How To Make Time for Me by Fiona Perrin / Blog Tour

How to Make Time for Me by Fiona Perrin

 

46828125._sy475_Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

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

Number of pages:

Genre: Women’s Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

Synopsis:

No-one said being a single mum would be easy…

Everyone knows that being a single mother means having no time to yourself. But for Callie Brown, its more exhausting than most. She’s juggling the needs of three teenage children, two live-in parents, a raffish ex-husband, and a dog who never stops eating.

The last thing Callie needs is anything more on her plate. So when she bumps (quite literally) into a handsome, age-appropriate cyclist, she’s quick to dismiss him from her life. After all, if she doesn’t have time to brush her hair in the morning, she certainly doesn’t have time to fall in love…

Funny, heartwarming and oh-so-true, this is a novel about motherhood, families, and life after divorce, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Allison Pearson.

Rating: four-stars

 

Callie Brown is a single mum to 16 – year – old twin daughters and a 14 – year – old Wilf from her previous relationship, who she has been a mother for eight years, with her ex rather absent, and her ageing parents, for whom she cooks and cleans on a regular basis, and, of course, working full time in HR of a car dealership. One day she’s run over by a takeaway delivery bike because, as the cyclist says, he “just didn’t see her”. Callie realizes that actually this is how she is feeling – somehow invisible. To everyone in her life. Surely, something must change in her life now, right?

I liked the romance aspect that was not so predictable. The chaos and drama in the family’s life were brought in a light, chatty way and were not too over the top, simply bringing on how it really is, how complicated things can get. I adored how Callie reacted to all the pressure and struggles and how supportive her friends were (well, she not so invisible, right!). 

It was a light – hearted story with a depth, especially when it comes to Lily and Wilf’s stories. It’s another in the really popular and relevant “not yummy – mummy”, modern family category but it is refreshing and different and I enjoyed it wholeheartedly. I loved the message in this story, that no matter what – blood ties, relationship, shape, whatever – your home is where your family is, and those are not the above mentioned things that determine who you call your family. It was full of funny but also more serious and worrying moments but the writing style was really pleasant, so conversational and easy to follow. The characters and some of the situations are truly likeable and relatable and the plot is a clever one, much more complex that you could think at first, and I really liked this fact. And what’s more, it was full of emotions and explored single parenting in a nice, light but also honest, way. Recommended!

 

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Meet Me on the Riviera by Fliss Chester / Blog Tour

Meet Me on the Riviera by Fliss Chester

 

cover167425-mediumPublisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

Series: The French Escapes Book #3

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

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Jet down to the Côte d’Azur for a Riviera romance…

It’s all about millionaires, Monaco and mega-yachts as Jenna Jenkins starts her new job as a party planner in glamorous Monte Carlo. Not always a fan of the fabulously wealthy – Jenna surprises herself and finds she has a real knack of helping the super-rich go overboard at glittering events held on the decks of the amazing yachts.

Little does Jenna know, however, that behind her back there’s a tussle going on for her affections and her loyalty to her darling boyfriend, gorgeous Angus Linklater, is about to be tested by the mysterious – and oh so hot – billionaire who’s used to getting exactly what and who he wants.

With Max and Bertie’s wedding to plan, old friends Hugo and Sally bursting with news of their own and a lot of champagne to drink, it’s going to be a very interesting summer. So, drop anchor, glam up and meet me on the Riviera…

Rating: four-stars

 

Jenna has lost the job that she loved at the art gallery and now is setting up pop up galleries, though this doesn’t bring as much money as she’d like. She doesn’t want to rely on her boyfriend anymore when it comes to a financial aspect, so when she’s offered a job as a PA to the “bold and beautiful and rich” on a boat in the Riviera over the summer, and it also coincides with Angus working in Hong Kong, she jumps at the opportunity. There, moving in a totally different world of “the other half”, she comes to the attention of TG Wilkinson, a young billionaire who’s already used to getting what he wants. Is he going to get Jenna as well?

When requesting the book, and then after starting reading it, I was not aware that it is already third story in the series, yep, that’s me, pure chaos, so it took me a little by surprise and made me confused when the characters just appeared on the pages, not so deeply introduced to us, recalling some things and events and then simply going on, so I’ve researched a little and yes, bam, I’ve missed two previous books. However, you can still read this book as a stand – alone, there was enough background info to quickly come back on track and happily follow Jenna on her adventures.

The characters were rather hilarious and sometimes over – stereotyped but I’m guessing it was done on purpose. Despite some of them so showing off their wealth I enjoyed them and they made me laugh, but also there were moments that I wanted to bang their hands on the wall – but that’s really a good sign, I simply lived them and felt so drawn into their lives. Even Bertie made me roll my eyes, but in a friendly way, I think you simply need to take her with a grain of salt, and when you do it then she actually is going to make you laugh, with her demanding ways. TG was a self – centred and manipulative though, to be honest, he didn’t evoke any emotions in me, I was not angry with him, he didn’t make me smile, he was too much of a smooth operator to me and his actions somehow didn’t ring true for me. Jenna, however, was lovely, even is she was mostly drunk on champagne, but I love it when the characters are so accident – prone as Jenna was. And she mostly put others before herself, even with her life being in tatters she’s determined to help Bertie with her wedding. Though, it must be mentioned, she really had more luck then sense with getting such a brilliant job over the summer, don’t you think? Nevertheless, she was down – to – earth, funny, sharp and relatable.

The book started really well, it was entertaining and funny however later on it went a little downhill for me and it simply started to feel repetitive and not so engaging. I’m still not sure why TG so desperately wanted Jenna, I somehow missed the explanation in the story. And yes, I also had a feeling that some of the moments were a bit too far – fetched, this whole Hong – Kong gang thing with killing people just didn’t work for me, sorry. And some of the richness and situations seemed over the top but in this case, I think, that was the point.

“Meet Me on the Riviera” was a light – hearted, easy novel full of things that make it a perfect summer read. There is romance, break – up, billionaires, over the top yachts, friendship and also some danger, and this all set against the most wonderful setting of the French Riviera and Monaco that I absolutely adored – the descriptions of the exotic locations, of the popular clubs and how the other half lives were colourful, funny and vivid. Fliss Chester has a lovely and vivid writing style and she stops at nothing to capture your imagination, to entertain you. Now I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in this series!

 

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The Eclair Affair by Cressida McLaughlin

The Eclair Affair by Cressida McLaughlin

 

cover153293-mediumPublisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

Series: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus #2

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

Number of pages: 103

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle 

 

Synopsis:

Part Two of the charming new series from the author of The Canal Boat Cafe. Perfect for cake lovers and old-fashioned romantics!

‘Captivating’ Heat Magazine ‘Beautiful… heartwarming’ Zara Stoneley ‘A wonderful ray of reading sunshine’ Heidi Swain

Charlie’s unveils her signature bake…
Charlie and Marmite finally arrive in the picture-postcard Cornish village of Porthgolow in thier vintage Routemaster bus. Not everything is as it seems and Charlie’s friend, Juliette, tells her about the owner of the big hotel up on the hill who has managed to upset the locals. That doesn’t stop Charlie and Marmite making new friends and the bus finds a new lease of life as the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea. But what will Charlie make of the enigmatic Daniel Harper when they meet, and more to the point, what will he think about Charlie and her bus parked outside his lovely hotel?

Rating: four-stars

 

As soon as the second part of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus became available, I downloaded it and started to read, still remembering how nice the first part was and looking forward to meet Charlie and Marmite and their new friends again, and see what the people of Porthgolow are to do with her fresh ideas to bring a little life to this coastal village.

Charlie is settling in Porthgolow, even though she was initially supposed to stay there for a few weeks, and not for a few months. She’s determined to make a name for herself but also to wake Portholow up, and so she’d like to organise Porthgolow Food Fest, inviting some of the best food trucks. And when she sets her mind on something, there is nothing stopping her. Or is there? Like some unwilling residents?

So. This short story. As usual, so colourfully, vividly written, and Cressida McLaughlin brings the place so easily to life. I loved the descriptions of the food festival and then the fire on the beach, they were beautifully and gorgeously written. Of course, the food sounds DE – LI – CIOUS, all the cream teas mentioned, cakes but also all kind of other goodies.

The more I get to know Charlie, the more I like her. She’s determined, consequent and also stubborn, but she wouldn’t achieve this what she has achieved till now without being stubborn, right? She has only good intentions and she gives always her best. The romance aspect that is looming on the horizon is also lovely and right now I can’t tell you in which direction is going to go, which is a great feeling as I love surprises! I have my favourite here already and I’m so curious if my gut feeling is right again.

I can’t wait for the next instalment, as we are – again! Again! – left on a cliff-hanger, with Charlie facing many decisions. Cressida McLaughlin has such a great way with words, and I adored this lovely, warm and welcoming story. Recommended!

 

Are We Nearly There Yet? by Lucy Vine

Are We Nearly There Yet? by Lucy Vine

 

43086447Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

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

Number of pages: 352

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

‘Laugh-out-loud funny. Truly, the Bridget Jones for our generation’ Louise O’Neill

Alice is turning thirty and is stuck in a rut. Her friends are all coupling up and settling down, while she’s still working as a temp, trying (and failing) not to shag her terrible ex, getting thrown out of clubs, and accidentally sexting her boss…

She decides to throw caution to the wind and jets off on a round-the-world adventure to #FindTheFun and find herself. Of course, she’s no more likely to find the answer to true happiness on the beach in Thailand than she is at the electric beach in Tooting, but at least in Thailand there’s paddleboard yoga.

Can Alice find happiness on her travels? Or is she more likely to lose herself all over again…?

Rating: four-stars

 

Alice Edwards is having a crisis. She’s just turned 30, sent an inappropriate text to her boss and, as a result, lost her most recent temp position, her best friend and flatmate got herself pregnant, all other friends are settling down, she has a relationship/non – relationship with her ex – boyfriend… She starts to feel that she no longer knows where her place is, where she fits in. So she decides that she’s going to emulate her favourite travel blogger and decides to go for a holiday of a lifetime, to “find herself” and set up a blog of her own. She has it all planned out: one month in the glamorous Los Angeles, second month soul searching in Thailand and then she will see where she’s going to spend the third month of her travels. Is it really going to change her life? To show what it is she’s looking for?

I had some problems with the heroine because, let’s be honest, she was not so easy to like, especially at the beginning, right? It was hard to agree with some of her decisions and she came across as self – centred, thinking only about herself and wondering how the changes in other people’s lives are going to affect her own life. But on the other hand I loved her heartbreaking honesty. She was full of flaws but she didn’t try to hide them and I think it was also one of Alice’s strength – take me as I am. And, in fact, she was relatable because of not being perfect. And she really experiences quite a growth throughout the story and she draws consequences. She starts to see herself in different way, realises her problems, confronts her demons and even realises why she’s so drawn to men who, actually, mistreat her and starts to realise that other people’s lives may seem perfect but they’re not, and at the end of the book she’s a brilliant, changed person.

Through her journeys, Alice meets many different people, some of them more hilarious than the other, and also family members, and she gets to solve some long standing problems, resentments, misunderstandings that she’s been holding on and that turn out to be actually perceived hurts (let’s be honest here). But it was done in a realistic, affirming way and the author has so well captured all the feelings of uncertainty, hope and fear.

I really liked this book, it was full of funny and embarrassing moments but shortly before Alice left Thailand the story went a bit downhill for me. I get what the author did there, she wanted to show us that the character of Alice is also maturing, that she finally finds herself and what is important in life but it started, instead of feeling emotional, to feel a bit flat and slow. Yes, of course, it added more substance to the book but the change in the atmosphere was too sudden a change after all the fun and light – heartiness. However, oh Jesus, the blog entries were hilarious! If only Alice has written in them what really has been happening to her, the blog would have been winning awards! But for me they showed that Alice didn’t treat herself too seriously and they made me laugh, the comments as well and the nervous breakdown of Luke the moderator. The writing style is so fresh and feels so… I don’t know, young? Full of lightness, that’s for sure, the banter flows and the snappy dialogues keep the pace.

Altogether, Lucy Vine did it again. “Are We Nearly There Yet?” was a great read, filled with vivid and quirky characters and really well plotted, full of unforgettable moments and genuine humour and the hilarious situations felt realistic, not too forced – you know how sometimes a forced humour can destroy a scene, right, but Lucy Vine knows for sure how to write these scenes! Alice’s adventures were hilarious but not overdone and they kept me laughing, and the more serious side of the story added sublime and gentle depth to it. It was not only entertainment, but also filled with thought – provoking moments, and I really liked this balance. A great and frivolous read, perfect for summer holiday! Recommended!

 

The Cornish Village School – Summer Love by Kitty Wilson / Blog Tour

The Cornish Village School – Summer Love by Kitty Wilson

 

45757087Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date: 23rd May 2019

Series: Cornish Village School #3

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

Number of pages: 270

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Pippa Parkin thinks she has it all under control…

For teaching assistant Pippa, life in her home town of Penmenna is reassuringly predictable. Between managing the Easter Egg Hunt and dealing with her annoying but well-meaning family, Pippa thinks she has it all sorted. That is until gorgeous new substitute teacher Kam Choudhury arrives at Penmenna School, and turns everything upside down.

Pippa and Kam are instantly drawn to each other, but their priorities and their working relationship make it very hard to be together. Can they find a way to reconcile their differences and find their Happily-Ever-After?

This heartwarming romance is perfect for fans of Tilly Tennant, Holly Martin and A. L. Michael.

Rating: four-stars

 

Happily single Pippa Parkin is a Teaching Assistant at Penmenna Primary School. Her mum Jan is desperate to change her status into “in relationship”, so when Pippa’s childhood friend James returns to to Penmenna, Jan tries her hand at match – making. However, Pippa has other plans and maybe, just maybe, they involve the new substitute teacher Kam Choudhury? There is this instant attraction between them, however, Kam had a five year plan to get a full time teaching post and didn’t plan and distractions, and Pippa understands this but well, heart wants what it wants, right? After a night spent together, Kam sends Pippa a litter where he declares her his love but Pippa doesn’t receive it, until it’s probably too late!

This is the third and, as far as I know, last part in The Cornish Village School series, and I bitterly regret that I haven’t read the two previous books! Yes, I think you can read it as a standalone, and while characters from the previous stories do pop up, the story focuses on Pippa and Kam and you really don’t have to know what has happened in the two previous books. But I want to! Going immediately on wish – list, those two babies.

The characters were so well – drawn! Sure, they were a bit too far fetched sometimes but altogether they were quirky, bouncy and full of life, and not only the main characters, but also the background ones. Pippa and Kam were great as leading persons, but I also loved their overbearing mothers, Kam’s sisters, Pippa’s family and the whole rest. And Flynn the dog deserves a honourable mention! There is so much humour and love between the characters, and they really come to life, thank to Kitty Wilson’s light writing. It was a real delight to get to know the Penmenna crowd.

It was incredibly light – hearted read with the best banter between the characters in the world. The writing style is conversational and welcoming, full of warmth and humour and it flows so seamlessly forward.
Altogether, it was a simple, heart – warming, full of gorgeous romance book about (interfering) families, friendship and community. You can of course predict the end and know there are going to be some challenges to overcome on the way to the happy end but it’s really well written and entertaining, a real joy to read. Recommended!

 

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Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay by Ali McNamara

Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay by Ali McNamara

 

42846112._sy475_Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

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

Number of pages: 368

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The sun is shining on the golden castle on Rainbow Bay – and change is in the air!

Amelia is a single mother, doing her very best to look after her young son, Charlie – but money is tight and times are tough. When she first hears that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Real-Life Castle by the sea, Amelia can’t quite believe her ears. But it’s true!

She soon finds that owning a castle isn’t quite the ticket to sorting out her money problems that she’d first hoped: she can’t sell, because the terms of the ancient bequest state that any Chesterford who inherits the castle, must live there and work towards the upkeep and maintenance of the family home. So ever-practical Amelia decides to uproot her little family and move to this magnificent castle by the sea.

Living in a castle on the beautiful Northumberland coast is fun at first, but organising the day-to-day running is a lot more complicated than Amelia first imagined. Luckily she has help from the small band of eccentric and unconventional staff that are already employed there – and a mysterious unseen hand that often gives her a push in the right direction just when she needs it most. It’s only when she meets Tom, a furniture restorer who comes to the castle to help repair some antique furniture, that Amelia realises she might get the fairy-tale ending that she and Charlie truly deserve..

Rating: four-stars

 

Down on her luck, single mum Amelia struggles everyday to bring up her son and keep their heads above water. It wasn’t always like that, she was happily married, that is until one day her husband simply left her and everything changed in this moment. One day she is contacted by a genealogist telling her that, through a very distant relative, she is the heir to Chesterford Castle in the Northumberland. sure, at first she thinks it’s a joke, because who in those times simply inherit a castle, right? However, it turns out that it’s true, so Amelia and Charlie move to the castle. It’s lacking visitors and this final touch, and so Amelia comes up with some ideas to get the castle earn some income. But when she fells in love with the place, and it starts to run smoothly, it turns out that perhaps there is another heir to it…?

The cover of this book is simply stunning, I love the colours and it corresponds with the whole story so very, very well!

I warmed to Amelia immediately, though I must say that I liked her even more with every page turned. She was first feeling so down, what is absolutely understandable, and I have a feeling that she simply couldn’t/didn’t want/was too fed up to show her other, funnier and sharper, side. From the very beginning you saw that she’s doing all to make Charlie’s life better and my heart went to her, understanding how she felt when she couldn’t afford better food, let’s not mention longer trousers for her son. Later, I loved the ideas she had to get the castle earn money again, she was really the right person in the right place, determined to make the place a success, and the digging she has made into the castle’s history was great, I truly enjoyed this aspect of the story. She wanted the castle to work not only for her own and Charlie’s benefit but also for the staff and the community.
The staff working at the castle is another story, Ali McNamara has created a bunch of vivid, colourful characters. There is Arthur, the gruff caretaker but underneath all this grumpiness he was a lovely and loyal man. His wife Dorothy, a housekeeper, loved the castle and was the best cook in the world probably. Joey, who helps Arthur, and Tiffany who works in the office are like a breath of fresh air, adorable and likeable. And Tom and Benji, which brings us to the more romantic side of the story, that I personally liked very much. It was absolutely not predictable – well, at least to one moment when there was the big reveal, or at least big to me as I haven’t seen it coming, but until this moment I was really all the time wondering which of the two potential love gods would be better for Amelia. I am actually thankful to the author for resolving this for me.

There’s always the magical element in Ali McNamara’s novels and either you buy it or not. I do. And actually, I don’t only mean the obvious magic, like ghosts in that case, but the magical and spellbinding atmosphere that the author can capture so well.

Overall, “Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay” was a light, entertaining read, brilliantly written – the writing style is flying, it’s so welcoming and warm and fabulously chatty – introducing us to well – drawn characters, including some cheeky ghosts! There is also a slight mystery throughout the pages and while it isn’t life changing, or taking your breath away, it added this last finishing sparkle touch to the story. Full of gentle humour, feelings and emotions, a charming summer read. Recommended!

 

Death in Avignon by Serena Kent / Blog Tour

Death in Avignon by Serena Kent

 

cover164946-mediumPublisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

Series: Penelope Kite Mysteries #2 (review of Book 1 here)

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

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Return to the warmth of Provence for the next delightful Penelope Kite mystery…

When Penelope Kite attends the opening of an art exhibition on the arm of the gorgeous Mayor of St Merlot, Laurent Millias, it seems she is finally settling into life in Provence. But beneath the glamour, trouble is lurking. Shockwaves ripple when British expat artist, Roland Doncaster, collapses after choking on an olive.

A tragic accident? Or was he poisoned? Penelope is thrust once again into the middle of a murder investigation, but when she casts suspicion on one of the Mayor’s friends, she finds herself out in the cold.

As winter draws in, Penelope must rely on the friendship of her local music group – including the dashing art dealer, Gilles de Bourdan – the support of the effervescent Frankie, and her own sleuthing instincts to untangle this mystery…

Rating: four-stars

 

Penelope Kite enjoys her decision of leaving her old life behind and moving to Provence. However, trouble seems to follow our Penny around and during a very usual art exhibition that she’s attending one artist is taken ill. He dies in hospital few days later. But it is only the beginning of further dead bodies, people going missing and smuggled art and Penelope finds herself in the centre of this all. Her old habits outweigh her common sense again and she starts to investigate. In the meantime, her whole family comes to visit and then Frankie to help her with the investigations, again against the recommendations of Penny’s nemesis, police chef Georges Reyssens.

It was another brilliant, light and quick cosy crime authored by Serena Kent. It is a second book in the Penelope Kite series, but to be totally honest, it doesn’t matter too much if you have read the first book or not, there are enough cameos and references to what has happened, and the characters actually stay the same. Though I’d really advise you to read “Death in Provence” because it was simply another great and entertaining read.

Serena Kent is a dazzling story – teller and her writing style is engaging, welcoming and chatty. She knows well when to loosen up the atmosphere and when to put a red herring to make the story even more complex and thrilling. It is also humorous and more than once a sentence or innocently dropped word or two made me chuckling to myself. The descriptions of the landscape, setting and food are long and very detailed but they are vivid, beautiful and bring all the things to life easily and effortlessly.

The characters are so well developed and feel very realistic, really, like breathing and living people. The banter between them is flawless and effortless, actually everything in this book seems to simply flow seamlessly, and it is a great feeling. Because not many new characters are introduced in this book, I felt like coming back to a group of my old mates and beginning right where we have ended our last adventure. Penelope, as usual, soon finds out that there is more to the deaths as initially supposed and with police that’s not so willing to cooperate, she has to use her skills she’s learnt as a former forensic pathologist’s assistant. Who did it? And why?

“Death in Avignon” was a breezy, light – hearted read, a perfect escapism that you’re going to enjoy on an evening or two, with a glass of wine. Or two. It has such a relaxing feeling to it, flawlessly transporting you to the autumnal and wintry Provence. Even though it deals with murder and some dead bodies there is a lightness to it, humour and sparkling, clever sarcasm and irony. There are many possible killers in this story, and it was absolutely brilliant, to read about their motives, trying to make a guess and – of course – not guessing. But that’s me, the super – detective. So pour yourself this above mentioned glass of wine, grab a croissant and prepare yourself for a fantastic visit to France, with a murder or two as a bonus. Truly recommended!

 

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