An Island Christmas by Jenny Colgan

An Island Christmas by Jenny Colgan

 

 

39704349Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 18th October 2018

Series: Summer Seaside Kitchen #3 (read my review of Book 1 here and Book 2 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

Christmas on the remote Scottish island of Mure is bleak, stark – and incredibly beautiful.

It’s a time for hunkering down, getting cosy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram with the people you love – unless, of course, you’re accidentally pregnant to your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In what should be the season of peace and goodwill on earth, will Joel think Flora is a bearer of glad tidings?

Meanwhile Saif, the doctor and refugee from war-torn Syria is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons – but without his missing wife. Can the little family possibly find comfort and joy?

Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for an unforgettable Christmas.

Rating: five-stars

Flora lives on Mure and she runs the Seaside Kitchen, the most beloved cafe that offers the most delicious things ever. Her boyfriend Joel, the one who’s American, a high – flying lawyer with quite a few issues from his childhood finally start to open and feel happy. But then something happens – how are they going to cope with it?
Dr Seif and his two boys are still trying to settle into their new family life on the island, and even though the villagers are so welcoming, do they feel like at home? Maybe the school nativity play is going to help? Or not? Will the lovely doctor finally find peace and happiness on Mure?
And Fintan and Colton, who’s terminally ill, and then a very unexpected guest arrive – how are they going to cope with all the things that fate and life thro at them?

The Summer Seaside Kitchen series by Jenny Costello must be one of my favourite series ever and I would love to see more and more of them – and after reading the newest book “An Island Christmas” I see a lot of place and potential for another story. Or two. This book could be read as a stand alone but only just, and I would really heartily recommend reading all the other previous stories – they’re simply gorgeous, you’d miss beautiful stories and to get the characters and what make them tick it’s just better to read them in order.

It was brilliant to be back on Mure, this beautiful and wild island and this being December it showed us also the other face of it – darkness, never ending winds but still there was such a beauty to it, but the author so lovely and lovingly brings it to life and the descriptions of it, and the weather, and how it was like living there were atmospheric, vivid and it was such a great thing to see that the island somehow adjust to the things and events that happen to the characters.

Next to the characters that I know are going to stay with me for ever, I think, they all truly have place in my heart and that I adored to see again, the author introduces us to some new ones. I love how Jenny Colgan creates her characters – they may seem horrible and unpleasant but she still lets them open and blossom and in the end you’re going to love all of them, no matter what. I adored how they all seem rough and as if they don’t give a damn but in fact they all have hearts in the right places, they’re warm and quirky and genuine. I think I have already said it in my reviews of the previous books but the characters are exceptional – realistic, so different to each other, they represent different views and ideas, they have different life goals and this all makes the reading so much more interesting and deep.

Of course, I ended reading in tears. Jenny Colgan has such incredible way with words that they simply touch at your heartstrings and strike in all the right places.
As in the previous books in the series, here the author also touches upon heavier issues, and the way she writes about them, guys, it’s indescribable. She mixes lightness and sadness and seriousness in such a way that you would never expect. It was a special book, in many ways, poignant and cleverly funny, heartbreaking and heart – warming and I literally couldn’t put it down. Full of Christmas and festive mood, wonderful and full of heart characters, and not only the main ones but also the villagers of Mure have made me cry, as they’re simply amazing. It was one great rollercoaster of emotions and it’s really hard to do this book justice with a short review. Just treat yourself to it, you’re going to love it!

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Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

 

51dth1dom8l-_sx316_bo1204203200_Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 4th October 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Indulge in this wonderful, cake-filled novel of romance and friendship. Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is Sunday Times bestselling Carole Matthews doing what she does best!

Fay and Danny are madly in love and it’s all Fay’s ever dreamed of. But she left everything – including the delightful cake shop she used to run – to be with Danny on his cosy canal boat The Dreamcatcher. And as she soon finds out, making delicious cakes on the water isn’t always smooth sailing!

Then Fay gets a call from her friends, a call that sends her back to her friends and the Cake Shop in the Garden. It will be hard being away from Danny but their relationship is strong enough to survive . . . isn’t it?

Fay soon falls happily back in love with her passion for baking – especially now she’s on dry land again! – and starts to wonder if she ever should have left. With Christmas around the corner, Fay is determined that her friends will have a very merry time, but does that mean even more time away from Danny? Can Fay really get everything she ever wanted in Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights.

Rating: four-stars

 

Fay and Danny, deeply in love, are enjoying their nomadic life on the canal boat but when they get a call from Lija that Stan is not good, Fay rushes home to look after him, and also to help Lija, who’s now running the Cake Shop. Of course Fay’s sister Edie also makes an appearance – what is she planning this time? And there are, again, troubles coming The Cake Shop way and the characters are facing really difficult times.

when I’ve read the book for the first time I was surprised that it continues Fay and Danny’s adventures – it being a Carole Matthews’ book I didn’t take the trouble to read a synopsis, as with many other auto – buy authors, and already knowing it’s going to be a fabulous, festive read – but it was great to be back with Fay Merryweather and Danny Wilde and all their friends and relatives. I adored seeing them together, the sparkle was still there and you could see those two are made for each other, that they found each other. Fay, as before, puts everyone before herself but I noticed – with satisfaction – that she’s also grown a backbone, that she’s able to stand her ground and I felt like giving her a standing ovation and shouting you go, girl! There was also a new character Rainbow, helping in the cafe, and she was as colourful as her name. I think she added tons of humour and warmth to the story and while sometimes I couldn’t stand her blabbering, I appreciated the way she has lightened the atmosphere up. Lija and her foul mouth had made me smile more than once, I loved her directness! Altogether, the characters were – as usually – brilliantly and beautifully written, they had a great depth to themselves, they had personalities and the way they acted and reacted was realistic and so close to life. Their lives were not bed of roses and probably this is what makes them so close to your heart – that they struggle, that not everything is handed to them on a plate, just like in a normal life. Lija’s one – liners and sharp comments were an absolute highlights, and Rainbow, being Rainbow, so bubbly, bright and always happy just gave the book this little element of so much needed relax. Because the story touches upon so many heavy and difficult issues, guys – however, it’s not depressing or too overwhelming, or no, not to worry – and the author writes about them with so much intuition and understanding.

The title may be a little misleading, as the story only brushes a little on Christmas but the plot is so full of other things and happenings that I didn’t even feel disappointment – and so the book can be read with no regards to a season. As already mentioned, this newest release is a follow – up to “The Cake Shop in the Garden” and I think it could be read as a stand alone – just. I’d rather advise to read the books in the right order because even though “Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights” gives us a brief re – telling of what’s happened before, it’s really brief and to fully enjoy the book you should really start with the “Cake Shop”.

Altogether, it was a lovely, heart – warming story about friendship, friends pulling together, family bonds and love. Of course there wouldn’t be a Cake Shop without some great cakes, and the descriptions of Lija and Fay’s incredible creations were gorgeous and so vivid, and I can bet anything they’ll make your mouth water – they did it with me. The story was so comforting, just like your favourite reading place and a hot chocolate. It was warm and uplifting and so true to life and genuine. Highly recommended!

Lush by Gabrielle Fernie

Lush by Gabrielle Fernie

 

 

39204431Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 16th August 2018

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

Number of pages: 304

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Lush
adj. Very rich and providing great sensory pleasure (Oxford English Dictionary)
n. A habitual drunkard (Oxford English Dictionary)

‘Arms linked, just as we did when we were seventeen, we teeter our way to the club, pausing to tug Emma’s stiletto out of a drain cover and sling our empty wine bottle into the bin. For the first time in a long while I feel truly happy. I want to be standing arm-in-arm with my best friend, both completely pole-axed, for the rest of my days. And then it comes to me, with a stab: this is possibly our last night out together as free women…’

Gabby and Emma have been best friends since primary school in Wales. Emma has a stable job, a nice home and has just got engaged. Gabby has had a succession of disastrous one-night-stands and five awful jobs since drama school . . . and she has just been diagnosed with scurvy. She has one year until the wedding to pull herself together and prove to her friends and family that she can be a proper grown-up.

Described by Caitlin Moran as ‘filthy, immoral and incredibly funny’, Gabrielle Fernie’s blog, loveisa4letterturd.com, catalogued her life as a struggling actress with a taste for gin. Here, in her first book, she shares more of her most raucous stories with eye-watering honesty. It is a refreshing, frank and laugh-out-loud account of a young woman trying to find her place in the world; ultimately realising that it’s fine to play at being an adult until she properly figures it out.

Rating: three-stars

Gabby and Emma are best friends. While Emma has just got engaged and has a stable life, Gabby is working in a job that she hates, she dreams of being an actress (she has finished a drama school!) and goes on one disastrous date after disastrous date. However, she promises herself to grow up in time for Emma’s wedding.

I’ve requested “Lush” after reading the synopsis – I loved it. I’m already not in the author’s age range but well, I still remember some of the antics and troubles I’ve got myself into and you really don’t want to know where I threw up once. Those were the times…
However this book didn’t work for me, sadly. Gabrielle, our main character in this novel, wanted to change. So far, so good but a) I didn’t fully get why she wants to change – only because her best mate is getting married?, b) why write a book about it. There are many, many people out there living the same life as Gabrielle so, theoretically, they all could also write a book about their (miss)adventures? Blame it on my age, please, but some of the antics and Gabrielle’s approach didn’t make me laugh, they made me cringe – sometimes if felt much too overdone and as if the author has really tried too hard. Partly, it wasn’t funny anymore for me. However, I absolutely appreciate the fact how honest it was, and, in some ways, relatable.

But. I of course can so well understand that this book is going to speak tons with the younger audience. It so brutally honestly shows how it is to try and fail, to try again and to fail again but still not give up. The writing style was hilarious, engaging, sharp and hooking and the story itself was partly funny and partly touching and some of Gabrielle’s adventures were hilarious, I especially liked the TV episode or the bootcamp part. So even if I’m in two minds about this book, I’m sure that if you’re in your 20’s, you’re going to enjoy this memoirs about being single. Yes, hands up, it rang a bit to my own experiences, and I’m really glad to have read this book, even if it turned out that it’s not the perfect read for me, but you’d better try it for yourself.

My Sisters and Me by Lisa Dickenson

My Sisters and Me by Lisa Dickenson

 

 

 40875903Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 23rd August 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Three women are making over their childhood home. It’s going to get messy.

When Willow Lake asks her three daughters to help renovate the family home each has a reason to hesitate. The sisters always looked out for each other, but growing up in the Devon town of Maplewood wasn’t easy.

Noelle, the youngest, is perfectly comfortable with who she is – now. Once, though, she wanted to fit in so badly that she walked away from her first love. A first love who still lives in Maplewood . . .

Emmy, the middle sister, has always been quiet and bookish, and the idea of returning to the town that ridiculed her teenage-self fills Emmy with dread.

Outspoken Rae, the eldest, is painfully aware of how much the townspeople hurt her sisters growing up. She couldn’t protect them then, but there’s no way she’ll let history repeat itself.

As the sisters settle back into Maplewood they rekindle old relationships (some more welcome than others) and begin to make peace with the past. After all if they’ve changed over the years, it’s possible the townspeople have too . . . isn’t it?

Rating: four-stars

Rae, Emmy and Noelle are the three Lake sisters, as they are known in their childhood village Maplewood in Devon. They all visit their home rather reluctantly, as the place is full of sad and traumatic memories from their childhood and school years. They, in fact, couldn’t wait to leave Maplewood. Now Rae is married and is an opera singer, Emmy is a robotic engineer and Noelle is an environmental lawyer. However, at the request of their mother Willow, who, after death of the girls’ father started to travel the world, the girls are supposed to take sabbatical from work, come back home and renovate it for rental while Willow is again on the road. To say they’re all a bit wary would be an understatement, considering all the things that had happened in the past, and they are scared to face the village but there is no other option for them. How is it all going to play out?

I have warmed to the three sisters immediately. They were so easy to like and they had the best jobs ever. Noelle was environmental lawyer and I loved her interactions with Big Daddy, Rae was an opera singer (how many opera singers do you know?) and Emmy’s job was one in a million – she had something to do with building robots that she was sending then into space. They were all so passionate about their jobs and you could really see that they’re doing things they love to do. And oh yes, they were kick – ass sisters! It was brilliant they were all so different but no matter what they just stick together. I loved them all. But most of all I think I loved Jared *sigh*, and most importantly, I loved Emmy around Jared – she was then always so relaxed and funny.

Now, guys. I do love a Lisa Dickenson’s book. I’ve been reading and adoring her novels from the very beginning and this is why I went into “My Sisters and Me” with great expectations and actually certainty that this book is – again – going to blow my socks off with its brilliancy, humour and general greatness. And this is why, because of this feeling of certainty, I found myself reading and reading and starting to PANIC. Literally, panic and wondering, what’s happening? For a long time it was a solid 3 stars read for me, while I was sure it’s going to be a 10 out of 5 stars read. I’ve missed more humour, pace and action that I so well know from Lisa’s previous books. Those were actually Jared and Finn that saved the reading for me – they were brilliant characters, full of this Lisa’s hallmark banter and one – liners that the female characters maybe lacked a little this time. Don’t get me wrong, the three sisters were great, strong heroines, they were funny and their bond was genuine and out of this world fantastic, and I simply adored them all and kept everything crossed for them, but still the story felt too flat and too slow for my liking, and there were some things that bothered me all the time, like why the hell the residents of Maplewood hated the girls so much, even though they never did anything wrong and why their parents did nothing in that matter? Yes, Lisa did try to explain those things but somehow it just didn’t sit with me and didn’t convince me – probably because, as I have already mentioned, I ADORED the sisters and couldn’t understand those that didn’t like them as much as I did. so there.

But.

But oh my, does the book make you think and reminisce! Even though I’m a little older than the sisters, their journey back in time was a fantastic trip down memory lane for me as well. I am very 90’s chicka and all the mentions of clothes, music, posters on the wall were like opening a photo album for me. And Bonnie, how could “Mr. Vain” make you confused??? But this novel also brought back some memories that I’d rather, just like the sisters, leave unearthed somewhere deep, deep down, where it’s very dark, and I could really identify with the characters on this level. As always, the dear Lisa Dickenson chooses the best setting ever. This time we’re not travelling abroad but still, Maplewood and the house in the woods where the girls lived were fabulously described. Lisa has brilliantly captured the essence of a small town and its residents, close – knit community, with their prejudices and beliefs. And Lisa’s writing stays the same, it’s light and easy and so captivating, almost addictive, and it had me glued to the pages. You feel together with the characters, their fears, exasperation and happiness, their confusion and desperation. You laugh and cry with them and you just so want for everything to go smooth for them in the end. The descriptions are full of laughter and Lisa knows how to use her words to break the ice.

“My Sisters and Me” was full of sunshine, this overwhelming feel – good factor. It featured strong women who were developing all the time, finding their courage to feel good in their own skin, women who loved and were not afraid to say when they were not happy. It was about friendship and family dynamics, about revisiting your childhood and fighting the demons, facing the troubles and staying strong to your beliefs, and I absolutely loved this message. It brilliantly captured this mixture of happy childhood memories and those worse ones, and addressed all the old traumas showing that it’s really not so difficult to face the opponents and old memories. Would I recommend this novel? Hell, yes – just go and treat yourself to this book when it’s out!

Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart

Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart

 

34460802Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 7th June 2018

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

Number of pages: 480

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | PHardcoverk | Paperback (out on 07.02.2019)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A story about family, love and finding magic in everyday life, Days of Wonder is the most moving novel you’ll read all year.

Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah’s diagnosis with a heart condition that will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen, that time is coming.

Hannah’s heart is literally broken – and she can’t bear the idea of her dad’s breaking too. So she resolves to find a partner for Tom, someone else to love, to fill the space beside him.

While all the time Tom plans a final day of magic that might just save them both.

Days of Wonder is the stunning follow-up to Keith Stuart’s much-loved debut A Boy Made of Blocks – and a book to fall in love with.

Rating: five-stars

Tom is a single father who’s a manager of a provincial theatre and looks after his teenage daughter Hannah, who has a life – limiting heart condition. Hannah’s mum has left – for a long time it’s not explained why, however I was starting to guess what could have happened. Tom is determined to make Hannah’s life as unforgettable and as special as possible, so with the help of his theatre’s friends he stages a once in a lifetime exceptional play for his daughter’s each and every birthday. Mostly they are based on fairytales, because Hannah loves them. Very soon the theatre and people working/helping to run it become a big part of the girl’s life. But Hannah is growing up – is theatre really all she wants? And Hannah’s dad – she’s as determined as he was, to make the time they have left together special, to make sure that when she’s gone he will be looked after, just as he looked after her.

I’ve read and absolutely loved Keith Stuart’s debut novel, “A Boy Made of Block”, so it is not a wonder that discovering a review copy of his second book on my doorstep made me very, very happy. Yes, I was a little afraid to read this book, of course, because I was asking myself after such mind – blowing debut would the author be able to make this dreaded second novel as wonderful as the first one? Oh my word, guys, Keith Stuart delivered, totally and with ease – “Days of Wonder” was perfect. Not too wishy – washy, not too sad, not too sugary, not too depressing, not too sentimental – just perfect. He took us on a wonderful and emotional rollercoaster – like journey that will make you smile and burst into tears in just one sentence and live the story through the characters. Keith Stuart can immediately enchant you with his writing style, he draws the reader immediately into the story, from the very first page you can feel as a part of the book’s world.

The story is told from Tom and Hannah’s points of view in alternative chapters. and boy, what distinctive, vivid voices they had! I immediately warmed to them and connected to them. The love between them was so real, raw and honest, so perfectly captured and put into words. I loved their banter, how they got each other, how they understood each other without words, how they challenged each other into getting dressed in second – hand especially chosen clothes and go to the restaurants. They laughed together and cried together and they respected each other. Their relationship was not a bed of roses, oh no, Hannah did also caused troubles but it only made them much more real and believable.
However, not only the main characters, but all of the background ones, are perfectly written and believable but I can’t not focus on Hannah and Tom. I absolutely adored them and their relationship, that was not too forced, seemed so natural and genuine and they all had everyday problems and issues to contend with. Hannah was brilliant, cool as a cucumber. She was edgy and sharp and incredibly clever but not too overdone for her age – probably because of her condition, of not seeing the future, she was bold and brave and took life by the horns. She also tried to couple her father up with a woman, just in case, so that he won’t be alone. She was this kind of character that you love so much that you hope till the end that somehow she’s going to survive, even if you know that it’s impossible.
I was very invested in the characters’ lives. They all had their own story to tell and I love the fact that the author has found a place for those stories in his book. There was this brilliantly, overwhelming community feel to it, they supported not only Hannah and Tom but also each other, even though all of them had their own problems and private turmoil. They all rose to the challenge, they showed what they can achieve as a group, when there is a problem to solve or when somebody needs help.

It was a beautiful, poignant and sharp story about not giving up, about never losing hope, about beautiful, unconditional love, about family. It is a real roller – coaster ride of feelings and emotions, and the author effortlessly transports you into the characters’ world, I really felt a part of it, and I experienced and lived through everything together with the characters. I wanted them to succeed, I applauded them and I cried with them. They all were a great bunch of characters and I am going to remember them for a long time yet.

“Days of Wonder” was first and foremost a story about love, but also about letting go, about spreading your wings, about trust. About friendship. Written in such light, chatty and accessible way, with a great feeling of authenticity, full of feelings and emotions. The author so very easily brought not only characters to life but also the setting and especially the Willow Tree Theatre. It was a truly magical place. And yes, the words on the cover stating that “Days of Wonder” is “The most magical and moving story of the year” are absolutely true – it was magical, and it was moving, and moreover, it was beautiful and enchanting. It touched upon some really heavy issues, like Hannah’s heart condition or Callum’s depression but it never feels too heavy or difficult to read. No. It was poignant, yes, but is also was very uplifting. There really isn’t anything that I didn’t like about this book. I savoured every single word and didn’t want to put it down. It was a real delight to read and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

 

 

Million Love Songs by Carole Matthews / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and Happy Easter! Hope you’re spending the day with people you love most.

Today I have another blog tour for you. You know I’m a huge fan of Carole Matthews, and her newest book “Million Love Songs” was published as paperback few days ago. For the purpose of the blog tour, the lovely Carole has created her own Spotify playlist with her favourite love songs that you can listen to by clicking here.

I’ve also created my own list with my favourite love songs and it’s as follows:

Richard Marx, Right Here Waiting For You – I still can remember me, barely a teenager, listening with my ear close to the radio and dreaming about… hmmm 🙂

No Doubt, Don’t Speak – I was almost 18 years old, just got to know this guy at the disco and he told he’s going to call. He didn’t. I was sitting in my best friend’s room and playing it over and over again. I don’t think they like this song as much as did. PS. He called. we were together for 7 years.

Toni Braxton, Un – Break My Heart – dancing to this song with the above mentioned guy who did call.

Whitney Houston, Your Love is My Love – all time favourite. Can listen to it all the time.

And now onto the book itself:

Million Love Songs by Carole Matthews

 

36677778Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 22nd March 2018

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

Number of pages: 400

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

After splitting up with her cheating ex-husband, Ruby Brown is ready for a change. She’s single again for the first time in years and she’s going to dive into this brave new world with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. The last thing she’s looking for is another serious relationship.

Mason Soames represents everything Ruby wants right now: he’s charming, handsome, and perfect for some no-strings-attached fun, and yet Ruby can’t help feel that something is missing. Joe Edwards, on the other hand, is also lovely and handsome but he comes with the sort of baggage Ruby wants to avoid: an annoyingly attractive ex-wife and two teenage children.

Ruby soon has some very tough decisions to make. Is she ready for a relationship of any kind, and what type of life does she really want? Because while Ruby may think she knows what she wants, is that what she needs to be truly happy?

Feel-good, wonderful and an absolute must-read from the queen of romance Carole Matthews, Ruby’s story will make you laugh, cry and leave you wanting more. It’s about to get emotional in Million Love Songs.

Rating: four-stars

Carole Matthews’s books are your guarantee of wit, humour, some drama and romance. I’ve been reading her books for many years already and I’ve always enjoyed them, as she creates likeable characters, the writing style is so light and easy to follow and the stories are never too heavy even though there is always some seriousness and heavier stuff in them. The characters are believable, as well as the situations they find themselves in, and it’s the same with “Million Love Songs”.

In this newest release we meet Ruby Brown, freshly divorced from Simon, and actually coming to terms with this fact. They were five long years together and it’s hard to settle in but Ruby is determined to start afresh and you know what they say – when life throws you lemons, just make a lemonade (I should probably try to adapt this motto by myself as March was officially the worst month ever. And April won’t be better). She quitted her old job, moved to a small granny – flat, got a new job at a pub and some new friends, so it really is everything new and fresh for her.

Ruby was a great character and I hoped everything is going to pan out for her. She wasn’t afraid of new things, she was open to anything, she was cheery and optimistic and I grinned at her many antics, and she for sure was a part of many, many memorable scenes. The one thing that bothered me a little was the fact that she seemed to be all the time bouncing back and forth between two men, desperate for a man in her life and it seemed somehow so desperate, while I really liked her on her own. Well, it was just after her divorce that she’s decided she wants to be a little more impulsive and try many new things, right? That she’s ready for fun and new? She was also strong by herself. There was too much of Ruby’s going back and forth and her indecisiveness. She’s been changing her mind too many times and it irritated me sometimes because when you once say yes then please, stick to your word, especially when others warn you as well. And she kept changing her mind countless times.
And Mason. I’m not sure why but Mason is for me a serial killer – there is something in the name (sorry. Pay no attention, really). So it’s not a wonder that I didn’t warm to him completely, no? He was also a well – known womanizer with tons of money and too much spare time. Yes, I liked Joe better, although there were moments that I wanted to yell at him to make a decision. He seemed to blow Ruby hot and cold and I think she didn’t deserve it. But altogether, both men had their pros and cons and sometimes I wasn’t sure who I wanted her to end up with. Maybe adding a third male character would be an idea.

I loved the music and songs references – no matter if you were Take That fan or not, you know their songs and I found myself humming. But – I am not so sure what to think about the whole Take That obsession. On one hand it is great to have a hobby, and oh well, yes, I also have a crush on a music star, even at my age, but this here is taking it to another level. I mean, I have a life. The following seemed more like stalking for me and really, to be totally honest, I thought that Ruby deserves much more from her life, no? But it’s just me, as Ruby’s friend Charlie seemed really happy with living with a life-sized cardboard figure of Gary Barlow and the huge amount of events she was going to and hoping for potential sightings. Whatever you like…

The chapters, as usually, were short and snappy, which I really like in books as it makes the whole book quicker to read and the storyline keeps moving fast. And of course in such cases it is always one chapter more and you find yourself reading and reading, totally engrossed in this lovely story.

“One Million Love Songs” was a warm, uplifting read written with so much heart and understanding. I love Carole Matthews’s writing style, it immediately takes you into the heart of the story and then on a journey full of twists and turns, a journey that’s rather bumpy than flat. It’s charming and full of humour and poignant moment, that are, as always, so very well balanced and intertwined together. Altogether, I can only – and I do it very happily – recommend this novel to both the old as well as new Ms Matthews’s fans.

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

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The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan

The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan

 

35890882Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 11th January 2018

Series: The Island of Mure #2

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

Number of pages: 412

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Dreams start here…

‘Charming, made me long to escape to Mure. Total joy.’ – Sophie Kinsella

On the quayside next to the Endless Beach sits the Summer Seaside Kitchen. It’s a haven for tourists and locals alike, who all come to eat the freshest local produce on the island and catch up with the gossip. Flora, who runs the cafe, feels safe and content – unless she thinks too hard about her relationship with Joel, her gorgeous but emotionally (and physically) distant boyfriend.

While Flora is in turmoil about her relationship. her best friend Lorna is pining after the local doctor. Saif came to the island as a refugee, having lost all of his family. But he’s about to get some shocking news which will change everything for him.

As cold winter nights shift to long summer days, can Flora find her happy-ever-after with Joel?

Rating: five-stars

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Lately Jenny Colgan was proving with her every new release what a brilliant author she is, and each of her book was better than the previous one. However, with “The Endless Beach”, she has probably outdone herself – this book is perfect in every way. I would go that far and say that it’s probably Jenny Colgan’s best yet. This book has fulfilled all of my expectations and more. It is heart – warming, uplifting, emotional and incredibly realistic, and written in this brilliant and unmatchable Jenny Colgan’s writing style.
This is a sequel to “The Summer Seaside Kitchen” that can be read as a standalone, but I personally would recommend to read the first book as well – even though there is a reminder in the letter from Jenny at the beginning of “The Endless Beach”, which is very helpful btw, the first book was equally gorgeous and I think it will let you to understand the characters and their actions much better.

In “The Endless Beach” we’re back to the island of Mure and the characters that I already love plus some of the new ones, that are equally adoring. Flora’s storyline was supposed to be the main one, and well, yes it was, but she shared the book pages equally with the other characters, whose stories and backgrounds and present were as intriguing and hooking as hers. To be honest, I have a feeling that this time the male characters’ subplots were more prominent in this story, which only made it feel refreshing and even more interesting (as if it were possible!). This time it were the men that were hiding something, not the women! The story of Saif was heart – breaking. It was very actual and even though I may think it is a topic that doesn’t necessarily belong in fiction, I could give the author a standing ovation for writing it this way and for finding the courage to make one of her lead character a refugee. It was brilliant to see that the islanders – of course, after initial reservations – accepted him with open arms and what they did later when he brought someone to the island was absolutely gorgeous. His story was such an eye – opener, too, and I fell for him immediately, and I could cry when reading about his past. It was great to be back with Fintan, who can finally be himself and I loved his relationship with Colton, how much in love they were with each other, how they were around each other. There was of course a secret involved and even though I might have started to suspect something, the reveal has totally took me by surprise, took my breath away and made my cry because it was written in such a beautiful, sweet, gentle way, and you could feel through the pages the love and desperation there. Joel… I really don’t know how it is possible to write such raw emotions, I think Jenny Colgan has just got into his head.
The author didn’t forget about our girls, of course. Flora and Lorna’s feelings and emotions are true to life. It was brilliant to see what’s happening in their lives after we have left them behind, closing “The Summer Seaside Kitchen”. I must admit, I have expected that Flora’s life and her relationship with Joel would be plain sailing but it turned out it is far from this. They had their ups and downs and there were some moments that I got a headache as it seemed they just can’t communicate with each other in a normal way. I so wanted to bang their heads together because I so wanted this relationship to work and it just seemed that they rub each other up the wrong way, they’re getting hot and cold with each other all the time. This relationship was so genuine and so raw, they both felt so vulnerable in it because they loved so much but didn’t know how to show this, and it made me feel so, so desperate! Flora has such a big heart, and not only when it comes to be generous when running her own business, no, she’s just a wonderful, good natured person. There is so much passion in her in all aspects of her life, she doesn’t do things halfway through and I just kept everything crossed for her and for Joel. He was distant and sometimes I wanted to shake him but I also knew that there is a reason to his behaviour, and even though we don’t know till almost the end what it is, there was something in Joel that made you fell for him immediately and to understand him without knowing more.
But one of the best characters must be AGOT, and when you read the book you’ll know why I write her in capitals.

The way the story went and the many subplots took me by surprise, I must admit, I think I have expected something different. Not sure what but whatever it was, this story just tug at my heart strings, it was full of emotions and feelings. There was this magic that you always look for in the book that you read, there were brilliant storylines and characters that you could die for, as they so got under your skin. This writing was just one and only. It was beautiful, it enveloped you and you just didn’t want to put this book down.

The setting in this story couldn’t be more perfect! I fell in love with the wild island of Mure when reading the first book, and this story only reinforced me in this feeling. I think I would feel completely contended there. There was a brilliant community feeling that was especially visible at one of the weddings when the author so beautifully put it into words that it is the most important thing for the islanders and even though they’re not officially invited, they are invited, they can come and feel at home, and it was brilliant. The author lets us know the ins and outs of the little school run by Lorna, the island living and its villagers, when they know your comes and goes better than you yourself but they only mean well.

“The Endless Beach” was a real escapism and it is really so hard to put into words how great this book was. There was everything I was looking for from Jenny Colgan and even more. It was full of laugh out loud moments, as well as many poignant ones, it was full of heart and understanding and with incredible depth. It made me hold my breath and then start to hope again. There was the lovely mention of the mystery of myth, that I simply adored, there was this close knit community, it brought to us some new and fresh perspectives of characters that usually are not introduced in such stories. I really didn’t want this book to come to an end and if you haven’t read this enchanting story yet, drop everything and treat yourself – but be warned that you’re going to disappear for a few hours, as it’s just unputdownable.