If I Never Met you by Mhairi McFarlane

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

 

Publisher: Harper Collins 41qbp1hsgrl._sx322_bo1204203200_

Publishing Date: 1st January 2020

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

Number of pages: 431

Genre: General Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 05.03.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real?

When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.

Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend…

Rating: four-stars

 

Laurie Watkinson and Dan Price have been together since university, that is, for 18 years. They love each other, they’re comfortable, they have good jobs as lawyers at the same firm in Manchester and they enjoy their lives. And are even thinking about starting a family. That is, until it turns out, that Laurie is thinking. Dan is over – thinking: he doesn’t want the same things are Laurie wants. He wants out. He dumps her. And immediately starts a relationship with another woman who also immediately fells pregnant of course. To tell that Laurie is devastated would be an understatement.
One day she’s stuck in the lift at work with Jamie Carter, the firm lothario, and they decide to stage a “faux – mance”, as they both can benefit from it. Let’s the fun and games begin, right? Has Laurie supposed that there is much more depth to Jamie than she’s thought? Has she expected that this fake relationship will help her build self esteem and confidence? How it is actually going to end?

The absolute highlight of this story was how the romance aspect was developing, how it underlined the importance of friendship before anything can happen but also, and believe me, yes, we know the formula, we know those arranged and fake office romances are similar, predictable and likely to end in tears, this time the plot simply brilliantly worked in this book. Also, the characters are one of the strongest points here. They’re believable, likeable, and although there were some moments that made me roll my eyes thinking, yeah, for sure, this is going to never happen in real life, like the conversation between Jamie, Dan and Michael, I mean, who would allowed to be talked to like that, I was totally engrossed in their lives, and this is always a good sign. When you get to know Jamie, you quickly learn that he’s not this pretentious, irritating, arrogant Lothario that other think he is. Yes, he is ambitious and hard – working but he truly knows where the priorities are and there is this gorgeous, lovely vulnerable side to him. It was not to be hidden that he respected Laurie, acting like a gentleman, always putting her first, which was a great change after getting to know Dan.
Laurie, even though she’s also ambitious and hard – working, she’s also smart, funny and sharp. It’s so normal that her confidences sky – rocketed downhill after the break – up, and it made her feel even more realistic and genuine, because let’s be honest, who wouldn’t feel like that after ending a relationship that lasted nearly half of your lifetime, right? I loved to see her growing in confidence again, mending her heart, seeing another perspective. They were both so at ease in each other company, I adored their banter.

The beginning was brilliant but then it went a bit confusing for me, and it felt like this until Laurie and Jamie’s deal, as then the story really gained speed and started to fill with McFarlane’s hallmark sarcastic humour – just what I like best. I adored the fact that this time the author’s observations and descriptions of feelings and emotions were spot on. The author has a way with words, even the normal banter between the characters feels fresh, sharp and authentic. She has paced her story really well (well, except for the part right after the beginning until the deal – I know, I know, I’m repeating myself!) and made it unique and refreshing, without making the plot unnecessary complex and complicated. Her characters are realistic and have depth to them, much more that you could expect.

It was a funny (even though this time the humour didn’t resonate with me right from the beginning and on all levels), light and witty book, also filled with insightful thoughts. Although at the beginning I couldn’t connect with Laurie, I’m not sure why, it was somehow hard to keep track with her but it quickly changed and I started to love her, her being so smart, seeing under the surface, seeing things that other didn’t want to see. It was a lovely, heart-warming and entertaining read – if you get through the most confusing first part. It touches upon some tricky issues, such like dysfunctional families, love, hate, betrayal, hope and loss and the author deals with them all in a skilful, gentle way, not forgetting to balance the most heavier parts with humour. What I really liked is the fact that the book is not too sugary, you know, it’s not heart – ripping but also not only sweet, charming and beds of roses kind. Highly recommended!

The Icing on the Cake by Cressida McLaughlin

The Icing on the Cake by Cressida McLaughlin

 

Publisher: Harper Collins 51cxfwg0w3l

Publishing Date: 25th July 2019

Series: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus #4

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

Number of pages: 100

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Part Four of the charming new series from the author of The Canal Boat Cafe. Perfect for cake lovers and old-fashioned romantics!

‘Captivating’ Heat Magazine ‘Beautiful… heartwarming’ Zara Stoneley ‘A wonderful ray of reading sunshine’ Heidi Swain

Can Charlie pull off the perfect showstopper?
Charlie has fallen in love with Porthgolow village and they adore her vintage bus, now getting a new lease of life as the best place to have a Cornish Cream tea in the whole of Cornwall. Charlie and her bus have heralded a new start for Porthgolow too, but the one fly in the ointment is Daniel Harper who is still resisting the charms of Charlie and her bus. Can Charlie bake her way into his heart or is it time to admit that her Cornish dream has got a soggy bottom?

Rating: four-stars

 

So, the highly anticipated final part of the brilliant series The Cornish Cream Tea Bus by Cressida McLaughlin has finally arrived. I loved the series, written in such a gorgeous, inviting and warm way, and Cressida McLaughling had me glued to the pages, enjoying the stories, characters and fabulous setting. And delicious, mouth – watering food, mmm.

 This part brilliantly ties up all the loose ends and everything is beautifully – if a bit too rushed, for my liking – wrapped up. Charlie has been taken – and we together with her – on a real roller coaster journey full of emotions, feelings, ups and downs but she was so determined and ambitious that she really didn’t allow anything to stand in her way. However, before it happens, she has to solve some problems that part four throws her way, and really, the author keeps us in suspense till the very end. Charlie also seems to have learnt a lessons, there is no more wild jumping to conclusions and she was able to find the truth without blaming all people around her, and I so wanted to give her standing ovation for this. 

Porthgolow is a place that is going to stay with me for longer, Cressida McLaughlin has created a fictional world that I’d love to be a part of, together with the lovely, noisy gang of characters that pulled together to create another wonderful festival. The title of this final part, “The Icing of the Cake”, is simply perfect, as it’s a real icing on the cake, this lovely, heart – warming and uplifting read, full of characters that you love or love to hate, gorgeous setting and perfect plot. Highly recommended!

Scones Away! by Cressida McLaughlin

Scones Away! by Cressida McLaughlin

 

Publisher: Harper Collins cover156081-medium

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

Series: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus #3

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

Number of pages: 101

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

Part Three of the charming new series from the author of The Canal Boat Cafe. Perfect for cake lovers and old-fashioned romantics!

‘Captivating’ Heat Magazine ‘Beautiful… heartwarming’ Zara Stoneley ‘A wonderful ray of reading sunshine’ Heidi Swain

Charlie’s toughest technical challenge yet…
Now that Charlie’s Cornish Cream Tea bus has taken off, everything should be going swimmingly – the locals love her baking, Marmite adores getting his paws wet in the crystal-clear sea at Porthgolow beach, but Charlie has manged to get on the wrong side of the mercurial owner of The Porthgolow Hotel, Daniel Harper. He wants her to pack up her doillies and pastry cutters and take her bus elsewhere, but can Charlie convince him that they have just got off on the wrong foot and that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village?

Rating:  three-stars

 

“Scones Away” is the third part in the uplifting, wonderful series from Cressida McLaughlin, full of delicious descriptions of food and characters that I’ve immediately warmed to. Charlie is still full of ideas for her Cornish Cream Tea Bus Gertie but this time, ladies and gentlemen, our lovely Charlie annoyed me a little, jumping to conclusions instead of letting people speak or simply thinking things over – too much and too often for my liking. Not everyone in the world is against you, Charlie! 

This time Charlie is entangled  in a blossoming love triangle and it was so interesting to see which of her two admirers she’s going to choose, as they were so different! One of them open and honest, which is just what she needs, what with her trust issues, and the other not so easy to read but there is such sparkling chemistry between them! What is it going to be for Charlie, head or heart? Porthgolow finally seems to start accepting Charlie and her bus and it was lovely to have this heart – warming community spirit back and the locals enjoying her baking. The author has – again – created a world that I want to be a part of and try the famous cream tea. And I loved the idea of the tour that Charlie plans to establish with her bus, just imagine all the beautiful sights of the gorgeous Cornwall with the added bonus of Charlies’s brilliant food. But I also had a feeling that this time this part was not as filled with events and surprises as the previous two parts, and it dragged a little, but it’s still a warm, colourful read that I enjoyed, no worries! 

This part ends, of course, on a cliff hanger and I can’t wait to see how everything comes together at the end, and which surprises are awaiting us in the final instalment – with so many plot twists I am sure that Cressida McLaughlin has many revelations for us.

A Postcard from Italy by Alex Brown / Blog Tour + Q&A with the Author

Hi guys, I’m so thrilled to be a part of Alex Brown’s blog tour! I loved her books that are always full of unforgettable characters, and her writing style that is so gentle and full of feelings. This time, next to my review, the lovely Alex agreed to answer some of my questions – thank you, Alex, and welcome to the blog! –  so put your feet high and enjoy!

 

A Postcard from Italy by Alex Brown

 

41716123Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

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

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Grace Quinn loves her job at Cohen’s Convenient Storage Company, finding occasional treasure in the forgotten units that customers have abandoned. Her inquisitive nature is piqued when a valuable art collection and a bundle of letters and diaries are found that date back to the 1930’s.

Delving deeper, Grace uncovers the story of a young English woman, Connie Levine, who follows her heart to Italy at the end of the Second World war. The contents also offer up the hope of a new beginning for Grace, battling a broken heart and caring for her controlling mother.

Embarking on her own voyage of discovery, Grace’s search takes her to a powder pink villa on the cliff tops overlooking the Italian Riviera, but will she unravel the family secrets and betrayals that Connie tried so hard to overcome, and find love for herself?

Rating: five-stars

 

Grace Quinn can’t say that she has a private life – either she cares for her bed bound mother or goes to work at convenient storage company. Grace loves her job and luckily her employers, Mr and Mrs Cohen, love Grace and treat her like family, understanding pressure she lives under. One day Grace opens one unit and discovers that it’s full of valuable art collections but also personal items, such like letters and diaries. Grace is determined to find out to whom they belong and soon discovers a whole life of Connie Levine inside. Encouraged by her work colleagues and friend, Grace decides to step right out of her comfort zones and embark on the journey to Italy, having no idea how many surprises and changes it’s going to bring.

Alex Brown for sure goes from strength to strength with her books, and “A Postcard from Italy” is certainly one of the best books she has written – although I’ve loved all of her previous books, so that’s saying something. I liked the brief mentions of Tindledale – I think this village has a very special place in our hearts, right? Also, Alex Brown creates the most gorgeous and stunning settings for her books, and the way she describes them draws you straight into the story and the place.

I really like to go back and forth between past and present in books, but sadly, not all of the authors can write this way. Alex Brown can. This dual time aspect gives you a real sense of this story and she has brilliantly captured the modern times and the past and it has never felt like reading two separate storylines.

The characters, as usual in Alex’s books, are so well fleshed out, full of emotions and feelings, it simply looks as if she gets into her characters’ heads, and they’re written in such a way that we can easily relate to them, understand them and their motives. Grace is an adorable person, although too loyal in my eyes, but I could so well understand her feelings. She didn’t want to hurt her mother so she’d rather do anything she wanted from her then standing up for herself. Yes, I know, one can say she was a doormat for letting Cora treating her like this, but I don’t think this way, I think she was simply such a good person that first thought of all the others and then about herself. But, seeing her taking the first steps to freedom was absolutely fantastic and I all the time wanted to give her more courage. Connie was another interesting character, full of life and personality, and I really enjoyed how their stories unfolded and how they were connected. Her story was touching and poignant and I’m sure it’s going to melt your heart.
To say that I was annoyed with Grace’s mother Cora would be an understatement. I can’t remember such annoying, manipulative, self – centred character like Cora.

I loved the element of the mystery in this book. Alex Brown has really masterfully plotted it and I sat comfortably, enjoying how she decided to unfold it, to peel the layers off. It was full of sad and poignant moments and the author truly knows how to write them so that they tug at our heart – strings. Connie’s diary entries were a huge part of this mystery and they were so interesting, giving a great insight into this woman, into her life that was full of pain, tears and disappointments but also happiness.

It was a very well crafted story that yes, had its weaker points as well, I somehow didn’t buy the whole bed bound Cora, I’m not sure why, it simply didn’t sit with me, and for me it was too easily solved, but that’s me, so pay no attention, but other than that, it was an excellent read. The pace was only right, there was not a single moment flat and I adored following Grace and all the other characters on their emotional journeys, overpowering problems, and this all set against such stunning settings. And there is so much more to this book that meet the eye. It is full of depth and wisdom, unforgettable characters and clever plot. I can assure you that you’re quickly going to be drawn into the tale, falling for Grace and Connie’s stories. It was captivating, felt honest and was an uplifting, heart – warming read about family dynamics, love and loss. Highly recommended!

 

Q&A WITH THE AUTHOR

alex2bbrown

(photo courtesy of Philippa Gedge)

  1. Alex, if you were to describe “A Postcard from Italy” in three sentences…

An epic love story spanning ninety years. Family secrets to be unravelled that have been hidden since the 1930’s.Intrigue and romance in the breathtakingly beautiful Italian Riviera.

  1. What would you like your readers to take away from “A Postcard from Italy”?

Awarm, happy, poignant, but ultimately uplifting story with characters that stay with them long after the last page.

  1. The book combines fiction and history – was it difficult to write it like this?

It was very easy as I love being able to immortalise real events in history, and people too – I often give family members cameo parts too, for example the scene on VE Day mentions Edie, a nippy in Lyons Tea House on The Strand in London, and she is based on my grandmother who was called Edie and worked there too.

    4. What inspired you to partly set your story in Italy? 

I’ve always wanted to write a book set in Italy after visiting the Italian Riviera with my husband several years ago. I loved everything about that part of the world, the breathtaking scenery, the people, the delicious food and romantic atmosphere and so it was a joy to revisit the area in A Postcard From Italy.

     5. When you write, do you always follow a plan or do you let your characters to take you on a journey?

A bit of both. I have a synopsis that I use as a guide but the story always develops as necessary.

    6. What’s more important:  characters or plot?

Characters. I have to know the character before I write the story for them.

    7. On a little lighter note, what are three facts that we don’t know about you Alex?

I’m incredibly superstitious.

I once sang soprano in full chorister outfit on Songs of Praise (I was about 12years old).

I’m learning Spanish.

  1. If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would it be?

Relax, you’ll get there in the end.

  1. And what is next for Alex Brown?

I’m about to start a new book for summer 2020 which I’m very excited about and looking forward to sharing the details of as soon as I can.

 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

postcard2bfrom2bitaly2btour2bbanner

 

The Eclair Affair by Cressida McLaughlin

The Eclair Affair by Cressida McLaughlin

 

cover153293-mediumPublisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

Series: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus #2

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

Number of pages: 103

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle 

 

Synopsis:

Part Two of the charming new series from the author of The Canal Boat Cafe. Perfect for cake lovers and old-fashioned romantics!

‘Captivating’ Heat Magazine ‘Beautiful… heartwarming’ Zara Stoneley ‘A wonderful ray of reading sunshine’ Heidi Swain

Charlie’s unveils her signature bake…
Charlie and Marmite finally arrive in the picture-postcard Cornish village of Porthgolow in thier vintage Routemaster bus. Not everything is as it seems and Charlie’s friend, Juliette, tells her about the owner of the big hotel up on the hill who has managed to upset the locals. That doesn’t stop Charlie and Marmite making new friends and the bus finds a new lease of life as the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea. But what will Charlie make of the enigmatic Daniel Harper when they meet, and more to the point, what will he think about Charlie and her bus parked outside his lovely hotel?

Rating: four-stars

 

As soon as the second part of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus became available, I downloaded it and started to read, still remembering how nice the first part was and looking forward to meet Charlie and Marmite and their new friends again, and see what the people of Porthgolow are to do with her fresh ideas to bring a little life to this coastal village.

Charlie is settling in Porthgolow, even though she was initially supposed to stay there for a few weeks, and not for a few months. She’s determined to make a name for herself but also to wake Portholow up, and so she’d like to organise Porthgolow Food Fest, inviting some of the best food trucks. And when she sets her mind on something, there is nothing stopping her. Or is there? Like some unwilling residents?

So. This short story. As usual, so colourfully, vividly written, and Cressida McLaughlin brings the place so easily to life. I loved the descriptions of the food festival and then the fire on the beach, they were beautifully and gorgeously written. Of course, the food sounds DE – LI – CIOUS, all the cream teas mentioned, cakes but also all kind of other goodies.

The more I get to know Charlie, the more I like her. She’s determined, consequent and also stubborn, but she wouldn’t achieve this what she has achieved till now without being stubborn, right? She has only good intentions and she gives always her best. The romance aspect that is looming on the horizon is also lovely and right now I can’t tell you in which direction is going to go, which is a great feeling as I love surprises! I have my favourite here already and I’m so curious if my gut feeling is right again.

I can’t wait for the next instalment, as we are – again! Again! – left on a cliff-hanger, with Charlie facing many decisions. Cressida McLaughlin has such a great way with words, and I adored this lovely, warm and welcoming story. Recommended!

 

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****! by Gill Sims / Blog Tour

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****! by Gill Sims

 

cover156090-mediumPublisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

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

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover )

 

Synopsis:

I’m wondering how many more f*cking ‘phases’ I have to endure before my children become civilised and functioning members of society? It seems like people have been telling me ‘it’s just a phase!’ for the last fifteen bloody years. Not sleeping through the night is ‘just a phase.’ Potty training and the associated accidents ‘is just a phase’. The tantrums of the terrible twos are ‘just a phase’. The picky eating, the back chat, the obsessions. The toddler refusals to nap, the teenage inability to leave their beds before 1pm without a rocket being put up their arse. The endless singing of Frozen songs, the dabbing, the weeks where apparently making them wear pants was akin to child torture. All ‘just phases!’ When do the ‘phases’ end though? WHEN?

Mummy dreams of a quirky rural cottage with roses around the door and chatty chickens in the garden. Life, as ever, is not going quite as she planned. Paxo, Oxo and Bisto turn out to be highly rambunctious, rather than merely chatty, and the roses have jaggy thorns. Her precious moppets are now giant teenagers, and instead of wittering at her about who would win in a fight – a dragon badger or a ninja horse – they are Snapchatting the night away, stropping around the tiny cottage and communicating mainly in grunts – except when they are demanding Ellen provides taxi services in the small hours. And there is never, but never, any milk in the house. At least the one thing they can all agree on is that rescued Barry the Wolfdog may indeed be The Ugliest Dog in the World, but he is also the loveliest.

Rating: five-stars

 

I’m so happy to say that Ellen is back, with another year full of trials, tribulations, surprises and troubles. Jane is now fifteen years old, spending her days of her cell phone, going to parties, living and breathing make – up and feeling embarrassed by her mother. Peter is thirteen and he spends his days playing video games and eating all the food he can find in the fridge. Simon… well, Simon is actually not there. Ellen and Simon are divorced now. Ellen and the children have moved to the cottage of her dreams (almost. Except for the damp, the single bathroom and no roses by the door). So it’s not wonder that mummy not only drinks too much, swears too much but also doesn’t give a ****, right?

Oh holy moly, how to write a review for this book to do it a justice? Impossible task, I’d say.

The third (and I pray to God, not the last one!) part of the series by Gill Sims deals with the stress of coping with teenage children. I know, we all think that first it’s infancy, then the terrible two, then pre – adolescence etc that is the worst what can happen, so let’s agree on the fact that all of those phases are simply stressful. Putting it mildly. I may be not in Ellen’s shoes yet but I can’t sleep and need a whisky only when I think about my daughter reaching puberty, thinking I have all this to come. So it really rang a bell, this book. And was a kind of warning.

This is a raw and brutally honest picture of being a parent. Sweary and normal. Realistic, even if the situations are a bit exaggerated (or not?). The author doesn’t beat around the bush and she deserves a standing ovation for this – telling how it is, not afraid to use crude language and a lot of drinking but this is what I have expected and wanted from this book. She also intermingles the hilarity and humour with some brief moments of seriousness, adding depth to the light tone.

I am still in love with Ellen and I want to have her confidence. She is full of flaws (who isn’t) and swears a lot (who doesn’t) and has a great way around her children, handling them in open way. And the children’s antics are hilarious, their attitudes are so real. And they have their moments. And Ellen deals with them. But they really feel grown up, the children, and I like that the author keeps on top of it and let her characters grow up and mature. I love Ellen’s sense of humour, her attitude, the way she sees and describes things and that she’s not afraid to tell how it is. I, on the other hand, should probably get a special prize for all the things I didn’t say and that should be said. Ellen is so relatable with the way she is, with her worries, hopes and desperation. The author has done an excellent job in bringing her characters’ personalities to the pages, and I think they all are going to appeal to all kinds of the audience.

It was easy, quick and funny read that made me feel normal. There were moments that I rolled my eyes and nodded at things that could so happen to me. I would probably go that far and say that it is the best yet – it made me laugh out loud and cry in the next moment. Gill Sims is not only a champion of writing humorous, hilarious scenes, but she also deals with the sad and poignant ones in a gentle, understanding way, and the book does feel a little more serious and mature in tone, even though, of course, the hysterical finny is still there. It’s a book that I really needed in my life now, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

 

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Don’t Go Baking My Heart by Cressida McLaughlin

Don’t Go Baking My Heart by Cressida McLaughlin

 

42652169Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 13th June 2019

Series: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus

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

Number of pages: 104

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle 

 

Synopsis:

Part One of the charming new series from the author of The Canal Boat Cafe. Perfect for cake lovers and old-fashioned romantics!

‘Captivating’ Heat Magazine

‘Beautiful… heartwarming’ Zara Stoneley

‘A wonderful ray of reading sunshine’ Heidi Swain

Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.
Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the attractive but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.
Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them?

Rating: four-stars

 

“Don’t Go Baking My Heart” is a brilliant title, I love it, although I couldn’t spot its interrelatedness to the story – apologies if I missed something. It is also the first of a new 4 – part series and even though I usually don’t read books in series but I rather wait for them to be published as a gorgeous paperback, it’s from Cressida McLaughlin, and so I though, this time I can’t wait. I have to read it. So there.

The story follows a simple and already known formula but it works, guys, it works brilliantly! Charlie, our main character, is simply great, so determined and funny, and the author couldn’t take a better character to play a reading role in this book. After her beloved uncle’s death, Charlie has been left his vintage bus. To keep his memory alive, she decides to turn Gertie into a bus cafe, and I loved the final result. Soon Charlie takes her new bus on a test run, to see how things work, and after a very minor disaster Charlie finds herself taking a sabbatical (or rather, being forced to take sabbatical), travelling with Gertie to her best friend Juliette in Porthgolow and causing problems there.

I think I can predict the direction the story is going to turn, and there is romance in the air as well, but it absolutely doesn’t bother me. It was a feel – good, humorous novella, a great introduction to the series and I will be for sure reading the next instalments. And I know I don’t gush over covers enough lately, but this one so deserves a standing ovation – it’s simply beautiful and so eye – catching, it’s a shame that it’s an ebook cover.

The pace of the story was great, things were moving really quickly and there was not a single moment flat. The setting was gorgeous, and I love the sound of Porthgolow, with its streets and suspicious residents. Cressida’s descriptions are so, so vivid, she brings the colours, places and characters so easily to life. Can’t wait for the next part!