You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac

You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac

 

35849957Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 19th April 2018

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

Number of pages: 496

Genre: General Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 20.09.2018)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

You and me, we have history.
We have a child together.
We have kept secrets from each other for far too long.
This summer, in the beautiful hills of the Dordogne, it is time for everything to change.
You, Me, Everything is a heartfelt and unforgettable novel about the lengths we are prepared to go to for those we love.

Rating: five-stars

 

You can say that “You Me Everything” is Catherine Isaac’s debut novel, however she has already written 10 (if I’m not mistaken) books as Jane Costello – books that I loved from the bottom to the top of my heart, and probably it is why I was so scared to start reading this new release – I wanted to love it as much as I loved Jane’s books and what if “You Me Everything” won’t live up to my expectations?

But no fears, guys, no fears. This gorgeous read introduces us to few characters that were absolutely brilliantly developed and immediately either likeable or not. I was totally submersed in their lives, I think I’ve felt the same emotions Jess has been feeling. I’m sure you’re going to find yourself on a real rollercoaster journey filled with desperation, hope, devastation, boost, love and hate, fear and faith. Especially one of the subplots is truly heart – breaking and you can see that the author has not only done her research but she just got into her characters’ heads and perfectly described how it is to be in their shoes. Also, I loved the dynamics between the characters and the way they were developing and growing throughout the story. They were my favourite kind of characters when I kept changing my mind about them, when I wanted to cheer them and also slap them sometimes, and bang their heads together – so characters that truly lived in my imagination. I fell for Jess at the word go – she was so incredibly human and genuine in all her feelings, in the way she was and it was hard to believe that she’s a fictional character. I loved her relationships with her parents and with William, they were not perfect and she was not sure if she’s right or wrong but that only made her more authentic and real. I need more characters like Jess in books.

I also liked the way the story was written and the way it unfolded. Present intertwines with past here and we get enough information about Jess and her background to understand her choices and motivations. The subplot with Jess’s mother adds tons of depth and takes this book to a very different, higher level, it is handled professionally and with a lot of sensitivity and subtlety.

This novel touched upon many issues. It was also full of twists and surprises and some of the turns were so unexpected and mostly heart – breaking. Catherine Isaac has proven that she not only has the ability to write humorous rom – coms but also stories that have depth and that tug at the right heart – strings. She has beautifully written about emotions and feelings and the pain Jess has felt was so vivid, you could actually feel it for yourself, and it’s a real gift to be able to write in such a way. No matter if the author describes the scenery, or a situation, the descriptions were evocative, vivid and brought to us in such an easy, effortless way.

Altogether it was an emotional story about parenthood, relationships, hope, forgiveness, choices and love. This kind of book that you live and experience by yourself, that you cry and laugh when reading. I guess I’m going to miss Jane Costello’s books but I am also incredibly looking forward to next releases from Catherine Isaac. “You Me Everything” – highly recommended!

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Our House by Louise Candlish

Our House by Louise Candlish

 

37416802Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 5th April 2018

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

Number of pages: 448

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

On a bright January morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought in Trinity Avenue.
Nothing strange about that. Except it is your house. And you didn’t sell it.

For better, for worse.

When Fi arrives home to find a removals van outside her house, she is completely blind-sided. Trinity Avenue has been her family’s home for years. Where are all her belongings? How could this have happened? Desperately calling her ex-husband, Bram, who owns the house with her, Fi discovers he has disappeared.

For richer, for poorer.

The more Fi uncovers, the more she realises their lives have been turned upside by a nightmare of their own making. A devastating crime has been committed, but who exactly is the guilty party? What has Bram hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him?

Till death us do part.

Rating: five-stars

 

I am a big fan of Louise Candlish – she, like almost no – one else, can write gripping, dark and tense stories with twists that you never see coming. Her stories are clever and complex and never straightforward, and this is what I love – and this is why I was so excited for her newest release, “Our House”. This novel’s proofs are also one of the most brilliant ones, and just imagine my frustration when, deep into the story, I was trying to read and my daughter wanted to open and close the doors on the cover. If it were someone else, I’d bite their head off.

One day, Fiona Lawson arrives home to discover other people are moving in her house. Why? She has never sold it! Trinity Avenue has been her and her family’s house for years and there was no reason to sell it, so what’s happening right now? Her soon ex – husband isn’t answering his phone and he’s actually her only hope to explain things. Has he disappeared? What has Bram been hiding? Can they solve the mess?

I’ve never even heard about property – fraud to be honest, but I went into the book with an open mind, and well, after discovering what has happened, it all started to sound very plausible and, what’s worst, possible to happen! The novel was brilliantly well constructed. First we get to know Fi’s point of view, through her recorded podcast, and then Bram’s, through a word document, and so we slowly start to see what has really happened. It was all so easy to follow and there was never a moment of confusion, as everything was brilliantly sorted and logically structured. This alternating narrative works so great that soon I had a feeling I’m in the characters’ heads, living Fi’s life, being part of her world. This way of telling the story, this she said/he said, she did/he did absolutely fits the plot and the author uses it to its full potential.

The characters were proficiently and marveloussly portrayed, however they were not all so much likeable. I couldn’t shake off the feeling that Fi was too forgiving and too naive and yes, she was too whingy and self – centred, just like Toby said at the end. Nonetheless, you wanted to ask yourself what you would do in Fi’s situation, how would you react. It was so easy, thanks to the rich and descriptive writing, to feel her confusion, her fear. Bram was weak, and even the lengths he will go to to somehow solve the situation, his desperation and genuine sorrow and grudge couldn’t change my mind about him. I also couldn’t believe there was really nothing he could do about it – he probably could, he just didn’t want. All the same, nothing was of course so straightforward in this story and they both, Fi and Bram, made wrong choices, had their flaws and they just felt like normal, real people.

As much as I adored this story there were moments that it just dragged on too much, and not in a good way. It spoiled the reading for me but ultimately it didn’t affect me so much, as it is this kind of novel that you read holding your breath – you can’t believe the things that happens, you wonder how much Fi is going to still handle and the chain reactions, like the proverbial flutter of butterfly wings, quickly turns into an avalanche of lies, secrets and misunderstandings that is building up to a shocking outcomes that are going to change so many lives.

This story touches upon so many issues – property fraud, betrayal, lies and secrets, adultery, murder but it never feels too jammed, overcrowded. There were many twists and turns along the way and while some of them I guessed, the rest I haven’t seen coming, and it made the reading even more exciting. It focused mostly on the characters and their interactions. The author has so well captured all of their emotions and feelings and inner thoughts and filled this family drama full with very relatable and genuine domestic dilemmas. Dark and very detailed but I liked it – in this kind of books I just need to have everything clearly expounded.

Altogether, “Our House” was an exceptional psychological suspense, with a very unconventional end, when the author really and literally allows her readers to insert the end of this story by themselves. It was immaculately written, hooking and hard to put down. This is a story not to be missed, it’s unique, clever and brilliantly crafted and full of surprises. Highly recommended!

Last Letter Home by Rachel Hore

Last Letter Home by Rachel Hore

 

38350479Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 22nd March 2018

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

Number of pages: 560

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 23.08.2018)

 

 

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of A Week in Paris, and the Richard & Judy Bookclub pick A Place of Secrets, comes a gripping and moving story spanning 70 years, set in Italy and in Norfolk.

On holiday with friends, young historian Briony Andrews becomes fascinated with a wartime story of a ruined villa in the hills behind Naples. There is a family connection: her grandfather had been a British soldier during the Italian campaign of 1943 in that very area. Handed a bundle of letters that were found after the war, Briony sets off to trace the fate of their sender, Sarah Bailey.

In 1939, Sarah returns with her mother and sister from India, in mourning, to take up residence in the Norfolk village of Westbury. There she forms a firm friendship with Paul Hartmann, a young German who has found sanctuary in the local manor house, Westbury Hall. With the outbreak of war, conflicts of loyalty in Westbury deepen.

When, 70 years later, Briony begins to uncover Sarah and Paul’s story, she encounters resentments and secrets still tightly guarded. What happened long ago in the villa in the shadow of Vesuvius, she suspects, still has the power to give terrible pain …

Rating: four-stars

Rachel Hore is another author that I’ve heard many, many good things about but haven’t read her books – yet! I was truly excited after being approved to read “Last Letter Home” on NetGalley – I do love a good historical fiction, I do love a dual timeline and I loved this beautiful cover. And so, without further delay, I dived into the fictional world of love, drama and the aftermath of the WW2.

Being on holidays in Italy, historian Briony not only stumbles across a ruined villa in the surrounding area, a villa that has connections to her grandfather, who was stationed there in 1943, but is also being given some film reels and love letters. Reading them, she starts to feel desperate to discover the story of Sarah and Paul, who wrote the letters to each other. She doesn’t expect it, but here starts her journey full of secrets and discoveries, truths and lies.

This book was for sure beautifully written. I loved how Rachel Hore has knitted together the life in the pre – war English country, the aftermath of the war, family secrets and tragedies. I admit, it took me some time to get into a book, and there was no particular reason for it, it was just one of the things. It was a little confusing for me also, what with the sudden change in setting and the different tone which seemed as two different stories.

It was a great escapism that slowly unfolded as Briony started to piece together the story behind the letters and their writers. While mostly it was fast paced, there were moments that it dragged on a little for me and was losing the temperature. It also took me some time to warm to the characters and to actually make out who is who and how they are all related as we were presented with a varied, colourful cast of characters. Briony was really well fleshed out but my problem here was that I just simply couldn’t completely warm to her – she was reserved and I had a feeling I just can’t get into her head. I think that the wartime subplot, and the whole secret behind the letters, the relationship between Paul and Sarah were the better part of this book, I really do love historical fiction and this time it was a tale with a difference and it was really interesting to see all the repercussions and problems because Paul was German.

I really liked the way how the past and present, the WW2 parts and the present days, flowed effortlessly together. The Norfolk and Italy settings were so seamlessly brought to life, as all other parts as well, actually. It also shone through the pages how much time and effort went into research.

“Last Letter Home” was a complex, clever story full of secrets, lies and deception, and the author knows how to build tension. Rachel Hore’s writing is very descriptive and very colourful and it’s very easy to imagine the things she’s writing about. As I’ve already mentioned it, it was my first book by this author but it was a great story and here starts my adventure with other Ms Hore’s novel. Highly recommended!

The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton

The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton

 

35888778Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 19th April 2018

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The first rule of Sunday Lunch Club is … don’t make any afternoon plans.

Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, they laugh, they bicker, they eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it’s said in the wrong way.

Sitting between her ex-husband and her new lover, Anna is coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of forty. Also at the table are her ageing grandmother, her promiscuous sister, her flamboyantly gay brother and a memory too terrible to contemplate.

Until, that is, a letter arrives from the person Anna scarred all those years ago. Can Anna reconcile her painful past with her uncertain future?

Juliet Ashton weaves a story of love, friendship and community that will move you to laughter and to tears. Think Cold Feet meets David Nicholls, with a dash of the joy of Jill Mansell added for good measure.

Rating: five-stars

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I don’t have a huge, extended family and usually I don’t have problem with it, however after reading such books as “The Sunday Lunch Club” I’d give everything to have such a family like the Pipers – so many people that accept you no matter what unconditionally. The problem with books such as “The Sunday Lunch Club” is that no matter what you’re going to write in your review it probably won’t do this book a justice. Because it was a perfect read, from the beginning to the end and really, I still can’t settle for another read after finishing this one. I know people often say that didn’t want a book to end, and I thought I also read such books, but I think this was the very first one that I can for sure say that now I know how it is when you don’t want a book to end. It was this kind of read where I absorbed every single word, I cried and laughed together with the characters.

“The Sunday Lunch Club” by Juliet Ashton is a relatively slow read and with plenty of characters, and I was afraid that it’s going to be confusing, but quickly, very quickly I knew who is who in this book, and even quicker I started to love all of them. The Pipers are two sisters and two brothers with their own, very colourful families and histories, friends and grandmother Dinkie, still full of life, feisty and down to earth. And jeez, let’s not forget Yeti – what a brilliant, entertaining creature, and the descriptions of him looking after the baby made me cry so, so much! But back to the siblings and co. They meet regularly for Sunday Lunch (Club), every time in a different home, and with every single lunch we learn more and more about them, we see what makes them tick, what they love, what they hate and what their problems are – and there is a lot of those things! The story is mostly told from Anna’s point of view, Anna – who was so realistically drawn that I had a feeling I can feel her breathing next to me. She discovers that she’s pregnant at the age of 40, and the baby is not her ex – husband’s. Being pregnant brings back some memories and this part of the story was so unpredictable and heart – breaking, guys. Anna, the second oldest after Neil, feels responsible for all of her siblings and you couldn’t be in better hands than in those of Anna’s. Neil is right now trying to adapt to being a father, the second sister Maeve has visions and thinks she’s psychic, but she’s really, really brilliant, no worries guys, and she doesn’t seem to have much luck in the men – department, and the youngest Josh is troubled and very distant – why? They all have their problems and troubles and when you think they’re going to be very average problems than you’re in for a great, great surprise, because their stories are all but average and predictable. The characters have their own distinctive voices and they are so close to life and I felt so strongly for all of them. They were lovely and loving, eclectic, chaotic, they had their ups and downs and – what’s most important – they talked with each other and they weren’t afraid of telling what they feel. It made them more vulnerable and open to being hurt but it also made them so real.

It was written in a really interesting way. We got to see the characters every now and then, when it was time for their gathering at the Sunday Lunch Club. Sometimes there was a week between them, sometimes a month, and really we don’t know what exactly happens with, and to, them. However, during those gatherings we get enough insight and gossip to know perfectly well what has happened and why. It’s funny really how well it works, as we are used to usually have a sneak peek into every aspect of the characters’ lives, to know their every move and thought, and here we had to settle for some most important moments, and it’s enough to absolutely fell for the characters, to intuitively know what they feel and think, to feel a part of their world, to keep our fingers crossed for them or to want to shake them badly. And that doesn’t of course mean that their feelings or emotions weren’t captured – they were brilliantly put into words!

I absolutely, totally adored the way the family was working. They were bickering, they were arguing, they felt offended but oh my word, let somebody who didn’t belong to the family to tell one wrong word about them! They got their backs, they supported each other, and not only the closest family but also the ex – husbands, new girlfriends and every single crazy idea that came to their minds.

Even though it is on the slower side, the pace is only right and there are some twists that you’d never see coming – take my word for this! It is romantic enough, there is enough drama and plenty of funny moments, and there is this feeling of being accepted no matter what. There are secrets that will break your heart but the family will mend it again. The writing is perfect. The dialogues are effortless and the story is just flawing, and the family dynamics are brilliantly captured. Their interactions and banter were so relatable and there were moments that I could only nod my head with understanding.

“The Sunday Lunch Club” was a beautifully written and full of all kind of emotions and feelings novel about a brilliantly dysfunctional – yet brilliantly working – family. It was heart-warming, uplifting and poignant at the same time. In no time you’re going to feel a part of the Piper family and you want to add your own opinion or two during one of the lunches. It was emotional, and it was funny and I didn’t want to put this book down for a single second. Shortly – it was a bloody perfect read, as I knew it’s going to be. If there is one thing you can be sure it’s that Juliet Ashton is going to deliver a wonderful, emotional, clever and hilarious story. Highly, highly recommended!

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

 

35849917Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 11th January 2018

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Suspense

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

You want to believe your husband. She wants to destroy him.
Gripping psychological drama for fans of Apple Tree Yard, The Good Wife and Notes on a Scandal.

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it.

Rating: five-stars

“Anatomy of a Scandal” by Sarah Vaughan is probably one of the most anticipated books this year and guys, there is a reason why. I personally have never read such a book before – such authentic, genuine and realistic, and so unique. It was incredibly addictive and – probably because of the fact that it’s about things that is really hard to read about – written with subtlety and without judging. There is a great depth to it, it’s written with an insight and it seems so meticulously researched, and as a result we get a hooking and gripping novel about who’s telling the truth.

It is a story with a slow pace, yet I found myself galloping through the pages and holding my breath. I absolutely, totally loved how the author, so skilfully and perfectly well knowing when she should do this, added new twist, turn and information that only messed with our minds or allowed us this brilliant moments when you feel like a fog would be disappearing and you’d think ow, yes! It was amazing, guys, how Sarah Vaughan messed with me and my mind.

The characters are full of flaws. They lie and keep secrets. James Whitehouse is wealthy and everything works for him in his life. He has a picture perfect family and a political career. He studied at Oxford and was a part of the rowing team. He was a member of a group called the Libertines – people, especially men, behaving without morals, without principles, without responsibility, getting what they want, no matter what it is, especially in sexual matters. Without consequences. And so he wanders through his life, now shared with Sophie and two children. And well, with some other woman that he can get in bed as well. Sophie, a wonderful wife for such a man like James. I wasn’t sure if she really doesn’t see thing or she doesn’t want to see them. Kate Woodcroft, the barrister, and as the story weaves back and forth in time we get to know her background and learn about her past and the baggage that she’s carrying. Thanks to their faults, and all those emotions and details they are all brought to life and feel like real people.
I couldn’t believe how clichéd James’ character was: tall, good – looking, charismatic, having everyone eating from his hands, a Junior Minister in the House of commons to add to this, and how clichéd his actions were! Sounds somehow familiar, right? Unbelievable, I was all the time hoping that he’s going to turn out a decent man – but I’m not going to tell you if it happened or not, oh no!
She has also brilliantly brought to life Kate Woodcroft, the barrister who is assigned to the case of James Whitehouse, involving violence of a sexual nature. The descriptions of Kate’s feelings and how hard it was for her were like unsheathing her soul, so true and realistic they were.
There were moments that I was thinking that bringing a perspective of Olivia Lytton, the parliamentary researcher who worked in James’ office and who accused him, would help, that having Olivia’s personal point of view would bring the clarity to the case, but guys, no. It isn’t necessary, and really, there came a moment that I started to understand everything very, very clearly.

But the story not only weaves through time, it also brings perspectives of different characters, which leads to so many new revelations! Everything becomes more clear when we see how those different narrators involved play by different rules and to different gates – just like in real life, when you can save yourself there are no morals. Sarah Vaughan gets into all her characters’ heads, exploring their feelings and emotions, guilt and arrogance.

What deserves a standing ovation is the fact how well Sarah Vaughan played her cards and wrote a story without a judgement. I personally was out for blood – and believe me, dear readers, I am a very peaceful person – and yet the author, and don’t take me wrong here because it’s brilliant that she’s done it this way, has totally with cold blood written a story about one of the worst crimes that could happen to any woman without one word of judgement, leaving this in our own hands.

This is brilliantly complex story letting us to decide who is presenting a true face, who is honest and who’s not and what has really happened. The dialogues during the trial were like watching a particularly thrilling tennis match, with our heads turning left and right, when we couldn’t wait for the other side to add something, to mention the unmentionable – this is the best part of the book, I think. It was incredibly clever courtroom drama, full of intrigue and past secrets, full of surprising reveals and suspenseful. And also, so incredibly timely… Highly, highly recommend!

The Picture House by the Sea by Holly Hepburn

The Picture House by the Sea by Holly Hepburn

 

35716672Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 464

Genre:   Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The brilliant new series from the bestselling author of The Star and Sixpence series. Perfect for all fans of Cathy Bramley.
The little picturehouse by the sea is the Palace at Polwhipple – a lovely art deco cinema, nestled in front of azure Cornish seas. But it is long past its heyday now, and its only saving grace is Ferelli’s, the family run ice-cream concession in the foyer, which is widely known as the best ice cream for miles.
So when Ferdie, the owner of Ferelli’s, falls ill, his granddaughter Gina drops everything to come and help out. But when she arrives she is dismayed by the state of the cinema, which she remembers fondly from summer holidays when she was little, and she is determined to give it the makeover it deserves. Along with local builder Ben Pascoe, she sets about reviving the Palace to its former glory.
But the cinema needs more than a lick of paint. Its very future is under threat from a developer with greed in his eyes. Can Gina save the place before it is too late?

Rating: five-stars

 

“The Picture House by the Sea” is Holly Hepburn’s second full – length novel that I had a pleasure to read – because after reading and enjoying “A Year at the Star and Sixpence” I just knew I have to read the new one, no matter what. There is such a lovely feel – good vibe to this beautiful cover, don’t you think, it makes you want to go and visit the place pictured there, and the synopsis sounds so inviting – well, the story promises ice – creams and cinema, so nothing can go wrong there, right? What I personally loved in this book was the fact that the book didn’t feel like being previously published in parts – mostly, when the novel is first published in instalment, when you read it as a full – length there are many repetitions, which is understandable but often just bothers me. This time however it didn’t feel like that, and that’s a real brownie point.

The next thing that I really liked was the fact that each of the four parts of the story introduces us to a new old movie and even though I’m not a great cinema fan even I have heard (and seen!) those films, so I could really get into the atmosphere and I understood all the references or nicknames. Also, next to the films there is also a new ice – cream flavour and a cocktail being introduced and oh my words, guys…! They sounded so innovative, so different, so intriguing and so, so good! I would do lots to try them all, really.

Holly Hepburn has created brilliant, warm characters that you love or love to hate. Gina was lovely, she was full of passion and determination and she never gave up, even when life was getting in the way. Was there a thing she couldn’t do or organise? I don’t think so – impossible was nothing for our Gina, but in all this she came across as down – to – earth, normal young woman. I adored her ideas and how quickly she always got the feeling of what is needed to help. Ben is Gina’s friend from the times she was coming to her grandparents for holidays and now they catch up. Ben … *swoon*. Helpful, honest, with an unusual hobby of stream trains but at least it was something different and not so obvious. And of course all the background characters – full of good vibes, personalities and I just felt good in their company.

It was light, a little predictable read – but it didn’t spoil the reading this time because I was too caught up in the story for it to bother me. There were moments that I had a feeling the narration is going too far with descriptions or concentrating on things that are not so significant to the story but altogether the pace of the story was quick, there were many things happening, there were plenty of events and it kept me hooked to the pages. The writing was rich, vivid and colourful – you could really see why this art deco cinema used to be a local landmark and why Gina was so desperate to bring its brilliant days back – and the author brought all the ice – creams flavours to life and also the descriptions of the Picture House were detailed but full of charm and atmosphere.

Altogether, “The Picture House by the Sea” is really a lovely, warm and inviting story that has it all: vivid, living, bubbly characters, battles to fight, gorgeous setting, some romance and troubles. It’s about being determined, about not giving up, about friendship old and new and family bonds, and I truly enjoyed it. A perfect summer read, full of charm and vintage dresses and I can only highly recommend it to you all, guys!

Practice Makes Perfect by Penny Parkes / #BlogTour + #GuestPost

Hi guys, a new day, a new blog tour – and I have plenty of them coming your way in the next days. Plenty! But today I am absolutely thrilled as Penny Parkes’s blog tour stops by on the blog. I am sure you have heard about Penny and her lovely books – Practice Makes Perfect is actually my first read by this author but she’s just won a new devoted fan in yours truly. Next to my review, I also have a guest post from Penny – enjoy!


Practice Makes Perfect by Penny Parkes



35096080
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 29th June 2017

Series: The Larkford Series #2

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

Number of pages: 576

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

This surgery is full of scandal and secrets!

The Practice at Larkford has suddenly been thrust under the spotlight – and its nomination as a ‘NHS Model Surgery’ is causing the team major headaches.

Dr Holly Graham should be basking in the glow of her new romance with fellow doctor, Taffy – but she is worried that the team is prioritising plaudits over patients, and her favourite resident, the irreverent and entertaining Elsie, is facing a difficult diagnosis. Add to that the chaos of family life and the strain is starting to show.

Dr Dishy Dan Carter’s obsession with work is masking unhappiness elsewhere – he can’t persuade girlfriend Julia to settle down. It’s only as Julia’s mother comes to stay that he realizes what she has been hiding for so long.

Alice Walker joins the team like a breath of fresh air and her assistance dog Coco quickly wins everyone round – which is just as well, because Coco and Alice will soon need some help of their own.

Can they pull together and become the Dream Team that the NHS obviously thinks they are?

Rating: four-stars


Practice Makes Perfect is Penny Parkes’s second book, and also second in the Larkford series about a medical practice in a small town. I haven’t read the previous book, I admit, so of course I was this little bit afraid if I can read it as a stand – alone or if I thought I missed too much. However, after finishing this book I can assure that you can read it as a stand alone. There were, in fact, so many cameos and throwbacks and recollections that right now I have a feeling as if I had read “Out of Practice”! I, of course, have heard many, many lovely things about Penny’s books so there is no need to say that I started reading this one with great expectations, right? It was actually one of my most anticipated reads this summer and I couldn’t wait to start reading it.

Even without reading the first book I didn’t have any problems to get into the story and had a feeling that I already know the characters – four doctors, their lives and their work at the busy practice in Larkford. Holly seems to be coming to terms with her divorce and she’s settled in her new life with her two twin boys and Taffy, who’s also working as a doctor at the practice. Dan and Julia are the other couple and other two doctors and their lives are little bit more complicated and relationship is not so straightforward and easy, and honestly, I was asking myself more than once if they are really destined to be together. The practice has just been nominated to become a model for NHS, which means more money and more patients but also more responsibility and more scrutiny. There is also the TV team recording their program in the practice with Julia being its star – a lot of things happening at once, don’t you think?

Now guys, I think there is “something” in books about doctors, well, about doctors generally, let’s think about George Clooney in “ER”, I think that we all picture the male bookish characters as Doctor Ross, no? I personally like such books and the Penny Parkes has proved that she really knows what she’s writing about, with all the talks, the medical terms, the treatments – and this is actually my only “but”, guys. The book is rather on the long side, with more than 500 pages, and for me it could be much shorter, as I personally could miss on at least half of the medical stuff. I think it would make the story quicker and gave it a feeling of it being quick – paced, because there were moments that it dragged too much for me, and it made me feel desperate because I wanted the story to go on, for something to happen.
But other than that, it was great. The characters were just brilliant! They were believable, they all had their own stories and background, they had life – experience. Holly and Taffy’s new relationship, balancing work, demanding and very active twins, dog, etc and I adored to see the couple both at work and at home, as you could really see that they are made to measure and it was so visible that Taffy loves Holly and her family above all.
Also the background characters were incredibly well described, and I think it’s not going to be a surprise when I say that Coco, the new doctor Alice’s companion and assistance dog, has absolutely stolen my heart. The characters’ stories mixed effortlessly and run seamlessly alongside one another.

Practice Makes Perfect was light – hearted and warm and I’ve finished reading it with a big smile on my face. I adored the writing style and characters. It was full to the brims with drama, troubles and twists and turns on the way and it was so easy to forget about everything when reading it. It was gentle and it dealt with some important issues and some taboos in great, comfortable ways. It was romantic, it was down – to – earth and realistic, with some laugh out loud moments, as well as some poignant ones and I really enjoyed this book – it really had it all that I’m looking for in a good, engaging story. Highly recommended!

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