The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson

 

36634180Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 22nd February 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 464

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.

Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.

But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman is the heart-warming and hilarious new novel from the queen of feel-good fiction – a novel of family, secrets, love and redemption … and broken hearts mended and made all the stronger for it.

Rating: five-stars

Marnie Salt hasn’t had an easy life – she was adopted and has never felt loved. She’s never had luck with people, family, boyfriends or friends. But on the cheesecake forum in internet she’s just met Lilian – the right person at the right time. Lilian is older than Marnie but it doesn’t stop them from forming a firm, strong friendship and soon Marnie finds herself in Wychwell. Marnie blossoms – she can finally bake cheesecakes and she’s finally happy with her life. She doesn’t plan on staying there forever, she only wants to heal her heart and consider her future. But then something happens that puts Marnie’s whole world upside down. She must make difficult decisions and must learn to stand up for herself. Will she manage?

One of the strengths of Milly Johnson’s books are the characters. She can brilliantly capture the essence of her characters and paint them in such realistic, but also friendly, way. They are full of flaws, they sometimes don’t tell the whole truth, they make mistakes but ultimately they are so human, and I simply love this. So I loved Marnie. Simply loved her. I would only like to see her telling some truths to her mother, because she should have done it. Marnie has problems, sometimes her decisions are not the wisest ones but that’s the thing – it only made her more down – to – earth and genuine. She had a big and giving heart and probably this is why all the problems always found her, as she was too trusty and naive and has seen only good things in people. She had a lot of growing up to do, our Marnie, and Milly Johnson really well led her main character on this journey.

The setting in this book is gorgeous and original, and Wychwell, small village in Yorkshire, has such a great story to tell! It was a village like no other, with its own rules and politics!
Yes, it sometimes felt like a witch – hunt there, and there were moments it felt so isolated and so closed but it was also the charm of this place and most of the villagers were great. Milly Johnson has so easily brought this place to life, and the map at the beginning of the book was one of the best ideas ever, it was so great to be able to really place the cottages and imagine the whole village. There was so much happening there, you can count on mystery, drama, scandal and tons of kindness and friendship. There are many subplots in this book but it doesn’t mean that I felt confused, oh no, it was perfectly planned and plotted. It touches upon many heavier issues, such as for example adoption or money fraud, but this all is almost always written with humour or at least in a lighter way.

Altogether, “The Perfectly Imperfect Woman” was a heart – warming, funny and poignant read. It is really easy to fell in love with this story immediately – the writing style is brilliant, easy to follow and chatty, and the plot brings some surprises that I would never expect. It’s just a book with a heart, you know, and you can feel it in every word, and it is great to read such a story. Highly recommended!

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Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims

Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims

 

38746264Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 12th July 2018

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

Number of pages: 368

Genre: Non – Fiction, Humour

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Why Mummy Swears is the much anticipated new novel from Gill Sims, author of the hilarious Why Mummy Drinks and online sensation Peter and Jane.

It’s every parents’ nightmare – the start of the school holidays – and instead of sitting in the sun, reading a book over a cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, Mummy has two bored moppets to attend to. After frantically booking sports camps, child minder slots, not to mention time off work, Mummy is exhausted. But this is only the beginning…

After being dragged to join the school’s PTA in the new term by an annoyingly kind-spirited neighbour, Mummy is stuck with organising the Christmas Fayre and pleasing all the overly disapproving parents. In combination with getting to know her father’s surprise new glamorous (and much younger) wife, and being forced to spend more time with her narcissistic mother, life isn’t cutting her much of a break. What more could possibly happen?

Rating: five-stars

 

but I needmy girls!

“Why Mummy Swears” covers a year in Ellen and her family’s lives, starting in July and with school holidays and ending the following July. And ah feck it, guys. This is probably one of the hardest reviews to write because well, I simply loved everything in this book and about this book. Everything. So there. And now I’m going to immediately order Gill Sim’s first book “Why Mummy Drinks” because I know that I’m also fecking going to love it. If it’s only half as brilliantly funny as “Why Mummy Swears” than I’ve already won.

The best thing about this book was that it was so relatable. From the very first page I couldn’t stop but roar with laughter at all the similarities between the characters in the book and me and my husband, who also doesn’t understand that spices are only good when they’re out of date (I’m not even sure if there is the best before label on spices, as they live for ever) and that out of date doesn’t start one minute after midnight. And it is only the first thing that comes to mind, and there were tons of them. Ellen has only the balls the say what she thinks and to actually pack the kids and take them for holidays while I sit here and only fill the money – box that I’ve received with my review copy. It’s full. Almost.

The things that happen in Ellen’s life are mostly hilarious but they are also very realistic and this is brilliant – it could be easily overdone but it’s simply perfect and possible to happen. You can’t help but laugh out loud at the way the characters act and react, roll your eyes or simply nod your head in agreement. I only pray to God that my daughter won’t turn into Jane. Who was incredibly clever, by the way, probably too clever.

The writing is addictive and so easy to follow – I couldn’t, and didn’t want, to put the book away for a single moment. The way it was written – as a diary – was the best possible way in my opinion. This reminded me a little of Bridget Jones, of course, and there is absolutely room for more books to come.
This book tells how it really is in a perfect tone, not too patronizing, not too aggressive, and it gives hope, and really guys, I feel better after reading it. It turns out that I’m not the only one who can’t cope with everything, who swears under her nose, who leaves the dishes in the sink over night, whose husband goes only on holidays when there is breakfast buffet.

“Why Mummy Swears” was a hilarious, uplifting read that I easily could identify with. The fun and humour poured from every word and this is what I really needed. It was brutally honest in telling how it is to be a part of a family, to have a family. It was light, it was bright, it was refreshing and full of painful truth of being a parent. Simply, it must be one of the best books I have ever read – and it’s saying something as I’ve read many books. Many. Highly recommended!

The Greek Escape by Karen Swan

The Greek Escape by Karen Swan

 

38657977Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Publishing Date: 12th July 2018

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

Number of pages: 432

Genre: General Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A scorching summer novel, set on a lush Greek island, The Greek Escape by bestselling author Karen Swan, is the perfect getaway for fans of Victoria Hislop and Santa Montefiore.

Before every new beginning, there must be an ending .

Running from heartbreak, Chloe Marston leaves her old life in London for a fresh start in New York. Working at a luxury concierge company, she makes other people’s lives run perfectly, even if her own has ground to a halt. But a terrible accident forces her to step into a new role, up close and personal with the company’s most esteemed and powerful clients. Charismatic Joe Lincoln is one of them and his every wish is her command, so when he asks her to find him a secluded holiday home in the Greek Islands, she sets about sourcing the perfect retreat. But when Tom, her ex, unexpectedly shows up in Manhattan and the stability of her new life is thrown off-balance again, she jumps at the chance to help Joe inspect the holiday house; escaping to Greece will give her the time and space to decide where her future truly lies. Tom is the man she has loved for so long but he has hurt her before—can she give him another chance? And as she draws closer to Joe, does she even want to? As magnetic as he is mysterious, there’s an undeniable chemistry between them that she can’t resist. But whatever her heart is telling her, she’s in over her head—another client’s wife has mysteriously disappeared and seriously allegations about Joe threaten more than just her happiness. Who can she trust? And will Chloe uncover the truth in time?

Rating: five-stars

“The Greek Escape” is another glamorous, provocative and captivating novel by Karen Swan. It introduces us to Chloe Marston – who after a painful heart – break relocates from London to New York. She works for a luxury concierge company, granting wishes and every whim of their clients. After an accident that happened to one of her colleagues, Chloe must step up and take over Poppy’s clients. One of them is Joe Lincoln, whose wish is for Chloe to find him a hideaway holiday cottage in Greece.
In the meantime, Chloe’s ex, Tom, appears again on the scenes, messing with her and her life again. She’s torn and absolutely doesn’t know what to do – try her luck again with Tom and ignore this increasing chemistry between her and Joe? Joe, who also brings some complications?

Karen Swan’s writing style is engaging, rich in descriptions and eloquent, and there is always a word or two that I’ve never heard before, well, we learn the whole life, right. The setting she’s chosen for “The Greek Escape” is maybe not as exotic and unusual as in some of her previous books, but the way she describes New York and Greece is absolutely refreshing and simply gorgeous and she easily brings the places to life. She also adds a gem or two of a place that you’ll never read about in other books and it’s like discovering them together with the characters.

Who, by the way, are brilliant. They’re ambitious but not in a negative way – well, some of them are – quirky, clever and inquisitive. Chloe was immediately likeable – she was normal and she knew where her priorities should be, although she made me feel really desperate when it came to her love life. However, this hesitation and uncertainty only made her feel much more realistic and closer to life, and really, I truly cared about her and there were moments that I was really scared about her.
Chloe is our main character and narrator, however every now and then we get chapters told from another character’s point of view – Elodie. Yes, I did wonder how she’s connected with Chloe, if they’re connected at all and how those subplots align, however it didn’t take long to guess and to put the puzzles together. There was one missing piece still but it was all neatly and clearly wrapped up at the end, which is simply great, as I really like to know why, who, when and what.

The plot of “The Greek Escape” is so unique! Already the idea of the company Chloe works for was so refreshing, different and intriguing and I felt myself sucked into the descriptions of the things and events they organize for their clients, in their worlds where the word “no” didn’t exist. This story was evocative and packed with everything I’ve expected from the author and more: humour and drama, action, murder, scandals, corruption and of course extraordinary romances.

What I so adore in Karen Swan’s books is the way she so effortlessly mixes glamour, the world of prominent and exotic places with the brilliant, immediately likeable and down – to – earth characters. Her stories, and “The Greek Escape” as well, are multi – layered and complex and full of twists and turns and there is always an element of mystery in them, which I honestly love. It was refreshing and sophisticated and I didn’t want to put it down. And I also didn’t want it to end! Highly recommended!

Mad by Chloé Esposito (Blog Tour)

Mad by Chloé Esposito

 

35533573Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 31st May 2018

Series: Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know Trilogy #1

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adults)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Seven days of sin. Seven days of secrets. Seven days to steal her sister’s life.

Beth has always been the golden girl, leaving her identical twin, Alvie, in her shadow. She has everything Alvie ever wanted – the money, the hot husband, the cute baby, the fast car.

So when she invites Alvie for seven sun-drenched days at her luxury villa in Sicily, Alvie accepts. Just because Alvie can’t stand Beth doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy a slice of her decadent lifestyle.

But her usually goody-two-shoes twin has a hidden agenda. And when the sisters swap identities for a day, it ends badly for Beth. Very badly.

It’s Alvie’s chance to steal the life that she deserves . . .

If she can get away with it.

Rating: five-stars

 

Alvina finds herself jobless and homeless, so even though she’s not so into seeing her twin sister Beth after all this time, the invitation to visit her and her family living in Sicily couldn’t come in a better time. Yes, Alvie has always refused but on this occasion she just finds herself at a loss, so she decides to go. Well, Beth pays for the tickets, right.
Without giving away too much and spoiling the reading to you, Alvina doesn’t expect this what she comes upon in Sicily, and this involves murder, betrayal, handsome men and mafia. So there.

I’ll be honest with you. I tried to read this book last year when it was published in hardcover and I put it down thinking, what a complete craziness it is. However, this time, I was probably in a mood for such story, and full of expectations and anticipation I started reading it again. This book is totally bonkers. Crazyville. It’s so annoying that I eventually completely fell in love with it and couldn’t put it down. The title sums it up perfectly. What is even better is the fact that “Mad” is the first book in the Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know Trilogy, so there is more from Alvina to come. It somehow reminded me of “Pulp Fiction”, with so much blood and killing, and Alvina herself I imagined as Harley Quinn played by Margot Robbie.

The characters were abso – bloody – brilliant! So sharp and clear and with distinctive voices. Beth was always the favourite twin and Alvina always lived in her sister’s shadow – she was never good enough, she was always the spare one. It’s not a wonder that the sisters didn’t get on. Altogether you could say that Alvina was awful .But I also could understand her, especially as we get to know about her childhood through the many flashbacks in the book. She was almost the outcast of the family, she has never felt loved and really, my heart went to her when I read about her and Beth’s birthdays or other events. So it’s no wonder that she wanted nothing to do with her family and actually it was understandable why she was the way she was, however I haven’t expected her to open and “relax” so much during her holidays, hmmm… She’s not the most likeable character, our Alvina, you can’t stop thinking that she exaggerates but also I was somehow rooting for her. And call me a softie, but I think there is a second face to Alvina – it’s just my gut feeling telling me that maybe, deep deep inside she’s a softie as well? I don’t know, and I can’t wait to see if I’m right or not. Yes, she was over the top abrasive, arrogant, vulgar and I suppose we’re not meant to like her but I just couldn’t help falling in love with her and actually, loving to hate her as well.

Each chapter is titled with one of the 7 deadly sins, so we have Sloth, Envy, Wrath, Lust, Gluttony, Greed and Pride, and they’re really jam – packed with those attributes, and Alvina, well, she is full of those deadly sins. It is also set over the period of one week only, and lots of things happens during this week. We travel to Sicily, and when you think that mafia times are over, please think it over once again. The pace of this novel is incredible, it’s a real roller – coaster ride full of events, and all kinds of events, so be prepared for murder, hit men, romances, designer stores, mafia… Whatever takes your fancy is probably in this book, and it works perfectly together. It is addictive, compulsive read that would make a brilliant movie. Usually I would probably roll my eyes and say that it was too unbelievable but really, guys, this book was just incredible, it stretched the imagination and I couldn’t wait to see what there is more in store for us.

“Mad” is full to brims of huge eyes “WOW” moments, moments full of empty laughter, and the more crazy and unbelievable the better. It is gripping, it is thrilling, it is sexy, filthy and full of blood, dangerous, exciting and crazy, over – stepping the boundaries and I simply loved it. There are many twists and the book took me by surprise more than a few times, and it’s really hard to take me by surprise these days, when everything is so predictable. It is such a breath of fresh air, guys, something completely different and even when you think it might not be your cup of tea, just go with an open mind into this book and let it surprise you as much as it surprised me. Recommended!

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The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh

The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh

 

34329423Publisher: Mantle

Publishing Date: 14th June 2018

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

Number of pages: 304

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adults), Mystery

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Imagine you meet a man, spend seven glorious days together, and fall in love. And it’s mutual: you’ve never been so certain of anything.

So when he leaves for a long-booked holiday and promises to call from the airport, you have no cause to doubt him.
But he doesn’t call.

Your friends tell you to forget him, but you know they’re wrong: something must have happened; there must be a reason for his silence.

What do you do when you finally discover you’re right? That there is a reason — and that reason is the one thing you didn’t share with each other?

Rating: five-stars

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Guys. you might be thinking that the 5 stars reviews are the easiest to write. Well, here is where you’re wrong, because they are mostly the most difficult ones to write. I could simply tell you that “The Man Who didn’t Call” was “bloody brilliant, go and treat yourself, drop whatever you do and just read it”, right? But well, please do excuse me when I’ll try to tell you below how much I loved this book without repeating the word “love” all over again. It’s been a few days already since I’ve finished reading this book and well, I can’t stop thinking about it.

The only thing you have to know about the story is that Sarah and Eddie get to know each other, spend an incredible week together – a kind of soul mates – and they are sure they want to spend their future together. Eddie goes on his prearranged holidays and then he disappears. He doesn’t call. He doesn’t reply to any of the phone calls. No messages, no Facebook, no WhatsApp. Why? Sarah is left, wondering.

Guys, you will be dying to know why he didn’t call…
And I’m sure you will be having your own suspicions and theories – just like I had, but it is a book written by Rosie Walsh, who has previously written as Lucy Robinson, so you’re in really good hands here, and who has already proven that she’s the best when it comes to the most unexpected twists – and believe me, she doesn’t disappoint, as any of my guesses turned out to be true. So there. it doesn’t happen often. And it’s such a joy to read a book that is so unpredictable, full of surprises but not in a too overwhelming way.

This it this kind of a book that the more you read, the more you want to know. The characters’ lives and stories completely capture and put a spell on you. Nevertheless, I think that the last part was the weakest part of this novel – it doesn’t mean I didn’t love it, because I loved it with my whole heart, it just didn’t fit to the rest of the book and seemed very rushed. However, it was still gorgeous, so imagine how good the other parts must have been – that good, yes! It was raw and honest and so genuine in all the feelings and emotions.

The characters were so well fleshed – out, and not only the main ones but also the background characters. I actually admired them very, very much because – let’s be honest – they really did put Sarah and her problems above their own, they were always there for her, she’s never heard a bad word, they were always supporting her even with their own huge problems and troubles. However, what I also adored is that the plot focused not only on Sarah and Eddie but the author touched upon different issues, such as depression, mental health, grief as well. The choice of Sarah’s profession was exceptional, the charity she run with her ex – husband about clown – doctors working with ill children was a brilliant and refreshing and clever idea.

The way Rosie Walsh dealt with grief here just blew me away. The feelings were so true to life and realistic, raw and real, and all the struggles and the aftermaths of a death in a family were so true to life and they rang a bell or two. The way she writes about love and forgiveness, about feelings and emotions is just amazing. It’s going to stay with you for ever, guys, it’s going to creep into your heart and head and leave you stunned – and I loved it! There is so much sensitivity and gentleness and understanding, and you just want to hug the characters. I also loved the fact that the author didn’t wait with the big reveal till the last page, making the story drag – thanks to this the story really flows effortlessly and seamlessly and is impossible to put down.

“The Man Who Didn’t Call” was perfect in every aspect. It was well – paced and the twists were mind blowing. It was multi – layered. It was compulsive, with many “oh no” and “awww” moments and it is going to be huge, mark my words. This book has it all – a beautiful romance, broken hearts, tragedy, intrigue, mystery and unconditional love and I can’t recommend it highly enough – well, it is my first “Hall of Fame” book in a long time.

 

 

Relight My Fire by Joanna Bolouri / Blog Tour

Hi guys! Look who’s back – Joanna Bolouri, together with Phoebe and Oliver! This new novel “Relight My Fire” is so much more than only a laugh, there is a hidden depth to it and I really couldn’t put the book down! The author has pulled me easily into the story and the characters’ hilarious worlds and below you can read how much I adored this book. It was simply brilliant!

 

Relight My Fire by Joanna Bolouri

 

35127351Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 31st May 2018

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

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Phoebe and Oliver are stuck in a rut.

With a five year old daughter and demanding jobs, it’s not hard to see why the spark has gone.

Not one for giving up, Phoebe creates a sexy wishlist: a jar where they can ask the other for anything they’ve ever wanted in bed – or out of it.

But with distractions aplenty – such as, why do all her past lovers think now is a good time to make a reappearance? And, she may be wrong, but is Oli keeping something from her? – will they be able to relight the fire in the bedroom?

From mix tapes to ‘sex jars’, this is the naughtiest rom com you will ever read. From the bestselling author of The List.

Rating: five-stars

A huge Joanna Bolouri’s fan here  and ahh jeez, guys! What a brilliantly filthy, sexy and equally romantic and hilarious novel “Relight My Fire” was! I enjoyed every single page and really, I didn’t have an idea how much I wanted to know about the characters’ lives after “The List”! So, that has set  the tone of my review a little already, right?It was absolutely brilliant to catch up with Phoebe and Oliver and their bedroom antics in the sequel to “The List”. It tells us what happens five years after the List and while I reluctantly admit that yes, you can read it as a stand – alone, I’d really advise to read the books in the right order – you simply are going to miss on more hilarity in your life if you won’t read the previous novel, and well, I also think it is a great introduction to “Relight My Fire”.

Phoebe is still Phoebe, sassy, quirky and direct. And in relationship with Oliver. As you may remember, they used to have some crazy sex adventures, however, after few years and a daughter, things calmed down a little. Moreover, Phoebe finds that they are in a rut, not only in bed but also in everyday life. So it’s time for something bigger – counselling. But not your usual one, oh no, of course not – after all,  Phoebe and Oliver’s sex live should revive. What does it mean? Even more sex adventures, of course.

But the story didn’t only focus on sex and I liked this fact very, very much. There were more subplots that kept me glued to the pages and made the story even more exciting. It also brings us back some of the old characters and we couldn’t miss Braindead in this book – it wouldn’t be the same without him, I think he deserves his own novel to be honest. But of course also Phoebe and Oliver stayed their own good old selves, maybe a little bit more mature but still free – spirited. I fell for them immediately again, laughed at their musings and wanted for the things to go smoothly for them. It is so normal, their relationship, as well as the fact that after some time things pale a little and this is why, I think, this book was so relatable and believable, and the things they said or did just rang a bell or two.

This novel, as well as “The List”, is written in the diary form and it works perfect. Told mostly from Phoebe’s point of view, it was highly amusing to read in what ways the couple tried to spice things up in their bedroom, and this included not only total abstinence, but also a play list and a “sex jar” with requests… Yes, it is a very, very descriptive book – and I’m not going to say a word more *going red all over again*Oh, OK, I’m going to say more. Because yes, sex is very important in this novel, but deep, deep down at the heart of this story it is all about love, friendship and passion in your relationship. How it is worth to dedicate more time each other again.

“Relight My Fire” was a  brilliant story about feelings. This book really had it all. It made me blush, hell, forget blushing, it made me go all red. It was hilariously funny, it was brutally honest and open, it was great. It made me laugh out loud, it made me cringe with embarrassment, it made me go “awww”, it made me want to face – palm the characters or bang their heads together – and it doesn’t happen often that I fell so strongly for the characters and completely feel a part of their lives. Written in this typical Joanna Bolouri’s writing style, bold and direct, and bringing freshness and over – stepping boundaries, and not everyone would be able to write such a book – I can’t recommend it highly enough!

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Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart

Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart

 

34460802Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 7th June 2018

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

Number of pages: 480

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | PHardcoverk | Paperback (out on 07.02.2019)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A story about family, love and finding magic in everyday life, Days of Wonder is the most moving novel you’ll read all year.

Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah’s diagnosis with a heart condition that will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen, that time is coming.

Hannah’s heart is literally broken – and she can’t bear the idea of her dad’s breaking too. So she resolves to find a partner for Tom, someone else to love, to fill the space beside him.

While all the time Tom plans a final day of magic that might just save them both.

Days of Wonder is the stunning follow-up to Keith Stuart’s much-loved debut A Boy Made of Blocks – and a book to fall in love with.

Rating: five-stars

Tom is a single father who’s a manager of a provincial theatre and looks after his teenage daughter Hannah, who has a life – limiting heart condition. Hannah’s mum has left – for a long time it’s not explained why, however I was starting to guess what could have happened. Tom is determined to make Hannah’s life as unforgettable and as special as possible, so with the help of his theatre’s friends he stages a once in a lifetime exceptional play for his daughter’s each and every birthday. Mostly they are based on fairytales, because Hannah loves them. Very soon the theatre and people working/helping to run it become a big part of the girl’s life. But Hannah is growing up – is theatre really all she wants? And Hannah’s dad – she’s as determined as he was, to make the time they have left together special, to make sure that when she’s gone he will be looked after, just as he looked after her.

I’ve read and absolutely loved Keith Stuart’s debut novel, “A Boy Made of Block”, so it is not a wonder that discovering a review copy of his second book on my doorstep made me very, very happy. Yes, I was a little afraid to read this book, of course, because I was asking myself after such mind – blowing debut would the author be able to make this dreaded second novel as wonderful as the first one? Oh my word, guys, Keith Stuart delivered, totally and with ease – “Days of Wonder” was perfect. Not too wishy – washy, not too sad, not too sugary, not too depressing, not too sentimental – just perfect. He took us on a wonderful and emotional rollercoaster – like journey that will make you smile and burst into tears in just one sentence and live the story through the characters. Keith Stuart can immediately enchant you with his writing style, he draws the reader immediately into the story, from the very first page you can feel as a part of the book’s world.

The story is told from Tom and Hannah’s points of view in alternative chapters. and boy, what distinctive, vivid voices they had! I immediately warmed to them and connected to them. The love between them was so real, raw and honest, so perfectly captured and put into words. I loved their banter, how they got each other, how they understood each other without words, how they challenged each other into getting dressed in second – hand especially chosen clothes and go to the restaurants. They laughed together and cried together and they respected each other. Their relationship was not a bed of roses, oh no, Hannah did also caused troubles but it only made them much more real and believable.
However, not only the main characters, but all of the background ones, are perfectly written and believable but I can’t not focus on Hannah and Tom. I absolutely adored them and their relationship, that was not too forced, seemed so natural and genuine and they all had everyday problems and issues to contend with. Hannah was brilliant, cool as a cucumber. She was edgy and sharp and incredibly clever but not too overdone for her age – probably because of her condition, of not seeing the future, she was bold and brave and took life by the horns. She also tried to couple her father up with a woman, just in case, so that he won’t be alone. She was this kind of character that you love so much that you hope till the end that somehow she’s going to survive, even if you know that it’s impossible.
I was very invested in the characters’ lives. They all had their own story to tell and I love the fact that the author has found a place for those stories in his book. There was this brilliantly, overwhelming community feel to it, they supported not only Hannah and Tom but also each other, even though all of them had their own problems and private turmoil. They all rose to the challenge, they showed what they can achieve as a group, when there is a problem to solve or when somebody needs help.

It was a beautiful, poignant and sharp story about not giving up, about never losing hope, about beautiful, unconditional love, about family. It is a real roller – coaster ride of feelings and emotions, and the author effortlessly transports you into the characters’ world, I really felt a part of it, and I experienced and lived through everything together with the characters. I wanted them to succeed, I applauded them and I cried with them. They all were a great bunch of characters and I am going to remember them for a long time yet.

“Days of Wonder” was first and foremost a story about love, but also about letting go, about spreading your wings, about trust. About friendship. Written in such light, chatty and accessible way, with a great feeling of authenticity, full of feelings and emotions. The author so very easily brought not only characters to life but also the setting and especially the Willow Tree Theatre. It was a truly magical place. And yes, the words on the cover stating that “Days of Wonder” is “The most magical and moving story of the year” are absolutely true – it was magical, and it was moving, and moreover, it was beautiful and enchanting. It touched upon some really heavy issues, like Hannah’s heart condition or Callum’s depression but it never feels too heavy or difficult to read. No. It was poignant, yes, but is also was very uplifting. There really isn’t anything that I didn’t like about this book. I savoured every single word and didn’t want to put it down. It was a real delight to read and I can’t recommend it highly enough!