The List that Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne

The List that Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne

 

40901450Publisher: Headline Review

Publishing Date: 22nd November 2018

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

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sometimes all you need is a little push…

When Georgia’s sister is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she promises to do everything her older sibling can no longer do, resulting in a journey that will change her life forever…

Georgia loves wine, reality TV and sitting on the sofa after work. She does not love heights, looking at her bank account, going on dates, or activities that involve a sports bra. And she will never, ever take a risk.

That is, until her braver, bolder, big sister finds out that she won’t be able to tick off the things she wanted to do before turning thirty, and turns to Georgia to help her finish her list.

With the birthday just months away, Georgia suddenly has a deadline to learn to grab life with both hands. Could she be brave enough to take the leap, for her sister?

And how might her own life change if she did?

A hilarious and heart-warming journey of a lifetime, showing us what it means to really be alive.

Rating: four-stars

“The List that Changed My Life”, the debut novel by Olivia Beirne, follows Georgia Miller, a twenty – six year old woman from London, working as an assistant to a designer. Even though Georgie is a great designer herself, she now acts as a runner/organizer/general dogsbody for her boss’s wedding and wouldn’t dare to show her her designs. Georgie’s sister Amy is a fit and cheerful PE teacher, and they both share a very strong bond. It’s no wonder then that when Amy is diagnosed with MS, Georgie’s world collapses as well. Amy challenges Georgie with a bucket list, full of things that she won’t be able to do herself – they’re mostly very out of Gerogie’s comfort zone, so will she be able to do it for her sister? And how much is her life going to change if she did?

I love books about lists, probably because they (the lists) never work for me in my life. And here it was a list that was a little bit different, because it was written for somebody, not by our main character herself. It was for her, from her sister. And well, there were things that really weren’t the easiest ones to do, to complete. No wonder that Georgia was a little sceptical, and it was a real joy to read how she worked her way through all the items on the list. I liked the way the idea of the list was executed, it was this little bit different to all the other lists that I’ve read about and it didn’t feel too meh or too utilised.

Georgia herself was such a lovely and compelling character. Yes, sure, sometimes I’ve got the vibe that she’s letting other people take her life over, that Jack’s involvement into her list was a bit too much, but other than that she was a lovely, friendly young woman that loved her sister so much. She’s been constantly pushed out of her comfort zones and we know ourselves how uncomfortable it can be, but she learnt how to value her life and how to stand for herself during the time. And, let’s be honest, mostly we’re really glad that we’ve done this step, no? I really liked the relationship between Georgie and her sister Amy, though there were moments that I had a feeling that Amy was a little bit too possessive, as if she wanted her sister only to herself, as if Georgie wasn’t allowed to have her own life. It was especially apparent after Amy’s accident on the steps, and as much as I could understand Georgie, that she wanted to be as quickly as possible with her sister, I couldn’t help but felt a little disappointed at the way Amy reacted – as if it was Georgie’s duty to be around her all the time. Georgie was always there for her sister, for better or worse, and I think she deserved a little life of her own as well. But those two had a great bond, that’s for sure.

“The List that Changed My Life” was light, funny and poignant, heart – warming debut novel about love, sisterhood and about how much you are able to sacrifice for those you love, how far you’d go for them. It was emotional, and it was incredibly humorous, there was a lightness to it even though it touched upon such a serious issue as being diagnosed with MS, but it didn’t make my cry. It was about stepping out of your comfort zones and taking advantages and opportunities. It was life – affirming and also thought – provoking, showing that it’s not so difficult to test your limits and to simply enjoy and appreciate what the world has on offer. I’m already looking forward to next Olivia Beirne’s novel, she’s certainly one to watch.

 

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The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper

The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper

 

 

36389285Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 20th September 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

If Melody hadn’t run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn’t be left with a condition that makes her sing when she’s nervous. And she definitely wouldn’t have belted out the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ in assembly at her son’s school.

If Dev hadn’t taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn’t have happened. He wouldn’t have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life’s heart.

But if they hadn’t seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be ‘Us’.

Rating: five-stars

Life hasn’t been kind for the King family. Melody is trying her best after her husband Dev mysteriously disappeared years ago. Flynn, having suffered facial injuries and being blind in one eye in end result has his own battles to fight at school, as well as his sister Rose. Melody, following an unfortunate accident, has a very unusual and embarrassing habit of launching into song when she’s stressed or in anxiety. Rose is desperate to find her father and when she comes across a notification about a missing person, a whole new chapter in the King’s family life begins…

Ah, feck it, guys, what a gorgeous, poignant and at the same time funny book it was! I’ve never supposed it’s going to end in this way, and even though I felt disappointed how it turned out – I didn’t want it to end like this – No. Way. Please. No. Just. No – but I accepted the way the author decided to wrap this story up. It didn’t spoil the book for me – it’s really hard to explain, to be honest, because you may say, what, you didn’t like the ending and yet you loved the book, hello? Yes, it’s exactly like this, because I totally, absolutely fell for Melody and it was just so unfair, but on the other hand it signed the story off in a beautiful, poignant way.

It is this kind of book that you’re going to devour in one sitting, wanting to read one chapter more and more. Yes, there were moments that I thought it drags too much, it focused too much on Melody’s condition and it felt as if it was repeating itself, and also the moments when Melody was singing, especially the quoting of the songs almost line after line were too much for my liking, but you know, those were only a few minor problems and altogether it was simply beautiful – an emotional roller – coaster journey, full of tears and laughs. It was funny and heart – wrenching, and it’s going to break your heart, mend it and break it again – be prepared and have your tissues at the ready.

This story is told in the first person’s narration, from the four main characters points of view. Those four characters are Melody, her children Flynn and Rose and her missing husband Dev. They all had beautiful, distinctive voices full of personality and the way they were telling their stories was heart – breaking. I immediately fell for them all and to see what they’re all going through, their stress, it was so sad. Emma Cooper has written all those feelings and emotions in such a beautiful, realistic way and you really have a feeling that you’re sitting in the characters’ heads. Melody was absolutely brilliant, full of life and so vibrant and I loved how she was around her children and how she fought for them. Flynn, such a typical teenager but with a huge heart in the right place. And Rose, the troubled Rose who tried to solve her problems in her own way – such a perfectly imperfect family that is going to stay with you for a very long time. The bond between the family is beautiful, so poignant and the way the children went to protect their mother was simply heart – wrenching.
I’m not sure how the author did this, but she has written a book where you just feel a part of the characters’ world, you feel as if you know them from inside out, all their problems and luck become yours. It doesn’t happen often that I feel that way when reading the book. I also loved that it has a darker side, challenging characters in some really difficult situations. It wasn’t too light, but is also wasn’t heavy, just the perfect mix of everything you look for in your books.

“The Songs of Us” was a truly surprising novel, full of twists and turns, sad but also incredibly uplifting. The characters were portrayed in very realistic way and they were very true to life, full of flaws and facing thousand little battles and showing what a real family looks like. It had a refreshing, unique storyline written in a sensitive, gentle way. Bitter – sweet and close to life, it’s going to make you laugh out loud and cry crocodile tears. A story of love, hope, broken hearts, forgiveness and second chances, about awful coincidences and fate playing with your life, an astonishing tale about unconditional love and loss, grief, relationships and family dynamics. Powerful and honest and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Friend of the Family by Tasmina Perry / Blog Tour

Friend of the Family by Tasmina Perry

 

 

41027488Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 20th September 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Suspense, Mystery

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of THE POOL HOUSE, this dark and twisty pageturner is perfect for fans of BBC’s THE REPLACEMENT, THE GIRLFRIEND by Michelle Frances and THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE.

You trust your friend, so you’d trust her daughter. Wouldn’t you…?

When an old university friend gets in touch with a request for work experience for her daughter, magazine editor Amy agrees. Twenty-year-old Josie walks into Amy’s office, moves into the basement of her Notting Hill house and is soon helping out with her children after Amy’s nanny is hit by a car. It seems the natural thing therefore for Amy to invite Josie on the family’s annual to Provence. When a series of things start to go wrong in their luxurious villa, Amy begins to suspect that Josie isn’t quite the friendly presence she appears. But when no one, not even her husband believes her, she realises she will have to play Josie at her own game in order to expose her true intentions…

Don’t miss this gripping, addictive read. You’ll never see a houseguest in the same way again…

My Review

Amy Shepherd has done well for herself – she has a lovely family and a great job as editor of a popular women’s magazine “Verve”. When a friend from her childhood, Karen, gets in touch with her, Amy is surprised but also happy. Karen hasn’t done as well as Amy, and so Amy finds herself agreeing to give Karen’s daughter Josie some work experience at her magazine. Not only this – she also puts her up at her home for the time.
However, with Josie’s arrival things seem to go belly up for Amy and her family on all counts – things begin to unravel and Amy starts to wonder, who has she let into her home? Is Josie sabotaging her life? And if so, why?

It’s a real coincidence that simultaneously I’ve been reading two books with the same leading focus of attention – inviting an old friend/daughter of a friend to your house, opening your door and heart and opportunities. What I find really good is the fact that they both were on the same level of suspense and interest.

The mystery, the “I Invited her in, I want her out” went somehow astray on the pages between Amy’s job and the banter. I wanted more tension, more puzzles to solve, really more things that could have really indicated that Josie was the real intruder. There was a moment that I felt desperate with Amy, I though she has Josie – obsession that looks very unhealthy. I can remember a book with a similar subject matter and also that it kept me on my tenterhooks, I felt all kind of emotions and I wanted this “bad girl” out so badly – here, however, it was mostly a story about Amy’s career life and it really, and sadly, lacked in the tension, suspicion, mystery. Yes, I haven’t see the final twist coming – it was a great surprise but the execution was too weak for my liking, and the things happened so quickly and too conveniently to make me feel satisfied.

What I really adored in this book was the way the characters were written – they were brilliantly developed and their personality trails were so well captured! They were not immediately – or not at all – likeable but the times when I though that you have to adore the characters to enjoy the book are long gone, I actually appreciate it more when the characters are not easy to like but they’re drawn in such a way that you feel a part of their world and you’re immediately wrapped up into their lives and relationships, and it was like this in this novel. They were mostly very smug and very self – satisfied, they all made mistakes, they all had tons of money and they always found their ways out, coming up smiling. They were not the ones to appreciate what they have, taking things mostly for granted.

“Friend of the Family” was a sharp observed and honest story about bold and beautiful, about rich and glamorous eventually felling off their high horses. The author is a great story teller and has a way with words, her dialogues flows effortlessly and her writing style is rich and sparkly. It was a stylish and elegant book about revenge, obsession and unjust accusations and how little it takes to destroy someone’s life.

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Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas

Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas

 

 

35992554Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 9th August 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Jo Thomas’s new novel invites you to a special cherry orchard in Spain, where sunshine, romance and family secrets are the order of the day. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Milly Johnson and Katie Fforde, SUNSET OVER THE CHERRY ORCHARD is a heartwarming, hilarious tale.

It’s time for Beti Winter to dance to her own beat.

After three failed engagements Beti is in desperate need of a fresh start. What better place than the sun-drenched hills of southern Spain?

But it’s not all sangria and siestas. Beti finds work on an old Andalucian cherry farm where there are cherries to be picked, trees to be watered and her fiery boss, Antonio, to win over.

As the sun toasts her skin, Beti finds herself warming to the Spanish way of life. Embracing the art of flamenco, she discovers there is much to learn from the dance of passion. She just has to let loose and listen to the rhythm of her heart.

Jo Thomas takes you there.

Rating: four-stars

Our main character Beti Winter finds herself in Spain and with a third engagement broken. No only this, but she’s penniless and jobless, and watching her biggest dream of owning a bar in Spain fading away. But Beti is strong and determined, so she pushes on – she finds a job, a place to stay and getting her head down she starts to save for her promised Butterfly Bar. But life is not a bed of roses, especially for our Beti, so there are many challenges coming her way, many problems and troubles – is there going to be a happy end for her?

It seems there must have been a mix up somewhere along the way about the publication date, my press release says 23rd of August and please correct me if I’m wrong but the book was out on 9th August? Apologies then for my late review but better late then never and no matter when you read the book, it’s going to take you on a beautiful, gorgeous, impressive journey to Spain – it was a lovely read, guys!

Beti was so real and I kept everything crossed for her – she so much deserved for her dream to come true and I couldn’t believe my eyes when fate was throwing so many challenges and obstacles at her all the time. She was also my favourite kind of character, she’s been growing and developing and it was a real joy to see how she changes into this confident young woman. She was not afraid to become a washer – upper in a restaurant, she was not afraid of working because she had a goal before her eyes and she was determined to – this time finally – achieve it. I really admired her.

I also liked the romance aspect. It was not so straightforward and obvious as you could expect. There were so many obstacles on the way and also I liked how it was weaved in into the story – it was not too overwhelming, too forced on us. However, even if many other things, such as keeping the farm and restaurant, Beti finding her true vocation were the focus of the story, this lovely romance was seamlessly and effortlessly accompanying us on the way and the outcome was simply fabulous.

This novel is so worth reading if only because of its end! I mean, not only because of this, as the whole story is so encompassing, full to brims with emotions and gorgeous descriptions, but the end has so exceeded my expectations. It was simply gorgeous and I personally felt so, so proud of Beti! You know, I even found myself straighten out, putting my chin high and deciding to be like Beti, getting up, following your dream and never let anybody to belittle me anymore. Well, that’s the theory at least. But Beti is my new hero and example right now.

It was a very descriptive book, and nothing wrong with this guys, as Jo Thomas’s writing style goes from strength to strength with her every book, and she has a way with words. She easily brings to life her setting, the gorgeous Cherry Orchard, the characters, the food and there is always so much understanding and knowledge when she writes about animals, and I love this. However, I had a feeling that Beti starts to be repetitive and that the descriptions of her feelings, her inner monologues and noodling over – as much as beautifully written and important – just slow down the action. Yes, I own up, I did skip a passage or a page as I wanted to just go on. But it doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy or appreciate the book, which I did, with my whole being – it was a gorgeous, colourful read, guys. Jo Thomas’s writing style is so warm and really, there is passion in every word.

“Sunset Over the cherry Orchard” is a story about dreaming big and not giving up, as your turn will come – earlier or later, but it will come, so please don’t stop believing. There was humour and poignant moments, there was fun and sadness, it was full of surprises and unexpected friendships and relationships, fiery flamenco and Spanish food, glorious Spanish food. It was so heart – warming and inviting, like a pure escapism that you’ll easily lose yourself in and forget about the passing time. The good vibes were palpable through the pages, it was as sweet as the cherries and as fierce as flamenco, but no worries, it was not too saccharine, oh no, Jo Thomas knows what she’s doing. And boy, I must mention the cover! It’s simply gorgeous! Those deep reds, the bright orange and yellow and there is even a cat…! It really shows off the setting and atmosphere of this novel to a T! I really recommend this book.

This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell

This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell

 

34209819Publisher: Headline Review

Publishing Date: 25th January 2018

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

Number of pages: 432

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Love, friendship and some delightful surprises will keep you turning the pages of this new romance from Jill Mansell, the bestselling author of MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY and YOU AND ME, ALWAYS. Not to be missed by fans of Katie Fforde, Lucy Diamond and Sophie Kinsella. Fall in love with Jill’s books: ‘A glorious, heartwarming, romantic read’ Woman & Home

Essie has all she ever wanted – a perfect boyfriend, a beautiful cottage outside Bath, a great job and the kind of good, close friends all of us should have. Then Lucas Brook walks into her life and overnight everything changes for the very-much-worse. What Lucas does is unforgivable, and Essie definitely has no plans to see him again. But when their paths cross once more, she can’t help noticing how very attractive he is. What a shame he’s such a troublemaker.

Sometimes things aren’t quite what they seem, as Essie will soon find out…

Rating: five-stars

A proud owner of all Jill Mansell’s books speaking here (I must take a photo of them all standing on my bookshelf, totally) – no need to mention that I of course have read them all, and loved all of them, without exception. Every new release from this author is impatiently awaited by yours truly. The beautiful orange cover of this brand new offer from Ms Mansell catches your eye immediately – I can’t recall a book cover in such lovely, warm colours as this of “This Could Change Everything”. And what is between this beautiful cover is just Jill Mansell at her best – she presents us with a lovely, heart – warming story with a great heroine, some difficult situations and a fairy – godmother.

There is a great mix of colourful characters in this story. Essie very quickly, right at the beginning, gets herself in troubles by writing a round robin email that was supposed to land only in her best friend Scarlett’s inbox but somehow is sent to all her contacts. Round robin, where Essie writes what she thinks about her boyfriend and her prospective mother – in – law as well, so you can imagine the consequences, right. Who has sent it and why?
What I so adore in Jill Mansell’s book, so also in this one, is the fact that the characters come into each other lives by chance and usually stay friends, creating an incredible group of colourful, real characters. I was totally engrossed in all their ups and downs, problems, troubles and complications. They are all so well drawn, together with their fortes and flaws as well, and I loved their sense of humour and determination.

The darker and heavier issues are handled with gentleness and subtlety and light touch. I totally adored the idea of Zillah being the wonderful fairy godmother, making wishes come true for the residents of the hospice.
Sure, the things happened oh so very conveniently for our characters but oh my, so what? It didn’t bother me at all. And that the characters mostly were more lucky than clever? Let them!

Altogether, it was – as expected and awaited by me – a light and enjoyable read with some twists and turns and surprises on the way, and ha! Let it surprise you when it comes to the romances – let me just tell you that not everybody ends with people you think they’re going to end. There is everything in the book – plenty of the highest level humour, but of course mixed with some poignant moments and difficult situations, a budding romance or two that are not so straightforward, broken hearts, tons of friendship and warm feelings. It was like a sunbeam on a grey, dull day and it cheered me up ceaselessly. “This Could Change Everything” was a funny, moving, heart – warming, uplifting read, and I totally loved it – highly recommended!

The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle

The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle

 

35565382Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 1st July 2017

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

Number of pages: 363

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Dear Readers,

I hold my hands up: I’m stuck in a rut. For three years and counting I’ve been hopelessly in love with the same guy – and the closest we’ve ever got is a drunken arse grab (NB: this doesn’t count). My favourite hobby is googling cats for spinsters and I’m sick of my shoestring salary that barely pays for my shoebox flat.

I need a head-to-toe life makeover. Enter my ‘Year of Saying Yes’, which is where you come in. To help me sort out my sorry life, I need you to #DareIzzy. For the next 12 months I’ll be saying ‘yes’ to your challenges, no matter how wild, adventurous or plain nuts they are. ‘No’ is not an option!

Here goes… Wish me luck! I’m going to need it.

Love,

Izzy x

Hannah Doyle’s THE YEAR OF SAYING YES will make you dirty-laugh, feel warm and fuzzy, and rediscover life’s magic – all thanks to one little word: ‘yes’. Fans of Lucy’s Vine’s HOT MESS, Cathy Hopkins’s THE KICKING THE BUCKET LIST, Sophie Kinsella’s MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE, Suzy K Quinn’s THE BAD MOTHER’S DIARY and Fiona Gibson’s THE WOMAN WHO MET HER MATCH, this one’s for you!

 
Rating: five-stars

 

At the beginning of this year I read the first part in “The Year of Saying Yes” series, “It Started with a Dare”, and I totally loved it. This novella has totally taken me by surprise actually – I haven’t expected it to be SO good, so hilarious, so light – hearted and full of laugh – out – loud moments and I loved it! I planned to read all the other parts as soon as they’re published however it never worked out – you know how it is, life getting in the way, no time at all, and somehow, somewhere my huge plan of reading them just disappeared. Imagine then my surprise when one day I’ve opened an envelope and found there the whole “The Year of Saying Yes” in one big gorgeous book – just this kind of surprise that I adore 🙂

Hannah Doyle’s writing style is brilliant, it flows so effortlessly, it’s full of humour and I immediately felt drawn in. She describes events and situations in a way that makes you feel you are watching a sitcom, adding a gesture here or dropping a hilarious one – liner there. She can also create lovely characters that I adored from the very beginning – well, who wouldn’t relate to Izzy and the pressure she’s putting on herself? I also felt so comfortable with all her friends, but Izzy is a special character, with her very own unique voice, huge personality she’s bubbly, quirky and full of life. She was a brilliant lead character and I think I loved everything about her: her sense of humour, the way she was so incredibly down to earth and relaxed, the way she viewed the world. In my eyes she was also incredibly brave, I think I wouldn’t dare to take part in such a kind of challenge, just imagine how much it costs to get out of your comfort zones, and poor Izzy needed to do this twelve times. Of course it was for the best, she’s grown, learnt so many things but still it was a great challenge, and she couldn’t say no to them, no matter how crazy or unfeasible it was. She pushed her way past breaking points on more than one occasion and I just wanted to get up and give her a standing ovation. She was not perfect, oh no, I personally couldn’t stand her infatuation with George and there were moments that I wanted to shake her so badly and tell her to open her eyes but well… heart wants what the heart wants and I really, truly adored her. It would be great to have Izzy as a friend.

This was a brilliant, light – hearted book that you can re – read every time you’re feeling low and it’s assured it’s going to make you feel better. It was hilarious but it also touched upon more difficult aspect of life and it was very well balanced. It was a funny, refreshing read and I loved the idea behind it – maybe I should try this say yes approach as well. I think that somewhere in the middle the story slowed down a little and felt a bit slower and quieter than the beginning and then the end, but nevertheless it was still a great, amusing read about taking chances.

Altogether, “The Year of Saying Yes” was a story about learning things about yourself, pushing your boundaries, learning that impossible is nothing. It shows that no matter what we think about ourselves, we’re strong enough to face the challenges – in a brilliant, hilarious, light – hearted way. I really can’t wait to see what Hannah Doyle has in store for us, because this book was a real winner and it is a novel that should be shouted about from the rooftops. Highly recommended!

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The Honey Farm on the Hill by Jo Thomas

The Honey Farm on the Hill by Jo Thomas

 

31424836Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 24th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 400

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

We never forget the one who got away.

Eighteen years ago Nell fell in love in the mountains of Crete and life changed for ever. Nell’s daughter, Demi, has never met her dad. Nell never saw him again.

When she gets the chance to return to the hilltop town of Vounoplagia – where everything began – Nell can’t resist the urge to go back and find him.

Working on a honey farm perched high up in the hills, there’s plenty to keep her busy. And she will quickly realise the town harbours just as many secrets as she does.

But if Nell’s favourite romantic films are right, there’s a happy ending in store for each of us. All she has to do is seek out the magic of the mountains…

Rating: four-stars

Ah, I’m a real winner this year when it comes to great books set in Greece! Jo Thomas’s “The Honey Farm on the Hill” is another novel this summer that happens on a beautiful, sunny Corfu, and even though it’s not as full of Greek traditions for example, it is still full to brims with the gorgeous Greek spirit, myths, delicious food and beautiful descriptions – Jo Thomas has really written a beautiful, atmospheric novel, not forgetting to add some mystery, budding romance and bees. Yes, bees. And honey.

It was incredibly easy to read. I have felt a part of this story right from the beginning and I didn’t want to put it away. I loved how easily Nell slotted into life with Maria, Kostas and Mitera, how quickly she settled in, and even though her being there has also had a hidden agenda, she truly put her heart into work on the farm. Together with her I’ve learnt about various herbs, their significance and characteristics and it was a great lesson. We already know about the importance of bees but the way Jo Thomas has written about it was again an eye – opener. However, I know bees are not angry but do they know it as well? Whatever, it is a great message to be taken from this story.

I only had some small problems with the drama that sometimes felt a little too exaggerated, too dramatic. Don’t get me wrong, pretty please, it was still a great read however there were moments that made me shake my head in disbelief. The story was also very repetitive at times, so I won’t forget for a long time that Nell missed her daughter so much (I know. I understand. I am a mother and miss my daughter when she’s away but there is so much I can take. I knew Nell is missing Demi, I didn’t have to be reminded every second page. Or that Nell’s boyfriend has cheated. Or that the dittany is a VERY rare herb.) But other than that I loved and enjoyed this story, truly.

The writing is so vivid, guys, SO vivid! It’s colourful and evocative and so rich, and I could almost smell all the herbs in the air. The descriptions of the food made my mouth water, and I could easily recognise the danger when it was around. The dialogues were one of the best, the author has so well captured what the characters wanted to tell and perfectly put it into words. The story was also full of surprises. What also singles this book out is the fact that it is not only your usual rom – com, it is full of much more deeper issues, it is thoughtful and introduces us to some dilemmas. So altogether, it is Jo Thomas at her best, and “The Honey Farm on the Hill” is a great read, so richly imagined and so wonderfully written – highly recommended!