Single for the Summer by Mandy Baggot

Single for the Summer by Mandy Baggot

 

34211677Publisher: Ebury

Publishing Date: 27th July 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 432

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

***the beach-read of the summer, from everyone’s favourite getaway Queen, Mandy Baggot***

Tess Parks has made up her mind: love isn’t for her.

When it comes to dating she has one rule: after six weeks with a guy, she ends it. So when her heartbroken best friend invites her for a girly getaway in Corfu, Tess is sure she can stick to their pact to stay single for the summer.

But then she meets the gorgeous restaurateur Andras

To keep his overbearing mother off his back, Tess agrees to pretend to date him. But as the two spend time together, Tess begins to realise that this fake relationship is starting to feel like the best one she’s ever had…

A feel-good escapist beach read set against a beautiful Greek island backdrop. From the award-winning author of Truly, Madly Greekly and Those Summer Nights.

Rating: four-stars

Setting of Greece makes me feel like a bee around the honey pot – I love this country, its culture, people and tradition, so it is not a wonder that I am reading as many books set there as possible, and I am really lucky here as many authors lost their hearts for Greece as well. “Single for the Summer” by Mandy Baggot happens on Corfu, and one look at this gorgeous cover and the synopsis had me sold – and my first impression only came true as the story was heart – warming, and it brought together sun, beaches, delicious food, sexy as hell hero and Greek traditions – just what I wanted!

This is a story about Tess Parks and her rule of dating for 6 weeks only. Yes. And God forbid any of the boyfriends to pop THE question! Because when it happens, Tess goes into some kind of a meltdown. Tess’s best friend Sonya, who was about to go to Greece with her boyfriend, unexpectedly finds herself “on a break”, so the two girls pack their suitcases and travel to Corfu. What is better than sun, sand and blue water and NO DATING?
Well, I’d say, sun, sand, blue water and DATING. But unexpectedly. And actually fake – dating. And crazy tortoise Hector who can’t stay long in one place. Sounds like a perfect holiday, no?

I have immediately warmed to all of the characters, well, maybe not so to Andras’s mother. I need to have a little whinge, please do let me get it off my chest, but she annoyed the hell out of me. I understand tradition, I know Greek mothers have always right and I know they keep everything with an iron fist but I just couldn’t stand her and her rudeness. Because for me there was nothing charming or funny in the way she has treated Tess, Sonya and her own son, for me it was pure rudeness, period, and this interfering irritated me incredibly.
Tess was great, I really liked her. She was sharp – minded, quick in making decisions and she’s never regretted things that she did or said. She had rules and she followed them but then it was also great to see how she started to come out of all her comfort zones, started to relax and this relaxed version of her I liked much, much more.
Andras was your typical sexy Greek god, but there was much more to him than the first (sexy) impression. I was really admiring his patience though there came a moment that I so wanted him to tell his mother to eventually back off – I know, impossible. Greek families, traditions etc.
And the whole cast of the supporting characters is as colourful as a rainbow. They added so much personality to this story, so much humour and warm feelings, and Andras family, with of course the exception of his mother and his cousin was brilliant, with all the preparations for wedding and rolling babies on the beds – loved this idea, btw.

As a fake girlfriend, Tess and Sonya are being invited to many family meetings and meals, and this is why the fun ends, because Andras’s mother is always there! The chemistry between Tess and Andras was brilliantly captured. You know how it sometimes is, that this just feels so forced and pushed on the characters but here, in this book, it was just great. It felt honest and genuine,

This is this kind of a story that envelops you and takes you with on a journey. I laughed with the characters, I cringed, I sighed and shook my head with disbelief and I felt like a part of this book. There were many (MANY!) hilarious situations which made the reading so entertaining and light – hearted, there were truly crazy scenes that made me laughed, and there were also some sad scenes, and it was very well balanced.

Of course the descriptions of Corfu are beautiful! Vivid and colourful, they just made me wonder if I should change my plans from Rhodes to Corfu next year? But really, I could feel the sun shining, picture the sea and all the smells, and of course the gorgeous food made my mouth water.

It was a lovely story about re-evaluating your life, a great escapism and I enjoyed every page of it. This book has it all – laughter, tears, some drama, exciting romance and gorgeous setting, with endearing, believable characters. Already looking forward to Mandy Baggot’s Christmas offering and in the meantime recommending “Single for the Summer” as a great summer read.

Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne

Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne

 

33651984Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley  in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 464

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

The Escape to Willow Cottage was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

A cosy and heartwarming seasonal romance, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley.

Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a warm, caring and safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.

Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

Escape to Willow Cottage was originally digitally published as a four-part serial under the title Willow Cottage. This is the complete story.

Rating: four-stars

“Escape to Willow Cottage” by Bella Osborne was originally published in four parts series and I’ve managed to read the two first one parts – the lack of time hasn’t allowed me to read the other two ones, even though I really liked the story, and so when I spotted there is a whole book available on NetGalley I downloaded it to my kindle immediately. Some books read well in parts, some are better as a whole one package, and this one is the latest – you just don’t want to leave the characters and their world in this heart – warming and feel – good story.

First of all, I truly like the idea of buying a cottage in the auction without even seeing it – not that I’d decide for such a great step myself, but as Beth did it was a great, promising start to the story. And well, the cottage looked so great in the auction catalogue, right, so what could go wrong? It turns out that a lot can go wrong but please read for yourself – it’s hilarious. But our Beth is not a woman that quickly gives up. We know that she’s running from an abusive relationship, that she has a son and that she had a great job. As Beth is very new to the village, together with her we are introduced to the people of Dumbleford and one seems to be more eccentric than the other.

The village of Dumbleford is a charming place, with all the villagers being so friendly, all of them jumping to help each other and supporting each other – you know how much I love those community feelings and here Bella Osborne captured it wonderfully.

The characters were very easy to like, though not all of them from the very beginning, as I had some problems with some of them. But altogether, they were warm, relatable and believable. They had flaws, they made mistakes but mostly they also learnt from those mistakes and you just couldn’t help but like them and cheer them on their way. The plot is complex, with some twists and turns and some drama added, and the author also mixes some heavier issues into the story, but it blends really well with the whole story and I liked the outcome.
Bella Osborne’s writing is great. It’s easy to follow, it’s light, with a right dose of humour – there are some really hilarious scenes in this book! – and seriousness. The characters were developing, and the cottage was taking shape, and I loved to read about all the ideas Beth had and how the villagers were willing to help her. The writing is really vivid and down to earth and I could easily imagine all the things really happening.

“Escape to Willow Cottage” was hooking, interesting story about abusive relationships, commitment problems, new beginnings. There is also the romance element introduced, which I liked very much, as it was not at all predictable. Over the course of four seasons our main character has learnt a lot, realised she can trust again and that it is worth to trust again. It was a lovely, quirky, summery read, great for one evening with a glass of wine. Recommended!

If You CouldSee Me Now by Keris Stainton

If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton

35294534Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 4th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 216

Genre:   Women’s Fiction, General Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

‘One of the funniest books I’ve ever read. It made me cry with laughter. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone looking for a complete gigglefest of a read!’ Kirsty Greenwood

Izzy Harris should have it all – but her boyfriend has been ignoring her for months, she’s been overlooked for a promotion, and the owner of her local coffee shop pervs on her every time she has a craving for a salted caramel muffin.

Then her life is unexpectedly turned upside down.

Izzy dumps her oblivious boyfriend, and leaps on the chance to win a big pitch at work. Needing to work closely with gorgeous colleague Alex is an added perk…

But then her best friend has her heart broken, the pitch is way more complicated than expected, and Alex is keeping secrets. Does Izzy have what it takes to help her friend, save her career and get the guy?

A funny, feel-good read about finding yourself – and love – when you least expect it, for fans of Joanna Bolouri, Cate Woods, and Lindsey Kelk.

Rating: four-stars

“If You Could See Me Now” was my first book by Keris Stainton, but also the author’s first try at writing an adult novel, and heck, Ms Stainton, if they’re going to be as brilliant as this book then pretty please, keep them coming! This book, guys, has totally taken me by surprise.

So, writing about such things as invisibility in woman’s literature may be a very tricky thing – sometimes it works, more often it doesn’t – but this time Keris Stainton has managed to really pull it off. It completely worked, even though – to be completely honest – at the beginning it was a bit confusing, this whole invesibility things as there was nothing explaning why this happened to Izzy. But the more I read, and especially after her becoming visible again, I just had a feeling that I’ve got it, this invisibility thing – Izzy changed, started to appreciate herself, to believe in herself, stopped to fear to stand out, and I really liked this message!

The author has delivered a brillianty funny, captvating and different story. She has created great characters, added many moments of uncertainty, when you didn’t know what’s going to happen and how the plot is going to turn out. Keris Stainton’s writing style is brilliantly light, entertaining and easy to follow and the story is fast – paced.
What was great was the depth of this novel. You know, there are really many laugh – out – loud or cringe with embarrassment moments but this book is so much more than meets the eye. It was about finding yourself and what it really is you want from your life, about overcoming your insecurities, realising how much you are really worth – so under all this lightness and humour here were many important and poignant messages to Izzy, and to us, and I truly appreciated how well the author has mixed it all.
So altogether, “If You Could See Me Now” was deliciously filthy, sexy, with a great balance between humour and seriousness and I totally enjoyed it. Already looking towards Keris Stainton’s next release!

Cocktails and Dreams by A.L. Michael – #BlogTour/Giveaway

Hi guys! Today is my second (!) stop on A.L. Michael’s blog tour celebrating the release of her newest novel, and the first in the series, “Cocktails and Dreams”. Here you can read the brilliant guest post that the lovely author has written for me, and today you can also read my review of the novel. There is also a giveaway, and all you have to do is to enter the Rafflecopter and have some luck!

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Cocktails and Dreams by A.L. Michael

35603653Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date: 24th July 2017

Series: Martini Club #1

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 209

Genre:   Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

A heart-warming novel with characters you’ll love, don’t miss this first in a new series for romance, laugh-out-loud comedy and a feel-good ending. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Lindsey Kelk.

I was seven years old when I realized my mother was not a great person…

Since Savvy was abandoned by her rockstar mother, she has craved a normal life. But after years of financing her boyfriend’s lacklustre career, he leaves her when he hits the bigtime.

Savvy’s friends at the burlesque club where she serves elaborate cocktails encourage her to make bold changes in her life. She soon meets handsome bartender Milo, and begins to plan a future she can be excited about.

But when Savvy’s estranged mother crashes back into her life, her newfound happiness is under threat… will Savvy have the courage to pursue her dreams?

Rating: four-stars

I am not so into cocktails. Heck, I am not so into alcohol, except maybe for a glass or two of Prosecco. So I can hear you asking, duh, what did you want from a book titled “Cocktails and Dreams”? True – but it was again the synopsis and the lovely bright yellow cover that captured my attention and I just wanted to read this story that turned out to be a great journey of discovering your own dreams and following them.
Though, I must admit, when I started reading the book I started to have this very unsettling feeling that this story is going to be much heavier than I thought it’s going to be and while the serious tone stayed, the writing style has loosen it and there were some funny moments as well.

The story introduces us to Savvy, who is a daughter of a very famous pop star, but also they haven’t been in touch for a very long time and Savvy was brought up by her aunt. But now she’s an adult, moreover, an adult dumped by her boyfriend, and it’s time for her to realize what it is she wants to do with her life. Well, there is a thing she’s really good at – making cocktails, as well as her cooking skills and tastes, which leads to her writing reviews of restaurants – but not normal reviews, oh no! There is a special club…

I really liked the descriptions of the Martini Club where Savvy was working her magic with cocktails. Let’s be honest, it is an unusual place for a heroine to work at, no? But it sounded great, and the group of people working there, especially the boss, were brilliantly supporting. Actually, all the characters were very well portrayed, and I especially liked Savvy’s father and the relationship they had. Savvy herself was down – to – earth girl from your neighbourhood. She loved her job in the bar and she loved creating cocktails and some of them sounded really interesting – even though I am not into cocktails, I’d make exception to try them.

The romance in the story was absolutely believable and I liked how it developed – not too quickly, not too slowly, and it just sounded realistic, with the ups and downs and troubles in paradise. The writing style is also a great advantage, it is sharp and quick and I really enjoyed it.

Altogether, “Cocktails and Dreams” was a fast – paced and multi – layered story describing a journey to self – realisation. It tackled many different aspects and issues, of fame, family and secrets. Fast – paced, with interesting characters that blended well into the scenes and events and were jumping off the pages. It is also the first book in the series and I will be for sure reading the next one. In the meantime, I do recommend this book to you.

GIVEAWAY:

This giveaway is to win a cocktail making giftset and an eCopy of the book. UK only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Italy by Alice Ross

The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Italy by Alice Ross

35525872Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 21st July 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 115

Genre:  Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

…where the ingredients to happiness are found.

Connie has had enough. Enough of the city, enough of her job – and most importantly, enough of her cheating husband! So, when her best friend jets off to sunny Australia and calls on Connie to house and dog-sit, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

When Connie arrives at the gorgeous Cotswolds getaway, she can’t resist opening the doors to the town, offering up cooking lessons – and a lot of wine! Cue the three – very different – women who respond to Connie’s cookery club advert. But it’s soon clear they will need more than a glass of wine to overcome their problems…

Can Connie conjure up the right ingredients to help her new friends? And with two gorgeous men thrown in the mix, Connie may have just ended up with a recipe for disaster!

Rating: four-stars

Having read and enjoyed Alice Ross’s some previous books, I didn’t hesitate to request “The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Italy”. I can’t seem to have enough books about cooking, and lately also set in Cotswolds, and those two together do sound promising, no?

The story introduces us basically to Connie, who right now is at the crossroads with her life, and so when her friend is off to Australia for six months and asks Connie if she’d like to look after her house in this time, Connie jumps at the chance. She has no problems to settle in the gorgeous Cotswolds, in the lovely house and quickly she reawakens her passion of cooking. And this is when the idea of the Cotswolds Cookery Club is born, and Connie sets her mind on Italian cuisine this time. But club wouldn’t exist without its members, right, so there are some other characters who take it in turns to cook delicious, mouth – watering Italian dishes – and when I say delicious, I really mean delicious, guys! There is Eleanor, who runs the local newsagent, Melody, who’s also new to the area and Kate, a local vet with three children, husband and an au – pair.

So when the girls chop, stir, taste, cook and bake, they also share their stories, and so we relatively quickly get to know their background and what makes them tick. They were all relatable, believable characters, they had their problems and I quickly felt a part of their group. It was lovely to see how quickly their friendship was growing and how they all were starting to gain confidence.

Altogether, it was a light – hearted, very easy read. What bothered me personally was the end – it seemed so very abrupt and rushed, and I had a feeling that the story was chopped in the middle. It was a promising end, sure, but just too rushed and it put me off stride a little. But really, it was a lovely, cute story with mouth – watering descriptions of food, down – to – earth characters and brilliant romance – and not only human one! The author has spot on caught Connie’s passion to food and cooking and brought it to the pages and really, it made me want more, so it’s a pure luck that this novella is the first part in the series. Already looking towards the next one! Recommended!

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin

Summer at Rose Island

by Holly Martin

 

Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 13th July 2017

Series: White Cliff Bay #3

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!.

Number of pages: 368

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

Fall in love with the gorgeous seaside town of White Cliff Bay this summer and enjoy long sunny days, beautiful beaches and… a little romance.

Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals.

When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing…

Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day.

Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides.

She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for?

Pull up a deck chair, sink back with a bowl of strawberry ice cream and pick up the summer read you won’t be able to put down.

Rating: four-stars

Aaaahh, the lovely Holly did it again – went and wrote a book that feels like your best friend, like your favourite blanket, like a cup of hot chocolate or a sunny day spent in the garden reading your favourite novel!
It was great to be back in White Cliff Bay and I had a feeling that I’ve never left this place to be honest, as Holly’s effortless storytelling threw me directly into the heart of the novel, together with some of my best friends. It’s somehow always comforting, this feeling, and the fact that you know that you’re going to feel immediately at home when starting Holly’s new book.
„Summer at Rose Island” is the third book in the White Cliff Bay series and yes, you can read it as a stand – alone novel, even though many characters from the previous books appear there, and Darcy’s neighbours are Libby and George, but I’d advise that you should read all the books in the series, from a very simple reason of missing too much of Holly’s brilliant writing, sense of humour and lovely stories.

And oh my word, guys, what can I say about Holly’s book that I haven’t said before? „Summer at Rose Island” is the best example of her writing. There were brilliant characters, exceptionally beautiful setting and also the author has touched upon some environmental important issues, writing about things that I’ve no idea about. But about characters. This time Darcy and Riley are the main ones and I loved the way Holly described them. Darcy is lovely, a people’s person, so she doesn’t have any problems to make friends with other people, and her first encounter with her new neighbours – Lilly and George – is bloody hilarious! Darcy is like a whirlwind of activity and whenever she is, something happens, and she often puts herself into awkward situations, as she’s verrrry accident prone. But this clumsiness, and that she always wants to get on people’s best sides and make them happy is what makes Darcy so lovely and likeable, I really immediately warmed to her. My heart also went to her because of the situation with her parents, who – saying that they were not thrilled with their daughter would be an understatement – they only criticized her and never supported her and underestimated her. No wonder that Darcy wanted to flee and start living on her own, so moving to White Cliff Bay, a place that she’d already known because of her late aunt, seemed like a great idea. Moreover, Darcy is a sea – person. She loves swimming and everything that had to do with water, well, she is a marine biologist and sharks are her passion, and thanks to her I’ve learnt some things about them that I didn’t have any idea before. So to be honest, romances and such were not on Darcy’s radar, but then enters Riley – a reclusive American living in a lighthouse – a beautiful lighthouse that means a lot to many of the White Cliff Bay residents but that is intended to demolition! But back to Riley, who’d rather keep himself to himself, that is, until he meets Darcy… I really, really loved how Holly described Riley! He was perfect, with his southern charm, with his „ma’am” – ing, cowboy shoes and big, big, warm and soft heart.

Holly Martin, as in all her books, makes sure that also in „Summer at Rose Island” her characters are colourful, vivid and different. I always love how she makes them full of passion and how she effortlessly sneaks new facts into her novels, here about sharks and sea life for example. The characters are always complex, exceptional personalities. But also she makes sure that the town is a character of its own and the way she has described everything was just spot – on for me and I could see the things and places clearly in my mind, the shops, the bay, the lovely houses, the beautiful lighthouse.

White Cliff Bay is a town where everybody knows everybody and their business, and even though it took Darcy a little time to get used to the gossip, she very quickly acclimatised there. It is my favourite kind of town, to be honest, not too big, and I think I would even do with the others knowing so much about me, because they were all so friendly and so welcoming, and they supported each other so much, even though the person being supported (yes, Riley, I’m talking about you) was so very reluctant. I liked how Holly thrown Darcy direct into the middle of the events happening at the town, and how the residents welcomed her, making her feel a part of their town immediately.

However, to be absolutely, totally honest with you, I am missing a little of this unique, exceptional sense of humour that Holly got me used to in her previous books, the one that had me snorting suddenly with laughter, frightening all around me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a humorous, light – hearted book, but I missed those moments that made me laugh out loud, so much that I was in stitches. And I also, personally, think that Holly’s book, as much as I love them, are very similar to each other, and sure, I love this similarity, as I know what I can expect, and I adore that I get this what I expect, and I really, truly treasure and value Holly so much and I just would love her to surprise me with such a book like her written under the pen name „Tied Up with Love” – and this is why this time I gave the book 4 stars, not my usual five. It doesn’t mean I didn’t love the book, it only means that I missed something special, something original – but please don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing, I am only telling my feelings.

„Summer at the Rose Island” is this kind of book that make you feel welcome and warm. It’s full of positive feelings, a gorgeous, charming story that is going to draw you immediately in. Holly Martin’s descriptions of everything she writes about, let it be characters, their personalities, dogs, nature or lighthouse are incredibly vivid and she brings this all so easily to life and makes me feel like a part of this world.
What I also so like in Holly’s novels, and what you of course gets in „Summer at Rose Island” is the fact that, of course, there is always the happy end (but this is why I love the stories so much, a girl is always after a happy end, right?), but the way to this happy end is not always so obvious and full of obstacles. This time these are mostly Darcy and Riley themselves who complicate the things oh so much, only because they are champions of jumping to conclusions and of not communicating. Really, the whole town knows, I know, everybody all around them knows that they are perfect together and only they don’t know it. I adored Darcy and Riley and I adored their stories, and the fact that it felt so honest and genuine, and that they both were so genuine with their feelings, with their awkwardness, that they were so realistic and not so polished because it made them even more relatable and likeable.
Altogether, another cracker from Holly Martin. You can be sure that when you buy a book by this author that she’s going to deliver: a gorgeous, realistic romance, characters that you root for and also swoon over brilliant atmosphere, and that you’re won’t be disappointed. „Summer at Rose Island” is a perfect summery read, a great holiday novel, so be sure to take it with you on your break! It is this kind of a book that makes you feel happy and you can be sure that you’re going to finish your reading with a big, happy grin on your face.

Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream by Sue Watson

Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream by Sue Watson

34737607Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 27th June 2017

Series: The Ice – Cream Cafe #2 (you can read my review of “Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer here)

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 294

Genre:  Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Dani’s on a mission to get her life back on track by the end of the Summer. Running, rowing, aerobics and more, but perhaps all she needs are sweet treats and a second chance?

Twenty years ago, Dani fled Appledore with a broken-heart and a suitcase full of shattered dreams. Only now is she brave enough to put her past behind her and return for a summer selling homemade ice-cream and getting fit by doing sit-ups by the sea.

But the new-look cafe is filled with old memories of Jude, her teenage sweetheart-turned-sour. She thinks of him every time she swirls warm sauce onto a “chocolate-bockaglory” and even with the help of Chris, her gorgeous personal trainer, the urge to break her diet is everywhere she turns.

When Jude makes an appearance at the cafe on the eve of Dani’s birthday party, history threatens to repeat itself. Is Dani strong enough to say no? And is the love she’s been longing for much closer than she thinks?

A truly delicious, laugh out loud beach read that’s guaranteed to melt your heart. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Jenny Colgan and Debbie Johnson.

Rating: four-stars

I think that “Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream” is a story that many of the readers can relate too. I, for once, can. I’ve been struggling with my weight since I’ve become a mum – right after bringing the little one home I was so slender like never before and it stayed like this for some time but then the PND began, together with comfort eating and so the kilos started to pile and well, they don’t want to go away, no matter what. I am not overweight, well, maybe a little, but I just don’t feel well with me weight. And so I could SO completely understand Dani, and I could see all of the excuses that I am using to start better eating – it is always from the next Monday. So this is probably why I could so well connect with Dani – because I’ve been there, I’ve seen this. Sue Watson in a brilliant, sensitive way explains Dani’s feelings about food and I could nod my head as I was so getting it.

Even though this book is second in the series, you can absolutely read it as a stand – alone. And personally I think that this story was much, much better than the previous one! Yes, we meet some of the characters from the previous book but those are only small vignettes, as the story really focuses on Dani and her battle with her weight and her weakness. This journey is full of funny and poignant moments, full of strength and weakness, showing all the ups and downs of trying to pull their socks up and feeling better. Not all have such a willpower that one word and decision is all they have to do – sadly.

With “Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream” we are back in Appledore, meeting Dani this time. She’s left the town twenty years before, heartbroken, and now she’s back – overweight, unhappy, desperate to become thinner for her fortieth birthday. However, working in the Ice – Cream Cafe doesn’t help to keep her diets… What must happen that Dani sees what feeling good is really about? Is it really all about the weight?

I think Dani belongs to those characters that you can’t not like. She is determined but also weak, and she often gives up only to start again the next day – such a well – known vicious circle! She’s honest and she’s maintaining a healthy distance from herself but she also often uses the humour against herself.

There is a brilliant feel to this story, and I think it’s because Sue Watson has perfectly well blended together poignant and funny moments. Well, funny – they were funny for us but for sure not always for Dani! She is again your usual, normal woman, just like many of us, and Sue Watson can really write those characters. And it was truly Dani that has made this story – she was so lovely, bubbly and quirky, full of good intentions and with the right sense of humour and her favourite sport was coaching, and I immediately thought, my kind of girl! Talking too much, wearing her heart on her sleeve, here is our Dani. And it is great that at the end she’s going to find balance – it’s the most important thing, no matter if you’re overweight or not.

Each chapter of the book starts with Dani mentioning her previous diet – there were many of them, and all failed but you have to read the reasons why they failed and why she was trying this particular diet at all – oh, this was brilliant and very, very amusing! And thanks to Sue Watson (not!) I am turning into a real ice – cream fan. I’m not so much into ice – creams but all the descriptions were so mouth – watering, all the different flavours sounded so, so good, I would love to try them!

Sue Watson’s shows with her book that impossible is nothing for her – she has taken a very sensitive topic and managed to turn it into a great, honest, down – to – earth realistic story. She has got into Dani’s head and translated for us all of her feelings and emotions, explaining why she doesn’t feel comfortable in her own body and why she couldn’t change it. So truly, under the funny, light – hearted topping, there is a lot of depth to this story and it has many, many layers.
The strength of this book lies not in the characters, or the humour, or twists and turns but in the fact that Sue Watson has decided to write about such sensitive topic and she brilliantly pulled it off, so hats off to her for this, and standing ovation from me personally. She writes about insecure women that aren’t afraid to eventually and finally spread their wings, and it is always so inspiring. Her writing style is colourful, full of sharp humour, and vivid, easily bringing the events in the story to life.

So altogether, “Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream” was a very relatable story about a woman like many others trying to loose some weight, told in a sober, genuine, down – to – earth way with a lot of understanding and without patronising or offending someone. There are characters you can’t help but root for, a lovely setting, even more lovely background of the Ice – Cream Cafe, nice weather and feel – good factor – what more do you need than this lovely, sweet and charming story? Recommended!