Amber Green Takes Manhattan by Rosie Nixon

Amber Green Takes Manhattan by Rosie Nixon



35235874Publisher: HQ

Publishing Date: 29th June 2017

Series: Amber Green #2

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

Number of pages: 427

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Novice stylist Amber Green is taking on the glittering celebrity world of Manhattan one fashion disaster and wardrobe malfunction at a time!

When her TV producer boyfriend Rob announces that he’s been offered a job in New York, filming with the infamous Angel Wear lingerie models, Amber knows its her perfect chance to take the New York fashion world by storm.

But Amber wasn’t counting on unruly toddler photo shoots, clandestine designer handbag scams and a Hollywood star who is determined to wear as little as possible on the red carpet. Until she meets a disgraced former designer who could turn her career around…or leave it all in tatters.

Fun, adventure, glamour and high-fashion make this is the perfect feel good women’s fiction read.

Rating: five-stars



Ah, guys, “Amber Green Takes Manhattan” was probably one of my most anticipated books this summer. I’ve read and adored “The Stylist” last year and really, I couldn’t be more excited for the sequel. After my review copy arrived I’ve immediately fell in love with the cover – it’s fabulous, with those lovely embossed letters and gorgeous colours (personally I think it is much, much nicer that the cover of the first book, but it’s just me, you know I am a sucker for such fairy – tale covers). But it was not only the cover that made me love this book so much – it was simply the brilliant story of Amber Green literally taking Manhattan! This book has it all, there was a lot of laugh, embarrassing moments, jumping to conclusions, some little drama and a happy end – just what the doctor ordered!

In this second part of Amber Green’s adventures in the big world, Amber and her boyfriend Rob travel to New York, where Rob’s new job is working on a documentary for a world – famous lingerie brand – think something like Victoria’s Secret here – and Amber… well, Amber is tagging along, she doesn’t want to let Rob travel alone as they’re together only for a short while, but she also has great dreams and hopes to make her name in the styling world. And knowing Amber, you can be sure she’s going to go high, with her ability to befriend the right people and to find herself in the most hilarious, unbelievable situations ever and yes, she soon manages to get her first job with a has been/to be child star. But taking Manhattan also means social media, and Amber’s start to take over her life – is the fresh relationship with Rob going to survive? How much damage is Amber going to produce with accidentally snapped photos? And finally, is Amber REALLY able to conquest New York?

Amber reminded me so much of the one and only Becky from the Shopaholic series – she’s exactly as absent – minded and she has the ability to find herself in embarrassing situations that more than often she herself creates, mostly unintentionally. She’s very accident – prone but also she has a heart in the right place and I think it is impossible not to like Amber. OK, yes, she annoyed me, as well as Rob, with her obsession with her Instagram account and collecting followers, but well, Rob also sometimes annoyed me, taking out his frustration on the poor Amber. Sometimes is bothered me that Amber was forgetting about the whole world and focused on her career only but on the other hand I could understand her, she was in a new place and she wanted to prove herself she can do it.

The story abounds in some hilarious situations and even though there were moments they felt a little too far – fetched I still bought them, just as they were described, and they made me smile or cringe in disbelief. If the fashion world really looks like Rosie Nixon describes it then it’s better that I am an absolute outsider to it, guys – and Ms Nixon brilliantly and spot – on captured the world of the models, designers and red carpets, with all the dramas, “bags dropping”, jealousy and night life. Even though it is not so much my kind of world I totally adored to read about it.

Truly, guys, I knew after reading “The Stylist” that the second book is also going to be pretty damn good, and it was! Let me tell you, it was this little bit better than the previous one – the writing style was so much more distinctive and bolder, the characters were strong, with their own personalities and voices, and the intrigue was not only clever but it also had a brilliant ending! There came a moment that I had my own “eureka” moment and I tied the facts and guessed who and why but it didn’t spoil the read for me, not at all. I liked that the author has made Amber life not so easy, and that she had to solve some problems, both in her private and professional life. I also liked that every situation was well – rounded with the gorgeous and sharp Rosie Nixon’s humour – it made the book’s reception lighter. She also hasn’t forgotten the star of the previous book – the mini pig Pinky, and guys, Amber’s tactic of looking for a babysitter for him while she and Rob were in New York was hilarious – especially the outcome, no, Nora? Really, there were so many situations that made me laugh out loud that it’s impossible to tell you about all of them but believe me, you’re going to smile, to laugh, to cringe with embarrassment when reading this story – and I like it so much when a novel invokes so many emotions in me, because it means that it’s brilliantly written.

This book is so fast – paced and there is all the time something happening, but you don’t have the feeling that it’s too pace-y, that it’s too forced or overwhelming. There are enough twists and turns and damp down emergencies involving dressing a celebrity for Coachella (or rather, un – dressing!) and A – listers or other babies, and I truly raced through this story wanting more, and more, and more. All the characters were so great and so easily brought to life by the author. You know, I am really impressed with the way Rosie Nixon has with words, it all flows so effortlessly and seamlessly and it’s just a great joy to read. The characters are not flawless, they make mistake but they pay for them and get a chance to rehabilitate themselves, which is great.

“Amber Green Takes Manhattan” was a hilarious, fast – paced rollercoaster ride in Manhattan, full of laugh, small dramas and celebrities. It was relaxing, it was funny, but what’s more important, it was not only about glitz and glamour. It was again about following your dream, about not feeling dispirited, about believing in yourself and your talents. Highly recommended for a holiday or for a lovely summer evening in the garden – I personally loved it!

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The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Sunday! I am so, so thrilled and excited today to be a part of Kat French’s blog tour for her newest release “The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach”. I loved this book SO much and I really couldn’t wait to share my review of this sunny, summery story with you. The novel is already put as an ebook and out on 13th July in paperback, and I can guarantee that you are going to LOVE it! AND – I have an extract for you as well!

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French



34016826Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 13th July 2017

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

Number of pages: 336

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 13.07.2017)

 

Synopsis:

A gorgeous summer read to escape with this summer!

A Greek island solves all life’s problems…doesn’t it?

Winnie, Stella and Frankie have been best friends forever.
When their lives unexpectedly unravel, they spontaneously decide to buy a gorgeous B on a remote Greek island.
Drenched in hot sun, Villa Valentina is the perfect escape
from reality. But when Winnie meets Jesse, their brooding
neighbour, she finds that Greece is full of its own complications – not least how attractive he is…

Meanwhile, Frankie and Stella are discovering that Villa Valentina has its own secrets – starting with the large supply of gin in the cellar and the arrival of a famous rock band. A band with one very good-looking member who just might distract Frankie from thoughts of her husband…

Smart, sassy and sexy, this summer sizzler is perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jane Costello.

Rating: five-stars

Ah, guys, there is nothing better than a Kat French book, really. Yes, I somehow missed her last release but as soon as I’ve spotted The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach and then read the synopsis, there was nothing stopping me from reading this book. Literally nothing. And truly, one look at this gorgeous colourful cover made me fall in love with it, it just screams “summer, here we come”, don’t you think? And then the story itself, laugh – out – loud fun, relax and brilliant romance – absolutely brilliant.
So yes, guys, this book. I had a feeling that I can fall in love with it (as you have probably guessed) but I haven’t expected how much! It was such a lovely, light – hearted and uplifting read with this gorgeous feel – good vibe and the overwhelming summery feeling, and I really can’t stop thinking about me needing to immediately go on holidays or at least drinking G&T, or two. Already the cover is shouting holidays, here I come, but what is hidden between the covers is even better.
It was so easy to immediately fall in love with this gorgeous – unfortunately fictional – island of Skelidos and all of its specific inhabitants. Just imagine – not spoiled by the tourists, peaceful, with a donkey or two – a perfect place to spend your holidays, no? Or maybe to spend the rest of your life, even? Which happens to Winnie, Stella and Frankie who travel there to stay for a weekend only and end as the owners of the pink Villa Valentina.

I liked the book and the characters from the very beginning, and I also found myself liking it even more with every page turned! There was something magical in all of them, and in the writing, and I just didn’t want to put the book down. Heck, I didn’t want it to end! I could really read about the three friends and their adventures much, much longer. And they were really true friends, the three girls. You could see they like and respect each other, that they feel so good in their own company and it was lovely to see how they support each other. They weren’t afraid to say uncomfortable truths as well, they did it, they were not afraid to laugh at each other, but this is just what a real friendship is, right, and this one here felt so genuine and not at all forced. Winnie was running away from her abruptly ended marriage. Stella was a career woman, devoted to her job, but she was made redundant. Frankie was having the empty nest syndrome and when her twins left home, her marriage also came to an end – so they all really have their own reasons to risk everything, leave their old lives behind and try their luck on Skelidos. However, as you are absolutely right, things never run smooth and there are some troubles in paradise waiting for our lovely, likeable and believable girls, and it doesn’t only mean a stubborn donkey, underground gin distillery and not speaking a single word in Greek. And then there are of course all those hot men: hunky Australian Jesse, the Greek God Angelo and the member of a very popular band, Seth, but let’s not forget the husband Gav as well! And villagers worshipping a bush that grows only in the Villa’s garden – a recipe for disasters, no?

Kat French of course doesn’t forget about male characters, oh no, she doesn’t! And what great characters they were, guys! Jesse was so direct and outright that after my first jaw dropping moment I couldn’t stop to laugh at Winnie’s amusement, but I also wanted to cheer her on, high – five her and yell, you go girl, show him. I loved how he started to show her how to leave her comfort zones, how to appreciate herself – it was a gorgeous, beautiful subplot.

There were enough twists and turns to keep me glued to the pages, and I loved how the author surprised me every now and then. The unexpected visits, the way the story took its turn – it was all so surprising, and even for me not predictable, as the villa itself had also hidden treasures to discover! It was absolutely great and inspiring to see the three friends coming back to Skelidos to make the best of the villa, to just see how their lives are going to turn out, to just grab the life by the horns.

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French has really had it ALL. Incredibly gorgeous setting, enough G&T to keep you happy, all – knowing neighbours, villagers that adored their own traditions, brilliant, bouncy and quirky characters, romance in the air and some stumbling blocks as well, and I simply adored it. It was easy to read, light and full of sun and humour and poignant moments – a perfect escapism. Brilliant story about new beginnings, second chances and leaving your comfort zones, being courageous. It is filled with friendship and hilarious moments and it is a must have accessory for your summer bag – really, guys, you don’t have to thank me for the recommendation. I am sure you are going to fell in love with all elements and Villa Valentina.


EXTRACT:

[Extract 3 from Prologue pp. 11-13]

Ajax placed a tray of three tall, fine-stemmed fishbowl glasses on the beach-bar table in front of them an hour or so later.

‘You’ve built our expectations sky-high now, you know that, right?’ Frankie said, lifting her eyebrows at him. ‘If these cocktails don’t make us feel a million dollars we’re going to want our money back.’

‘Your first drink is always on the house anyways,’ Ajax said grandly. ‘Villa Valentina house secret mix, guaranteed to make you happy.’

‘Free drinks always make me happy,’ Stella sighed. ‘People used to give me free drinks all over town. Stella! Come in, have a glass of champagne! And another!’

‘Ah, get over yourself, superstar. This one’s still free and looks amazing.’ Frankie reached for one of the glasses and handed it to Stella.

‘What is it?’ Winnie lifted her sunnies and squinted up at Ajax hovering close by for their verdict.

He shrugged. ‘Gin and tonic.’

It wasn’t like any gin and tonic Winnie had ever seen before. Peering into the glass as she slid it towards her, she could see rich shades of honeyed nectarine red sparkling with ice and slices of rose-pink grapefruit.

‘Is this rosemary?’ Frankie asked, plucking a herb from her glass and sniffing it.

Ajax preened. ‘I grow it myself in the garden at the back of the villa.’

Frankie dunked it back into her cocktail, using it to swirl the ice cubes. All three women looked up as the guy they’d spotted earlier with Ajax wandered over and placed a platter of glistening halved figs scattered with walnuts down on their table.

‘Oh. My. God.’ Winnie groaned. ‘How good does that look? They’re the fattest figs I’ve ever seen in my life.’

‘Best in the world. I grow them myself in the garden behind the villa.’

‘I’m sensing a theme,’ Stella murmured, then took a sip of her drink and gasped. ‘Bloody hell! That’s amazing. You have to tell me how to make this before I leave.’

Ajax ignored the request, choosing instead to make introductions.

‘Ladies, this is my husband, Nikolas.’

Nikolas stuck out his hand. ‘Nik, please.’

‘Well, thank you, Nik, for this. It looks wonderful,’ Winnie said, nodding towards the plate. ‘I’m Winnie.’

The others jumped up in turn and shook his hand, and he just nodded politely and excused himself.

‘He likes actions, not words,’ Ajax sighed, watching his lover wistfully until he’d disappeared back into the villa.

‘My kind of man,’ Stella laughed, making Ajax scowl theatrically.

‘What is it that you English like to say?’ he said. ‘Not on your nelly.’

He winked and blew them a kiss before threading his way through the tables in the direction of his husband.

‘Happy couples make me want to vom right now,’ Winnie said, taking a good gulp of her drink and then almost choking on the rosemary stem.

Stella grabbed for the glass. ‘Christ, Winnie, it’s too good to splutter all over the floor!’

Frankie lifted her drink so that the sunlight shone through the liquid, bouncing pink crystal shimmers all around them.

‘Everything about this place is special,’ she said. ‘The villa, Ajax, the cocktails, that view . . . it’s all blissful.’

Winnie had recovered sufficiently to raise her glass and toast the others.

‘To forty-eight hours of secret recipe cocktails and unin­terrupted bliss.’

Stella clinked her glass against Winnie’s. ‘I’ll drink to that. And to friendship.’

Frankie nodded solemnly and touched her glass to the others. ‘To us.’

Ajax watched the three women carefully from an upstairs window of the villa, observing the way they laughed together, how they toasted each other, that they were relaxed in each other’s company.

Maybe.

With enough of his secret cocktails and a fractured kalei­doscope of sun-gilded images laid out to seduce them, just maybe.


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Blood Sisters by Jane Corry / Blog Tour

Good morning! I am so, so THRILLED to start this Friday with a review of Jane Corry’s Blood Sister as a part of her new, epic blog tour. Having read Jane’s previous novel I couldn’t wait for her new release, and believe me, guys – this book is dark but not too dark, full of lies and secrets that are not too overwhelming – it is just a perfect book for one sitting. Why only one? Because when you start reading it, you won’t be able to put it down!

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

32874095Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 29th June 2017

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

Number of pages: 464

Genre:  Mystery/Psychological Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the Sunday Times bestseller MY HUSBAND’S WIFE

Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning.
Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.

But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day.
And only another life will do…

 

Rating: five-stars

Having read and absolutely loved Jane Corry’s previous novel, My Husband’s Wife, I was incredibly excited to read her new release, Blood Sisters. This book has completely drawn me in – I actually read it on one Sunday, forgetting about the world going around and reality. It was full of surprises, and I love when a book is able to surprise me in a way Blood Sisters did, with its complex plot, the unreliable narrators that you weren’t sure if you should trust, and playing games with our minds.

The story is a slow burner, so be prepared that the first part may feel a little too long or as if there is almost nothing happening there – and I’ve already started to panic, guys, it made me feel so, so scared! However, with the second part the story gains incredible tempo, there are many twists and turns on the way and really you won’t be able to put the book down. When you think that everything is clear already, that we know all we should know, the author throws another surprise and everything changes.

The story was told in two alternating perspectives by the half – sisters Alison and Kitty, taking us on a journey to their past and present. Alison is an art teacher, Kitty is living in a home as she’s severely disabled, with a brain damage and she doesn’t remember what happened to bring her to this home in the first place. The connection between Alison and Kitty is quickly explained and throughout the story we start to learn more about the secrets that bond them together.

Alison is an artist and a teacher, and she applies for a job in an open prison for art classes for the inmates. Alison was relatively hard to “breach” and to warm into, to be honest, as she was so very introvert, but I also could understand her, especially as more and more facts about her were unravelled. It just seemed as if Alison was all the time holding back and keeping something for her. On the other hand, her half – sister Kitty was like and open book, not holding her thoughts back from us. It was incredible how deeply the author has managed to get into Kitty’s head. She has so brilliantly and realistically captured Kitty’s frustrations when she couldn’t express herself, when the only thing that came out of her mouth, instead of words, were sounds and babbles. However, and I really don’t know if this makes me a really bad person, I couldn’t help the feeling that Kitty deserved what’s happened to her. There, I said it. Sure, I sympathized with her, I pitied her but still I couldn’t help thinking that she was asking for what’s happened – and I think she will never change. But of course, Kitty’s story was also heart – breaking and it was exceptionally emotional to see how frustrated she was, fighting to grab hold of her flyaway memories, to communicate with the outside world. Jane Corry has so well described how the brain damage affected Kitty and her behaviour, but also how it affected the closes to her.

The author has written the characters in such a great way. There was a depth to them and even though they were not all likeable, you still want that everything will turn well for them. You also never know who to trust, as they were all telling so many lies to protect themselves – it may sound scaring but believe me, this complex web of lies was superbly created and it just sucks you in, and you are desperate to know what actually has happened.

This book was perfectly written, with realistic and diverse characters, with sharp dialogues and the plot was complex and intriguing, panning out in a way that was totally unpredictable. It was fast – paced (even with the beginning being on the slow side – I know it sounds weird but well, it is so), there was not a single flat moment, it kept me all the time on my tenterhooks. Blood Sisters was an incredible tale of sibling rivalry, misunderstandings, abuse, lies and secrets. Jane Corry has also included a lot of her experience from working in a prison, as you really have a feeling that she truly knows what she’s writing about, that she knows the prison and its secrets inside out. It was fascinating to see how it all works there.

I liked that the chapters were short and dynamic, and they often ended on the cliffhanger, and I had to resist, more than often, to turn the next few pages only to see the first few sentences of the following chapter to see what is going to happen there. They are also guilty for me reading the book in one day only – I think you also know that syndrome of “only one more chapter” and then finishing the book on one breath almost. It really felt as if I were a witness to the events, as if they were happening next to me, so realistic and distinctive was the narration.

I loved how the whole story was created – it was complex and complicated but not in a way that would do your head in, when you don’t understand anything. There were many clues and tips at how the characters are connected and it was slowly untangling the whole web of secrets, discreetly and gently adding more and more of them – but I have never felt overwhelmed with them or confused. We are aware that things have happened in the past and the author takes us on a slow, but fast – paced, journey full of tension and questions that leads to a great grande – finale. It was really like taking one step forward and three steps back, getting answer to one questions and getting few new questions instead, and it was bloody, bloody brilliant! There is really so much more to this book than meet the eye! It is dark, it is disturbing but it is a great read about guilt and about what are we able to do to protect are closest ones, written in a very vivid way, effortlessly bringing all the small and big things to life. Highly recommended from me!

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My Sister’s Wedding by Vicky Pattison

My Sister’s Wedding by Vicky Pattison

 

33877159Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 15th June 2017

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

Number of pages: 384

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

For better or worse, two families are about to become one…

The Ashworth sisters couldn’t be more different. Becky is focused, driven and about to marry her lovely fiancé, Daniel Balfour. Lizzie, on the other hand, bounces from one temp job to another, keeps falling for the wrong man and is a whirlwind of chaos in Becky’s otherwise well-ordered life. But they love each other fiercely and the Ashworth way has always been family comes first.

As preparations for Becky and Daniel’s wedding get underway, it soon becomes clear that the Ashworth way is not the Balfour way. Daniel’s family have never thought Becky was good enough for him but he loves her and that’s always been enough for the happy couple. But when Lizzie gets caught in the crossfire between Becky and the Balfours, Becky and Lizzie find themselves drifting apart at a time when they need each other the most. Will they be able to repair the damage before Becky walks down the aisle?

Rating: five-stars

 

My Sister’s Wedding is the first story that I’ve read by Vicky Pattison, even though I have two of her other fiction books on my TBR pile. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect but nevertheless I had high hopes for this novel and in the end the book pleasantly surprised me. It was light – hearted, with some great characters and brilliant, quick writing and I was immediately immersed into the characters’ world.

The story is told from Becky and Lizzie’s points of view, occasionally also showing Nicole’s scheming. The characters really quickly grow on you and you feel as if you’ve known them for ages. Becky and Lizzie are sisters, extremely close, and it has a reason – their mother left the family when they were very young and Becky somehow adopted mum’s role, helping their father to bring the girl up. But now they are both adult and they couldn’t be more different – Becky is oasis of calm to Lizzie’s hurricane, Becky is the most responsible one, with a job and fiancé while Lizzie can’t stop moving around, keep one job and is sleeping at her best friend’s Jay. Becky is also about to get married – her long-time boyfriend Daniel has popped the question. Even though they are together nine long years, their families haven’t met yet – and there is also a reason to it, because they also couldn’t be more different. While Becky and Lizzie’s family consist of them and their lovely, down – to – earth father, Daniel’s is a very wealthy and snobbish one. Is the first meeting going to run smoothly?

Even though they were so different, I liked both of them: Lizzie and her free spirit and big mouth, and Becky’s calmness. Sure, they both were sometimes annoying and they had flaws, but who isn’t and who hasn’t them, right, so it all made them even more likeable. Lizzie may seem irresponsible but there are things she loves above all and she would do anything for her family. The girls balanced each other very well and I really liked this strong bond between them – even though this bong can be easily destroyed by a misunderstanding. Both of them struggled with the sense of belonging, as it seemed they lost it for a moment, and it was sad to see how they are drifting apart. I hated to see how they jump to conclusions, how they read (false) between the lines and how their perfect relationship suffers as a result.

The storyline was great and it was so fast paced. It was not plain sailing for the characters, there were some smaller storylines easily and effortlessly interspersed with the main one and the end result was a lovely, humorous story about family and changing dynamics. Yes, there were moments where the author focused so much on the clothes, labels, designer names, brands, cosmetics that I could do without but oh my, this is Vicky Pattison we are talking about, right, and I think we can turn the blind eye this time. It was also full of references for very modern and present social medias, and the language it was written with was totally realistic. With all this I had a feeling that the book is aimed to a rather younger audience than moi but still I did enjoy it and I spent some uncomplicated, relaxed hours following the story of Becky and Lizzie. There was warmth to the writing and I felt comfortable in their company, so what should I still wish for?

You know, the book was not the most complex one but there was such a great feeling to it. It was funny, dynamic, sharp and there was something in it that you didn’t want to put it down. It was an easy and engaging read, with many humorous and some poignant moments, and you felt immediately at home with the characters: you either loved them or loved to hate them. There was enough intrigue and a little drama and even though it was predictable it didn’t spoiled the book at all. It was fast paced and I didn’t have a feeling that it is dragging on. The Nicole’s subplot was needed for this story to make it more complicated and even though this part was a little too far – fetched for my liking, overall it added some needed action and fireworks to the storyline. So yes, maybe don’t expect anything life – changing in this book but still it made for a great, entertaining read with some ups and downs, with tons of funny moments but brilliantly mixed with some of the more poignant ones – and hey, does the book always have to be life changing? Thought so. I was fully glad with the twists and turns, with the way the author has complicated things for Lizzie and Becky and even with the tad predictable characters from Daniel’s family – this all was written in effortless, engaging way and I bought it as it was: fun and light – hearted, and I’ll be shamelessly recommending it to all of my friends!

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Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig / Blog Tour + Extract

Hi guys. Today I have a new blog tour for all of you. It is for Benjamin Ludwig’s debut novel “Ginny Moon” and a really have no words to describe how special and wonderful this book is – you just have to read it for yourself, then I am sure you’ll understand what I mean. Next to my gushing review there is an excerpt 1 (Read the second part of the chapter at Jaffa Reads Too) – put your feet high and enjoy!

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

33370511Publisher: HQ

Publishing Date: 1st June 2017

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

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Meet Ginny. She’s fourteen, autistic, and has a heart-breaking secret…

‘Brilliant’ – Graeme Simison, author of The Rosie Project

Ginny Moon is trying to make sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up….

After years in foster care, Ginny is in her fourth forever family, finally with parents who will love her.

Everyone tells her that she should feel happy, but she has never stopped crafting her Big Secret Plan of Escape.

Because something happened, a long time ago – something that only Ginny knows – and nothing will stop her going back to put it right…

A fiercely poignant and inspirational story a lost girl searching for a place to call home. Ginny Moon will change everyone who spends time with her.

Rating: five-stars

Recently I was able to read some fiction novels featuring autistic children as main characters, introducing us to their different worlds. “Ginny Moon” is the first novel about a girl but it is exactly as complex and empathetic as all the other books that I had a pleasure to read. However here the author, Benjamin Ludwig, actually never mentions Ginny’s autism. We know she is in a special classroom, she takes part in the Disabled Olympics playing basketball, we see her problems and the way she perceives the world and we also see the autistic traits, such as having exactly nine grapes for breakfast, keeping eye on her watch and the exactness of the time, the comfort of routine, but the author doesn’t emphasize the disability so visibly, and I loved the way he dealt with it. It gives us a chance to see a true Ginny, not only in the light of her autism.

Ginny Moon, the main character in this novel, is written in such a brilliant way that it’s truly hard to describe in words how brilliant she was. She was so special – and not because she was autistic, but because she was incredibly brave, honest and true to herself. She was taken away from her Birth Mom Gloria by Social Services when she was nine years old – until then she’s been living the unimaginable, suffering emotional and physical abuse from her drug – addicted mother. Before she found herself in her Forever House, she’s been with two “Forever Families”. Now she lives in Blue House, with Forever Mom Maura and Forever Dad Brian. Everything seem great, that is until a child of the Forever Parents is born and Ginny tries to organize her own kidnapping. She still lives in the past, when she was 9 years old and was taking care of her Baby Doll – and she thinks she must take good care of her.

Reading Ginny’s story was so heart – breaking! I couldn’t help but fell in love with this brave, exceptional girl, and the way she was then treated by Maura truly broke my heart. Ginny was so lovely with her love to Michael Jackson and all the things “exactly”, not “approximately” – she needed exactly nine grapes for her breakfast. There was such a huge burden she was carrying and nobody believed her, and I can only imagine how frustrated Ginny must have felt, even though she couldn’t put those feelings in words. Her goal was to help her Baby Doll and she’s prepared to do anything, no matter the consequences – because I think that she realizes that there are going to be consequences. She was able to pair off the facts and she was wise.

Ginny’s Forever Parents were so genuine, with all the distress, stress, despair but also concern, this was portrayed in such a realistic way. I don’t want to have a go at Maura, I really don’t want, but there were moments that I despised her. On the one hand I truly understood where she was coming from, I got her fear but on the other hand I just couldn’t accept the way she changed. However, I think, it was all done on purpose, so that we all get a very realistic and honest picture of how complicated and difficult it can be when you adopt a child, especially a child with special needs.

What makes the story even more special is the fact that it’s told from Ginny’s point of view. We get through her life together with her, we know her thoughts and fears and we know that there is a huge burden that doesn’t let her sleep. The author has done a brilliant job unlocking her world to us and letting us understand. Ginny will easily worm her way into your heart, it is impossible not to love and admire her, the girl with the biggest heart in the world. Her characters is so complex and it feels so incredibly authentic, she’s quirky, wise and courageous, even if she doesn’t know it herself. The writing style is brilliant, running smoothly, and the author has done an incredible job with getting into Ginny’s head and showing us the world from her perspective. I personally can’t believe that it’s only Benjamin Ludwig’s debut novel – it is so complex, so intelligent and touching upon so many difficult issues without making the book feeling desperately sad.

“Ginny Moon” is a beautiful, gentle and realistic story about families, love, relationships, domestic abuse and communication within a family. It is a unique, outstanding read that will break and then mend your heart, and then break it again. However, there is so much hope in this read, it is also uplifting and somehow healing. It is poignant and inspiring, with wonderful characters. It is full of empathy. This story captures your heart immediately, it is written with so much insight and understanding, I’ve no idea how the author has managed to get into Ginny’s head so extremely well, but he’s done it. It deeply moved me, this book. Gorgeous, compelling read, a real tear – jerker – highly recommended! I am truly happy to be able to have read this novel and I hope you will buy your own copy – if I hadn’t received mine for the review purposes, I’d buy it in any case.

EXTRACT

2:50 in the Afternoon, Wednesday, September 8th

My Forever Parents are outside the door of Mrs. Lomos’s tiny office. “Let’s step into the conference room, Ginny,” says Mrs. Lomos.

We take five steps to get to the conference room which is across the hall. My Forever Parents sit at the table so I sit too. “Hi, Ginny,” my Forever Mom says.

“Hi,” I say back to her. She sits with her hands on her big round belly which is as big as a basketball. My Forever Dad’s belly is big too and his face is round but he doesn’t have a white beard or a nose like a cherry.

“Ginny, your parents came in to talk about what happened last night with the electronic baby,” says Mrs. Lomos.

I sit and wait for them to talk. But they don’t.

“They let me know that you put it in a suitcase,” says Mrs. Lomos. “Is that true?”

“Do you mean the plastic electronic baby?” I say.

She looks at me funny. “Yes, of course,” she says.

“Then yes,” I say.

“Why did you put it there?”

I make sure my mouth is shut so no one can see inside my brain. Then I look at her over my glasses. “Because it was screaming,” I say.

“So you decided to hide it under all your blankets and zip the suitcase shut?”

“No,” I say. “I kept my quilt out.” Because my quilt is the only thing I have left from the apartment. Gloria’s own Frenchy mom helped her make it when she ran away to Canada with me after she had me in a hospital. They made it together for me and for no one else. I used it all the time to wrap my Baby Doll in.

“All right, but why didn’t you try to comfort the baby?” says Mrs. Lomos.

“I did try to comfort the plastic electronic baby,” I say. “I said ush, ush, ush like you’re supposed to and I tried to give it my fin­ger but the hole in its mouth didn’t open. I gave it a bottle too.”

“And that didn’t work?”

I shake my head no.

“Did you do anything else to make the baby be quiet?” my Forever Dad says.

I make sure my mouth is closed again so no one can see inside. I shake my head a second time.

Because lying is something you do with your mouth. A lie is something you tell.

“Are you sure?” he says. “Think hard.”

So I think hard. About keeping my mouth closed.

“Ginny, there’s a computer inside the electronic baby,” says Mrs. Lomos. “It keeps track of how many times the baby is fed and changed, and how long it cries. It even keeps track of strikes and shakes.”

Read the second part of the chapter at Jaffa Reads Too as part of the Ginny Moon Blog Tour.

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig is out now! [Hardback, £12.99]

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Summer with the Country Village Vet by Zara Stoneley

 

Summer with the Country Village Vet by Zara Stoneley

34214939Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 26th May 2017

Series: Love in Langtry Meadows #1

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

Number of pages: 404

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback(out on 01.06.2017)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Fall in love with a brand new cosy romance series from bestselling author Zara Stoneley

When Lucy Jacobs is made redundant from her inner-city teaching job she fears her career is over. Teaching is all Lucy knows and she’s determined to get back in the classroom as fast as she can.

Except the only job on offer is at an idyllic village school in the middle of nowhere – Lucy’s idea of hell. Where are the disadvantaged kids who need saving, where is the challenge?

But as Lucy finds herself welcomed into the warm-hearted community of Langtry Meadows, she begins to realise new challenges await – like frogs in the classroom, a rather difficult donkey, and a very brooding local vet…

Local boy Charlie Davenport has his own issues about living in the close-knit village of Langtry Meadows. His private life is already fuel for the well-meaning gossips and the very last thing he needs is to get close to the new school teacher…no matter how lovely she is.

But as summer days drift away Langtry Meadows weaves its magic, Charlie and Lucy both get the chance to turn over a new leaf and start anew…maybe with each other?

A fun, romantic story to make you smile and long for your own country escape.

Rating: five-stars

There is a popular saying at the beginning of “Summer with the Country Village Vet”: “Never work with children or animals”. Well, I work with both, ha, so this here plus the fact that it is Zara Stoneley that has written this novel, made me feel sure that I am going to love it. This book really has it all – beautiful, idyllic setting, more than likeable characters, funny animals with their antics so realistically written, adorable children with their belly – aching banter and the wonderful atmosphere. This all written with this lovely, warm and inviting Zara Stoneley’s writing style – it is already so recognizable, that I can bet if you were given this book not knowing the author, you’d guess it immediately.

I loved our main character Lucy’s passion to her job – the same as Charlie’s, to be honest. They were the right people in the right places. Lucy, just like most of Zara Stoneley’s heroines, was just my kind of a girl. She was a great teacher, she loved her job and she thought about her students and not the bureaucracy. She was clever, witty but she had her own demons and skeletons in the closet and this all made her character so beautifully complex and adorable. There is this brilliantly interwoven subplot of Lucy’s childhood, so we get a chance to learn where all her insecurities are coming from – I really liked that she finally started to ask questions. However, she didn’t let the insecurities to overwhelm her and on the outside she was a sunny, lovely girl that everybody loved and nobody could say “no” to her. Really. You’ll see for yourself when you read the book.
And let’s not forget Charlie, the moody and broody village vet. Oh my, he was GREAT! I’ve no idea how Zara Stoneley does it but with every new book her male characters are even more gorgeous, with a swoon – factor. Absolutely devoted to his job and also with past demons that suddenly start to surface… To be honest, there were moments that I wanted to bang his head on the wall, not too much of course, but that he stopped brooding and behaving the way he behaved towards Lucy because he made her feel so confused, and better don’t mess with me when you confuse Lucy, because Lucy is too nice to be messed with. So there. But apart from that Charlie was perfect, guys, but not perfect in this boring way, no, he was adorable, gorgeous and had a distance to himself and all the pets’ female owners.
I also adored the banter between Lucy and Charlie and the way they were around each other – it was so, so realistic! The will they/won’t they was brilliantly solved, you really couldn’t be sure what’s going to happen, as there were so many obstacles in their way, and even though there were moments that I SO wanted to bang their heads together, especially Charlie’s, I still could fully understand their reluctance and uncertainty.
But not only the main characters were brilliant, Zara Stoneley writes them all so well. The whole Langtry Meadow community, starting with the school staff, the nurse in Charlie’s surgery, the village busy body, knowing all and everything Elsie Harrington – they were all larger than life, warm, quirky and so true and genuine.

There wouldn’t be Zara Stoneley’s book without some gorgeous, mischievous animals. Next to newts we have all the animals that Charlie looks after in his surgery (the chihuahua. The chihuahua!) and also the bunch Lucy is baby – sitting. I absolutely loved the fact that each and every one animal that Lucy was baby – sitting was given a scene or two. We have Gertie the Goose who is very attached to very pink wellies, we have a pony Mischief, a pig that likes to be taken on walks, and many, many others. Again, they were written with so much heart and understanding, it was a real joy to read about them. Those animals have more than once stolen the show, really, but this all had such an authentic feeling to it. As much as they say “never work with children or animals”, we could advice some authors please don’t write about animals and children because it’s not as easy as we could think, but Zara Stoneley has mastered it, and both animals and children feel so authentic and genuine in this book.

I absolutely liked that everything was so neatly wrapped up in the end, that all things were explained, that Lucy had this huge talk with her mum and that she started to feel better after that. It was a fast – paced story and there was all the time something happening and I more than often found myself thinking, only one page more, and then, hours later, realised it’s time to bring the little one to bed.

I love all Zara Stoneley’s books, she really can do no wrong and I hope she’ll keep them coming and coming. There is always such a feel – good factor to them all, they so effortlessly transport you to the fiction world of the characters’ and you immediately want to move to the place where the book is set. It was the same with Langtry Meadows – I immediately fell in love with this place, with all the villagers and the author has so easily brought this place to life – with May Pole dancing, with the pub and cosy cottages, village greens and the cosy school. “Summer with the Country Village Vet” was so heart – warming and it was so easy to fall in love with the place and all the characters. I loved all the challenges they were facing, some of them very normal ones, such as what kind of animal are the children going to bring in their pockets to school, or more difficult ones, such like coming to terms with a difficult past, finding peace and letting the demons go. I had no problems to immediately feel a part of the Langtry Meadow community, they were all so easy to fall in love with. This story was a real breath of fresh air, it was as colourful as cover of this book but with a depth and some emotional moments.

But what is best is that this book is the first one in the series! I can’t wait to visit Langtry Meadows again as soon as possible!

Just for the Holidays by Sue Moorcroft / Blog Tour

Hi guys! I am so thrilled as today it is my stop on Sue Moorcroft’s blog tour – she has just gone and written the ultimate summer book! “Just for the Holidays” has this all what I am looking for in a novel, it is funny and poignant, full of emotions and hilarious moments. If you haven’t had a chance to read this book yet – please do it immediately, you won’t regret it!

Just for the Holidays by Sue Moorcroft

34862126Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 18th May 2017

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The #1 bestselling author returns for summer! Grab your sun hat, a cool glass of wine, and the only book you need on holiday…

In theory, nothing could be better than a summer spent basking in the French sun. That is, until you add in three teenagers, two love interests, one divorcing couple, and a very unexpected pregnancy.

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the relaxing holiday Leah Beaumont was hoping for – but it’s the one she’s got. With her sister Michele’s family falling apart at the seams, it’s up to Leah to pick up the pieces and try to hold them all together.

But with a handsome helicopter pilot staying next door, Leah can’t help but think she might have a few distractions of her own to deal with…

A glorious summer read, for you to devour in one sitting – perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

Rating: five-stars

I’ve only read a few of Sue Moorcroft’s books but all of them were absolutely gorgeous stories, and “Just for the Holidays” was incredibly feel – good, brilliantly balanced novel about family dynamics and dramas but written in a very good – humoured way. It actually had it all: wonderful setting, a normal family with issues and problems, great characters, some delicious food and was full of twists and turns.

The two of the main characters have probably one of the coolest jobs in the world – chocolatier – YUMMY! I mean, how great must it be to land such a job ( I am a chocoholic. I can’t live a single day without a piece of chocolate. Or two. Or much, much more. I was salivating at the descriptions of the lovely things Leah was producing with the children, all of them including chocolate), and helicopter pilot. Mmmm. And if we are with the characters – I immediately warmed to all of them, with all their problems and dramas. They were so well written, even the children, especially Natasha with her never – ending questions asked without a break, with their realistic banter and calling themselves names. Our main character Leah not only tastes chocolate for a living but she loves her Porsche and Formula 1. I loved how she went into her role of Deputy Mum, she was terrified but she never lost her coolness and she did really great. I totally fell for her, to be honest. The switch from “Cool Auntie” to “Deputy Mum” was a shock for her – a confirmed singleton, loving her independence, it was surely not what she has expected from the holidays. But she has done so well, and with the help of her cooking skills and being compassionate she has saved the day more than once. She was strong and independent and she knew what she wanted from life.

Ronan spends his holidays in a house next to the gîte, together with his teenage son Curtis. He’s recuperating after an accident at work involving helicopter and emergency landing (and guys. Sue Moorcroft has really overdone herself in the name of research – namely at the end of the story she describes the real helicopter flight in which she went for a pretended crash – how cool is that, no?) Ronan was great, not only sexy as hell but also funny and clever and had tons of problems, and the way he dealt with them was brilliant. He was rather gorgeous, guys. Really, the characters were loveable at the first sight or unlikeable at the first sight, but all of them were believable. Sue Moorcroft has also portrayed all the teenagers in this book so very convincingly – their antics will make you wince at its familiarity. The family dynamic are brilliantly written and the story flies effortlessly from situation to situation. And there are quite a few situations in this novel, mostly unfortunate ones, that turn the dreamed – of  holidays in a beautiful place to holiday from hell – especially for Leah, but actually also for all involved.

My only problem was that somewhere around the middle the book went a little downhill for me. It slowed significantly down and started to drag on, even though there was still a lot happening! Not sure how it’s possible but it was like this. I had a feeling that we start to go in circles and even though it was entertaining and I kept my fingers crossed for Leah and Ronan to find a little alone time, I couldn’t help but sigh impatiently at the next interruption. But other than that the story was brilliant. Sue Moorcroft perfectly well knows when to drop the next bombshell and really, some of the surprise appearances were so, so unexpected – I more than once held my breath thinking oh no! Not this! Poor Leah.

“Just for the Holidays” was a lovely, full of feelings and understanding story about broken relationship and how they may affect all people involved, especially children – but don’t expect it to be a drama that is going to make you cry! If so, then with laughter. It is written in such a playful, humorous way and the author perfectly well knows how to break the tension with a joke or two. It is about love, forgiveness and friendship, about facing the consequences and being open to changes. There were so many emotions running through this story, from all of the characters. And even though it is humorous, it is not as fluffy as you could think. There is really a lot of depth to it, it makes you wonder and question, it has moments when it is truly thought – provoking and I just loved this mix. It touches upon many issues, such as late pregnancy, infidelity, exploiting and manipulating the others. It sounds serious, I know, but believe me, the author brilliantly lightened the story with her humour and with adding great romance. A perfect summer read, you should make sure that you have it with you, and not only just for the holidays! Highly recommended!

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