Escape to the French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas / Blog Tour

Escape to the French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas


Publisher: Transworld Digital/Corgi cover186066-medium

Publishing Date: 7th April 2020

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

Number of pages: 352

Genre: Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 06.08.2020)



Can she find her recipe for happiness?

Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier…a new life in France – without Ollie.

Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? Discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?

A heart-warming tale about reclaiming your life, set amongst the lavender fields of Provence. Perfect escapism from the author of Late Summer in the Vineyard and The Honey Farm on the Hill.

Rating: four-stars


“Escape to the French Farmhouse” begins with a kick when Della, our main character, decides that her marriage is actually over and, even though she has packed all the things and the removal van is already there, and her husband Ollie waits for her in the car, she’s not going back to the UK. So Del chooses to stay in France. Without Ollie but with Ralph, the dog she got from her husband after another failed IVF. On her own, Del quickly makes friends with some locals and to be able to pay the rent she starts to bake biscuits and cakes full of lavender from her own garden. Is she going to find her own happy end in this little French village?

It was a very feel – good, escapist story where everything happens as you want it to happen, in a good way – we all need this bit of sunshine in our lives and it is a perfect book when you need a bit of TLC.

The characters were lovely, though I’d love them to be a bit more rounded, as they were either verrry friendly and helpful or verrrry unfriendly and unhelpful. I adored Del and wanted to give her a standing ovation for realising what she wants from her life, for deciding to stay, for plucking up the courage – it’s for sure not easy to simply leave everything behind and stay in a new place, without a job and perspectives. And yet, she was able to take this opportunity, to face the challenge. She didn’t feel sorry for herself, but she rolled up her sleeves and immediately showed an initiative, grabbed every single aspect of French life and I cheered her on all the way. Integrating with the local community was a huge part of this book, showing how important it is to show your good faith, to get involved in the local life – and it’s true, I know it myself very well, having moved to a different country 15 years ago.
There is also a bunch of background characters who all bring so much to Del’s life and turn into her friends that she so much needed. The subplot with Del, Stephanie and Tomas was, even if sometimes too far – fetched, one of the most heart – warming things in this book, showing that where is trust there is also hope and possibility.

The descriptions of the food are, as always, exceptionally good, and I could feel myself put on weight only reading them – even though my ARC didn’t have the recipes that I’m sure are there in the finished copies, boo. Really, don’t read the book when you’re on diet or when you’re hungry, I can tell you from experience. However, it’s not only the food that is so vividly described. Jo Thomas has a way with words and she has also captured the scenery, the setting, the weekly market so evocatively, bringing this all to life and transporting me immediately into the characters’ world. And she truly couldn’t have chosen a better setting, capturing the atmosphere of this part of France, introducing us to French customs and people.

This time I missed a bit the depth that I’ve learnt to expect from Jo Thomas’s books. I had a feeling that the author didn’t explore the subplots in a way that she always does, and it felt so chopped – let’s take one thing, chop, another one, chop and tadah, here we are. Don’t get me wrong, pretty please, it was still full of Jo’s trademark warmth, humour, gorgeous setting and delicious food but this time it simply felt a bit too superficial for me, it missed the mark, it was sooo everything through rose – tinted glasses, and everything is solved so quickly but hey, I still truly, deeply enjoyed it, so there. No need to by so cynical, right, there are also happy ends.

And, as usual, the book is not only laugh, wine and food but there are also some sadder issues, that the author tackles with a lot of gentleness and delicately. Altogether, it is a typical Jo Thomas story, and let me tell, the author is a brilliant story – teller, her writing style is so chatty and friendly and you won’t feel the time passing by when reading the book. It’s a perfect read for a lazy afternoon, a book that is for sure going to leave you feeling warm and optimistic. Truly recommended!



Escape to French Farmhouse BT Poster

A Match Made in Devon by Cathy Bramley

A Match Made in Devon by Cathy Bramley


36562552Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 26th July 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 480

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback






Sometimes you have to play a part to realise who you really are…

Nina has always dreamed of being a star. Unfortunately her agent thinks she’s more girl-next-door than leading lady and her acting career isn’t going quite as planned. Then, after a series of very public blunders and to escape a gathering storm of paparazzi, Nina is forced to flee from London.

Her plan is to lay low with a friend in Devon, in beautiful Brightside Cove. But soon Nina learns that more drama can be found in a small village than on a hectic television set.

And when a gorgeous man (and his adorable dog) catch her eye, it’s not long before London and showbiz start to lose their appeal. Will Nina choose to return to the bright lights or has she met her match in Brightside Cove?

Rating: five-stars

Nina has always wanted to be a film star – now she’s featuring in a TV war series as the popular Nurse Elsie. Everything should be right then but, as it usually happens, it isn’t! Some things just doesn’t go quite to the plan and Nina is forced to run away and hide. And where is a better place to hide than in Devon? She’s hoping to lay low a little and see how things develop in London but well, life has other plans for our lovely Nina and she finds herself in the middle of holiday cottages restoration and also evolved in the personal drama of her guest, Theo, whose wife has left him after a tragic event in their lives and gone on a single journey to South America.
Nina does her best to help Theo and puts all her talents to good use in Driftwood Lodge and she’s doing great, but of course there are many bumps on the way, tons of misunderstandings, a man with a dog and hen parties. Moreover, she’s drawn into village life and well, can it be that London isn’t so interesting anymore? But her job, that she loves so much, is i n London… Soon she must face some important decisions…

This book was previously published in four – parts series and so it’s divided into four parts, and each of them brings new characters, hilarious situations and more poignant moments. It’s mostly about Nina and her skills to put herself into embarrassing situations, and the best thing here was probably the fact that I could never be sure what the outcome is going to look like. Her road to her happy end is bumpy and full of troubles and really, you can never be sure what kind of decision she’s going to make and if life is going to play nice for her.

The setting was simply gorgeous – Brightside Cove in Devon is a place that I’d love to spend not only my holidays but probably my whole life. It sounded so idyllic! I’d probably love to hear more about the village and its residents but I also accepted that it’s mostly about Theo and Kate’s holiday retreat, which was an adventure already. On the other hand, we get to know a handful of the residents, and if they’re all were like Eliza, Jethro and co then it was really not a boring place. Eliza was hilarious and who could thing that Mermaid school can be a thing? The scenes about the photo – shootings including mermaids were absolutely hilarious, as well as only one mermaid – oh guys, just read the book, it is so worth reading! you’re going to love it, take my word for it! And I also could very well relate to Theo and his cat allergy – same here, same here.

But this book is not only shining sun and beds of roses. Cathy Bramley touches upon some heavier issues that brought tears to my eyes, and she does it with gentleness and subtlety and her special way with words. There was nothing I didn’t like in this novel – I simply adored it, again, like any other Cathy Bramley’s book. I don’t know how this author does it but all her books deliver, they are full of wonderful, likeable and relatable characters that often make mistakes, each and every new one is set in even more gorgeous setting and the writing style goes from strength to strength. “A Match Made in Devon” was simply a fabulously lovely story with this so heavy to capture feel – good factor and it made my heart sing with joy and happiness. Highly recommended!


The Lemon Tree Cafe by Cathy Bramley / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Wednesday, hope you are all enjoying your summer!

I am so thrilled today to ba again a part of Cathy Bramley’s blog tour – I love this author and her uplifting novels! No matter what, her books will for sure make you feel better and you won’t want them to end. There is everything I am looking for in a great read – joy, romance, immediately likeable characters and enough twists and turns to keep you on your tenterhooks. Yes, I probably could read Ms Bramley’s novels on daily basis 🙂


The Lemon Tree Cafe by Cathy Bramley

51dddl5xnvl-_sx319_bo1204203200_Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 24th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 464

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback






The Lemon Tree Cafe was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

When Rosie Featherstone finds herself unexpectedly jobless, the offer to help her beloved Italian grandmother out at the Lemon Tree Cafe – a little slice of Italy nestled in the rolling hills of Derbyshire – feels like the perfect way to keep busy.

Surrounded by the rich scent of espresso, delicious biscotti and juicy village gossip, Rosie soon finds herself falling for her new way of life. But she is haunted by a terrible secret, one that even the appearance of a handsome new face can’t quite help her move on from.

Then disaster looms and the cafe’s fortunes are threatened . . . and Rosie discovers that her nonna has been hiding a dark past of her own. With surprises, betrayal and more than one secret brewing, can she find a way to save the Lemon Tree Cafe and help both herself and Nonna achieve the happy endings they deserve?

Rating: five-stars

Guys, “The Lemon Tree Cafe” is Cathy Bramley at her best! Which delights me terribly as I had some issues with her last novel and to be absolutely honest I was afraid how I’m going to like this book. But no worries guys, no worries, reading “The Lemon Tree Cafe” was really a great joy. Of course initially this book was published as a four – part – series but I am incredibly happy to have waited for the whole story being published as one gorgeous novel. I just can’t have enough of Cathy Bramley’s writing, her storytelling, quirky characters and beautiful settings, and with this book she has fulfilled all of my expectations. You know, it is really hard to explain why I love Cathy Bramley’s books so much without repeating over and over again that they are full of warmth, honesty, genuine characters and this so hard to capture feel – good factor – and “The Lemon Tree Cafe” had it all!

I absolutely adored the fact that some of the characters were already introduced to us earlier in “The Plumberry School of Comfort Food”. It felt like coming back home, to some friends of yours. I warmed to the book and the characters right at the beginning – even to the all – knowing nonna (you know I have huge problems with wiser than wise older aunts, grandmas, cousins in the stories. However, Cathy Bramley has managed to write Maria in the best possible way, without her being patronizing but also showing her weakest points, showing that she is a real woman, with dark past). Rosie was my hero from the start – the way she stood for her beliefs was absolutely inspiring. She was not afraid to gave up her job only to prove her point – that was SO right, btw! To not go too crazy without a job she offers to work for a month in her nonna’s cafe, and perhaps bring it back to its glory days, even though Maria doesn’t think it’s necessary, make it a little bit better – but does the nonna need Rosie’s help? Or perhaps does she keep some secrets that she doesn’t want to see the daylight?
Now Gabe. I know I’ve said once that Gabe is not my favourite character – because Gabe was already introduced to us in “The Plumberry School of Comfort Food” and well… OK, yes, I started to warm to him but it took me some time. You know, in the previous book he had a moment that he tried to persuade Verity they should be together, even though he didn’t love her, and in “The Lemon Tree Cafe” he entered the scenes, took a look at Rosie and tried to convince her they should be together – again. And I just couldn’t stop thinking, Gabe, really, get a grip. Are you so desperate? But yes, I admit – he turned out to be a really nice guy and showed where his priorities are, and yes, there were moments that I pitied him so much when he wanted to explain to Rosie some things and she didn’t let him, jumping to conclusions – just like real life, no? However, the romance element in this book was rather absent, and it felt forced on us. I mean, I want my hero to appear on the pages more than Gabe appeared, so the end felt so pushed and rushed and I wondered, when did they really have time to fell in love? This relationship was more off than on, and it’s a shame because Cathy Bramley can write brilliant romance! (This was my one and only problem with this book. No more whining, promise. And really, even with this I adored this story.)

The book was full of twists, turns and surprises. There were some secrets kept and while I guessed the one kept by Maria, this of Rosie’s broke me. It explained a lot, why she was so cautious about relationships and why she wanted to focus on her career, and it really was breaking my heart because she deserved so much more after what she has experienced.
And of course, as this book is about an Italian cafe, there are plenty of deliciously sounding descriptions of food, as well as some great recipes at the end of the story.

It was so warmly written that I didn’t want to put it away, even for a moment, and cursed life getting in the way. The story only got better and better, guys, there are no flat moments in it, the pacing is just right and I loved how well balanced were the humorous and poignant moments. There is also this lovely, brilliantly captured community spirit when the people support each other, and the cafe was in the heart of all things happening. This story is full of fun and of little dramas that can be life – changing for some of the characters, and I think this is one of the factors that make this novel so lovely to read, so relatable and just so down to earth. The characters hit rock bottom, just like it happens with us, they sometimes lose all their hopes but they never lose their spirits, and this is why I admire and adore them so much. They always come up with a plan, they support each other and this is always so lovely to see.

Cathy Bramley smuggles so many important issues and messages into her books. It is the same with “The Lemon Tree Cafe” – it is a story of finding yourself, finding what brings you happiness, it’s about daily struggles of new mothers, about learning to appreciate yourself again, about family, secrets and letting the old demons go, about being proud of who you are and your roots – this all in this lovely, heart – warming, light – hearted and gorgeously delicious story. I can only salute the author for writing another unforgettable story. This book was for me like a huge mug of hot chocolate with marshmallow topping, so welcoming, comforting and tasty. Highly recommended!




White Lies and Wishes by Cathy Bramley

HI guys, and happy Tuesday –  very unexpectedly FREE Tuesday for me. We have a black ice, it’s impossible to move without ice skates, and let’s forget about driving a car. I love my car, and I love driving but today it’s no fun at all, the schools are closed and my boss called me to tell me to stay at home. I like such surprises 🙂 And to make the day even more better, I am absolutely, super dooper excited to welcome you to Cathy Bramley’s blog tour today! I love Cathy incredibly and I couldn’t wait for my stop to share my review of “White Lies and Wishes” with you!

White Lies and Wishes by Cathy Bramley


51lyldrcjrl-_sx319_bo1204203200_Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 26th January 2017

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

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



What happens when what you wish for is only half the story…?

Flirtatious, straight-talking Jo Gold says she’s got no time for love; she’s determined to save her family’s failing footwear business.

New mother Sarah Hudson has cut short her maternity leave to return to work. She says she’ll do whatever it takes to make partner at the accountancy firm.

Bored, over-eating housewife Carrie Radley says she just wants to shift the pounds – she’d love to finally wear a bikini in public.

The unlikely trio meet by chance one winter’s day, and in a moment of ‘Carpe Diem’ madness, embark on a mission to make their wishes come true by September.

Easy. At least it would be, if they hadn’t been just the teensiest bit stingy with the truth…

With hidden issues, hidden talents, and hidden demons to overcome, new friends Jo, Carrie and Sarah must admit to what they really, really want, if they are ever to get their happy endings.

Rating: 4/5

Reading a Cathy Bramley book is like settling down after a stressful, demanding day, like doing something you love to do – her stories are like an unicorn mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows and glitter on top – warm, inviting, making you feel welcome. So it is probably not a surprise for you to hear that I was waiting impatiently for the author’s new release – “White Lies and Wishes”, no? I thought so. I’ve read all Cathy’s books, fell in love with her writing and she’s at the top of my favourite authors list, and I am sure she’s going to stay there for ever and ever. I can’t get enough of her stories and I always repeat: Cathy, please do keep them coming!

This story was a bit different to all the other storylines in Cathy Bramley’s books because it follows not one main female character, but three – three women who unexpectedly meet and become friends. There were moments that I had a feeling I’m reading a book by Lucy Diamond, as she is the champion of writing stories about surprising friendships, and Cathy Bramley has also managed it brilliantly. The women meet at the funeral of their mutual friend’s husband and funeral here or there, but there was one scene that had me in stitches – actually the one when all three met for the first time. There is Jo Gold, who’s running a failing family shoe business but she’s determined to save it. Then there is Sarah Hudson – a new mother who’s juggling coming back to work, baby and staying at home husband. Sarah is a woman with ambitions and the thing she wants most right now is to become a partner in the firm she’s working for. And there is Carrie Radley, married, not working and over – eating her problems. All three of them quickly bond and decide to put together a wish list of things they want to achieve till September – Jo wants to overcome her fear of heights, Sarah wants to be a partner in her firm and Carrie wants to wear a bikini in public. But – are they really truthful? Will they manage? Are those really they real wishes? Will they stay friends?

Now. The characters. I’ve never before had problems to love Cathy Bramley’s immediately and stay like this for the whole duration of reading the book. However, this time, I had some problems to warm to them, to fell for them and to get them. If they bonded so well that they decided to be BFFs, then why hide their real wishes? Also at the beginning they were mostly a bunch of unhappy, moaning women and only after getting to know them better, seeing how they tick and what inspires and drives them, I started to feel more comfortable in their company – however, I still had a niggling and troubling feeling that they are really not honest, with themselves, with each other and with us. Carrie was like enigma, and the dynamics between her and her husband were really weird, and I couldn’t see where they were coming from. Sarah seemed to know what she wants but I all the time had the feeling that she really doesn’t. I think that Jo was the most believable one of them, with her ideas and determination and eventually showing her weakness. And the relationship between them was not as open and friendly as you would expect. I guess it just takes time to trust each other and maybe they just expected too much from their friendship at the beginning?
But my issues apart, the characters were – as always – brilliantly written. Cathy Bramley has made it her hallmark to write the most believable, relatable characters. She can easily get into their heads and tell three different stories in an engaging, light – hearted way. Jo, Sarah and Carrie could be – in fact – any of us, and when reading you can easily nod your head, sigh and tell them you know what they’re feeling because you’ve been there as well. In the end the girls overcame their reservations and it was great to see how much support there is in the air, how they support each other.

The book was very uplifting in tone. I found it great that the girls decided to go for they dreams and weren’t afraid to dream big, even though they hide their true dreams at the beginning. The story also wonderfully describes family and friend’s relationships, shows how hard it is sometimes to cope and basically, tells us how it really is – that life is not only a bed of roses, that you must be prepared to fight for yourself, even if it’s not so easy.

It wasn’t my favourite Cathy Bramley’s book of all time, sadly, but nevertheless it was a gorgeous story about new beginnings and friendship and it for sure will give you a fix of the author’s warm and inviting writing and her gift to write feel – good stories. Altogether, “White Lies and Wishes” was an easy to read book, uplifting story about trials, tribulations and finding courage. It is full of mishaps and misunderstandings, with a romance element to it (of course! And I found it great and captivating, as well as despairing because you’ve seen those two belong together, only they haven’t seen it! Aaaargh! I’m telling you…! But you can trust Cathy Bramley to create a great atmosphere and sparkles). Even though I find Cathy’s previous books better, I still enjoyed this one and I am sure that the readers won’t be disappointed with this lovely story about gaining confidence. Highly recommended!


The Plumberry School of Comfort Food by Cathy Bramley

The second blog tour today belongs to Cathy Bramley and her brand new novel „The Plumberry School of Comfort Food„. I think I don’t have to introduce Cathy to you – she is one of my all time favourite authors and I love all her books, and the latest release is not  exception – it has all I am looking for in books, and more, much more, and I only hope that Cathy Bramley will keep them coming. Books, I mean.

So, to celebrate the publication of „The Plumberry School of Comfort Food” the publisher (Corgi) has organized a very special Blog Tour – one of the fellow bloggers Zarina of Page to Stage Reviews has run a brilliant interview with Cathy and Cathy is answering the questions every day on different blog – so be sure to check all the stops to read the whole lovely conversation between those two gorgeous ladies! Here is my question:

In one sentence, why should readers pick up your new novel, The Plumberry School of Comfort Food?

While I was mulling this question over, I received a message from a reader, so if you don’t mind I’ll let her tell you:

Dearest Cathy, I have just finished The Plumberry School of Comfort Food, wow, absolutely stunning, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried and for me it’s your best book yet, thank you so much for writing such a wonderful book.

The Plumberry School of Comfort Food

by Cathy Bramley


Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 30th June 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher,  thank you!

Number of pages: 480

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



The Plumberry School of Comfort Food was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

Verity Bloom hasn’t been interested in cooking anything more complicated than the perfect fish finger sandwich, ever since she lost her best friend and baking companion two years ago.

But an opportunity to help a friend lands her right back in the heart of the kitchen. The Plumberry School of Comfort Food is due to open in a few weeks’ time and needs the kind of great ideas that only Verity could cook up. And with new friendships bubbling and a sprinkling of romance in the mix, Verity finally begins to feel like she’s home.

But when tragedy strikes at the very heart of the cookery school, can Verity find the magic ingredient for Plumberry while still writing her own recipe for happiness?

A heartwarming and romantic story certain to make you smile – perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde.

Rating: 5/5


Oh wow, I haven’t even realised how much I’ve missed Cathy Bramley’s writing! I could probably read her books on daily basis, so dear Cathy, please never stop writing novels! I don’t know how the author does it but each time I start a new book or new series by Ms Bramley I immediately feel at home and I feel as if I had known the characters for a long, long time already – the warmth of the writing just envelopes you and really, the stories are like an evening out with best friends – brilliant, funny, comforting and relaxing.

I’ve really read many books about food but in „The Plumberry School of Comfort Food” believe me, there is a lot of food, glorious food indeed, so well described that I actually felt my mouth watering, even though I am relatively resistant to such things, but the author has really excelled herself in describing these lovely, gorgeous canapés and some other food. Glorious food. Yes, I am aware I used the word „glorious” already. But it is glorious.

This time, as usual with Cathy Bramley’s heroines, Verity Bloom is at crossroads with her life. We are introduced to her not in her best moment to be honest, and let’s only say it involves unfaithful boyfriend, her job and she’s still grieving after the very unexpected death of her best friend Mimi. The story of Verity is so natural and realistic, sounds so believable and she’s another fantastic character from Cathy Bramley (and ditto for the whole cast of characters in the book – I immediately connected with all of them and am felt like a part of their gang), and I loved seeing her coming back to life she enjoyed before, blossoming and starting to laugh again. What she needed was one phone call from Mimi’s mother Gloria, owner of a new cooking school – even though Verity wasn’t sure about cooking, as she connected cooking and food with great memories of Mimi. But nevertheless, she knew that marketing the school is something she can do really well, so there was nothing keeping her at home and she took the chance. I really enjoyed the way our Verity was changing and coming back to life and the whole process of it. It was not easy for her and the author has brilliantly captured all the emotions and feeling accompanying Verity. I loved to see how her passion to life was growing back, how she was finding cooking relaxing and bringing joy again and I also loved how she dealt (or not) with the romance element in her life. I absolutely, totally adored watching how Verity and Tom were coming together, how awkward it was occasionally, and how genuine, and you’ve no idea how much I wanted those two to stay together, which was not so obvious, as – of course! Of course! – the author has pulled the rug from under their feet more than once!

I also loved to see how the school is coming to life. I adored the classes that the school offered and I’d myself love to try one or two of them, even if I were supposed to respond „Yes, Chef” to Tom. I could respond however he wished, to be honest, as Tom, you lovely folks, Tom is again one of the best male characters ever. I’ve no idea how Cathy Bramley manages to create such characters, as every book of hers brings us a new cookie. But better back to school, oh dear, I kinda went too far with my thoughts about Tom… The descriptions of the cookery school, inside and outside, and of the village were, as always, full of lovely details, vivid and springing to life.

The group of characters is just the best. Tom, Gloria, Mags, Rosie, Pixie – they were all fantastic, larger than life, funny and sad, just like the real people. However, I couldn’t warm to Mimi’s husband Gabe. I don’t know why, there was something in him that made me feeling like this. And of course they all stick together! They support each other, they can count on each other, they bicker and then mend the fences and this all felt so genuine! It was really palpable that they all felt so good in their own company but also that any new person was heartily welcome, and this made me feel like a part of their world.

As usual, Cathy Bramley adds some more serious issues to her story, and it’s the same with this novel, and this subplot is mention en passant every once in a while. I must admit, I relatively quickly guessed what it could be, that was so controversial and made Verity fell out with her parents, especially with her mother, but nevertheless it was an interesting look at this issue and I really appreciate the fact that Cathy has found a place for this in this light – hearted story. She also complicates the lives of the characters, adding a catastrophe here or there and she sees the timing brilliantly – she knows when to add a funny scene to brake the ice and when to add some drama to pump up the pace and feelings. There are twists and turns along the way but always treated with a dose of humour and wit.

Reading the book was a real joy, from start to finish. It is so well written, it has a lovely storyline and it’s full to the brim with events of all sorts. It is a great journey that makes you laugh, cry, cheer and boo the characters, a great rollercoaster of emotions and full of beautiful descriptions and lovely setting. It belongs to these kind of books that you want to read as quickly as possible to see what’s going to happen but you also don’t want to end. However, after reading „The End”, I felt so satisfied and so happy – Cathy Bramley has again delivered a brilliant, light – hearted, warm and uplifting read that I’ll be coming back to for comfort. You really don’t need comfort food when you have the book to hand. There were characters that you can relate to, it was down – to – earth and – again! – the cover is so incredibly gorgeous and inviting! Loved it and can’t wait for more! Highly recommended!



The Assistants by Camille Perri

The Assistants

by Camille Perri


Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 21st April 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 288

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



Behind every successful man is a busy assistant and Tina’s boss is very successful.

But Tina is tired of being overworked and underpaid.
She’s bored of her damp flat and her mounting debts.
Then a blip in the expenses system sends Tina a cheque.
She’s a good person.
But she’s desperate.
This isn’t stealing.
It’s an administrative error.

What would you do if you thought you’d get away with it?

Rating: 3/5


OK, guys, „The Assistants” by Camille Perri was one of my most anticipated releases this year. Honestly. I was intrigued by the synopsis, and it sounded so thought – provoking and I really couldn’t wait for my copy to finally, eventually arrive. There was such a buzz going about this book on Twitter, and I didn’t wait long to dig deep into it when I’ve received it. I started reading it so full of expectations and so incredibly curious how the author has pulled off this rather controversial and not so easy to handle topic.

Tina Fontana is a PA to media mogul Robert Barlow, and she’s loyal to him – she would never do anything to harm him or that could end with losing his trust. That is, until one day, because of a mix – up in refunding expenses, she ends with a double back payment for almost 20 thousand dollars. It is the amount of her student loan that she has such problems to pay back, what with her being on an assistant’s salary. So – what now? To do or not to do? OK, already from the synopsis we know that it’s „to do”, but the question now is, what next? Is anybody going to discover this fraud? And can Tina live like this? Would her conscience allow her?

You know, Tina – with or without taking this chance – was a really nice person and I’m not going to get mixed up here in some moral considerations about her. She was sharp and independent and had a great sense of humour. Slightly naive, very good natured and hard – working and I really kept my fingers crossed for her, and couldn’t believe when, in style of Dumb and Dumber, she started to tangle up into almost a pyramid – scheme. She was really not bad, she was not a thief and I think it is normal to dream about a better life. But, it’s the way how you achieve this dream life, that’s for sure. But liking her didn’t stop me from seeing that she also felt a little flat – she was super passive and let the things around her just happen, and went with everything she was told, even though she didn’t agree. And what I didn’t enjoy so much was the fact that the characters were so stereotypical: the über – rich mogul, the poor assistants, only men with better jobs.

I took the whole money thing in a relatively relaxed way, to be honest. We are supposed to be on Tina’s side only because her boss is a real mogul who spends thousands of dollars on his wife jewellery when he loses his bet, an amount that would pay Tina’s debt, but the author tries to complicate the things for us a little showing Robert as a normal man who is doing his own BBQ and making us like him more. Sure, I was a little conflicted about this whole situation because a) I could understand Tina and the unfairness of the system, b) no matter how much money you have and who you are people shouldn’t steal from you, but altogether, it didn’t make me feel shocked or something like that. And, to be honest, the thing with paying, it was maybe funny, thrilling and to digest for the first or second time, but when it started to get out of control and new people came, interested in this kind of cheating, I could only roll my eyes and sigh in disbelief. How much Robin Hood – like can you be with money that is not yours and risk so much?

What I really liked in this book is Camilla Perri’s writing style – it’s sharp, no – nonsense and light. Sure, next to this lightness and humour that author also touches upon issues of injustice, inequity and indirectly asks how come people who went through colleges and universities end with thousands of dollars loans while people who can’t book a plane ticket without their help can sleep on their money. It’s a fast – paced story but the message is not always so optimistic: you steal. You get away with it. You steal more. I really wanted to leave this moral aspect of this story aside, however, after leaving it aside, without judging the characters, the book seems a little bland, a little confusing, a little chaotic. Yes, it delivers some romance (that didn’t work for me, at all, it was too unbelievable), it delivers some funny moments, but there is not enough depth for my liking. And let’s be honest – the whole idea of the plot, the fraud, it does seem a little unbelievable, right? I’m not sure how corporations work but I am sure that they check every cent twice so discovering the fraud would be only a matter of time. Then the quick idea with the website – I haven’t heard of such thing, to be honest, I can’t even imagine how such thing should work and for how long, and I had a feeling that Emily had other plans for this money, no? It’s really complicated, because as much as I liked the characters, or rather grow to like them, when you steal than you should be punished, right? And not go away with it… Stealing is stealing. Oh damn, I’m really torn about it book :) I wanted to love it but I liked it, I’ve spotted there a lot of potential, the author found the courage for a rather very controversial plot and I really appreciate that, as I like the books to be not so straightforward. However, I missed this „something” that makes novel exceptional, and like I’ve already mentioned it before, the characters went away without being punished, and I wasn’t expecting them being put into the prison for twenty years or something, but it looked like they – maybe with the exception of Tina – didn’t learn any lesson and would do it again. But guys, I’d say, read the book for yourself and you’ll see for yourself what it is about.

The Night that Changed Everything by Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice

The Night that Changed Everything

by Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice


Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 24th March 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn’t cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They’re a perfect match.

Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.

When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.

Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?

The Night That Changed Everything is a funny, feel-good and bittersweet story, told in alternate chapters by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice.

Rating: 5/5


After reading and loving Laura and Jimmy’s debut novel „The Best Thing That Never Happened to Me” two years ago (two years, guys! TWO years!!!) I was waiting impatiently for their next novel – it isn’t often that you have such a gem of a debut in your hands and I couldn’t wait to see if their second book will live up to my expectations. The first thing I thought when I started reading „The Night that Changed Everything” was how comfortable I immediately feel, how the writing embraces me and how it feels as if I’ve just read the previous novel – as if it was yesterday. I also couldn’t help thinking how similar to the earlier book the novel is built, as the chapters are told from both of the characters points of view, alternatively, and just like with the last book I totally adored the ones told by Rebecca – I loved her sharp tongue, her razor sharp one – liners and the great sense of humour. (And I also can’t stop wondering how the two authors brilliantly work together, as the story flows so seamlessly – the two perspectives give us a great view at the whole situation, we have two voices, two different opinions, and yet it feels as if the story was written by one person, so complete it feels!).

At first it seemed that Rebecca and Ben are THE perfect couple but then came this misunderstanding and everything changed – yes, the night that changed everything! However, I couldn’t stop thinking that the reason the couple stopped seeing each other is a little too far – fetched, don’t you think? For me Rebecca, no matter how much I liked her, exaggerated much too much and for me it was really not a reason to break up if they were in love so much. Sure, then the circumstances made the whole situation even more complicated but really, I can’t stop shaking my head at the foolishness of Rebecca and Ben. Nevertheless, they felt so honest and genuine in all their feelings and the way they acted – Rebecca trying to work things out with her characteristic cynicism, often over – reacting and being incredibly stubborn, and Ben, the calmer one, the chalk to Rebecca’s cheese, also stubborn, and I might have not agree with them and all of their decisions but I had a feeling that they are true to the things they do and say and I did sympathise with them.

Throughout the story the characters have their ups and downs, there are twists and turns, they are closer, they are farther away, they change, they develop, and many things are happening. And then comes the end – the end that I haven’t expected at all and at first I didn’t know how I’m feeling about it to be honest, but the end that worked and the more I think about it, the more I’m sure it’s the best one.
The background characters in this book deserve Oscars, and Jemma deserves two. At first I thought there is a little more to this girl than meets the eye, that she’s planning something, but it turned out she’s the best new best friend, and I loved the scenes with her – she was incredibly funny but also clear – headed, and she was this kick in the backside that Rebecca so often needed. There is also Avril who, as much as we hate her, is in fact one of the most significant people in this book, and also Ben’s flatmates are more than worth a mention or two – they were all brilliantly written, felt so true to life.

The authors have this brilliant gift of throwing the reader to the heart of the story, to make them feel like a part of it, like a part of characters’ world, and it is a feeling that I, personally, am looking for in books and I love it. I felt very involved in the lives of Rebecca, Ben and their best friends Danielle and Jamie, and more than once I wanted to shake them or bang their heads together, to shout at them or to comfort them. The bond between these four was great and going strong, even with the hiccups they had on their way. They are not perfect, they made mistakes and the book shows them as they really are.

I can’t not mention the other night that changed everything, the one nearer the end of the story – the night that broke my heart and that I couldn’t believe has really happened.

So if we forget for a moment about Rebecca and Ben behaving like children, the book was absolutely brilliant. Maybe it didn’t have a life – changing plot but altogether I loved it, I loved the characters and the way they were. It was bitter – sweet, funny and sad, I laughed out loud and also cried, and what more do you need from a great book? I wouldn’t say that „The Night That Changed Everything” is better than the duo’s debut novel but it’s at least as good as – it’s addictive and the writing style is brilliant, it’s a storytelling at the highest niveau and I didn’t want to put it down. There are characters to die for and to hate, so easy to identify with, it’s full of emotions, and it’s this kind of book that makes you think what you would do in the same situation. In my opinion it fully deserves these big, fat, shiny 5 stars and I recommend it highly!

Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley

Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley


 Publisher: Corgi

Publishing Date: 14th January 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Genre:  General Fiction (Adult), Contemporary

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up. Not only does she get to organise for a living and work in stunning surroundings, but it will also put a bit of distance between Holly and her problems at home.

As Holly falls in love with the busy world of Wickham Hall – from family weddings to summer festivals, firework displays and Christmas grottos – she also finds a place in her heart for her friendly (if unusual) colleagues.

But life isn’t as easily organised as an event at Wickham Hall (and even those have their complications…). Can Holly learn to let go and live in the moment? After all, that’s when the magic happens…

Rating: 5/5

I can’t express how much I was waiting to finally read Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley! I usually don’t wait for her series to come out as a full – length novel but read them part by part, immediately after they are released, so I really have no explanation why I waited this time. But no matter, no matter…! When the book arrived, I couldn’t stop looking at it – really. The cover is so gorgeous, only looking at it made me feel better :) But this what is between the cover is even better than the cover, Cathy delivers a wonderful, warm, lovely story – again! There may be thousand of uncertain things in your life, but one is for sure – when you pick Cathy Bramley’s book, you are for a real treat.

Just like Cathy’s previous books, Wickham Hall, that was firstly published as a series, is divided into four parts, and each part is in charge of a season – and it worked out brilliantly in this book, as there is always at least one big event to be organized in the Hall, and the plot focuses around it. It suits the book totally, and we have not only Christmas party, but fireworks night or Summer Fairs.
Cathy is a champion of creating delightful plots, worlds and characters, and it was not exception with Wickham Hall. I immediately felt at home when I started reading this novel, felt comfortable and in the right place. Holly Swift, Cathy’s new protagonist and main character, is just charming. She is on the normal level, a girl from the neighbourhood, a lovely, friendly person, but she can also stand for herself, when situation requires. I loved Holly’s internal dialogues, I couldn’t have enough of her dilemmas, she was so funny and this all only made me like her even more. She was so down to earth, genuine and honest in everything she did. Also, she had the biggest heart in the world and tons of patience in her, which we could see and appreciate when Holly’s mother Lucy was introduced to us – Lucy and her hoarding issues. It was also a point in the book that was brilliantly tackled by Cathy, with a lot of understanding and gentleness, and it quickly became clear why Holly is as she is: meticulous, clipboard kind of girl, with everything planned in advance. I also loved Holly’s enthusiasm about almost everything, loved her fresh ideas, and she was really the kind of girl that I’d love to have as my own, personal best friend.
And let’s talk about Ben. We can’t NOT talk about him. Move over all of my previous bookish crushes, now it’s Ben. For me, he was perfect. No, he himself was not perfect, he had his flaws, but from the very first scene we meet him (mmmmm…) I was sold. I was smitten. I was under his spell. And it didn’t change. A guy with his own dreams and plans that he wasn’t afraid to chase, a guy with talent, sexy as hell, with a brilliant sense of humour, leather jacket and able to organize the best dates in the world. Hello? And the sweeping romance was so, so sweet!
There is a great bunch of characters in this story, because we are talking not only about Holly, her mum and her best friend, but also about the owners of the Wickham Hall and all the staff members there, and they were all so true to life, so genuine in this what they were doing and saying, and I adored them all – even though I had a little clash with Lady F. some time during the story. They all add tons to the book – in the sense of their own stories and personalities. They were all so welcoming and so warm, and just made me feel like a part of their one, big family.

The plot moves seamlessly and the story is just flowing, and the author’s storytelling is incredibly engaging. Cathy always finds lovely settings for her novels, but this time she has exceeded herself. Wickham Hall and its surroundings, together with the village, were beautiful. The descriptions of those places were so very vivid, I didn’t have any problems to picture all of them in my mind, and Cathy created a truly special place.

I may sound like a very ungrateful reader, but I am really already waiting for Cathy’s next novel – I just can’t have enough of her writing and I hope she will be writing books for many, many years to come – she just pulls you into the story with her wonderful, vivid descriptions and you feel so, so welcome. Wickham Hall was the best example of her talent, easy, enjoyable read that had a depth to it. It made me laugh, it had moments that had me feeling a little nostalgic, it was fast paced, and when one secret was revealed the next was already waiting for you So and I loved the whole story, from the beginning to the end – a truly brilliant book, highly recommended!