The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English / Blog Tour

The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English

 

Publisher: Headline 53375276

Publishing Date: 9th July 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 496

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Every baby’s bracelet held a mother’s secret…

For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland home for unwed mothers in the 1970s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets.

Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision. The information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers, and she decides to post a message on an Internet forum. Soon the replies are rolling in, and Katie finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. She encounters success and failure, heartbreak and joy. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?

Rating: four-stars

 

In “The Paper Bracelet” we are introduced to Katie Carroll who, following her husband’s death, decides to revisit her memories. She has kept a box with paper bracelets of the babies that were born in a mother and baby home where Katie used to work. Now she wants to reconnect those babies with their mothers who were left with no choice but to give their children away for adoption. With the help of her niece Bath, they both embark on a mission – what they don’t know is what this mission is going to bring them. Are they ready to deal with all the pain, hurt and unfairness?

It may sound impossible but it was my first Rachael English’s book and after reading it I’ll be looking into her other books, that’s for sure. Her writing style is beautiful, calm and steady and she writes with a heart. And the research is done really well, not a wonder, with the author being a journalist and interviewing women from a mother and baby homes in the early nineties, so she truly knows what she’s writing about, and you can see it in every word.

The author has chosen a difficult, emotional and upsetting topic to write about but I can assure you that she has done it justice.

It is a dual – time novel, telling the story of Katie now, interspersed with events that happened in 1950’s in one of Ireland’s mother and baby homes. Even though this house is fictional, there were plenty of them in Ireland. It is amazing to think that such things really happened, and not so long ago! You had a feeling that you are back to ancient times when, in fact, it was already the twentieth century, yet still the pregnant girls were treated as if they belonged to a second category, even though they were often victims of a violence themselves they were perceived as sinners that should pay for their, and only their, mistakes. Awful, especially when you realise that it really wasn’t that long ago!

There was a bunch of diverse characters in this story but it was somehow hard to connect with them and I was not as moved as I probably should have been by their stories. They were not as complex as I’d like them to be, they felt a bit superficial and soooo nice, a bit more depth would be brilliant.

The book started very well, promising to be an exciting and heart – wrenching read. However, later on, it lost its impact a bit and I couldn’t engage with the plot so much. No idea what was the reason but it felt a bit flat. But then it picked up again and the last third was an emotional roller – coaster read filled with events and surprises and the final twist that I absolutely didn’t see coming. It really took me by surprise – maybe because I haven’t been expecting any other twists, as the book was full of them.

This was a sad and heart – breaking book but I wasn’t completely involved in it, didn’t engage completely with the characters and events. Not sure why, it was probably my fault as I am actually somewhere else with my thoughts, but I of course appreciated and enjoyed the novel. It is a thought – provoking book and I personally think those women’s untold stories can’t be forgotten. It is a very important book and at least because of its importance – but also because it is a wonderful, gentle story – I will for sure shout about it. Truly recommended.

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Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne

Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne

 

Publisher: Headline Eternal 517kkavtrrl._sx324_bo1204203200_

Publishing Date: 28th January 2020

Series: Central Park Pact #3

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

Number of pages: 288

Genre: Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A heartfelt and laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Sally Thorne and Christina Lauren. From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, Marriage of Madison Avenue is the third in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps.

Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on and, knowing that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother, announces he’s already engaged…to Audrey.

But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of heart and wit, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page. Look out for the other two titles, Passion on Park Avenue and Love on Lexington Avenue

Want more fun, fresh, flirty and very sexy rom-com? Check out Lauren’s Oxford series and don’t miss her warm, witty and sexy Wedding Belles series and the I Do, I Don’t series, as well as the romantic standalones in the Love, Unexpectedly series.

Rating: two-stars

 

Claire Hayes discovered that her husband has been having numerous affairs, and now, after his funeral (no, she didn’t kill him!) she becomes friends with two of the “other” women, Naomi and Audrey. They have a pact to never let the other one to fall for a womanizer again.
Fast forward 18 months and both Claire and Naomi are in happy relationship. But Audrey has fallen again for a wrong man. And then somebody writes about it on social media. To avoid scandal, Audrey and her best friend Clarke decide to fake engagement. Can it work between best friends?

This book is being sold as “romance”, though after reading the description it sounded more as a rom – com to me. However, it should be advertised as a YA, me thinks. It absolutely didn’t convince me, I felt like reading a book for a teenager, and I am, well, a bit older than that. There was little that kept my attention and in the end I found myself skim – reading without a feeling that I’m missing something, as every single page was almost the same, the will they/won’t they between the characters, the main heroine all the time changing her mind. Also, this fake engagement DID not work for me. I think it would, but it didn’t. It was too… yes, fake, unbelievable. There was no chemistry and the characters themselves didn’t seem to believe that something is happening at all. They were calling themselves best friends and they could not communicate with each other. Gah.

I didn’t realise it is a third book in the series and for a long, long time – never, actually – I couldn’t get what was so special in Audrey and why would anybody be interested in writing about her. I still don’t know it. I couldn’t connect with her, she was under – developed, pretentious, spoiled and self – centred. I much better preferred her friends Naomi and Clare, they were much mature and funny.
Clarke was so perfect that he felt absolutely unbelievable und unrealistic. Not only incredibly handsome but also oh so gorgeously understanding, caring and affectionate. Not a single negative thing about him. Meh.

Altogether, the whole plot seemed too far – fetched and overdone, with things either impossible to happen at all or happening too conveniently. It was all pink and bed of roses and the problems the characters had seemed so trivial. It seemed that the author went through the motions when writing this story, ticking all the boxes that belong to such a story. Simply, it was not a read for me, though if you are looking for a soft, light and heart in the eyes kind of read, just give it a go.

It Started with a Secret by Jill Mansell / Blog Tour

It Started with a Secret by Jill Mansell

 

Publisher: Headline 41q0abrxgrl._sx325_bo1204203200_

Publishing Date: 23rd January 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 11.06.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Jill’s Mansell’s heart-warming new book is the feel-good novel of 2020. A beautiful Cornish setting, a chaotic family in need of loving care, a woman who’s had enough of romance – or has she? Not to be missed by readers of Katie Fforde and Millie Johnson.

When Lainey’s latest romance goes pear-shaped – she thought it was for ever; he thought it was just for now – she decides enough is enough. Whoever said it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all really didn’t know what they were talking about. And so, when she starts her new job helping out a chaotic family in Cornwall, she is definitely Not Interested in her boss’s step-son Seth, however attractive he might be (that’s Very Attractive, as it happens). Especially as Seth has a perfectly delightful girlfriend. But Lainey hasn’t been entirely honest about her life, and Seth’s not quite what he seems either. When everyone has something to hide, it’s complicated! And yet love does have a habit of finding a way…

Rating: five-stars

 

Lainey and her best friend Kit find themselves out of work. Having been working at the chateau in France, they are now returning to England, hoping to find a new job. This is when Lainey spots an ad for a couple to run a home in an idyllic and beautiful seaside village of St Carys in Cornwall. Desperate to get this position, they pretend to be a couple in love and indeed, they get it, helping now a brilliantly chaotic family that consists of Sir Richary Myles, a well know and now retired actor, his daughter – in – law Majella, her three kids, two dogs, and Seth, her stepson. And while Lainey is not looking for a new relationship, can it be that there are sparks flying between her and Seth? But Seth believes she’s in relationship with Kit… Oh, if only she hasn’t lied at the beginning…

I have read and enjoyed all Jill Mansell’s books and I now I can’t imagine a January without her new release. I know I’m in a pair of safe hands when starting Ms Mansell’s novel. Actually, I’ve read this book almost in one sitting, and yes, it was also because my review copy arrived realllllly late and I had to be quick to be ready for my blog tour stop, but also because this book was a real joy.

As usual, the author introduces us to a bunch of such brilliant and vivid characters! Even if at the beginning you may wonder what they may have in common, are they so significant to each other, you then learn that they all fill a purpose and you get a perfectly satisfying and neatly wrapped up end. However, before it happens, be prepared for a wonderful rollercoaster journey, full of twists and turns – as nothing is straightforward in this story.

I quickly grew fond of the characters and found myself really caring about them, and this is always a sign of really well written cast. Lainey was an absolutely smashing leading heroine, there was something special in her, and she had this incredible talent to feel well and comfortable not only in her own skin but also in every single place and around all people. She was easy – going, had a great relationship with every single member of the family and she was so sensitive that she always knew when somebody had a secret or was in troubles, bringing out the best in each person. She was kind, quirky and bubbly, full of life and it is impossible not to like her from the very beginning.
I loved the way Seth was written – not at all straightforward, there was so much more to him than met the eye, and behind this mysterious personality he’s been hiding a huge heart. He was honest, charming and always fair and I really liked him. And Majella, oh my word, Majella and her dating disasters were absolutely brilliant, finally some dates that felt original, fresh and naturally funny. And let’s not forget Richard, charismatic, incredibly funny with a huge community of loyal fans hoping to get a glimpse of him.

It was a wonderful and bright story, this time a little bit more light – hearted than Jill Mansell’s previous novels – yes, also touching about some more serious matters but I think that overall the tone was simply lighter, and I enjoyed this fact immensely. Next to the lightness and humour there are also some more poignant, deeper, soul – searching moment and events and the author has balanced them perfectly.

“It Started with a Secret” is a fast – paced story that flows effortlessly and feels so natural. The writing style is colourful, vivid and chatty and I immediately felt at home with the storyline and the book is so readable, if it makes sense? The plot is interesting and unique, and feels like a breath of fresh air, and even though there are plenty of characters (charming characters, let me add) it is so easy to keep on track with all of them. I enjoyed it from start to finish, but I didn’t expect to be different, and I can easily assure you – go, buy the book and thank me later for recommendation! It’s a gorgeous gem of a book!

 

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The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper / Blog Tour

The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper

 

Publisher: Headline 45166792

Publishing Date: 9th January 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 448

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of The Songs of Us. Fans of Jojo Moyes and Lucy Dillon will love The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper.

Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin.
Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes.
If found, please return to Sophie Williams.

Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey.
Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight.

When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be.
But fate has other ideas.

Now they have lost each other and can’t see a way back.
But they’ve already changed each other’s lives in more ways
than they could have predicted…

Rating:  five-stars

but-i-needmy-girls

 

“The First Time I Saw You” introduces us to Sophie, at the first sight a career – driven young woman who knows what she wants. And to Samuel, an Irish living in America, working in IT. They both meet when Sophie is on business in Washington, in the middle of a thunderstorm, and they’re completely smitten with each other. They spent a wonderful week together and then the things get complicated.
Even though there is this wonderful sparkle between them, even though they can’t live without each other, they can’t be together. Or can they? Finding each other again is not easy…

I loved Emma Cooper’s debut novel but guys! I might have loved “The First Time I Saw You” even more! It is always with trepidation that I start reading the authors’ second book after their debut was so great, fearing that the new book won’t live up to my expectations, but it’s not the case with this novel. It blew my socks off, it left me in pieces and it left me feeling that there is always hope. So oh my word, please send help, because how to write a review that will do this book justice? Mission impossible, I’d say. Because this book was beautiful. It was everything. It has broken my heart, to mend it again, to break it again. It made me laugh out so loud and it made me sob – literally.

I can’t even start to explain how fantastic the characters were. I immediately fell in love with all of them, with Sophie and Samuel at the beginning and then with the rest, steadily being introduced to us.
Sophie was not, as we can think at the first sight, the raw and sharp businesswoman – she hides much, much more inside her, and the more I got to know her and her background, the more I found myself pinning for her. I don’t think that she has changed throughout the story – she was like this all the time, she only tried to hide this vulnerable side of herself from the world, she tried to forget about it herself, but the more life has been challenging her and her decisions, the more softer she looked for us. The events that have shaped her and made her close inside herself were truly riveting and heart – breaking.
Samuel was one and only, and his story was both tragic and uplifting but who stole the story completely were his parents, the fabulous Mrs and Mr McLaughlin – please let’s give them a standing ovation! Samuel’s father, with his kind heart and understanding and the best sense of humour in the world is every girl’s dream father – in – law, some of the things he said made me really cry with laughter, and some of the things he said and done made me simply cry, bringing lump to my throat. Actually, his whole family was the perfect, chaotic and absolutely accepting family you could wish for. It was moving to see how they tried to support Samuel, to encourage him to get on with life.
And please don’t forget Michael! Michael, that Samuel grows to rely on most of all. How can a thing make you smile so much, even in such dramatic circumstances!

The author has such a way with words! She writes about love at first sight and lost love but she also doesn’t forget to put all kinds of relationships into the heart of her story. We have a romantic affair, but we also have sibling love, parental love, friendship, relationships that are complicated but at the end of the day they are everything, they’re important and life is easier with people looking after each other.

Emma Cooper’s writing style is absolutely perfect. Yes, the book started in a rather slow way, and in the first few chapters the same events were repeated from the characters’ point of view, and I thought, oh – oh, what now? But then… But then it was like an avalanche, starting with a small snowball and gaining speed. I started to feel so invested in the story that I didn’t want to put it down for a single second. It had a huge impact on me, I lived and breathed together with the characters.

Emma has perfectly balanced the poignant, incredibly sad and heart – wrenching moments with laugh – out – loud, extremely funny moments, so really, don’t be surprised when you find yourself laughing through tears. Yes, altogether the story is actually not funny, it is full of misunderstanding, lost chances and opportunities, near – misses that I couldn’t believe seeing, thinking, oh no, how close have they been! It is deep, moving and complex, a real emotional rollercoaster but filled with a great and fantastic dose of – especially Irish – humour.

The magic of the writing is that the author took me on every trial together with the characters. I lived through them and I felt every single feeling – their disappointments, hope, setbacks and steps forwards. I was willing them and feeling for them, I care for them as if they were real people, and believe me, it doesn’t happen often, it’s a rare gift to be able to write the characters in such a way, to make them so alive.

It was a beautiful, heartfelt and emotional story, superbly written, vividly describing emotions and feelings in a way that I didn’t know you could describe. The characters were more than brilliantly developed and their stories were complex, multi – layered and coherent, not too sugary but also not too wishy – washy. It was a moving and inspiring tale, touching upon lost love, missed opportunities, relationships, friendships and unappreciated power of family, with sensitivity and lightness. It is full of kindness and the feeling that even when you think there is no hope, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel, you only have to believe it. 10 out of 5 stars and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

 

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Coming Home to Winter Island by Jo Thomas / Blog Tour

Coming Home to Winter Island by Jo Thomas

 

Publisher: Headline 513xdmsnetl._sx323_bo1204203200_

Publishing Date: 12th December 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 336

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle (available now) | Paperback (out on 12.12.2019)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Wrap up warm and prepare to explore the breath-taking beauty of a remote Scottish island and an old house waiting to unlock enchanting family secrets.

Fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson will love this irresistible new winter novel from Jo Thomas.

Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.

But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.

City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor.

But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.

There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon …

Rating:  four-stars

 

In “Coming Home to Winter Island” we are introduced to Ruby, who is about to get her big break in music business when her voice suddenly disappears. Having arranged a therapeutic break in Tenerife, she gets a mysterious phone call that changes her plans and finds her travelling to a remote Scottish Island to deal with some issues regarding Hector, the grandfather she has never met before. What is going to happen when you put yourself into a mix of remote island, an unknown grandfather, a sitting tenant that is set on disrupting your plans, and gin?

This novel was atmospheric, touching and also light – hearted. There were moments that I would have liked it to be more demanding because some things happened very conventionally and felt a bit too forced for my liking but still, it didn’t spoil the reading at all. I’m also not sure why but it felt a bit different to Jo’s previous books, I can’t put my finger on it, can’t explain why I felt like this, although of course this book had all the things that I was expecting from Thomas’s book. She has – again – easily transported me into characters’ worlds with the gorgeous descriptions and storylines.

 The author touches upon many different issues, such like dementia, local community, family bonds to name only a few, and wonderfully ties them all together, creating a colourful, immersing story. There was never a single moment flat but also the story didn’t feel too full or overwhelming. The descriptions of the Island, and also of some of the past Christmases and all the memories added tons of feelings and emotions and were beautifully interwoven and written in a gentle, subtle way. And I loved the chase after the gin recipe, it was brilliant, I couldn’t wait to get to know all of the ingredients – I had my own favorite for the last ingredient, although it turned out that I was wrong. Oh well.

Ruby’s story was warm and uplifting. It was touching to see her getting to know her grandfather and learn about her family. She was the kind of character that you really quickly fell for, seeing how much she has to deal with, seeing her struggling between what she thinks would be best for a man that she truly doesn’t know, and her consciousness. Throughout the story Ruby grows so much, develops, reassesses her life and what it is she wants to do, and it includes also her relationship with a boyfriend who, to be honest, was awfully controlling and egoistic, seeing Ruby probably as a ticket to a better life and fortune. Then she’s confronted with a huge house that has for sure seen better days, grandfather with dementia and Lachlan, the sitting tenant who refuses to move out. The characters were really well developed, had depth to them and I kept everything crossed for them.

I so liked the interaction and banter between Ruby and Lachlan. They often don’t agree on things and butt heads but deep deep inside Hector’s safety is their main concern. Hector’s subplot was so moving, and as much as I understood Ruby, I was still surprised to see how much time it took her to realise what’s really good for him. The visit in the Home was really heart – breaking.

 “Coming Home to Winter Island” was full of feel – good factor, brilliant characters, wonderful setting and full of surprises. Jo Thomas didn’t disappoint, delivering another book that feels like a warm hug and is going to be a perfect read for a wintry evening. Highly recommended!

 

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The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne / Blog Tour

The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne

 

Publisher: Headline Review 48142997._sy475_

Publishing Date: 17th October 2019

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

Number of pages: 288

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 16.04.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The funny, uplifting second novel from Olivia Beirne for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Katie Marsh, Zoë Folbigg and Marian Keyes.

What would you do if you received a love letter that wasn’t meant for you?

Bea used to feel confident, outgoing and fun, but she’s not sure where that person went.

Over the last few months, she’s found herself becoming reclusive and withdrawn. And despite living with her two best friends, she’s never felt lonelier. To make things worse, she’s become so dependent on her daily routine, she’s started to slip out of everyone else’s.

But when a mysterious battered envelope covered in stars lands on her doormat, Bea wonders if she could find the courage to open it.

It isn’t addressed to her, but it could be… if you squinted…

Rating:   four-stars

 

Bea Smyth works for a local newspaper writing adverts, even though she really wants to write something more important. She lives in a house that she shares with her two best friends, Emma and Priya. She lives her days according to lists and plans, which, of course, leaves little room for anything new and spontaneous. While Emma and Priya have interesting social lives that they share with girlfriend and boyfriend, Bea is quite the opposite – rather withdrawn and happy on her own but constantly worrying that she’s not good enough and feeling that it’s much easier just to agree with everyone than to put herself above others’ needs. One day a letter addressed to “B” arrives. Even though it’s not directed to her, Bea replies that she never intends to sent but it’s somehow posted to Nathan – and so Bea’s double life begins, life that is going to push her into uncomfortable situations but also brings her joy and new people.

I absolutely adored the way the author has written Bea. She felt so real and true to life, with all her angst and uncertainty, and seeing her being pushed out of her comfort zones made me want to give her a standing ovation. She simply feels like a real person, sitting next to you, chatting with you and it’s impossible not to like her. She is quite timid and hates confrontations, but it sounds quite well – known, no? And I wasn’t blaming Bea for being the way she was, because I could see where she was coming from, I was blaming people surrounding her for being so pushy and taking advantage of her. I couldn’t stand Priya who was supposed to be a friend but was so self – absorbed and selfish, expecting Bea to drop everything to be there for her when she needed her but not giving a second thought for Bea’s needs.  

The unexpected letter was for Bea like a lifebelt. I really liked that she followed her instincts, and I admired her for this, knowing how much it must have cost her. The characters she has met forced life into her and, a bit unintentionally, showed her there is world outside, that there is much more to life. She almost immediately fell in love with the nursing home and the three remaining people there, Nina, Gus and Sylvie, and the carer Jakub. Why only three people, I hear you asking. Well, because the home was supposed to be closing in the New Year and other residents have already found different accommodations. At first Bea only sensed a story that she could sell to her boss Duncan but it quickly turned into a real friendship, into much more for Bea, into a thing that she started to care about so much.

 I only had the feeling that the “accidental love letters” were, I don’t know, an afterthought? I was thinking they’re going to be a prominent part of the book, and I thought this part of the story is going to probably be light – hearted and funny, while it turned out that actually they added much more seriousness to the story. They were poignant and actually this what arose from those letters was much more serious in tone. Nevertheless, I was hoping for more when it comes to the letters, and for something different, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t like them, oh no. And it wouldn’t be possible for Bea to change, to find herself without them, so it’s a win – win situation. 

There was quite a number of threads to follow but they were all so very well written and they kept me alerted all the time. I also adored the way the author has captured Bea’s feelings and emotions, her anxiety, getting straight to the core of it, putting into words for us how it really feels. The scenes where Bea was calling her mum, leaving a message and asking to call her back soon made me realised what has happened and broke my heart. She was so lost, felt so alone, her roommates wanted to move out and on and now she was also supposed to lose the new friends from nursing home, where she felt needed, comfortable.

Altogether, it was a fairly light and warm read with a deeper side to it. An uplifting, funny and moving story, very well written, bringing the characters to life, a gentle, charming tale about life altogether, relationships, hope and coming out of your shell. Truly recommended!

 

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Love, Unscripted byOwen Nicholls / Blog Tour

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls

 

Publisher: Headline Review 44590494._sy475_

Publishing Date: 22nd August 2019

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

Number of pages: 4384

Genre: Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 06.02.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Owen Nicholls’ Love, Unscripted is an uplifting love story, following film projectionist Nick as he tries to understand the difference between love on the silver screen and love in real life. Perfect for fans of David Nicholls, Nick Hornby and Laura Barnett.

For film projectionist Nick, love should mirror what he sees on the big screen. And when he falls for Ellie on the eve of the 2008 presidential election, it finally does.

For four blissful years, Nick loved Ellie as much as he loved his job splicing film reels together in the local cinema. Life seemed… picture-perfect.

But now it’s 2012, Ellie has moved out and Nick’s trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

With Ellie gone and his life far from the happy ending he imagined, Nick wonders if their romance could ever again be as perfect as the night they met.

Can love really be as it is in the movies?

my-review

 

Nick loves movies. He’s a film projectionist in a London cinema and he also loves his job that is just at the cusp of becoming unavailable to him because of the upcoming digital projection changes. When he meets Ellie at a party for the 2008 presidential election in the USA, Nick is sure that he finally found the One, love like in the movies. But is life like that? Following a narrative, always having a happy end?
Fast forward four years and Nick faces a redundancy, his family life is falling apart and Ellie moved out, leaving him trying to figure out why, and where, did the script go wrong.

It was a light – hearted story with characters that were full of flaws, which only made me like them better. It’s always nice to see that I’m not the only one in the world making wrong decisions and regretting being stubborn but not giving up, even though I know I’m in the wrong – hello Nick (waving here). Honestly, if things didn’t go according to him and his plans, he immediately backed down into his shell, offended. But there was also this second side to him, he was self – doubting and vulnerable, and actually a third side as well, when he was eventually able to see his ways and tried better. So really, not many characters were able to make me feel so frustrated about them and also keep everything crossed for them, willing them to succeed, like Nick. And he went through so much of personal growth in this story, and it’s always my favourite part of the novels.

The writing style was easy and chatty and the pace was only right, though personally I liked the chapters set in present better than those in the past. Sure, they introduced us to Nick and Ellie and their relationship, and there wouldn’t be a story without them but still, not sure why but the present was for me much more interesting than the past. It is also (the writing) full of the best kind of humour, the one hidden between the lines that I like so much.

So really, “Love, Unscripted” was a real, realistic and raw glance at love, love that is anything like in the movies, all smooth sailing and happy ends, but is full of ups and downs and this is what makes it so exciting. It was full of references to films that even I, the one that doesn’t go to the cinema (well, only if it is a movie for children, *eye – rolling*), have heard about or even – yes! – seen them, and music that made me smile in recognition. So really, I am not sure why this book didn’t work for me as I hoped it’s going to be – either you connect with the story or not and we didn’t click this time. And the end made me feel a bit confused. Nevertheless, I think you are going to adore this romantic, humorous and true to life debut, with a lot of deep meaning.

 

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Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

 

43884245Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 30th May 2019

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

Number of pages: 480

Genre: Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover (out on 05.09.2019)| Paperback (out on 20.02.2020)

 

Synopsis:

The gripping new novel by Sunday Times Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop is set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece, the subsequent civil war and a military dictatorship, all of which left deep scars.

Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.
Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

Rating: four-stars

 

“Those Who Are Loved” follows the life of Themis, from childhood up to an old age. It was life full of events, love, loss and grief. Raised by her matriarch grandmother, Themis grows in a family that is full of disharmony, especially when it comes to politics. First living under Nazi occupation in Athens and then, when the war was over and everybody thought the worst is already behind them, the communist start to rule Greece, there are civil wars and there are many, many challenges to be faced by Themis and her family. You are going to learn that for sure she was not an ordinary woman.

I must admit, for a long time I had a feeling that it is simply a random read, that the author simply wanted to bring us closer to historical period that I, personally, didn’t know about. I didn’t feel engaged too much in the story, and I think that this time reading with Pigeonhole didn’t help – you need to get into the heart of the story in your own tempo, you need to have the possibility to read as much as you want to understand where the story is taking us. It took me a long time to finally start to appreciate the novel and to “get” it, and when I’ve eventually hit this point, there was nothing holding me back and there was probably nothing that could mend my broken heart. And in the end I can say that it was a powerful, incredibly important book.

The story was so immaculately researched and there was so much love to Greece and its history. The author has painted here a real, raw, genuine and fascinating picture, an motional journey full of pain and tears but also small acts of joy. There were many historical facts intertwined into the plot but it never felt like reading a history book – because the author has an incredible talent to mix them with so many personal touches and making the characters feel human and real.

Themis’s voice is distinctive and gentle, and even though she has experienced so much loss, pain and suffering she still finds it in her heart to be as objective as possible. The author was able to get into her character’s head so intensively that I had a feeling I was living and breathing with Themis. You don’t have to agree with her but you are still going to keep everything crossed for her. It was great to accompany her on her journey to adulthood, seeing how she grows up, how feisty and determined and full of passion she becomes in her life that was so full of turmoil and disharmony.
Actually, the author brings all the characters to life, and you could either agree with them or not, you could warm to them or not but they were very well drawn and significant and all them played a role in this story.

It was not only a historical fiction but an engrossing and rich family saga, a great picture of family dynamics, going deep into the feelings and emotions of all the characters, making you suffer and experience everything with them. I personally can’t imagine my family torn so heavily because of politics but the author has made it very believable in the story, showing how much and how badly it has affected the characters. It was also done so realistically, the real struggle of Themis to find her own way and her own beliefs. It was fascinating read with a difference about standing for yourself, fighting for your beliefs, not giving up but also knowing when it’s time to surrender, to realise your priorities, about bravery and determination, story about life versus death. A compelling novel about heartbreak, loss, regret and hope, full of significant moments that stay with you till the end. Victoria Hislop brings back the trauma of not only the repercussions of WWII in Greece, but she digs deeper and further, shedding light on the community divided by politics, on the cruelty and difficulties that Greek had to face after the war. Recommended!

 

Her Husband’s Mistake by Sheila O’Flanagan / Blog Tour

Her Husband’s Mistake by Sheila O’Flanagan

 

43204746Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 30th May 2019

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

Number of pages: 448

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 05.03. 2020)

 

Synopsis:

Dave’s made a BIG mistake. What’s Roxy going to do about it? The riveting new novel from No. 1 bestselling author Sheila O’Flanagan. Perfect for readers of Marian Keyes and Amanda Prowse.

Roxy’s marriage has always been rock solid.

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple.

Until the day she comes home unexpectedly, and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour.

Suddenly Roxy isn’t sure about anything – her past, the business she’s taken over from her dad, or what her family’s future might be. She’s spent so long caring about everyone else that she’s forgotten what she actually wants. But something has changed. And Roxy has a decision to make.

Whether it’s with Dave, or without him, it’s time for Roxy to start living for herself…

‘One of my favourite authors’ Marian Keyes

Rating: four-stars

 

Roxy has recently lost her father and has been spending more time at her mother’s house. The day after the funeral she comes home to surprise her husband, however what she sees when she walks in to their bedroom is going to change their lives. Roxy immediately moves out with the children and stays with her mother to work out what to do next. She has started to run her father’s chauffer business when he was taken ill, and now she feels it is only right to continue it, especially as he left her his Mercedes to do with it what she wants. She starts to feel confident again, loves meeting the clients and enjoys the driving, but also she needs to decide what to do with her marriage – forgive and forget? Come back to Dave? Trust him again?

Now, Roxy. Yes, there were moments that I felt desperate with her, or more likely I felt desperate with her husband, because I really rooted for her and kept everything crossed for her. I think the author has so brilliantly captured her indecisions, uncertainty, being torn between the feeling that she has to stay loyal and putting all others before herself – this is the way we work, we dream of things but we still don’t find the courage to reach for them, and in my opinion Sheila O’Flanagan has done a great job with picturing Roxy like this, making her a living and breathing character. I might have not always agreed with her decisions but I respected them because it’s so easy to say something but much more difficult to do it when you’re not sure what’s good – and Roxy felt so true that all she did or didn’t do simply felt realistic, and her problems and struggles will for sure resonate with many women.
Dave is another story. I wanted to bang his head on the wall every time he tried to get his own way and carry on making Roxy feel as though she’s the one in the wrong, as though everything was her fault, and as he was doing it instantly, this wall would get a nice hollow in it really quickly. It’s one thing when married people are not always able to settle their differences but Dave took it to another level and I hated how he made Roxy feel.

I had a feeling that the pace is rather on the slow side, and I could have lived without some of the passages, and I’ve missed some more action but altogether I enjoyed this novel and I find that it was incredibly easy to read – you know this kind of books when you start to read, five minutes later look at the clock and see that actually it is more than few hours but you simply didn’t notice it, so engrossed you are in the story. “Her Husband’s Mistake” was such a book, I really liked the writing style, it was so natural and easy to follow.

Altogether, it was a down – to – earth, realistic novel about family relationships and dynamics, about second chances and taking things in your hands. I really liked seeing the main character growing in confidence, becoming self – confident, knowing her value and strength. Story that is relatable on many levels, that I really enjoyed and highly recommend.

 

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Just My Type by Hannah Doyle / Blog Tour

Just My Type by Hannah Doyle

 

44413874Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

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

Number of pages:

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

JUST MY TYPE is the second novel from Hannah Doyle, author of the laugh-out-loud hit rom-com THE YEAR OF SAYING YES, perfect for fans of Love Island, What Fresh Hell by Lucy Vine and Anna Bell.

Meet Jasmine.
– The quirky/cool photographer to a superstar blogger
– She’s going on a date with a SUPER hot guy on the London Eye tonight
– Best friend Mila is her wifey for life
– This millennial is #LivingHerBestLife

But fast-forward a few hours, and the reality isn’t quite so picture perfect. Jasmine hates her stuck-up blogger boss. She can barely afford rent in her stupid London flat. Her best friend seems to have all her sh*t together. Oh, and that date she was so excited about? She got dumped. On the London Eye. In the middle of a thunderstorm. With a bunch of tourists watching…

Best friend Mila decides that Jasmine needs a new ‘type on paper’, because Jasmine’s current criteria is so off that her dating history is one long line-up of fools. So Mila challenges Jasmine to look once, if not twice, at the guys who wouldn’t normally fit her ‘type’. With nothing to lose, Jasmine accepts. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll surprise herself.

Rating: four-stars

 

Jasmine is in a relationship and right now she’s expecting that her boyfriend is going to propose on the next date. However, this date goes belly – up and unfortunately for our heroine, she finds herself single again. Jasmine’s best friend Mila claims it’s because she dates only “her type” guys, and maybe she should simply go for one that, on paper at least, is not her type at all? So she sets Jasmine on a 7 date challenge – dating out of her comfort zones and maybe, probably finding The One?

Jasmine’s job was really interesting – she was a photographer to a superstar blogger so on one hand it was such a brilliant, glamorous job, visiting different countries and providing so many possibilities. On the other hand, she had a real boss from hell, guys, who was belittling her and expecting wonders or burdened Jasmine with tasks almost impossible to accomplish. I think the author has really well captured the feelings of Jasmine here, when she didn’t know what to do, when she didn’t pluck up the courage to take matters in her hands, and as much as I wanted her to tell her boss to go to hell, I also understood that she was scared, that she was afraid what the future is going to bring. It was nice to see Jasmine’s journey here, the change in her, her growing in confidence, of course with some help here and there – but who helped her and why and how? *you must read for yourself* *wink*

This book, just like Hannah Doyle’s debut novel, started very, very promising, then went a bit downhill and then came back to being hilarious and warm. By downhill I don’t mean that it was flat or not hooking, because it was, I just had a feeling that the story lost its impact in the middle, that’s all. I also had problems with the main character at the beginning, and I swear guys, I’ve already started to panic because, Hannah Doyle’s book, right, and what is happening? I don’t know, Jasmine was somehow too shallow, too obsessed with finding the right boyfriend, too focused on her “type” – probably this is why I had this feeling of her being too shallow. But then it changed, she changed, and I’ve finished this book feeling like Jasmine’s best friend, so there.

There are so many different books with characters going on dates, and so it is a real trial for the author to write a unique, hilarious blind date that hasn’t been written yet! “Just My Type” provides us with series of such (unfortunate) dates and ridiculous situations but they were much more original and better I could have expected, so hats off to Hannah Doyle for this! The guys were so different, and the dates were so different, and it wasn’t too cheesy, too meh, too schmaltzy, no, the dates were so enjoyable, the guys hilarious and I enjoyed every single moment of them. But oh my, how glad am I that I don’t have to go on dates anymore…

I had a feeling that the book is aimed rather at younger audience than yours truly writing this review but nevertheless I simply loved this story. It was my kind of humour and I liked how light – hearted and easy it was. Perhaps there weren’t many life changing turns and twists but still, little things happened here and there that were surprising and often made me go “oh no!” There was actually much more to this story than meet the eye. I really, really like Hannah Doyle’s writing style. It is light – hearted, chatty, flows effortlessly, and it’s full of humour and great one – liners. The way she describes her characters and events allows you to immediately feel drawn in, to feel comfortable with the book and the storyline. Altogether, “Just My Type” was a funny, sharp and very up – to – date story about learning things about yourself, pushing your boundaries, about facing challenges and finding love where we don’t expect to find it. Recommended!

 

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