Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson

 

35922915Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 12th October 2017

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 269

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Escape to Devon for blustery walks along the beach, hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and proof that miracles really do happen, especially at Christmas.

A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas Day, Chloe’s heart is still in pieces as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…

It seems Gianni’s new seaside restaurant is in trouble and Chloe must go to Appledore to save the business – and him. Equally famous for his experimental culinary extravaganzas and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way!

As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflé. But will it be enough to save their marriage?

Chloe came to Appledore in search of her Christmas sparkle, but when the snow clears, will she finally find the way back to her husband’s heart?

A laugh-out-loud festive treat that will give you the tingle of freshly-hung tinsel. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.

Rating: two-half-stars

Each time I see a new Sue Watson’s book I’m getting really giddy with excitement – yes, it never dies, this feeling of seeing a new book by the author you adore, no matter how old you are. I really like Sue’s down – to – earth stories with brilliant leading heroines who have experienced a lot in their lives and they really know what they’re talking about. And “Snowflakes, Christmas Cakes and Second Chances” looked and sounded so inviting and so Christmassy, and I thought, well, what can go wrong?

Unfortunately, and I’m really not saying this easily, almost everything went wrong for me. I started reading the book with such great hopes and with every page turned you could see my hope and enthusiasm going downhill. The main character, Chloe, was also the narrator, everything was told from her point of view. It felt like reading someone’s memoirs, that were also very repetitive, as I had a feeling we are reading about old same, old same all the time. Chloe seemed to me as if she didn’t know what she really wants from her life and I was soon tired with all this what I want/what I don’t want – she was too old and too experienced for this blowing cold and hot all the time. I felt sorry for her, and that was all actually, but for me it was just the case of you make your bed, you lie in it…
And let’s start on Gianni. Oh my God. I’m not sure if he was supposed to be cute with his temper and va – va – voom, funny with the things he said to his customers and critics, if I should appreciate his “honesty” but he so didn’t work for me. There was not a drop of charm in him for me, he was a whiney, spoiled, arrogant piece of work and no matter what you’re going to say it won’t change my mind about him.

This is a third instalment in the Appledore series, however you of course can read this book as a stand – alone. The characters from the previous books do enter the scenes here but the story focuses on brand new characters, Chloe and Gianni. I love the setting of Appledore and this is why I am really sorry and upset that this book didn’t work for me, and even Sue Watson’s writing style didn’t help this time. I love books with the idea of second chances and for people coming back to each other but this one didn’t deliver. However, I can see it already has tons of fans so don’t let my review to put you off reading this story.

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No – One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day by Tracy Bloom / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Wednesday! Today I am über – thrilled to be a part of Tracy Bloom’s blog tour – she has just gone and released a third book in the No – One Ever Has Sex series, and it couldn’t be more hilarious and feel good if you asked for it. I absolutely loved this story and I’m crushed that it should be the last in the series, as I would LOVE to see more from Ben and Katy, and Braindead of course! Really, if you haven’t read the three books, go and treat yourself to them, they are brilliant!

No – One Ever Has sex on Christmas Day by Tracy Bloom

 

35918407Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 24th October 2017

Series: No – One Ever Has Sex #3

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

Number of pages: 296

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Don’t you always plan the perfect Christmas?
Don’t you always think it will be the best one ever?
And doesn’t something – usually one of your loved ones – always come along and screw it up?

Katy’s been spending too much time in the office and not enough time with her family so she wants it all: snow (fake or real), the Michael Bublé Christmas album, whatever it takes.

There’s only one thing missing as far as her husband Ben is concerned: another baby to complete their family. Katy isn’t so sure…

Ben may be playing the role of Master Elf in the pre-school nativity but he is struggling to master his own family life. With romantically-challenged friends, an ex who refuses to go away and Katy’s mum’s 64-year-old toy boy thrown into the mix, Christmas looks like it could be going off the rails… Never mind family planning, can Katy and Ben even plan to make it to the end of Christmas Day?

Rating: five-stars

 

Oh guys, it was so great to be back with Katy and Ben and the chaos that surrounds them! This book was Tracy Bloom at her best and I raced through this story, not wanting it to end – yes, this is this kind of a book that you want to finish, and at the same time you don’t want to finish because it’s that good. I admit, the last few books by this author seemed to lack in her characteristic sparkle and brilliant, sharp sense of humour but I am incredibly happy to report sir, yes sir that “No – One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day” is filled with everything that I have expected from Tracy Bloom and even more.

This is the third book in the No – One Ever Has Sex series, following Ben and Katy, but what I so adored in this book is that, next to Katy and Ben’s story, there are tons about Braindead, Alison, Matthew and his friend Ian. Sure, this is mostly about Katy and Ben but the other stories also takes up much room and this is just brilliant, guys – so hilarious and so entertaining, and it was so great to see that all the characters didn’t change, they were just as I left them last time – I absolutely loved it.
I felt immediately at home when I started reading this book. It was great to be back, and I didn’t even need any reminders or retrospections. Ben and Braindead’s antics are brilliant, and the scene when they told Katy about their Christmas tree shopping was absolutely hilarious – just like many others. Then there are some tricky situations for Katy, there is not only THE job offer, but she’s also hassled by her mother and her new toy boy, and there is also this thing that Ben wants from her, and moreover, Ben gets two new pupils at pre – school who turn out to be the children of… You probably guessed who are the parents but if not then just go and treat yourself to this brilliant book. And this all was written in the best possible way, the situations were so relatable and so easy to imagine, I am sure that putting inflatable Rudolf in the garden happens in many houses around the world around Christmas time, right? Also, all the dilemmas, troubles and problems were so brilliantly written – it is really hard to put into words how great this was, so really, just read it for yourself and thank me later for recommendation.

“No – One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day” was a hilarious and fast – paced read and I found myself laughing my head of so often! It was so funny and feel – good, and it would be perfect to turn into a film, and if I’m saying this it means really something, as I don’t watch films, and I’d be the first in the virtual queue for this one. The dialogues were brilliant and the scenes were written in such a way that you could easily picture them in your mind, the characters and their body – language and it made the reading such a pleasure.
It was a feel good Christmassy story, already with a festive spirit to it and some great ideas for the next Nativity, with plenty scenes that made me laugh out loud. It was full of embarrassing situations, cringe-y text messages and exceptional proposal, and I knew that I’m going to like it but I didn’t have any idea how much – it has fulfilled all of my expectations. It was a great story about families and friendship and I am already looking forward towards a new Tracy Bloom’s book. Highly recommended!

 

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If You CouldSee Me Now by Keris Stainton

If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton

35294534Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 4th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 216

Genre:   Women’s Fiction, General Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

‘One of the funniest books I’ve ever read. It made me cry with laughter. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone looking for a complete gigglefest of a read!’ Kirsty Greenwood

Izzy Harris should have it all – but her boyfriend has been ignoring her for months, she’s been overlooked for a promotion, and the owner of her local coffee shop pervs on her every time she has a craving for a salted caramel muffin.

Then her life is unexpectedly turned upside down.

Izzy dumps her oblivious boyfriend, and leaps on the chance to win a big pitch at work. Needing to work closely with gorgeous colleague Alex is an added perk…

But then her best friend has her heart broken, the pitch is way more complicated than expected, and Alex is keeping secrets. Does Izzy have what it takes to help her friend, save her career and get the guy?

A funny, feel-good read about finding yourself – and love – when you least expect it, for fans of Joanna Bolouri, Cate Woods, and Lindsey Kelk.

Rating: four-stars

“If You Could See Me Now” was my first book by Keris Stainton, but also the author’s first try at writing an adult novel, and heck, Ms Stainton, if they’re going to be as brilliant as this book then pretty please, keep them coming! This book, guys, has totally taken me by surprise.

So, writing about such things as invisibility in woman’s literature may be a very tricky thing – sometimes it works, more often it doesn’t – but this time Keris Stainton has managed to really pull it off. It completely worked, even though – to be completely honest – at the beginning it was a bit confusing, this whole invesibility things as there was nothing explaning why this happened to Izzy. But the more I read, and especially after her becoming visible again, I just had a feeling that I’ve got it, this invisibility thing – Izzy changed, started to appreciate herself, to believe in herself, stopped to fear to stand out, and I really liked this message!

The author has delivered a brillianty funny, captvating and different story. She has created great characters, added many moments of uncertainty, when you didn’t know what’s going to happen and how the plot is going to turn out. Keris Stainton’s writing style is brilliantly light, entertaining and easy to follow and the story is fast – paced.
What was great was the depth of this novel. You know, there are really many laugh – out – loud or cringe with embarrassment moments but this book is so much more than meets the eye. It was about finding yourself and what it really is you want from your life, about overcoming your insecurities, realising how much you are really worth – so under all this lightness and humour here were many important and poignant messages to Izzy, and to us, and I truly appreciated how well the author has mixed it all.
So altogether, “If You Could See Me Now” was deliciously filthy, sexy, with a great balance between humour and seriousness and I totally enjoyed it. Already looking towards Keris Stainton’s next release!

Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream by Sue Watson

Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream by Sue Watson

34737607Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 27th June 2017

Series: The Ice – Cream Cafe #2 (you can read my review of “Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer here)

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

Number of pages: 294

Genre:  Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Dani’s on a mission to get her life back on track by the end of the Summer. Running, rowing, aerobics and more, but perhaps all she needs are sweet treats and a second chance?

Twenty years ago, Dani fled Appledore with a broken-heart and a suitcase full of shattered dreams. Only now is she brave enough to put her past behind her and return for a summer selling homemade ice-cream and getting fit by doing sit-ups by the sea.

But the new-look cafe is filled with old memories of Jude, her teenage sweetheart-turned-sour. She thinks of him every time she swirls warm sauce onto a “chocolate-bockaglory” and even with the help of Chris, her gorgeous personal trainer, the urge to break her diet is everywhere she turns.

When Jude makes an appearance at the cafe on the eve of Dani’s birthday party, history threatens to repeat itself. Is Dani strong enough to say no? And is the love she’s been longing for much closer than she thinks?

A truly delicious, laugh out loud beach read that’s guaranteed to melt your heart. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Jenny Colgan and Debbie Johnson.

Rating: four-stars

I think that “Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream” is a story that many of the readers can relate too. I, for once, can. I’ve been struggling with my weight since I’ve become a mum – right after bringing the little one home I was so slender like never before and it stayed like this for some time but then the PND began, together with comfort eating and so the kilos started to pile and well, they don’t want to go away, no matter what. I am not overweight, well, maybe a little, but I just don’t feel well with me weight. And so I could SO completely understand Dani, and I could see all of the excuses that I am using to start better eating – it is always from the next Monday. So this is probably why I could so well connect with Dani – because I’ve been there, I’ve seen this. Sue Watson in a brilliant, sensitive way explains Dani’s feelings about food and I could nod my head as I was so getting it.

Even though this book is second in the series, you can absolutely read it as a stand – alone. And personally I think that this story was much, much better than the previous one! Yes, we meet some of the characters from the previous book but those are only small vignettes, as the story really focuses on Dani and her battle with her weight and her weakness. This journey is full of funny and poignant moments, full of strength and weakness, showing all the ups and downs of trying to pull their socks up and feeling better. Not all have such a willpower that one word and decision is all they have to do – sadly.

With “Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream” we are back in Appledore, meeting Dani this time. She’s left the town twenty years before, heartbroken, and now she’s back – overweight, unhappy, desperate to become thinner for her fortieth birthday. However, working in the Ice – Cream Cafe doesn’t help to keep her diets… What must happen that Dani sees what feeling good is really about? Is it really all about the weight?

I think Dani belongs to those characters that you can’t not like. She is determined but also weak, and she often gives up only to start again the next day – such a well – known vicious circle! She’s honest and she’s maintaining a healthy distance from herself but she also often uses the humour against herself.

There is a brilliant feel to this story, and I think it’s because Sue Watson has perfectly well blended together poignant and funny moments. Well, funny – they were funny for us but for sure not always for Dani! She is again your usual, normal woman, just like many of us, and Sue Watson can really write those characters. And it was truly Dani that has made this story – she was so lovely, bubbly and quirky, full of good intentions and with the right sense of humour and her favourite sport was coaching, and I immediately thought, my kind of girl! Talking too much, wearing her heart on her sleeve, here is our Dani. And it is great that at the end she’s going to find balance – it’s the most important thing, no matter if you’re overweight or not.

Each chapter of the book starts with Dani mentioning her previous diet – there were many of them, and all failed but you have to read the reasons why they failed and why she was trying this particular diet at all – oh, this was brilliant and very, very amusing! And thanks to Sue Watson (not!) I am turning into a real ice – cream fan. I’m not so much into ice – creams but all the descriptions were so mouth – watering, all the different flavours sounded so, so good, I would love to try them!

Sue Watson’s shows with her book that impossible is nothing for her – she has taken a very sensitive topic and managed to turn it into a great, honest, down – to – earth realistic story. She has got into Dani’s head and translated for us all of her feelings and emotions, explaining why she doesn’t feel comfortable in her own body and why she couldn’t change it. So truly, under the funny, light – hearted topping, there is a lot of depth to this story and it has many, many layers.
The strength of this book lies not in the characters, or the humour, or twists and turns but in the fact that Sue Watson has decided to write about such sensitive topic and she brilliantly pulled it off, so hats off to her for this, and standing ovation from me personally. She writes about insecure women that aren’t afraid to eventually and finally spread their wings, and it is always so inspiring. Her writing style is colourful, full of sharp humour, and vivid, easily bringing the events in the story to life.

So altogether, “Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream” was a very relatable story about a woman like many others trying to loose some weight, told in a sober, genuine, down – to – earth way with a lot of understanding and without patronising or offending someone. There are characters you can’t help but root for, a lovely setting, even more lovely background of the Ice – Cream Cafe, nice weather and feel – good factor – what more do you need than this lovely, sweet and charming story? Recommended!

Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer by Sue Watson

Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer by Sue Watson

34595538Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 11th May 2017

Series: The Ice – Cream Cafe #1

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

Number of pages: 334

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Ella’s life just hit rock-bottom, but can a summer by the sea mend her broken heart? When life gives you lemons… make ice-cream!

Life hasn’t always been easy for single mum Ella, but she has just hit an all-time low; she’s jobless, loveless, very nearly homeless and, to make matters worse, now the owner of a pocket-sized pooch with a better wardrobe than her.

Packing her bags (and a bigger one for the dog), Ella sets off for the seaside town of Appledore in Devon to re-live the magical summers of her youth and claim her portion of the family ice-cream business: a clapped-out ice-cream van and a complicated mess of secrets.

There she meets gorgeous and free-spirited solicitor, Ben, who sees things differently: with a little bit of TLC he has a plan to get the van – and Ella – back up and running in no time.

Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer is a heart-warming and hilarious romance that will scoop you off your feet and prove it’s never too late for a fresh start. The ideal holiday read for fans of Lucy Diamond, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.

Rating: three-stars

I’ve read all of Sue Watson’s latest releases and loved them all to the moon and back – they are all so realistic, with the right dose of the finest humour and wonderful heroines, heroes to swoon about and usually full of incredibly delicious sounding recipes. Ms Watson’s newest release, “Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer”, has been promising all of the above mentioned and as soon as I spotted the book on NetGalley, I pressed the right button and literally saw it whizzing to my kindle. I love the cover of this novel, guys, I just love it – I personally am not the greatest fan of ice – creams, but seeing this cover motivated me to make my own unicorn ice – cream. My daughter was on cloud nine.

But. Back to the book. Theoretically, it has it all what made me fell in love with Sue Watson’s novels: there is a mature heroine who has experienced something and more in her life and who’s about to start a new chapter in her life. She’s lost her job, her two children are off on their own adventures somewhere in the world, she’s been dumped with a lovely dog that she has to dress every day and who has more dresses and jewellery than Ella herself, her mother is right now living with her and has turned out to be a social media expert and she’s about to lose her house. But nothing is lost yet, as with the death of her beloved aunt she’s to receive something in her will – maybe it’s the ice – cream cafe?

This time however I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I was expecting to. I had a feeling the plot is very chaotic, it’s not neat, the things were suddenly happening but there was no connection between them, it was as if they didn’t belong to the story and more than often I found myself feeling very confused, not knowing what to do with a particular situation, how to handle it, wondering what does it have to do with the story. The beginning of the book was good – quick and straight to the point, and I adored it. But then Ella went to Devon and the story went downhill for me. Firstly, it slowed down very much. Secondly, there was almost nothing happening. Then the never – ending remarks of Ella’s mother, mentioning that something happened in the past but she’s not going to tell what it was started to make me feel annoyed and losing hope that we will get an answer any time soon, so I’ve stopped waiting for this. It was actually the only twist in this story, having it explained, and as I haven’t been waiting for it to happen, it took me by surprise exactly at the same moment as Ella. Having known what happened in the past explained a lot and you could start to understand why there was such a feud in the family and where all the wrong feelings were coming from. There were also many time spent on thinking about things instead of doing them.

The characters are, as always, really well developed. What I liked in Ella so much was the fact that she has finally decided to put herself first, after years of being your typical mum and daughter (OK, maybe not first. She did take Delilah after all 🙂 ), took a chance when it was given to her and followed the motto of “no risk, no fun”. And she had her fun, as well as problems, but she dealt with them all in a great way. Also, the background characters were all lovely.

I loved the descriptions of ice – creams, of course, and I do believe Sue Watson that researching this book was the best thing that could ever happen to an author 🙂 Reading about them made my mouth watering, and I am the one who’s not so into ice – cream at all, so just imagine those delicious descriptions and different flavours. Also, there are some great moments in this story, of course, some funny moments and some heart – breaking ones as well. Ella’s mother, with the exception of being so annoying with mentioning the secret and then stubbornly refusing to tell her daughter what the secret is (you know, it was like with children starting to say something and then deciding that they’re not going to tell you what it was they meant), was a real star of this story, with her no – nonsense life approach and being so fit around social medias.

Altogether, even if I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped – but still liked it, guys, so please don’t take me wrong! – “Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer” was an emotional rollercoaster ride and a great start to the series – I’ll be for sure reading the next book! There is something to make you laugh and something to make you cry, the perfect mix of feelings and emotions, with an extra bonus of Sue Watson’s wonderful writing style.

Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin / Blog Tour

Hi guys! I have another blog tour today and I’ll be quick today – it’s for Holly Martin’s new novel “Spring at Blueberry Bay” which I simply adored. If I were to recommend you one book right now it would be this one – just drop whatever you’re doing and buy this story – you will be eternally grateful for the recommendation!

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Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin

 

34451662Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 7th April  2017

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

Number of pages: 353

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to beautiful Hope Island where the sea sparkles, the daffodils are blooming and a blossoming romance is just around the corner…

Bella has always had a sunny outlook and caring nature, despite recently falling on hard times. When she finds a handsome homeless man on her doorstep, her kind heart tells her she must help him. So, she invites Isaac into her cottage and into her life in ways she could never have imagined…

But Isaac is not what he seems. He’s keeping a huge secret from Bella, yet he never expected to fall for this open, generous and charming woman.

Bella can’t ignore the chemistry between her and Isaac, but she’s had her trust badly broken in her past. Will she run when she learns the truth about Isaac, or will he be the one man who can help Bella believe in love again?

A gorgeously romantic and heartwarming story to completely lose yourself in. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jane Costello and Miranda Dickinson.

Rating: 5/5

Holly Martin is one of my most favourite authors. No matter how are you feeling, her books will make you feel better, that’s guaranteed. Lately however I had some problems as Holly’s books started to see very similar to each other and I had a feeling that only the names of the characters and the places changed but still they were brilliant, humorous reads with quirky heroines and heroes sexier than sex gods. It’s no different with “Spring at Blueberry Bay” – the book is set on a gorgeous island, it has a bouncy main character Bella and it has sex scenes to die for. Don’t wait long, just buy the book and start reading it, and I am telling you this right now, at the beginning of my review!

Holly Martin, I am not sure how she does it, but she can perfectly write about blossoming romances. Here the chemistry between Bella and Isaac was Undeniable with a capital U, you could see the sparks and feel the sizzling. This relationship is like the wildest rollercoaster ride ever, with some false starts, with ups and downs which only made it feel so much more realistic and feasible (even with the fact how it actually began, with Bella inviting a strange man to her home and kissing him, but whatever, I did buy it). I also adored both of them, they were great. Bella was not a wuss, oh no, even though she had a much more sensible side to her and it was relatively easy to hurt her, as she wears her heart on the sleeve. There was fire in this girl, she had a great spirit and a heart made of gold. Isaac, oh my word, guys, give me Isaac any time, pretty please. Feisty, romantic, responsible and I could go on and on about him. Yes, I probably fell head over heels for Isaac, the fictional character. Kill me.

At first maybe I thought, mhm, the characters, it happens so quickly, and they are so honest, and they speak so openly and honestly with each other about the most personal thoughts, experiences and sex, mhm, really? But then I though, oh heck, maybe it’s just like it should be, no beating around the bush, just tell how it is. Maybe it was also because Bella is a total opposite of me, I wouldn’t dare to storm into somebody’s office just like she did but you know what? I secretly admired her for her wit, for being so feisty and for not letting sleeping dogs lie and I would love to be like Bella, so direct and to be able to take care about myself in a way she does. So in the end I though, hats off to Holly for writing this story without messing around and only getting straight to the point. There was nothing of this never – ending will they/won’t they plays, the characters got straight down to business and it was so different and so nice to read, without endless introductions and descriptions.

Of course Ms Martin has created another brilliant setting. Hope Island is a place that you immediately want to go and stay for ever. It just seemed so magical, so colourful, the descriptions of the cottages made me long to pack my things and move in there. This novel was full to the brims with humour, the most hilarious one – liners and scenes (just think about naked Bella hiding behind sofa, or her going for the interview and many, many more) and many very intense sex scenes. There was a moment I was scared this book is going to turn into some kind of shades, but no worries, it is all so very well balanced and they are also full of feeling and emotions. This book was really like a breath of fresh air.

“Spring at Blueberry Bay” very strongly reminded me of one of Holly’s previous novels written under a pseudonym, “Tied Up with Love”, which was absolutely my number 1 by this author. So no wonder that in the end I just adored “Spring at Blueberry Bay”. There was just my kind of humour – you know the one when characters talk to each other with poker faces when in fact this what they say is hilarious, and just imagining them telling this had me in stitches. It had one of the most gorgeous yet down – to – earth heros who must be my new favourite character right now and I think he’s going to be my crush, instead of Enrique Iglesias. Just saying. So imagine how brilliant he must be. It had one of the most realistic, warm, smartass heroine with the best one – liners in the world. It had a brilliant plot, it had dogs, it had fantastic setting, it was about family bonds. It had the best sex scenes ever – touching, full of fire, full of humour, beautiful. Yes, the first 20 % dragged on a bit and I had a feeling we are going in circles but after that there was nothing stopping the story and the author – this must me be my second favourite novel by Holly Martin, guys, and it’s telling really something, as I loved all of her novels. Highly recommended!

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The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke

 

The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke

51yy1qrnjslPublisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 2nd March 2017

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

Number of pages: 267

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis:

Chocolate fudge, butterscotch and raspberry bonbons… treat yourself to some sugary treats, a big slice of friendship and a sprinkling of romance at The Beachside Sweet Shop.

When Marnie Appleton inherited a sweet shop from her grandfather she was determined to do his legacy proud. The shop has been a much-loved feature of the little seaside town of Shipley for years, but now Marnie needs to bring it up to date, and she’s recruited gorgeous new assistant Josh to help.

Marnie gets busy redecorating the shop and choosing delicious new sweets to stock, but things are never that simple: new neighbour Isobel, a fame-hungry blogger, is on a crusade against sugar, and she’ll go to any lengths to secure bad publicity for Marnie’s shop.

Marnie fights back with homemade sugar-free treats, but with her best friend Beth heavily pregnant, her grandmother Celia recovering from an operation, and her very recently ex-boyfriend Alex returning to Shipley with a new love, Marnie has a lot on her plate.

And then there’s Josh, with whom Marnie is struggling to keep her relationship strictly professional…Will both the sweet shop and love flourish?

A deliciously heartwarming read about family, friends and handmade coconut ice. Perfect for fans of Cressida McLaughlin, Debbie Johnson, and Tilly Tennant.

Rating: 4/5

As soon as I spotted “The Beachside Sweet Shop” on NetGalley I was immediately drawn to it – this cover is adorably gorgeous and even though I am more a chocolate girl myself only looking at this glass filled with candies makes my mouth water. Yes, I had some doubts before I started reading it as I was scared that it’s going to be the next in the popular formula of books set at the seaside and in a sweet shop with nothing more to offer, but no worries, guys – it turned out to be a hilarious, light – hearted, wonderfully enjoyable story that will allow you to put your mind to rest.

There is a lot going on in Marnie’s life, especially when the shop is considered. Winning the prize (because the shop has won a prize for the best local business!), instead of bringing joy, brings commotion and troubles, as one of the new neighbours, ex – model, starts a campaign against sweet shop and sugar in general. Then Marnie looks after her grandmother who has broken her leg, and this accident has actually made Marnie to break up with her boyfriend Alex, but our Marnie – of course – still has feelings to Alex. But did Alex move on in New York or is he still waiting for Marnie? Then there are troubles with the regular supplier of the sweets, and Marnie’s best friend Beth, who also helps at the shop is heavily pregnant so she is in a need for a substitute, and then suddenly the gorgeous Josh appears, and does Marnie feel attracted to him? You see what I mean, right? Not a single flat moment, and this all topped with brilliant one – liners and fantastic sense of humour.

The characters were larger than life and so colourful, and it was so easy to fell in love with them. Josh is not only a skateboarding sexy god but he also does magic, ha! There is also Doris Day, a wannabe detective, neighbour of Marnie’s grandmother and she is really the one that knows everything, but not in this bad, prying way. The weakest character was, I think, Isobel – the way she acted just didn’t sit with me, you couldn’t take her and her reasoning seriously. Marnie herself was not too bad. However, her best friend Beth was the most colourful, engaging character of all, I think. She was shining through the pages and I so want a book about Beth! Actually, those were the scenes with Beth that made me laugh out loud, especially the ones when she got into labour. Hilarious!

Now, guys. I would be myself if I haven’t had some issues, right? There were some things that didn’t sit with me about Marnie, as much as I loved her, her indecision made me feel so, so frustrated! I was thinking she’s only looking for excuses because if she was so desperate to leave Shipley then nothing would keep her, and the only thing she did was moaning how much she wants to leave and making a martyr of herself when staying because of her grandmother breaking a leg or nobody from the family wanting to take care of the shop. I also didn’t get the issue with Alex. Why did she tell him in the first place he should go to America? Again, to feel like a martyr? Then, the thing with Isobel and her campaign to close the sweet shop. I was like, what, closing one little sweet shop will solve all the problems? And who the hell did she think she is to decide she has the power to do what she wants? Because she’s a yummy – mummy?

The Beachside Sweet Shop itself reminded me of the old – school sweet shops, painted in pastels, with black and white photos on the walls and yellow awning. The novel was mostly set there and it’s only a pity that there was not more about its interior and that it took Marnie so long to change it. However, I liked that it had its own group of customers and that it had a history and that people appreciated it as much as the sweets themselves. I think the shop just reminded those people of their own childhood and Marnie did her best to stock all kind of candies possible. But not the willies (ha! Read for yourself! Hilarious!).

“The Beachside Sweet Shop” is the first book in the series and I am already looking forward to “The Beachside Flower Stall”. It was light – hearted and witty and it kept me entertained, and it was written in a way that kept me glued to the pages – I’ve finished this lovely novel about being unhappy in life but eventually changing it, taking control in your own hands in one day. It is not a story that is going to change lives but it is destined to make you feel happy and warm inside. Recommended!