The Break Up by Tilly Tennant

The Break Up by Tilly Tennant

 

Publisher: Bookouture 50627236._sy475_

Publishing Date: 26th  March 2020

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

Number of pages: 315

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:
What happens when Mr Right goes rogue?

Lara doesn’t have a back-up plan. So when her safe-bet boyfriend Lucien dumps her for her best friend, Lara’s world implodes. Life after the break up stretches bleakly ahead, lonely evenings on the sofa with only a bottle of wine and her grey cat Fluffy for company…

Down the road, Theo loves his job as a jazz musician, giving other people great nights out before coming home in the early hours and unwinding with his loyal cat Satchmo.

What they don’t know is that it’s the same cat.

And when they find out, standing in the streets in their pyjamas, both on the hunt for their lost pet, sparks of the wrong sort fly.

Lara can’t deny that Theo is one of the most gorgeous men she’s ever met, but she can see exactly why he’s still single. They do say opposites attract… but is she ready to move on? And when Lucien comes back into the picture, will she be tempted back to her life before the break up, or risk everything on the chance of something new?

A wonderfully warm will-they-won’t-they romantic read that will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. If you’re a fan of Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews, The Break Up is the love story you’ve been waiting for.
Previously titled: A Cat Called Cupid

Rating: three-stars

 

“The Break – Up” introduces us to Lara Nightingale, currently dumped by her boyfriend after finding out that he’s been cheating on her with her best friend Siobhan! But no worries, fast forward a year and everything looks a little better for Lara. Her new wedding planning business is already running smoothly and she makes a name for herself, and her stray cat Fluffy is her best friend now. Only, Fluffy likes to wander in the neighbourhood and disappears for few days. One evening, looking for her loss, Lara encounters Theo who claims Fluffy is his and his name is Satchmo. Their first meeting isn’t too nice and then Lara seems to see Theo everywhere she goes – can she keep her emotions in check? And can she eventually convince him that Fluffy’s name is Fluffy and it’s her cat?

Personally I thought that the cat is going to play much more significant role, especially when the title was still “The Cat Called Cupid” (but I must say that this other title, “The Break”, is also not much better than the first one, yes, I know, Lara has broken up with her boyfriend but is it worth the whole title? ), and I was a bit disappointed that there were only few scenes with him, or rather without him as he was running away all the time. And I’ve never thought I’m going to tell this, that I was missing a cat, as I am much more a dog person and yes, I’m going to say this now loud, I don’t like cats.

The story started in a very promising way but then it went a little downhill for me – it started to feel flat and I had a feeling that the whole wedding – planning business takes our attention away from the main plot. At the beginning there were so many great scenes, for example the first meeting between Lara and Theo and I loved how he called her karate – kid later, and it’s a real pity that then the book started to feel somehow so forced and predictable.

Lara and Theo were characters full of warmth, however they just felt too two – dimensional, I’ve missed more depth in them, especially Theo whom, I have a feeling, I got to know only in terms of his good – looks. Some of their encounters were brilliantly hilarious, however the things between them escalated so quickly that I thought I’ve missed something – one minute they hate each other, the next they’re crazy in love and planning their future. I don’t know, I think I enjoyed them more as opponents than a couple, they were simply much funnier then. Of course, they are both such typical rom – com characters, jumping to conclusions, not being able to communicate, quite thick – headed and blowing things out of proportion, making me feel desperate. What’s more, it mostly took the characters’ ages until they were able to make up their minds, because every single thought was dissected – they were truly over thinking things and those inner monologues felt like a kind of filler.

This was a light – hearted story and Tilly Tennant is a lovely story – teller. Her writing is light and easy to follow and she can easily draw the reader into the book. However, she has also successfully incorporated some important issues in her book, like being in a manipulative relationship or pregnancy at a young age. If you are looking for an easy, not demanding read to relax for a few hours, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this book.

The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright by Beth Miller

The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright by Beth Miller

 

Publisher: Bookouture 48589660._sy475_

Publishing Date: 9th January 2020

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

Number of pages: 327

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

You’ve met Mrs Bright. She’s that nice woman who lives three doors down and always smiles at you in the mornings. She’s planning her thirtieth wedding anniversary with her husband. She wants to travel, read endless books and take beautiful pictures. She’s been waiting for this forever.

For the past twenty-nine years, Kay Bright’s days have had a familiar rhythm: she works in her husband’s stationery shop, cooks for her family, tries to remember to practice yoga, and every other month she writes to her best friend, Ursula, and Ursula replies. Kay could set her calendar by their letters: her heart lifts when the blue airmail envelope, addressed in Ursula’s slanting handwriting, falls gently onto the mat.

Ursula is the only one who knows Kay’s deepest secret, something that happened decades ago that could tear Kay’s life apart today. Ursula has always been the person Kay relies on. Knowing she will hear from Ursula is like being sure the sun will rise tomorrow.

And now Ursula has stopped writing. Three missing letters doesn’t sound like a lot, but Kay gets out her shoebox of notes from her best friend, in case there’s something she overlooked. Ursula seems fine, but the further back she goes, the more Kay begins to question every choice she has made in her life. Which might be why, at ten o’clock one morning, Kay walks out of her yellow front door with a just a rucksack, leaving her wedding ring on the table…

An emotional and heart-warming novel for anyone who knows it’s never too late to look for happiness. Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, A Man Called Ove and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will fall in love with this feel-good and moving story that shows you that the best friendships truly last forever.

Rating: four-stars

 

Kay Bright has been married for 29 years. She’s in her early 50s, has two children and is working together with her husband in their family business.
Kay Bright is unhappy.
When her best friend Ursula (called Bear – no idea why, to be honest) moved to Australia 30 years ago, they both promised to write to each other, at least once a month. And they kept their word. However, now, Kay hasn’t heard from Bear for three months in a row and she’s getting worried. She doesn’t want to call – they said that they’re going to use a telephone only when it’s a matter of life and death, so she decides to head to Australia. Which means that she’s going to leave her stagnant life, together with husband, behind. She can’t put into words reasons for her need to leave, but she knows that she can’t live like this any longer, and so she decides to be egoistic this once, and goes. Will she find happiness? Will she find out what’s happening with Ursula? Will her closest ones accept her decisions?

Even though the story is told through mostly Kay and Stella’s points of view, we get to know the other characters as well and we get to see all the different reactions to Kay’s decision to leave her husband of almost thirty years. I liked Kay – she has eventually found the courage to be herself, to start doing things she has always wanted to do but never had a chance to do. Those both subplots, even though revolving around two different women, were actually about the same thing – finding happiness, trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives – and telling them in this way added a lot of depth, I think, the different perspectives of two different generations were absorbing and interesting. However, Stella’s story, or rather her character’s arc, was not my favourite one, not sure why. I know, she was a young person, discovering herself, and there were truly great moments in her subplot, but she as a person, as a character, was simply not clicking with me. Maybe I felt like this towards Stella because, well, she was an adult, right, yet she behaved around her mother like a little girl, not accepting that Kay is allowed to make up her own decisions, even if they seem to be egoistic. Kay has sacrificed everything for her family, and it’s not a wonder that eventually she wanted something back – she wanted her happiness and the feeling of independence back. And Stella didn’t want to give it to her mother, making her feel guilty. And I didn’t like it. Though, of course, her narration has added a breath of fresh air, another perspective to Kay’s story.
There is also, of course, the worry and mystery around Bear, though I relatively quickly guessed what it is, and to be absolutely honest I was not so found of Bear, I didn’t feel I know her well enough to root for her, and while I felt sorry for her it didn’t make a huge impact on me.

In the end, everything was perfectly wrapped up, maybe a bit too tidy? Also, the emotions and feelings, while present on almost every single page and handled with care, were not as deeply captured as I’d like them, they were a bit too two – dimensional. And there were a few moments that felt too forced, not so smooth compared to the rest of the story, or simply things that I could really live without them being put in this book.

This book is really well written, can I say that it’s, I don’t know, so easily readable? It’s chatty, and the pace is just right, flowing well and making it a quick read. The writing style is so vivid, bringing the characters to life, but also the different settings simply came alive through the author’s words.

But altogether, I haven’t expected “The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright” to be so captivating and moving. I really liked the way it was written, interlacing two perspectives, two points of view, giving us a wider view at the same situations and events. It was filled with dry and clever humour and spot – on observations. It dealt with many more topics, going deeper than I expected, which was a rather nice surprise, as it was well worked and coherent. It was a lovely, heart – warming tale about friendship, families, starting anew, second chances, showing us it’s never too late to be brave. Recommended!

No, We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald

No, We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald

 

Publisher: Bookouture 48525288._sy475_

Publishing Date: 10th January 2020

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

Number of pages: 295

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Everyone knows a girl like Sloane. She was always The Single One. She never brought a plus-one to weddings. She was the woman you’d set up with your single cousin. She joined ballroom dancing classes to meet men and was the queen of online dating.

But then she met Myles. Perfect Myles, with denim-blue eyes and a dazzling smile that melted her insides. She’d finally found The One.

Except she didn’t imagine that Myles’s idea of Happy Ever After would include Sloane battling an overflowing laundry basket, buying birthday cards for his family, and ironing his Calvin Klein underpants.

Then Sloane finds out that Myles has a secret.

The fairy tale is well and truly over. Her heart is blown to smithereens. Eating her weight in Ben & Jerry’s and large Meat Feast pizzas can only get Sloane so far before she has to make a decision… Can she learn to love herself more than she loved the love of her life?

No, We Can’t Be Friends is a brilliantly relatable, hilarious and feel-good novel that every woman with a waste-of-space ex HAS to read! If you’re a fan of romantic comedies by Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk, and TV shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin, pick up this laugh-out-loud book – you won’t regret it.

Rating: three-stars

 

Sloane and Myles are married, both happy in their jobs and with their lives. They’re currently renovating a house and trying for a baby. But then something happens, something that makes Sloane wonder if her husband is cheating on her and when it’s confirmed her whole world flips upside down – she didn’t sign for this. She still loves him, and hopes for the best but can she really trust him? Was the whole relationship based on lies? Did Myles love her at all? And what is now with her wish of becoming a mother?

Guys, help me here, pretty please. Is it just me or did I read a different book to everyone else? I feel cheated, to be honest, especially because of the huge promise on the cover that the book is “a totally laugh – out – loud romantic comedy” – erm, what? It is probably everything BUT a totally laugh – out – loud romantic comedy, I haven’t laughed once to be honest. It turned out to be sad, pretty depressing and tedious and I was like, where is the humour? Where is the romance? Hello?????

I didn’t warm to the characters. I hated Sloane and Myles’s toxic relationship, and I absolutely, totally disliked Myles, which is obvious, I think. I couldn’t believe my eyes how he reacted to Sloane’s confronting him, and I couldn’t believe that Sloane was still willing to be with him after everything he said and done. Yes, she wanted to be a mother desperately, and I could understand this, but not at any cost, not with such a character. I felt desperate and frustrated with Sloane at how long it took her to finally open her eyes.
I didn’t feel invested in the characters’ lives, to be honest. There was something in them that made me not care about them. Yes, I sympathized with Sloane but on the other hand I simply wanted to shake her and tell her to see things how they really are. I think I can say she really annoyed me half of the time. I couldn’t get her completely, she was whiny and needy and on the next page she was able to get her act together, just like that. Also, because of the fact that the relationship with Myles wasn’t described to us, I really didn’t know where she was coming from and why she’s having such a hard time to simply show him the door. To be honest I couldn’t understand what Sloane has seen in him, this arrogant and egoistic piece of work. There was given really little info on their past and the relationship lacked in depth.
Fortunately, after she opened her eyes, she was determined to re – build her life, even though it took her a lot of time, but it made me glad.

I can imagine that for some it can be a realistic, relatable story, as it thoroughly describes all the ups and downs (are there ups at all?) of relationship falling apart, of divorce and how hard it can be. But it also may be uplifting and full of hope, showing that in the end there is always a way out, there are people that matter.

The pace was on the slow side, and nothing significant really happened. There was a tiny bit of romance towards the end but it felt too rushed and forced.

If the book was differently advertised I’d probably enjoy it more, knowing what I’m getting into. But I can’t blame my feelings on the synopsis only, it simply didn’t work for me, we didn’t click with the story and the characters. It’s a story of a relationship breaking apart and all the feelings and emotions that are connected to this fact, showing how hard it is to deal with them, when the world around you breaks in thousands little pieces, especially when you were not expecting it. It was telling us a realistic version of love and relationship, and it’s not a bad book, it’s well written, the writing style is chatty and sassy but it just didn’t live up to my expectations. The story strongly focuses on the bad things in life, to be honest. It deals with miscarriages, betrayal, death, loss, grief and disappointment. Not this what I was expecting and not a book that’s going to stay with me for a long time. Sadly.

Single All the Way by Karen King

Single All the Way by Karen King

 

Publisher: Bookouture 48055558._sy475_

Publishing Date: 28th October 2019

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

Number of pages: 286

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

I can see my mother is calling me. I answer the phone, knowing I’ll have to tell her about Oliver and me breaking up. But before I can, she announces, ‘I don’t exactly know how to tell you this… But I’m leaving your dad.’

Single together for the first time, 34-year-old Meg and her warm-hearted, long-suffering mother Sally are cancelling Christmas, and running away to a tiny cottage on the Cornish coast. For Meg, it is the perfect place to heal, away from all the mistletoe, while for her mother it has a special, and secret, place in her heart – from a love story that seems a lifetime ago…

Meg and Sally find they’re getting to know themselves, and each other, better than ever before. But as they are unable to resist getting involved in the village Christmas celebrations, they encounter two handsome local strangers.

Sometimes, it’s being away from home that helps you realise where your heart is. What neither woman knows is that, by the time the new year rolls around, one woman will have fallen in love with her husband all over again, and one marriage will be over for good…

An escapist, romantic and heart-warming novel for fans of One Day in December and No One Cancels Christmas.

Rating: two-half-stars

 

Meg and her husband own a party planning business. They love each other and they care for each other, so why is it that one day leaves Oliver? And when Meg’s mother Sally hears about it, she makes a decision of her own – she always put her family, and first of all, husband first but now feels it time to think about herself. Will mother and daughter be able to save their marriages? Do they want to save their marriages?

I could get into the story but I also couldn’t get into it, hope you’re with me 🙂 I understood the meaning, the plot but still I wasn’t full involved because it just simply felt too flat and too clichéd. The dialogues and the characters felt much too wooden and too formal and too forced. Huge part of the book is actually about Meg and Sally reflecting on their relationships and wondering what has gone wrong – I missed action, something happening, the book going forward.

I’m really sorry to say but the characters felt very one – dimensional and not real, and the way they acted and interacted was unnatural and it was hard to connect with them. The chapters told from the husbands’ points of view didn’t make me warm to them, to be honest, and actually we knew then all the points of view, also those of the female characters, but there was no solution and no help, and the other people involved didn’t know what the others are thinking.

“Single All the Way” was a holiday romance, light and easy to read, about relationships, the stereotypes of failed marriages and misunderstandings and the author is for sure passionate about telling a story. The title and the cover may suggest that the book is a cosy, Christmas reading but well, for me it didn’t give off too many festive feelings. While there was so much potential in it, it didn’t deliver, and it lacked in emotional depth so needed to make it work and everything is done half – heartedly. So yes, I think I know that the author wanted to added tons of depth and meaning to the story, to make it not so fluffy but this bit more serious but, sadly, she didn’t succeed. However, please do not feel put out by my review, you may fell in love with the characters and the plot of this novel, so simply just give it a go.

No One Ever Has Sex on Holiday by Tracy Bloom

No – One Ever Has Sex on Holiday by Tracy Bloom

 

45428233._sy475_Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 29th July 2019

Series: No – One Ever Has Sex #5

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

Number of pages: 3209

Genre: Humour, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Get ready to enjoy your first holiday abroad with small children. Highlights include: being woken at 5 every morning and working a gruelling day in unbearable heat chasing kids around the pool with a bottle of sunscreen. Added features: screaming during mealtimes and toddlers moaning about sand. Absolutely no sex guaranteed or your money back!

Katy and Ben and their four closest friends are going to Spain for a week with their kids. Sun, sex and sangria? Almost certainly not.

The couples think they are prepared for all the joys and trials a family holiday has to offer but they have a shock coming, and not only from the kids. Into their first day by the pool crashes Ollie, who has just been dumped by his girlfriend, and Cassie, on her hen party holiday but having serious doubts about her impending marriage. A recipe for a relaxing week abroad? Let’s wait and see…

From the no. 1 bestselling author of No-one Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday, this is the perfect book to read on the beach – either with or without small children. Perfect for fans of Nick Spalding, Marian Keyes and Gill Sims.

Rating: four-stars

 

Three couples, that we’ve already got to know very well and love so much – Katy and Ben, Braindead and Abby, Daniel and Gabriel – are off on their first holiday together as families. With five children between them. Abroad. To Spain. To a family friendly hotel, which means that it’s full with such travellers as our characters. What can go wrong, right? It’s for sure going to be a relaxing, peaceful holiday, right? Or not?

I’ve read somewhere that parents actually don’t have holidays at all – they simply look after their children in a different place, and well, this book shows that it is true. The way all the characters tried so much to get as much as possible out of their holidays, how they tried to adjust and not go crazy was so brilliantly portrayed and made the book even more brilliant to read.

It is already the fifth book in the series and well, as much as I think it could be read as a stand – alone, I wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve seen some reviewers mentioning the fact that the characters were not developed enough – well, I got to know them inside out in the previous four books, it felt like being with old friends together again, and the author really didn’t have to flesh them all out again – if you’ve been with Katy and the gang through thick and thin you really know them and what make them tick now. So better read the previous books as well, me thinks.

It was hilarious and funny and full of “OMG” moments read, unbelievably relatable, even though my daughter is a very easy – care child, but being so much around other children once you’ve seen this you’ve seen this all (and can’t unseen or forget it). The attempts of really enjoying the holiday by taking part in all the planned activities, that usually turned out to be attractive and thrilling only in the flyer, trying to spend some time together as couples and keep everybody happy on top of that were brilliantly described. And rang a bell – it’s a situation that probably all of us know very well, no matter if we’re parents or not yet. Keep everybody happy, ha!

The characters are like old friends but the one that I liked most this time must have been Daniel, so out of place on a budget airline and in a normal hotel room, not in a suite, behaving like prima donna, and I simply loved him! He was so funny and he seemed so shallow but deep inside he was so insightful and full of love to his daughter and husband, and well, his battles also rang a bell, don’t you think? This of wanting to be a stay at home father but realising that it’s better other way round.
We’ve got more of Gabriel this time and I can’t say how much he impressed me, first with his patience and second, with using his Spanish to solve some problems – the way he did this was simply first class brilliant!
I couldn’t put my finger on Abby, I was guessing there was much more to her behaviour than meets the eye and I think I’d like the author to dig deeper into her problems and issues a little bit more – especially as I was in her shoes, so I really could relate to her and her feelings. Braindead… Well, I must admit that he annoyed me a little this time, he took to fatherhood too seriously and I had a feeling that Abby being so absent simply worked for him.
There are some new characters introduced to us as well, and they were a great addiction, especially Ollie. Oh boy, the poor Ollie, who’s on his honeymoon, staying in the honeymoon suite at the same hotel that our characters but without the bride, who has called – off the wedding. The honeymoon suite is a character of its own, be prepared!

Intertwined with all the humour and light heartedness, and I really liked how it was done, were the problems and troubles that come with family and becoming a parent. They’re written with a pinch of salt but they’re there, highlighted, all the expectations versus reality, and how well the fact that the arrival of the children impacted the relationships of their parents was captured.

“No One Ever Has Sex on Holiday” was a quick, light and entertaining read, full of quirky, sharp dialogues and hilarious one – liners. It was full of many laugh out loud moments, but also some poignant and heart – warming ones, and Tracy Bloom knows how to handle and balance them. However, the main point of this book is to entertain you, and it fulfils this intention completely, offering you a relaxing, light and uplifting read. Highly recommended, a perfect summer read!

A Very French Affair by Sue Roberts

A Very French Affair by Sue Roberts

 

45141907._sy475_Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 5th July 2019

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

Number of pages: 263

Genre: Humour, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

From Southport to the South of France – this is going to be a summer to remember!

Life just got a whole lot more complicated for thirty-eight-year-old single mum Liv. Her son Jake is practically perfect in every way, but he’s started asking some difficult questions, and the answers lie in a holiday romance twenty years ago. Back when Liv was staying with her aunt on the French Riviera…

Returning to the Cote d’Azur, with its white sandy beaches, her supportive aunt, and exquisite wine and cheese is harder than it sounds though. Because – if she’s going to give Jake the answers he needs – Liv knows she has to hunt down her first love Andre. And since she’s a professional baker rather than a professional investigator, she doesn’t even have a clue where to start.

At first, finding the one that got away proves even trickier than she thought. And if she succeeds, how will he take the bombshell secret Liv has been keeping? Liv has to do the best thing for her family, but does that mean closing the door on this very French affair?

A joyful, laugh-out-loud story about second chances, secrets and sunshine! The perfect summer read for fans of Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella.

Rating: three-stars

 

Olivia is a single mother with a popular cake – baking and decorating business. However, her past comes to hunt her again when Jack finally asks about his father that he has never seen. Liv decides to track André down, even though she really doesn’t have much to go on – she fell head over heels in love with a young, handsome boy in the south of France but it turned out to be only a summer romance and she was forced to raise her son on her own. However, she’s now desperate to give Jack the father he so deserves.

The highlight of this novel are for sure the gorgeous, delicious descriptions of the French food, as well as the setting of the French Riviera, and in these moments the author had me hooked, transporting me to France and letting my mouth water.

The characters were nice but simply not well – rounded enough for me and very stereotyped and I just couldn’t warm to them and their stories. There was nothing wrong with them, please do not get me wrong on this one, but they were just not my type of characters, or rather it was the way they were written, and all the right things happening so accidentally and conveniently to them that, in my eyes, made them not so relatable and this bit unbelievable.

The writing style is nice and very easy to follow, the sentences are short and they follow the same pattern of describing situations: she woke up, washed, dressed and ate breakfast. I would love it to be more descriptive, more eloquent. The situations happened one after another, the twists were predictable and immediately resolved, I missed some tension, some build – up to things and events.

Altogether, “A Very French Affair” was a light, easy, heart – warming story about friendship and second chances and how life may surprise you in the most unexpected moments, a great summer read, and even better to enjoy with a croissant. Or two.

 

No – One Ever Has Sex at a Wedding by Tracy Bloom

No – One Ever Has Sex at a Wedding by Tracy Bloom

 

43465865Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 29th March 2019

Series: No – One Ever Has Sex #4

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

Number of pages: 260

Genre: General Fiction, Humour

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

In Katy’s opinion, weddings should follow some basic rules:

1) No-one should ever have sex. Of course. The married couple has the rest of their lives for that, and the guests should be too busy partying.

2) If you are heavily pregnant (as Katy is) you should obviously not be invited to three weddings in the space of one summer. Your husband’s accident-prone best friend, your attention-seeking colleague, your 73-year-old mother’s marriage to her Spanish toy boy – all without even an alcoholic drink to make them bearable.

3) During the speeches, it should not be revealed that you had a secret one-night-stand with one of the other guests.

4) Instead of laying bets on the length of the best man’s speech, guests should not be laying bets on whether a marriage will be in ruins before the end of the meal…

But this summer, Katy is lucky enough to be the special guest at the weddings that break ALL of the rules. What could possibly go wrong?

Rating: four-stars

 

Katy is pregnant with her second child and has a problem – there are not only many weddings looming in the future, but Braindead had inadvertently, during his groom speech at his wedding, let the cat out of the bag about the situation that has happened many years ago, and now Alison has kicked Matthew out. So it’s not only that all the friends feel obliged to bring them back together, there is also the joint wedding of Daniel and her own mother. Oh boy.

Dreams comes true, ha? So many of the readers always wanted to read more about Braindead and here we are. “No – One Ever Has Sex at a Wedding” follows the group of our old friends but while the other books were mostly about Katy and Ben, here the author focuses on the other characters as well, and you know what? I really enjoyed it. I’ve got my dose of Katy and Ben but I also satisfied my curiosity when it comes to Matthew, Alison, Braindead, Daniel and co. This time Alison kicks Matthew out and everybody feels obliged to help them see the sense. Each of the characters is involved – Katy because she feels guilty, Ben because he has no other option, Daniel because he loves to be the centre of attention, Ian because he wants to have his flat for himself again, Braindead because he was the reason Alison found out and, as you can expect, chaos arises. But it’s a brilliant chaos, funny and heart-warming, and while it may not be a read that’s going to stay with you for long, it’s a pure entertainment.

This is already a fourth book in the No – One Ever Has Sex and I am not sure if I would advise you to read it as a stand – alone. Simply, you’d miss too much on brilliant reads, but also, even though the most of the key plots from the previous reads are mentioned briefly, I still think that to fully enjoy the story and understand the characters (I’ve noticed some of the reviewers were annoyed with the nickname “Braindead” for example – but those were the ones who haven’t read the previous books before) you should read the books in the right order.

It was a quick, entertaining read that was like a sitcom. There weren’t many detailed descriptions and the events were happening one after another without long and unnecessary introductions, it was more dialogue – orientated and believe me, there were some brilliant conversations throughout the story, the banter was quick, sharp and hilarious. However, guys, this book is not only laugh, there are also some more poignant moments and I liked how the author balanced those moments. Some of the speeches were simply beautiful and unforgettable.
Altogether, “No – One Ever Has Sex at a Wedding” was a funny, undemanding read with a hidden depth, full of shenanigans and embarrassing situations about families, relationships and great friendship, about sticking together through thick and thin. Truly recommended!

 

Dinner Party by Tracy Bloom

Dinner Party by Tracy Bloom

 

 

40794610Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 26th September 2018

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

Number of pages: 330

Genre: Humour, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Never has an unexpected guest caused such chaos!

Three couples take it in turns to host a monthly dinner party.

Beth, Sarah and Marie have been friends forever. Now they are grown up, with busy lives, busy husbands, busy kids… but they still find time to meet up over dinner once a month. A cosy, comfortable gathering of happy couples – or so they thought.

Until one night, someone brings along a last-minute guest whose wife has just left him.

Simon is standing on the doorstep in floods of tears. While the women do their best to console him, their husbands feel the need to mark their territory.

And as Simon becomes more involved with the group, his presence changes everything these three couples thought they knew about each other, leading to a final dinner party that no-one will ever forget.

From Amazon chart bestseller Tracy Bloom, Dinner Party is a funny and moving read that will make you see your marriage and friendships in a whole new light… and make you think twice about inviting your best mates round for dinner. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Nick Spalding and Gill Sims.

Rating: three-stars

Beth, Sarah and Marie have been friends since school. Now, once a month, they and their husbands, that truly don’t have anything in common except their wives being friends, meet at one of their places for a dinner party, that usually run without mishaps and in a nice atmosphere. However, this time, when it’s Beth and Chris’s turn, he forgets to tell his wife that he has invited his new friend Simon. Simon and his wife have just split up and he’s been since heartbroken. To be honest, nobody is too happy with the new addition but when he arrives, the three female friends find themselves drawn to him, which doesn’t go unnoticed by their husbands. As the time goes on and the dinner parties as well, Simon becomes more part of their lives, however his presence also causes chaos and misunderstandings that eventually lead to a very dramatic finale.

There are six main characters in this book – yes, you could say it’s a lot, but they’re all so different and right from the beginning you get the feeling who is who and to whom they belong. All of them had perfectly distinctive voices, they had their quirks, flaws and secrets, some of them were too perfect and too snobbish, some of them really overdid with their love of dips – it was funny at the beginning but then it stopped being funny and started to feel irritating. Each chapter is told by a different character and all of them have a chance to tell us their thoughts, which was a brilliant way, as it was really great to see how each of them perceive the particular situation or what they really think.

Due to short Q&As at the end of each chapter between a journalist and one of the characters we quickly get the sense that something big has happened. Yes, it did, but it took the whole book to get to the point – a little too long for this story, to be honest, but I also understand that should it have been written differently, there wouldn’t be the grande finale that the author presented us with. However, it just felt too short and too rapid in comparison to the whole story. On the other hand, it was truly surprising and unexpected what has happened at the end.

It was an interesting, sharp – observed read that for me lacked in the final touch, the wow – effect and the idea of mixing stories of three different couples was a brilliant one, and adding then an extra person to this mix was even better, as it was for sure going to steer problems and troubles, but it was not developed. I was all the time asking myself: and? Please don’t get me wrong, I love Tracy Bloom, but this time I actually wasn’t sure what she wants to tell us with this novel. It is also billed as a “LOL Romantic Comedy” however for me it was neither LOL nor romantic nor comedy. However, I DID enjoy the book. Even though I didn’t sympathize with the characters, they were very well drawn and felt realistic. Why didn’t I sympathize with them? Well, first of all, I truly wasn’t sure why they’re calling themselves friends, I didn’t feel any bond between them, even between Beth, Sarah and Marie who have known each other since school, and well, Tony did admit, on many different occasions, that he actually has nothing in common with Chris and Duncan. They had many issues with each other and actually, they weren’t friendly, they were nasty and jealous of each other.

This book is written in this lovely, light Tracy Bloom’s writing style that I so much adore. She also for sure can create a bunch of regular, relatable characters with real problems and get them into some complicated and often hilarious situations. There is also so much depth to this story, as it touches upon love, betrayal, friendship and second chances. It makes me really sad that the book didn’t work for me as much as I was sure it’s going to, but Tracy Bloom stays at the very top of my auto – buy authors, I will read whatever she writes.

My Very Italian Holiday by Sue Roberts

My Very Italian Holiday by Sue Roberts

 

40133092Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 1st August 2018

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

Number of pages: 262

Genre: Humour, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A beautiful guesthouse, a fresh start and a hunky Italian. Does it sound too good to be true?

When Gina arrives in Lake Como, thousands of miles away from her life in the Lake District, she wonders if she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Working for Fabio, running his lakeside hotel, seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After her world was tragically turned upside down, breaking her heart in the process, she was in desperate need of a fresh start. Plus, it didn’t hurt that Fabio was easy on the eyes…

But it’s not all picturesque mountains, pizza and prosecco. The crumbling guesthouse that Fabio has inherited from his family needs some serious TLC. Is she up to the challenge?

As Gina and Fabio work in close quarters, sparks start to fly. But Fabio has a secret he is scared to share, and Gina has her past to come to terms with. Does her heart belong back home or is a life in the sun – with a very handsome Italian – just the change of scenery she needs?

Escape to the gorgeous mountains and glittering Lake Como in Northern Italy! This laugh-out-loud funny and feel-good story of starting over and living life to the max is perfect for fans of Kat French, Jenny Oliver and Carole Matthews.

Rating: two-half-stars

Gina has been widowed for a few years and is now running a successful B&B that she’s renovated with her husband before the tragic accident happened. Now she works with her sister Hannah and they both enjoy their job and the different variety of guests visiting. One guest, especially, in Gina’s case. Fabio is visiting his uncle and staying in Gina’s B&B. He’s just inherited his own B&B at Lake Como and they quickly find common ground. But Fabio lives in Italy, and Gina in England, and is Gina looking for a new man in her life at all?

I’ve requested this book because this beautiful cover hollers “holidays”, and well, the title as well, but I must probably stop doing it. I mean, requesting books because I love the covers. But that’s me, a total cover – sucker. The synopsis was also promising, let’s be honest, however the first grinding occurred when Italy appeared on the pages somewhere in the middle of the book. I don’t mean it’s wrong, Lake District is also a brilliant setting, and the descriptions of it were lovely, but then the holidays were not too very Italian, right.

I’d call this book chick – lit for beginners. I couldn’t connect with the characters too much, not as much as I’d like, they were not too very well developed to be honest. The chapters were very short, which is good, as it usually make reading easier and faster, however some of them I could, well, live without, as they rather didn’t bring anything significant to the story. I missed depth in this book, to be honest: the writing style was lovely but very simple, the narration told us the characters went to the bathroom and in the next paragraph that they left the bathroom. They went to bed and they woke up. The plot was not over – lapping, the things happened one after another: one situation ended, then came another that was solved at the end of the chapter. The banter between the characters was easy to follow as it was not too complex.

Sure, the book had its strong points as well, and those were the descriptions of the food for example, and there were some funny moments and situations, but altogether it just didn’t work for me. It felt too forced and too artificial. It was too predictable and there were moments that were too dramatic to be true. But it was also a quick and easy read and there was for sure an idea there and potential. I still have the author’s debut novel on my kindle, waiting patiently to be read, and I’ll do this as soon as possible. I would recommend “My Very Italian Holiday” to those who are looking for a quick, summery and not too demanding book.

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach by Holly Martin (Blog Tour)

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach by Holly Martin

 

39719642Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 22nd June 2018

Series: Sandcastle Bay #1 (read my review of Book 1 here  )

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

Number of pages: 234

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

The stunning new summer story from the bestselling author of Summer at Buttercup Beach. Step into the delightful seaside village of Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover golden sand, welcoming smiles and an unforgettable romance…

Melody Rosewood loves her new home in idyllic Sandcastle Bay. The beautiful little cottage on the edge of Sunshine Beach, with its bright yellow door and view of the sea has captured her heart. And she loves being close by to her family and best friend Tori Graham.

Life by the sea is pretty much perfect, there’s just one thing missing…

Gorgeous Jamie Jackson, with his cheeky grin and adorable puppy, works as a sculptor opposite Melody’s jewellery shop. From the moment he and Melody meet sparks fly. But despite their instant attraction, a past heartache is holding Jamie back.

As Melody starts to make a life for herself in the close-knit, quirky seaside community, she realises Jamie could be the one for her. But as the two of them take a chance on romance, it’s one dating disaster after another. Are they destined to always be just good friends?

Or will Melody finally find her happily-ever-after in Sandcastle Bay?

A perfect, feel-good summer read that will make you want to escape to the beach for a romantic day in the sun. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.

Rating: four-stars

“The Cottage on Sunshine Beach” is a second book in the Sandcastle Bay series. It can be read as a stand – alone, of course it can, because it’s following the adventures (and there are plenty of them! PLENTY!) of Melody and James but you would just miss out too much on a colourful, hilarious, sexy and quirky story – telling in “The Holiday Cottage by the Sea”. You don’t have to read them in the right order, I think, just read them both. Just saying.

So we return to Sandcastle Bay and are immediately thrown into the lives of Melody and her jewellery shop, and Jamie, an incredibly talented and sexy as hell sculptor. There is amazing chemistry between those two and Melody has the hots for Jamie but Jamie, sadly, has been badly hurt in the past and he’s holding back. However, Melody doesn’t give up and slowly it seems that Jamie starts to lose his reservations. But can one disaster date, when Melody poisons him, after other disaster date bring them together? Or is it too much for Jamie?

So guys. It is really hard to write this review as I truly am not sure what more should I say about Holly Martin’s writing and this book. I adore this author and her style but it seems that Holly has fallen for a pattern that is very successful and perfectly works for her, and it’s absolutely okay because when something works why should you change it? Sure, I can hear you saying, then don’t read Holly’s books – well, that’s not the point. As I’ve mentioned, I love her stories, they always made me laugh out loud and feel better, I just wish she’d surprise me with something different next time.

Nevertheless, I’ll try to explain what’s so special about this book. Because it is special 🙂

1) the setting – it’s gorgeous. Simply. Holly Martin is the champion of creating the most beautiful, desired places to live and I would move to any of the places she writes about in a couple of shakes.

2) the characters – are brilliant. As usually. They are full of humour and there is this lovely overwhelming community spirit and they all know everything about each other, there are no secrets in Sandcastle Bay.

The characters are so full of understanding and they’re so understanding and lenient that sometimes it’s too much. The guys always know what to say and what to do and sometimes it’s just  too good to be true. Don’t get me wrong here, pretty please, it’s lovely to see real gentlemen and how great they treat their women, how honest they are, there are no secrets between them, they do not lie, and sometimes, just sometimes, I missed a cold shoulder and a serious misunderstanding. To complicate the things a little.

3) the writing style. It’s full of humour and the best one – liners ever, and some of the scenes had made me laugh out loud. Really loud. The descriptions are so vivid and colourful and clear, you will have no problems to imagine them. Holly Martin has talent to effortlessly transport you into the heart of the story with her writing, to live the lives of the characters together with them.

It’s, as always, a little gem of a book that I wouldn’t like to miss out. There is everything you could ask for in a perfect rom – com: enough drama, a sizzling romance, incredible chemistry that only Holly can write in such way about, three – dimensional characters and hidden depths in a hilarious storyline. Truly recommended!

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