One Family Christmas by Bella Osborne

One Family Christmas by Bella Osborne

 

 

55771582._sy475_Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 15th October 2020

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

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A big family. A whole lot of secrets. A Christmas to remember…

This year, Lottie is hosting one last big family Christmas at the home she grew up in – just like her Nana would have wanted.

But when her relatives descend on the old manor house, Lottie gets more than she bargained for. Every family has its secrets, but in this family, everybody has one!

So, between cooking a Christmas dinner, keeping tensions at bay and a stray dog out of mischief, she has plenty on her plate (and not just misshapen sausage rolls and a frozen turkey). And then her first love shows up – nine years after he walked out of her life.

Can Lottie make their last family Christmas one to remember… for the right reasons?

A festive treat to curl up with this Christmas, perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Trisha Ashley.

Rating: five-stars

 

Lottie’s beloved grandmother dies suddenly shortly before Christmas. Lottie is devastated – her Nana raised her up as her mother was rather busy looking after „The One“ – but she’s also determined to spend the last Christmas in Rose’s house before it’s sold, together with her whole family, just like they always did before Rose’s death. The family is rather reluctant but oh, well, eventually they oblige. Lottie is excited – the fact that she’s supposed to organise everything by herself and that she can’t cook won’t spoil her enthusiasm, oh no. However, even before the first family member arrives, things start to go sideways, and it’s only the beginning of Christmas full of secrets, mishaps and other disasters.

This was a story filled with disasters and, according to Murphy’s law, if something wrong is going to happen, it has happened during Lottie’s Christmas, because there are not only secrets being uncovered, and what secrets, let me tell you, but there is also a proposal, a birth, a pregnancy test, a porno star, an ex – girlfriend and many, disappearing Christmas presents, dogs and cats under one roof, but also the overwhelming feeling of joy and love and hope, and plenty of food, even if Lottie has no idea how to cook.

There are many characters in this story because Lottie’s family is huge and there is also a variety of background characters but this time I didn’t have any problems with recognising who is who and who belongs to whom. They were brilliantly written and so sharp, unique and distinctive, it was a real joy to get to know this colourful and lively cast of characters. Lottie’s family is so diverse, just like any family really, and after initial disbelief, because I thought that everything is going to run smoothly and there won’t be any problems, and I couldn’t believe how bonkers they are – positively bonkers – I started to feel so comfortable with them and their shenanigans and brilliant one – liners. They were a bit dramatic, but it was hilarious to see, and also so very entertaining.
The story is mainly told from Lottie’s point of view but her chapters intertwine with those told by Emily, the newcomer to the family, and it was even better, to see her fresh, objective and absolutely honest perspective and disbelief.

There is a lot happening in this story although sometimes I had a feeling that it starts to repeat itself and drag a bit but those were just a few moments. The characters don’t have time for a flat moment because there is plenty of action. So while there were moments that the novel a) dragged a bit and b) felt a little too overdone and over the top, I still loved every minute of it and think it was one of the loveliest, funniest Christmas books I have ever read, and probably Bella Osborne’s best yet. It was amusing, and well, relatable too, I think each of us will be able to recognise some of the situations, or Lottie’s family members, from their own Christmases, right?

„One Family Christmas“ was a festive, entertaining story about family relationships – there might be misunderstandings and problems between the family members but in the end the book shows that keeping together is what it is about. It was filled with humour and full of heart and the feel – good factor. But it was not only laugh – out – loud comedy of errors, there was much more depth to it which made the book even more beautiful – the loss of Lottie’s Nana was even more overwhelming and heart – breaking because of the festive times and Lottie trying to recreate the Christmas for her family just like her Nana would do it was truly touching, and it only showed how important family is, no matter how imperfect the family members are. So really, the balance between poignant and fun was truly brilliant and perfect. It was filled with a whole range of feelings and emotions, it was warm and inviting, a truly brilliant read for a winter evening. Highly recommended!

The Second Marriage by Gill Paul / Blog Tour

 

Publisher: Avon 53088648._sy475_

Publishing Date: 17th September 2020

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 

Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author of The Secret Wife comes a tale of love, sacrifice and betrayal, available for pre-order now.

JACKIE
When her first marriage ends in tragedy, Jackie Kennedy fears she’ll never love again. But all that changes when she encounters…

ARI
Successful and charming, Ari Onassis is a man who promises her the world. Yet soon after they marry, Jackie learns that his heart also belongs to another…

MARIA
A beautiful, famed singer, Maria Callas is in love with Jackie’s new husband – and she isn’t going to give up.

Little by little, Jackie and Maria’s lives begin to tangle in a dangerous web of secrets, scandal and lies. But with both women determined to make Ari theirs alone, the stakes are high. How far will they go for true love?

my-review

„The Second Marriage“ introduces us to two very well known characters – Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas, whose lives, so different yet so similar, connected through Ari Onassis. The history, even though it dictates the events, is not the most important or major part of the story, and I would say this book is more literal – than historical fiction.

I read tons about Jackie, I think that every female in this world was a bit obsessed with her, and the picture described in „The Second Marriage“ introduced me to a very different woman to the one I though she was. She was presented like a mimose, a trophy – wife, a woman without a backbone and I think there was much more to her. Maria Callas – this is absolutely different, I didn’t know much about her and thanks to the book I googled a bit, I listened to her singing, and it was brilliant. Also, I loved the way she was described in the story, a woman with a great sense of humour, knowing her worth, a strong one but with weaknesses and her story was very compelling, and I think she was the strongest point of this book, even though there were moments that you could yell at her and wanted to shake her and tell her to wake up. Hovewer, you could also see why she made those decisions.

Now. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped. I mean, the problem with writing about real, existing people (even if they’re dead) is that – I think – we should stick with the reality. I know that when I want to read truth then I should reach for biographies, nevertheless I still think that fiction can only go as far. I wouldn’t like to read about my mother, should she be Jackie O., with absolutely different personality and things that she has never done or said. Also, the book felt chopped. It followed some significant events in the characters’ lives and truly it felt as if we were ticking the things off the list, especially when it comes to Jackie – her marriage, her leaning heavily on Bobby Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe are heavily highlighted but this is actually everything I already know. I didn’t learn anything new about those women and I couldn’t be sure if I am reading about facts or it is fiction.
It mostly felt like a one, huge excuse for Mr Onassis, to be honest, even though he was pictured as a manipulative liar and I am not sure if this is really this what I wanted to stay with me after reading this book.
Maybe the author tried to tie in too many things into this book, I don’t know. Or maybe we simply know too much about the characters already and it’s not easy to accept the fiction? I couldn’t help but wonder which of the things were real and true, I simply thing the line between fiction and reality is too blurred here.

“The Second Marriage“ is a love story with a difference, full of glamour, parties, jewellery and luxurious yachts. It is fast paced – no wonder, as the lives of Maria and Jackie were filled with events – and easy to read. It is very well written, like all Gill Paul’s books, the writing style is lovely, rich and flowing. If it was about fictional characters, it would be a perfect read, I think – as it was really enjoyable and full of fascinating gossip. Even though I am truly torn about this book would I recommend it? Absolutely – if you’re in need of a light, glamorous love story and a piece of great historical fiction.

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Meet Me at Pebble Beach by BellaOsborne / Blog Tour

Meet Me at Pebble Beach by Bella Osborne

 

Publisher: Avon 51603024._sy475_

Publishing Date: 28th May 2020

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

Number of pages: 416

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Meet Me at Pebble Beach was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

Regan is holding a winning lottery ticket.

Goodbye to the boyfriend who never had her back, and so long to the job she can’t stand!

Except it’s all a bit too good to be true…

When Regan gets pranked, she finds herself jobless, homeless and boyfriendless in one fell swoop.

Luckily her friendly seaside community provides a beacon of hope, proving to Regan that sometimes you really can rely on the kindness of others – and one local in particular, a handsome fireman called Charlie, helps Regan realise that this could be her chance for a fresh start.

Armed with a list of ways to change her life, Regan decides it’s time to step out of her comfort zone.

Because – as Charlie knows all too well – life is for living . . .

A feel-good summer read, perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Veronica Henry and Cressida McLaughlin.

Rating: four-stars

 

Regan’s life – with a boring job, uneventful, and with an obnoxious boyfriend – is about to change, because Roegan has just won a lottery. So she quits her job, ends things with her boyfriend and moves out of his flat. Only then it turns out Robyn hasn’t won the lottery… She has to think, and quickly, what to do now, get a new job and find a place to live. But it’s not so easy. And on top of that there is also Charlie whom she’s just met, when she tried to bite her friend’s from work, Alex, head off… Well, on the other hand, Robyn’s life is not boring and uneventful…

Regan was a character that I couldn’t completely put my finger on. On the one hand she was lively, hilarious and open. On the other hand, she’s an adult but still goes through life without thinking, offering only minimal forethought (or any). Some of her decisions and reasoning didn’t sit with me at all, I couldn’t get behind them. I had a feeling that the constant wrecking ball she experiences in her life is of her own doing because she never has a plan, she never thinks things out. Nevertheless, her evenings with Kevin and her life – approach made her a much more likeable character. And I liked the fact that she, actually, never gave up! There was not a hurdle that she wasn’t able to overcome, and even the fact that she was technically homeless didn’t stop her from starting her own business. A business that she needed a kitchen for. And what was also nice, was the fact that Regan was developing and growing throughout the whole story – she was still hot-headed and often made up her mind on impulse but in the end I had a feeling that she’s also matured, without losing her spontaneity and inner joy.

The romance aspect was truly well written. There was this usual will they/won’t they but you actually couldn’t be sure if they will because of one very important problem. I personally kept everything crossed for the happy ending because I loved Charlie, however the author has written her story in such a way that you could expect any ending.

I was very thankful for the setting in this story – Brighton, a lovely seaside town that also showed the other, darker side. The writing is of a very high quality, beautifully capturing the setting but also going deep on feelings and emotions. It’s vivid and colourful and the whole story is easy to read.

There were moments that the book was too dramatic for my liking, as if the author tried too much, but it must be the old cynic in me that made me roll my eyes at the drama. Don’t get me wrong, pretty please, I know what the author wanted to achieve here and the things she has written about ARE very important and thought – provoking but maybe I simply didn’t expect them in this kind of book? I was all about sunshine, butterflies and bunnies (or hedgehogs in that case) and the dark side of the story simply took me by surprise and yes, it felt a bit too forced. Nevertheless, the story of Kevin broke my heart a little, and the scene when he tries to protect himself will stay with me probably forever.

Altogether, it was a lovely, emotional, funny and also poignant book about second chances and that there is always a way out. It will make you smile and it’ll give you a pause for thought. It’s not all sugar – coated bed of roses but it’s also about homelessness and terminal illness for example, but written with a light touch. I enjoyed it and spend some relaxed hours in the characters’ company. Recommended!

 

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One Italian Summer by LoriNelson Spielman / Blog Tour

One Italian Summer by Lori Nelson Spielman

 

Publisher: Avon cover177256-medium

Publishing Date: 30th April 2020

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

Number of pages: 400

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Three women. One family curse. The summer of a lifetime.

For generations, no second-born daughter in the Fontana family has married. Lucy desperately wants to find love, but for her cousin Emilia, their family curse is a blessing in disguise.

But then their Great Aunt Poppy declares she’ll reunite with her long-lost love on her eightieth birthday – and break the curse once and for all.

And so the three women embark on a journey to Tuscany to fulfil Poppy’s last wish. But the secrets they uncover there could change their family forever…

Rating: four-stars

 

“One Italian Summer” introduces us to three women that, except from belonging to one family, have nothing in common. Or maybe they do – they are all the second daughters in the Fontana family. The family curse says that, as a second – born daughter you will never find love. Isn’t it time to break the curse? Poppy, who is nearing her 80th birthday, is about to complete a journey of her life and she decides to take her two estranged nieces with her. Emilia and Lucy both need to learn what life is really about – is the journey going to help them?

In this dual – narrative story we follow Poppy, Emmie and Lucy, three virtual strangers travelling together, about to discover that actually there are many things they have in common. I immediately fell in love with Poppy – she was wise but without being patronising and she felt real. She was not the über – wise older person who knows everything and passes her knowledge on with a small smile on her lips and patting you on the head, oh no, she’d rather tell you, not mincing her words, how the things are and what she thinks about them. It was so great to see how her life – approach, her flamboyant ways started to rub off onto Emilia and Lucy, especially on Emmie who needed this so much. Emmie was also great, there was so much more to her than met the eye at the first sight – yes, she was so subordinate and let her Nonna decide about everything but deep, deep inside she knew that it’s not right, and it was absolutely brilliant (albeit sometimes depressing, as it took her So.Much.Time) to see her manning up and start to live her life on her own terms. It made my heart sing to see them all blossoming, finding themselves and their self – esteem, learning what it is they want from life and learning how not to be afraid to reach for it – you’ll want the characters to find happiness, hoping for a happy end for all of them.

If there is only one thing that you should take from this book, let it be that everything is possible. That the word “impossible” doesn’t exist. But there is so much more to enjoy in this book, believe me. It oozes with love, care and acceptance, and even though there is sadness running through the story, there is also the overwhelming feeling of joy.

The story is beautifully written, the author has a lovely way with words and her descriptions are vivid and colourful, bringing all the characters, events and settings to life and she takes you on a journey through years and countries and continents that is filled with adventures and evocative narration.

It was full of secrets, lies, twists and turns and you just want to keep reading, to keep turning the pages to see what’s going to happen, to know the truth. There came a moment that I started to guess what has really happened and, as it turned out, I was right but it didn’t spoil the reading at all. It only confirmed me in my sympathy to some characters and antipathy to the others.

Yes, in my opinion there are some things that are a bit too far – fetched, that the reality is a bit stretched for the purpose of fiction but it is still a powerful story that will quickly draw you in. You will feel a part of this book and characters’ worlds, going with them on a roller – coaster journey full of sadness and happiness, love and hate. “One Italian Summer” is a lovely, heart – warming and clever story, beautifully written and engaging, that I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended!

 

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When Life Gives You Lemons by Fiona Gibson / Blog Tour

When Life Gives You Lemons by Fiona Gibson

 

Publisher: Avon 48639329._sy475_

Publishing Date: 5th March 2020

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sometimes life can be bittersweet . . .

Between tending to the whims of her seven-year-old and the demands of her boss, Viv barely gets a moment to herself. It’s not quite the life she wanted, but she hasn’t run screaming for the hills yet.

But then Viv’s husband Andy makes his mid-life crisis her problem. He’s having an affair with his (infuriatingly age-appropriate) colleague, a woman who – unlike Viv – doesn’t put on weight when she so much as glances at a cream cake.

Viv suddenly finds herself single, with zero desire to mingle. Should she be mourning the end of life as she knows it, or could this be the perfect chance to put herself first?

When life gives you lemons, lemonade just won’t cut it. Bring on the gin!

 

my-review

 

“When Life Gives You Lemons” introduces us to Viv, 52 years old, with two children, husband and stabile life. However, this life is about to change radically, when she discovers that her husbands has an affair. What follows is a story of a mature woman, coping (or not) with divorce and juggling life as a single – mother.

The book is advertised to be a hilarious romantic comedy. Publishers, please stop doing this – promising things and than not keeping your promises. It was neither hilarious nor romantic nor comedy. I don’t mean to criticise the book, because it was a nice, contemporary novel, so close to life – but perhaps it should be advertised this way.

Fiona Gibson’s characters are always real and human, and it was the same in this book. It’s a very character – driven story and Viv is the main heroine – could be your best friend, she felt so vivid and relatable, jumping off the pages. We mostly get her point of view, through her monologues and actions and thoughts on everything that is happening around her. It was actually truly uplifting and inspiring to see her growing into confidence, establishing her identity, starting to enjoy life again. She’s a character that many readers will be able to relate to and with. What I truly appreciated is the fact that nothing in her journey felt forced or overdone – no, everything seemed just like in real life, her making wrong decisions, having problems, misinterpreting situations, jumping to conclusions.
The supporting characters are a bunch of colourful, vivid people and they take care of our good mood, adding humour but also making the story this little bit more thought – provoking. They provide a range of diversion, giving Viv extra jobs and making her life fuller and complicated, hence keeping her sane (or not!).

My biggest problem was that I wasn’t sure what the book is trying to tell us. Yes, it touches upon some more difficult issues and shows character’s wonderful journey to self – confidence and discovering what it is that makes her happy, but somehow it didn’t convince me and I wasn’t sure where it’s leading at all. The pace was rather slow and there were not life – changing twists or turns, however it had its moments that made me giggle, for example Viv’s omelette – action. The author’s writing style is so easy to follow and it’s a real joy to pick the book up after a long day to relax for a while. Also, you know what’s coming, but in a good way, and this feeling of security is very comforting.

It was a rather slow – burner, this story, however it kept getting better. The author has written a contemporary fiction, balancing seriousness and problems with humour and light – heartedness. Well, you have to find fun in life, otherwise you’re going to get crazy. It is not a fluffy, meh kind of read, and the author deals with falling apart of the family in a sensitive and understanding way. Still, it is an easy and light read with a great message: when life gives you lemons, just add gin and tonic. Take the best out of life. Enjoy it. It is well written and it flow in such a natural, easy way, progressing towards the inevitable happy end. Recommended!

 

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The Neighbours by Nicola Gill

The Neighbours by Nicola Gill

 

Publisher: Avon 47552712._sy475_

Publishing Date: 6th February 2020

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Meet Ginny, 34, and Cassie, 55. Neighbours, and (very) unlikely friends.

Some women have it all. Others are thirty-four and rent a tiny flat alone because they recently found their long-term boyfriend in bed with their boss. Newly single and jobless, Ginny Taylor is certain her life can’t get any worse. But then she encounters her downstairs neighbour for the very first time…

Cassie Frost was a once-loved actress, but after a recent mishap she desperately needs a new publicist. And Ginny is a publicist who desperately needs a job – but can she be persuaded to work for the uber-difficult, excessively prickly woman that lives below her floorboards?

Ginny and Cassie are two very different women, but they have a lot more in common than they’d care to imagine (or admit). And when their worlds finally collide, they realise that sometimes – just sometimes – bad neighbours become good friends…

A funny, honest and moving exploration of life, love, friendship and navigating the emotional rollercoaster of your thirties… and beyond. Perfect for fans of Holly Bourne, Beth O’Leary and Sarah Haywood’s The Cactus.

Rating:  three-stars

 

Ginny Taylor is almost sure that her on – again – off – again boyfriend Jack is finally ready to commit. But then she finds him in bed with her own boss. Now she’s not only single but also jobless.
Ginny’s neighbour Cassie Frost used to be a popular and well loved actress but it’s all in the past now. The recent stint on reality TV portrayed her really badly so she desperately needs a positive PR. Her neighbour Ginny is a publicist, so maybe those two can help each other?

The story is told from Ginny’s point of view but also going deep into other characters’ issues. However, even though Ginny was the main heroine, I think I could better connect with Cassie – she was simply more 3 – dimensional than Ginny, and she was strong, determined and had a passion, even when she was at the weakest point. Ginny, on the other hand, seemed too flat, too whinge-y and I somehow cannot warm to her completely. She made some really crappy decisions, I didn’t get her choices and altogether we couldn’t be friends, me and Ginny, even though I have a soft spot for characters with this name. But I liked the unlikely friendship that developed between the women, the way they embarked on life, life full of ups and downs, facing up to all the challenges. It is a story of two women, with rather ordinary lives, but this made them more believable and likeable, even though one of the character’s was an actress you could relate to them.

I loved the beginning of this book. It was funny, light – hearted and intriguing. But the more I read, the less hooking the book was coming. I started to have a feeling that it doesn’t know in which direction it wants to take us – there were many ideas, the author touched upon many issues but it felt underdeveloped and chopped. The main character wanted to befriend a neighbour? Done – chop. The main character didn’t want her boyfriend? Done – chop. The issues of depression? Chop. Short romance? Chop. Main character suddenly wants a baby? And then chop and it’s time for another issue.

The overall feeling that I got from this book was of sadness, darkness and depression. Actually, I was surprised at the change of tone, as the beginning was rather light, witty and engaging, and then, suddenly, the darkness came and where I was looking for light – hearted humour, I didn’t find any. And after that, it takes a bit of time to get into the heart of the story, as it seems a little disjointed and unstructured. It is a book with more depth than you expect, telling a story of the unlikely friendship, of growing to see the important things in life, also dealing with some heavier issues such as depression, showing the characters’ personal development. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting but it seems to be an issue lately, however it was still an enjoyable enough book.

Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft

Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft

 

Publisher: Avon 44581165

Publishing Date: 26th September 2019

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

Number of pages: 378

Genre: General Fiction (Adults), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback  (out on 14.11.2019)

 

 

Synopsis:

This Christmas, the villagers of Middledip are off on a very Swiss adventure…

Family means everything to Lily and Zinnia Cortez and, growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.

So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’s always believed. She is in fact the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.

Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known – an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a Christmas market or two along the way…

Rating: three-stars

 

Lily Cortez and her sister Zinnia have been raised in a family with two mums, however Lily is shocked to discover that her father wasn’t – like Zinnia’s – an anonymous donor but her mum had an affair with a married man. She’s desperate to find her another family and it leads her to Middledip, where her half – brother Harrison Tubb is the owner of the village pub. She starts to work at the pub while also starting her own career as a designer of exhibition stands. She enjoy her life there, and getting to know her brother, even though she hasn’t found the courage to let him know they are family.
This is only one of the themes running through the story. Because of Tubb’s health scare, Lily finds herself working in the pub with a temporary boss Isaac, and almost immediately they’re attracted to each other but Isaac has a rule of not dating co – workers. There is also the Middledip choir which Lily is a part of and they’re travelling to Switzerland to sing at Christmas Fair there. And then there is also Lily’s family, falling apart. Puh.

I had a feeling that the book is repeating itself, over and over again. We were rambling about one and the same thing, the same event was told about again and again, and actually, for me, there was nothing happening. All the characters were too nice to be true, their actions didn’t feel realistic and spontaneous, and the dialogues sounded too wooden for my liking. The lack of action has been filled with descriptions of Switzerland, and as much as I love Switzerland in winter, it was too much, or with Doggo going in or out of his crate, and the main characters didn’t capture my attention. I’m sorry, but that’s the way I feel – but it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to love this book! I hope you will!

Lily and Isaac were nice characters, both with past, both with rules. However, Isaac was too perfect to be true, he always said and did all the right things, he was there when he was needed, he put his own needs aside and the only thing that he missed was probably a white horse. Zinnia was absolutely unlikeable character, already starting with the name, I mean, Zinnia? The way she treated her sister, blaming her for everything was horrible.

Nevertheless, “Let It Snow” was a lovely, steady winter read with a bit of romance and will they/won’t they, though it was not the most important part of the book. The most important part though, me thinks, were family bonds, acceptation, becoming a part of a group and I liked how Sue Moorcroft mixed lightness with the seriousness, and put a lot of care and love into her story. Because next to the whole drama there is turkey, snowballs, carols, a village pub and lots of snow.

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

 

Publisher: Avon 47914729._sy475_

Publishing Date: 5th September 2019

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

Number of pages: 376

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Prepare to fall head over heels. The perfect book for fans of Josie Silver, Richard Curtis, and anyone who ever fell in love with the wrong person…

What if you couldn’t get away from the one who got away?

This December, unlucky-in-love Jess is following her dream and moving to Notting Hill. On the first night in her new house-share she meets Alex, the guy in the room next door. They don’t kiss under the mistletoe, but there’s still a spark that leaves Jess imagining how they might spend the year together – never mind the house rule against dating…

But when Jess returns from her Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started seeing Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into the man of her dreams – and, apparently, the woman of his.

Jess is determined to move on and spend the year falling in love with London, not Alex – but what if her heart has other ideas?

Rating:  three-stars

 

Jess moves to London from her home in a small town after finding out her boyfriend is cheating on her. Luckily, her friend Becky inherited a multi – million dollar home in Notting Hill and offers Jess one of the rooms for almost nothing, renting other rooms to a group of random friends. As Jess has just bagged  a job in publishing, she’s delighted with the offer. And also, she’s instantly attracted to one of the other tenants, Alex – but Becky has a no – relationship between the tenants clause. But does Alex feel at all the same? What with this other woman coming out of his room one morning? 

The characters were nice enough, even though they felt too one – dimensional but still, they were likeable. I liked Jess and Alex, he was the über – perfect boyfriend candidate, but was also a driven young man with a passion, willing to chase his dreams instead of settling for the wrong partner and job. However, I missed the chemistry between these two, to be honest, and perhaps this is why I was not so invested in their slowest. romance. ever, I’d love more dynamic interactions between them, something that will suggest that they really fell head over heels in love with each other – it was too lukewarm for my liking, too cautious. 

I think the author tried too much to write a perfect, festive story and has overdone on fluffiness and general goodness. The book started really well but then it felt too repetitive and too slow. I appreciated the attempt of getting into Jess and Alex’s heads during their walks through London but in the end they didn’t bring anything new and I started to skip them. I also think that reading about Alex’s reasons of changing his job once or twice was absolutely OK but I didn’t have to read about it in every chapter. 

I can’t help myself, the comparison to “One Day in December” by Josie Silver is simply unavoidable. I wasn’t looking for the same story but the cover and the synopsis to “We Met in December”, as well as the title, have the same vibe and I was looking forward to a lovely, romantic story. However, this book left me disappointed. The beginning was good, and I was fully invested in reading but continually I was losing my interest as the story was losing its impact. Nevertheless, I kept reading, holding out hope that something would happen but the downfall was the lack of action and the fact that it felt so clichéd. There is not a lot happening in there, and as much as I can accept the stories to be predictable, here you knew from the page one how it’s going to end and in the end I found myself willing the book to just cut to the chase.  

Altogether, it was a nice enough, comfortable read, a book that you know what to expect from it and getting it all the way, a cute, warm and quick novel. Yes, I was hoping I’d enjoy this book much more which sadly wasn’t the case, but I’m sure that you may find it a great choice for yourself. Yes, the book had tons of potential but ended up falling short for me. When the book looks like one of the best books written, sounds like one of the best books already written and the author’s name is Rosie Curtis, I was hoping for some Notting Hill vibes. I didn’t hate it, of course not, but it’s not a book that will stay with me for long. 

Mummy Needs a Break by Susan Edmunds / Blog Tour

Mummy Needs a Break by Susan Edmunds

 

44298525Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 8th July 2019

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

Number of pages: 336

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

A hilarious story of the ups and downs of unexpected single motherhood, the perfect laugh-out-loud romance for fans of Why Mummy Drinks, The Unmumsy Mum and The Not So Perfect Mum.

With a devilish toddler and baby number two on the way, Rachel’s big dream is to one day go to the toilet on her own. So, she’s surprised to discover that her husband has found the time to have an exciting affair while she’s been bringing up their family.

Suddenly, Rachel is left wrangling with a child who will only eat crackers and a 35-week bump. She knows even Mumsnet isn’t going to solve this.

What Rachel needs is a handsome, good-with-children, single man. But she can barely leave the house without a stain on her top and child on her hip. How on earth can she claim her life back, let alone thinking about dating?

my-review

 

Rachel is married to Stephen, they have a 2 – year – old boy already and she’s about to have their second child, when she discovers that her husband’s been having an affair. Confronted, Stephen admits and leaves Rachel, leaving her alone to cope with Thomas, who can be a bit of a handful, and all the things new baby. What is Rachel going to do? Will she manage on her own? 

Despite the inviting, colourful cover, funny title and synopsis I didn’t find this book funny, to be honest. I rather found it sad and not too uplifting and it disappointed me a little because I was expecting another hilarious, light – hearted read in succession about modern family and parenting full of ups and downs. There were moments it felt too chopped, with one things barely happening, then ending and suddenly changing to another thing, lacking in supporting details. 

Stephen was some piece of work, even I must admit it – the author has managed to write one of the most dislikeable characters ever. I mean, leaving your pregnant wife for another woman is one thing, but then kicking her out of their home, with a toddler?          I had problems with the main character, I simply couldn’t warm to her. I couldn’t understand some of her decisions and I think she was too old and too smart for this kind of revenge that she cooked up. Of course, she’s doing her best to raise her children, she struggles but never gives up and it deserves a standing ovation – but still I couldn’t warm to her. I needed more development, more feelings.                                                           Actually, all the characters were too wooden for my liking, and one thing that annoyed me incredibly was Rachel’s two – years – old son who was talking like an adult – there was nothing charming in his character.

This was a book that simply didn’t work for me – I am sorry for this, I really am, but such things happen. It could be w great story about second chances, moving on, getting strength but for me it lacked in execution and fleshed out characters. Don’t get me wrong, it had potential and its moments, and I will be for sure reading more from Ms Edmunds – I liked the writing style, it was chatty and welcoming and easy to follow, and please, do not feel put out by my words, this book already has some brilliant reviews so simply give it a go if you’re looking for a light, entertaining and quick read.

 

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A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley / Blog Tour

A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

 

41716141Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 25th April  2019

Series: Porthmellow Harbour #1

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 16.05.2019)

 

Synopsis:

The first in a gorgeous new series from the author of Summer at the Cornish Cafe.
Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…
For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).
When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life for ever.
Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.

 

my-review

 

Sam Lovell owns a Catering Company and organises the yearly local food festival. This year, however, there is a major incident, as the guest celebrity chef pulls out at the last minute. Sam’s friend Chloe manages to organize a replacement but when Sam learns who it is, she’s not too happy – Gabe Matthias, TV chef, who’s local and has history with Sam, history that she’d rather forget, and there is a serious reason why she feels like this. But not only Sam, also part of the town as well. Will Gabe be able to get them all on side again? Is it at all possible that the food festival make it to another year, and more?

There were plenty of characters in this novel, and every single one of them with their own story, so in the end there are many threads running through the novel. It wasn’t the easiest to keep them all on track and I often felt confused at who, why and what, and where shall I pay attention? But of course those storylines are much relevant and they tie well with one another, and I’m guessing we needed them in this book as a kind of introduction for the next books in the series that will for sure focus on different characters. Nevertheless, I had a feeling that simply too much is going on in this book.

My biggest problem with this novel was the fact that there was actually nothing that has surprised me. All the time I had a feeling “I’ve been there, I’ve seen this” and this is probably why it couldn’t keep my attention. There was all you could wish for in that kind of a book: friendship, community, romance, good food etc, and it’s great, please don’t get me wrong, but it simply felt too flat and too repetitive. And the names Samphire and Zennor, well, at the beginning I’ve though that must have been a spelling error but it turned out they weren’t. I couldn’t get used to them till the very end of the book, to be honest. And why was their brother called Ryan then? In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

As much as the circumstances of bringing Sam and Gabe back together were really nice, I still had a feeling that there is not enough interaction between them, that there is not enough chemistry, and so this relationship left me feeling a bit lukewarm. Also, huge parts of the book are dedicated to the festival, and of course it was absolutely all right, and I enjoyed them, but somehow, Gabe and Sam simply went astray in all those descriptions of the events, all the organizational issues.

Phillipa Ashley’s writing style is lovely, sunny and bright. She must be one of the best when it comes to the settings of her novels, because they are always picturesque, exceptionally beautiful and effortlessly brought to life. She easily transports you to the place she’s writing about. And altogether, !A Perfect Cornish Summer” was a light – hearted, warm story about second chances, community spirit, friendship and family, and it had this brilliant Food Festival in it as well – though I’d love more of it itself than the build up towards it, more lush descriptions of food. An uplifting tale about working together, sticking together and helping one another to succeed.

 

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