The Pets at Primrose Cottage Part 4 by Sheila Norton

The Pets at Primrose Cottage: No Place Like Home by Sheila Norton

 

35269557Publisher: Ebury Digital

Publishing Date: 15th February 2018

Series: Pets at Primrose Cottage #4 (read my review of part 1 here,  part 2 here , and part 3 here )

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

Number of pages: 78

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

PART FOUR of a serialised novel – a charming and romantic story about living the simple life and the joy of animals.

With Emma’s past threatening to ruin her life in quiet Crickleford, she’s running out of options. If people – especially Matt, her reporter friend – find out her secret, it might force her to leave the place she’s come to think of as home.

When flooding strikes the town while Emma is looking after an elderly couple’s dog, she has to take her biggest risk yet – but could this be the one that blows her cover for good? And if it does, can Crickleford – and Matt – ever accept Emma for who she truly is?

Rating: three-stars

And so here we come to the final instalment in the “Pets at Primrose Cottage” series, which is a pity actually, as it was a nice and relaxing read and I grew fond of the characters, both human and animal ones.

There was – again – a lot of focus on Emma’s pet sitting and events that happened in the village, such as flood, and I was afraid that revealing Emma’s big secrets will get overshadowed but no, it was delivered in a very nice way and it didn’t feel too rushed or too short. However, and I must add this, in comparison to the huge built – up in the last three part, the reveals of both secrets didn’t take me so much by surprise. It was something that I was expecting and to be honest I was hoping for a great surprise, an explosion, something that would hit me and leave me unconscious for a few days. But no – those were mediocre secrets. To be frank, I was also a little disappointed with Emma. First all people in the cafe got to know what’s her problem is, and I mean ALL PEOPLE, because the whole village was there, and all people wanted to help, and Emma says she feels actually OK now everything is out and she doesn’t want to do anything with this problem. I mean, hello? First she’s blaming herself for everything, thinks about herself “stupid” and when everything is out she wants to do nothing about it. I thought, well Emma, I was expecting more from you. I mean, she didn’t have to go to university, and it was great she felt good in her own skin but she’s just condemning herself for limitations in my humble opinion. However, standing ovation to Emma for the way she has treated some of the people in her life, I always knew there is fire in this girl.

As always, the writing style was incredibly engaging and easy to follow, descriptive and warm. The ending was brilliantly happy – ever – after and I really liked it. All the questions were answered in this part and everything came smoothly to an end, all the loose ends of the plot and conflicts are neatly wrapped up. Altogether, it was a feel – good novella and enjoyable read.

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The Pets at Primrose Cottage Part 3 by Sheila Norton

Pets at Primrose Cottage: Trust Your Heart by Sheila Norton

 

34846988Publisher: Ebury Digital

Publishing Date: 18th January 2018

Series: The Pets at Primrose Cottage #3  (read my review of part 1 here and part 2 here )

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

Number of pages: 80

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

PART THREE of a serialised novel – a charming and romantic story about living the simple life and the joy of animals.

Emma Nightingale finds she’s accidentally becoming something of a local celebrity in the small town of Crickleford, and it seems that everyone wants her to look after their pets.

While looking after a hamster, she accidentally uncovers a mystery that threatens to draw even more attention to her. With nowhere to turn, soon Emma will have to make a decision that could cost her everything…

Rating: four-stars

 

And so The Pets at Primrose Cottage series continues with part 3, “Trust Your Heart”. In this part, as opposed to two other ones, there is a lot happening, however it still doesn’t explain much about Emma’s previous situation and I’m afraid that the last part will feel too rushed as the author will have to wrap all the threads of the subplots neatly together. But let’s wait and see.

I think this is also the funniest part yet, especially with the hamster adventures, and with the fish troubles. It of course brings back the characters that we’ve got to know but I only hope that the unappetizing Rob won’t enter the scenes anymore, he’s incredibly annoying and I am really not sure what’s the point of his advances. Emma is promising to tell this all his wife but it’s the same as with her lies – she promises to stop and it never happens. However, in this part she’s plucks up the courage to open a little to Matt and I must admit that his reaction disappointed me – and let’s be honest, were the stories that Emma told before so life – changing and significant? And well, hello, there was no talk about relationship before, so why to react so strongly? Probably because he has something to hide as well (oh boy. I fear that the fourth part is going to be longer as the three parts together, everything just accumulates). I also am not sure if I understand Emma’s allegation’s towards her family because when her sister visited her at Primrose Cottage, they were both so well around each other, they enjoyed each other’s company and there was not a feeling that there is something wrong between them.

The story was flowing so very nicely and it made me smile and I enjoyed it. However, all the time I have a feeling that it would work much better as w full – length novel, not all books can be split into series and in my opinion this is such a book, and it just losing too much. But I, of course, will be reading the final instalment, I have to know all the answers. “Trust Your Heart” had some romance in it, some buried secrets and altogether it was enjoyable, quick read.

One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill by Mandy Baggot

One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill by Mandy Baggot

 

34322561Publisher: Ebury

Publishing Date: 16th November 2017

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

Number of pages: 448

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Isla Winters loves Christmas – especially the parties! Prosecco-infused everything is her ideal start to the busy festive season, and she can’t wait to wow her contacts in international construction throughout the month of December. But everything changes when she’s given a new remit: right-hand girl to the head of the New York branch.

Chase Bryan’s marriage has fallen apart. Given a secret project, he moves to London for the holidays with his two young daughters, hoping to dive in and ignore the distractions of Christmas. Problem is, he’s been saddled with Little Miss Candy Cane.

Isla’s wheelchair-bound sister, Hannah, lives life to the max. Isla’s unofficial second job is to keep her sister from trying to take over the world – but what will happen when Hannah starts to pay attention to Isla’s love life? One moment in Notting Hill could change everything…

Join Isla and Chase in a sparkly, festive London, where a little winter magic is just around the corner.

Rating: five-stars

I really think that Mandy’s Christmas offers are much better than her summery ones – not stating that the summery are not worth reading, though, nono, far away from this, but “One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill” is a book that is going to give you a very happy feeling. There is already plenty of festive feeling in this novel, and oh my god, let’s not forget the cover! It’s gorgeous, and so Christmassy, and it glitter! I could look at it all the time.

I immediately warmed to all the characters. Loved the fact that one of the leading ones was Hannah, sitting in a wheelchair after an accident – it doesn’t happen often that your main character is disabled like this. She was a lovely person, full of humour, she had of course better and worse days but it’s totally understandable, and she was full of determination and optimism. Isla was a person that you couldn’t not like, I think. She was a great carer of her sister and whatever she did, she did it with a view of Hannah. There was a passion in her, she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, she loved her job and life generally and you could feel the good vibes that she was radiating through the pages. She was feisty and bubbly and didn’t look for romance, but then Chase enters… mmm. He has two daughters, is a workaholic, suffers with self – doubt and has a wicked past and yet he is brilliant. He is capable to admit when he’s made a mistake and he knows he’s not perfect. There is an incredibly romantic side to him, he gleams warmth and I just liked him very, very much.
All the other background characters, especially Chase’s daughters, were so brilliantly developed, full of life and heart and such a great positivism – I felt warm when reading about their adventures, their problems and troubles and loved how they tried to work the best possible ways for them.
There was a brilliantly captured chemistry between Isla and Chase. It was realistic, genuine, not too pushy and so relaxed, and it was a real pleasure to see how it developed, in which direction was it going to go. I really enjoyed the love stories in this book (because there were more, yes!), they were great romances, not too wishy – washy, not too meh, and I liked that it also included the families of the characters’ involved.

I loved the setting of this book, London, and more specifically, Notting Hill. You could say you know all about Notting Hill but then you start to see it again through the eyes of the total newcomers, Maddie and Brooke, Chase’s quirky daughters, and the author brings all those places so easily to life.

The end seemed much too rushed for my liking, the things were incredibly quickly wrapped up and if you think how long it took to build up to them then the ending may be a little disappointing, and just this little bit too far – fetched. I mean, “we saved Notting Hill”…? But it worked well in this book, don’t get me wrong, it was just tad unbelievable for me. Altogether though, “One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill” was a lovely, warm and funny Christmas romance and I absolutely adored this story, with its quirky characters, embarrassing moments, cheeky teenager and that dealt with serious issues in a lovely, gentle way. The story interwoven many sub – plots and touched upon many issues, and there were all the time many things happening, so no single moment flat, guys, but that is great! It was easy and light – hearted and written with a lot of heart. Highly recommended!

The Pets at Primrose Cottage Part 1 by Sheila Norton

The Pets at Primrose Cottage: A Place to Hide by Sheila Norton

 

34659312Publisher: Ebury Digital

Publishing Date: 23rd November 2017

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

Number of pages:

Genre:  General Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

PART ONE of a serialised novel – a charming and romantic story about living the simple life and the joy of animals.

Emma Nightingale needs a place to hide away. Pursued by the demons left by her ex-boyfriend, she takes refuge in quiet Crickleford, a sleepy town in Dartmoor, where she can lay low.

Life in Crickleford is quiet and peaceful, but it won’t be for long if people discover the truth about Emma’s past. Not wanting to make too much of a fuss, she ends up lying about why she’s there – she’s looking after some cats, she says – then suddenly the town’s new ‘pet-sitter’ is in high demand!

While looking after an Alsatian, Emma finds all attention is on her, and the handsome young reporter from the local paper takes an interest in her story…

Rating: four-stars

I got to know Sheila Norton after reading her previous serialized novel “The Vets at Hope Green” and when I spotted “The Pets at Primrose Cottage” available for request on NetGalley, I didn’t hesitate long and requested the story.

I think I can guess what has happened in Emma’s past, why did she move back from New York to Devon – there were enough hints for my liking but nevertheless, I am of course curious if my assumptions are right, so I am already looking forward to the next parts, especially as I really liked this novella. It was sweet and charming, optimistic and very promising. And even if I had a huge problem with Emma, to be honest, she made me feel almost desperate. I couldn’t understand why she feels the need to tell so much lies. Yes, there was a reason, she was hiding (we don’t know why, but I am sure more details will be revealed in the next parts) but really, no matter what situation, no matter what person, no matter what about, she has never told the truth. And it started to annoy, and bother me, and I didn’t like to see her digging a hole for herself with her lies – she seemed as she was not capable of telling the truth.
However, there was something in Emma that made me like her and fell for her. She is full of life and light.

Sheila Norton’s writing style in this novella is warm and chatty and she brings the setting, the situations and the characters to life. It was cosy, I liked the atmosphere of the sleepy town and adored the great number of the four – legged characters. I can’t help it but I’m comparing “The Vets at Hope Green” and “The Pets at Primrose Cottage” all the time, and “The Pets” feel much better and much more promising, and I can only hope that it’s going to continue in this lovely way.

Single for the Summer by Mandy Baggot

Single for the Summer by Mandy Baggot

 

34211677Publisher: Ebury

Publishing Date: 27th July 2017

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

Number of pages: 432

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

***the beach-read of the summer, from everyone’s favourite getaway Queen, Mandy Baggot***

Tess Parks has made up her mind: love isn’t for her.

When it comes to dating she has one rule: after six weeks with a guy, she ends it. So when her heartbroken best friend invites her for a girly getaway in Corfu, Tess is sure she can stick to their pact to stay single for the summer.

But then she meets the gorgeous restaurateur Andras

To keep his overbearing mother off his back, Tess agrees to pretend to date him. But as the two spend time together, Tess begins to realise that this fake relationship is starting to feel like the best one she’s ever had…

A feel-good escapist beach read set against a beautiful Greek island backdrop. From the award-winning author of Truly, Madly Greekly and Those Summer Nights.

Rating: four-stars

Setting of Greece makes me feel like a bee around the honey pot – I love this country, its culture, people and tradition, so it is not a wonder that I am reading as many books set there as possible, and I am really lucky here as many authors lost their hearts for Greece as well. “Single for the Summer” by Mandy Baggot happens on Corfu, and one look at this gorgeous cover and the synopsis had me sold – and my first impression only came true as the story was heart – warming, and it brought together sun, beaches, delicious food, sexy as hell hero and Greek traditions – just what I wanted!

This is a story about Tess Parks and her rule of dating for 6 weeks only. Yes. And God forbid any of the boyfriends to pop THE question! Because when it happens, Tess goes into some kind of a meltdown. Tess’s best friend Sonya, who was about to go to Greece with her boyfriend, unexpectedly finds herself “on a break”, so the two girls pack their suitcases and travel to Corfu. What is better than sun, sand and blue water and NO DATING?
Well, I’d say, sun, sand, blue water and DATING. But unexpectedly. And actually fake – dating. And crazy tortoise Hector who can’t stay long in one place. Sounds like a perfect holiday, no?

I have immediately warmed to all of the characters, well, maybe not so to Andras’s mother. I need to have a little whinge, please do let me get it off my chest, but she annoyed the hell out of me. I understand tradition, I know Greek mothers have always right and I know they keep everything with an iron fist but I just couldn’t stand her and her rudeness. Because for me there was nothing charming or funny in the way she has treated Tess, Sonya and her own son, for me it was pure rudeness, period, and this interfering irritated me incredibly.
Tess was great, I really liked her. She was sharp – minded, quick in making decisions and she’s never regretted things that she did or said. She had rules and she followed them but then it was also great to see how she started to come out of all her comfort zones, started to relax and this relaxed version of her I liked much, much more.
Andras was your typical sexy Greek god, but there was much more to him than the first (sexy) impression. I was really admiring his patience though there came a moment that I so wanted him to tell his mother to eventually back off – I know, impossible. Greek families, traditions etc.
And the whole cast of the supporting characters is as colourful as a rainbow. They added so much personality to this story, so much humour and warm feelings, and Andras family, with of course the exception of his mother and his cousin was brilliant, with all the preparations for wedding and rolling babies on the beds – loved this idea, btw.

As a fake girlfriend, Tess and Sonya are being invited to many family meetings and meals, and this is why the fun ends, because Andras’s mother is always there! The chemistry between Tess and Andras was brilliantly captured. You know how it sometimes is, that this just feels so forced and pushed on the characters but here, in this book, it was just great. It felt honest and genuine,

This is this kind of a story that envelops you and takes you with on a journey. I laughed with the characters, I cringed, I sighed and shook my head with disbelief and I felt like a part of this book. There were many (MANY!) hilarious situations which made the reading so entertaining and light – hearted, there were truly crazy scenes that made me laughed, and there were also some sad scenes, and it was very well balanced.

Of course the descriptions of Corfu are beautiful! Vivid and colourful, they just made me wonder if I should change my plans from Rhodes to Corfu next year? But really, I could feel the sun shining, picture the sea and all the smells, and of course the gorgeous food made my mouth water.

It was a lovely story about re-evaluating your life, a great escapism and I enjoyed every page of it. This book has it all – laughter, tears, some drama, exciting romance and gorgeous setting, with endearing, believable characters. Already looking forward to Mandy Baggot’s Christmas offering and in the meantime recommending “Single for the Summer” as a great summer read.

The One by John Marrs

The One by John Marrs

 

31422849Publisher: Del Ray

Publishing Date: 4th May  2017

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

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adults), Suspense

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.
A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…
A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

(Note: Previously published as A Thousand Small Explosions)

Rating: five-stars

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Oh holy moly, guys. This book. THIS BOOK. I’ve no idea what took me so long to eventually read it, as I got my copy already in January before it was published as an ebook, and I’ve heard tons amazing things about it, so really, there is no excuse for me and the fact that I’ve read it only now. The paperback publishing date was, however, a very good reason put it to the top of my TBR pile and when I started to reading it, I couldn’t put it down. Literally. This book. THIS BOOK. It was freakingly brilliant. So refreshing, so original, so unpredictable – one of the best novels this year, believe me.

The idea of the book is absolutely brilliant and intriguing. Forget months, or even years, of dating with unsuitable people, oh no, it is so past already. The only thing you need to do is to take a DNA test, as a gene that genetically link you to the right person has been discovered. The result is a happy ever after, a world without divorces, betrayals and such. Sure, people in relationships who haven’t been matched yet may be tempted to take the test and when it shows that they are not The Ones they may of course change their mind about the person they were supposed to love for ever and move to their match, but hey, no risk no fun, right?

I was immediately hooked and drawn into the characters’ worlds. There is a small group of them in “The One”, and because of this fact, but also because they are so incredibly well written, I almost immediately felt like a part of their lives, as if I knew them personally, inside out. They all find themselves in totally different situations but there is one thing that tie them together – they all made the test and are in relationships with their Ones. What is the catch here then? Well, you can be matched with anyone, regardless of their age, race, sex – but that’s the risk if you want to find real and true love. Mandy has got her match – the first thing she does is to go on Facebook and search for his profile but then she learns some sad truths about Richard. Jade has also got her match – she chats with Kevin on daily basis, the problem is that he lives on the other side of the world, in Australia. But after talking with her best friends she decides to bite the bullet and travel – what kind of surprise is waiting there for her? Nick is engaged, to be married, but his partner is obsessed with taking the test to confirm that they are really perfect together. But is this really so good, this idea? Isn’t it better to live and love each other, even if they don’t know if they’re really destined to be together? Christopher, who – for a number of reasons – would rather avoid the company of police officer, is matched with one… And Ellie, who’s discovered the DNA gene, is also looking for love! She’s just been matched and this relationship seems to be working so well, she wants to be loved for who she really is and not for her wealth – is she going to get this unconditional love?
Those are five very different stories and what is so great is that the author has given all of the characters the equal space and time. To tell five such stories, with so many subplots and intricacies, in one book, and do it in such a compelling way must be a real gift, and hats off to the author for pulling it off in such a brilliant way – I think John Marrs deserves standing ovations.
At the beginning I thought, oh great, so many characters, all of them unrelated, how is it going to work out? I felt like I was being bombarded with the characters, there was all the time someone new, and I was afraid that I’ll have problems with knowing who is who and what’s their story. But, guys. It was so short lived! Quickly, very quickly, I found myself engrossed in their lives, and I never felt confused. They were so very well written, so clear, with distinctive voices and it was so easy to slip from one of them to the another, immediately remembering what’s their story and where we are with them.

The author succeeded in smuggling this little lesson of being careful in the present world in the story as well. Normally we are all oh so cautious but when it comes to internet people mostly choose to share almost each teeny tiny detail about themselves and their lives, giving away phone numbers to anyone who asks for it. John Marrs showed consequences of acting like this, consequences that we really couldn’t have imagine.

This novel was unputdownable. It was exciting and addictive, and as the chapters were so short, I more than often found myself telling only one chapter and coming out for an air few hours later. It is so, so cleverly plotted, full of shocking twists and turns. “The One” was one of the most unpredictable reads you can ever wish for. Those short chapters always ends with the author teasing the reader, with a kind of a small cliffhanger, so you are really desperate to read further. I didn’t want to skip a single word in this story, it was so surprising and so exciting, and in a good way surprising and exciting, as sometimes authors tend to exaggerate, but here my eyes just grew bigger and bigger at all the ups and downs, slowly leading us to the brilliant Grande Finale. This is one thrilling, exhilarating journey that the author takes us on, that often left me feel disbelief at what has just happened and that I would never see it coming – incredibly clever and incredibly complex, this story was. It was sharp and addictive, probably one of the best psychological thrillers out there. It is also not as heavy as you could expect psychological thriller to be, but it is full of questions and “what ifs” and I absolutely adored the complex and complicated way to match all the elements of the puzzle. “The One” was incredibly fast paced unique and fresh story and if I were to describe it in one word, I’d probably say unpredictable, jaw dropping. Highly recommended, guys!

The Vets at Hope Green: A New Start by Sheila Norton

The Vets at Hope Green: Too Close to Home by Sheila Norton

 

32491675Publisher: Ebury Digital

Publishing Date: 13th April 2017

Series: The Vets at Hope Green #3 (read my review of part 1 here part 2 here and part 3 here)

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

Number of pages: 80

Genre: Women’s Fiction,  Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle

Synopsis:

PART FOUR of a serialised novel – a heartwarming and inspiring story about living the simple life and the joy of animals.

The last few months have been hard for Sam. Her dream to work as a vet is slowly becoming reality, and she is beginning to encounter the struggles and heartbreaks that someone in a job like this must face.

But what’s more heartwarming and inspiring than a litter of new piglets? On a call to a farm with Joe, Sam can’t help but feel a sense of renewal in her own life as she witnesses one of the most glorious and natural processes of all.

Sam’s thoughts inevitably turn to her own child – will she be able to cope when the baby is born? And with her love life so shaky, will a fatherless child turn out all right?

Rating: 2/5

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

So, “A New Start” is the fourth and last part to the Vets at Hope Green series by Sheila Norton. Yes, I did enjoy those short novellas, they were light – hearted, incredibly easy to follow and they were written in a way that’s just drawn me in and I wanted to know what’s going to happen in Sam’s life.

However, this last part disappointed me. Already the previous part was very short and this one was also so short, but while in the third part there was all the time something happening, here I had a feeling that everything is incredibly rushed. Don’t get me wrong, all the things were very neatly wrapped up but for me there was no sparkle to the writing, it was as if the author wanted to seal things up and just be done. Actually, there probably couldn’t happen anything new as all the opened threads needed to be closed, so in fact there were really no surprises. However, it was not the biggest problem for me. What spoiled this novel for me was something that I’ve already suspected is going to happen. Namely Sam and Joe. My opinion about Joe didn’t change a lot, yes, there was a lot of things going on in his life but for me it was not justification for him behaving like a spoiled child, being so incredibly moody, changing moods like a girl changes clothes, quoting a famous song. Then the way he was with Sam, blank her and ignore her because he was thinking she was with David, being OFFENDED with her because of this fact, even though he was still married to Andrea! What the hell??? How old are you, Joe, and what’s your way of thinking? But then happened this worst thing that I was expecting [SPOILER]– that Joe and Sam will stay together and I’m sorry but I couldn’t help but feel that Joe’s wife was not cold enough in her grave and they were already making plans for the future. Sorry. Out of place. (hide spoiler)]

I am incredibly, incredibly sad that this conclusion to the series didn’t work for me. No, it didn’t not work for me, I just didn’t like it. I love Sheila Norton’s writing style and the way she told this story, I liked the idea, I liked the place and the villagers (which there was almost no mention of in this last part, a pity!) but it just wasn’t for me this time. However, I am glad that I had a chance to have “The Vets at Hope Green” being introduced to me. It was a sweet, easy and uplifting story altogether.