning a florist, but today the bouquets of peonies and bright spring flowers are failing to calm her nerves. Because today, Beth has a life-changing decision to share with her husband.

Izzy Vaughan thought she and her husband would stay together forever, but sometime last year, their love began to fade. They both find such joy in their young son Noah – but is he enough to keep them together?

Eight years ago, something happened to these two women. Something that is about to bring them together in a way no-one thought possible…

Thought-provoking, emotional and uplifting, this is a gripping love story for fans of Jojo Moyes and Amanda Prowse.

Rating: four-stars

 

Beth Brandon has always loved flowers and together with her husband Tim worked hard to make her dream of having her own Florists shop come true. However, no matter how hard they try, the baby they also dream of so much, doesn’t appear, so eventually they decide to try fertility treatments. It doesn’t happen immediately, and they’re devastated, but then something happens that makes Beth’s world collapse. And it’s not only this that’s going to change her world forever because something else happens.
Izzy Vaughan and her husband Peter are incredibly happy when their baby is born after IVF. They love their son Noah more than anything in the world but their marriage starts to show the first cracks and misunderstandings and they separate. But one phone call is going to change everything for them.
Eight years ago, something happened – something that is going to bring Beth, Izzy and their families together, but not in a good way.

To be honest, I felt angry with Beth. I mean, I also sympathised with her, and felt sorry for her, but in my eyes she shouldn’t let the things go so far. I was more Team – Izzy, I couldn’t imagine being in her situation, trembling and fearing, not sure about the future. Don’t get me wrong, I fell for Beth as well, she was altogether full of empathy and she was always there for others, even though life didn’t treat her too well and she had already lost so much. But still, as a mother myself I was completely on Izzy’s side. Nevertheless, they both, as well as the other characters, were really well crafted, given personalities and no matter what your sympathies are, you’re going to feel the pain, desperation and hope of all of them.
The relationships in this book, no matter what kind, were beautifully written. The bonds between wives and husbands, parents and children, friends were captured with a lot of love and feeling. They felt so normal, they were full of ups and downs but there was always this feeling that the characters respect and support each other.

Of course I was incredibly intrigued how the things are going to end. Not so long ago I read a book with very similar topic though tackled in a rather different way, not so poignant and emotional like “A Million Dreams”, and the way things ended there waw a bit disappointing. As much as I think there is not a right way out of such situation, I really wanted to see which way did Dani Atkins choose and whose heart she’s going to break – because no matter what, no matter how, a heart or two are going to break. And… well… I wasn’t so sure about the court thing, and the way Beth was needed to help felt just this little bit too clichéd.

The writing style is very gentle, emotive and simply beautiful and it’s impossible not to find yourself emotionally invested in the book, impossible not to ask yourself questions “what if”. The author touches upon the most hidden feelings, bringing them to the pages of the novel, reaches to the deepest parts of the characters’ hearts. She can also so beautifully capture all sorts of emotions, making shock, horror and devastation a part of the reader as well. And even though the story is about very serious matters, it doesn’t feel too gloom or desperate, no, the writing makes it lighter and there is hope somewhere between the words, and enough humour contained within the pages. The pacing is perfect, everything has its place and even though there is quite a lot happening in the story, it never feels confusing, you always know where you are.

But maybe because of the fact that there isn’t a right way to decide about such situation, and because the author did take some easier ways out, this book, as much as I adored it, didn’t wow me as much as I thought it’s going to, and this is why I rate it with 4 stars instead of 5. Nevertheless, it held me captive and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I also truly recommend it to you all. It was sublime, moving and thought – provoking, a wonderful read that’s going to have you hooked immediately. Truly recommended!

 

EXTRACT:

‘The sooner we begin your treatment, the better the chances for a successful outcome.’

The words that reshaped our future –reshaped everything –were softly spoken. I looked across the desk, beyond the files and X-ray envelopes, at the doctor who was patiently waiting for our world to stop spinning as we absorbed the news.

I was gripping Tim’s hand so tightly I was probably crushing bone against cartilage, but my gaze was fixed on the oncologist, whose eyes revealed far more than I think he knew. Behind the rimless glasses, I saw the glimmer of a truth he was not prepared to share with us on that first black day. The chances of success were small. My ability to read faces, to pick up on tiny nuances others failed to see, had always been an asset in my work. On that day, it felt more like a curse.

‘I see from your file that you and your wife don’t have children, Mr Brandon.’

Tim shook his head, and I felt the tremors racking his body begin to spread to mine. I was shaking in both body and voice as I answered for him.

‘We’ve only been married for two years. We were planning on waiting a little longer before starting a family.’ I looked at the doctor, whose face was beginning to swim behind my tears.

‘I know this is a lot for you to take in, but without wishing to add to the decisions you are now facing, I have to urge you to think about safeguarding and preserving your fertility.’ Perhaps Tim understood instantly what the oncologist was talking about, but I was several pages behind him. ‘There is a strong possibility that your treatment will affect your ability to father a child in the future, so at this point we would recommend you to consider freezing your sperm.’

For one crazy moment I imagined he was talking about doing so at home, where it would sit on the shelf beside the packets of pork chops and Birds Eye peas. It took a few moments for the image to disappear.

‘There are several fertility clinics that we can refer you to. They will be able to explain the various options open to you. These can range from freezing sperm to even freezing embryos, if you should choose.’

‘Embryos?’ Tim asked, his voice ringing with confusion.

‘It’s one option to consider. There are excellent statistics for successful pregnancies resulting from cryogenically stored embryos. For couples your age and in your situation, it is definitely something worth thinking about.’

 

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The Secret Diary of Boris Johnson Aged 13 1/4 by Lucien Young

The Secret Diary of Boris Johnson Aged 13 1/4 by Lucien Young

 

Publisher: Quercus 48402307._sy475_

Publishing Date: 3rd October 2019

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

Number of pages: 176

Genre: Politics, Humour

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback (out on 28.05.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

**STRICTLY UNOFFICIAL**

‘Deliciously funny and highly impudent’ – Jon Culshaw
The newly discovered diary of Boris Alexander de Pfeffel Johnson, aged 13¼, provides a fascinating glimpse into how Boris, a lazy, bumptious and overweening child, comes to believe he should be Prime Minister. Along the way, we see him hone the techniques and persona that will one day hoodwink a nation.’

***

Extract from 13-year-old Boris’s TEN RULES FOR LIFE:

It’s not lying if you don’t bother to learn the truth. Many people – politicians, for instance – make the mistake of going about laden with facts and statistics. However, when studiously ignorant of the aforementioned, one may argue one’s case with total conviction.

A friend is just an enemy you haven’t yet made. Some say there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’. Well, I say you can’t spell ‘friend’ without ‘fiend’. No matter how dear your chum, you never know what sort of treachery they harbour inside. After all, there are many people who consider me a friend!

Rating:  four-stars

 

The book covers Boris Alexander de Pfeffel Johnson’s time at Eton College, probably already showing all of his true colours. He immediately found himself at home there, with all his privileges and not accepting “no” as an answer. As the class clown, his ability to make others laugh used to get him out of all kinds of troubles, and really, the trashing with the cane from one of the teacher who simply had too much is only an exception proving the rule.

The book brilliantly portrays Boris’s main personality traits and the way he honed them. Getting others to do as he wished must have been the easiest thing in the world for him, and I must admit, it may be a feature really worth an admiration. Other than that I couldn’t spot any changes between Boris here and then, arrogant, liar, showing an impudent lack of respect and bluffing his way all the way through. So nothing has changed really, no?

I loved the mentions of some other characters, such as the former Prime Minister David Cameron or Jacob Rees – Mogg, who used to attend Eton at the same time and whom our main character couldn’t tolerate, which led to some very amusing moments.

It was an undemanding, quick and entertaining read, rounded up with some illustrations that were equally funny. Maybe it was not the highest piece of art but it was for sure amusing and light read, whatever your political opinions. The title suggests that it’s going to be as brilliant as “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole”, apologies, but this comes to mind immediately, and while it was a light – hearted and hilarious read, we can’t compare those two books. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining novel related to current political situation that made me laugh.

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis / Blog Tour

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

 

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton 45242737._sy475_

Publishing Date: 7th November 2019

Series: Brontë Sisters Mystery #1

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction (Adults), Mystery, Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 14.05.2020)

 

 

Synopsis:

Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery…

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters–the Brontë sisters–learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines–it’s seeing what is not there.”

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…

Rating: four-stars

 

I loved the idea in “The Vanished Bride”, bringing the Brontë sisters and their works back to life. They become a setting of this mystery, in which a young woman, mother and stepmother, simply vanishes from her room in Chester Grange estate, leaving behind so much blood that not many hope for her to be alive.
Emily, Charlotte and Anne are spending summer in their father’s house. And they are bored. So when they hear that a young wife has disappeared, under gruesome circumstances, they decide to solve the mystery, becoming “Lady Detectors”, especially as Matilda French, an old friend, works as a governess in Chester Grange, so they not only wish to comfort her but they are, let’s be honest, curious. And so they set out to visit their friend, also determined to help to find the truth.

The story takes place before the Brontës wrote their classic works and it was such a clever idea – we know that they’re going to be immortal in their works but they didn’t know it yet, and don’t you think that much of this mystery hints at the novels that they have written? The author described them as curious, if not nosy, clever, different and bold personalities. The Brontë sisters work well as Lady Detectors – how charming is it? – pursuing the truth in this case of menace and deception, and they all prove themselves very adept, even though each of them has different fortes. Emily is bold, straightforward and all action. Anne is charming but also thoughtful and methodical and Charlotte is a bit sceptic but in her element when dealing with people. They simply come to life with their actions, their sibling banter but also reality and honesty to each other. They take it in turns to tell the story, which was a great and interesting idea, as it gave a chance to see different points of view and appreciate their own strengths.
Maybe I am not a devoted fan of the Brontës, but even I am intrigued by the lives of the sisters and it was lovely to be in their world for a while. The author has so well captured their personalities – even though I can’t be sure if that was all right, but oh my, it’s historical fiction, right – writing about their conflicts, joys, past and closeness to each other.

I have to admit, it was not too easy for me to get into this book, and I think it was probably because of the writing style. It was lovely – please, don’t get me wrong, it was lyrical, almost poetic, and it was so easy to imagine the bleak isolated house and the moors – but it was also very adequate to the times the book was set in, and so the syntax, the way the words and phrases were arranged was very Brontë – like but not so easy to read.

The mystery was really, really well plotted and executed, it was intriguing and kept me hooked, and well, yes, with my own detective skills I haven’t figured this all out, but I’m OK with it, as it’s always nice to have a surprise ending, right? Sure, now I can see that there were hints and clues leading up to the ending but I was probably too immersed in reading to spot them then.

Bella Ellis has delivered a unique and atmospheric story, effortlessly and quickly transporting the readers to Victorian England, meticulously researched and capturing the essence of the times, place and characters. This book had essentially all that you need to say that it’s a great read. The characters felt real and realistic, the plot was complex and clever, the pace was just right, unfolding well, there was enough humour to brighten the reading, there was mystery, intrigue and atmospheric setting. It was engaging and embedded in truth, brilliantly interweaving the fictional elements and fantastic descriptions of some truly macabre incidents and jaw dropping moments. The story also deals with some important and uncomfortable issues that women of those times were forced to face. Their lives have been controlled by their fathers and husbands which often ended in domestic abuse, but also infant mortality and, altogether, lack of help and lack of status of women in the society back in the days. An engaging, interesting story and I’m already looking forward to reading the next books in this series. Truly recommended!

 

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The Ex – Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty / Blog Tour

The Ex – Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty

 

Publisher: Penguin 43805738._sy475_

Publishing Date: 31st October 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adults), Mystery

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

SHE WANTS HIM BACK. SHE WANTS YOU GONE.

Luke is the one. After everything she’s been through, Georgia knows she deserves someone like him, to make her feel loved. Safe.

The only problem is his ex-girlfriend. Luke says Cadence is having trouble accepting their break-up, but Georgia thinks there’s more to the story. She has the feeling someone is watching her.

So when everything starts to go wrong at work, at home, in her old friendships and her happy new relationship with Luke, Georgia starts to feel afraid.

It’s becoming clear Cadence wants what she has. But how far will she go to get it?

Rating: four-stars

 

When Georgia meets Luke in a bar, after being stood up by her Tinder date, she is immediately attracted to him. He’s charming, handsome, funny and caring. she feels he is “The One” and she won’t let his stalking, psycho ex to spoil this new relationship. Or will she? The problem may be bigger than she thinks, as Luke and Cadence are still sharing one flat. Moreover, Cadence starts stalking Georgia, leaving aggressive notes on her car, sending her messages. She feels like she’s being followed. So Luke, on the premise that it’s going to soothe the situation with his ex, moves together with Georgia. Except it doesn’t happen, and things just seem to be getting worse.

It is really hard to review “The Ex – Girlfriend” without giving anything away and so I must be careful in what I’m saying. The characters were incredibly engaging and I quickly found myself immersed in their lives, keeping my fingers crossed or wanting to shake them. There came a moment when I really wasn’t sure whom can I trust. I had my own suspicions but nevertheless, the author has played great mind – games with me and I couldn’t be sure anything. However, and I’m not sure if it was done on purpose, then came the first great hint and I was sure I KNOW – the thing I only didn’t know was – why.
There were moments that Georgia didn’t feel like Georgia and it surprised me, as I thought that I already know her as a balanced, believable character – however, when I found out there was a reason why she was like this, the puzzles finally found their right places. Nevertheless, she was incredibly down to earth and real, our Georgia, she only wanted a relationship, a normal relationship, and you can’t help but simply fell for her and her wish, and when she meets Luke you want them to succeed, because everything seems so perfect.
I was truly thankful for Cadence’s point of view. It often happens that we are given only one side of the story but this time the author has thought about everything, giving her perspective. Ms Moriarty has brilliantly demonstrated how easy it is to be manipulated, especially when – just like those two women – you trust unconditionally. However, she also gave her characters strong spines and it was a great rollercoaster journey, seeing them realising what’s happening.

As much as I liked the heart – felt subplot of Georgia’s favourite patient, I think this book could easily do without it. Also, even though the story was fast – paced, there were moments that it slowed down, especially when the author introduced us to the whole stalking – issue, and I urged the book to speed up, to shake things up, to take action eventually. There was much talking of doing things but not much happened really.

“The Ex – Girlfriend” was a fast – paced, twisted story that had me glued to the pages and I’ve read it over a weekend. Yes, the plot could feel a bit predictable but there were still questions that needed to be answered and it was done in an engaging, complex way. There was the feeling throughout the story that something is going to happen but you’re not sure what and when. It was a tense and captivating tale about love and revenge, yet it was easy to read, even though the author touches upon heavier issues, such as stalking, mental illness, depression, but presenting them with sensitivity and empathy. So far I’ve read three books by Nicola Moriarty and I think this is her best yet – truly recommended!

 

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The Christmas Wish List by Heidi Swain / Blog Tour

The Christmas Wish List by Heidi Swain

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 47135375._sy475_

Publishing Date: 3rd October 2019

Series: Wynbridge #7

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

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

Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

***The sparkling new Christmas novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Heidi Swain!***

After being let go from her job in a swanky hotel just weeks before Christmas, Hattie is feeling lost. Even more so when her high-flying boyfriend announces he’s landed his dream job in Abu Dhabi and asks her to move with him. Luckily, Hattie’s long-time friend Dolly is on hand to help and invites Hattie to spend one last holiday in the small, festive town of Wynbridge, determined to give her a Christmas to remember . . .

Upon Hattie’s arrival, holiday preparations are in full swing. But for Hattie, whose Christmas cheer has long since run out, it’ll take more than mince pies and mistletoe to open her heart to the season once more. Relishing the task of reigniting Hattie’s Christmas spirit, Dolly suggests they create a wish list of all the things the season can offer, and with the helpful hands of Wynbridge’s resident handyman, Beamish, Hattie finds her frosty exterior is starting to thaw.

As Wynbridge prepares for its most spectacular Christmas yet, will Hattie leave snowy England behind for life in a sunnier clime, or will she in fact realise that her heart’s desire lies much closer to home?

The Christmas Wish List is the perfect read this Christmas, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews and Cathy Bramley.

Rating: four-stars

 

“The Christmas Wish List” introduces us to Hattie, who has just lost her beloved job in a hotel. To say that her world is turned upside down would be an understatement, she’s devastated. However, her boyfriend Jonathan announces that it’s a perfect timing, as he’s just been offered his dream job in Abu Dhabi and wants Hattie to come with him. Before the move though, Hattie decides to spend her last Christmas with her friend Dolly in Wynbridge, even though she’s not so full of the festive cheer. But with lots of festive activities, Hattie volunteering at school, mince pies and a helpful and friendly handyman Beamish will Hattie’s festive spirit reawaken? 

No matter what season, Heidi Swain can brilliantly and precisely capture the atmosphere, and so this time she takes us back to Wynbridge in winter, close to Christmas, and really, reading the book made me start my own Christmas countdown. It’s already full of festive spirit and I can’t wait to decorate my own house.  

Basically, I liked our Hattie very, very much. I think that I didn’t like the previous version of her, the Jonathan’s girlfriend version, and I adored to watch her starting to relax and enjoy her life, and hated how she changed as soon as Jonathan was nearby. I was actually waiting for something really bad happening when he was around, I had a feeling that was telling me that there is much more to him hidden under the mask of the lovely, handsome and generous man.                                                                                                     And this time – hallelujah! – I also enjoyed Dolly. You know me and how I feel about the older, wiser characters, right, so I am always scared that when such a character enters the pages of the book, it’s going to spoil the whole reading experience for me. However, Dolly was absolutely adorable. Yes, she was older, and yes, she was wise, but she was not too overwhelming with this wisdom, and the way she tried to show Hattie the right way was subtle and gentle.                                                                                                                    And Beamish. Anytime, anywhere. I mean, anytime is he allowed to turn up on my doorstep. Swoon.  

Heidi Swain’s writing style is developing and getting better with every book and the storyline in this novel was really well – structured. Yes, there were moments that I felt it dragged on a bit, and some things happened very conveniently for the plot to go on, but altogether I enjoyed every single word. The author brings the characters and the setting to life through her lovely, colourful and vivid descriptions and it’s so easy to lose yourself in reading. 

This book was full of not so obvious romance, searching for happiness, finding out what you want to do in life and with whom. It was about friendship, forgiveness, and standing on your own two feet. It was full of warmth, perfect read to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows on top. There was the right amount of festive cheer, it was a bit predictable but also adorable, the characters were lovely and the setting gorgeous – what more do you need from a book? Exactly – so simply make sure that it is on your wish – list! Highly recommended!

 

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