A Patchwork Family: Moving On” by Cathy Bramley

A Patchwork Family: Moving On by Cathy Bramley


51gxvtvvgrlPublisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 1st August 2019

Series: A Patchwork Family #1

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

Number of pages: 88

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle )



This is part one in an uplifting four-part serial from bestseller Cathy Bramley.

Gina Moss is proud of herself: she’s just had the most amicable divorce ever. No arguments, no fuss, no drama. It means she has plenty of time and energy for her thriving childminding business too.

Welcome Cottage is both home and workplace for Gina. It sits just on the edge of The Evergreens – a grand if slightly run-down Victorian residence to three octogenarians who have far too much fun for their age: Violet, Delphine and Bing.

But a tragedy puts her older friends at risk of eviction – and Gina in charge of the battle to save them. It might be her first fight, but it’s one that Gina is determined not to lose…

A Patchwork Family is a heart-warming novel told in four parts, following the challenges and triumphs faced by Gina Moss as she swaps an easy life for a happy one. This is the first part.

Rating: four-stars


“Moving On” is the first part in the new serialisation by Cathy Bramley, and it is absolutely brilliant introduction to something that – I am deadly sure – is going to be a wonderful, warm story full of ups and downs for the characters. Well, the downs have started already, as we are left on a cliff-hanger in the last chapter!

This short novella is like a tribute to Cathy Bramley. It is full of her hallmark chatty, warm and welcoming banter between the characters, wonderful setting, fun, humour and a little sadness. Our main heroine Gina Moss has just divorced and can now focus on her career – she works as a child – minder at her cottage with a wonderful name Welcome Cottage. There is such a lovely, beautiful bond between Gina and her charges, you can feel that she adores them and that she really cares about them. Gina is surrounded by a bunch of great, vivid characters that I thought are going to pop out of the pages at any moment, they are all so realistic and had their own, huge personalities, even when they had a little too much to drink – they are incredibly funny then.

It was a great and very promising beginning, introducing as – quickly and efficiently – to all the most important players and giving us an idea what can happen in the next parts. Cathy Bramley has again created a world that, even with all the troubles and problems, is inviting and colourful and you want to be a part of it and help the characters. Gina was so easy to like, and I’ve immediately warmed to her, her dry sense of humour and probably because she, just like moi, works with children. I really can’t wait for the next parts to see the light of the day, I am sure we’re for a real treat and that many, many adventures are waiting for us to discover. Recommended!


Meet Me on the Riviera by Fliss Chester / Blog Tour

Meet Me on the Riviera by Fliss Chester


cover167425-mediumPublisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

Series: The French Escapes Book #3

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

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback



Jet down to the Côte d’Azur for a Riviera romance…

It’s all about millionaires, Monaco and mega-yachts as Jenna Jenkins starts her new job as a party planner in glamorous Monte Carlo. Not always a fan of the fabulously wealthy – Jenna surprises herself and finds she has a real knack of helping the super-rich go overboard at glittering events held on the decks of the amazing yachts.

Little does Jenna know, however, that behind her back there’s a tussle going on for her affections and her loyalty to her darling boyfriend, gorgeous Angus Linklater, is about to be tested by the mysterious – and oh so hot – billionaire who’s used to getting exactly what and who he wants.

With Max and Bertie’s wedding to plan, old friends Hugo and Sally bursting with news of their own and a lot of champagne to drink, it’s going to be a very interesting summer. So, drop anchor, glam up and meet me on the Riviera…

Rating: four-stars


Jenna has lost the job that she loved at the art gallery and now is setting up pop up galleries, though this doesn’t bring as much money as she’d like. She doesn’t want to rely on her boyfriend anymore when it comes to a financial aspect, so when she’s offered a job as a PA to the “bold and beautiful and rich” on a boat in the Riviera over the summer, and it also coincides with Angus working in Hong Kong, she jumps at the opportunity. There, moving in a totally different world of “the other half”, she comes to the attention of TG Wilkinson, a young billionaire who’s already used to getting what he wants. Is he going to get Jenna as well?

When requesting the book, and then after starting reading it, I was not aware that it is already third story in the series, yep, that’s me, pure chaos, so it took me a little by surprise and made me confused when the characters just appeared on the pages, not so deeply introduced to us, recalling some things and events and then simply going on, so I’ve researched a little and yes, bam, I’ve missed two previous books. However, you can still read this book as a stand – alone, there was enough background info to quickly come back on track and happily follow Jenna on her adventures.

The characters were rather hilarious and sometimes over – stereotyped but I’m guessing it was done on purpose. Despite some of them so showing off their wealth I enjoyed them and they made me laugh, but also there were moments that I wanted to bang their hands on the wall – but that’s really a good sign, I simply lived them and felt so drawn into their lives. Even Bertie made me roll my eyes, but in a friendly way, I think you simply need to take her with a grain of salt, and when you do it then she actually is going to make you laugh, with her demanding ways. TG was a self – centred and manipulative though, to be honest, he didn’t evoke any emotions in me, I was not angry with him, he didn’t make me smile, he was too much of a smooth operator to me and his actions somehow didn’t ring true for me. Jenna, however, was lovely, even is she was mostly drunk on champagne, but I love it when the characters are so accident – prone as Jenna was. And she mostly put others before herself, even with her life being in tatters she’s determined to help Bertie with her wedding. Though, it must be mentioned, she really had more luck then sense with getting such a brilliant job over the summer, don’t you think? Nevertheless, she was down – to – earth, funny, sharp and relatable.

The book started really well, it was entertaining and funny however later on it went a little downhill for me and it simply started to feel repetitive and not so engaging. I’m still not sure why TG so desperately wanted Jenna, I somehow missed the explanation in the story. And yes, I also had a feeling that some of the moments were a bit too far – fetched, this whole Hong – Kong gang thing with killing people just didn’t work for me, sorry. And some of the richness and situations seemed over the top but in this case, I think, that was the point.

“Meet Me on the Riviera” was a light – hearted, easy novel full of things that make it a perfect summer read. There is romance, break – up, billionaires, over the top yachts, friendship and also some danger, and this all set against the most wonderful setting of the French Riviera and Monaco that I absolutely adored – the descriptions of the exotic locations, of the popular clubs and how the other half lives were colourful, funny and vivid. Fliss Chester has a lovely and vivid writing style and she stops at nothing to capture your imagination, to entertain you. Now I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in this series!





The Garden on Holly Street by Megan Attley / Blog Tour

The Garden on Holly Street by Megan Attley


43522280Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

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

Number of pages: 368

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to get the life you want . . .

Abby Hamilton’s world has turned upside down in a matter of months – it seems that change is definitely in the air. But moving into Willow Court might just be the fresh start and happy distraction she needed.

Meeting her intriguing new neighbours helps push Abby out of her comfort zone. Then she finds an overgrown patch of garden in desperate need of love and time – something Abby has in spades! Throwing herself into bringing the garden back to life, Abby discovers that new beginnings can come from the most surprising places…

An uplifting, feel-good novel, perfect for fans of Holly Hepburn, Heidi Swain and Isabelle Broom.




“The Garden on Holly Street” introduces us to newly single and newly jobless Abby, moving to her new place in Willow Court. This is a lovely place, though some of the residents are not as welcoming as Abby would like to. She discovers there is a community garden as well, but no – one appears to using it, and so it’s unloved and neglected. Abby sets her heart on bringing it back to its glory, but are all of her neighbours on board with her decision?

Abby’s story was nice to read, and I liked to see how she was growing not only her plants, but also in confidence, finding what she wanted to do and starting to enjoy her life again. But I think that the blossoming friendship of Arthur and Ernie was one of the strongest points in this book, though there were moments that Arthur really felt too overdone, as if the author has tried too much with painting him like this. The contrast between Arthur with Abby against Arthur with Ernie would be still there without making him such an unpleasant person towards Abby. However, their stories were really sad and lovingly written, with tons of heart and understanding, and the author has really well captured loneliness of them both, and I really liked that they found each other. She has also managed – and not many authors are able to do it! – to capture Ernie’s perspective in such a believable way. All of the characters are somehow heartbroken and as their stories intertwine it becomes clear that they need each other to heal their wounds, to find happiness again. I liked to see how their friendship developed, with many ups and downs on the way, not sure if some of them are going to get rid off aversion to each other at all! The generation gap made it even more interesting because each of the characters could learn something from the other one, and they really embarked on it and used it fully – they were open and ready for changes.

The book started brilliantly to me, it had the lovely Cathy Bramley feeling to it, and I was full of hope and expectation. Sadly, then it went a bit downhill for me and what bothered me mostly was the fact that there wasn’t anything that I haven’t read already. Please, don’t get me wrong, it was a lovely, uplifting story with all the right ingredients and it really makes me sad that it didn’t work for me as well as I hoped it’s going to.

Altogether, “The Garden on Holly Street” was a warm and comforting read about friendship that doesn’t know the age difference, about new beginnings and opportunities. Life – affirming story about opening up to needs of others, about listening to them, about reaching out to people. It was insightful, gentle and you could really feel the author’s passion to her characters and what they did. A nice, summer read.



garden on holly street blog tour banner


Are We Nearly There Yet? by Lucy Vine

Are We Nearly There Yet? by Lucy Vine


43086447Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

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

Number of pages: 352

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



‘Laugh-out-loud funny. Truly, the Bridget Jones for our generation’ Louise O’Neill

Alice is turning thirty and is stuck in a rut. Her friends are all coupling up and settling down, while she’s still working as a temp, trying (and failing) not to shag her terrible ex, getting thrown out of clubs, and accidentally sexting her boss…

She decides to throw caution to the wind and jets off on a round-the-world adventure to #FindTheFun and find herself. Of course, she’s no more likely to find the answer to true happiness on the beach in Thailand than she is at the electric beach in Tooting, but at least in Thailand there’s paddleboard yoga.

Can Alice find happiness on her travels? Or is she more likely to lose herself all over again…?

Rating: four-stars


Alice Edwards is having a crisis. She’s just turned 30, sent an inappropriate text to her boss and, as a result, lost her most recent temp position, her best friend and flatmate got herself pregnant, all other friends are settling down, she has a relationship/non – relationship with her ex – boyfriend… She starts to feel that she no longer knows where her place is, where she fits in. So she decides that she’s going to emulate her favourite travel blogger and decides to go for a holiday of a lifetime, to “find herself” and set up a blog of her own. She has it all planned out: one month in the glamorous Los Angeles, second month soul searching in Thailand and then she will see where she’s going to spend the third month of her travels. Is it really going to change her life? To show what it is she’s looking for?

I had some problems with the heroine because, let’s be honest, she was not so easy to like, especially at the beginning, right? It was hard to agree with some of her decisions and she came across as self – centred, thinking only about herself and wondering how the changes in other people’s lives are going to affect her own life. But on the other hand I loved her heartbreaking honesty. She was full of flaws but she didn’t try to hide them and I think it was also one of Alice’s strength – take me as I am. And, in fact, she was relatable because of not being perfect. And she really experiences quite a growth throughout the story and she draws consequences. She starts to see herself in different way, realises her problems, confronts her demons and even realises why she’s so drawn to men who, actually, mistreat her and starts to realise that other people’s lives may seem perfect but they’re not, and at the end of the book she’s a brilliant, changed person.

Through her journeys, Alice meets many different people, some of them more hilarious than the other, and also family members, and she gets to solve some long standing problems, resentments, misunderstandings that she’s been holding on and that turn out to be actually perceived hurts (let’s be honest here). But it was done in a realistic, affirming way and the author has so well captured all the feelings of uncertainty, hope and fear.

I really liked this book, it was full of funny and embarrassing moments but shortly before Alice left Thailand the story went a bit downhill for me. I get what the author did there, she wanted to show us that the character of Alice is also maturing, that she finally finds herself and what is important in life but it started, instead of feeling emotional, to feel a bit flat and slow. Yes, of course, it added more substance to the book but the change in the atmosphere was too sudden a change after all the fun and light – heartiness. However, oh Jesus, the blog entries were hilarious! If only Alice has written in them what really has been happening to her, the blog would have been winning awards! But for me they showed that Alice didn’t treat herself too seriously and they made me laugh, the comments as well and the nervous breakdown of Luke the moderator. The writing style is so fresh and feels so… I don’t know, young? Full of lightness, that’s for sure, the banter flows and the snappy dialogues keep the pace.

Altogether, Lucy Vine did it again. “Are We Nearly There Yet?” was a great read, filled with vivid and quirky characters and really well plotted, full of unforgettable moments and genuine humour and the hilarious situations felt realistic, not too forced – you know how sometimes a forced humour can destroy a scene, right, but Lucy Vine knows for sure how to write these scenes! Alice’s adventures were hilarious but not overdone and they kept me laughing, and the more serious side of the story added sublime and gentle depth to it. It was not only entertainment, but also filled with thought – provoking moments, and I really liked this balance. A great and frivolous read, perfect for summer holiday! Recommended!


Bring Me Sunshine by Laura Kemp / Blog Tour

Bring Me Sunshine by Laura Kemp


42613235._sy475_Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

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

Number of pages: 432

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



Charlotte Bold is nothing like her name – she is shy and timid and just wants a quiet life. When her job doing the traffic news on the radio in London is relocated to Sunshine FM in Mumbles, she jumps at the chance for a new start in Wales.

But when she arrives she discovers that she’s not there to do the travel news – she’s there to front the graveyard evening show. And she’s not sure she can do it.

Thrust into the limelight, she must find her voice and a way to cope. And soon she realises that she’s not the only person who finds life hard – out there her listeners are lonely too. And her show is the one keeping them going.

Can Charlotte seize the day and make the most of her new home? And will she be able to breathe new life into the tiny radio station too…?

Rating: five-stars


Charlotte Bold is one for planning and structure, spontaneous doesn’t work in her dictionary. She’s rather happy with her quiet life in London, with her traffic updates radio job, her friends and her boyfriend. Maybe, but only maybe, it could be a little much better if she could get over her fear of speaking on the radio – a bit embarrassing, working on the radio, no? And she used to be a rising star, and she used to have ambitions. So what has happened? And what’s going to happen when suddenly she loses her safe job and has to apply for another position in Sunshine FM in Wales? And what if it’s a DJ job, with an evening show, even though Charlie is sure she has applied to be an assistant?

“Bring Me Sunshine” for sure brings you sunshine, it’s fabulously uplifting, with living and breathing characters, whose stories are going to stop you in your tracks, mixing humour with some more poignant moments.

I absolutely loved how well the author has written the characters, the differences between them and their personalities, and how they changed and why. Charlie used to be a life and soul, adventurous and quirky, but after something has happened she disappeared in her shell, she hates change – hell, she eats the same sandwich everyday! – and she simply wants to stay in the shadows, and I couldn’t get over how well Laura Kemp captured all those feelings and characteristics, and still made Charlie a colourful, interesting character that I adored and kept everything crossed for her. Usually such wishy – washy characters (and that doesn’t mean that Charlie is wishy – washy!!! Because she’s not!) that are afraid of their own shadows are annoying but this time I wanted to hug Charlie and tell her that everything is going to be OK soon and I found myself nodding along at so many wise sentences at how being in such a state of denial makes us feel.
And I loved that, deep deep down, there were hidden layers of determination and willingness in Charlie, and that she found the courage to use them. Or maybe, that she was forced to use them – a fact that, actually, made me happy for her because she needed her confidence back. There was a raw vulnerability to her, the anxiety and anguish were so well captured, but getting to know her other side, as a kind, lovely and caring woman was even better. She was real and realistic, with all the inner turmoil, coming out of her comfort zones, conquering her fears.
There are also two parallel storylines running along this of Charlie. Delme, at the first sight, looks like your relaxed guy with bravado, but when you get to know him more you start to see that he has a past, that he has skeletons in his closet and actually, his story is like emotional rollercoaster journey, and that he is, simply, hiding behind the mask of a crazy gung – ho way of life. He is the health and safety guy at the station and it’s rather a surprise to discover that he also has his own fears. It took some time for him to open up. He also seems so realistic, with his struggles and not being a superman.
Tina’s story was really full of heartbreak, lies and secrets, so complex and absolutely not straightforward. I liked her from the very beginning, so seeing her so torn, not knowing what to do, made my heart break, but then the way she blossomed made it mend again.
Every single character in this book has their own story to tell, and those are thought – provoking and complex stories, which only make them even more relatable and believable.

I’m not sure how Laura Kemp does it, but each of her new book is better than the previous one. I thought that “The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness” is already on the highest level but with this book she only proves that there is so much potential in her to write gorgeous stories. Her writing style is exceptionally good, chatty, descriptive and full of heart and everything she writes about rings true and comes alive seamlessly and beautifully. I was immediately drawn into the story and all the tribes and tribulations of the characters, and there were plenty of them.

“Bring Me Sunshine” is a story about finding joy and seeing that we also deserve happiness in our lives. It was full of those small wisdoms that the author so beautifully captures and puts into words for us and waves into the plot. It was a fun, light – hearted story with tons of depth to it, a real page – turner. Fresh and funny, a perfect summer read, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!





Death in Avignon by Serena Kent / Blog Tour

Death in Avignon by Serena Kent


cover164946-mediumPublisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

Series: Penelope Kite Mysteries #2 (review of Book 1 here)

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

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



Return to the warmth of Provence for the next delightful Penelope Kite mystery…

When Penelope Kite attends the opening of an art exhibition on the arm of the gorgeous Mayor of St Merlot, Laurent Millias, it seems she is finally settling into life in Provence. But beneath the glamour, trouble is lurking. Shockwaves ripple when British expat artist, Roland Doncaster, collapses after choking on an olive.

A tragic accident? Or was he poisoned? Penelope is thrust once again into the middle of a murder investigation, but when she casts suspicion on one of the Mayor’s friends, she finds herself out in the cold.

As winter draws in, Penelope must rely on the friendship of her local music group – including the dashing art dealer, Gilles de Bourdan – the support of the effervescent Frankie, and her own sleuthing instincts to untangle this mystery…

Rating: four-stars


Penelope Kite enjoys her decision of leaving her old life behind and moving to Provence. However, trouble seems to follow our Penny around and during a very usual art exhibition that she’s attending one artist is taken ill. He dies in hospital few days later. But it is only the beginning of further dead bodies, people going missing and smuggled art and Penelope finds herself in the centre of this all. Her old habits outweigh her common sense again and she starts to investigate. In the meantime, her whole family comes to visit and then Frankie to help her with the investigations, again against the recommendations of Penny’s nemesis, police chef Georges Reyssens.

It was another brilliant, light and quick cosy crime authored by Serena Kent. It is a second book in the Penelope Kite series, but to be totally honest, it doesn’t matter too much if you have read the first book or not, there are enough cameos and references to what has happened, and the characters actually stay the same. Though I’d really advise you to read “Death in Provence” because it was simply another great and entertaining read.

Serena Kent is a dazzling story – teller and her writing style is engaging, welcoming and chatty. She knows well when to loosen up the atmosphere and when to put a red herring to make the story even more complex and thrilling. It is also humorous and more than once a sentence or innocently dropped word or two made me chuckling to myself. The descriptions of the landscape, setting and food are long and very detailed but they are vivid, beautiful and bring all the things to life easily and effortlessly.

The characters are so well developed and feel very realistic, really, like breathing and living people. The banter between them is flawless and effortless, actually everything in this book seems to simply flow seamlessly, and it is a great feeling. Because not many new characters are introduced in this book, I felt like coming back to a group of my old mates and beginning right where we have ended our last adventure. Penelope, as usual, soon finds out that there is more to the deaths as initially supposed and with police that’s not so willing to cooperate, she has to use her skills she’s learnt as a former forensic pathologist’s assistant. Who did it? And why?

“Death in Avignon” was a breezy, light – hearted read, a perfect escapism that you’re going to enjoy on an evening or two, with a glass of wine. Or two. It has such a relaxing feeling to it, flawlessly transporting you to the autumnal and wintry Provence. Even though it deals with murder and some dead bodies there is a lightness to it, humour and sparkling, clever sarcasm and irony. There are many possible killers in this story, and it was absolutely brilliant, to read about their motives, trying to make a guess and – of course – not guessing. But that’s me, the super – detective. So pour yourself this above mentioned glass of wine, grab a croissant and prepare yourself for a fantastic visit to France, with a murder or two as a bonus. Truly recommended!




A Summer Reunion by Fanny Blake / Blog Tour

A Summer Reunion by Fanny Blake


45034784Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 13th June 2019

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

Number of pages: 320

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback



One perfect villa, four old friends, and a holiday that will change everything…

Amy, Linda, Kate and Jane were best friends at school. Now, years later, they have grown apart. When Amy discovers her husband has been stealing from her successful interiors business, and with a milestone birthday looming, she decides it is the time to reach out to her old friends once again.

So, she decides to invite the other three to her beautiful villa in Mallorca for a reunion weekend. As the four friends gather, secrets are unearthed, old scores settled and new friendships forged. Will this holiday bring them together or tear them apart? And will each of them grasp their second chance for happiness…?

Rating: four-stars


The main characters in “A Summer Reunion” are Amy, Jane, Kate and Linda. They’re all in their sixties now, and used to be inseparable childhood friends, until the event that has changed Amy’s course of life. There are still things open and so Amy decides to invite all three to her house in Mallorca, in the hope to uncover what has really happened all those years ago and maybe to reconnect. However, as it turns out, they all have secrets and not all of them wants for those secrets to see the light of the day.

I loved the fact that the characters in “A Summer Reunion” are mature and already experienced, that they really have something to tell. There was wisdom in them, although it doesn’t mean that they weren’t still making mistakes, because they were, but it only made them feel more realistic in my opinion. I simply think that Fanny Blake has brilliantly captured the personalities of her characters, got under their skin and made them living, breathing women who tried their best but not always succeeded, with their lives full of trials and tribulations.

The story is told from different points of view, as we have four main characters here. Mostly it wasn’t confusing, except for the chapters that were told from the first person’s narration, I always had to wonder which one of the women it is. But other than that you really don’t have to worry, simply go with the flow. Though the characters weren’t totally likeable for me, I must admit, or at least not all of them, they were for sure relatable, and the one that I liked most must have been Kate, a total housewife, but also relaxed and – at least I had this feeling – taking things with a grain of salt. Well, she had to, with the big family, right?

What surprised me was the fact that this story is not, like I expected, sunshine, cocktails and funny childhood memories, as the cover may suggest. There is so much more to this book than meet the eye, guys, there is depth to it, there is mystery and drama and it went so well with this gorgeous setting and complex, well – drawn characters. You know from the very beginning that Amy, Jane, Linda and Kate were best friends but something bad has happened and they haven’t seen each other for years, and I liked that it didn’t take the whole book for the secret to be revealed, enlightening what has caused the mutual aversion and all the changes. And it was shocking, this revelation, trust me guys, and it was absolutely well handled by the author. Even though I guessed who it was right from the beginning, it didn’t spoil the joy of reading this interesting book, and I wanted – as much as Amy – get a full closure.

Altogether, “A Summer Reunion” was a gripping and thought – provoking story about the fact that grass is not always greener on the other side, about appearances and about appreciating what you have in life, but also not taking this life for granted and grabbing it by the horns. It was wise, it was light – hearted but also poignant and with some heavier issues touched upon. It was a deep, moving but also heart – warming story with a gorgeous setting in sunny Spain about friendship, also the toxic one, full of drama, lies and secrets but also more relaxing moments. It was raw and gritty and bitter – sweet and it pulled me into its midst. Recommended!