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.

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

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

 

32880548Publisher: Ebury Digital

Publishing Date: 16th March 2017

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

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

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Women’s Fiction,  Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

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

Things are finally starting to look up for Sam – a chance at her dream job as a vet, and a new friend (who is a huge animal lover himself – a very important detail!) What more could she ask for?

But a something is eating away at her: her boss Joe is acting strangely around her – he’s definitely hiding something. And having dreamed of being a vet for so long, she cannot afford to put a foot wrong.

When a call to tend to a sick pony comes into the practice, it all strikes too close to home for Sam and Joe. The odds are stacked against her, and she risks losing everything…

Rating: 4/5

“Too Close to Home” is the third and last but one part in “The Vets at Green Hope” series. It starts exactly where we left, seeing Sam at hospital with a miscarriage scare. This part feels and seems much shorter to the previous two ones, the chapters are shorter and there are only six of them, as far as I can remember, so it is really a very, very quick read – but sometimes it’s just what you need.

So this time there is a lot happening on the pages, guys, really. There was not a single minute without something happening, let it be with Sam, or Joe or even with Joe’s sweet daughter, with friends visiting and falling out, with parents visiting and missed cats bringing surprises. It was packed to the brims but it was written in such a way that I’ve never felt overwhelmed or tired, and those events were realistic and relatable. We also learn much more about the very moody Joe in this part and I must admit that as much as I sympathize with him, this man is bringing me to my limits – he’s exceptionally rude, and if all of us were so rude when having problems than our lives would be really miserable. Also Sam annoyed me a little this time with her occasionally childish behaviour and with everything bringing tears to her eyes – I know, hormones, but still, give us a break, girl. But again, the villagers and the village are brought to life, and there is more about the vet practice itself, and I enjoyed it very much.

This short story ends – of course – with a cliffhanger and I am already looking forward to the last part of the series. I am only afraid that it’s going to end not in the way I’d like it to end re: the romance but let’s wait and see.

The Ambulance Girls by Deborah Burrows / Blog Tour + Extra

I seem to be reading only historical novels lately, guys, but I also have this luck that the books are really great representatives of the genre. Today “The ambulance Girls” by Deborah Burrows blog tour stops with me and I have an extract for you – it’s just a foretaste, sounding so very promising and I am sure you’re going to enjoy the book whole – heartedly!

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CHAPTER SIX

I woke to a cold morning. Damp white mist swirled around the gardens and the sun was like a great orange ball. It was nearly winter, I realised disconsolately. It would be my second winter in England, and I was not looking forward to it at all. It was the darkness that had affected me the most last year. I expected that I would find it as miserable this year also, with the added bonus of nightly air raids. I couldn’t help sighing. It was springtime in Perth now and my mother’s roses would be in full bloom in our small garden.

On the table in the lobby, next to the cubicle that housed the building’s telephone, were the letters that had been delivered for the occupants of St Andrew’s in yesterday’s second post. There were three letters for me, all from Australia. The flimsy aerograms were creased and a little grubby after their long journey. One was my mother’s weekly epistle. I recognised Uncle Charles’s scrawl on the second, and when I turned the third letter over, it was from a school friend. I was delighted at this tangible connection to home, but I sighed as I tucked the letters carefully into the pocket of my jacket; I would read them once I had breakfasted.

I had been away from Australia now for nearly three years, and I missed my family terribly. After so many letters, I knew what my mother’s would contain: she would tell me that my father and my brother Ben were well, give me a small anecdote about each, and then concentrate on her ‘war work’. Mum had formed a local Red Cross branch as soon as war was declared and now spent most of her time rolling bandages, packing parcels for Australian prisoners of war and helping to run funding drives for Blitz victims, in between knitting scarves and jumpers for servicemen. From her letters, it seemed my mother was the same tiny ball of energy as she had been when she waved goodbye to me at Fremantle Dock on that hot January morning in 1938.

My father hated writing letters, but I knew he would have scrawled a message of love at the bottom of my mother’s epistle, telling me that he missed me and longed to see my beautiful smiling face. He always wrote the same message, and it always made me cry. If I were lucky, my brother Ben, now fifteen and about as fond of letter writing as Dad was, would also have written me a short note.

I was well aware that my parents were desperate for me to return home, but they never pushed. Sometimes I wished I could leave London and sail back to Australia, but I knew the work I did in London was worthwhile and essential, and I had made up my mind not to leave until the war was over, no matter how many cold, dark winters I had to endure.

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR FOR MORE CONTENT:

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The Vets at Hope Green: Follow your Heart by Sheila Norton

The Vets at Hope Green: Follow Your Heart by Sheila Norton

 

32880546Publisher: Ebury Digital

Publishing Date: 16th February 2016

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

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

Number of pages: 61

Genre: Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

PART TWO of a heartwarming and inspiring story about living the simple life and the joy of animals. Perfect for fans of Appleby Farm, Ivy Lane and Alfie the Doorstep Cat

Working as the receptionist at her local London vets, Sam dreams of escaping to a quieter life in the country. Spending time with her Nana and her lovely but elderly dog Rufus has sparked something within Sam, and all she wants is to start afresh. But her boyfriend Adam is in London, and something tells her that it won’t be an easy conversation.

But then something happens that makes her going-nowhere receptionist job seem much more appealing: a little stray cat called Ebony, in need of love and nurturing back to health. Faced with a dilemma, she must choose between her heart’s desire and the little ball of fluff who’s desire is to worm her way into her heart…

Is it possible to have it all?

Rating: 4/5

“Follow your Heart” is a nice continuation of the series, and I enjoyed it even more than the first part. It was not so wishy – washy, even though the first part was also very nice, but this one was in my opinion more down to earth and believable, yet still cute and light – hearted.

The story starts exactly where we left. Sam tells Adam she’s pregnant and the way he reacted didn’t surprise me at all. It doesn’t take long for Sam to decide that she wants to leave London and where is better than at her Nana Peggy’s who’s feeling so lonely. There is also a small black cat in a need of a good home involved and the story also brings us back to the lovely people from Nana’s village and one very complicated vet as well.

It’s a very easy, straight – forward read without twists and turns, yet its steady level somehow works and it’s a real pleasure to read it. And this time it is also full of decisions to be made, of new beginnings, new and old friends. The last scene ended – of course – with a cliff hanger that is not a cliff hanger for me any more as – my mistake! My mistake! I shouldn’t have but have done it (well, it was at the end of the book, so there) – I’ve read what is to be expected in the next two parts. However, I am really looking forward to reading the next parts as I incredibly want to see why Joe is as he is and I am sure that Sam is jumping to conclusion about one situation, and I want to see it explained. There is great warmth to the writing style and I just want it to envelop me in its warmth again. Easy, light and quick read and lovely continuation to the series. Really recommended, though you have to make sure to read it in the right order!