Escape to the Country by Alison Sherlock / Blog Tour

Escape to the Country by Alison Sherlock


39423188Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st May 2018

Series: Welcome to Willow Tree Hall #2

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

Number of pages: 458

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback




Everyone is running away from something – but will an escape to the countryside suit everyone? Full of warmth, laughter tears and heartache. Perfect for the fans Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews.

Journalist Eleanor McCartney leads a glamorous life in London exposing the sordid secrets of famous celebrities for Hot Gossip! magazine. But her perfect life is a sham. So when her world collapses, she has to reluctantly head home to her mum and friends in the quiet country village of Cranley.

Willow Tree Hall is still in the midst of extensive renovations under the careful eye of Eleanor’s best friend Annie and her fiancé, record producer and future Earl of Cranley, Sam Harris.

With a recording studio now in the grounds of the estate, it should be the perfect place for global singing sensation Tom Kingsley to hang out. But Tom is burnt out after a gruelling worldwide tour and is escaping the paparazzi after yet another scandal. Eleanor cannot believe her luck. A story on the world’s biggest superstar would be the ticket that gets her job and glamorous life back in London.

But soon both Eleanor and Tom begin to fall under the spell of Willow Tree Hall. Eleanor begins to wonder whether she can really betray his trust. And does she really want her old life back or is home really where the heart lies?

As a heatwave soars, friendships are made, truths are told and, with the help of a stray dog, perhaps love can be found as hearts are healed. By escaping to the country, maybe Eleanor and Tom have found their new beginning.

Rating: four-stars

This is the second book in the “Welcome to Willow Tree Hall” series and it introduces us to new characters but also some of the old ones that we got to know in the previous book are on the scenes as well. The first book, “A House to Mend a Broken Heart”, introduces us to Annie, the housekeeper to an Earl of Cranley, Arthur. Even though “Escape to the Country” is a sequel, it focuses on new characters who also fall under the spell of the beautiful Willow Tree Hall, and it can be read as a stand – alone.

After eight years of doing her job as a celebrity journalist Eleanor gets herself fired. Moreover, she also breaks up with her boyfriend, so the only thing that she can do right now is come back home to help her mum who’s broken her leg. Only a good story about a big name could get her back in the game but well, it’s not London where she’s living now, right? It’s only a tiny village. However, as it turns out, a big rock star lives currently at Willow Tree Hall, and who runs it? Only Eleanor’s best friend Annie! Is Eleanor going to revive her career with the unwitting help of Tom?

The characters were – again – really well developed. As I have already mentioned, there were characters from the previous book, Annie and Sam, Arthur and Rose, and it was really nice to get a glimpse into their lives as well, to see what they’re doing after their stories ended, and they didn’t disappoint, especially Rose with her antics and a corset – and they still had a story to tell, which was a double bonus. I liked how down to earth Alison Sherlock has created her celebrity. Tom was very understated and I liked his approach, he loved his music, and writing songs and he didn’t abuse his position. Eleanor is a celebrity journalist and her career is actually on a bad patch and well, she’s fired. Only a good story can save her career and as hers and Tom’s paths accidentally cross she hopes it could be his story.

It was a story about rediscovering the important things in life, to finding the real sense and depth of life and what’s important is usually hidden deep under the surface. It was warm and light – hearted, for me personally though the book could be much shorter. There were much too many moments for my liking that were dragging on and I just had a feeling that many chapters were added only to make the book longer, as there was nothing in particular happening, they were telling the same thing in other words. Nevertheless, it was a nice enough read about families, relationships and values, about realising what is really important and that sometimes it’s better to give up. It also touched upon second chances and new beginnings, so there was really something for all readers to find.It was funny yet wise, and I really liked this mix, it was perfectly blended. Sure, it was predictable, you knew from the very beginning how it’s going to end and what twists are going to try to complicate the characters’ lives but sometimes it’s nice to read such uncomplicated – and I mean in a very positive way – tale of friendship and values. Recommended!






The Single Girl’s Calendar by Erin Green / #BlogTour

The Single Girl’s Calendar by Erin Green


36270899Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st January 2018

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

Number of pages: 580

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback





A task a day to cure a broken heart.

Esmé Peel is approaching thirty with some trepidation, but hope in her heart. If she can just get her long-term boyfriend Andrew to propose, she will have ticked everything off her ‘things to do by the time you’re 30’ list. She didn’t reckon on finding another woman’s earring in her bed however, and soon she finds herself single, homeless and in need of a new plan. Her best friend Carys gives her the perfect present – The Single Girl’s Calendar – which has a different cure for heartbreak every day:

Day 1: Look and feel fabulous with a new hair style.

Day 2: Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Day 3: Reconnect with friends and enjoy!

Despite thinking it’s a bit of a gimmick, Esmé hasn’t got any better ideas, so she puts the plan into action. By the end of week one she has four new male housemates, and despite a broken heart she is determined to show Andrew she can do more than survive, she can thrive.

Rating: three-stars



“The Single Girl’s Calendar” is my first book by Erin Green and after reading synopsis I just knew that I want to read this novel. It turned out to be a light – hearted, funny and sometimes poignant book, and I really liked the concept of the Single Girl’s Calendar – I was really intrigued what challenges it’s going to bring, what tasks are there, awaiting Esme and her new single status.

The book introduced us to many characters. There is Esme, her ex – boyfriend, brother and parents, two work friends, four male housemates, an elderly neighbour from next door… It took me some time to eventually start to differentiate the boys, to be honest, and I could have lived without the neighbour subplot, to be honest. The boys, well, they were a solid part of the book but I’ve never felt connected to them, even though they became such a great part of Esme’s life. Her brother Kane, I’m not sure what it was that he did and why did he spent so much time at the flat? He was mostly unpleasant and rude and well, lazy. Jonah was awfully narcissistic, focused on himself and that was all. Russ… well, I can’t say much about Russ, I’m sorry, as well as about Dam who was mostly absent, at his parents. The most interesting and developed character was probably Asa, he was full of secrets and surprises, and he always said things as they were, and I think you need to get used to him because he can also come across as a very, very rude and not direct.

 I had a problem with Esme. A huge one. I liked her, don’t get me wrong, but there were things that annoyed me so much in her. She acted as she was the centre of the world, as if everything revolved around her. She wanted to know everything and decide about everything. She jumped to conclusions and generally didn’t apologize for this. Almost in every single chapter she was happy to talk about herself with other characters and it was gladly reported that it usually took a lot of time – she was obsessed with herself, guys. However, there were also great sides to her. I absolutely loved how she ended her relationship and how consequent she was. I also liked her new friendship with the older neighbour and how well she looked after her. But mostly, unfortunately, I agreed with Asa’s assessment for her character – she did what other people thought was best for her, she seemed not to be capable of deciding for herself half of the time.

Each of the characters living with Esme seems to have a secret that Esme shouldn’t hear. Why? Oh boy, why? It was really annoying, I guessed all of them but it took Esme a lot of time to discover, because of course she was desperate to know everything. Typical Esme. Nothing about the other without her, even though it was not her business. The book started to feel repetitive, when Esme started to recount to the other characters about everything that happened to her. It started to drag on and I found myself losing my interest a little. The ending seemed much too rushed for my liking and it left me a little confused for a long time, to be honest. I felt a little disappointed with Esme’s decisions, and I didn’t understand it, it left me feeling the calendar, the tasks taught her nothing.

This book had me torn; flip – flopping guys, even though I can’t exactly tell you what it was that bothered me so much. There was just something missing. It was as if the author wanted to put so much into her story and ultimately we got a little of everything but on the whole there were missing elements, missing x- factor. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining and it had some really good moments but it just didn’t wow me as much as I thought at the beginning it’s going to. Because it started really good and then it slowed down and went a little downhill. But altogether, “The Single Girl’s Calendar” was a charming, nice read, a great book to unwind with. It was about showing that if things don’t end up going to plan then well, just start living differently and perhaps make a new plan or let life surprise you? It was nice, easy and relaxing. There were some unexpected turns and some deeper moments in the story as well. and I am looking towards reading more from Erin Green.





A House to Mend a Broken Heart by Alison Sherlock – #BlogTour

Hi guys, me again, with a new blog tour for you today! And guess who are we celebrating right now? Yesss! The lovely Alison Sherlock, who’s finally back with a new release, and really guys, it was worth to wait those three years! “A House to Mend a Broken Heart” is just typical, lovely and inviting story and if you are in a need of some relaxing moments, do not hesitate and read this novel!

A House to Mend a Broken Heart by Alison Sherlock

34813884Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st July 2017

Series:  Willow Tree Hall #1

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

Number of pages: 348

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



Everyone is hiding from something…

Full of warmth, laughter, tears and heartache. Find out if there is a happy-ever-after at Willow Tree Hall. Perfect for the fans of Milly Johnson and Lucy Diamond.

Willow Tree Hall has seen much better days and has been the proud ancestral home of the Earl and Countess of Cranley for centuries.

With no qualifications and escaping her past Annie Rogers takes the job as housekeeper to widowed Arthur, the charming current Earl of Cranley. After a bad fall puts Arthur in hospital, it’s up to a reluctant heir apparent Sam Harris, to lend a helping hand and try to find a sustainable future for the Estate.

With the house requiring a full renovation Annie suddenly finds herself completely out of her depth with a team of dodgy builders and Sam watching critically from the side-lines.

With Sam running from his past and Annie hiding from hers, just maybe together they can bring Willow Tree Hall back to life.

The start of a beautiful new series focusing on the lives and loves, trial and tribulations of all those who live and work at Willow Tree Hall.

Rating: four-stars

Oh boy, guys, it is already three years since Alison Sherlock has published a new book! Amazing… I’ve read all of Alison’s previous books and loved all of them, so having seen she finally has a new book out was like getting an earlier birthday present – there is always so much warmth to Ms Sherlock’s writing, and the stories are simple but always very uplifting. I really couldn’t wait to start reading “A House to Mend a Broken Heart”.

The stately home Willow Tree Hall was a character itself in this story. I really liked to see all the refreshing changes being done to it, and I loved how much the characters adored the house, how they loved it and couldn’t imagine living somewhere else. Of course, not all of them, and Alison Sherlock has truly well captured the difference between the generations and their argumentation, and really, you could see the reasons of both sides. I could understand that not all young people are interested in inheriting stately home, look after it and its tenants, that they had other ideas for their lives, but I also could understand the older generation who wanted the places to stay in the families. The characters were not too complicated or too complex, but as the whole story was relatively simple it just worked perfectly and there was enough depth and background to them to just fall for them. Annie was lovely and she wore her heart on her sleeve, although there were moments that she seemed so indecisive and doubting in herself and they were annoying, those moments, even though we knew where all those insecurity was coming from.
Sam, well, Sam. To be honest at the very beginning of the book I was dead sure that I know how it’s going to end and who’s going to be Annie’s love interest, but I was wrong. I think that I fell a little bit in love with Sam, especially in the second part of the book where he started to show his real self and turned out to be the perfect guy. But what I liked most in the characters was that they were developing, not staying in place.
I also adored the background characters, well, maybe with the exception of Cassandra, but there is no way you can like Cassandra, she was made by the author to be disliked, but the rest of them, Arthur, Alex or especially Sam Aunt’s Rose, were colourful and vivid, I personally think that there was more life in them as in Annie, but pssst, Annie was also lovely. I really liked how Rose liked to shock Will and Sam with her stories and telling them what she was up to, and her passion to her vintage clothes was shining through the pages.

Annie and Sam’s stories weren’t rushed and they were developing in just the right way, with the right amount of bits being revealed about their backgrounds, letting us understand what made them and what makes them tick. This relationship was slowly developing and growing and I liked it, because it was not too wishy – washy, too sweet, it just felt realistic.

There were moments that felt too far – fetched for my liking, for example with Cassandra, the way she treated people and how quickly her thread has ended, and the way the big music mogul Sam has managed to hire the first builder he set his eyes on to renovate the house, and maybe I’d love to see some more twists and turns, as the story was on a very steady level, but altogether I really enjoyed it. I love Alison Sherlock’s writing style, it is warm and inviting, that was getting better and better with the story progressing, and I didn’t have any problems to feel a part of the story.

So yes, altogether the story maybe was a little clichéd and predictable, but you know what? It didn’t bother me so much this time because it just worked – all the elements worked well together. It was an easy, adorable read with likeable characters, a prefect mix of funny and poignant. The ending seemed a little too rushed for my liking and when at the beginning it was so hard and difficult with the house, at the end it seemed as if it was renovating itself but “A House to Mend a Broken Heart” really was a lovely, peaceful story about families, second chances, expectations, hope and love – a brilliant, uplifting mix of romance, drama and fun. Recommended!



When I WakeUp by Jessica Jarlvi / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Monday! I am starting the week with a new blog tour – and this time I am thrilled to be hosting Jessica Javlri’s blog tour celebrating the release of her debut novel “When I Wake Up”. This book is  a mystery/thriller with many other elements, and truly, it is interesting, different read – try it for yourself and tell me what you’ve thought!

When I Wake Up by Jessica Jarvli

34773207Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st June 2017

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

Number of pages: 272

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover (out on 07.09.2017)



A breathtaking, heart-pounding, dark debut, sure to delight fans of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go To Sleep.

‘Why won’t Mummy wake up?’

When Anna, a much-loved teacher and mother of two, is left savagely beaten and in a coma, a police investigation is launched. News of the attack sends shock waves through her family and their small Swedish community. Anna seems to have had no enemies, so who wanted her dead?

As loved-ones wait anxiously by her bedside, her husband Erik is determined to get to the bottom of the attack, and soon begins uncovering his wife’s secret life, and a small town riven with desire, betrayal and jealousy.

As the list of suspects grows longer, it soon becomes clear that only one person can reveal the truth, and she’s lying silent in a hospital bed…

Rating: three-stars

I know that when I’ve read the synopsis to When I Wake Up I thought, wow. What a promising, intriguing book it’s going to be! I really didn’t need a lot of coaxing and agreed not only to read it but also be a part of the blog tour. The older I am, the more I appreciate and enjoy mysteries and thrillers, and this novel really promised something unique and exceptional. Did it live up to my expectations? Well, yes and no.

Anna lives with her husband and her twin boys in a little village. She’s a teacher and she’s actually the main support and bread winner – her husband Erik is a house painter but what he really wants is to be a rock star. I absolutely loved Anna’s passion to her job – she was a great teacher and she truly deeply cared about her students – however, her commitment was one of the things that made her marriage this bit complicated, as Erik felt he and the family are only on second place. But why was Anna so heavily beaten? Did she have enemies?
Here starts a story full of twists and turns. It is told from multiple points of view, jumping between past and present and we are invited to be witnesses to slowly unrolling web of lies, secrets and tragedies. The author casts suspicions on each and every character and it is only at the very end of the story that we see who was the perpetrator. Yes, it has crossed my mind but really, with the tangled web of shadows and misunderstandings I was never sure if I am right. The fact that all the characters’ lives became intertwined at some point made it, however, not more suspicious and tense but this tad unbelievable and far too fetched. The changing points of view were clearly separated and I was never confused where we are and who’s talking.

The characters were not too likeable, but I’ve already learnt that they don’t have to be in this kind of book. They must be convincing, and they rather were. They were complex and all so very different, but still I couldn’t find any depth in them, and perhaps this is why I couldn’t get into the story so much, perhaps this is why I wasn’t so concerned with who has done this to Anna. I am also not sure if I am so really, totally happy with the end – when the attacker was revealed, I wasn’t sure what to think, how to digest it.

The writing style was engaging but it felt somehow flat and it dragged on a little. I am also not sure what the story wanted to be – erotica, or psychological thriller, or mystery, as there are elements of all of this. However, I very much appreciate how the author has managed to complicate the story, how much there was hidden beneath the still waters. It is all about appearances, there were lies and secrets and tons of questions. The story jumps between past and present, which only makes it more compelling and slowly provides us with all the needed information.

It was not a bad book, guys, but there was also nothing special in this. Yes, it kept me guessing but to be honest I was not terribly intrigued who has beat Anna, even though there was a small bunch of characters that were also the suspects. In the end, when the perpetrator was revealed, it left me so lukewarm, with not many emotions or feelings. I am not sure why it was like this, why I couldn’t engage completely and properly. The author has tried to diversify the story with some twists and turns but they also didn’t keep me so much on my tenterhooks. Maybe it was because she has also tried to complicate the things so much by connecting all the characters on every possible lever? I really don’t know. Altogether, it was different, interesting mystery. Maybe because it is a debut novel the author has tried too much and overdid, the delivery was not what I have expected, but still I liked some elements of this story and the writing style was really unique and interesting.



The Inheritance by Angie Coleman

The Inheritance by Angie Coleman


34355334Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st May  2017

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

Number of pages: 222

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



Twenty-four-year-old Ashley Morgan thinks her future is guaranteed when she takes over the reins of her family business. What could go wrong?

But when her father decides to give the job to Jamie Standley, his right-hand man, Ashley feels cheated and breaks off all ties with her father.

Three years later at the reading of her late father’s Will, she discovers to her horror that Jamie will continue to be director of Morgan & Hall, while she will only receive a small share in the business. But on one condition: that Ashley and Jamie work together and live under the same roof for a whole year…

Once again Ashley feels betrayed and cheated. To her, Jamie is an impostor and she is determined to make him pay. But forced cohabitation can sometimes have unpredictable consequences…

Rating:  one-half-stars

I requested “The Inheritance” by Angie Coleman on NetGalley because a) the cover is cute and I am a sucker for such lovely, sweet covers and b) because even though the synopsis didn’t sound very original, it still was good and promised a few giggles. You can also read on the cover that it’s going to be a feisty, giggle – inducing romance. Guys, I am so, so sorry but this book was nothing like that.

My problems started already at the beginning with the main character Ashley. From the very first word you could see she’s spoiled and childish and she stayed like this for the whole, full of clichés, story. Used to getting everything she wanted in her life, at the first “no” she throws a tantrum bigger than a tsunami, feeling offended with everything and everybody and stops talking to her father, but when he dies three years later she expects she’s going to inherit his apartment and money (because she doesn’t have money and a place to live *haven’t expected this, never. Sigh*). Enter Jamie, a pastry chef and candy maker, who, instead of Ashley, has been chosen to run Ashley’s father’s company (hence Ashley being so offended). Fast forward three years, Ashley’s father is dead, and there is a condition in his will: to inherit apartment, Ashley has to live together with Jamie for twelve months. Jamie will only inherit the company if he works together with Ashley for a year.

Yes, guys. That’s the plot. It is to swallow, and it could be a really funny rom – com. But believe me, the characters are – sadly – even worst than the plot. They were both like fifteen years old teenagers, both moaning about each other, hating each other, Ashley behaving in the worst possible way and stating “you don’t know who you’re messin’ with”, sending messages from Jamie’s mobile, this kind of thing, then the woman from the law firm who were supposed to visit them and see if they work together (huh??? I mean, how???? How can you be sure that they are really going along?), Ashley forbad Jamie to watch TV and basically to use any other room in the apartment than his and Jamie fell into line, but in the meantime cooked for Ashley and tried to persuade her that she’s in love with him. There was NO connection between those two characters, no sparkles, no chemistry, let’s forget about any tension that should somehow indicate there is a teeny tiny sign of a sparkle… I also couldn’t see any history between those two, they got to know each other some time ago but there was nothing indicating they had feelings to each other.

I am truly sad that I feel like that about this book, I wanted to like it so much but I can’t change my feelings. I also decided to write this review because I managed to finish this book – skim reading, that’s it, but I managed. I just couldn’t keep up with the characters, the way they behaved, Ashley knowing everything best in the world, also about who her friends should be meeting, Jamie once giving no damn about Ashley and in the next second following her because she has a date. This romance was so unbelievable and didn’t work, the writing seemed so disconnected and yes, the idea was there, the potential was there but they weren’t delivered. However, please try this story for yourself, you may find yourself falling in love with it.

Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man by Laura Kemp / Blog Tour

Hi guys, and happy Saturday! It is lovely here today, incredibly cold but the snow is here and the sun is shining – just what the real winter should look like! Also, today I am extremely thrilled to be a part of Laura Kemp’s blog tour – her new book “Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man” was released on 1st January and the ratings are raving! Next to the review I have a link to a Spotify playlist that Laura Kemp made of songs that she’d like to accompany the book, and there are some great titles there! Laura’s posted this a while ago with a link saying: ‘I’ve just spent a delightful half hour making a playlist all about suburbia and the songs that give me that maudlin feeling of teen angst. It’s collaborative so feel free to add yours to WHATEVER HAPPENED TO VICKY HOPE’S BACK UP MAN?’ – here is the link !

Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man by Laura Kemp


32183040Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st January 2017

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

Number of pages: 328

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



A tender, funny and haunting coming-of-age novel which asks if the past can ever be part of your future.

Twenty-one and insecure, Vicky Hope comes up with a plan on the eve of travelling the world with her high flying friend, Kat Lloyd: if she isn’t married by the time she’s thirty, she’ll marry her geeky best mate Mikey Murphy.

Fast-forward eight-and-a-bit years, Vicky, now Vee wakes up on her thirtieth birthday in Brighton, expecting a proposal of marriage from her arty boyfriend Jez. Instead he tells her their relationship is over and she has no choice but to return to her parents’ home.

Devastated and alone in her childhood bedroom, she decides she has nothing to lose and tracks down her two old mates. With shock, she discovers Mikey, now Murphy, is a successful app designer driven by his tragic upbringing. Kat, or Kate, never made it – but she hides a devastating secret, which threatens the happiness of all three.

Rating: 3/5

Having read and enjoyed Laura Kemp’s two previous books I was incredibly happy to see that “What Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man” is to be released. I love the title! I always thought that the shorter the title the better but lately I am changing my mind, the longer titles are really great, don’t you think? The cover of this novel is also so promising and it has such a happy feeling – and this is what I have expected from the book when I started reading it.

The story follows Vicky, Kat and Mikey, three friends who couldn’t imagine a world without each other. However, fast forward eight years and things look a little different. They’ve lost touch, in fact they split up not as best friends, and now Vicky tries to make amends with her – back then – best pals.

Laura Kemp has greatly described the characters and I think the best parts of the book were when they were forced by the author to made choices, because it makes you, as the reader, think what you’d do in such situation, how you’d behave. All of the three characters told us their own stories, explained what has happened and how their lives went. The most – maybe not hooking but touching – was Kat’s story, in my opinion, and while sometimes it felt too far fetched for me, it was also great to see how she’s been changing and how strong she became at the end of the story. Vicky working in a deli has lightened the story, I enjoyed the moments incredibly, especially as her new boss was lovely, full of humour and he believed in Vicky so much – liked the positivity there.

So, so far so good, right. For me, however, the book didn’t work as well as Ms Kemp’s previous novels. It took me a lot of time to get into the story and to be honest, till the end I wasn’t as engaged in it as I’d like. I had problems to warm to the characters, I had problems with the plot, I had problems with the way the story was organized. For me this novel was full of negativity and poor feelings. Mostly I had a feeling we are going in circles and the flashback chapters made me roll my eyes. The characters felt somehow immature and their problems so forced and so over – exaggerated, it was full of lies and secrets. Maybe my biggest problem with Vicky was the fact that she seemed not to know what to do with her life at all? After her relationship crashed she really didn’t know what she wants, what it is she wants to do with her life. I couldn’t understand the negative feelings between the friends, who they were coming from, and especially Mikey – he was behaving like a child who’s just lost his favourite toy, so moody and full of unnecessary sarcasm. The plot felt under – developed to be honest and it was so often hinted that something wrong happened in the past between the friends that made them go separate ways that I eventually lost hope and interest to see what it was. And I don’t know why, guys, but it took me a lot of time to warm to the characters, and while at the end I’ve started to accept Vicky, no, sorry – Vee *eye roll*, I think it was Kat’s fiancé that I liked most because I’ve never warmed to the others.

But I don’t want to blame the book for my feelings, perhaps it is the case of “it’s not you, it’s me”, and seeing the high ratings and raving reviews it must be it, so don’t let me discourage you to read this novel – just make yourself comfortable and enjoy “What Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back – Up Man” – it was a cute, cosy story about friendship and trust, about making mistakes, forgiving, leaving past behind and looking towards a new and promising future – or making the future promising for yourself, just – sadly – not so for me. However, I am already looking towards Laura Kemp’s new novel as I love her sharp dialogues and her sober way of seeing the world. If you are looking for a tender story, showing how friendship can evolve and change but that when it is a real friendship, it can stay so for your whole life then look no further and buy “What Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man”.



Christmas at the Dog & Duck by Jill Steeples

Christmas at the Dog & Duck by Jill Steeples


31309400Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 22nd September 2016

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

Number of pages: 260

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle



A perfect, feel-good romantic novel to curl up with this Christmas. A story of new beginnings, love and friendship. Perfect for the fans of Jenny Colgan and Lucy Diamond.

Ellie Browne has left behind her high-flying job in London to return to the charming Buckinghamshire village of Little Leyton. Working shifts at The Dog and Duck and running her own doggy-day-care business, Ellie’s looking for a much simpler way of life and a good old fashioned Christmas.

But Little Leyton’s landscape is changing; Johnny Tay, Ellie’s ex, wants to pick up where they left off; sultry property developer Max Golding, has moved into the village and is ruffling feathers; and rumour has it that the pub, which holds a special place in Ellie’s heart, might be sold. Suddenly, life’s looking a whole lot more complicated…

Can Ellie juggle her emotions and commitments in time to celebrate Christmas?

 Rating: 2/5

I haven’t read any Jill Steeples’s books before so I was really happy to start “Christmas at the dog and Duck” – the synopsis sounds so promising, and the gorgeous Christmassy cover caught my eye immediately. However, it is this kind of book that in fact only ends at Christmas, and it felt everything but Christmassy to be honest, which for me personally was not a problem.

So the story follows Ellie, who’s just opened her dog – walking business, and it also centres around The Dog and Duck pub where she also works her shifts. Quickly, I started to have a feeling that I’ve read it before, there was nothing fresh or new that took me by surprise. It was a very predictable read – and the business with the dog walking was done before by Cressida McLaughlin, and dealt with in a much better way in my opinion. Also, there was one thing that bothered me incredibly and I was so short of putting the book away and never picking it up again, and it is the refugees problem. There are so many mixed emotions around this subject and I just think that a chick – lit fiction is not a place to deal with it, and I just had a feeling that the author wanted to score something with it putting it in the book. Moreover, it was mentioned, there was one or two scenes in Calais and what? And nothing. No changes done, nothing significant happened, nobody was saved so why put it in the book at all? I’m sorry if it sounds harsh or if I am offending somebody’s feeling but those are my feelings.

Each character mentioned in the book, even the most background ones, those that entered the scenes for a moment, needed a very long and very detailed introduction including how they look like, what they wear and what they do, and I was asking myself, why? Do we need it? For me it also seemed that the author didn’t really know what she wanted to write about. There are some ideas and some sub – plots and they started and then ended abruptly and a new idea was introduced to us, so we have the charity thing, then suddenly there comes the situation with the pub, then Ellie wants to give up her dog business…

There was also something in this story that annoys me personally so much – when the characters interact, I need them to really talk, to reply to each other immediately. I don’t like it when there is a page or two of inner monologue or weighing up the answers between a question asked and a reply as it really makes me to forget the question, and it was the case here. So many words – and yes, I DO know it is a book and that books consist of words, hello – but words that I could do without.
I’d really love to give this book more stars, as the writing style was really lovely, but taking into consideration that I mostly skim – read it, I just can’t. We just didn’t rub together, me and the book, however I would love to try other books by Ms Steeples.